Current Affairs: 27 May 2017

National Events

Centre bans sale of cows for slaughter at animal markets, restricts cattle trade

  • The government has banned the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter through animal markets, rules that will hurt millions of poor farmers and squeeze supplies to the country’s meat industry.
  • The new rules do not amount to a blanket ban on cattle trade or their slaughter, and license breeding remains legal. 
  • But the move will crimp supplies to the country’s Rs 1-lakh crore meat and allied industries which sources about 90% of their requirements from animal markets.
  • The worst hit, however, will be the mostly Muslim meat and leather traders who face mounting violence by increasingly assertive cow vigilante groups. 
  • Farmers will also be hit because they will be deprived of a traditional source of income from selling non-milch and ageing cattle.
  • The rule also prescribes about 30 norms for animal welfare in markets, including water, fans, bedding, ramps, non-slippery flooring, veterinary facility and separate enclosure for sick animals. The rule says “young” and “unfit animals” cannot be sold.
  • No animal market will now be able to run without approval of district animal market committee to be headed by a magistrate and having two representatives of government-approved animal welfare groups.
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Narayanasamy presents tax-free Puducherry budget

  • Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy presented a tax-free budget of ₹ 6,945 crore for 2017-18.
  • The contribution from own resources was estimated to be Rs. 4,022 crore. 
  • With key focus on agriculture, animal husbandry and infrastructure development, the Chief Minister announced the government decision to provide free electricity to motor pump sets used by farmers.
  • The government had also decided to bear the expenditure towards farmer’s share of the insurance premium under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojan.’
  • The government also proposed to provide insurance cover for both Samba and Navarai crops covering 12,500 hectares.

PM lays foundation of AIIMS to be set up at Changsari, Assam

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone of All India Institute of Medical 
  • Sciences (AIIMS), Guwahati to be set up at Changsari in Assam's Kamrup district. 
  • Guwahati AIIMS will be constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana at an estimated cost of Rs 1,123 crore. 
  • Earlier, the prime minister arrived at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport from Dibrugarh after inaugurating the nation's longest river bridge - the Dhola-Sadiya bridge over Lohit river and laying the foundation of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Gogamukh in Dhemaji district. 

Banking & Finance

RBI allows co-operative banks to issue mobile wallets

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed co-operative banks, who are permitted to install ATMs and issue debit cards, to also issue prepaid payment instruments PPIs like mobile wallets. 
  • In a notification, RBI laid down strict norms and conditions to be followed by co-operative banks before permitting them to issue wallets for utility bill payments and other activities up to a limit of Rs 10,000. 
  • The apex bank also laid down various criteria like banks should be core banking or CBS compliant, with net non-performing assets being less than 3 per cent and also being profitable in the previous financial year. 
  • Further, the RBI has also mandated that the bank should have internal and audit inspection processes both for its branches as well as the head office. 
  • RBI has also mandated that there should be no monetary penalty being imposed on the entity during the last two financial years and the bank should also have a comprehensive customer grievance redressal mechanism. 

International Events

Amul Thapar becomes second Indian-American judge of US Court of Appeals

  • Amul Thapar became the second Indian-American judge of an appeals court with the United States senate confirming his appointment to the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Thapar was confirmed by a 52-44 vote.
  • Shri Srnivasan, who was appointed to the DC circuit court of appeals by President Barak Obama and confirmed in 2013, is the first Indian American ever to be named as judge to the American counterpart of India’s high courts.
  • Thapar was also on Trump’s list of candidates for a vacancy on the Supreme Court, for which he eventually picked Neil Gorsuch, who has sicne een confirmed. Thapar is President Trump’s second judicial nominee to be confirmed.
  • Thapar, 47, was born in Detroit to immigrants from India, Raj Thapar and Veena Bhalla. He went to college in Boston, and studied law at University of California, Berkeley.
  • Thapar was appointed to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in 2008 by former President George W. Bush. He had earlier served as US attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of Ohio and Washington DC.

