Current Affairs: 2 June 2017

National Events

Job portal ‘Mahaswayam’ introduced for job seekers and employers

  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched a web portal ‘Mahaswayam’ that will cater to job seekers, employers, entrepreneurs, and training institutes who can avail details regarding skill development and employment.
  • Earlier, the state government ran three different portals- Maharashtra State Skill Development Society (MSSDS) portal for Skill Development, ‘Maharojgar’ for employment and ‘Mahaswayamrojgar’ for entrepreneurship.
  • These three have now been merged into ‘Mahaswayam’, making it easier for all beneficiaries as well as the state to keep a track of the demand and supply of workforce.
  • At ‘Mahaswayam’, job seekers will be able to register themselves, search as well as apply for jobs, inquire for training, get information on self-employment and get details of job fairs. 
  • Besides, training institutes can also register, get details on participation in the state skill development programme, get training fee receipts, and can also receive training fee through ECS

India to have its own GPS system from 2018

  • Come next year, you won't have to rely on a heavily accented lady for directions on Google Maps. Instead India will be having its own GPS system. 'NavIC' will be operational early 2018. 
  • The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) with an operational name of NavIC is currently being tested for its accuracy and is most likely to be available in the market for public use early next year,
  • NavIC or 'Navigation with Indian Constellation' the name given by PM Narendra Modi after the launch of IRNSS-1G, is designed to provide accurate position information to users within the country. 

Odisha to have first automatic coastal warning for disasters in India

  • Come July, Odisha can warn the vast population residing along its 480 km-long coast by pressing a single button from a control room in the State capital in the event of the occurrence of natural disasters like a tsunami or a cyclone.
  • The State government is all set to commission the ambitious Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) that would enable loud sirens go off simultaneously from towers at 122 locations by July.
  • Odisha is the first State in India to have developed an automatic public address system that can be activated along its entire coast. 
  • Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is also building up such capability to face natural calamities.
  • The new system will also enable authorities to alert people in smaller pockets, depending on the severity of the disaster

Telangana launches T-Wallet for people with and without mobile phones

  • The Telangana Government has launched a digital wallet, named T-Wallet, which doesn’t charge transaction fee from consumers.
  •  The government is planning to use the wallet, available in Google Play, for remittances under job guarantee scheme MNREGA and scholarships for students.
  • T-Wallet is a bi-directional. 
  • While consumers use it for public and private transactions, the government can use it to make payments to various beneficiaries
  • It also can be used over the web version. One can top up the wallet using credit or debit cards, Internet banking or through cash at Mee Seva centres.
  •  It allows a maximum transaction of Rs. 1 lakh for e-KYC (know your customer) users. For non-KYC users, the limit is set to Rs. 20,000. The government has picked Transaction Analysts (TA), which secured an RBI licence to run mobile wallets, to run the wallet. 
  • Vijaya Bank, a banking partner for the initiative, will provide an escrow account facility for Transaction Analysts. 
  • The settlement process and merchant settlement of T-Wallet will also be handled by the bank.The wallet supports, presently available in Android version, supports English, Telugu and Urdu.

Kiran Kher releases 'Stamp on Prof. Balwant Gargi '

  • A stamp on noted playwright and theatre director late Balwant Gargi was released 
  • BJP leader and Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher released the stamp on the commemoration of Balwant Gargi centenary by the Panjab University,
  • Gargi was the founder-director of the Indian Theatre Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh. His students include actors like Anupam Kher, Kirron Kher, Poonam Dhillon director Satish Kaushik, and others.
  • Gargi, who was born in 1916 in Bathinda, was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award, the highest Indian literary award, in 1962 for his book 'Rang Manch'. This was followed by the Padma Shri (1972), and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Punjabi Playwriting in 1998.

Inauguration of MITS Mega Food Park at Rayagada, Odisha

  • The first Mega Food Park in the state of Odisha M/s MITS Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd. at Rayagada has been inaugurated today the 1st June, 2017 by Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Honble Minister of Food Processing Industries
  • . This is the 7th Mega Food Park operationalized in the last 3 years by the present government.
  • To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country. 
  • Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach. 
  • Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).
  • Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.

Appointments

Sanjiv Singh appointed as new chairman of Indian Oil Corporation

  • Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) has appointed Sanjiv Singh as the new chairman of the company with immediate effect. 
  • Singh was earlier a director of Refineries at IOCL. Singh will be replacing B Ashok, who superannuated from the services of the company on May 31 and ceased to be the chairman of the company from June 1.

