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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Current Affairs Update – 23 May, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs update of 23 May, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, Dena Bank PGDBF, NICL AO Mains and other exams in 2017 July and August.



Current Affairs at a Glance - 23 May, 2017
  1. The Union Finance Ministry on 23 May 2017 announced that the taxation on entertainment, cable and DTH services will come down under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. The Entertainment Services like events or cinematography films in cinema theatres will attract 28 per cent GST with effect from 1 July 2017. Cable TV and Direct-To-Home (DTH) services will attract 18 per cent GST.
  2. Digital payment wallet service Paytm on 23 May 2017 launched its Payments Bank operations by launching its first physical branch in Noida.  Paytm Payments Bank will be the first bank in the country to offer cashbacks on deposits. The bank will now be expanded to 31 branches and 3000 customer service points in the first year. Renu Satti is the CEO of Paytm Payments bank.
  3. The Haryana government today signed five agreements with Singapore-based companies to attract Rs 18,000 crore investment in development projects in infrastructure and industrial sectors.
  4. State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a cashless drive through toll plaza product for its customers. The product, christened SBI Fastag, is a card that works on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Money can be loaded on the card.
  5. As per the data released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) in May 2017, India overtook Japan to become the second-largest steel producer in the world in 2016. The data was released by the International Stainless Steel Forum at a annual conference in Tokyo, Japan. As per the data, the top producer of the steel of the world in the year 2016 is China.
  6. The two-day ‘Start up India Summit’ began in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 23 May 2017.
  7. Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on 23 May 2017 launched mobile app Saral Eindhan Vitaran App (SEVA) for quick tracking of coal dispatch.
  8. Modi called for the creation of this corridor while inaugurating the 52nd Annual Meeting of African Development Bank (AfDB) at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The core theme of the Annual Meeting is ‘Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa’.
  9. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have collaborated to make a satellite called NISAR. The satellite will help scientists monitor the Earth like never before.
  10. Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran announced a key recruitment at holding company Tata Sons on Monday — of veteran investment banker Saurabh Agrawal as group chief financial officer.
  11. Rohan Chakravarty, Indian wildlife and environment cartoonist, in May 2017 won 2017 WWF International President’s Award.




Banking & Financial News

Entertainment, cable, DTH to attract lower taxes under GST

  • The Union Finance Ministry on 23 May 2017 announced that the taxation on entertainment, cable and DTH services will come down under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
  • Under GST, the Entertainment Tax has been subsumed and hence only the taxes levied by a Panchayat or Municipality on entertainments and amusements will continue.
  • The Entertainment Services like events or cinematography films in cinema theatres will attract 28 per cent GST with effect from 1 July 2017.
  • Cable TV and Direct-To-Home (DTH) services will attract 18 per cent GST.
  • With regard to circus, theatre, Indian classical dance including folk dance and drama, the GST rate is 18 per cent.
  • Further, the GST Council also approved an exemption up to a consideration for admission of Rs 250 per person.

Paytm launches Payments Bank


  • Digital payment wallet service Paytm on 23 May 2017 launched its Payments Bank operations by launching its first physical branch in Noida.
  • Paytm Payments Bank will be the first bank in the country to offer cashbacks on deposits. The bank will now be expanded to 31 branches and 3000 customer service points in the first year.
  • With this launch, there are now three payments bank operational in the country, the other two being Airtel Payments Bank Ltd and India Post Payments Bank Ltd.
  • As a Payments Bank, Paytm will be able to accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh per customer in savings or current accounts.
  • Customers will also be offered zero charges on all online transactions and no minimum balance requirement.
  • For Savings Accounts, it will offer an interest of 4 per cent per annum in line with the interest rates of all leading commercial banks. It will also offer current accounts to its millions of merchants.
  • It will offer Rs 250 cashback to customers depositing Rs 25000 to Payments Bank account.
  • Renu Satti is the CEO of Paytm Payments bank.

Haryana govt signs five MoUs worth Rs 18,000 crore in Singapore


  • The Haryana government today signed five agreements with Singapore-based companies to attract Rs 18,000 crore investment in development projects in infrastructure and industrial sectors.
  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said here the companies will study various aspects of undertaking projects in the state.
  • "These five MoUs are worth Rs 18,000 crore of investment in the state," he said, after attending the signing ceremony and addressing nearly 100 Singaporean businessmen at the venue.
  • The five MoUs were signed with Meinhardt Group, YCH Logistics for Logistics projects, Ascendas Singbridge for Townships/Logistics parks development, Adonis for Wellness projects and equity investor Equis Energy which makes investments in a wide range of projects, including transmission and power distribution among others.
  • The MoUs were signed by Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corp Ltd's Managing Director Raja Sekhar Vundru with representatives of the five companies.

