Current Affairs: 19 April 2017

‘Advanced Farming – Enriched Farmer’ Announced by Maharashtra Government


  • Amid demands for farm loan waiver in the state, the government has announced ‘Advanced Farming – Enriched Farmer’ scheme, with an aim to increase farmers’ income by cutting production cost and increasing the output. The scheme will be launched in the upcoming kharif season.
  • Under the initiative, the government has declared each tehsil in the state as a unit where planning will be done for agri-development.
  • The major tasks that would be undertaken are: raising production of major crops (up to the level of its genetic yield potential), diversification of crops, introducing marketing techniques, uniting farmers through farm producers’ companies and making them financially stable
  • The district agricultural department is asked to coordinate with farmers and their societies about the target of production. 
  • They will plan for the crop according to the soil, water conservation, loans being distributed in tehsils, etc.


Australia scraps 457 visas used largely by Indians


  • Australia will abolish a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, a majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.
  • The programme known as 457 visa allows businesses to employ foreign workers for a period of up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers. 
  • Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we are abolishing the 457 visa, the visa that brings temporary foreign workers into our country.
  • The majority of the visa holders under this category were from India, accounting for almost a quarter of the intake, followed by the UK and China at 19.5% and 5.8 % respectively
  • The new visa will include mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements. The new “Temporary Skill Shortage Visa” programme will comprise two streams—Short Term and Medium Term—and will be underpinned by more focused occupation lists that are responsive to genuine skill needs and regional variations across Australia. 
  • Short-term visas will be issued for two years, while medium-term visas will be issued only for more critical skills shortages and for up to four years. 
  • Both streams will include mandatory labour market testing with limited exemptions, a new non-discriminatory workforce test; mandatory criminal history checks, a market salary rate assessment and a new two-year work experience requirement.

RUSA Portal, Mobile App For Higher Education Launched


  • Union Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar today launched the unique portal and mobile app of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a body under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Under the concept of RUSA the quality of education can go up by improving the research labs infrastructure and creating smart class rooms and various other programmes by which the quality enhancement and value addition to the students happen
  • The portal is a one-stop for States' Higher Education Plans, decision of the States' Higher Education Councils and details of the resources under this scheme. Also, the gallery is a rich repository of the projects initiated under RUSA.
  • The detailed information regarding the projects can be had from the RUSA website rusa.nic.in.
  • RUSA is the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the Department of Higher Education, MHRD which aims to provide strategic central funding to State Higher Education Departments and Institutions and achieve the broad objectives of access, equity and excellence.


Dr. P. Gururaja Bhat Award’ for Prof. A.V. Narasimha Murthy


  • Prof. A.V. Narasimha Murthy, Chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), Mysuru and former Head, Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, has bagged the prestigious P. Gururaja Bhat Award instituted by Udupi-based Dr. Paduru Gururaja Bhat Memorial Trust.
  • Prof. Murthy has been selected for the award in consideration of his contribution to Indian Archaeology, Ancient History and Numismatics.
  • His name was selected by a 3-member panel of scholars constituted by the Trust.


Visually impaired Indian runner Sagar Baheti completes historic Boston Marathon


  • In a watershed moment for Indian sport, as well as a triumph in overcoming the odds, Bangalore-based Sagar Baheti has become the first visually impaired Indian runner to complete the historic Boston Marathon, the world's oldest, most competitive and the hardest marathon to qualify for.
  • Supported by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI), the 31-year-old Baheti travelled to the USA and became the first visually impaired Indian to participate in the famous marathon. 
  • With assistance from an old college friend, Boston-based Devika Narain Aerts, Baheti finished the 121st Boston Marathon as one of 30,000 runners on a blisteringly hot Monday. 
  • The 2017 Boston Marathon has been recorded as the second hottest in a decade.
  • Baheti completed the approximately 42.16 km distance in just over four hours

BRABO: First Made in India industrial robot


  • TAL Manufacturing Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors has launched India’s first industrial-articulated robot and it goes by the name “BRABO”.
  • The robot is indigenously developed for micro, small and medium enterprises in India.
  • The robot is available in payloads of 2 kilos and 10 kilos and is priced competitively between Rs 5 to 7 lakh.
  • The company took three years in R&D before launching the robot and spent nearly Rs 10 crore in the process.
  • This is the first time that an industrial robot has been conceptualised, designed and manufactured in India, the company said.
  • BRABO is meant to complement the human workforce and perform repetitive, high volume, dangerous and time-consuming tasks from raw material handling to packaging of finished products

Shambhavi Puraskar for Hari Shankar Rout


  • The prestigious Shambhavi Puraskar, 2017 was persented to Hari Sankar Rout for his outstanding contribution towards social change.
  • The award carrying a trophy, citation and a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh was presented by Union Minister of state for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy
  • The Shambhavi Puraskar was instituted in 2014 by Bansidhar and Ila Panda Foundation (BIPF).
  • His significant contribution is installation of a 7.5 KW micro-hydroelectric project, diverting water from a stream through pipeline to Dangarpadar village of Tumudibandha Block. This ensures 24 hour electricity supply, water for domestic use and diversion based irrigation
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