Current Affairs: 17 June 2017

Important Days

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: 17 June 2017

  • The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. 
  • The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels
  • This year the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought examine the important link between land degradation and migration. 
  • Among others, environmental degradation, food insecurity and poverty are causes of migration and development challenges. 
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National Events

India ranks 75th on environment impact survey

  • India came in 75th in a list of 102 countries ranked from best to last in terms of the human impact on environment per person.
  • It gauges the impact of citizens on the environment by taking into account the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix, the energy consumption per capita, the carbon dioxide emissions per capita, wastewater treatment capacity, municipal solid waste generated, air pollution and tree cover loss.
  • The ranking was done by MoneySuperMarket, a UK-based financial services website, gave the most weight to Carbon dioxide emissions, municipal solid waste and energy consumption.
  • With its reliance on clean energy sources even lower than India at 12.56%, the U.S. was placed second last on the list at the 101 position.
  • Trinidad and Tobago ranks last because it hardly relies on any green energy sources. Mozambique tops the list as the most green nation because it uses 100% green energy.

Goa Marathi Film Festival raises curtain on 10th edition

  • The 10th edition of the Marathi Film Festival was inaugurated in Panaji
  • Marathi actor Sai Tamhankar will be awarded the 'Face of the Year' award while veteran actor Sachin Pilgaonkar will be honoured with the 'Krutadnyata award'. 
  • Nagesh Bhosle's Sanchar, and Girish Joshi's Take Care, Good Night will premiere at the festival. Marathi films like Ventilator, Muramba, Oli ki Suki, Chi va Chi Sau Ka, Disha, Kasav will be screened over next three days. Mahesh Manjrekar's F.U. will also have two shows during the festival.

Lok Sabha Speaker to inaugurate NERCPA conference in Imphal

  • Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will inaugurate the 16th North East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NERCPA) Conference 
  • The conference will deliberate on themes such as 'North East and Look East Policy', 'Special plan for development of railways and airways for speedy economic development of North East region', and 'Setting up of a chapter of Speaker's Research Initiative (SRI) in the region'.
  • It will be held at the assembly premises here till June 18.
  • The SRI has conducted several meetings and workshops with stakeholders in democracy and eminent domain experts for members of Parliament during sessions, specifically on subjects listed before Parliament.

ClearTax launches free GST bill book software

  • To help small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the country get GST-ready, ClearTax, has launched a Bill book software. 
  • ClearTax's GST Bill Book is a free software platform for preparing GST-compliant invoices. With this platform for small businesses in India, ClearTax plans to reach out to about 10 lakh SMEs across the country.
  • The Bill book is a ready-to-use software platform that works both online and offline
  • The GSTbillbook will automatically identify IGST vs SGST in the invoice. GST Bill book will help in curbing the tedious task of uploading to GSTN every month
  • The GST bill book supports features such as creating a sales invoice, recording of discount, freight, insurance, & package handling charges. 
  • In addition to creating sales bills, it can be used to record purchases and expenses under GST regime. It will also support other documents mandated by GST such as delivery challan, e-way bill, advance payment receipts etc.
  • ClearTax was founded by Archit Gupta along with his father Raja Ram Gupta, Srivatsan Chari, and Ankit Solanki. ClearTax is Y-Combinator's first India focused investment. 

India to host AIIB's 3rd annual meeting in 2018

  • India will host the third annual meeting of the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2018
  • he third annual meeting of the AIIB's board of governors will be held in Mumbai, India, in June 2018. India is AIIB's second-largest shareholder,
  • Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley noted that his country would be honoured to become the host country for the third AIIB annual meeting.
  • The first annual meeting was held in Beijing last year. The second meeting, which would last for two days was launched in South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju.
  • Officially launched in January 2016, the Beijing-based AIIB is a multilateral development bank initiated by China and supported by a wide range of countries and regions, which will provide financing for infrastructure improvement in Asia.

Current account deficit narrows in 2016-17: RBI

  • India’s current account deficit (CAD) narrowed during last fiscal due to a contraction in the country’s trade deficit.
  • According to data furnished by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the CAD for last fiscal narrowed to 0.7 per cent of the GDP from 1.1 per cent in 2015-16 on the back of the contraction in trade deficit.
  • India’s trade deficit during the fiscal under review narrowed to $112.4 billion in 2016-17 from $130.1 billion in 2015-16.

International Events

UN General Assembly approves creation of new counter-terrorism office

  • The UN General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new office to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts, a move welcomed by India as a "much awaited first step" that will align the world body with needs of the global community in the fight against the menace.
  • India welcomed the creation of the new UN counter-terrorism office, saying it demonstrates the importance member states place on collective and coordinated action on terrorism, which remains the most complex threat faced by the international community.
  • The main functions of the new office would include enhancing coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities, strengthening the delivery of UN counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States, improving visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for UN counter-terrorism efforts and ensuring that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the strategy.

