Current Affairs Update – 28-29 June, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 28 & 29 June, 2017. These are important for the upcoming IBPS RRB OS-I, Office Assistant, IBPS PO, Dena Bank PGDBF, NABARD Grade A Recruitment Exam 2017.


Banking & Financial News

Maharashtra Government issued government resolution on loan waiver


  • The Maharashtra government issued the Government Resolution (GR) on 28 June 2017 for the farm loan waiver of Rs 34022 crore announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week.
  • The resolution said, loans of all indebted farmers whose accounts went into default until 30 June 2016, will be waived off with a cap of Rs 1.5 lakh per farmer.
  • It said, the farmers who have paid off their outstanding loans after 30 June 2016, will get a blanket help of Rs 25000 from the state government. The GR said, the farmers are entitled to get the benefit only once.
  • Persons with an annual turnover of over Rs 10 lakh and those who are registered under VAT or Service Tax will be ineligible for loan waiver. Retired persons excluding ex-servicemen whose monthly pension is Rs 15000 or more are also not eligible.
  • The GR says that the farmers, who have more than Rs 1.5 lakh debt, will get the benefit of loan waiver after they pay their remaining amount of debt along with interest. It also says that woman farmer would be given priority in this scheme.

India makes voluntary contribution of USD 100000 to United Nations Tax Fund


  • India on 27 June 2017 made voluntary contribution of USD 100000 to the United Nations Trust Fund for International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UN Tax Fund).
  • This voluntary contribution will be dedicated towards ensuring greater support for developing country participation in the subcommittee meetings of the UN Tax Committee which are currently unfunded.
  • By handing over the cheque to the UN Tax Trust Fund, Indian Government is hopeful that more developing countries will contribute towards the fund. This move is also expected to ensure that global tax cooperation norms and rules will work more effectively and efficiently for all countries and all stakeholders.
  • Voluntary contributions for the Trust Fund have been called for by the UN Tax Committee since its establishment in 2006. The call for contributions was also emphasized in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015.

Union Government launched new bidding mechanism for mega oil and gas auctions


  • The Union Government on 28 June 2017 simultaneously launched two key interventions: a revamped oil and gas bidding mechanism named Open Acreage Licensing Process (OALP) and the National Data Repository (NDR) for the first major oil field auctions to be held from 1 July 2017.
  • The auctions will be held under a new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP).
  • Arun Jaitely, Union Finance Minister, and Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Petroleum Minister, launched both the initiatives in a mega event in New Delhi.
  • The new bidding mechanism will allow interested firms to bid for blocks of their choice at any time of the year with the help of National Data Repository.
  • The NDR is a comprehensive database of India’s key sedimentary basins that will provide the bidders data on contract areas that will be available for auctioning.
  • Under the mechanism, an investor will be allowed to put forth an Expression of Interest for undertaking contracts under Petroleum Operations Contract (POC) or Reconnaissance Contract (RC).
  • The investor will have the liberty to apply for such contracts bi-annually. They may also participate in rounds of auctions conducted by the regulator DGH over and above the applications made under OALP.

India, World Bank sign USD 35 million agreement to enhance efficiency in tax administration in Assam


  • India on 27 June 2017 signed a loan agreement of USD 35 million with the World Bank for Assam State Public Financial Institutional Reforms Project.
  • The loan will be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), an international financial institution under World Bank that offers loans to middle-income developing countries.
  • The agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary under Department of Economic Affairs and John Blomquist, Acting Country Director of World Bank (India). The Implementing Entity Agreement was signed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) of Assam's Department of Finance and John Blomquist.
  • The objective of the project is to improve predictability and transparency in budget execution and efficiency in tax administration in Assam.
  • The project will benefit the citizens of Assam through efficient processes, enhanced transparency and better service delivery such as electronic payments and collections for services.
  • It will also lead to better public procurement and enhanced taxpayer services provided by public institutions.
  • The total project cost is USD 44 million, out of which USD 35 million will be financed by the World Bank. The remaining amount will be funded out of the State Budget.
  • The project duration is of 5 years.

