Current Affairs: 31 May 2017

Important Days

World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017

Theme: Beating tobacco for health, prosperity, the environment and national development
  • On World No Tobacco Day, WHO is highlighting how tobacco threatens the development of nations worldwide and is calling on governments to implement strong tobacco control measures. 
  • These include banning marketing and advertising of tobacco, promoting plain packaging of tobacco products, raising excise taxes, and making indoor public places and workplaces smoke-free.
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National Events

Sankhyiki Bhawan, the new office of (NSSO) inaugurated

  • India is participating in the current phase of International Comparison Programme (ICP) with reference to 2017. 
  • It is a global statistical initiative that supports inter-country comparisons of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its components, using Purchasing Power Parity. 
  • Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MOSPI) will take up the price collection work in rural and urban areas shortly all over the country. 
  • This was stated by the Minister for Statistics & Programme Implementation Shri D.V.Sadananda Gowda while inaugurating the new office building of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Sankhyiki Bhawan in New Delhi
  • with the inauguration of the new building, a new chapter begins in the history of NSSO. Now, with all Divisions under one roof, it will improve coordination of various work at a very closer level resulting speedier and better output. 

Goa bans thin plastic bags to tackle garbage

  • The Goa government has decided to ban buying and selling of plastic bags below 50 microns from July, to tackle the garbage and litter menace in public places.
  • Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the law will be implemented starting with fine of Rs. 500 and then the fine will be subsequently raised to Rs 5,000 depending upon the success.
  •  The government has decided to ban the plastic bags below 50 micron in the tourist State. Simultaneously, the government will start work stations for garbage collection on highways. Goa has already banned plastic bags below 40 microns.
  • Mr. Parrikar said thin plastic has a tendency to cause flooding by chocking drains, and can easily travel by wind and water in flood planes, thus increasing the flooding of public places during rains.

Goa govt to relaunch Congress' scheme to detect metabolic disorders in babies

  • The Manohar Parrikar-led Goa government will re-introduce the scheme to screen newborn babies for detecting metabolic disorders.
  • The scheme, started by the erstwhile Congress-led government in the state, was discontinued in 2012 when Manohar Parrikar was chief minister.
  • The health programme is now being resurrected 
  • The scheme, introduced by Rane during his tenure as Health Minister in the Digambar Kamat-led government, was discontinued in July 2012 when the BJP-led dispensation came to power.

Amitabh Bachchan led Toilet Usage Campaign set for national launch

  • or promotion of toilet usage across the country's villages, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has come out with an aggressive new campaign called Darwaza Band
  • Iconic actor, Amitabh Bachchan, who leads the campaign, is proposed to be joined by Union minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Narendra Singh Tomar
  • The campaign has been supported by the World Bank and is being rolled out countrywide immediately after the launch. It is designed to encourage behaviour change in men who have toilets but are not using them.
  •  The campaign also features actor, Anushka Sharma, who will be seen encouraging women to stand up for this issue in their villages and assume a leadership role.

Naidu launched Swachh Gram Yojana to make Rajasthan villages clean

  • Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu  launched a scheme to make villages in Rajasthan open defecation free.
  • The Union urban development minister launched the scheme in Titarwasa village of Jhalawar district, which has been adopted by him under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna, in presence of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
  • The villages will become clean under the Mukhyamantri Swachh Gram Yojna,
  • Raje said under the Swachh Gram Yojna, garbage will be collected door to door in selected gram panchayats.

N Chandrababu Naidu launches colour coded bed sheets scheme for state hospitals 

  • Naidu launches colour coded bed sheets scheme for state hospitals, ropes in Gates foundation to boost healthcare 
  • Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday launched a scheme to provide clean and hygienic bed sheets and pillow covers with colour coded lining strips for all the hospitals in the state. 
  • Titled ‘Hospital Linen and Laundry Service Programme’, the service has been launched for 13,200 beds under phase 1 across all teaching and district hospitals at a cost of Rs 10 crore. 
  • Under the scheme, different coloured bed sheets would be used on different days like Violet on Monday. Simultaneously, Organe on Tuesday, Magenta on Wednesday, Green on Thursday, Brick Red on Friday, Blue on Saturday and Yellow on Sunday. 
  • The color coding will be uniform throughout the state. 

