Current Affairs: 14 April 2017

Ambedkar jayanti to be observed as ‘Water Day'

  • India will observe the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar on April 14 as "Water Day" to sensitize people on managing the precious natural resource.
  •  Apart from being instrumental in framing the Constitution, Ambedkar was also responsible for an all-India policy on managing water resources.
  • Announcing the government's decision to observe April 14 every year as "water day", Union water resources minister Uma Bharti said, "Water is going to become an important agenda of the government

Petrol, diesel prices to change every day from May 1

  • Come May 1, petrol and diesel prices will change every day in sync with international rates, much like what happens in most advanced markets.
  • State-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), which own over 95 per cent of nearly 58,000 petrol pumps in the country, will launch a pilot for daily price revision in five select cities from May 1 and gradually extend it to all over the country.
  • A pilot for daily revision of petrol and diesel price will be first implemented in Puducherry, Vizag in Andhra Pradesh, Udaipur in Rajasthan, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and Chandigarh, he said.
  • State fuel retailers currently revise rates on 1st and 16th of every month based on average international price of the fuel in the preceding fortnight and currency exchange rate.
  • Instead of using fortnightly average, pump rates will reflect daily movement in international oil prices and rupee-US dollar fluctuations.

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Government sets up inter-ministerial panel to monitor UDAN 

  • The government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to monitor the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN which seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports. 
  • Besides, the panel would be responsible for coordination among stakeholders, including state governments, for "time-bound" implementation of the scheme. 
  • Chaired by Civil Aviation Secretary, the 'Inter- Ministerial Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee' would have representations from the ministries of finance, defence, home as well as petroleum and natural gas, as per a notification. 
  • The committee would be responsible for "overall monitoring of the schemes of promotion of regional connectivity by way of revival of unserved and under-served airports/airstrips and RCS-UDAN 

Andhra to introduce 'Ammaku Vandanam' in schools

  • A unique programme to pay tribute to mothers will be introduced in the government-run schools in Andhra Pradesh from this year
  • Under 'Ammaku Vandanam' -- mother worship -- the school children will take the blessings of their mothers and may also do 'paada pooja
  • The government also decided to implement the programme in 5,000 high schools across the state from academic year 2017-18.
  • The mothers would be invited to the schools on a specific day every year for the special function.
  • it would be a voluntary programme, aimed at paying tributes to mothers and respect motherhood. It hopes this would inculcate in students respect for mothers and sensitise them towards women and gender equality.

Amazon gets RBI nod for e-wallet in India

  • Amazon India has received the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) approval to launch its own digital wallet in India, paving the way for the American online retail giant to gain a slice of India’s fast-growing digital payments business.
  • Amazon India will now look to take on established rivals such as Paytm and Freecharge as it prepares to launch a prepaid wallet service that will be broader in scope than its Pay Balance service and will not be restricted to Amazon-based transactions.
  • Amazon’s new wallet service will look to address a vital problem in the world of payments — like other wallet services such as Paytm, it will help customers bypass the two-step authentication process for online payments using credit or debit cards and makes the process smoother for online shoppers, thus plugging a key gap in the payments process that reduces the risk of loss of business from online shoppers.

Haryana launches 'Operation Durga' to ensure women safety in the state

  • Haryana on Thursday launched ?Operation Durga? to ensure women safety in the state, under which the police caught at least 72 eve-teasers on its first day.
  • The Chief Minister's Flying Squad formed 24 teams to catch offenders from all districts of Haryana for their alleged involvement in crimes against women.
  • Operation Durga, an initiative launched by the Haryana Government, is a good step for the betterment of society and for women safety
  • The main focus of this drive is on the youth as these days they are distracted and this is a good way to get them back to track
  • The team includes woman personnel, nine sub-inspectors of police, 14 assistant sub-inspectors, six head constables and 13 constables, besides other police officers from each district.

India-Australia sports partnership launched

  • India and Australia on Wednesday started a partnership aimed at increasing cooperation in sports,
  • It will advance India–Australia cooperation in four areas – athlete and coach training and development, sport science, sport governance and integrity, and grassroots participation.
  • The India-Australia Sports Partnership would facilitate exchange of athletes, coaches, technical officials, sports scientists between the two countries
  • A National Sports Talent Identification and Development Portal would be launched shortly
  • under the new partnership, Victoria University and the University of Canberra would work with India to assist in the establishment of a National Sports University similar to the Australian Institute of Sport.