6th Joint Trade Committee was convened between India and Myanmar


  • The 6th India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting was held on 27 June 2017 at New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce & Industry from India and Dr. Than Myint, Union Commerce Minister from Myanmar. The Joint Trade Committee plays a key role in facilitating issues related to the enhancement of the bilateral economic partnership between the two countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Sitharaman stated that both the countries have a long history of shared religious, linguistic and ethnic ties:
  • - Myanmar is India’s gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which India is seeking greater economic integration through ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • - Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 Kms with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
  • - The bilateral relationship between the two countries has been further strengthened by the high-level exchanges.
  • - Prime Minister of India visited Myanmar in November 2014 for the Twelfth India-ASEAN Summit while the state counsellor of Myanmar visited India in October 2016.



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India's policy panel proposes to break up of Coal India into 7 firms


  • A new draft of a New Energy Policy (NEP) prepared by Union Government's policy think-tank, NITI Aayog, says that India should split the seven units of state-controlled Coal India Limited (CIL) into independent companies. This action will help the firm to be more competitive.
  • About 70 percent of India's power generation is fired by coal. The country is the world's third-largest producer and third-biggest importer of coal, which the government wants to change by boosting local coal production.
  • Fresh coal production should come from private sector mines, the government think-tank NITI Aayog said, adding that the move called for reforms in allocating coal blocks to independent companies specialised in coal mining.
  • The previous report of December 2016 by Reuters said that senior Indian government officials, tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with reviewing energy security, were recommending the breakup of the world's largest coal miner within a year.
  • Attempts to break up the world's biggest coal miner could expect resistance from powerful unions representing the firm's more than 350000 employees. The government backed down from a similar proposal in the face of union protests in 2014.
  • One of the unions, which is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party, is against the move and says it, has the support of about half of Coal India's workers.
  • According to reports, Baij Nath Rai, president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh in its conversation with Reuters said, “We are opposing the recommendations made by NITI Aayog".

News related to India and states

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation


  • The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 28 June 2017 approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.
  • The MoU will help India in conserving water for future generations.
  • As per the agreement, the two nations will work to enhance cooperation at the national, regional and international level to design, implement and monitor a professionally-designed National Water Conservation campaign in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Centenary Celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 June 2017 inaugurated the centenary celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
  • In addition, PM Modi also released the coin and postal stamp in the honour of Jain saint and philosopher Shrimad Rajchandra on his 150th birth anniversary at Abhay Ghat.
  • Shrimad Rajchandra was a Jain poet, philosopher, scholar and reformer.

Election Commission to launch nationwide Voter Registration Reminder on Facebook


  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) on 28 June 2017 announced that it will launch a special drive to enrol left out electors, with a special focus on first time electors.
  • The step is taken in the direction of Commission’s motto that 'No Voter to be Left Behind’.
  • It is the first time that Facebook's voter registration reminder has been rolled out across India. The drive will be launched on 1 July 2017.
  •  In order to reach out to maximum eligible voters, the ECI is collaborating with Facebook to launch first nationwide Voter Registration Reminder. 
  • With over 180 million people in India on Facebook, the Register Now button is designed to encourage Indian citizens to register themselves with the Election Commission of India.
  • On 1 July 2017, a notification of the Voter Registration Reminder will be sent to people on Facebook in India who are eligible to vote.

