Current Affairs: 17 April 2017

Published on Monday, April 17, 2017

National Events

Madhya Pradesh to ban polythene bags from May 1

  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a total ban on polythene bags in the state from May 1.
  • Instead of polythene which is harmful for the environment, paper and cloth will be used,
  • One of the prime obstacle in keeping cities clean is the use of polythene and that is the reason it will be banned from the month of May, said Chouhan, adding anybody caught using polythene will be penalised.
  • Earlier, in December, the chief minister had said that ban on polythene will be enforced with effect from January 1 at tourist destinations and holy cities of Ujjain, Amarkantak, Khajuraho, Pachmarhi, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar and Orchha.

The Other Indian States where plastic bags are banned

  • Bengaluru /Bangalore (Ban on plastics in Bengaluru was imposed from mid march 2016)
  • Maharashtra,
  • Delhi,
  • Punjab,
  • Rajasthan,
  • Himanchal Pradesh,
  • Goa and
  • West Bengal
  • State first banned the use of Plastic Bags in India - Himachala pradesh
  • The first state Banned the Plastic in India - Sikkim

Himachal celebrated 70th 'Himachal Day on 15th April

  • Himachal Pradesh is celebrating 70th "Himachal Day" function. The hill state came into existence after the merger of 30 odd princely states in 1948.
  • when state was formed only 6 villages had electricity and 331 villages had drinking water facility. But today all the villages have piped water facility and every household has electricity.


  • Unemployment allowance scheme and distributed cheques of Rs1,000 each to 10 beneficiaries under the scheme 
  • Period of regularisation of contract employees now would be three years instead of five.
  • A passenger lift to be installed at Bhadrakali Bhalei Mata Temple in Bhalei sub-tehsil of Chamba district.
  • The classes in the Chamba medical college would be started soon

Bhopal to have India's first privately run railway station

  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that for the first time in Indian Railways' history, Habibganj station in Bhopal has been handed over to a private firm to be operated by it. 
  • The station building will be developed in line with airport terminals, he added. 
  • However, Prabhu clarified that trains at the station will still be run by the Railways.
  • A consortium of Bansal Construction Works and Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways has formed a special purpose company- Bansal Pathways Habibagnj Private Ltd to implement the project.
  • As per the agreement signed between the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) and the developer, the latter will provide modern amenities like escalators, lifts, parking lot, landscaping, concourse, walkway, travelators, parcel corridor, subways as part of the redevelopment of the station.
  • Apart from Habibganj, IRSDC will also develop Chandigarh, Surat, Shivaji Nagar, Brijwasan, Anand Vihar, Mohali and Gandhinagar stations.

Rongali bihu 2017 began in Assam

  • Bihu Festival is celebrated in three times in a year with different farming phases. These are Bohag Bihu, Kongali Bihu, and Magh Bihu.
  • Bohag Bihu, also known as Rangoli Bihu is a seven-day long festival as per the traditional Assamese New year Calendar and starts from 15th April 2017 and goes on to 21st April 2017.
  • This time of the year is when farmers start plowing their fields. Each of the seven days of the Bohag Bihu is called as Chot Bihu, Goru Bihu, Manuh Bihu, Kutum Bihu, Senehi Bihu, Mela Bihu and Chera Bihu.

Supreme Court recognizes transgenders as 'third gender'

  • In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday created the "third gender" status for hijras or transgenders. Earlier, they were forced to write male or female against their gender.
  • The SC asked the Centre to treat transgender as socially and economically backward.
  • The apex court said that transgenders will be allowed admission in educational institutions and given employment on the basis that they belonged to the third gender category.
  • The SC said absence of law recognizing hijras as third gender could not be continued as a ground to discriminate them in availing equal opportunities in education and employment.
  • This is for the first time that the third gender has got a formal recognition. 
  • The third gender people will be considered as OBCs.
  • The SC said they will be given educational and employment reservation as OBCs.

