Current Affairs Update – 16-17 May, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs update of 16-17 May, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, NIACL Assistant Mains, BOB Manipal, NICL AO Mains and other exams in 2017 July and August.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 16-17 May, 2017
  1. At the Union Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government decided to set up the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Assam of worth Rs. 155 crore to promote agri-education and realize second green revolution in the northeastern region.
  2. The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) has successfully created the country's first smart grid project that will generate power from renewable sources of energy.
  3. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 16 May 2017 launched Operation Clean Money Portal with an aim to keep a tab on dishonest citizens hiding their income from the authorities and government.
  4. India has imposed anti-dumping duty on certain types of glasses from Iran and aluminium radiators from China in order to protect the domestic industry from cheap imports.
  5. India and Palestine on 16 May 2017 signed 5 agreements for cooperation in different areas including agriculture, health and Information Technology.
  6. The National Green Tribunal announced on 17 May 2017 that any vehicle found over-speeding inside the Kaziranga National Park would have to pay an environment compensation of Rs 5000 besides challan under the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act.
  7. Minister for Information & Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu on 16 May 2017 announced a separate 24x7 DD channel for the state of Jharkhand. The plan was announced at the review meeting of the programmes and initiatives of Ministry of I&B held at Ranchi, Jharkhand.
  8. Indian Navy and Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre on 15 May 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Data Sharing and Scientific cooperation in the field of Meteorology and Oceanology.
  9. Indian cricketer Suresh Raina launched Gracia Raina Foundation (GRF) on 15 May 2017, which is dedicated to creating awareness and work closely with mothers and children who require help ranging from physical and mental issues.
  10. Indian Railways on 15 May 2017 announced to install CCTV surveillance system at more than 900 stations under the Nirbhaya Fund at an approved cost of Rs 500 crore with an aim to strengthen security at railway premises.
  11. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani leads a Forbes list of ‘Global Game Changers’ who are transforming their industries and changing the lives of billions of people around the globe.
  12. The Visakhapatnam railway station is the cleanest, followed by Secunderabad, among the 75 most busy stations in the country. The Darbhanga railway station in Bihar was the dirtiest among the busiest stations.
  13. PFRDA-CRISIL report titled 'Financial security for India's elderly - The imperatives’  released on 15 May 2017 said that India will transform gradually from young to a 'greying' country and by 2050 every 5th Indian will be in the 60s as against every 12th at present.
  14. The Public Affairs Centre (PAC), India on 12 May 2017 released the Public Affairs Index (PAI) 2017. Kerala and Tamil Nadu secured first and second rankings for the second consecutive year in the index. Gujarat ranked third by gaining two positions from last years' index.
  15. David Letterman, who was the longest-running host of late-night TV shows in the United States, was on 17 May 2017 awarded with the Mark Twain Prize 2017 for American humour.
  16. Renowned wildlife biologist, Dr Purnima Devi Barman, in May 2017 was nominated for the prestigious Whitley Awards.
  17. Indian mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa became the first Indian to climb the Mount Everest for the fourth time in six years.
  18. Indian squash player Ramit Tandon won his first professional title on 14 May 2017 after beating his Indian counterpart, Kush Kumar in the Sys Open 2017.
  19. French President Emmanuel Macron on 15 May 2017 named Edouard Philippe as the Prime Minister of the country.
  20. Ovais Sarmad, a senior Indian official, in the second week of May 2017 was appointed as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  21. The 2017 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) was observed on 17 May 2017. The theme for WTISD-17 is Big Data for Big Impact.





Financial and Banking News

Union Cabinet approves proposal to set-up Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Assam

  • At the Union Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government decided to set up the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Assam of worth Rs. 155 crore to promote agri-education and realize second green revolution in the northeastern region.
  • "The work to set up an IARI in Ranchi (Jharkhand) has started. The IARI-Assam was delayed as the previous government did not give land. The current (Sarbananda) Sonowal government has given 587 acres of land and work will start," Union Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after the meeting.
  • The Cabinet has approved the agriculture ministry's proposal to set up an IARI in Dhemaji district in Assam. It has also approved 98 positions, an official statement said.
  • The IARI-Assam would focus more on research activities and will teach 67 MSc students and 106 Ph.D. students, Goyal said, adding that it will promote research in agriculture and benefit eight north eastern states.
  • Development of north eastern region is a priority for the government and has the potential to bring second green revolution, he added.