India re-elected to UN body on economic, social issues; Pakistan loses out

  • India has been re-elected to the UN’s principal organ on economic, social and environmental issues for another three-year term.
  • India was among 18 nations to win election to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). India obtained 183 votes, the second highest after Japan in the Asia Pacific category.
  • Pakistan, whose term on the Council is expiring this year, was seeking re-election to the UN body but lost as it got only one vote. 
  • ECOSOC, one of the six main organs of the United Nations, is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.

China, ADB launch green financing platform to fight pollution

  • China and the Asia Development Bank (ADB) have launched a green financing platform to support efforts by small- and medium-sized enterprises to cut pollution in the smog-hit Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region
  • The area, home to six of China's 10 smoggiest cities in the first quarter of this year, has promised to upgrade or shut vast swathes of polluting industry as it tries to meet 2017 air quality targets.
  • But financing the transition to cleaner energy has proved one of its biggest challenges, especially in poorer rural regions of Hebei, where the switch from coal to natural gas is expected to cost at least 300 billion yuan ($44.04 billion) over the 2016-2020 period.
  • The financing platform was launched by the ADB and the China National Investment and Guaranty Corporation (I&G), the State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC), as well as China's finance ministry and National Development and Reform Commission.
  • The bank late last year approved a loan of 458 million euros ($510.58 million) for the platform, which it says will leverage 3.6 billion euros in domestic commercial financing.

Banking & Finance'

DCB bank launches Aadhaar based iris eye scan customer verification service

  • DCB Bank, a new generation private sector bank has launched new services - India’s first Aadhaar based iris eye scan customer verification and fingerprint operated ATM in Telangana
  • These services utilise a customer’s Aadhaar number, eye scan and fingerprint impression.
  • The DCB ATM also can be used with the usual ATM/ Debit Card.
  • This launch coincides with the inauguration of 3 new branches in Mancherial, Mothe and Narsapur in the state
  • DCB Bank branches in Telangana provide a range of banking products for farmers, agri-business, micro business, small business and individuals.
  • The Bank provides loans for tractors, dairy, crop, land development, agri processing activities as well as for high-tech farming such as greenhouses.

Aadhaar now mandatory for bank accounts, link it by Dec 31

  • Government has made Aadhaar mandatory for opening new accounts. It has noted that all existing bank accounts will have to be linked with Aadhaar number by December 31, 2017 or else they will be declared invalid.
  • More significantly, not only Aadhaar has been mandatory for opening new accounts but also for carrying out high-value transactions. 
  • The government has said that transactions worth Rs 50,000 or more will now require Aadhaar number. 
  • This is similar to how PAN number was required for high-value transactions. But now instead of PAN, consumers will have to quote Aaadhar number. 
  • The government move to link all bank accounts with Aadhaar number comes days after the Supreme Court partially struck down the government proposal to make Aadhaar mandatory for filing of tax returns. 

Amazon to Acquire Whole Foods Market

  • Amazon and Whole Foods Market, Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt.
  • Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world. John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas.
  • Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market's shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. 
  • The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.

Flipkart-eBay India deal gets CCI nod

  • E-commerce major Flipkart's proposed acquisition of eBay India has received approval from the Competition Commission. 
  • Besides, the fair trade regulator has given nod to eBay Singapore's subscription of compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS) issued by Flipkart. 
  • As per the notice submitted to the regulator, the transaction relates to the acquisition of 100 per cent share capital of eBay India by Bangalore based e-commerce firm Flipkart. 
  • The transaction also involves the acquisition of certain compulsorily convertible preference shares of Flipkart by eBay Singapore 
  • eBay will invest $500 million in Flipkart as the two firms will merge their operations in the country. As part of the deal, Flipkart will own and operate eBay's business in India. 

20 Indian firms in top 100 companies in Asia 300 ranking

  • 20 Indian firms have been named in the top 100 of Nikkei Asian Review's Asia300 companies list, which was topped by taiwan's Largan Precision.
  • According to the Nikkei Asian Review's second annual Asia 300 Power Performers Ranking -- a compilation of the most powerful and valuable listed companies in Asia, as many as three Indian companies have made it to the top 10 list,
  • Indian IT service provider HCL Technologies came in at the second place, followed by Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Tata Consultancy Services at the third and fourth place respectively.
  • Others in the top ten include, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co at the 5th position, Alibaba Group Holding (6th), ECLAT TEXTILE (7th), Vietnam Dairy Products (VINAMILK) (8th), Tencent Holdings, (9th) and Airports of thailand at the 10th place.
  • Other Indian companies named among top 100 include Sun Pharmaceutical Industries at the 11th place, infosys (15), ITC (16), MARUTI SUZUKI INDIA (17), Lupin (18), Dabur India (24), Asian Paints (28), Power Grid Corporation of India (40), Godrej Consumer Products (41), Bajaj Auto (43), Wipro (48), Hero MotoCorp (57), Hindustan unilever (62), Housing Development Finance Corp (71), Motherson Sumi Systems (72) and Vedanta at 93rd place.