Citi appoints Shinjini Kumar as Head of Consumer Banking, India

  • Citi announced the appointment of Shinjini Kumar as Consumer Business Manager, Global Consumer Banking, India, effective June 24.
  • Shinjini will manage all of Citi's consumer businesses including retail banking, wealth management, cards and mortgages in India.
  • Shinjini joins Citi India from Paytm, where she served as Chief Executive Officer.
  • She succeeds Kartik Kaushik, who was appointed Global Consumer Head of Credit Initiation, Core Operations and Branch Operations based in the US.

Nirupama Rao Appointed Public Policy Fellow to US Think-tank

  • Former Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao has been appointed public policy fellow to a Washington-based think-tank where she will work on a project on the Sino-India ties
  • She will be affiliated with the Wilson Centre's Asia programme and spend three months in residence at the Wilson Centre, a key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues, beginning in June 2017.
  • The 66-year-old former Indian diplomat was India's first woman ambassador to China and its first woman spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She also served as India's foreign secretary from 2009 to 2011.

Slovakia’s Lajcak elected UN General Assembly president

  • The United Nations General Assembly yesterday (31 May) picked Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajčák to be its next president.
  • He will succeed Fiji’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Thomson, in September and chair the assembly’s 72nd session that month. 
  • The sole candidate for the position, Lajčák was elected by an overwhelming majority. He will be the first Slovak in the job.
  • Under the current rotation system, regional groups in the Assembly put forward consensus candidates for president.

International Events

India, Russia ink key pact for two nuclear power units in Kudankulam

  • In a big boost for the country's clean energy requirements, India and Russia signed an agreement for setting up of Units 5 and 6 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin inked five pacts on wide ranging issues like trade, technology and regional cooperation, but the deal to build the last two units of India's largest nuclear power plant is the highlight of the annual summit.
  • The reactors will be built by India's Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Russia's Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom, the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex. 
  • Each of the two units will have a capacity to produce 1,000 MW of power.
  • India and Russia also decided to "upgrade and intensify" bilateral defence cooperation through joint manufacture, co-production and co-development of key military hardware and equipment.

India, Pakistan to become full SCO members at Astana summit: China

  • India and Pakistan’s admission as full members to the Beijing-backed Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be formalised at the political and security grouping’s summit in Kazakhstan next week,
  • The political and security grouping — headquartered in Beijing — was founded in 2001 and comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, besides China as full members. It is mainly aimed at military cooperation between the members and involves intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia.
  • Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.
  • During the 2015 summit in Ufa, Russia, the SCO formally adopted a resolution starting the process to admit India and Pakistan into the organisation as full members.

Indian film Ralang Road to compete for top spot at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

  • Nepali-Hindi film Ralang Road will represent India at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival at Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Directed by Karma Takapa and produced by HumanTrail Pictures, Ralang Road has been nominated for the Crystal Globe Award along with 11 other films from around the world.
  • It will be after 13 years that an Indian film will compete with other international films at this film festival
  • Shot in Rabong town in Sikkim, Ralang Road is based on a day in the small hill town where a series of coincidences, related to a mysterious robbery, bring four people together. As the day surrenders itself to the darkness of the night, these seemingly mundane events become increasingly dramatic, as the characters coincide with their impending consequences.
  • The film explores cultural immigration and lifestyles in a complex social setup.

Trump abandons global climate pact

  • President Donald Trump said he would withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, a move that fulfilled a major campaign pledge but drew condemnation from U.S. allies and business leaders.
  • Supporters of the accord, including some leading U.S. business figures, called Trump's move a blow to international efforts to curb the warming of the planet that threatens far-reaching consequences for this century and beyond. 
  • Former Democratic President Barack Obama expressed regret over the pullout from a deal he was instrumental in brokering.
  • The United States was one of 195 nations that agreed to the accord in Paris in December 2015. Under the pact, which was years in the making, countries both rich and poor committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases generated by burning fossils fuels and blamed by scientists for warming the planet.

Arun Jaitely to attend AIIB annual meet in Korea

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will attend the annual meeting of China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to be held in mid-June in South Korea.
  • AIIB aims to promote economic development of the region by supporting major infrastructure projects. India is the second largest shareholder of AIIB with 7.5 per cent stake after China which has 26.06 per cent voting shares. Russia and Germany have 5.93 per cent, 4.5 per cent stake respectively.
  • The Finance Minister is scheduled to attend Board of Governors meeting on June 14-15, sources said. This year's meeting is being co-hosted by the Bank and Korea, and will be held in Jeju Island.
  • The AIIB board had its first annual meeting in Beijing on June 25, 2016. The governors representing the Bank's 46 founding members including India took stock of the progress that the bank has made since opening its doors on January 16, 2016.
  • Jaitley had attended the first meeting and had apprised the bank about massive infrastructure programme being undertaken by the country.