Sri Lanka backs India's Stand on China-Pak Economic Corridor

  • Sri Lanka, which was a participant of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) conference in Beijing, on 16 May 2017, backed India’s concern about Kashmir. The two-day conference in Beijing brought together leaders from 29 countries.
  • Speaking to PTI, Sarath Amanugama, Sri Lanka's Minister on Special Assignment said, it is difficult for New Delhi to accept the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it goes through the heart of Indian interests. He also said, if it would have been some uncontested region, India would have negotiated its way out.
  • Earlier, India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the $ 50 billion CPEC project. India’s concern is that the project passed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).  India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the 50 billion dollars CPEC, which goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

India’s first smart grid to generate power from renewable energy sources

  • The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) has successfully created the country's first smart grid project that will generate power from renewable sources of energy.
  • Speaking on the same, Ajoy Kumar Roy, the Director of IIEST stated that the grid will be synchronised to generate power from solar, wind and vegetable waste resources, depending on the weather conditions and availability of waste products.
  • The project, the first of its kind in the country, will be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
  • The power to be generated from solar energy sources would depend on the availability of sunlight.
  • Wind energy will be produced during nor'wester and tropical storm.
  • The power from biogas will be generated from vegetable waste collected from the campus kitchen and outside markets.

Union Government launches EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017

  • Union Minister of Labour & Employment Bandaru Dattatreya on 16 May 2017 launched EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017 and E-Court Management System along with it.
Highlights of EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017

  • Citizens’ Charter 2017 of EPFO is an attempt to bring transparency and accountability on the part of EPFO.
  • It will also offer social security coverage to all employees as well as implementation of policies for benefit of all stakeholders with adequate support level of social security.
  • The charter will make service delivery system and grievance redressal mechanism more efficient so that it delivers goods and services to its all stakeholders in a time bound manner with a reduced timeline from earlier timeline of 30 days.
  • The timeline in case of claim settlements is 10 days and 15 days in case of grievance redressal management.

Highlights of EPFO E-Court Management System

  • It is a transparent and electronic case management system which will cater to aspirations of all stakeholders – the employers, the employees, litigants and CBT.
  • It is a step towards paperless court system wherein court procedure of EPF & MP Act, 1952 and EPFAT will take place in a digital environment.
  • Moreover, in order to facilitate easy access to the tribunal, automated messages will be sent to the litigants on their registered mobile numbers on the status of their cases.
  • The stakeholders can also track the individual cases online.
  • The parties can file all their paper / evidence / documents online and all the details along with status can be accessed online.

Union Government launches Operation Clean Money portal

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 16 May 2017 launched Operation Clean Money Portal with an aim to keep a tab on dishonest citizens hiding their income from the authorities and government.
  • It will provide comprehensive information at one place consisting of step by step guides, frequently asked questions, user guides, quick reference guides and training toolkits related to verification process.
  • It will enable citizen engagement for creating a tax compliant society and citizens would be able to support the Operation Clean Money by taking pledge, contribute by engaging and educating fellow citizens, and share their experiences and provide feedback.
  • It will enable Transparent Tax Administration by sharing status reports and thematic analysis reports.

India imposes anti-dumping duty on glasses and Chinese radiators

  • India has imposed anti-dumping duty on certain types of glasses from Iran and aluminium radiators from China in order to protect the domestic industry from cheap imports.
  • While an anti-dumping duty of about USD 55.59 per tonne has been imposed on clear float glass, duty of about USD 22.89 has been slammed on imports of aluminium radiators.
  • The imposed fine on both products would be effective for a period of five years.
  • Clear float glass is a superior quality glass that is used in construction, refrigeration, mirror and solar energy industries.
  • In a separate probe, the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) had concluded that these products were dumped into India and have caused material injury to the domestic industry.
  • Three companies including Saint-Gobain India had filed the application for dumping probe of this product.

