Current Affairs: 1 September 2017

Important Days

National Nutrition Week

  • National Nutrition Week 2017 will be celebrated from Friday(1st of September) to the Thursday(7th of September).
  • National Nutrition Week is celebrated each year from 1st September to the 7th September to aware the people about important tips of their health and well-being. Through the national nutrition week campaign, people from all over the world can be educated to maintain their look and feel better.
  • The theme of the National Nutrition Week for 2017 is "Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health"

National Events

Adityanath launched start-up fund for MSMEs

  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated one of his government's most ambitious projects - a start-up fund for promoting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) within the state.
  • The policy aims at the state-centric 'Make in UP' project, in alignment with the Centre's flagship 'Make in India' mission.
  • This is the first scheme to be launched since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Attributing to this, the Noida Authority has reserved 10 plots for the start-ups and 33 per cent for the expansion of existing industries.
  • Under the scheme, the authority has introduced a special payment option for the successful allottees of industrial plots.
  • This scheme will be continued till September 22 this year and will also promote the Ease of Doing Business by young entrepreneurs.

Madhya Pradesh launches new farm scheme to hedge price risks in farming

  • The Madhya Pradesh government launched a new scheme to hedge price risks in agriculture wherein farmers will be compensated for distress sales at prices below Union government-announced minimum support prices (MSP).
  • The scheme, named Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (Price Deficit Financing Scheme), will initially extend to eight crops, mostly oilseeds and pulses, where government procurement is typically low unlike rice and wheat.
  • The scheme comes on the back of a bumper harvest in 2016-17 when falling crop prices sparked protests by farmers demanding loan waivers and remunerative prices, in several states such as Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Under the scheme, farmers in Madhya Pradesh will be compensated when the notified crops are sold at less than the MSP, but the payout will be capped at a modal price. 
  • Modal prices are average market prices for a particular commodity over a two-month period in Madhya Pradesh and two other states where the crop is grown and traded.

Aadhaar-PAN linking deadline extended till December 31

  • The government extended by four months the deadline for linking Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar to December 31. Earlier, the last date for linking PAN to Aadhaar was August 31. The government had made mandatory the linking of the two databases for filing ITRs.
  • Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act says that every person having PAN as on July 1, 2017, and is eligible to obtain Aadhaar, must intimate his Aadhaar number to the tax authorities.

International Events

India, China jointly oppose trade-distorting agricultural subsidies at WTO

  • India and China, in a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO), have called for elimination of trade-distorting agricultural subsidies given by developed countries
  • The proposal, submitted on 18 July, counters the efforts of some WTO member countries that are targeting the subsidies given by the developing economies to their poor farmers while letting the developed rich nations retain their huge farm subsidies.
  • “India and China jointly submitted a proposal to the WTO calling for the elimination—by developed countries—of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies
  • In other words, developed members of the WTO have access to huge amount of AMS beyond their de minimis—the minimal amount of domestic support that are allowed even though they distort trade—up to 5% of the value of production for developed countries, 10% for developing.

Banking & Finance

ItzCash partners with HDFC Ergo for general insurance products

  • India’s leading Financial Exchange, Ebix’s ItzCash today announced that it has entered into a strategic agreement with the country’s third largest non-life insurance provider in the private sector, HDFC ERGO to offer general insurance product on its ‘PHYGITAL’ platform.
  • With Ebix’s dominance as World’s largest insurance exchange, this association will further strengthen ItzCash’s position in the Financial Exchange market.
  • The partnership inked will offer a wide range of general insurance policies, providing protection for a range of insurance needs including health, motor, fire and auto. 
  • All these products will be easily available and accessible to customers through ItzCash’s extensive distribution network across the country. 
  • The initiative by ItzCash precisely serves the national agenda of ‘financial inclusion’ as it enhances the reach of HDFC ERGO to the tier II/tier III towns and cities through its nationwide franchise network. 

Freyr Energy ties up with Axis Bank

  • Solar energy services company Freyr Energy has tied up with Axis Bank to offer term loans ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.50 lakh for tenures up to five years, for solar rooftop installations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The loans will be given to MSMEs and self-employed individuals to install Freyr rooftop solar plants for industrial and commercial purposes.
  • The Freyr SunPro app is said to eliminate the complexity involved in system design, pricing and generation.
  • Over the past three years, Freyr has installed over 800 solar systems across 14 States in India and Ghana.

Awards & Honours

Social Activist Parull Mahaajan honoured with ‘Shri Shakti Samman’

  • Eminent Social Activist Parull Mahaajan was recently felicitated for her phenomenal contribution in the field of Women Empowerment by Smt. Krishna Raj Central Minister of State for Women and Child Development.
  • She was honoured with the ‘Shri Shakti Samman’ for her exemplary contribution to the society at the ‘Shri Shakti Parv’ organised by Dr. Archika Foundation at the Constitution Club of India 
  • Parull Mahaajan is an Inspiring Lady who wears many hats at the same time. A Lawyer, Interior Designer specialising in green and sustainable designs, Advisor Delhi Literature Festival and Social Activist working actively in the areas of Environment Conservation, Swachh Bharat, Women Empowerment, Supporting and Promoting the interests of Weavers and Artisans and ‘Make in India’.

