Current Affairs: 2 August 2017

National Events

Government Forms Panel To Suggest Data Protection Framework

  • The government has constituted a 10-member committee to recommend a framework for securing personal data in the increasingly digitised economy as also address privacy concerns and build safeguards against data breaches.
  • The panel will study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods to address them.
  • The formation of the panel comes amid concerns over personal information being compromised with increasing use of biometric identifier Aadhaar in an array of services - from filing tax returns to availing government doles.
  • The committee of experts headed by Justice BN Srikrishna, former judge of Supreme Court, will suggest a draft data protection bill,
  • The panel will make specific suggestions to the government on principles to be considered for data protection in India and "also suggest a draft data protection bill"
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Govt launches e-RaKAM portal for selling agri produce

  • The government today launched a portal, e-RaKAM, to provide a platform to sell agricultural produce.
  • The portal is a joint initiative by state-run-auctioneer MSTC and Central Warehousing Corporation arm CRWC.
  • E-RaKAM is a first-of-its-kind initiative that leverages technology to connect farmers of the smallest villages to the biggest markets of the world through internet and e-RaKAM centres.
  • E-RaKAM is developed by MSTC Limited and supported by marketing & logistics partner CRWC Limited.
  • E-RaKAM is a digital initiative bringing together the farmers, FPOs, PSUs, civil supplies and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling and buying process of agricultural products.

International Events

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected as interim Pakistan PM

  • Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected as the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly. He will be taking over from Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal.
  • Abbasi will be sworn in later at a special ceremony at the President’s House, where President Mamnoon Hussain will administer the oath to him.
  • He first entered into politics after the death of his father Khaqan Abbasi, who was the Minister of production at that time.
  • Abbasi won from Rawalpindi in 1988 as an independent candidate. He was reelected in 1990 and became the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence. He also was the Chairman of Standing Committee of National Assembly on Defence.

China opens first overseas base in Djibouti

  • China has formally opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti with a flag raising ceremony and military parade.
  • More than 300 people attended Tuesday's ceremony, including deputy Chinese naval commander Tian Zhong and Djibouti's defence minister
  • The event was timed to coincide with the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the establishment of China's military, the People's Liberation Army, on August 1.
  • China began constructing a base in Djibouti last year. It will be used to resupply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.
  • Home to only around 800,000 people, Djibouti also hosts troops from US, France and Japan.
  • Djibouti is a tiny barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. It is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

India and Somalia sign agreement on transfer of sentenced persons

India and Somalia on Tuesday signed a bilateral agreement for the transfer of sentenced persons, thus deepening humanitarian cooperation between the two countries.
The agreement was signed between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia Yusuf Garaad Omar.
The agreement will help Indian inmates imprisoned in Somalia or vice versa be near their families while serving the remainder of their sentence and also facilitate their social rehabilitation.

Sports

ICC Rankings: Ravindra Jadeja Maintains Top Position, Virat Kohli Stays Fifth

  • Star spinner Ravindra Jadeja maintained pole position in the bowlers' list while India skipper Virat Kohli remained static at fifth place in the batting charts in the latest ICC Test Rankings
  • In the batsmen's rankings, Cheteshwar Pujara is the top-ranked Indian at the fourth position while opener Shikhar Dhawan climbed 21 places to be ranked 39th. 
  • The batting list is being topped by Australia captain Steve Smith followed by England's Joe Root and New Zealand's Kane Williamson. 
  • In the bowlers' chart, Ravichandran Ashwin displaced Sri Lanka captain Rangana Herath to claim the second spot back. Herath is third in the rankings. Pacer Mohammed Shami gained a place to be 23rd.
  • Jadeja and Ashwin also maintained second and third ranks respectively in the all-rounders' list. Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan is still perched at the top of the table.

Ranking & Index

Forbes Asia’s 200 Best Under A Billion: Three Indian Companies Register Presence

  • In a recent list of Asia’s best under a Billion 2017 released by Forbes, three Indian companies succeeded in marking their presence with outstanding performance. Manpasand Beverages, Kelton Tech Solutions and 8K Miles software services made it to the list of companies that proved to be the reliable growth engines.
  • China, Hong Kong and Taiwan retained dominance in the list.