Maharashtra staged special drive for transgenders to register as voters

  • Maharashtra became the first state to launch a special awareness drive to ensure that transgenders in the state register as voters in greater numbers. 
  • The state branch of the Election Commission of India (ECI) launched the drive on April 15, celebrated as Third Gender Day.
  • According to ECI officials, despite the approximate population of third genders in Maharashtra being pegged at more than 10 lakh, only about 1,700 are registered voters.
  • The ECI prepared a two-and-a-half-minute film, slated to run in 400 theatres four times a day over the next week.
  • The commission also put up posters on two 12-rake locals asking transgenders to register as voters.
  • Maharashtra was one of two states to approve a welfare board for transgenders in 2013, but no one has been appointed to the body yet

International Events

Sagarmatha Friendship-2017: Nepal-China Begin Joint Military Drill

  • The first ever joint military drill between Nepal and China -- Sagarmatha Friendship-2017 -- kicked off at Nepal Army's Para Training School in Maharajgunj in Kathmandu
  • The Chinese Army's squad is participating in the military exercise that will focus on counter terrorism and disaster response. The 10-day exercise will conclude on April 25.
  • DGMO of Nepal Army General Binod Kumar Shrestha inaugurated the exercise.
  • Highlighting the historic ties between Nepali and Chinese armies, Colonel Yang Shumeng, leading the Chinese side, said such exercise would help understanding on counter terrorism and strengthening military ties.
  • The joint training with China marks the Nepali Army's extension of military diplomacy.
  • The exercise is taking place at the Maharajgunj-based training school where Yuddha Bhairab, Mahabir and Bhairabnath Battalions are located


Govt begins to walk the talk on governance in PSU banks

  • To prime public sector banks (PSBs) to hold their own against nifty private sector rivals and also prepare them for possible mergers in the future, the Bank Boards Bureau (BBB) has drawn up an elaborate Governance, Reward and Accountability Framework (GRAF).
  • The GRAF seeks to ensure that corporate governance at PSBs is in keeping with various pieces of legislation, including the Companies Act, 2013, Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and Securities and Exchange Board of India (listing obligations and disclosure requirements) Regulations, 2015.
  • Further, the framework abides by the guidelines of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision on corporate governance principles for banks. Among others, the principles deal with the board’s overall responsibilities, board qualifications and composition, senior management, risk management function, compliance, internal audit and compensation.
  • The BBB was set up last year to make recommendations for selection of the chiefs of PSBs and financial institutions and help them develop strategies and capital-raising plans.
  • The Bureau has evolved a code of conduct and ethics that can be enforced across all PSBs to ensure the right behaviour.
  • It has also come up with compensation reforms so that best practices can be introduced in PSBs on the lines already prevalent in Central Public Sector Enterprises.
  • The BBB has evolved a relative performance rating system to assess the performance of PSBs, its directors and employees; and performance evaluation system based on which decision-making for the extension/termination of a whole-time director can be undertaken objectively.
  • The BBB’s GRAF move comes in the context of PSBs facing challenges on various fronts, including competition from new entrants, aggressive private banks and NBFCs eating into their market share on the loans front, and jump in bad loans.
  • The Bureau was operationalised after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called for PSBs to be competitive, in his Budget speech of 2016-17. He had also said that a roadmap

Awards & Recognition

Hanchinal receives M.S. Swaminathan Award

  • The sixth prestigious M.S. Swaminathan Award for contribution in the field of agriculture was on Friday given to R.R. Hanchinal, Chairperson of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Authority, government of India. 
  • He received the award for his contributions and sustained support to the areas of crop improvement for hot and very hot dry environments, seed production technology and intellectual protection rights in plant varieties.
  • The award is instituted and given under the aegis of Retired ICAR Employees Association (RICAREA) in association with the Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL).

