Current Affairs: 24 August 2017

National Events

Cabinet Approves Indo-Nepal MoU On Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Nepal on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and precursor chemicals and related matters.
  • The MoU indicates the mechanism of information exchange and the competent authorities in the two countries who are responsible for the implementation of the MoU and exchange of any information.
  • Cooperation on drug matters is expected to curb the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals in the two countries.
  • The MoU provides that the parties shall endeavour to develop mutual cooperation with a view to resolve the issue of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.
  • It also aims to exchange information of operational, technical and general nature in drug matters, exchange literature on their existing laws, rules, procedures, best practices and methods of curbing illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors and any further amendments to the existing legislation.

Cabinet approval for panel to study quotas within OBC quota

  • The union  Cabinet approved the setting up of a commission to examine the sub-categorization of almost 5,000 castes in the central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to ensure a “more equitable distribution” of reservations in central government jobs and educational institutions.
  • Under Article 340 of the Constitution, the President would be recommended to constitute a commission that would examine the central list of OBC and sub-categorise it. 
  • The proposal is that there will be sub-categorisation within the OBC list for the purposes of central government employment,

40-member panel to select films for IFFI

  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry today constituted a 40-member 'preview committee' with filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri as its convenor to select movies for the international film festival at Goa.
  • Other members of the new committee include Agnihotri's wife and actress Pallavi Joshi, author and Padma Shri-awardee Narendra Kohli and actress Hrishitaa Bhatt
  • Film editor Aarti Bajaj, film critic and screenwriter Khalid Mohamed, and film director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury are among the other members of the newly-constituted committee.
  • The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held in Goa from November 20 to 28.

NITI Aayog to launch 'Mentor India Campaign'

  • In an attempt to catch young talent, NITI Aayog- country’s premier think tank, is launching the ‘Mentor India Campaign’, a strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students at more than 900 Atal Tinkering Labs, established across the country as a part of the Atal Innovation Mission.
  •  The nationwide campaign will be unveiled by the Chief Executive Officer of the NITI Aayog, Amitabh
  • Mentor India is aimed at maximizing the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs, possibly the biggest disruption in formal education globally. 
  • The idea is to engage leaders who will nurture and guide students in the Atal Tinkering Labs. These labs are non-prescriptive by nature, and mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors

International Events

US sends first-ever shipment of its coal to Ukraine

  • The US has sent the first-ever shipment of its coal to Ukraine under a deal between a US mining company and Ukrainian state-run thermal energy producer earlier this year
  • This shipment will boost both of our country's economies by supporting jobs in the coal and transportation industries

Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Indu Sarkar' to open '15th Annual Bollywood Festival - Norway'

  • Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Indu Sarkar' is all set to open the 15th Annual Bollywood film festival, Norway to be held in September. 
  • The film is based on a 21-month long period, from 1975 to 1977, when the then prime minister Indira Gandhiunilaterally had a state of emergency declared across the country.

Rajnath Singh to attend SCO meet on disaster in the Kyrgyz Republic

  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will attend a two-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on disaster prevention and relief at Choplon Ata in Kyrgyz Republic beginning today
  • Founded in 2001, the SCO member countries are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan, and the bloc is headquartered in Beijing.
  • The participation of India as SCO member will open additional opportunities for giving new impetus to the development of international cooperation in the field of protecting the population and territories from emergency situations within the framework of the SCO and will bring it qualitatively new positions in regional and global formats

Sports

Wayne Rooney announces retirement from international football

  • England's record goalscorer Wayne Rooney announced that he is retiring from international football with immediate effect after manager Gareth Southgate tried to recall him to the squad.
  • The 31-year-old -- scorer of 53 goals in 119 appearances for his country
  • Rooney has looked rejuvenated and happy -- scoring in both their Premier League matches so far -- since he re-signed for the club that nurtured his talent as a teenager before he left for United.

Banking & Business

Cabinet approves plans to merge some state-run banks

  • The government today decided to set up an Alternative Mechanism to oversee the proposals for consolidation of public sector banks (PSBs) with a view to creating fewer but stronger lenders. 
  • The Alternative Mechanism will be decided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the Union Cabinet meeting. 
  • The Cabinet gave in-principle nod to the constitution of the mechanism which will clear proposals of banks for mergers and amalgamation 
  • The final scheme will be notified by the central government in consultation with the Reserve Bank. 

Walmart and Google partner on voice-based shopping

  • Walmart and Google are today announcing a new partnership that will enable voice shopping through Google Assistant, Google’s virtual assistant that lives on devices like its smart speaker, Google Home. Specifically, consumers will now be able to take advantage of Walmart’s “Easy Reorder” feature through an integration with Google’s shopping service, Google Express. This will allow consumers to shop from hundreds of thousands of Walmart products just by speaking, the companies explain.
  • Related to this, Google Express is also today ditching its membership fees, and now promises free delivery across its retailers in one to three days, as long as customer orders are above each store’s minimums.

Closure of loss-making Bharat Wagon approved

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the closure of loss-making Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company (BWEL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Railways.
  • 626 employees of BWEL will be benefited from the voluntary retirement scheme to be offered at 2007 pay scale. The government will have to provide a one-time grant of Rs.151.18 crore towards severance package and for clearing the current liabilities of the company
  • Other decisions included a nod to two MoUs between India and Nepal. While one MoU will be signed to curb illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances between the two countries, another MoU will be signed between the two countries for laying down implementation arrangement on cost sharing, for starting construction of a new Bridge over Mechi River at the Indo-Nepal border.
  • The CCEA has also approved the renaming of the new Central Sector Scheme — SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) as ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)’ for the period of 2016-20.

Appointments

Rajiv Bansal appointed interim Air India CMD

  • Rajiv Bansal, the Additional Secretary and the Financial Advisor of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, has been appointed as the interim CMD of Air India 
  • Rajiv Bansal, the Additional Secretary and the Financial Advisor of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, has been appointed as the interim CMD of Air India 

Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani named Railway Board Chairman

  • Ashwani Lohani, CMD of Air India, has been named the Chairman of the Railway Board following the resignation of A.K. Mital.
  • Mr. Lohani, an Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) cadre had served as DRM, Delhi Division; Director, National Rail Museum; and Chief Administrative Officer, Rail Alternate Fuel. He holds the Guinness Record for successfully running the ‘Fairy Queen Express’, the world’s oldest working steam locomotive.

Index & Ranking

PM Modi, Priyanka feature in LinkedIn Power Profiles List of 2017

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and actress Priyanka Chopra have found a spot in the LinkedIn Power Profiles List of 2017.
  • Professional networking giant LinkedIn announced its fourth edition of Power Profiles, a list of the most viewed LinkedIn profiles of professionals in India
  • Other influencers are Kailash Satyarthi, Founder of Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, Global Chief People Officer and Priyanka, who are new entries in the list.
  • Prabir Jha, global chief people officer, Cipla, and Manu Kumar Jain, Vice President and Managing Director, Xiaomi Technology, have returned to the list this year.

Forbes’ highest paid actors: Shah Rukh Khan among world’s top 10

  • Forbes’ list of highest paid actors in the world is out now, and it’s a good news for Bollywood fans. While Mark Wahlberg has topped the list this year, three Indian actors find place in the top 10. 
  • While Shah Rukh Khan is at number 8, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar follow at number 9 and 10 respectively. 
  • According to Forbes, while SRK earned $38 million (Rs 243.50 cr), Salman made $37 million (Rs 237 cr) and Akshay took home $35.5 million (Rs 227.5 cr).

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