Current Affairs: 28 April 2017

Important Days

World Day For Safety & Health At Work: 28 April

  • The annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. 
  • It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.
  • The ILO’s campaign theme for the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work - Optimise the collection and use of OSH data - focuses on the critical need for countries to improve their capacity to collect and utilize reliable occupational safety and health (OSH) data.
  • The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted on September 25, 2015 encompasses a global plan of action with specific targets to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. 
  • With its adoption, the capacity to collect and utilize reliable OSH data has also become indispensable for countries to fulfil their commitment to implement and report on some of the agenda’s 17 sustainable development goals and their targets.

National Events

Niti Aayog’s vision: Houses, vehicles, ACs for all by 2032

  • Government think tank Niti Aayog has envisaged a new India in which all citizens in 15 years will have houses with toilets, two-wheelers or cars, power, air conditioners and digital connectivity.
  • This is a glimpse of Vision 2031-32 presented by the Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya to the body’s Governing Council, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
  • The India 2031-32: Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda also visualises a fully literate society with universal access to health care. 
  • It also calls for having a much larger and modern network of roads, railways, waterways and air connectivity and a clean India where citizens would have access to quality air and water.
  • It is envisions that per capita income would increase three fold to Rs 3.14 lakh in 2031-32 from Rs 1.06 lakh in 2015-16. Besides, it states that the country’s gross domestic product or economy would rise to Rs 469 lakh crore in 2031-32 from Rs 137 lakh crore level in 2015-16.

Bengal drops Pradhan Mantri tag from central scheme

  • The West Bengal government has decided to drop the tag "Pradhan Mantri" from "Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna" and rename it as "Bangla Fasal Bima Yojna", 
  • The reason behind the decision to drop the Pradhan Mantri tag, taken at a state Cabinet meeting earlier this month, was that the Centres share in such schemes had come down to 50:50
  • As per the norm, the farmer had to pay one-third of it while the remaining two-thirds was borne by the Centre and the state government.
  • Earlier, the Centres contribution was either 90 per cent or around 75 per cent, which now came down to 50 per cent or below in several schemes.
  • The state has already renamed some of the central government schemes like Swach Bharat has become Nirmal Bangla.
  • It was also learnt that the Centre has sent a letter to the state Panchayat department seeking the reason behind dropping "Pradhan Mantri" tag from the schemes. 

Narendra Modi flagged off first flight under UDAN regional connectivity scheme

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first flight under the Regional Connectivity Scheme Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (Udan) by flagging off the Alliance Airlines flight on Shimla-Delhi sector from Jubbar Hatti airport near Shimla.
  • Simultaneously, he will also flag off the inaugural Udan flight on Nanded-Hyderabad and Kadapa-Hyderabad sectors.
  • This gains significance as Shimla lacked air connectivity and a petition demanding recommencement of lights was suspended in 2012. 

International Events

Press freedom rankings: India slips 3 places to 136

  • India slipped three places in the 2017 world press freedom rankings to 136th among 180 countries
  • In the index released on Wednesday, India was ranked just three places above Pakistan and was one notch below violence-torn Palestine. India’s neighbours Bhutan and Nepal were placed at 84th and 100th rank, respectively.
  • Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark took the first four positions in the rankings. The United States was at the 43rd position.

Indian Oil to build new terminal at Motihari to supply fuel to Nepal

  • The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) plans to build a new oil terminal at Motihari in Bihar to supply fuel to neighbour Nepal through the planned pipeline up to Amlekganj in Nepal. The old terminal at Raxaul, also in the same Indian state, will be closed
  • The Nepal government has accorded the pipeline project a national priority status and is looking to get clearances from various authorities. Simultaneously, IOC has started the process of tendering for procuring mainline pipes
  • as per the initial agreement, a new 200-km pipeline at a cost of `700 crore is being laid between Patna and Motihari and will be used in case the new terminal at Motihari is not operational by the time the pipeline to Nepal is ready. 
  • A pipeline between Barauni, having a refinery from where fuel can be pumped, and Patna already exists. IOC is in the process of acquiring environmental clearances for the Motihari terminal. 

Indian short film to be screened by Unesco in Indonesia

  • Rahul V. Chittella's short film "Azaad", starring Atul Kulkarni and Sakshi Tanwar, will be screened by Unesco as part of a World Press Freedom Day event on May 3 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • Apart from directing, Chittella, who was mentored by filmmaker Mira Nair for the film, has also written "Azaad". It tells the story of the dysfunctional relationship between a father and his son.
  • Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
  • The international day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the 26th Session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. 
  • This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.
  • Theme: Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies

Science & Technology

ISRO Solar Calculator App Launched to Calculate Solar Energy Potential

  • Indian Space Research Organisation's Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) has developed an Android app, named Solar Calculator, for computing the solar energy potential of any location. 
  • Developed at the behest of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the ISRO Solar Calculator app is considered to be a "very useful" tool for installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that is used for tapping solar energy,
  • ISRO's Solar Calculator app provides monthly and yearly solar potential in kWh/m2 and the minimum and the maximum temperatures at any location. 
  • The Solar Calculator app also displays the location of a place on the satellite image as well as the day's length there during different periods in a year, and offers minimum and maximum temperature to calculate realistic solar potential.
  • The new ISRO Solar Calculator app can provide solar energy potential of any given location by typing the name of the required location; the location can also be obtained through GPS. 
  • ISRO says the Solar Calculator also gives monthly and yearly solar potential processed using Indian Geostationary Satellite data (Kalpana-1, INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR), and also offers monthly minimum and maximum temperature to calculate the realistic solar potential.