Mukesh Ambani overtakes Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing to become second richest man in Asia

  • Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has overtaken Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing to become Asia's second-richest man. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ambani's wealth has seen a rise of $12.1 billion with the oil-to telecom conglomerate's shares seeing a surge with investors rallying behind his decision to launch the cheapest 4G phone, according to a Bloomberg report. 
  • Li Ka-shing is the richest man in Hong Kong with a business empire that ranges from telecommunications to retail and port

Banking & Business

Indian Overseas Bank goes live with Bharat Bill Payment system

  • Public sector Indian Overseas BankBSE 0.40 % has offered Bharat Bill Payment System, introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India, for its customers. 
  • BBPS is an integrated bill payment system that offers inter-operable online bill payments to customers. 
  • The services include online payments of electricity, telecommunication, DTH, water and gas bills, the Chennai headquartered bank said in a statement. 
  • Indian Overseas Bank is one of the three public sector banks (apart from Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India) to get the approval from RBI for providing the service. 

Samsung Pay now available for higher variants of State Bank of India debit cards

  • The State Bank of India (SBI) and Samsung India on Tuesday announced the availability of payment platform Samsung Pay for higher variants of SBI debit Card. This will allow SBI debit card holders to make payments using Samsung smartphones at Point of Sale (PoS) card machines at merchant outlets.
  • SBI debit card users can also avail introductory cashback benefits upto Rs 500.

Flipkart completes eBay India merger

  • E-commerce major Flipkart has completed the merger with eBay India's operations.
  • With this, eBay.in will now be a Flipkart Group company. 
  • The deal was announced in April when the Flipkart group raised $ 1.4 billion from global technology majors eBay, Tencent and Microsoft.
  • In exchange of an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay had made a cash investment of $ 500 million and sold its eBay.in business to Flipkart.

Airtel Payments Bank ties up with HPCL for ATM services

  • Airtel Payments Bank, which has achieved 10 million customer base since launch, has tied up with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited for enabling all its petrol stations that are typically cash surplus to be used as ATM points for customers of the bank. 
  • here are around 14,000 HPCL fuel stations will act as banking points for Airtel Payments Bank.
  • It also offers facilities such as the opening of the account, cash deposit and cash withdrawal to the payment bank’s customers.
  • These cashless payments can be made by smart phones (MyAirtel App).

Awards & Honours

Tata Power awarded for excellence in cost management

  • Tata Power, an integrated power company has been awarded for excellence in cost management in the ‘power distribution and transmission’ category at the 14th National Awards for Excellence in Cost Management 2016.
  • The award by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) is in recognition of Tata Power’s continued efforts towards cost reduction and cost competitiveness.
  • The National Award for Excellence in Cost Management was instituted in 2003.
  • It looks to propagate and emphasise on wider application of Cost Management tools and techniques and adoption of relevant Cost Management Strategies across various sectors for improving competitiveness of industry.

Indian Air Force felicitates India women’s cricketer Shikha Pandey

  • Shikha Pandey, member of India women’s cricket team which ended as runners-up at ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, was felicatated by the Indian Air Force
  • The cricketer received a cheque and medal from Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa at Air Headquarters in New Delhi
  • Pandey was felicitated for her brilliant performance during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, which took place in England from June 24 to July 17. She played a crucial role in the tournament, helping her side to reach the final after a gap of 12 years.
  • Pandey was commissioned in IAF on June 30, 2012 as an Air Traffic Control Officer. The all-rounder made her international debut in the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh in 2014. Since her debut, she has been a regular member of the Indian team.

Appointments

BSE appoints Swarup as new Chairman

  • The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) appointed Dhirendra Swarup as its new Chairman.
  • Swarup was appointed after his name was approved by the securities markets regulator Sebi.
  • Swarup, who was functioning in the capacity of a Public Interest Director with BSE, replaces incumbent Sudhakar Rao, retired IAS officer.
  • Swarup is a former Chairman of Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) and has over four decades of experience across finance, budgeting, public debt management, public policy and pension reforms.

Obituary

Sam Shepard, Actor and Pulitzer-Winning Playwright, Is Dead at 73

  • Sam Shepard, whose hallucinatory plays redefined the landscape of the American West and its inhabitants, died at his home in Kentucky. He was 73.
  • In plays like “True West” (1980), “Fool for Love” (1983) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Buried Child” (1978), he dismantled the classic iconography of cowboys and homesteaders, of American dreams and white picket fences, and reworked the landscape of deserts and farmlands into his own shimmering expanse of surreal estate.

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