Current Affairs: 11 July 2017

Important Days

World Population Day: 11 July

  • World Population Day, which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July 1987.
  • By resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development. 
  • The Day was first marked on 11 July 1990 in more than 90 countries. 
  • Since then, a number of a number of UNFPA country offices and other organizations and institutions commemorate World Population Day, in partnership with governments and civil society. 

National Events

Janani Sewa Scheme of Indian Railways

  • As announced in the Rail Budget 2016-17, Zonal Railways have been advised to ensure availability of baby food, hot milk and hot water at Railway stations on payment basis. 
  • Presently, the items under Janani Sewa Scheme are available on most of the major Railway stations. Further, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been advised to ensure availability of children’s Menu through e-catering scheme. 
  • At present, children’s menu are available through e-catering scheme for all trains passing through New Delhi, Lucknow Jn., Lucknow, Jaipur, Ajmer, Howrah, Chennai Egmore, Pathankot Jn. and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway stations. 

CM Arvind Kejriwal launches e-RTI, Delhi becomes 2nd state to accept online applications

  • Filing an RTI application with the Delhi government is now just a click away. 
  • Delhi became the second state to launch e-RTI portal that will enable citizens to file online Right to Information (RTI). Maharashtra is the first state to launch the online RTI platform.
  • The portal launched  will enable citizens to file RTI and seek information related to 172 departments of the Delhi government including the office of the chief minister and his ministers.
  • The e-RTI application fee will have to be paid through net banking. Citizens can file the e-RTIs by logging at www.rtionline.delhi.gov.in
  • You can also call at 011-23392726 and 011-23392421 for any queries related to the process of filing the RTI.

MoHUA is the new name for urban development & housing ministry

  • The government has merged the urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation ministries. Now this will be known as Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). This is third time the ministries have been merged.
  • Subsequently, after the creation of Department of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation as a separate one in 1995, the ministry came to be known as the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment and it had two departments - Department of Urban Development and Department of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation. 
  • The two were again merged in April 1999.
  • Few months later in 1999, the ministry was bifurcated. A year later in 2000, the ministries were merged. Then again in May 2004 it was bifurcated into two ministries.

GST Rate Finder: Government launches app to check rates

  • The government launched an app called GST Rate Finder-- which as the name suggests is your ready reckoner for all the tax rates that are to be levied under the GST (Goods and Services Tax) regime. The app has been developed by the Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC).
  • First app of its kind which would be a ready reckoner for public, for customers, for consumers, traders, students, anyone who wishes to have very handily (GST) rates available. So, if you are in a market, a restaurant or anywhere you can easily check what the (GST) rate is
  • A taxpayer can search for applicable CGST (Central GST), SGST (State GST), UTGST (Union Territory GST) rate and Compensation Cess on a supply

International Events

UK launches ‘Grand Trunk Road’ project to mark 70th anniversary of India’s partition

  • The British government has launched a new project titled the ‘Grand Trunk Road’ to mark the 70th anniversary of India’s partition in August 1947 with volunteers from the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities in the UK coming together to stage special events. 
  • The UK-wide project was launched this week to bring British Asians of all faiths and backgrounds together to reflect on their shared history through 11 special events funded by the department for communities and local government.
  • The aim is for the participants to remember lives lost and learn about the history of partition first-hand from those who lived through the violence, displacement and ultimately the birth of India, Pakistan and eventually Bangladesh in 1971.
  • It will explore the relationships formed, as Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims of South Asian background were forced to flee to the UK in the wake of Idi Amin’s upheaval in 1972.

India to import crude oil from US for first time

  • India, the world's third-largest oil importer, will import crude oil from the United States for the first time after Indian Oil Corp bought a cargo that will be delivered in October. 
  • The purchase comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US in June when President Donald Trump said his country looked forward to exporting more energy products to India.
  • IOC bought 1.6 million barrels of US Mars crude, a heavy, high-sulphur grade, and 400,000 barrels of Western Canadian Select that will be delivered onboard a Very Large Crude Carrie
  • IOC had to obtain special permission from the shipping ministry to buy the cargo on a delivered basis as local regulations favour the use of Indian flagged carriers for imports
  • India is the latest Asian country to buy US crude after South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and Taiwan as the countries seek to diversify oil imports from other regions after the OPEC cuts drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, or grades with a high sulphur content.

G20 Hamburg Action Plan praises India for promoting ease of doing business, labour reforms

  • Acknowledging steps being taken by India for sustainable and inclusive growth as well as support to global economy, the G20 has praised the initiatives in the country for promoting ease of doing business, startup funding and labour reforms.
  • In its Hamburg Action Plan, adopted at the G20 Summit of leaders from the world's 20 largest economies, the group also noted that "in the financial sector, India is popularising a number of derivative instruments in exchanges or electronic trading platforms" as part of measures to enhance resilience of its economy.
  • On steps being taken by G20 countries for promoting inclusive growth this year, the Action Plan said India is introducing labour market reforms to provide security to workers, increase female participation in the workforce and make doing business easier in the country.