India, Palestine sign five agreements for cooperation in different sectors

  • India and Palestine on 16 May 2017 signed 5 agreements for cooperation in different areas including agriculture, health and Information Technology.
  • The Agreements were exchanged after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas in New Delhi. The two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, regional and international issues.
List of MoUs inked during the visit of President Abbas include
  1. MoU on Visa Exemption on Diplomatic and Official Passports
  2. MoU on Cooperation in Youth Affairs and Sports
  3. MoU on Agricultural Cooperation
  4. MoU on Cooperation in Health Sector
  5. MoU on Information-Technology and Electronics
Later in a joint press statement, Prime Minister Modi said, challenges in West Asia must be addressed through political dialogue. He also said that India and Palestine will work together for capacity building and Ramallah will be made an IT hub.

VO Chidambaranar Port Trust and TANGEDCO sign MoU to upgrade Coal Jetties

  • The VO Chidambaranar Port (VOCP) on 15 May 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) for the upgradation of Coal Jetty I and II.
  • As per the MoU, VOCP intends to increase the capacity of two of its Coal Jetties I and II from 6.25 MTPA to 24 MTPA.
  • The MoU was signed by S Anantha Chandra Bose, Chairman of VO Chidambaranar Port Trust and M Sai Kumar, Chairman cum Managing Director of TANGEDCO.
  • Highlights of the MoU
  • The estimated cost for upgrading Coal Jetties I & II is about Rs 800 crore.
  • Initially, Coal Jetty-I will be upgraded in about 24 months by constructing a new Coal Jetty-I of 300m x25m along with repair of the existing CJ-I.
  • The project will make coal handling by the jetties much more voluminous and efficient and consequently bring down logistics costs. It will also allow for cheaper production of electricity which will be beneficial for industrial growth.


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News related to India and states

NGT orders Rs 5000 fine on over-speeding vehicles in Kaziranga

  • The National Green Tribunal announced on 17 May 2017 that any vehicle found over-speeding inside the Kaziranga National Park would have to pay an environment compensation of Rs 5000 besides challan under the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act.
  • The order was passed by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar. The decision was taken after the park’s director informed the tribunal about four animal deaths since January 2017 despite the installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers to prevent such fatalities. 
  • Further, the bench advised the park authorities to take effective measures to stop these animal casualties.

Venkaiah Naidu announces separate 24x7 DD Channel for Jharkhand

  • Minister for Information & Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu on 16 May 2017 announced a separate 24x7 DD channel for the state of Jharkhand. The plan was announced at the review meeting of the programmes and initiatives of Ministry of I&B held at Ranchi, Jharkhand.
  • The announcement was a part of a three-year action plan of Doordarshan put forward by the state government. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Raghubar Das.
  • A statement released by I&B ministry said that the DD Ranchi programmes would be telecast on DD Bihar till the channel is launched. It said, till official launch of the channel in Jharkhand, the programmes would be provided with a special window in available 24x7 satellite channel – DD Bihar.

Indian Navy and Space Application Centre signs MoU for cooperation

  • Indian Navy and Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre on 15 May 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Data Sharing and Scientific cooperation in the field of Meteorology and Oceanology.
  • The MoU was signed at SAC, Ahmedabad by Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, AVSM, NM, Director General Naval Operations and Tapan Misra, Director, Space Application Centre (SAC).
  • The signed pact provides for the creation of a common platform of mutual cooperation where SAC will be sharing its expertise in a number of areas including satellite data acquisition technology with the Indian Navy.

Suresh Raina launches foundation dedicated to wellness of Mother and Child

  • Indian cricketer Suresh Raina launched Gracia Raina Foundation (GRF) on 15 May 2017, which is dedicated to creating awareness and work closely with mothers and children who require help ranging from physical and mental issues.
  • The announcement was made by the cricketer along with his wife Priyanka on the occasion of his daughter, Gracia Raina’s first birthday.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Raina stated that the organisation is something that is very personal to him and his wife and it has been very special for them to announce its launch on their daughter’s birthday. He further said that his wife has been working hard towards this and he fully supports her endeavours.
  • Raina also added that with this foundation they hope to shed light and help women and babies across the country.