Modi becomes 1st Indian PM to visit Spain in 30 years

  • Narendra Modi became the first Indian PM to visit Spain in nearly 30 years, after he reached the country on Tuesday night. The previous Indian PM to visit Spain was Rajiv Gandhi, in 1988. 
  • Modi tweeted "Landed in Spain, marking the start of a very important visit aimed at improving economic and cultural relations with Spain," in Spanish and English.

International Events

Inauguration of India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference

  • The ‘India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference’ hosted by Ministry of External Affairs, India, was inaugurated by the Acting Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
  • Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. (Dr.) V K Singh (Retd.), host of the conference, announced that India will contribute US$ 1 million to Fiji’s Trust Fund for their Presidency of COP-23 to be held in November 2017.
  • During the two days of the programme, the conference focused on issues such as the blue economy, adaptation-mitigation practices for climate change, disaster preparedness, health, the International Solar Alliance as well as finding practical solutions to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) implementation. 
  • The conference facilitated the exchange of knowledge and experience, and initiate public-private partnerships and collaborations for the benefit of all participating countries. 
  • Through plenary sessions and thematic tracks, it will encourage new thinking that will inform the official processes of engagement among stakeholder countries.

First India-Sri Lanka Joint Research Symposium inaugurated in Colombo

  • Sri Lanka's Minister of Science, Technology & Research of Sri Lanka Susil Premajayantha and High Commissioner of India Taranjit Singh Sandhu inaugurated the first India-Sri Lanka Joint Research Symposium in Colombo 
  • Both India and Sri Lanka have jointly funded research programs under the Programme of Cooperation signed in 2011 between Department of Science and Technology of Government of India, and Ministry of Science, Technology & Research of Government of Sri Lanka. The projects have now been completed.
  • The Ministry is holding the Symposium to showcase the outcomes from the India-Sri Lanka joint collaboration in Science & Technology.

5th India Morocco Joint Commission Meeting (JCM)

  • The 5th India Morocco Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held in Rabat
  • The JCM was anchored by Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister.
  • The visit of Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry, Government of India to Morocco and the proceedings of the 5th India Morocco JCM have intensified the strong bilateral relations between India and Morocco, and provided an impetus for closer cooperation between the two countries in the political, commercial, cultural, and trade sectors

First women's TV channel launched in Afghanistan

  • Women in Afghanistan now have their own television channel.
  • Zan - or Women's - TV began airing this month, with a staff of all female presenters and producers.
  • And it's being seen as a groundbreaking step for women's rights, in a country still dominated by men.

Sports

4 Indians in ESPN’s top 100 most famous athletes list

  • ESPN has revealed the names of top 100 most famous athletes. Ben Alamar, ESPN’s director of analytics says that they combine endorsements with social media following and internet search popularity to create their World Fame 100 rankings.
  •  This time, 4 Indians have found a place in this elite and prestigious list. Without any surprise, all of them are cricketers.
  • Indian skipper Virat Kohli has is at No.13, dropping five places from last year’s No.8. He is closely followed by the Former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He has dropped one place from last year’s standings and is now placed at No.15. 
  • The other two Indians to have made to the list are all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. Yuvraj is placed at No.90 while Raina holds No.95.

Harmanpreet Kaur to become the first Indian woman to play in Kia Super League

  • Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain of India’s T20I team, is all set to feature in the second season of the Kia Super League, the English domestic T20 league, after being signed up by Surrey Stars. 
  • The Kia Super League, also known as the Women’s Cricket Super League, is the domestic T20 tournament held in England and Wales, featuring women cricketers. 

Ranking & Index

India ranks 120th among 131 nations in women workforce

  • In its India Development Report released, the World Bank said the country had one of the lowest female participation in the workforce , ranking 120th among 131 countries for which data was available. 
  • While overall job creation has been limited, most of the new ones have been grabbed by men given the social norms
  • Listing out the reasons for a decline in women participation in the workforce, Frederico Gil Sander, senior country economist, World Bank, said that while a larger number of younger women in India was opting to study in schools, many were dropping out of the workforce due to lack of job opportunities and others due to rising income levels.

