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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Current Affairs Update -18 May, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs update of 18 May, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, BOB Manipal, NICL AO Mains and other exams in 2017 July and August.



Current Affairs at a Glance - 18 May, 2017
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on May 23. This is the first time in the history of AfDB Group that India would be hosting the Annual Meetings of the bank.
  2. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 17 May 2017 gave its approval for Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission for accelerating discovery research to early development for biopharmaceuticals - "Innovate in India (13) empowering biotech entrepreneurs & accelerating inclusive innovation."
  3. The Union Cabinet, presided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave a green signal for the construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). 
  4. Brand Finance report of 2017 has listed Tata Group as the most valuable brand in India with India at an estimated brand value of $13.1 billion. Brand Finance is a global brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm and it released its Brand Finance India 100 2017 report on 17 May 2017.
  5. The Union Cabinet, presided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave ex-post facto approval to Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program.
  6. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 18 May 2017 stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav till its final decision. Ruling in favour of India, the Court asked Pakistan to keep it informed about the measures, including on consular access, taken by it in this connection.
  7. Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated the 15th National meeting of the State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) on 17 May 2017.
  8. Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious Dan David prize 2017 for his contribution in the field of astronomy. He was awarded in the 'Future' category which is dedicated to astronomy this year.
  9. Two Indian activists Sanjay Gubbi and Purnima Barman on 18 May 2017 won the annual Whitley Awards, popularly known as the 'Green Oscars', for their works in the field of animal and bird conservation in India.
  10. Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan was today given additional charge of Environment Ministry, due to sudden demise of Anil Madhav Dave.
  11. Robert Mueller, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
  12. Veteran actress Reema Lagoo died on 18 May 2017 at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. She reportedly suffered a massive cardiac arrest.
  13. Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave passed away on 18 May 2017 following a brief illness at AIIMS Hospital, Delhi.





Financial and Banking News

PM to inaugurate Annual Meetings of African Development Bank


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on May 23.
  • This is the first time in the history of AfDB Group that India would be hosting the Annual Meetings of the bank. The meetings are to be held from May 22 to 26 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The core theme of the event is "Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa".
  • About 3,000 delegates from 81 member countries are expected to gather at the sprawling Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre, an official release said.
  • India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen her economic cooperation with the African countries, the release added. India is also looking forward to cooperation with Africa on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative.

CCEA approves Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 17 May 2017 gave its approval for Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission for accelerating discovery research to early development for biopharmaceuticals - "Innovate in India (13) empowering biotech entrepreneurs & accelerating inclusive innovation."
  • The Mission will be funded by the Government of India. It will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), which is a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • The Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission would be a Pan-India program.
  • Its key focus areas is preparing India's technological and product development capabilities in the biopharmaceutical sector to a level that it is globally competitive over the next 10-15 years.
  • It also aims at transforming the health standards of India's population through affordable product development.

CCEA approves electrified doubling line between Phephana-Indara and Mau-Shahganj in UP


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 17 May 2017 approved the construction of double line with electrification between Phephana-Indara and Mau-Shahganj (excluding Indara-Mau) in Uttar Pradesh (UP). This electrified doubling line will spread across 150 km approximately.
  • The respective length of the Phephana-Indara and Mau-Shahganj lines will be 50.53 km and 99.75 km respectively.
  • The estimated cost of the Project will be Rs 1028.95 crore with expected completion cost of Rs 1190.98 crore. The project is likely to be completed in next five years.
  • The doubling of these lines will remove the pressure over the congested North Central Railway route by providing an alternative route. It will lead to economic prosperity and development of the areas.

CCEA approves restructuring plan for Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 approved a restructuring plan for Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd (HOCL).
  • This came following the observation that Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd became a more of a loss making and sick Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals.
  • The company has been making continuous cash losses since 2011-12 resulting in acute shortage of working capital. It had not been paying regular salary and statutory dues to the employees since February 2015. Most of its plants have remained shut down during the last few years.
  • The company have its units at Rasayani (Maharashtra) and Kochi (Kerala).

Union Cabinet approves construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors


  • The Union Cabinet, presided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave a green signal for the construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). 
  • The move aims to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power programme and give a push to country’s nuclear industry.
  • The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity. The total installed capacity of the Plants will be 7000 MW.
  • In a first of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in fleet mode as a fully homegrown initiative. It would be one of the flagship “Make in India” projects in this sector.
  • At present, the installed nuclear power capacity of Indian is 6780 MW from 22 operational plants.



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Reports


Tata Group is India’s most valuable brand: Brand Finance


  • Brand Finance report of 2017 has listed Tata Group as the most valuable brand in India with India at an estimated brand value of $13.1 billion. Brand Finance is a global brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm and it released its Brand Finance India 100 2017 report on 17 May 2017.
  • The Tata group topped the list of India’s 100 most valuable brands once again even after its value declined by 4 per cent to $ 13.1 billion in 2017 from $ 13.7 billion in 2016. It says, the decline of the brand value by 4 per cent is lesser than the decline of 11 per cent which was seen between 2015 and 2016.
  • Tata Group that was ranked at the top position in the list is followed by Telecom operator Airtel (2nd) with an estimated valuation of $7.7 billion, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) (3rd) with $6.8 billion, IT firm Infosys (4th) with value of $6.2 billion and State Bank of India (SBI) (5th) value of $5.5 billion respectively.
Key facts about the India’s 100 most valuable brands

  • In 2017, the total brand value of India’s top 100 brands increased by 15 per cent, while the global average is 11 per cent.
  • According to Brand Finance, 68 of India’s 100 most valuable brands have grown in value in 2017.
  • Air carrier Indigo Airlines, which gained the most, has jumped from No. 95 in 2016 to No. 62 in 2017 in the Brand Finance list. It happened after the airline added 35 new routes and increased frequency on existing routes.
  • The report says that Kolkata-based cigarette-to-noodles maker ITC that was is India’s only AAA rated brand with a Brand Strength Index score of 86. The report has ranked ITC as the most powerful brand in India.