Karnataka Bank appointed P Jayarama Bhat as Chairman

  • Karnataka Bank Ltd has announced top-level management changes with the present Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD and CEO) of the bank, P Jayarama Bhat, assuming the charge of part-time non-executive Chairman of the bank 
  • The Chief General Manager of the bank, Mahabaleshwara MS, who is appointed as MD and CEO of the bank, will assume office on April 15.
  • The board of directors of the bank appointed Mahabaleshwara as MD and CEO of the bank for a period of three years from the date of assuming charge, as per the approval received from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was in accordance with the board’s earlier recommendation.
  • The board appointed Jayarama Bhat as the new Chairman of the bank
  • Initially appointed for three years, he got extension for two terms up to July 13 2018.

India's first-ever micro-drama festival held in Delhi

  • With the longest play running for not more than 10 minutes to the shortest one ending in 42 seconds, India's first ever micro-drama festival was held in New Delhi
  • Named after Thespis of Icaria, believed to be the first actor in Greek drama (6th century BC), the day-long event 'Thespis' saw screening of 28 independent plays at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Art.
  • Organised by theatre group 'Vriksh', the festival marks the debut of the micro-drama concept in India. 
  • It is the first time in India and only the second time in the whole world that a micro-drama festival is happening. 
  • The plays were also awarded in several categories including 'Best Drama', 'Best Drama (Audience Poll)', 'Best Director, Script, Actor, Actress, and Technician. 

Himachal bags Krishi Karman Award 2015-16

  • The Union Ministry of Agriculture has selected Himachal Pradesh for the Krishi Karman Award 2015-16 for commendable increase in food grains 
  • State Agriculture Minister Sujan Singh Pathania said that during last five years, the total food grains production has increased from 14.94 lakh tone to 16.34 lakh tone. 
  • Besides, the department has done considerable work in promoting poly-house cultivation, crop diversification, micro irrigation, organic farming and soil health management. The award would carries a trophy, citation and cash prize. 
  • The state was also conferred the Krishi Karman Award for 2011-12 for increase in wheat production and in 2014-15 for increasing food grains production.
  • Krishi Karman awards were instituted in the year 2010-11 to reward the best performing States in foodgrains and individual crops of Rice, Wheat, Pulses and Coarse Cereals.
  • Krishi Karman awards are given to Best performer States for raising country's food grain production.Krishi Karman Awards comprises of three awards for total food grain production and four awards for production of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses - the crops that constitute the food grain. 

Abdulqadir Rashik wins top prize at UN challenge for open source tool

  • An Indian software engineer has won the top prize at a global challenge for an open-source tool that enables users to interactively view UN General Assembly resolutions and gain a deeper understanding of the voting patterns of member states.
  • Abdulqadir Rashik, also an entrepreneur, won the 'Unite Ideas UNGAViz Textual Analysis and Visualisation Challenge' for his 'Global Policy', an open-source tool that enables users to search and interactively view General Assembly resolutions to gain a deeper understanding of the voting patterns and decisions made by United Nations Member States.
  • Rashik's prototype will be made public and shared with United Nations bodies and member states. He will also receive recognition from the Department of State and the Office of Information and Communications Technology.
  • The UNGAViz challenged developers worldwide to create an open-source tool capable of providing greater visibility into member state voting patterns, as well as greater public transparency about their voting choices. 
  • Solutions were judged not only on their technical merits, but also on their potential to support policymakers dealing with humanitarian challenges, peace and security issues, and other international matters, sometimes under extreme time pressure.

CPC in Bengaluru gets new pin code for taxpayers' benefit

  • Taxpayers wanting to send their paper ITR acknowledgement forms or documents related to refunds and others to the I-T department’s CPC in Bengaluru can now send it to a “unique” pin code.
  • The Department of Post has allotted the pin code to the Central Processing Centre (CPC) to ensure that letters and mails sent by taxpayers and assessees are not lost and reach the centre without delay.
  • The CPC is the central database centre of the department which receives all Income Tax Returns (ITRs), both e-filed and sent through post, and processes them for issuance of refunds and also deals with other tax related documents of a taxpayer.
  • The new pin code is — 560500 — while the CPC earlier used to sport the old pin code of 560100.
  • The older pin code was marked for the entire Electronic City area in Bengaluru
  • The new pin code is meant exclusively to cater to CPC of the Income Tax department and it will now help to curb the complaints and issues of non-reaching of postal mails

Postal Dept, SBI join hands to promote cashless transactions

  • Department of Posts has joined hands with State Bank of India to promote 'SBI buddy e-wallet' and POS machines for cashless transactions at post office counters while booking speed post and registered post items. 
  • installation of SBI Buddy e-wallet and POS machines will facilitate economy through digital payments/cashless transactions in the post offices. 
  • SBI buddy e-wallet and SBI POS machines facility will be further extended to other post offices in Punjab. 
  • India Post is not only a partner in the nation's growth but also a partner in the nation's vision of a "cashless India".

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