Current Affairs: 13 July 2017

National Events

Shri J P Nadda launches new family planning initiatives on World Population Day

  • Mission Parivar Vikas to focus on 146 districts in 7 states with high TFR 
  • Mission Parivar Vikas will focus on 146 high fertility districts in 7 states with high TFR. Under this, specific targeted initiatives shall be taken for population stabilisation through better services delivery
  • Parivar Vikas is a new initiative conceived by the Ministry with a strategic focus on improving access through provision of services, promotional schemes, commodity security, capacity building, enabling environment and intensive monitoring. 
  • As a part of the new communications campaign linked to the rollout, the Health Minister also launched a new consumer friendly website on family planning and a 52 week radio show for couples to discuss issues related to marriage and family planning, which will be aired across the country.
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Maharashtra government announces free insurance scheme for legislators and their families

  • The Maharashtra government has decided to give free medical insurance cover of up to Rs10 lakh to all sitting and former legislators and their families. 
  • The government will have to set aside Rs9.96 crore a year to pay the insurance premiums of 335 sitting legislators and 837 former legislators — 1,172 in all. Each premium works out to Rs85,000.
  • Legislators were earlier covered by the government’s medical reimbursement scheme. 
  • A committee headed by top medical officials would examine and approve medical bills submitted by legislators. The annual expenditure on such reimbursements was about Rs9crore to Rs10 crore.
  • Under the new scheme, six of a family, regardless of their age and medical condition, are collectively entitled to an insurance cover of up to Rs10 lakh.
  • If the cover is exhausted, the policy has a contingency provision of Rs10 crore for all legislators.
  • Family members of legislators won’t have to undergo any medical tests

Niti Aayog ranks Andhra Pradesh best in three segments

  • Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Gujarat are the three best-performing states in "ease of doing business", NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said
  • On the other hand, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam fare worst in the rankings, he told reporters in New Delhi.
  • Similarly, based on availability of electricity in rural households, he said, the best-performing states are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, which have achieved 100% penetration. 
  • The bottom three are Bihar with 46%, Nagaland with 45% and Jharkhand with 40%,
  • In nutrition, Kerala, Goa and Tripura are the best-performing states while Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Bihar are the worst, Kant said.
  • Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Kerala come out on top in terms of reading comprehension while Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh and Bihar are at the bottom.
  • In October last year, it was announced that the bifurcated states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were the new joint top-ranked states of 2016, in ease of doing business.
  • The Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms, 2016, based on the ranking by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, tracks the level of implementation of norms by state governments making it easier to do business in.
  • Telangana and Andhra ended the closely-contested contest with a score of 98.78 per cent on the 340 parameters that states were ranked on.

In a first, Rajasthan fixes minimum education qualification for cooperative body polls

  • In a move that is a first for the country, Rajasthan has fixed minimum educational qualification for candidates interested in contesting elections for elections to village cooperative societies and various other cooperative bodies.
  • To this effect, the Rajasthan Government amended the State Cooperative State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003. The new rules will benefit around 10,000 cooperative and agricultural credit societies. In the long run the societies will reap the benefits as their management would be in expert hands.
  • The notification regarding the amendment was released on July 10.
  • For contesting election as members of governing boards of dairy societies, farming societies, consumer societies, weavers' societies, urban banks, housing construction societies, primary land development banks, credit societies and cooperative unions, the minimum educational qualifications will range from class 5 to class 8

Super 30 Scheme Uttarakhand Launched For Meritorious Students

  • Uttarakhand government has started to provide free coaching for meritorious students of the state for admissions into IIT with the launch of Super-30 scheme. 
  • The motive of Super 30 scheme uttarakhand is to improve the standards of higher education in the state.
  •  The idea of Super 30 is taken from Super-30 in Bihar run by Dr. Anand Kumar who prepares 30 students every year for IIT admissions.
  • For the Super-30 scheme a college will be selected in each district where the free coaching for IIT and Civil services aspirants will be provided by the government.
  • Another similar scheme for the aspirants of civil services will also be launched in which free coaching will be provided by the state government to selected students. A
  •  scheme for post graduate students to study Ph.D will also be introduced soon in which financial assistance to 100 post graduate students will be provided for Ph.D programme.

