Current Affairs: 31 August 2017

National Events

Room rent in hospitals exempted from GST

  • Rent paid by patients for hospital rooms will be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), 
  • Issuing clarifications on levy of GST on the tariff for various accommodation services, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said the tax on rooms in the hotel, guest house or inns will be payable on the actual amount charged and not on declared or published tariff. 
  • No GST is applicable on room tariffs of less than Rs 1,000. 
  • A 12 per cent tax will be levied on the tariff of more than Rs 1,000 and less than Rs 2,500 while an 18 per cent levy would come in for room rents of between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500. 
  • A GST of 28 per cent will be charged on tariff greater than Rs 7,500. 

India’s first World Peace University inaugurated in MIT, Pune

  • Envisioning education through a holistic outlook of knowledge building to establish peace and harmony in the world, the Dr Vishwanath Karad MIT World Peace University located in Pune was inaugurated by chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis
  • Following the celebrations, a two-day ‘Global Summit Science and Spirituality for World Peace’ was organised discussing issues of national and international importance and how a different outlook towards education could solve many of them.
  • "MIT World Peace University is an entirely new concept, a model for a moulding global citizens. There is no difference between science and spirituality. 
  • Science is looking at the ultimate truth about the nature and universe and spirituality is a look at the ultimate truth of the inner being, the human being. One cannot distinguish himself from God

UP govt decides to end interview in govt jobs

  • The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday decided to end the process of holding interview for selection of candidates for the government jobs in all the non-gazetted posts of Group B, C and D categories.
  • The UP Cabinet also decided to fix the support price of common variety of paddy at Rs 1,550 per quintal, and Rs 1,590 per quintal for grade-A paddy

Friday declared 'Day of Helping Hand' in Andhra Pradesh by CM Naidu

  • In a novel pro-governance initiative, Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu has declared Friday as the day of the week when he will meet with the poor and underprivileged sections of Andhra Pradesh society to hear their grievances and try to resolve them.
  • The day has been declared as the "Day of Helping Hand".

YUVA is Delhi Police initiative under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the YUVA – a skill development programme and an initiative by Delhi Police under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana
  • The ‘YUVA’ initiative by Delhi Police aims to connect with youth by upgrading their skill as per their competencies. 
  • It will help them to get a gainful employment under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna under the Ministry of Skill Development. 
  • Delhi Police has tied up with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for providing mass job linked skill training for the selected youth. 
  • National Skill Development Corporation shall be providing skill training to the youth under ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna’ (PMKVY) and CII will provide job linked training through its Sector Skill Councils who are connected to industry and thereby provide job guarantee. 

International Events

Lebanon gets first animal protection law

  • Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday signed the country's first animal welfare bill into law, guaranteeing that domestic and wild animals will be legally protected from abuse.
  • The bill is the culmination of years of lobbying for the protection of animals in the Mediterranean country,
  • The law, passed by parliament on August 16, outlines requirements for keeping domestic pets, regulations for zoos and pet shops, and penalties for violations -- including jail time and fines.
  • It also outlaws abusing pets or owning wild or endangered animals.
  • The trade of rare animals is big business in Lebanon, where prized tigers and lions are often locked in cramped cages, forced to perform in circuses, and paraded by wealthy individuals as status symbols.
  • Other countries in the Middle East, including Tunisia and Qatar, also have animal welfare legislation, although enforcement continues to present a challenge.

India-Myanmar to sign MOU for conservation of quake-damaged Pagodas at Bagan

  • India and Mayanmar will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Myanmar next week.
  • The cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan, Myanmar.
  • Began is a renowned tourist attraction of Myanmar and India's role in rebuilding damaged pagodas at Began will be an opportunity to showcase India's expertise in the restoration and conservation of monuments not only to the people of Myanmar but also tourists from other countries.
  • The MoU will be signed during the visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar on September 6-7, 2017.

Cabinet clears pact with Brazil on zebu cattle genomics

  • The Union Cabinet today approved an agreement between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of zebu cattle genomics and assisted reproductive technologies.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed in October 2016, will strengthen the existing friendly relations between India and Brazil.
  • The Union Cabinet was apprised of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies,
  • The MoU will promote the development of genomics and Assistant Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in cattle through joint activities between the two countries.
  • An implementation committee would be created with an equal number of representatives of each party for determining the activities and developing work plans and subsequently their evaluation.

Cabinet approves MoU on "India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund"

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on "India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)".
  • India and Israel will make an contribution of four million US Dollars each for the Fund, both equivalent amount, annually for five years. The Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint Board which will consist of four members from each country.
  • The activities supported by the Joint Fund would increase the techno-economic collaboration between the two countries by investing in jointly developed technology projects and collaborations based on technological innovation. 
  • It would leverage the complementary strengths of Israel and India to encourage Israel-Indian joint projects that capitalize on both the national and global marketplace. 