San Francisco Film Fest Honoured Shah Rukh Khan

  • Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan was honored at the 60th San Francisco Intl. Film Festival at the Castro Theater. 
  • “King” Khan as he is known to his millions of fans will participate in a conversation onstage with Brett Ratner followed a screening of his 2010 hit “My Name Is Khan.”
  • Khan is the star of such hits as “Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge,” “Devdas,” “Chennai Express” and “Kabhi khushi kabhie gham.” His latest film, “Raees,” gave the Bollywood industry a good start to 2017 after a lackluster year.
  • SFFILM is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a private invite-only gala April 7 at The Forum in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. 
  • The festival, which runs April 5-19 at various venues in the Bay Area, will unspool 200 films and include live events. The fest will bestow juried awards, including $40,000 in cash prizes, and more than 100 participating filmmaker guests.

Indian engineer Trupti Jain wins ‘Cartier Women’s Initiative award’

  • An Indian environmental engineer has won this year’s prestigious ‘Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards’ for providing women working on farms with water management solutions and protecting small farmers against droughts and flash floods. 
  • Trupti Jain was one among the six winners chosen for the Asia-Pacific laureate from a pool of nearly 1,900 applicants from over 120 countries and were selected by an independent international jury.
  • Each recipient receives a USD 100,000 prize money as well as a year of mentoring. Jain, an Indian government employee for two decades in the rural development, has worked for women farmers whose work frequently go unrecognised
  • Jain was presented the award at a function held at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. 
  • It was the first time the awards ceremony was held outside France since it began in 2006 to supports women entrepreneurs around the world who want to kick-start their business
  • Five other winners, representing Latin America, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa, were also honoured at the awards ceremony.

Indian-born engineer gets American Helicopter Society award

  • An Indian-born aeronautics engineer from Australia has been honoured with the ‘World’s Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Leadership Award’ by the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International.
  • AHS is the world’s premier professional institution dedicated to vertical flight technology and advancement. It selected Lt Col Dr Arvind Sinha (retd) for his distinguished career in vertical flight technology.
  • Sinha, who received the award recently in the US, was also bestowed the title of AHS Honorary Fellow in May 2016.
  • The title is granted to Society members who have shown “exceptional leadership, or made innovative or other meritorious contributions, that have significantly advanced AHS International and the vertical flight community.”
  • Sinha is recipient of several awards, spanning military operations, design projects and academia. The AHS honour is considered a benchmark for leadership excellence in vertical flight technology
  • He is currently the Director of Engineering, Helicopter Systems Division, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), at the Department of Defence, Australia.


Praneeth clinches maiden Super Series title at Singapore Open

  • Promising Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth clinched his maiden Super Series title at the Singapore Open after defeating compatriot K Srikanth in a historic all-Indian final
  • World No.30 Praneeth, who had won the Canada Open Grand Prix last year and reached the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold final this year, outmaneuvered Srikanth 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 in the summit clash of the $350,000 event.
  • It was the first time in the history of international badminton that two Indians were playing a Super Series final and it turned out to be a thrilling contest.
  • the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in 2010, Praneeth has managed to outwit some accomplished shuttlers such as former All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia, former Olympic and World champion Taufik Hidayat and World No.1 Lee Chong Wei.

Pullela Gopichand's daughter Gayatri wins twin crowns in Jakarta

  • National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand's daughter Gayatri Pullela has bagged both the singles and doubles crown at the Pembangunan Jaya Raya Junior Grand Prix in Jakarta.
  • Gayatri eked out a hard-fought 21-11 18-21 21-16 win over her doubles partner Samiya Farooqui to win the girls U-15 singles title.
  • Gayatri later teamed up with Samiya to clinch the U-15 doubles title with a straight game 21-17 21-15 win over Indonesian pair of Kelly Larissa and Shelandry Vyola.
  • Both Gayatri and Samiya train together at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.
  • Pankaj Advani beats Sourav Kothari to win Asian Billiards Championship
  • Pankaj Advani, 16-time world champion, won his seventh Asian title by defeating Sourav Kothari 6-3 in an entertaining final of the Asian Billiards Championship
  • The other title being 6-red snooker which he won last year.
  • Advani now returns home to Bangalore for four days to switch to snooker before taking off for Doha to compete in the Asian Snooker Championship which begins on the April 22.
  • Pankaj Advani defeated Sourav Kothari