Indian Railways to install CCTV cameras at over 900 stations under Nirbhaya fund

  • Indian Railways on 15 May 2017 announced to install CCTV surveillance system at more than 900 stations under the Nirbhaya Fund at an approved cost of Rs 500 crore with an aim to strengthen security at railway premises.
  • For this purpose, Indian Railways will shortly send out tenders to install about 19000 high definition CCTV cameras at 983 stations across the country to ensure round-the-clock security to passengers including women.
  • The cameras will be installed at platforms and waiting areas while there will be control rooms at stations to monitor CCTV footages by trained RPF personnel constantly.
  • The station master will also be given access to monitor CCTV camera footage as part of the project being undertaken by the public transporter.
  • Besides keeping a constant watch, the CCTV surveillance system will help in post-incident crime investigation.

Indexes & Reports

Mukesh Ambani leads Forbes list of Global Game Changers

  • Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani leads a Forbes list of ‘Global Game Changers’ who are transforming their industries and changing the lives of billions of people around the globe.
  • Forbes’ second annual Global Game Changers' list includes 25 “intrepid business leaders” who are “unsatisfied with the status quo” and “transforming their industries and changing the lives of billions of people around the globe.”
  • Ambani, 60 comes at the top of the list for his game changing efforts to bring the Internet to India’s masses.
  • “Oil and gas tycoon entered the country’s telecom market with a bang, offering fast Internet at dirt-cheap prices.
  • Gained 100 million customers in six months and set off a wave of consolidation in the market,” Forbes said, referring to his company’s mobile network operator Reliance Jio.
  • It quoted Ambani as saying that “anything and everything that can go digital is going digital. India cannot afford to be left behind.”
  • Forbes said the 25 trailblazers on the list are re-imagining countless facets of everyday life, from health to sending money to relatives abroad.

Vizag cleanest of 75 most busy railway stations; Darbhanga dirtiest

  • The Visakhapatnam railway station is the cleanest, followed by Secunderabad, among the 75 most busy stations in the country.
  • According to a survey, the report of which was released by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi on Wednesday, the Jammu railway station occupied the third spot, while the New Delhi station was ranked at 39 among the busiest stations.
  • The survey was carried out by the Quality Council of India.
  • The Darbhanga railway station in Bihar was the dirtiest among the busiest stations.
  • Clean toilets at platforms, clean tracks, and dustbins at stations were some of the criteria for judging railway stations for cleanliness.
  • This was the third survey on cleanliness done by the railways to keep a tab on rail premises as part of its 'Swachh Rail' campaign.

India ageing gradually; every 5th person to be 60+ by 2050

  • PFRDA-CRISIL report titled 'Financial security for India's elderly - The imperatives’  released on 15 May 2017 said that India will transform gradually from young to a 'greying' country and by 2050 every 5th Indian will be in the 60s as against every 12th at present.
  • Flagging the demographic transition, the report said it is important that the development of the under-penetrated pension market in India be initiated now when the situation is ripe.
  • Facts of the 'Financial security for India's elderly - The imperatives' report
  • The PFRDA-CRISIL repost says that demographically, India will transition slowly from a ‘young’ to a ‘greying’ country, where persons above the age of 60 would increase from 8.9 per cent of the population now to 19.4 per cent by 2050.
  • The report also suggests that the population of people above 80 is likely to increase from 0.9 per cent to 2.8 per cent by 2050.
  • Almost 90 per cent of the population was below the age of 60 years and the working age population proportion stood at 44 per cent in 2015.

Public Affairs Index 2017 released: Kerala secures 1st position

  • The Public Affairs Centre (PAC), India on 12 May 2017 released the Public Affairs Index (PAI) 2017. Kerala and Tamil Nadu secured first and second rankings for the second consecutive year in the index.
  • Gujarat ranked third by gaining two positions from last years' index.
  • The PAI Rankings are based on the survey that was carried out based on 10 themes, 26 focus subjects and 82 indicators.
  • These 10 themes were Essential infrastructure; Support to human development; Social protection; Women and children; Crime, law and order; Delivery of justice; Environment; Transparency and accountability; Fiscal management and Economic freedom.
  • The top three positions of index were fetched by Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat respectively in the Large States category.
  • Karnataka and Maharashtra stood at the fourth and fifth position respectively in governance indicators.