News related to India and states

Union Cabinet approves pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program


  • The Union Cabinet, presided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 17 May 2017 gave ex-post facto approval to Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program.
  • The Program has been extended to all districts of the country with effect from 1 January 2017.
  • The Maternity Benefit Program will grant compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the women can take adequate rest before and after delivery and not be deprived of proper nutrition.
  • The total cost of the proposal for the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2020 including Union and State Governments share is Rs. 12661 crore. The Government of India’s share during the period is around Rs. 7932 crore.
  • The Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother will be given the benefit of Rs. 5000 in three instalments for the birth of the first live child by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and the remaining cash incentive as per approved norms towards Maternity Benefit under existing programmes after institutional delivery so that on an average, a woman will get Rs. 6000.

ICJ stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution till final order


  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 18 May 2017 stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav till its final decision. Ruling in favour of India, the Court asked Pakistan to keep it informed about the measures, including on consular access, taken by it in this connection.
  • Reading out the verdict at The Hague, Netherlands, ICJ President Ronny Abraham said that India has the right to consular access to Jadhav under Vienna convention. He said the court considers that it has prima facie jurisdiction in the matter as there is a dispute between the parties.
  • He said acts alleged by India fall in the Vienna convention which guarantees state to be given access to its citizen. He added the rights invoked by India under the Vienna Convention are plausible.
  • After the order, the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the ICJ order has come as a great relief to the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India. She also said that the union government is grateful to Harish Salve for presenting India's case so effectively before ICJ.

Cabinet Minister Inaugurated 15th National Meeting for Persons with Disabilities


  • Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated the 15th National meeting of the State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) on 17 May 2017.
  • The two-days meet aims to review the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of rights and Full Participation) Act-1995 and formulate a strategy for its more effective implementation.
  • It has been organised by the Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, which is under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The meet saw in attendance Kamlesh Pande, the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and N.S. Kang, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

Awards & Honors

Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni wins Dan David Prize 2017


  • Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious Dan David prize 2017 for his contribution in the field of astronomy. He was awarded in the 'Future' category which is dedicated to astronomy this year.
  • He will share the award with Andrej Udalski of the University of Warsaw and Neil Gehrels of NASA for their discoveries on time-domain astrophysics.
  • Kulkarni is a professor of astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
  • He is a pioneer and leading figure in time-domain astrophysics across the electromagnetic spectrum who built and conducted the Palomar Transient Factory, a large-area survey of the night sky in search of variable and transient phenomena.
  • This survey has turned up thousands of stellar explosions and has transformed the knowledge about the transient sky.

Indian activists Sanjay Gubbi and Purnima Barman win Whitley Awards 2017


  • Two Indian activists Sanjay Gubbi and Purnima Barman on 18 May 2017 won the annual Whitley Awards, popularly known as the 'Green Oscars', for their works in the field of animal and bird conservation in India.
  • These two Indians are among six global winners of the award shortlisted from 166 entries.
The other winners of this year’s awards include

  • Indira Lacerna-Widmann from the Philippines
  • Ian Little from South Africa
  • Alexander Blanco from Venezuela
  • Ximena Velez-Liendo from Bolivia
Each winner will receive 35000 pounds prize money in project funding over one year. The Whitley Awards or Green Oscars are organised by UK-based  Whitley Fund for Nature to highlight grassroots leaders in nature conservation across the developing world.

Appointments

Harsh Vardhan gets additional charge of Environment Ministry


  • Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan was today given additional charge of Environment Ministry, due to sudden demise of Anil Madhav Dave.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has directed that Harsh Vardhan, Cabinet Minister shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in addition to his exiting portfolios, a press release issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
  • Harsh Vardhan is also the Minister of Earth Sciences.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller named Special Counsel for Russia Probe


  • Robert Mueller, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
  • The appointment was announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein on 17 May 2017.

Obituaries

Veteran actress Reema Lagoo passes away


  • Veteran actress Reema Lagoo died on 18 May 2017 at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. She reportedly suffered a massive cardiac arrest. She was 59.
  • Lagoo who appeared in several Hindi and Marathi films also acted in numerous television shows like Tu Tu Main Main and Shrimaan Shrimati.
  • She played the role of a mother in several Bollywood films like Maine Pyar Kiya, Aashiqui, Saajan, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Vaastav, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Aruna Raje's Rihaee, Gumrah, Jai Kishen, Gumrah and Hum Saath-Saath Hain.
  • Her mother Mandakini Bhadbhade was also an actor and a well-known name in the Marathi theatre.

Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave passes away


  • Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave passed away on 18 May 2017 following a brief illness at AIIMS Hospital, Delhi. He was 60.
  • The minister was last seen in meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 May 2017 itself.
  • Dave took charge as Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in July 2016.
  • He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in August 2009. Before being appointed as a member of Rajya Sabha, he was appointed as a Member of Committee on Water Resources.






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