Sports

India finishes fifth in u-18 rugby sevens

  • The Indian girls’ under-18 team finished fifth in the rugby sevens (7-a-side) event at the Paris World Games 2017, conducted at Stade Georges Carpenter stadium over two days.
  • Captained by Sumitra Nayak and representing Rugby India, the squad recovered from three consecutive losses on the opening day to win both matches on the second and concluding day.
  • Seven teams took part in the event held as part of France’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Chess: Abhijeet completes hat-trick in style

  • Abhijeet Gupta needed barely 25 minutes of thinking time to inflict a crushing 24-move defeat on Australia’s veteran International Master Aleksandar Wohl in the ninth and final round as India virtually monopolised the medals in the Commonwealth chess championship here on Monday.
  • The 27-year-old Grandmaster also completed a hat-trick of titles and fourth in all to become the most successful player in the history of the Commonwealth championship.
  • Before this resounding triumph, Abhijeet shared the record of three titles with England’s Nigel Short. For the record, Abhijeet scored 7.5 points from nine rounds. 
  • Vaibhav Suri and Tejas Bakre followed with seven points and finished in that order.

Banking & Finance

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Launches 'Aaykar Setu' To Enhance E-Access Of Taxpayers

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday launched 'Aaykar Setu' -- an e-initiative for the Income tax Department to directly communicate with the taxpayers and aimed at providing information on useful tax services.
  • Aaykar Setu which compiles various tax tools, live chat facility, dynamic updated and important links to various processes within the Department in a single module, Mr Jaitley stressed on the government's commitment towards continuously upgrading taxpayer services
  • To enhance mobile access experience, a mobile responsive android version was also released along with the desktop version.
  • The taxpayers will also be able to receive regular updates regarding important tax dates, forms and notifications on mobile numbers registered with the Income Tax Department.

No GST on gifts to employees up to Rs. 50,000 and on perks in contract

  • Gifts from employers to employees worth up to Rs. 50,000 will not attract the Goods and Services Tax, nor will perquisites enjoyed by employees as part of the employment contract
  • In common parlance, gift is made without consideration, is voluntary in nature and is made occasionally. It cannot be demanded as a matter of right by the employee and the employee cannot move a court of law for obtaining a gift
  • This means that GST will have to paid only in exceptional situations where gifts are given on voluntary basis, such as Diwali gifts to employees and that too if the value is more than Rs. 50,000
  • Since services provided by an employee to a firm do not constitute supply of goods or services, there could be no GST levied on anything provided by employers as part of the contractual agreement with the employee

Awards & Achievements

Danfoss India conferred with Golden Peacock Environment Management Award

  • Climate and energy efficiency solutions company Danfoss India has been conferred with the ‘Golden Peacock Award’ for Environment Management.
  • The award was presented here during the 19th World Congress on Environment Management’ in the presence of Supreme Court Justice Kurien Joseph.
  • Acknowledging its commitment towards the environment, the company has been recognised for its LEED Platinum rated constructed manufacturing facility in Chennai.
  • Danfoss’s commitment towards sustainable development via its energy-efficient products, green initiatives at the Oragadam campus and its ongoing pan India CSR Programmes driving Sustainability are some the key contributing factors for the award.
  • Danfoss has been committed to developing energy efficient solutions to compliment the growing need for sustainable technology in the fields of infrastructure, food supply and climate friendly solutions.

Saint Teresa’s blue-bordered sari an Intellectual Property now

  • The famous blue-bordered sari of Mother Teresa, who has been canonised as Saint Teresa of Calcutta by the Vatican, has been recognised as an Intellectual Property of the Missionaries of Charity.
  • he diminutive nun of Albanian descent went around the streets of Kolkata since 1948 to be with the poor and the destitutes wearing a white sari with three blue borders, the outer border being wider than the two inner ones.

Appointments

WHO appoints Saima Wazed as Goodwill Ambassador

  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's daughter Saima Wazed Hossain has been appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for World Health Organisation (WHO) for Autism in South-East Asia region for a two-year period
  • As WHO Goodwill Ambassador, Saima will be promoting the Thimphu Declaration which also emphasises integrating the needs of autism-affected people into national health and socioeconomic development plans
  • The declaration calls for a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach, with a focus on strengthening national capacities in health, education and social care sectors to provide effective services and support to people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Earlier, in recognition of Saima Wazed's work for advancing autism in Bangladesh, WHO South-East Asia Regional Office honoured her with the Excellence in Public Health Award in September 2014.

Science & Technology

Scientists create mini Saturn planets using charged liquid droplets

  • By electrifying tiny droplets of fluids, scientists have created miniature versions of Saturn, complete with rings.
  • The achievement may pave the way for generating microscopic and uniform particles and capsules which are often used in products such as drugs, inks, cosmetics and paints
  • When a drop of electrically conductive liquid is exposed to an electric field, the droplet responds by forming two electrically charged poles.
  • Previous research has shown that these poles can get pulled towards the sources of the electric field, taking on cone shapes. 
  • If the pull is strong enough, the tips of the cones can spray jets of droplets.

Books & Authors

Cryptocurrency Guru Amit Bhardwaj launches e-book ‘Cryptocurrency for Beginners’

  • Amit Bhardwaj, the founder of Amaze Mining & Research Limited, today announced the launch of his pioneering e-book, ‘Cryptocurrency for Beginners’. The book seeks to provide context and clarity on the relatively unexplored and technology-dense world of cryptocurrencies, in a beginner friendly way. This is his third book in the series, after ‘Cryptocurrency Trading for Beginners’ & ‘Cryptocurrency Mining for Beginners’.
  • This e-book explains the most critical aspects of cryptocurrencies. It delves into how cryptocurrencies work, the future of cryptocurrency, how secure they are, the practical use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies around the world, regulations governing them and basics of cryptocurrency mining and trading.
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