Index & Ranking

RIL leads 58 Indian firms in Forbes Global 2000 latest list

  • Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) is the highest ranked Indian firm in Forbes magazine's 'Global 2000' list this year which sees the number of Indian companies in 2017 rising to 58 from last year's 56. 
  • Reliance Industries is followed by State Bank of India, the country's largest lender, ranked 244 this year (149 last year), and state-run oil explorer ONGC ranked 246 (220 last year). 
  • Four other Indian banks, which are all privately owned -- HDFC Bank (258), ICICI Bank (310), Axis Bank (463) and Kotak Mahindra Bank (744) -- are among the top 20 Indian companies in the overall list. 
  • Tata Motors has retained its sixth position among Indian companies, but fell in terms of overall ranking to 290 (278 last year). 

Travellers’ choice: Taj Mahal only Indian monument to figure in top 10 global landmarks

  • Taj Mahal, the magnificent monument of love, has made it to the top 10 landmarks in the world by securing fifth position in the list.
  • One of the most iconic wonders in the world, the Agra- based imposing white marble structure, a tourist delight, is the only Indian monument to figure in the world’s top 10 Travellers’ Choice awards for Landmarks.
  • Angkor Wat in Siem Reap (Cambodia) topped the list followed by Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba in Cordoba (Spain) and St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Italy).
  • Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg (Russia) was at No. 6 position and Great Wall at Mutianyu in Beijing (China) was at No. 7.
  • Machu Picchu (Peru) at No. 8, Plaza de Espana (Spain) at No. 9 and Duomo di Milano (Italy) at No. 10 completed the list.
  • However, according to the Asia list, Taj Mahal was at No. 2 spot after Angkor Wat.
  • Among other Asian monuments Great Wall at Mutianyu (China) was at No. 3 position followed by Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) (Thailand), Fushimi Inari in Kyoto (Japan), Petronas Twin Towers (Malaysia), Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (Myanmar), Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), The Grand Palace (Thailand) and Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto (Japan).

India retains world's highest FDI recipient crown: Report

  • India retained its numero uno position as the world's top most greenfield FDI investment destination for the second consecutive year, attracting USD 62.3 billion in 2016, 
  • India has remained ahead of China and the US as far as FDI inflows were concerned in the last year, said the fDi Report 2017 compiled by fDi Intelligence, a division of The Financial Times Ltd. 
  • FDI by capital investment saw an increase of 2 per cent to USD 62.3 billion in 809 projects during 2016 in India. 
  • In 2016, greenfield FDI continued to rise worldwide, with capital investment increasing by more than 6 per cent to USD 776.2 billion, its highest since 2011, alongside an increase in job creation by 5 per cent to 2.02 million. However, the number of FDI projects declined 3 per cent to 12,644. 
  • China has overtaken the US to become the second biggest country for FDI by capital investment, recording USD 59 billion of announced FDI, compared with USD 48 billion-worth in the US. 

HDFC among top 10 consumer financial services companies globally

  • Mortgage lender HDFC Ltd is the only Indian company to be named among the top 10 consumer financial services companies in the world, with American Express claiming the first position. 
  • With profits of $1.6 billion and sales of $8.1 billion HDFC was ranked seventh on the Forbes Global List 2017 in the consumer financial services sector -- same as last year. 
  • The company has been featured in the coveted list for the third consecutive year. 
  • American Express topped the list, followed by Capital One Financial and Visa in the second and third place, respectively. 
  • The other consumer finance services companies that made it into the list include Orix at the fourth place, Synchrony Financial (5th), Discover Financial Services (6th), Mastercard (8th), PayPal (9th) and CIT group (10th). 