Sports

India go second on ICC ODI ranking, Virat Kohli retains top spot among batsmen

  • India gained a spot in the latest ICC ODI rankings, climbing up to second with 118 points while Virat Kohli retained the top spot in ODI Player rankings for batsmen.
  • Team India are now just a point behind South Africa who still sit atop the table with 119 points
  • Australia are third on the table with 117 points while England are fourth with 113.
  • Despite playing a long home season of Test cricket, India's rise in ODI rankings can be attributed to their series victories over New Zealand and England as well as their performance in the ICC Champions Trophy.
  • Virat Kohli consistent display in the ongoing Champions Trophy helped him stay on top of the rankings for bastmen.
  • After scoring an 81 not out against Pakistan in the tournament opener, Kohli got out on a rare duck in the match against Sri Lanka.
  • The Indian captain came back with renewed vigour against South Africa hitting 76 not out at a strike rate of 75.25. Kohli was at his fluent best against Bangladesh on Thursday where he scored 96 not out and hit the winning four.

Virat Kohli becomes the fastest to 8,000 ODI runs

  • Indian captain Virat Kohli created a world record in the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 against Bangladesh as he became the fastest batsman to reach 8,000 ODI runs. 
  • The 28-year-old batsman got to the milestone in just 175 innings (183 matches) and in the process broke the record that was previously held by South African ODI captain AB de Villiers.
  • The Indian batsman also became just the second batsman to have scored 8,000 ODI runs in under 200 innings after AB de Villiers, who took 182 innings to get to the milestone.
  • The record was held by Sourav Ganguly for 13 years before AB de Villiers broke it against New Zealand in 2015 but the Proteas batsman’s record lasted less than two years as it was broken by his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate.
  • Having lost the world record for the fastest to 7,000 ODI runs to Hashim Amla, Kohl has stepped on the accelerator in the Champions Trophy where he has scored three fifties in the four matches he has played.

Awards & Achievements

Kannada poet Shivaprakash honoured

  • Noted Kannada poet and playwright H S Shivaprakash was presented with the Kusumagraja Rashtriya Puraskar 2017.
  • Maharashtra and Karnataka despite both states being at loggerheads over a border dispute. Kusumagraj, after whom the award is named, was a pen-name of Marathi litterateur V V Shirwadkar, a Jnanpith awardee.
  • Shivaprakash, who writes in Kannada and English, has nine compilations of poems and 15 dramas.
  • The award, constituted by Nashik-based Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University's (YCMOU) Kusumagraja Adhyasan (Chair), carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, a memento and citation. It was presented to Shivaprakash by Akshaykumar Kale, president, 90th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.

Bhupen Hazarika Award conferred to Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi

  • The Fifth Bhupen Hazarika National Award 2017 awarded to an eminent writer from Arunachal Pradesh Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi.
  • This award is presented to honour whose outstanding literary work at National and International level.
  • The award has been instituted by Sarhad, a Maharashtra-based organisation.
  • His famous novel includes Mauna Onth Mukhar Hriday (Silent lips, murmuring hearts) which won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2005.

Syama wins Kerala's 1st beauty pageant for transgenders

  • Syama Sanju was declared the Queen of Dhwayah, the winner at Kerala's first ever beauty pageant for transgender women. 
  • Jaz D'souza was crowned the first runner-up while Harini Chandana came third from among fifteen participants. 
  • Celebrities including Madhoo, Remya Nambeeshan and Pearle Maaney attended the pageant while former Miss World runners-up Parvathy Omanakuttan was one of the judges.

Appointments

Serbia Appoints First Gay and Female Prime Minister

  • Forty-one-year-old Ana Brnabić is set to become both the first gay and first female prime minister of Serbia following her nomination by the nation’s president, Aleksandar Vučić
  • Vučić said he would be giving Brnabić a mandate to form a new government—a decision that is unlikely to be contested in parliament, where the president’s Serbian Progressive Party maintains a firm majority. Although Brnabić is nonpartisan, she is considered loyal to Vučić.
  • Brnabić’s lack of political experience also makes her an ideal choice for Vučić, who was reportedly keen on appointing someone to promote his own agenda. Indeed, Vučić is likely to remain the most powerful figure in Serbian politics, with Brnabić acquiring a more symbolic authority.

Obituary

Justice PN Bhagwati, former chief justice of India, dies at 95

  • Former chief justice of India, Justice P.N. Bhagwati, passed away in the national capital. 
  • He was 95.
  • Bhagwati, who was India’s chief justice from July 1985 to December 1986 is widely credited with introducing public interest litigation (PIL) along with his brother justice V.R. Krishna Iyer.
  • He was a judge of the Gujarat high court for 13 years and served as chief justice of the high court from 1967 to 1973. 
  • Subsequently, he was elevated to the apex court. 
  • After his retirement, Bhagwati held several key offices on judicial reforms and legal aid in Gujarat. 
  • He ran the Pilot Project of free Legal Aid and Advice in the state as chairman of the State Legal Aid Committee.
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