India's communication satellite GSAT-17 successfully launched


  • India's latest communication satellite GSAT-17 was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana on 29 June 2017. The satellite was launched by French rocket Ariane-5. The European launcher Arianespace Flight VA238 blasted off from Ariane Launch Complex No 3 (ELA 3) at Kourou, a French territory located in the northeastern coast of South America, a couple of minutes delayed than the scheduled time of 2:29 hrs India time.
  • After its lift-off at 2:45 am (IST) and a flight lasting about 39 minutes, GSAT-17 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 249 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35920 km, inclined at an angle of 3 degrees to the equator.
  • GSAT-17 with a lift-off mass of about 3477 kg carries payloads in Normal C-band, Extended C-band and S-band to provide various communication services. GSAT-17 has a life expectancy of 15 years.
  • The Satellite also carries equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite-based search and rescue services being provided by earlier INSAT satellites.

India-Netherlands Joint Communique issued during PM Modi’s visit


  • India and the Netherlands on 27 June 2017 released a Joint Communiqué at The Hague. The Joint Communique was released after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Dutch counterpart, Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
  • The communiqué was released during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s working visit to the Netherlands on 27 June 2017. Modi was on a visit to the Netherlands at the invitation of his Dutch counterpart. His visit to the nation also marked 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the Netherlands.
  • During this visit, Modi met with his counterpart Mark Rutte, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima. In addition, Prime Minister Modi also met with representatives of Dutch companies operating in the Indian market and those who are keen to invest there.
  • Earlier on his arrival, the Prime Minister was welcomed at Schiphol Airport by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders.

Indian Army gets first batch of modern bullet-proof helmets


  • The Indian Army reportedly received its first batch of bullet-proof helmets from Kanpur-based MKU Industries.
  • The MKU Industries, which supplies military equipment to the United Nations and NATO, was awarded a contract to manufacture 1.58 lakh helmets at the cost of Rs 180 crore.
  • Indian Army has ordered the bolted version of bolt-free ballistic helmets. Bolt-free is a higher and expensive version of bullet-proof helmets, which gives all-round protection from head injuries.
  • The MKU Industries claims that the bullet-proof helmets go through rigorous quality tests and ballistic lab test conducted at its testing facilities in India as well as in Germany.
  • The helmets are reportedly designed to bear the impact of 9 mm ammunition fired from a short range.
  • They match global standards of equipment for armed forces.
  • The bullet-proof helmet has the main protective layer of Kevlar, which has high tensile strength-to-weight ratio; by this measure it is 5 times stronger than steel.

JNPT, India's largest container port, hit by cyber attack


  • Operations at one of three terminals at India's largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai were disrupted by the global ransomware attack. The attack was confirmed by the port authorities on 28 June 2017.
  • The impacted terminal is operated by Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk. The Maersk group confirmed individually on 27 June that its operations were hit by a cyber attack named Petya that affected its multiple sites and select business units.
  • The group’s statement read, “We are responding to the situation to contain and limit the impact and uphold operations."
  • Anil Diggikar, JNPT chairman also stated that the port has been trying to clear containers manually but its operating capacity has dropped to a third at the terminal.
  • “This is a fallout of global cyber attack. Containers are piling up outside the port due to delay in loading and unloading at Gateway Terminals India,” Diggikar said and added that they are hopeful that the operations would normalise in a day.
  • AP Moller-Maersk operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT, which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units.


Appointments

Rajiv Kumar appointed as Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh


  • Rajiv Kumar was on 29 June 2017 appointed as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh. His appointment was approved by the Uttar Pradesh Government.
  • Prior to this appointment, Kumar was a Secretary in the Union Shipping ministry. He is a 1981 batch IAS Officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
  • Kumar succeeds Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar, who was appointed by the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government and continued to serve in the office for three months under the Yogi Adityanath government.
  • Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar, the outgoing Chief Secretary, will now serve as the Chairman of the Greater Noida Authority and also as the Investment Commissioner of Uttar Pradesh in New Delhi.

Former Vice Chancellor of Ambedkar University takes oath as UPSC Member


  • Dr. Manoj Soni, former Vice Chancellor of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, took the Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 28 June 2017 at Delhi.
  • The Oath was administered by the UPSC Chairman David R Syiemlieh. UPSC conducts recruitment exams to select country’s top bureaucrats.