SBI introduces cashless drive "SBI Fastag" through toll plazas


  • State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a cashless drive through toll plaza product for its customers here.
  • The product, christened SBI Fastag, is a card that works on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Money can be loaded on the card. It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables it to drive through toll plazas without stopping for cash transactions by allowing auto debit of toll amount from the card balance.
  • While formally launching Fastag, Neeraj Vyas, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, SBI, said the facility is currently operational in about 350 toll plazas across the national highways.
  • SBI Hyderabad circle has so far issued 6,300 Fastags. The system is interoperable and the same Fastag can be used across all toll plazas under the national Electronic Toll Collection programme, according to Hardyal Prasad, Chief General Manager, SBI, Telangana Circle.

India becomes second largest steel producer in the world


  • As per the data released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) in May 2017, India overtook Japan to become the second-largest steel producer in the world in 2016.
  • The data was released by the International Stainless Steel Forum at a annual conference in Tokyo, Japan.
  • India’s stainless steel production rose to 3.32 million tons for 2016. The data showed a growth of about 9 per cent over 3.0 million tons achieved in 2015.
  • As per the data, the top producer of the steel of the world in the year 2016 is China.
  • During 2014 and 2015, India was the third largest producer of raw steel and the largest producer of sponge iron in the world.
  • The industry produced 91.46 million tons of total finished steel and 9.7 million tons of pig iron.
  • Most iron and steel in India is produced from iron ore.
  • Most of the public sector undertakings market their steel through the Steel Authority of India (SAIL).
  • The iron and steel industry in India is organised into three categories: main producers, other major producers and secondary producers.



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Modi’s two-day flagship, ‘Start up India Summit’ begins in UAE


  • The two-day ‘Start up India Summit’ began in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 23 May 2017.
  • The summit is the first of its kind to be held in the UAE. It is being organised by the Consul General of India (CGI) in Dubai and the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi in partnership with iSPIRIT, a non-profit think tank and supported by TiE, Dubai, a non-profit association dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship.
  • The main aim of the summit is to provide a common platform for the Start up eco system in both India and UAE in order to encourage greater collaboration, exchange of ideas and interaction with academia, investors and industry.
  • The summit also aims to provide the start ups with access to the funding from venture capitalists in the UAE.
  • The participants from India include 17 start-up companies in the space of Artificial Intelligence, Financial Technology, Digi Medicine, Health care Technology, Innovative Technology and Software.

Union Government launches SEVA mobile app for quick tracking of coal dispatch


  • Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on 23 May 2017 launched mobile app Saral Eindhan Vitaran App (SEVA) for quick tracking of coal dispatch.
  • This unique monitoring app was a joint initiative of the Union Ministry of Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy and Coal India Limited (CIL).
  • The app will provide complete information of departmental functioning and transparency to the public.
  • It will track coal dispatch to 118 power plants through fuel supply agreement (FSA) of around 500 MT.
  • In addition, the dispatch through Special Forward E-Auction and Bridge Linkage from more than 200 dispatch points spread over eight states of the country will also be monitored.

PM Narendra Modi calls for creation of Asia-Africa growth corridor for development of Africa


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23 May 2017 called for the creation of an Asia-Africa growth corridor for the development of Africa.
  • Modi called for the creation of this corridor while inaugurating the 52nd Annual Meeting of African Development Bank (AfDB) at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The core theme of the Annual Meeting is ‘Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa’.
  • The meeting of African Development Bank is a five-day event that will witness about 3,000 delegates from 81 member countries.
  • While inaugurating the Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank, he said that India is the fifth largest investor in Africa and in the last 20 years it has invested $54 billion. He said India is working with the United Nations and Japan to support development in Africa.
  • The main focus of the meeting will be on achieving sustainable growth with High 5s- strategy- which includes agriculture, energy, industrialisation, and regional connectivity as well as improved quality of life.
  • This is the first time that African Development Bank is holding its annual meetings in India with a view to bolstering ties.