Arunachal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands get exemption from SC highway liquor ban

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Arunachal Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands to join the club of Sikkim and Meghalaya, both of which enjoy full exemption from the court's ban on sale of liquor within 500 metres of National and State Highways.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar took note of the geographical quirks of Arunachal Pradesh and the islands and concluded that they “deserved parity” with Sikkim and Meghalaya.
  • On March 31, the north-eastern States of Sikkim and Meghalaya got a full exemption from the 500-m no-liquor zone ban after the court took into consideration their hilly terrain and also the fact that 82% of its area was forest land and over 90% of its liquor shops would be closed if the ban was imposed strictly in its original form.
  • In a further partial relief, the court had also taken note of the fact that excise licence period varies in different States and extended beyond April 1, 2017. In such States, the court had extended the deadline for phasing out the licences to September 30, 2017.

Mukul launches 'most inclusive' Life programme

  • Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma launched the Livelihood Intervention and Facilitation of Entrepreneurship (Life) programme in Songsak in the East Garo Hills.
  • Songsak is about 210km west of the state capital, Shillong.
  • Life is the "most inclusive" of all the programmes of the state government, "unlike the central schemes, which are mostly meant for the people below poverty line".
  • The government, with its convergence of thoughts and actions, has been making an effort to reach out to the people with different sustainable and livelihood programmes to empower and enable the people for economic prosperity.
  • The main idea of Life was to ensure people migrate from urban areas to rural areas, as against the current trend, for taking up activities that revolves around agriculture, horticulture and other allied sectors.

Indian Railways To Launch RailCloud To Optimise Server Management

  • The Indian Railways will launch RailCloud tomorrow, a virtual server with an inbuilt security system that will enable faster connectivity at a reduced cost.
  • Developed by rail PSU RailTel at an estimated cost of about Rs. 53 crore, Railcloud aims at optimising server resources and its management.
  • Cloud computing is an emerging technology for faster and on demand commensurate deployment of server resources which results in reduced costs.
  • This makes the system suitable to meet higher demand," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
  • Currently, all IT applications have separate servers which increase the cost of operations and purchases.
  • The state-run transporter will also launch tomorrow Nivaran-Grievance Portal, the first IT application on the RailCloud.
  • Nivaran is a platform for resolution of service-related grievances of serving and former railway employees.
  • RailCloud will cover all management related to various services like human resources, health and hospital, signal assets, freight and logistics and energy among others.

International Events

Iran appoints female CEO to lead national airline

  • Iran has appointed a female CEO to lead its national airline Iran Air for the first time since it was established in the 1940s
  • Transport Minister appointed Farzaneh Sharafbani, 44, who holds a PhD in aerospace engineering.

Cabinet nod for clarity on investment pact with Bangladesh

  • The Union Cabinet approved the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the Agreement between India and Bangladesh for to bring clarity to the interpretation of the existing Bilateral Trade and Promotion Agreement (BIPA).
  • The JIN includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses, including, the definition of investor, definition of investment, exclusion of taxation measures, Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET), National Treatment (NT) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, expropriation, essential security interests and Settlement of Disputes between an Investor-and a Contracting Party.
  • With increasing Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) disputes, issuance of such statements is likely to have strong persuasive value before tribunals
  • The Cabinet was apprised of two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs). The first was between India and Bangladesh on cyber security cooperation.
  • The other was between India and Palestine on cooperation in the field of information technology and electronics.
  • The Cabinet also gave an ex-post facto approval for signing a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between India and Germany on cooperation in health.
  • The Cabinet also enhanced the age of superannuation of Medical Officers of Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles from 60 to 65 years.

Conservative Malta becomes 24th nation to legalize same-sex marriage

  • Maltese lawmakers voted  to legalize same-sex marriage on the Roman Catholic Mediterranean island, fulfilling Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s campaign promise to make this the first law brought before parliament in his new term.
  • The law, which drew cross-party support, removes words including as “husband,” “wife,” “mother” and “father” from the Marriage Act and replaces them with the gender-neutral “spouse,” “parent who gave birth” and “parent who did not give birth.
  • Malta was the 24th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage with Tuesday’s vote coming just two weeks after German lawmakers approved a similar measure in June.

22nd World Petroleum Congress Opens in Istanbul

  • The 22nd World Petroleum Congress, the largest gathering for the oil and gas industry, began on Sunday in Istanbul with a view to addressing the challenges facing the sector.
  • The World Petroleum Congress is organized every three years by the London-based World Petroleum Council and includes 65 member countries from around the world, representing over 96 percent of the global oil and gas production and consumption.
  • More than 20,000 participants, including high-level executives, representatives of international organisations and government leaders from over 100 countries, are expected to be present for the five-day Istanbul Congress.