Scientists Create ‘Revolutionary’ Artificial Womb-Biobag

  • Extremely premature babies could be kept alive in future using an “artificial womb” that scientists plan to test in humans after a successful study involving unborn lambs.
  • A plastic bag filled with artificial amniotic fluid – the nutrient-rich liquid that sustains a foetus in the womb – allowed foetal lambs to develop at an age equivalent to 23 weeks in humans.
  • Human infants born at 23 weeks have just a 15 per cent chance of survival, according to pregnancy research charity Tommy’s. This rises to 55 per cent at 24 weeks, while babies born at 25 weeks have an 80 per cent chance of survival.
  • Extremely premature babies could be kept alive in future using an “artificial womb” that scientists plan to test in humans after a successful study involving unborn lambs.
  • A plastic bag filled with artificial amniotic fluid – the nutrient-rich liquid that sustains a foetus in the womb – allowed foetal lambs to develop at an age equivalent to 23 weeks in humans.
  • Human infants born at 23 weeks have just a 15 per cent chance of survival, according to pregnancy research charity Tommy’s. 
  • This rises to 55 per cent at 24 weeks, while babies born at 25 weeks have an 80 per cent chance of survival.
  • Inside the device, the infant's own heart circulates blood through the umbilical cord into an external gas-exchange machine taking the place of the mother's placenta, while synthetic amniotic fluid enriched with nutrients flows in and out of the temperature-controlled, near-sterile “biobag”.

Awards & Honours

RDPR bags  e-Puraskar Award 

  • The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department has bagged e-Puraskar Award for the best performance in empowering panchayats by using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, for 2016-17.
  • Kerala bagged the second prize, while West Bengal secured third prize in the category of ICT tools. The cash prize for the first position is Rs. 2 crore, Rs. 1 crore for second position and Rs. 50 lakh for third position.
  • The State bagged the award for its Ganshi Sakshi Kayak GPS-enabled ICT tool. 
  • The Kodagu Zilla Panchayat bagged the Deendayal Award for empowering panchayats.
  • In the taluk panchayat category, Sagar taluk of Shivamogga district and Puttur Taluk Panchayat of Dakshina Kannda district have bagged prizes.
  • In the gram panchayat category, the Malige Gram Panchayat of Theerthahalli taluk of Shivamogga; Siraguppi GP of Athani taluk in Belagavi district; Palibetta GP of Virajpet taluk in Kodagu; and Sampaje GP of Madikeri taluk, bagged the awards.

Indian businessman wins Queen's Enterprise Award

  • A prominent Indian businessman's food processing plant in Britain has won the prestigious Queen's Enterprise Award 2017 for its exceptional contribution to the UK's trade, industry and economy.
  • Yusaffali MA, 61, said the recognition for his Birmingham-based Y International (UK) Ltd will spur his Abu Dhabi headquartered Lulu Group International to further expand business interests in the UK.
  • The Queen's Award for Enterprise is conferred annually by Queen Elizabeth II on her birthday, April 21, upon businesses that display great enterprise across the fields of innovation, international trade, promoting opportunity through social mobility and sustainable development.

Bhubaneswar becomes 1st Indian city to win Pierre L’enfant Awards-2017

  • Odisha’s capital city, Bhubaneswar, the first Indian city has won Pierre L’enfant Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards-2017 instituted by the American Planning Association.
  • The association selected five excellence award recipients, which will be honoured at an awards luncheon at the association’s National Planning Conference in New York on May 8.
  • The number one, smart city Bhubaneswar received this award for good and advanced town planning and engaging its residents in the planning process. 
  • Notably, the American Planning Association honours comprehensive planning efforts and inspiring individuals to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues. 
  • In a tweet message, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed his happiness on becoming the first Indian city to receive Pierre L’enfant Planning Awards-2017.

Vani Jairam gets Ghantasala national award

  • Versatile playback singer Vani Jairam was presented the Ghantasala national award instituted by the Ghantasala National Art Academy
  • She is known in the North as Meerabai for her rendition of songs sung by the medieval poet in praise of Lord Krishna.
  • Her unique ability to sing at this ripe age as during her heyday has won her the North American Film Award for Best Singer for the Malayalam film Pookkal Panineer this year.
  • The award was instituted in the memory of the legendary singer Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao who ruled the roost for over three decades the Telugu tinsel world.

Youngest Indian chancellor bags Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Foundation award

  • The youngest ever chancellor of any university in the nation, Dileep K Nair, has added another feather to his cap of achievement after bagging the award for excellent performance in the field of education in Trivendurum, Kerala.
  • The 38-year-old academician, who currently is the Chancellor of the North East Frontier Technical University (NEFTU) in Arunachal Pradesh, received Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Foundation Kerala State award for the year 2016-17.
  • An eminent educationist, Nair has around 12 years of experience in various Educational Projects in different parts of the country.

Banking & Finance

SEBI makes P-Note norms stricter to curb black money in markets

  • In yet another move in India against black money, markets regulator Sebi on Wednesday barred resident as well as non-resident Indians (NRIs) from making investments through participatory notes (P-Notes). 
  • An express provision shall be inserted in the regulations to prevent resident Indians/NRIs or the entities which are beneficially owned by resident Indians/NRIs from subscribing to Offshore Derivative Instruments (ODIs), 
  • P-notes are mostly used by overseas individual investors, hedge funds and foreign institutions to invest in the Indian securities markets through registered foreign institutional investors (FIIs). 
  • This investment instrument constitutes a major portion of the total FIIs' investments into the key domestic indices. 
  • P-Notes have also been associated with 'round-tripping' of domestic black money back into the Indian economy. 

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