PM Modi to attend BRICS summit in China

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Xiamen in China to attend the BRICS summit which will be held from September 3-5
  • The BRICS countries are home to 42% of the world’s population. Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12% to 23% in the past decade while contributing more than half of global growth.
  • China has invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries for the upcoming BRICS summit 

Sports

Now, athletes can identify prohibited medicines with NPPA, NADA app

  • Drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) joined hands with National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to help athletes understand medicines that could contain prohibited substances in sports through its app 'Pharma Jan Samadhan'.
  • Through NPPA's app every consumer can know ingredients in a medicine. This will now have an additional feature, which will make it easy for athletes to keep away from medicines that have prohibited substances
  • This app will bridge the information asymmetry for athletes and help them to keep away from the prohibited substances

Kerala CM launches U-17 World Cup Kochi host city logo

  • Kerala Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday launched the host city logo for Kochi, one of the venues of Fifa Under-17 World Cup.
  • The logo represents and reflects Kochi's identity and will be a valuable tool in linking the local community in a global World Cup.
  • Alongside the U-17 World Cup India 2017 official emblem, it will form a crucial link in the promotions and communications regarding the host city.
  • The host city logo will allow all football fans in Kochi to have a local flavour and will be critical in the promotion of the tournament. 

Banking & Finance

Canara HSBC Oriental Life launches ‘PoS’ product

  • Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance Company (CHOICE) has come up with a ‘Point-of-Sale’ product targeted at the mass-market segment
  • The product — ‘PoS - Easy Bima Plan’— is the first PoS product for the company and is a pure term insurance plan that not only gives life cover but also returns all premiums paid during the payment term on survival till maturity
  • The affordable premiums start from Rs.1,000 annually and there is inbuilt double life cover in case of accidental death, he said.
  • While this product has initially been launched through a regional rural bank of Canara Bank, it would be available in the bank branches of Canara Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) in the next two months

Ujjivan SFB receives scheduled bank status from RBI

  • Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd, has been given scheduled bank status by RBI.
  • Ujjivan SFB commenced its operations as a Small Finance Bank with effect from February 1, 2017. 
  • Currently, Ujjivan SFB has 65 full-fledged brick and mortar branches in eight states and two Union Territories. It plans to convert 160 existing branches and 29 new Unbanked Rural Centres (URCs) by the end of FY 2017-18 and the remaining branches will be converted over a period of two years in line with RBI approval.
  • This status will enhance the market acceptability of the bank in its effort to garner institutional deposits at a competitive price and participate more actively in the inter-bank market. It also opens the door for issuing Certificates of Deposits (CDs), which will be an important source of funding

Centre clears 100% strategic sale of CEL

  • The Centre has approved a 100% strategic sale along with transfer of management control of Central Electronics Ltd (CEL). Incorporated in 1974, CEL is under the administrative control of Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • The CPSE is wholly owned by the government and has a net worth of ₹50.34 crore as on March 2017. 
  • The Government of India (GoI) has ‘in-principle’ decided to disinvest its 100 per cent equity in Central Electronics Ltd through strategic sale with transfer of management control,” the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management said a bid document. 
  • The government plans to engage an advisor from a consulting firm, investment banker or a merchant banker or a financial institution, for providing advisory services and managing the disinvestment process. 
  • It is also looking to appoint a legal firm for advising on the strategic sale.

Awards & Honours

Konkani author honoured with literary award Saraswati Samman

  • The prestigious literary award, the Saraswati Samman for 2016 was presented to Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail
  • Sail’s award winning work is “Hawthan” that captures the lives of the potter community in Goa. 
  • Sail, who has been a soldier, having served in the 1965 war and later was a part of a UN peace keeping mission, earned praise for his gripping storytelling in Hawthan. 
  • He was presented with a plaque and a cash purse of Rs.15 lakh. 
  • The Saraswati Samman is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian language listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India.
  • It is named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India.
  • The Saraswati Samman was instituted in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation. It consists of Rs 15 lakh, a citation and a plaque.

Samurai Tete first woman from Jharkhand to win Dhyan Chand Award

  • Former India Women’s Hockey captain Samurai Tete was awarded Dhyan Chand Award 2017 by the President Ramnath Kovind at a function held at Rasthrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on the occasion of National Sports Day 
  • Resident of Simdega also known as Jharkhand’s hockey nursery, Samurai has become the first woman from Jharkhand to bag the prestigious national award.
  • She received statuettes, certificates and cash prize of Rs five lakh each for her achievements and contribution to Field hockey in India.
  • It was under Samurai Tete’s captaincy that Indian eves clinched Commonwealth Games hockey silver at Melbourne in 2006. 38-year-old midfielder was part of the team when Indian women won the gold medal in the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth games.
  • Chief Minister Raghubar Das announced Sumrai Tete as the brand ambassador for Jharkhand hockey.