Indian-American Krishna R Urs appointed as US Ambassador to Peru


  • Indian-American Krishna R Urs was on 28 June 2017 appointed as the United States (US) Ambassador to Peru by the President Donald Trump administration.
  • Krishna is currently serving as the Charge d' Affaires of the US Embassy in Madrid, Spain, where he was also the Deputy Chief of Mission. He has been a career service American diplomat since 1986.
  • During three decades of State Department service, Urs has specialised in economic issues and developed extensive policy experience in the Andean region of South America.

Narinder Nath Vohra appointed as President of India International Centre


  • Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narinder Nath Vohra in the last week of June 2017 was appointed the President of the India International Centre (IIC).
  • Vohra was appointed as the president at the Annual General Meeting, which was held on 23 June 2017.
  • The appointment was made after eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee quit the presidential post.
He is the first civilian Governor of Jammu and Kashmir in 18 years after Jagmohan.

Loknath Behra appointed as DGP of Kerala


  • Loknath Behra was on 28 June 2017 appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Kerala as incumbent TP Senkumar will retire as the state DGP on 30 June 2017.
  • Behra's appointment as state police chief was confirmed by the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government after the cabinet meeting.
  • Behra is currently serving as the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. He is a 1985 batch Kerala cadre IPS officer.

Kaushik Basu takes over as President of International Economic Association


  • Former Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu on 27 June 2017 took over as the President of the International Economic Association (IEA) with effect from 23 June 2017. He will serve the office for three years.
  • The IEA is a leading organisation for professional economists that seeks to shape global economic policy and research. Among IEA's past presidents are Nobel laureates Kenneth Arrow, Robert Solow, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz.

Days

International Day of the Tropics 2017 observed globally


  • The International Day of the Tropics 2017 was observed across the world on 29 June 2017 with an aim to raise awareness to the specific challenges faced by tropical areas and the far-reaching implications of the issues affecting the world’s tropical zone.
  • The International Day of the Tropics celebrates the diversity of the tropics and provides an opportunity to share tropical stories and expertise and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region.
  • The day was proclaimed on 14 June 2016 by the resolution of United Nations General Assembly to mark the anniversary of the 'State of the Tropics Report' that was launched by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on 29 June 2014.

Sharjah named World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO


  • Sharjah, a city in the United Arab Emirates has been named as 'the World Book Capital' for 2019 by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova for the quality of its literary and cultural activities and for its efforts to make books accessible to the entire population of the nation.
  • Bokova took the decision on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee that met at the Headquarters of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) at La Haye.
  • The programme runs with a slogan ‘Read - you are in Sharjah’.
  • It focuses on six themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children.
  • It would include a conference on freedom of speech, a contest for young poets, workshops for creating Braille books and tactile books as well as many other events for Sharjah's multi-ethnic population.

World News

Trump’s travel ban: Visa applicants from these 6 Muslim nations require close family ties in US


  • The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six Muslim nations and all refugees that require a close family or business tie to the United States.
  • According to the new guidelines sent to all the US embassies and consulates on 28 June 2017, visa applicants from six countries- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen-must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the United States in order to get a go ahead.
  • The new guideless have been set by the State Department, according to which extended family members including grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and fiancées are not considered to be close relationships.
  • These new measures are expected to be implemented from 29 June 2017.
  • The court’s opinion exempts applicants from the ban if they can prove a “bona fide relationship” with a US person or entity. However, it is up to the government lawyers to determine how to define such a relationship. The court offered only broad guidelines suggesting it would include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the US.
  • The move comes after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that was widely criticised as a ban on Muslims.