Awards & Honors

David Letterman wins Mark Twain Prize 2017 for American humour

  • David Letterman, who was the longest-running host of late-night TV shows in the United States, was on 17 May 2017 awarded with the Mark Twain Prize 2017 for American humour.
  • With this, Letterman became the 20th humorist to receive the prize. He is also a past recipient of Kennedy Centre Honours for his influence on American culture.
  • Letterman hosted over 6000 late-night shows in 33 years on the air. He won 10 Emmy Awards while hosting NBC's "Late Night" and then "The Late Show" on CBS. His final show in May 2015 drew an audience of 13.8 million people.

Renowned biologist Purnima Devi Barman nominated for Whitley Awards

  • Renowned wildlife biologist, Dr Purnima Devi Barman, in May 2017 was nominated for the prestigious Whitley Awards.
  • Barman has been nominated for her relentless efforts and campaigns for the conservation of the Greater Adjutant Stork locally known as Haargila in Assam.
  • The wildlife biologist has been working with the Dadara, Pachariya and Hingimari villages of Kamrup district to save the Greater Adjutant Stork. She is associated with Aaranyak, a Guwahati based NGO, which works for wildlife conservation.


Sports News

Anshu Jamsenpa becomes first Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest four times

  • Indian mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa has climbed the Mount Everest yet again, the fourth time in six years.
  • Hailing from Bomdila town in Arunachal Pradesh, the 32-year-old woman reached the world's highest peak for the fourth time yesterday, a state government release said here.
  • Jamsenpa earlier scaled Mount Everest thrice. She conquered the peak twice within 10 days between May 12 and 21, 2011, and made her third successful attempt on May 18, 2013.

Lewis Hamilton wins 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

  • Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on 14 May 2017 stole a stunning victory in the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
  • It was Hamilton’s second win of the season.

US-based Indian Ramit Tandon won his maiden PSA title

  • Indian squash player Ramit Tandon won his first professional title on 14 May 2017 after beating his Indian counterpart, Kush Kumar in the Sys Open 2017.
  • The US-based player beat the third-seeded Kumar in straight sets of 11-3, 11-2 and 11-3 in the final. This was Tandon's third appearance in a Professional Squash Association final.


Appointments

Edouard Philippe named as Prime Minister of France

  • French President Emmanuel Macron on 15 May 2017 named Edouard Philippe as the Prime Minister of the country.
  • Philippe comes from the ranks of a center-right party outside Macron’s own movement.
  • Philippe is a member of the Les Républicains party and is close to Alain Juppé, the former Prime Minister who endorsed Macron after he won the first round of the presidential election.

Ovais Sarmad appointed as Deputy Executive Secretary of UNFCCC

  • Ovais Sarmad, a senior Indian official, in the second week of May 2017 was appointed as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • The appointment was made after consultation with the Conference of Parties through its Bureau.
  • Sarmad was appointed to the post at the assistant secretary-general level by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
  • Sarmad will succeed Canada’s Richard Kinley.


Days & Observances

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2017 observed on 17 May

  • The 2017 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) was observed on 17 May 2017.
  • The theme for WTISD-17 is Big Data for Big Impact. The theme focuses on the power of Big Data for development and aims to explore how to turn imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information in a development context.
  • The theme for WTISD-17 is in line with ITU's work highlighting the technological developments that have facilitated the emergence of Big Data, developing standards related to Big Data and identifying sources and uses of Big Data, including use of Big Data technologies for developing and monitoring improvements in information societies.

World Meteorological Organisation launches Year of Polar Prediction

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ON 15 May 2017 officially announced the start of the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP).
  • The Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) is one of the key elements of the Polar Prediction Project.
  • The YOPP’s mission is to enable a significant improvement in environmental prediction capabilities for the polar regions and beyond. It will be done by coordinating a period of intensive observing, modelling, verification, user-engagement and education activities.







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