Sports

Mithali Raj becomes first to score 6000 runs in women’s ODI cricket

  • Indian skipper Mithali Raj has become the first player in the history of women’s ODI cricket to have crossed 6000 career runs. Mithali reached the milestone in India’s ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 match against Australia.
  • She is now the all-time highest run-scorer in women’s cricket, surpassing the record previously held by England’s Charlotte Edwards.
  • Edwards scored 5992 runs in 191 matches at an average of 38.16 including nine centuries and 46 half-centuries. On the other hand, Mithali has crossed 6000 runsin 182 ODIs. The Indian captain has a total of five centuries and 49 half-centuries to her name. 
  • She made her debut in 1999 against Ireland team scored an unbeaten hundred in the process.

Roger Federer makes 100th Wimbledon match special, reaches semi-final

  • Playing his 100th Wimbledon match, he produced one of his best performance to make it special. Roger Federer played one of his best matches of Wimbledon to outclass Milos Raonic 6-4 6-2 7-6(4) on Wednesday and reach his 12th, a record, semi-final in London.
  •  The 35-year-old also avenged his loss from last year’s semi-final where Raonic had defeated him to reach his first ever Grand Slam final.
  • Federer has yet to drop a set in the tournament this year and with defending champion Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal all out he is a huge favourite to become the first man to win the Wimbledon title eight times. 
  • He will play Czech Tomas Berdych, the 11th seed, in the last four.

Banking & Finance

SBI waives charge on IMPS fund transfer of up to Rs 1,000

  • Country’s largest bank SBI has waived charges for fund transfer of up to Rs.1,000 through its IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) to promote small transactions.
  • State Bank of India had been charging ₹5 along with the applicable service tax for IMPS fund transfer of up to Rs.1,000. IMPS is an instant interbank electronic fund transfer service through mobile phones as well as internet banking.
  • For IMPS, charge will be Rs. 5 along GST for fund transfer in the range of Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. The charge will go up to Rs. 15 for transactions of Rs.1-2 lakh. GST at the rate of 18 per cent is applicable on all financial transactions.

RBI amends order on bankruptcy action on 12 large Non Performing Assets

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has amended its earlier order asking banks to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against 12 companies which have outstanding loans amounting to over Rs 5,000 crore as on March 2016.
  • The amendment, made through a notification late on Saturday, comes after the Gujarat High Court asked the RBI to remove the stipulation on its order last month that the 12 non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans, would be granted priority at the National Company Law Tribunal.
  • In June, the RBI identified 12 accounts totaling 25 per cent of the NPAs of the banking system for insolvency proceedings.
  • The IAC (Internal Advisory Committee) noted that under the recommended criterion, 12 accounts totaling about 25 per cent of the current gross NPAs of the banking system would qualify for immediate reference under IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016),
  • The IAC has been constituted under the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, passed by the government in May, that allowed more power to the RBI to tackle the NPAs issue. It has been empowered to issue directions to commercial banks to initiate insolvency proceedings for recovering bad loans.

Chhattisgarh govt to merge DCCBs with state cooperative banks

  • The Chhattisgarh government has decided to merge all the branches of the district central cooperative banks (DCCBs) with the state cooperative banks.
  • The merger of DCCBs into a single entity would serve the farmers with better and efficient banking facilities,
  • The decision would enable small DCCB to merge into the state cooperative bank that would ensure the fiscal strength of the entity. After the merger, the working capital of the bank would increase to more than Rs 10 crore. 
  • This would help the farmers to get more loans from the banks.

YES Bank Launches 'YES GST' Program to Assist MSMEs

  • YES BANK has launched GST-Ready products for MSMEs
  • GST ready Current Account, in partnership with Numberz and Cleartax. Numberz is a fintech start-up that is part of the YES Accelerator program 
  • Considering that the working capital cycle is expected to change from quarterly to monthly, a 'GST Ready Working Capital Management' product will be made available 
  • GST ready Invoicing and Cash Management solution 
  • MSMEs are the backbone of the economy and it is vital to ensure that they are GST prepared. At YES BANK, we realize the importance of actualizing this learning objective using our differentiated knowledge banking approach." 