Business and Economy

ASCI Releases Guidelines For Celebrities In Advertising

  • Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has developed a set of guidelines to protect consumers' interest while encouraging celebrities and advertisers to refrain from endorsing misleading advertisements. 
  • At a time when the Consumer Affairs Ministry is intending to review the Consumer Protection Act and may have a provision to deal with misleading advertisements featuring celebrities, these guidelines by ASCI could serve as a good reference for advertisers. 
  • The ASCI's guidelines help in ensuring that claims made in advertising are not misleading, false or go unsubstantiated. 
  • Advertisers following these guidelines will protect the interests of the consumers, especially for products or services, which can cause serious financial loss or physical harm.

Highlights of the Guidelines

  • All advertisements featuring Celebrities should ensure that it does not violate any of the ASCI code in letter and spirit. Celebrities are expected to have adequate knowledge of these Codes and it is the duty of the Advertiser and the Agency to make sure that the Celebrity they wish to engage with is made aware of them. 
  • Testimonials, endorsements or representations of opinions or preference of Celebrities must reflect genuine, reasonably current opinion of the individual(s) making such representations, and must be based upon adequate information about or experience with the product or service being advertised. 
  • Celebrity should do due diligence to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisements they appear in or endorse are capable of being objectively ascertained and capable of substantiation and should not mislead or appear deceptive. 
  • Celebrities should not participate in any advertisement of a product or treatment or remedy that is prohibited for advertising under The Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954 as updated from time to time The Drugs & Cosmetic Act 1940 and Rules 1945: (Schedule J) as updated from time to time
  • A product which by law requires a health warning "… injurious to health" on its packaging or advertisement. 

Science & Technology

Manipur CM launched DARPAN web applications to check corruption

  • Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh today launched two web applications to check corruption and keep track of government activities.
  • The two web applications were Anti-Corruption Cell and Digital Application for Review by Public And Nation (DARPAN), an official release said here.
  • The two web applications would monitor all government funded projects and ensure transparency and accountability, Biren said launching the applications.
  • DARPAN would upload details of projects right from the initial stage till sanction of fund, progress of work and photos the work sites
  • Recently launched Anti-Corruption Cell has received a series of complaints of corruption and that the web applications would augment in the government's efforts to end corruption in the state.

Depression in Bay of Bengal turns into tropical cyclone 'Maarutha'

  • The depression over East-central Bay of Bengal has turned into the tropical cyclone 'Maarutha' prompting the Met office to advise distant warning signal No. 2 for maritime ports in Bangladesh.
  • The advisory means a storm with wind speeds between 62 and 88 kilometres per hour has formed in the distant deep sea and ships may fall into danger if they leave the harbour.
  • All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay and deep sea have been advised to remain close to the coast and proceed with caution till further notice


Emma Morano: World's oldest person dies at age 117

  • The world's oldest person has died at age 117 in her home in northern Italy.
  • Emma Morano was born on November 29, 1899. She was also believed to have been the last surviving person in the world who was born in the 1800s.
  • The eldest of eight children, Morano outlived all of her younger siblings.
  • Morano went on to support herself by working in a factory making jute bags, then at a hotel, working way beyond the usual retirement age.

Internet, computer pioneer Robert W Taylor dies aged 85

  • Robert W Taylor, who was instrumental in creating the internet and the modern personal computer, has died at the age of 85.
  • While working for the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1966, Mr Taylor shepherded the creation of single computer network ARPANET — which evolved into the internet — after becoming frustrated he had to use three separate terminals to communicate with researchers around the country.
  • In 1961, Mr Taylor was a project manager for NASA when he directed funding to Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute, who helped develop the modern computer mouse.

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