Virat Kohli only Indian in top 10 of ICC ODI rankings

  • India captain Virat Kohli is the lone cricketer from the country to feature in the top 10 of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Players Rankings for ODIs as he managed to hold on to his third spot in the batsman’s chart.
  • The intense competition in the individual rankings justifies the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy’s significance as players from the eight participating teams feature prominently in it and not much separates the top players in the fray.
  • The top three batsmen : South Africa’s AB de Villiers (874 rating points), Australian David Warner (871) and Kohli (852) are separated by just 22 points.
  • Among other Indians to feature in the top 20 of the ICC Players Ranking for ODI batsmen are Rohit Sharma (12th), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (13th) and Shikhar Dhawan, who dropped a place to 15th.

Banking & Finance

RBI to introduce new Re 1 currency note

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon introduce currency notes of one rupee denomination
  • The notes, which have already been printed by the Government of India, are legal tender under the Coinage Act, 2011. The existing currency notes in this denomination in circulation will also continue to be legal tender,
  • The new note will have an overall colour scheme of pink and green on the obverse and reverse, in combination with other colours. 
  • The note will have the bilingual signature of Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Ministry of Finance. It will contain the words ‘Government of India’ and ‘भारत सरकार’ and have the replica of the new one rupee coin with the ‘₹’ symbol of 2017. ‘सत्‍यमेव जयते’, the words printed on all of India’s currency notes, will be featured as well.
  • The surrounding design of the note consists of a picture of ‘Sagar Samrat’, the oil exploration platform in Maharashtra. 
  • An inset letter in capitals, ‘L’ will also be printed on the note. Apart from this, the Ashoka Pillar, a hidden number ‘1’ and the hidden word ‘भारत’ will be printed on the note.

RBI calls for account number portability

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor S.S. Mundra pushed banks to allow customers to move seamlessly between banks without having to change their account numbers. 
  • He also said the central bank would soon come out with final guidelines on customer protection to limit their liability in case of fraud in electronic banking transactions.
  • This is not the first time that Mundra has broached the topic of account number portability. In February 2016, while delivering the keynote address at Mint’s Annual Banking Conclave, Mundra had said that allowing account portability would “give competition a whole new dimension”.
  • Currently, bank account number portability doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. 
  • In India, mobile phone subscribers are allowed to port their numbers while the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India is considering allowing life insurance policy holders to switch from one insurer to another without surrendering their existing policies.

Awards & Honours

Lionel Messi wins fourth Golden Shoe, ties record with Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Barcelona striker Lionel Messi won the European Golden Shoe for a record equalling fourth time having scored 37 goals this season in the Spanish league. He drew level with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo with the fourth honour.
  • The award goes every season to the leading goal scorer from every top division national league in Europe. The Argentinian striker, standing on 74 points, pipped Bas Dost of Sporting Lisbon by six points. Dost, who ended the season with 34 goals, had scored a hattrick in his last game against Chaves.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund was third on the table with 31 goals in the Bundesliga.

Priyanka Chopra to be Honoured With Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award

  • Actress Priyanka Chopra will be honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award for being an international icon.
  • The Baywatch star will be given the award under the newly introduced 'Internationally Acclaimed Actress' category at a ceremony 
  • Celebrities like Anil Kapoor, Kapil Sharma, Juhi Chawla and Nitesh Tiwari, among others, are expected to attend the event.
  • The board of trustees for Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards include Johny Lever, Pahlaj Nihalani, Mithun Chakraborty and TP Agrawal.
  • The award ceremony will be held on June 1 in Mumbai.

Ordnance Factory Medak bags award

  • Ordnance Factory Medak (OFMK), a unit of Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), has been awarded “Raksha Mantri’s Awards for Excellence” as the Best performing Factory of OFB for years 2014-15, 2015-16. The awards were presented by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Deputy Minister Subhash Bhamre 
  • OFMK has also designed and produced CRN-91 Naval Gun which is the preferred platform for Indian Navy and Coast Guard. 
  • OFMK has also designed, produced and supplied large number of bulletproof vehicles and mine protected vehicles in the past to various paramilitary forces of India and State police forces.

Author Jhumpa Lahiri Wins 2017 PEN/Malamud Award

  • Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri has been announced as the recipient of the 2017 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story.
  • The PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction was established by Bernard Malamud’s family to honor excellence in the art of short fiction.
  • Lahiri, professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, is the author of four widely acclaimed works of fiction: “Interpreter of Maladies,” “The Namesake,” “Unaccustomed Earth,” and “The Lowland”; and two works of nonfiction: “In Other Words” and “The Clothing of Books.”