RuPay to tap premium customers as banks renew deals with Visa, Mastercard

  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is looking at increased uptake of its RuPay debit cards among premium customers, as deals signed between banks and its global competitors Visa and Mastercard expire over the next few years.
  • Though RuPay controls 42 per cent of the Indian debit card market, the share of its cards is only 16 per cent of total Point of Sale (PoS) and e-commerce transactions. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of RuPay cards — around 220 million— are held by benefactors of the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme.
  • NPCI has already signed up over 750 banks, including cooperative banks and regional rural banks (RRBs), in the country, far larger than the 50 odd top banks Visa and Mastercard used to cater, prior to the RuPay's entry. 
  • Despite this deep penetration, top banks in the country continue to issue Visa and Mastercard debit cards instead of RuPay cards.

Awards & Achievements

FbStart Apps of the Year: Maya wins Asia Pacific App of the Year award

  • Maya, a Bengaluru-based mobile app that helps women track their menstrual cycles, won the Asia Pacific App of the Year at FbStart Apps of the Year awards announced by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday.
  • FbStart was launched in 2014 to help mobile startups grow. Each year startups get support from Facebook employees and discounts on services from companies like Amazon.com, Dropbox, and UserTesting that help them run their businesses.
  • Women all around the world use Maya The App, this year's Asia-Pacific App of the Year. It's helped seven million women stay on top of their health by tracking their menstrual cycles, setting health reminders, monitoring pregnancies and getting in touch with doctors – all from their phones. Maya was founded in India in 2014. It’s now available in 14 languages and has been downloaded across 190 countries

Appointments

Justice Vikramajit Sen appointed new BCCC chairperson

  • The Board of Directors of Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) appointed former Supreme Court judge, Justice Vikramajit Sen, as the new chairperson of Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), the independent self-regulatory body set up by the Foundation in June 2011 to examine content-related complaints relating to all non-news general entertainment channels in India.
  • Justice Sen succeeds former Punjab and Haryana high court Chief Justice, Justice Mukul Mudgal, whose three-year term as BCCC Chairperson came to an end.

Science & Technology

Astronomers discover smallest star known in our galaxy

  • A team of international astronomers has found the smallest star known in our galaxy.
  • The star — which only has the scientific designation of EBLM J0555-57Ab — is located about 600 light-years from Earth and can be seen from the Southern Hemisphere — if you look through a large telescope.
  • Astronomers searching for exoplanets, which orbit other stars, came across the star in one of their surveys. This is part of the team that discovered the TRAPPIST-1 system, another small and dim star that has seven planets, three of which hold the best chance for finding life outside our solar system, something that Triaud, who is a senior researcher at the University of Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy, still believes to be true. 
  • The star is 2,000 to 3,000 times fainter than our own sun. 

Juno completes Jupiter's Great Red Spot flyby

  • 9 years since the Juno spacecraft started its journey, it has completed a close flyby directly over Jupiter's Great Red Spot, NASA has confirmed.
  • This was humanity's first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed.
  • Jupiter's Great Spot is a 16,000-km wide storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years
  • According to NASA, at the time of perijove, Juno was about 3,500 km above the planet's cloud tops.

IMD sets up Doppler Radar in Kochi

  • Union minister for earth sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Kerala's first doppler radar in Kochi
  • this was among the 27 radars being installed in the country and all of them are 100 percent indigenous developed with support of ISRO scientists and Bharat Electronics. 
  • The last five Chirapunji, Bhuj, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi are examples of Make in India products. The next in the series are Gopalpur and Sriharikota
  • The IMD as part of modernising its observational network is replacing its old and conventional radar by the state of art S-band Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) in a phased manner at different locations all over the country. 
  • In this connection, the S-band weather radar at Kochi has been replaced by dual polarized Doppler Weather Radar provided by ISRO and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore. 
  • As part of the modernisation of the weather information network, a series of radars are being installed in the country and they will be completed by 2019. 

Books & Authors

Amit Shah, Mohan Bhagwat releases coffee table book on PM Modi’s life

BJP President Amit Shah and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat today released a coffee table book on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life in New Delhi.
The book – Making of A Legend, has been compiled by Sulabh International Founder Bindeshwar Pathak. Speaking on the occasion, the BJP President hailed the steps taken by Mr Modi in Gujarat for resolving water problem.
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