Current Affairs: 6 July 2017

Published on Thursday, July 06, 2017

National Events

MERIT app and e-Bidding portal launched

  • Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal launched here today the 'MERIT app (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency)' and the e-bidding portal for providing e-Bidding solution to States to select Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for procurement of power by transferring their domestic coal under the scheme of flexibility in utilization of domestic coal.
  • the initiatives are taken in the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'Minimum Government and Maximum Governance' through 'Speed, Skill and Scale'. The app and the web portal would result in optimum utilization of Coal which would save the consumer close to Rs. 20,000 crores five years down the line
  • The advantages of MERIT app are as follows:
  • Empowerment of the Consumer and participative governance
  • Transparent information dissemination pertaining to marginal variable cost and source wise purchase of electricity
  • Promotes economy and efficiency in operations
  • Helps understand the utility portfolio and its complexity
  • Optimisation of the power procurement costs

UDAY covers 97% of discom debt: Centre

  • About 97% of the total outstanding debt of all state power distribution companies (discoms) has been covered under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY),
  • So far, 86% of the restructurable debt has been revamped under the scheme
  • The 26 states and 1 UT which have joined the UDAY scheme account for total outstanding debt of Rs. 3.82 lakh crore. Hence, about 97% of the total outstanding debt of all State discoms has been covered under UDAY
  • The national average of aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses (from all UDAY states) stood at 20.2% in FY17, according to the government, which added that billing efficiency has increased by two percentage points, from 81% in FY16 to 83% in FY17.

‘White tiger’ spotted in the Nilgiris

  • A rare ‘white tiger’ with a pale skin color has been spotted for the first time in the Nilgiris by a wildlife photographer, arousing interest among conservationists and forest officials on whether it is a true genetic mutant.
  • Photographer Nilanjan Ray from Bengaluru spotted the cat at an undisclosed location on a recent trip to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. 
  • Scientific literature describes the cause as a genetic mutation among tigers that changes an amino acid responsible for the normal colour being formed, resulting in “natural polymorphism” (occurring in different forms).
  • Such cats lack pheomelanin, which is responsible for the red-yellow hue in the skin coat. White tigers have been reported predominantly from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.

Environment Minister inaugurates Van Mahotsav

  • The environment minister launched a month-long tree plantation drive to mark Van Mahotsav. The first tree planting campaign started in Delhi.
  • It was part of Van Mahotsav celebrations, that is celebrated in the first week of July every year since 1950 in India.
  • The country has vowed to expand its carbon sink, and forests are key to this because they absorb carbon dioxide are considered an important way to check the global rise in temperatures. 
  • Under the commitment, India has to create an additional sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.

Karnataka ‘Elevate 100’ scheme for start-ups

  • The Karnataka government has launched the ‘Elevate 100’ scheme to identify and nurture innovative start-ups.
  • The aim is to identify 100 most innovative start-ups in the state to elevate them to the next level of success
  • The Elevate scheme is the brainchild of the start-up cell, Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), to help start-ups across the state succeed by providing them with access to mentors, networking opportunities, idea validation, incubation facilities, and in-depth sessions for start-ups on accounting, legal and emerging technologies.

International Events

India, Israel ink 7 agreements

  • India and Israel signed seven agreements to increase cooperation in key sectors like space, agriculture and water conservation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in-depth talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. 
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up of USD 40 million worth India-Israel Industrial Research and Development (R&D) and Technical Innovation Fund.
  • Scientists and researchers development
  • Two-way trade and investment flows 
  • Two agreements were signed to increase cooperation on water conservation
  • In the agriculture sector, the two countries have agreed for India-Israel Development Cooperation – a three-year work programme in agriculture from 2018 to 2020.
  • Cooperation regarding cooperation in atomic clocks. Besides, separate MoUs were signed on Cooperation in GEO-LEO optical link and cooperation in Electric Propulsion for small satellites.

10th Session of the India- Jordan Trade and Economic Joint Committee (TEJC)

  • The 10TH India-Jordan Morocco Trade and Economic Joint Committee (TEJC) Meeting was held in New Delhi on 4th and 5th July 2017 
  • The two countries emphasised the need for diversification of bilateral trade and deepening their engagements for greater cooperation in the investment sector. During the TEJC meeting, the two sides also reaffirmed their mutual interest and discussed the roadmap for cooperation in various fields such as Fertilizer Sector, Customs, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, Visa and Consular issues, Health and Pharmaceuticals, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Maritime Transport, Rail Transport, and Air Transport, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Smart Grid development, Information Technology, Higher Education and Vocational Training, Agriculture sector etc.
  • The two leaders also inked the revised Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India, and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, aiming at boosting and diversifying bilateral trade relations, in addition to promote economic, trade and investment cooperation based on the principle of equity, non-discrimination.


India beat SL to register 4th straight win in ICC Women's WC

  • India's women's cricket team defeated Sri Lanka by 16 runs to claim its 4th straight win in the ICC Women's World Cup 2017. 
  • Mithali Raj and Co thus recorded their fourth win on the trot as they defended a respectable 232/8 by restricting Sri Lanka to 216 for 7. 
  • This was India's 14th win in 2017, setting a new record for most wins in a year for the national women's team. Notably, India have won 20 of their last 21 ODIs, including a 16-match winning streak.

Pankaj Advani-led India beat Pakistan to win Asian Snooker Championship

  • India's leading cueist Pankaj Advani teamed up with Laxman Rawat to demolish Pakistan in the final of the Asian Team Snooker Championship on Wednesday.
  • Advani drew first blood by putting on a sterling performance against Mohammad Bilal.
  • Advani remained the only player to not lose a single individual match in the team event. This title brings up Advani's second Asian title this season and 8th overall (6 Billiards, 1 6-red and 1 Team Snooker) while it is a first for Rawat and Singh.


Pradeep Kumar Rawat appointed as Ambassador to Indonesia

  • Mr. Pradeep Kumar Rawat, presently Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Indonesia.
  • Mr. Rawat, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1990 batch, is expected to take up his assignment shortly.

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