Current Affairs: 8 July 2017

Published on Saturday, July 08, 2017

National Events

Bengal Government to celebrate Kanyashree Utsav on July 25

  • July 25 will mark the celebration of Kanyashree Utsav
  •  The day will witness representatives from all corners of the state coming together to congratulate accomplished Kanyashrees, who will be felicitated by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself. 
  • Students who have benefited from the Kanyashree Scheme from every district will participate in the celebratory event of this flagship scheme. 
  • The Kanyashree Scheme is not only Ms Banerjee’s most ambitious project, but it is also the pride of the state. 
  • It has so far brought 40 lakh girls under its umbrella. The scheme aims at effectively empowering girls through far-sighted, holistic and all-round development, stressing on ending early marriage and opening up options for young women. 
  • It even includes development in areas such as sports. The success of the scheme has won it accolades both nationally and internationally. 
  • This includes the top prize at the United Nations Public Service Award 2017 and the Digital Empowerment Foundation-bestowed Manthan Award for Digital Inclusion and Development, and recognition at the UNICEF and DFID-organised Girl Summit in 2014. 
  • The scheme proved to be the best in the Public Service category at the UN forum from among 552 schemes across 63 countries
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JIGYASA" - Student-Scientist connect programme launched

  • Jigyasa, a student- scientist connect programme was officially launched in the national capital
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has joined hands with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to implement this programme. 
  • The focus is on connecting school students and scientists so as to extend student’s classroom learning with that of a very well planned research laboratory based learning.
  • The “JIGYASA” would inculcate the culture of inquisitiveness on one hand and scientific temper on the other, amongst the school students and their teachers. 
  • The Programme is expected to connect 1151 Kendriya Vidyalayas with 38 National Laboratories of CSIR targeting 100,000 students and nearly 1000 teachers annually.
  • The program will also enable the students and teachers to practically live the theoretical concepts taught in science by visiting CSIR laboratories and by participating in mini-science projects. 

Punjab unveils new transport policy to ‘overhaul system

  • Punjab cabinet approved the new transport policy to streamline the issuance of permits and licences across commercial and private transport vehicles. 
  • It also abolished the system of district transport officers (DTO) and restructuring the transport department,
  • The cabinet decided to set up a special task force of the vigilance department and the state police to crack down on all illegally plying buses. 
  • The task force will have to weed out all such buses in a phased manner in over two months
  • Once the scheme is implemented, permits of 5,432 buses indulging in extension/diversion of routes and another 6,700 minibuses, besides 78 integral luxury coaches, will be cancelled and allotted afresh.
  • Under the new system, in case the number of eligible applications received for a particular route is more than the number of permits, lots will be drawn to allot permits. In case of private operators, not more than 25% of the total permits on a particular route will be issued to one firm/party/person. 
  • Permits issued under this scheme will be valid for a period of five years from the date of issue. Upon renewal, the permits shall be valid for a period of five years from the date of renewal.

Government To Set Up Skill Development Centres For Minorities In 100 Districts

  • The government will set up 'Garib Nawaz' skill development centres in 100 districts of the country to offer employment-oriented training to the youth from minority communities.
  • The government will also proffer marriage assistance to the tune of Rs. 51,000 (per head) to families of girl students who complete their graduation availing the Centre's Begum Hazrat Mahal scholarship.
  • The decisions were taken during a meeting of the governing body of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), a non-political and non-profit social services organisation funded by the ministry.
  • The other cities where the centres will be set up include Lucknow, Rampur, Allahabad and Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai and Nagpur in Maharashtra, Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Mewat and Panipat in Haryana, Patna and Kishanganj in Bihar, and Ranchi and Giridih in Jharkhand.

Tough anti-hijacking law comes into force

  • The country's new anti-hijacking law, which prescribes capital punishment in the event of death of "any person", has come into force following a government notification.
  • The 2016 Anti-Hijacking Actreplaces a 1982-vintage law, according to which hijackers could be tried only in the event of death of hostages, such as flight crew, passengers and security personnel.
  • In the new law, the definition has been expanded to include death of "security personnel on board" or "ground support staff" as well.
  • In other cases of hijacking, guilty will be punished with imprisonment for life and fine, besides confiscation of movable and immovable property held by him or her.
  • The new law, which has come into effect after its notification on July 5, includes several acts within the definition of hijacking including making a threat, attempts or abatement to commit the offence.