PVR’s Chairman And MD bags ‘Exhibitor Of the Year’ Award

  • Ajay Bijli, Chairman and Managing Director of PVR Limited, will receive the “Exhibitor of the Year” Award at the CineAsia Awards Ceremony on 14 December 2017 in Hong Kong.
  • PVR began as a joint venture agreement with Village Roadshow, a global film production and exhibition company of Australia, and within a few years, the company established the multiplex format in India. 
  • Bijli was also awarded the “Asia Innovator of the Year” award at India Business Leader Awards, 2016 and Images Retail awarded him as the “Most Admired Retailer of the year 2016”. 

Unesco announces winners of literary prizes

  • UNESCO has announced the winners of the 2017 International Literacy Prizes, which honours excellence and innovation in the field of global literacy.
  • The awards will be handed out to five laureates from Canada, Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan and South Africa on the occasion of International Literacy Day, which falls on September 8
  • The prizes are divided into two categories, namely the Unesco Confucius Prize for Literacy sponsored by China, and the King Sejong Literacy Prize sponsored by South Korea.
  • This year’s Confucius Prize, which rewards projects that benefit rural populations and out-of-school youth, particularly girls and women, is given to the AdulTICoProgram from Columbia, The Citizens Foundation from Pakistan, and the FunDza project from South Africa.
  • The King Sejong prize, dedicated to mother-tongue literacy education, is shared by the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance from Canada and the We Love Reading programme from Jordan.

Appointments & Resigns

Rajiv Kumar appointed Secretary of Department of Financial Services

  • Senior bureaucrat Rajiv Kumar has been appointed Secretary in the Department of Financial Services (DFS) as part of a major reshuffle effected on Thursday. Anita Karwal has been named as the new CBSE chairperson.
  • Karwal, a Gujarat-cadre IAS officer took Rajesh Kumar Chaturvedi’s place and is the director general of National Skill Development Agency.
  • Rajiv Kumar is a 1984 batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre. He is currently the Special Secretary and Establishment Officer, Ministry of Personnel. Kumar He was appointed in place of Anjuly Chib Duggal. 

Indian-origin civil servant appointed Singapore’s acting President

  • JY Pillay, an Indian-origin veteran civil servant, was appointed on Friday as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of state is sworn in later this month.
  • Pillay, 83, took over from Tony Tan Keng Yam who completed a six-year term
  • Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), will act as the President until after polling day on Septemeber 23 -- or after nomination day on September 13, if a candidate is elected unopposed.
  • This is the first time the office has fallen vacant since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991

Sunil Arora to be new Election Commissioner, Rajiv Mehrishi appointed Comptroller and Auditor General

  • In a major bureaucratic reshuffle, Government on Thursday appointed IAS officer Sunil Arora as Election Commissioner and former Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishias Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
  • Mehrishi, a 1978-batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer, will replace SK Sharma, who is retiring on September 24. Mehrishi retired yesterday from the post of Home Secretary after serving a period of two years.
  • In another appointment of the day, former IAS officer Sunil Arora is all set to take charge as Chief Election Commissioner on India.

Rajiv Kumar takes charge as Niti Aayog vice-chairman

  • Noted economist Rajiv Kumar today took over as the vice-chairman of government think tank Niti Aayog.
  • Kumar replaced Arvind Panagariya, an Indian-American economist who left the think tank yesterday to return to academia.
  • Kumar was a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR). He holds a DPhil in economics from Oxford and a PhD from Lucknow University.
  • Earlier, he had also served as Secretary General of industry association Ficci.
  • He was a member of the National Security Advisory Board between 2006 and 2008.

DHFL appoints Harshil Mehta as Joint MD and CEO

  • Housing finance company DHFL today elevated company's CEO Harshil Mehta as Joint Managing Director and CEO. 
  • The appointment signifies the company's endeavour to develop a proficient executive team to accelerate organisation's growth, provide greater impetus to support the 'Housing for All' mission and remain focused on serving the LMI customer segment. 

Science & Technology

WikiLeaks website apparently hacked by OurMine

  • WikiLeaks’ website appears to have been hacked by a group called OurMine, whose previous hacks have targeted tech CEOs, companies, and news sites.
  • As of early Thursday morning, the WikiLeaks.org homepage displayed a message that read: “Hi, it’s OurMine (Security Group), don’t worry we are just testing your…. blablablab, oh wait, this is not a security test! Wikileaks, remember when you challenged us to hack you?”
  • Last year, OurMine hacked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s Quora page. The group was also behind hacks that targeted the websites of Variety and BuzzFeed, after the news site published an article that claimed to expose one of its members. The group, which has been known to commandeer accounts by exploiting outdated passwords, hacked HBO’s social media accounts earlier this month.

India's First Private Sector-Built Satellite Launch Unsuccessful

  • The launch of India's first private-sector manufactured satellite, the IRNSS-1H, was declared unsuccessful today. 
  • AS Kiran Kumar, the chief of space agency ISRO, which handled the launch, said the satellite's protective heat shield, which is expected to separate and drop off, failed to do so. 
  • This was the second failure of PSLV, which had taken up the 1,425 kg satellite to space in its 41st mission. 
  • Launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the satellite was expected to replace one of the seven orbiting satellite of NAViC, which is malfunctioning. NAViC, which is a system of seven satellites, powers India's homegrown Global Positioning System.

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