Tata Motors awarded for contribution to Skill India Mission

  • Tata Motors was awarded 'HR Innovation of the Year', for its significant contribution to skill development in the automotive sector at the Asia-Pacific Excellence Awards held in Hong Kong
  • With the aim to make the Indian automotive industry globally competitive, the skill development program by Tata Motors is the perfect blend of technical modules and self-development courses with industry leaders as mentors.
  • As part of the skill development initiative, Tata Motors is also working towards promoting gender diversity in auto manufacturing and service sectors. 
  • Addressing the automotive skill challenges, the company focuses on skilling school drop-outs and youth especially women, while enhancing global employability. 
  • All skill development initiatives by Tata Motors are designed and implemented in line with the Global Skill Qualification framework and Occupational Standards.

Science & Technology

New species of 'see-through' frog discovered

  • A new glass frog species with transparent skin through which its beating heart is visible has been discovered by scientists who warn that the amphibian may already be at threat of extinction. 
  • The frog (Hyalinobatrachium yaku), discovered in the Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador has unique physical and behavioural traits. 
  • The dark green spots on its back and its reproductive behaviour mark it out as different from known frogs. 

Amul inks MoU with ISRO for fodder acreage estimation

  • Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) today said it has signed an agreement with ISRO for fodder acreage assessment using satellite observation and space technology.
  • GCMMF markets its products under the brand name of 'Amul'.
  • Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ISRO will help in identification between food crops and fodder crops at village level and also locate suitable areas of current fallows and cultivable wastelands at village level for green fodder cultivation, GCMMF said in a release.
  • Amul and Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO, had earlier carried out a joint pilot, which found that to assess green fodder availability for dairy livestock at district and village level through remote sensing is feasible
  • Fodder acreage estimation would act as a decision-making tool for monitoring and planning of fodder development activities by the stakeholders in the dairy sector

Appointment

Government expands Banks Board Bureau, appoints two more members

  • The government has expanded the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) headed by former CAG Vinod Rai by adding two more members. Former Allahabad Bank chairperson and managing director Shubhalaxmi Panse and private equity veteran Pradip Shah have been inducted into the board as independent members, a senior finance ministry 
  • he body is responsible for selection of MDs and directors of public sector banks and financial institutions. At times, pre-occupation of some of the members results in postponement or delay of the selection process.
  • Former CMD, Bank of Baroda, A K Khandelwal, former Joint MD H N Sinor and former Crisil MD Roopa Kudva are independent members.
  • The Bureau started functioning from April 01, 2016 as an autonomous recommendatory body with three ex-officio members and three expert members in addition to Chairman. Chairman and members are part time. 
  • The Bureau is constituted as follows: Shri Vinod Rai, Dr Anil K. Khandelwal, Shri H.N. Sinor, Ms Roopa Kudva

Kerala BJP Leader George Kurian Appointed Vice-Chairperson Of National Commission For Minorities

  • Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party leader George Kurian has been appointed Vice-Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities or NCM. The appointment was made by union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (independent charge) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
  • The central government on May 24 nominated five people, including Mr Kurian, to the NCM's vice-chairperson post that had been lying vacant for over two months. Former national secretary of BJP's minority wing, Gairul Hasan Rizvi, is the NCM's Chairman.
  • The National Commission for Minorities is responsible for safeguarding the constitutional rights of minorities in India.
  • Former Maharashtra minister Sulekha Kumbhare, Jain representative from Gujarat Sunil Singhi, and Parsi representative Vada Dasturji Khurshed Kaikobad Dastoor are the other members of the NCM.

Najma Heptulla Appointed First Woman Chancellor Of Jamia Millia Islamia

  • Manipur Governor and former minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla has been appointed as the chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, first woman to hold the top post in the varsity's history.
  • Jamia Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad confirmed the development, saying she has been appointed for a term of five years.
  • The 77-year-old Ms Heptulla succeeds Lt Gen (Retd) MA Zaki who completes his five-year term this month. She is the first woman chancellor of the university since its establishment in 1920.
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