PM Modi inaugurates series of projects in Gujarat


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 May 2017 inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various projects of the Kandla Port in Kutch district of Gujarat.
  • The projects include construction of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Convention Center, 14th and 16th Cargo berths, Railway Bridge at Sal junction, Mechanised fertiliser handling facility and purchase of two mobile harbour crane.
  • Addressing the gathering on this occasion, the Prime Minister said that infrastructure, efficiency and transparency are the vital pillars of economic growth. He said good ports are essential for the progress of India and Kandla has emerged as one of the finest ports in Asia. Modi thanked the people of Kandla for the memorable welcome.

News related to India and states

ISRO and NASA collaborate to build Earth-imaging satellite NISAR


  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have collaborated to make a satellite called NISAR. The satellite will help scientists monitor the Earth like never before.
  • The expanded form of NISAR is NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar. It is scheduled to be launched in 2021.
  • The estimated cost of the radar is over 1.5 billion dollars and it could possibly be the world’s most expensive Earth imaging satellite.
  • In a meeting in Toronto, Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, and K Radhakrishnan, Chairman ISRO, signed two documents to launch the NASA-ISRO satellite mission. The aim of the mission is to observe Earth and establish a pathway for future joint missions for Mars exploration.

MP Government has banned Sand Mining in Narmada River


  • The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, ordered an indefinite ban on sand mining in Narmada River on 22 May 2017.
  • The Minister made the announcement while addressing a press conference in the state’s capital, Bhopal. He stated that the ban on sand mining in river Narmada will hold till a government-appointed committee of experts submits its report on scientific mining in the river.
  • The government-appointed committee would be led by Rajendra Shukla, the state’s Minister for Mineral Resources, Commerce and Industry.
  • It would be working along with experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Kharagpur) in developing a blueprint for scientific ways of mining in the river.
  • Its report would determine how much sand can be safely mined from the river without causing any damage to it.

World News

Seventieth World Health Assembly kicks off in Geneva


  • The 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) opened on 22 May 2017 at Geneva-based UN headquarters in Switzerland.
  • The World Health Assembly is the main decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The Member States of the WHA will elect a new Director-General, who will take office for a five-year term on 1 July 2017.
  • The three nominees for the position are Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, Dr David Nabarro of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Dr Sania Nishtar of Pakistan. They will each address the Health Assembly for 15 minutes on 23 May 2017.
  • The election will take place by secret ballot and its result will be communicated once the process has been completed.
  • The delegates will also approve the WHO’s programme budget for 2018-19 and discuss a wide range of health-related issues.

UN releases the First draft of Nuclear Ban Treaty


  • The United Nations on 22 May 2017 released the first draft of the nuclear ban treaty that would legally prohibit the possession of nuclear weapons, in the face of strong opposition from all the nuclear-armed states including the United States.
  • The draft was released in Geneva by Costa Rican UN ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, who is leading the UN conference negotiating the ban. It condemns the use of nuclear weapons, terming it as a violation of the international humanitarian law.
  • The draft requires all the nations to make every effort to prevent the future use of nuclear weapons.
  • It would also require the states to make a pledge to never use the weapons and also to never develop, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer or test them.
  • The states possessing the weapons would be obliged to destroy them under the treaty.

Appointments

Saurabh Agrawal appointed Tata Group CFO


  • Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran announced a key recruitment at holding company Tata Sons on Monday — of veteran investment banker Saurabh Agrawal as group chief financial officer.
  • Agrawal, who will join from July, is currently the head of strategy with the Aditya Birla Group. 
  • As group CFO at Tata Sons, he will have to focus on bringing back some of the loss-making businesses on track. Agrawal was instrumental in handling the Idea-Vodafone merger deal, as well as the Grasim-Aditya Birla Nuvo merger for the Birla entity.
  • It will be the second big appointment by Chandrasekaran, after that of Ankur Verma, former managing director of investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who joined Tata Group in March.

Awards & Honors

India’s Rohan Chakravarty wins WWF International President’s Award

  • Rohan Chakravarty, Indian wildlife and environment cartoonist, in May 2017 won 2017 WWF International President’s Award.
  • Chakravarty has been honoured for his efforts to inspire change and attitudes towards nature.
  • Chakravarty, under the banner of Green Humour, runs a series of cartoons on nature conservation issues. It is possibly one of the largest cartoon collections in the genre in India today.
  • Green Humour is published across several wildlife and environment magazines and newspapers.
  • It is also the first Indian comic strip to be distributed internationally.
  • The wildlife and environment cartoonist was announced as one of the two winners of the award, alongside Indonesian environmental youth champion, Adeline Tiffanie Suwana.
  • The 2017 WWF International President’s Award was presented in Manado, Indonesia.







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