FICCI awards Dr KR Balakrishnan for his contribution to Healthcare

  • Dr K R Balakrishnan, Director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Centre for Heart Failure & Transplant, Fortis Malar Hospital in Chennai, leading cardiac transplant surgeon on international repute, was awarded FICCI Special Jury Award for his contributions to healthcare and medical research at an event here recently. 
  • The Federation of India Chamber Of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) organizes this annual conference with an aim to facilitate organizations and individuals for their contributions to the industry by innovating for increased efficiency, affordability and improved performance of healthcare delivery at large. 

Reliance Foundation awarded Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar

  • The Reliance Foundation was rewarded with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Award at Rashtrapati Bhawan
  • For its contribution to the promotion of sports, the award went to Reliance Foundation.
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) also received the Rashtriya Khel Protsahana Purushkar this year for its ‘Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent’ (IDCO) program.

Women Transforming India Awards 2017

  • Union Minister of Textiles, Information, and Broadcasting Smriti Irani will present this prestigious award to a number of women winners 
  • The award has been launched by NITI Aayog, in partnership with the UN in India and MyGov, to recognize the transformational impact of work undertaken by women across India. This year’s campaign “to promote equal opportunity of women” received around 3000 entries from across the country
  • Laxmi Agarwal, Uttar Pradesh, Subasini Mistry, Safeena Husain, Arunima Sinha, Kamal Kumbhar, Jamuna Tudu, Rajlakshmi Borthakur, Kiran Kanoji, Harshini Kanhekar, Shima Modak, Sunita Kamble, Kanika Tekriwal are the recipients of the award

Appointments & Resign

RK Raghavan Indian High Commissioner to Cyprus

  • Former CBI director R K Raghavan, who headed the Special Investigation Team that probed the Gujarat riots, has been appointed as Indian High Commissioner to Cyprus
  • Raghavan, who was CBI director from January 1999 to April 2001, had investigated high profile cases like Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case, 2000 South Africa cricket match fixing, 2002 Gujarat riots. 
  • He has a master’s degree in politics and public administration (Madras University) and an MS in criminal justice (Temple University, Philadelphia). 
  • A PhD in political science, Raghavan was a visiting fellow at the Rutgers University and Harvard Law School.

Gauba takes charge as Home Secretary; Mehrishi retires

  • Senior IAS officer Rajiv Gauba today took charge as the Union Home Secretary after incumbent Rajiv Mehrishi retired from service.
  • He will have a fixed two-year tenure.
  • A 1982 batch officer of the Jharkhand cadre, 59-year-old Gauba was appointed Home Secretary about two months ago and has since been serving in the Home Ministry as Officer on Special Duty (OSD).
  • Gauba had served as Secretary in the Urban Development Ministry before being appointed in the sensitive post.
  • Earlier, he had worked in the Home Ministry as Additional Secretary, looking after the crucial left wing extremism division, among many other responsibilities.

P.V. Sindhu Announced as Bridgestone India's Brand Ambassador

  • Bridgestone India, a subsidiary of the world’s largest tyre and rubber company and a Worldwide Olympic Partner, has announced a partnership with ace badminton player and Olympic silver medallist, P.V. Sindhu to be the company’s first brand ambassador. 
  • As part of the three-year agreement, Sindhu will be included in Bridgestone’s activations around its Worldwide Olympic Partnership.
  • Sindhu is among the world’s leading professional badminton players who recently earned a silver medal at the World Badminton Championship in Glasgow. 
  • The Padma Shri recipient became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Sindhu’s Olympic medal established her as the first Indian shuttler to reach the final of an Olympic Games badminton event and the youngest Indian to make a podium finish in an individual event at the Olympics. 

Science & Technology

India Gets Its Own Sniper Rifle From West Bengal's Ishapore

  • After using German sniper rifles Heckler & Koch for decades, India got its own sniper rifle from Ordnance Factory Ishapore in West Bengal. The new rifle is likely to eliminate country’s dependence on importing rifles from other manufacturers abroad.
  • Kolkata Police will be introducing it to services after it is tested by a group of commandos. 
  • The Ishapore sniper costs Rs. 2.5 lakh plus taxes.
  • The rifle has a calibre of 7.62 mm and weighs 6.7 kg.
  • The rifle can shoot the target up to 800 Metres.
  • The biggest advantage of the rifle is the abundance of indigenous ammunition.
  • Kolkata Police will be introducing it to services after testing.
  • Ishapore Ordnance Factory received orders from Central Reserve Police Force, Haryana and Rajasthan Police.
  • The rifle will be important for urban police for VIP protection, hostage situations and terror attacks.
  • The research and development for the sniper was done at Ishapore for more than a year.
  • The factory also produced INSAS rifle which is used by many forces.

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