Books & Authors

‘Mann Ki Baat – A Social Revolution on Radio’

  • After radio address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ will now be available in a book titled ‘Mann Ki Baat – A Social Revolution on Radio’. On the occasion of the third anniversary of the Narendra Modi government, the book was launched by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
  • The first copy of the book was received by President Pranab Mukherjee. 
  • The book ‘Mann Ki Baat: A Social Revolution on Radio’ by Shri Rajesh Jain is a compilation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s addresses to the nation on radio every month under the programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. 
  • It contains a comprehensive, qualitative and academic analysis of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ – the themes, the choice of topics, the salient features. 
  • It illustrates how ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has connected with the ‘New India’ – the youth in particular.
  • It also presents a coherent narrative about the manner in which ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has created mass movements, be it in cleanliness, in promoting India’s tourism potential, safer roads, drugs free India etc.

Marching with a Billion- Analysing Narendra Modi’s Government at Midterm’

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received the first copy of ‘Marching with a Billion- Analysing Narendra Modi’s Government at Midterm’ from Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker Lok Sabha who formally released it at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • The book ‘Marching with a Billion- Analysing Narendra Modi’s Government at Midterm’ written by eminent journalist Shri Uday Mahurkar analyses the monumental changes that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has brought on multiple fronts as Prime Minister on India’s governance landscape by ushering in an unprecedented culture of transparency to create a level playing field so necessary in a developing country.

Virat Kohli's Winning Formula Revealed in New Book

  • A new book "Winning like Virat: Think & Succeed like Kohli" by Abhirup Bhattacharya, unravels the secrets of the cricketer's consistent form, while attempting to decode his philosophy towards life.
  • In the book, the writer etches Virat's success curve by using statistics that chart his performances and anecdotes from his predecessors and contemporaries in the game. 
  • According to Bhattacharya, it is only Virat Kohli who has managed to enjoy a fandom that comes even close to the popularity of Sachin Tendulkar.
  • The book also throws light of Virat's exceptional efficiency as a family man, who manages to take time out for his mother, brother and sister, despite a taxing schedule. 
  • A detailed study of his fitness regime that turned the chubby Delhi boy into a sprinter between the wickets, and his unmatched charm as a brand ambassador for products, also find mention in the book.

Science & Technology

NASA's Juno Probe Finds Earth-Sized Storms Over Jupiter Poles

  • Jupiter's poles are covered in Earth-sized swirling storms that are densely clustered and rubbing together, reveals first science results from NASA's Juno mission to the largest planet in our solar system.
  • The results also showed that Jupiter's magnetic field is even stronger than models expected, and more irregular in shape.
  • Measurements of the massive planet's magnetosphere, from Juno's magnetometer investigation (MAG) indicates the magnetic field greatly exceeded expectations at 7.766 Gauss, about 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth.

After 84 years, cobra lily rediscovered in Nilgiris

  • The incredibly rare Arisaematranslucens, more commonly known as the cobra lily, was recently rediscovered in the western Nilgiris after 84 years by nature enthusiasts K.M. Prabhu Kumar and Tarun Chhabra.
  • Featuring a distinctive translucent spathe, it was last collected by E. Barnes in 1932 and described by C.E.C Fischer in 1933.
  • Barely a few hundred cobra lily plants are left in the wild and they can be found only in a small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris.
  • The Toda tribals of the Nilgiris, who know the plant well, have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it

Obituary

Supercop KPS Gill, who crushed Punjab militancy, passes away

  • K P S Gill, the supercop credited with rooting out terrorism in Punjab with an iron hand, passed away succumbing to a kidney ailment at the age of 82. 
  • The IPS officer, who served as the Director General of Punjab Police twice during the peak of militancy, was considered an authority on dealing with security issues and even after his retirement, his services were utilised by the governments of Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. 
  • The daring and outspoken officer who led from the front headed Punjab Police from 1988 to 1990 and then again from 1991 until his retirement from service in 1995. 
  • He is credited with breaking the backbone of Khalistani terrorism in Punjab and finally eliminating it by adopting tough measures. 
  • A major feather in his crown was added when he commanded 'Operation Black Thunder' in May 1988 to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar. 
  • was a huge success as little damage was caused to the holiest shrine of Sikhs, compared to 'Operation Blue Star' in 1984 carried out by the Army. 
  • In the Operation Black Thunder, around 67 Sikh militants had surrendered and 43 were killed.

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