MRP to be sole price decider from Jan. 1

  • From January 1, 2018, the price of a packaged good would no longer depend on where you bought it — be it a local kirana store, a mall, a five-star hotel or an airport.
  • The Consumer Affairs Ministry has amended the rules that govern packaged commodities to this effect.
  • As per the amended Legal Metrology rules for packaged commodities, which will come into effect from the next calendar year, the Centre has clarified that the retail sale price shall be the maximum retail price (MRP) inclusive of all taxes, with the provision to round off the price to the nearest rupee or 50 paise.
  • Further, to curb the possibility of any vendor charging differential prices for the same product, a new legal provision has been inserted that no person shall declare different MRPs on an identical pre-packed commodity.
  • The new norms also require sellers to enhance the size of letters and numerals for making declarations about the packaged goods, such as their “best before date, month and year” to indicate their shelf life, for making it easier for consumers to read vital information
  • Interestingly, for e-commerce marketplaces, declaring the month and year in which a commodity is manufactured or packed is not mandatory and if they fulfill certain conditions, they will not be held liable for whether the declarations were correct or incorrect.

International Events

Trilateral Malabar exercise to kick off on July 10

  • The Malabar naval exercise involving Indian, American and Japanese navies will kick start on July 10 in the Bay of Bengal, amid China's growing military assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.
  • A sizeable number of aircraft, naval ships and nuclear submarines of the navies of the three countries will be part of the annual exercise, considered a major war game in the region.
  • The exercise is taking place in the backdrop of a major military standoff between armies of India and China in the Sikkim section and Beijing ramping up its naval presence in the South China Sea.
  • The aim of the Malabar exercise is to achieve deeper military ties and greater interoperability among the three navies in the strategically-important Indo-Pacific region.
  • India and the US have regularly conducted the annual exercise since 1992.

122 countries adopt global treaty banning nuclear weapons

  • A global treaty banning nuclear weapons was adopted at the United Nations on Friday despite opposition from nuclear powers Britain, France and the United States which said it disregards the reality of dealing with international security threats such as North Korea.
  • The treaty was adopted by a vote of 122 in favor with one country — NATO member The Netherlands — voting against, while Singapore abstained.
  • None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — took part in the negotiations or the vote.
  • Even Japan — the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945 — boycotted the talks as did most NATO countries.

India ranks 23rd among 165 nations in cybersecurity index

  • India is ranked a high 23rd out of 165 nations in a global index that measures the commitment of nations across the world to cybersecurity.
  • The second Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), released by the UN telecommunications agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said only about half of all countries have a cybersecurity strategy or are in the process of developing one and urged more countries to consider national policies to protect against cybercrime.
  • India is ranked 23rd on the index with a score of 0.683 and has been listed in the "maturing" category, which refers to 77 countries that have developed complex commitments to cybersecurity and engage in cybersecurity programmes and initiatives.
  • The index has been topped by Singapore with a 0.925 score

UNESCO puts city of Hebron on its heritage in danger list

  • UNESCO declared the Old City of Hebron an endangered world heritage site, sparking outrage from Israel in a new spat at the international body.
  • Meeting in Poland, the UN’s cultural arm voted 12 to three — with six abstentions — to give heritage status to Hebron’s Old City in the occupied West Bank, which is home to more than 200,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Israeli settlers.
  • The city is home to the imposing Tomb of the Patriarchs, the resting place of key Biblical figures Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and one of the most important religious sites to Muslims and Jews alike.
  • Hebron is also a stark example of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Banking & Finance

Government To Launch New Tranche Of Sovereign Gold Bonds

  • The government will launch the next tranche of sovereign gold bond (SGB) scheme, the first in 2017-18, on July 10. 
  • The bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges namely the NSE and BSE
  • The sovereign gold bond scheme was launched in November 2015 with an objective to reduce the demand for physical gold and shift a part of the domestic savings, used for purchase of gold, into financial savings.
  • The government has so far issued eighth tranches of SGBs and mobilised Rs. 5,400 crore till date.
  • Investors in these bonds have been provided with the option of holding them in physical or dematerialised form. 
  • As per the statement, the bonds with tenure of 8 years will be tradable on stock exchanges within a fortnight of the issuance on a date as notified by the RBI.
  • The investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50 per cent per annum payable semi-annually on the nominal value.
  • Payment for the bonds will be through cash payment (up to a maximum of Rs. 20,000) or demand draft or cheque or electronic banking.
  • The maximum amount subscribed by an entity will not be more than 500 grams per person per fiscal year. A self-declaration to this effect will be obtained. In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 500 grams will be applied to the first applicant only.
  • Price of bond will be fixed in rupees on the basis of simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Limited for the week (Monday to Friday) preceding the subscription period. The issue price of the gold bonds will be Rs. 50 per gram less than the nominal value.