World's first ATM celebrates its 50th birthday


  • The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) marked its 50th anniversary on 27 June 2017.
  • The first ATM was opened on 27 June 1967 at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London, the first of six cash dispensers commissioned by the bank.
  • To celebrate the occasion, the British bank decorated the site of the world's first cashpoint in gold. A black-and-white picture of Varney using the ATM hangs above it, while a commemorative gold plaque has been placed on the bank wall.
  • The original cash machine was the brainchild of Scottish inventor John Shepherd-Barron, who was commissioned by the bank to create six cash dispensers, which based on vending machines.
  • The first person to use the inaugural ATM was actor Reg Varney, the star of a popular British TV comedy called "On The Buses."
  • Transactions were initiated by inserting paper cheques issued by a teller or cashier, marked with carbon-14 for machine readability and security.


Chinese Navy launches biggest new generation destroyer


  • China’s Navy on 28 June 2017 launched its biggest new generation destroyer that weighs around 10,000 tonnes at the Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) in Shanghai. The launch is a part of the country’s massive expansion effort to become a global naval power.
  • The new destroyer, which is a domestically designed and produced vessel, is the first of China’s new generation of destroyers.
  • The destroyer is equipped with new air defence, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.
  • The ship is believed to be the first Type 055 destroyer, which is considered to be a successor class to the country’s smaller Type 052D guided missile destroyers.
  • The vessel will have to undergo planned testing including equipment operation, berthing and sailing before it is commissioned into use.

Chana and Chana Dal words added to Oxford English Dictionary


  • The words Chana and Chana Dal were on 27 June 2017 added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). 'Chana' means Chickpeas and 'Chana Dal' stands for split chickpea lentils.
  • With this, these Indian food essentials Chickpeas (chana) and the split chickpea lentils (chana dal) join the vast list of more than 600 other words and phrases that have been included in its quarterly update of the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • The other prominent new entries in the OED include a batch of tennis-related words like "Forced Error".
  • A slang 'Bagel' has also been added which refers to a score in a set of six games to love, as there is similarity of the numeral zero to the shape of a bagel.
  • A new sense of 'woke', which was shortlisted for 'Word of the Year', has also been added. It means alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.

US adds China to the list of Worst Human Trafficking Offenders


  • The United States State Department in the last week of June 2017 issued highly public criticism of China in its latest annual report on the global state of human trafficking.
  • As per the Trafficking in Persons report, China is among the worst offenders of human trafficking.
  • China is now grouped with Tier 3 offenders such as Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea.
  • China was downgraded to Tier 3 status in 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced labours from North Korea that are located in China.
  • Several other countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Mali were downgraded to Tier 3 status.

Sports News

Kidambi Srikanth re-enters top 10 of BWF men’s rankings


  • Indian badminton player Kidambi Srikanth has re-entered the top ten of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) men's singles rankings for the first time in ten months.
  • The rankings, which were released on 29 June 2017, saw Srikanth placed at the 8th position with 58,583 points. The development comes less than a week after the ace shuttler beat Olympic champion Chen Long in straight games 22-20, 21-6 to claim the Australian Open Super Series and before that Japan's Kazumasa Sakai to clinch the Indonesian Open.
  • Srikanth is the lone Indian shuttler to figure in the top-10 of men's singles ranking after climbing up three places.
  • The 24-year-old had last reached the top ten in October 2016, few months after he reached the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics 2016.

Lasith Malinga gets one-year ban, fined for media remarks


  • Sri Lankan fast bowler, Lasith Malinga has been handed over a suspension ban of six months after a disciplinary inquiry found him guilty of breaching his contract by speaking to the media without permission.
  • Malinga will also be fined 50 percent of the match fee from his next one-day international. He will be facing a disciplinary inquiry over his comments about Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara. 

Roger Federer defeats Alexander Zverev to lift ninth Halle Open title

  • Swiss legend Roger Federer on 25 June 2017 defeated Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-3 in the final to clinch the 2017 Halle Open Men’s Singles title.
  • The final took place at the Gerry Weber Stadion in Halle, Germany.
  • He also won the Olympic gold medal in doubles with his compatriot Stan Wawrinka at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
  • He is currently ranked world No. 5 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).












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