Awards & Honours

Raveena Tandon gets Dadasaheb Phalke Award

  • The actress was awarded the Phalke Best Critic award for her performance in Maatr at the 148th Dadasaheb Phalke Jayanti Celebration. 
  • The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema. It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Prestigious APQN Quality Award to NAAC for International Co-operation in Quality Assurance

  • APQN Quality Award are among the most prestigious International Awards in quality assurance of higher education. In the past, reputed organisations like QAA, UK, European Network - ENQA, HKCAVQ from Hong Kong, etc have received this award.
  • NAAC faculty have held important position of presidency in Governing boards of Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN), Asia Pacific Quality Register (APQR) and International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) highlighting the acclaimed status of NAAC in International QA circle. 
  • Bengaluru Statement 2016 on Next - Generation Quality Assurance of Higher Education facilitated by NAAC together with APQN and 16 global quality assurance bodies re-enforced global role of India in higher education quality assurance scenario. 

Banking & Finance

Sebi bars Cypress Money from acting as investment advisor

  • Markets regulator Sebi  barred Cypress Money Investment Advisor and its three partners from acting as investment advisors and research analyst after finding them guilty of providing unauthorised trading tips to investors. 
  • Sebi found that the entities were acting as investment advisors and research analyst without securing registration from the regulator.
  • By indulging in such activities, they have violated the regulator's investment advisors as well as research analyst services norms. 
  • Accordingly, these entities have been ordered "to cease and desist" from acting as an investment advisor or research analyst as well as undertaking such activities in the securities market, directly or indirectly. 

PNB gets $100 mn from ADB for solar rooftop fund

  • State-owned Punjab National Bank has received USD 100 million (about Rs.645 crore) as the first tranche of ADB’s multi—million dollar funding for installation of rooftop solar systems in India.
  • The USD 100 million loan agreement signed between the Asian Development Bank and PNB is backed by a guarantee from the central government.
  • PNB will deploy this fund as loan to various developers and end users to install large solar rooftop systems on industrial and commercial buildings throughout India
  • As much as USD 330 million of this funding will come from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and USD 170 million from the multi—donor Clean Technology Fund (CTF). The first tranche loan comes from CTF.
  • The entire cost of SRIP is estimated at USD 1 billion and it aims to install solar rooftop system of around 1 gigawatt capacity in India.
  • This will contribute to the climate change goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 11 million tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent over the typical 25-year lifetime of rooftop solar systems,
  • India’s solar rooftop market is expanding fast with an estimated total capacity potential of 124 gigawatt

Books & Authors

JRR Tolkien book Beren and Lúthien published after 100 years

  • A new book by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien is going on sale - 100 years after it was first conceived.
  • Beren and Lúthien has been described as a "very personal story" that the Oxford professor thought up after returning from the Battle of the Somme.
  • It was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and contains versions of a tale that became part of The Silmarillion.
  • The book features illustrations by Alan Lee, who won an Academy Award for his work on Peter Jackson's film trilogy.

Ranking & Index

Global Peace Index 2017: World 0.28% more peaceful than last year

  • Levels of peace around the world have improved slightly for the first time since the Syrian war began, but harmony has decreased in the US and terrorism records have increased, a Sydney-based think-tank has found.
  • The Institute for Economics and Peace published its Global Peace Index on Thursday for the 11th year running.
  • Researchers said conflict costs had an enormous impact on economies worldwide.
  • They called for more money to be spent on peacebuilding.
  • Their report found that the world became 0.28% more peaceful over the past year.
  • Syria is the least peaceful country in the world for the fifth year running. 
  • Iceland remained the most peaceful country in the world, a spot it has occupied since 2008.
  • The other four most peaceful countries are New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark.
  • India secured 137th rank out of 163 countries.

Science & Tech

Parker Solar Probe: Humanity’s First Visit to a Star

  • In order to unlock the mysteries of the sun's atmosphere, Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun. 
  • The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface
  • Parker Solar Probe will perform its scientific investigations in a hazardous region of intense heat and solar radiation. 
  • The spacecraft will fly close enough to the sun to watch the solar wind speed up from subsonic to supersonic, and it will fly though the birthplace of the highest-energy solar particles.
  • Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program to explore aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. 
  • The Living With a Star flight program is managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person.

Online APAR for Indian Trade Service SPARROW-ITS Launched

  • In accordance with the Government of India's policy to introduce online Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) for Group 'A' services, 
  • The APARs would be generated and transmitted online to the concerned officers for filling up of the self appraisal. The officer can then submit the self appraisal online through Digitally Signed Signature (DSC) or through E-sign. 
  • The subsequent processes of reporting and reviewing would also be done online by the Reporting and Reviewing Officer by using DSC or E-sign.
  •  The timelines have been drawn up for each stage of the process. 
  • The entire process of filling up of APAR would have to be completed by 31st December and no remarks can be added after that date.

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