RBI limits customer liability in online banking frauds

  • Laying out norms for limiting customer liability in online banking frauds, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
  • n cases of zero and limited liability of the customer "on being notified by the customer, the bank shall credit the amount involved in the unauthorised electronic transaction to the customer's account within 10 working days from the date of such notification by the customer (without waiting for settlement of insurance claim, if any) directed banks to credit the amount involved in the unauthorised electronic transaction within 10 working days to the account holder.
  • RBI also said that banks need to ask their customers to mandatorily register for SMS alerts and e-mail alerts for electronic banking transactions.

RBI allows large NBFCs to offer NPS

  • The Reserve Bank of India has allowed systematically important non-banking finance companies to offer the new pension scheme (NPS). NBFCs with asset size of Rs 500 crore and above, that have made a net profit in the preceding financial year be permitted to offer NPS after registration with the pension regulator.
  • Eligible NBFCs extending such services shall ensure that NPS subscription collected by them from the public is deposited on the day of collection with the trustee bank

Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance ties up with Dhanlaxmi Bank for marketing bancassurance

  • Private life insurance company Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance has entered into an alliance with the Kerala-based Dhanlaxmi Bank for marketing various life insurance products.
  • As part of the agreement, the Bank will be a corporate agent for 3 years; however, both aim to continue this relationship for long term.
  • The insurance company with a customer base of 115 million and a pan India network of 9500 branches has garnered Rs.110 crore profit in FY17, registering a 40 per cent growth vis-a-vis 38 per cent in the previous fiscal.
  • During the first quarter of FY18, Mathur said the company has already posted a 50 per cent growth and is getting into Tier II and III cities with a focus on many traditional products and whole life endowment plans.
  • With this up, Dhanlaxmi Bank is entering into a new business which would increase its profitability in the coming days

Awards & Achievements

PV Sindhu Wins Sportsperson of the Year 2017

  • India's renowned sports media brand, Sports Illustrated (SI) India Magazine concluded the sixth edition of ‘Maruti Suzuki Sportsperson of the Year’ Charity Gala Awards
  • portsperson of the Year is the most coveted Sports Awards franchise globally, acknowledging the performances and sporting excellence of athletes and teams for their outstanding achievements.
  • Special award for service to sports: Jayant Rastogi, CEO - Magic Bus (presented by Ms Parineeta Sethi and Simon Clays)
  • Team of the year: Jr. Hockey Team- Captain Harjeet Singh
  • Coach of the year: Pullela Gopichand
  • Editor’s Award for excellence: Devendra Jhajharia
  • Editor’s Award for excellence: Mariyappan Thangavelu
  • Editor’s Award for excellence: Varun Bhati
  • Outstanding Contribution to sports: K Arumugam
  • Athlete of the year: Gaurav Gill
  • Gamechanger of the year: K.L Rahul
  • Extreme Performer of the year: Shiva Keshavan
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Abhinav Bindra
  • Community Development through sports: Milind Soman
  • Inspirational athlete of the year: Deepa Malik
  • Living Legend: Milkha Singh
  • Sportsperson Of The Year: PV Sindhu

Tata Steel bags PM’s trophy for best integrated steel plant

  • Tata Steel has won the Prime Minister’s trophy for being the best performing integrated steel plant in the country during 2014-15 and 2015-16. 
  • “Tata Steel Ltd has been declared as the winner of Prime Minister’s trophy for ‘Best Performing Integrated Steel Plant’ in the country for the performance years 2014-2015 and 2015- 16. This makes it the third consecutive-year for the firm to be honoured with this coveted award
  • Tata Steel Group is among the top 10 global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 27.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) as on March 31, 2017. 
  • It is the world’s second-most geographically diversified steel producer, with operations in 26 countries and a commercial presence in over 50 countries.

Science & Technology

NASA's Hubble spots 'Hidden Galaxy'

  • NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a hidden galaxyIC 342, which is a challenging cosmic target.
  • Although it is bright, the galaxy sits near the equator of the Milky Way's galactic disk, where the sky is thick with glowing cosmic gas, bright stars, and dark, obscuring dust. In order for astronomers to see the intricate spiral structure of IC 342, they must gaze through a large amount of material contained within our own galaxy
  • As a result IC 342 is relatively difficult to spot and image, giving rise to its intriguing nickname: the "Hidden Galaxy."
  • Located very close (in astronomical terms) to the Milky Way, this sweeping spiral galaxy would be among the brightest in the sky were it not for its dust-obscured location.
  • The galaxy is very active, as indicated by the range of colours visible in this NASA/ESA HubbleSpace Telescope image, depicting the very central region of the galaxy.
  • A beautiful mixture of hot, blue star-forming regions, redder, cooler regions of gas, and dark lanes of opaque dust can be seen, all swirling together around a bright core.

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