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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Current Affairs Update – 11-12 July, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 11 & 12 July, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, NABARD Grade A & Other Exams.



Banking & Financial News

SBI waives charge on IMPS fund transfer of up to Rs. 1,000


  • The country’s largest bank SBI has waived charges for fund transfer of up to Rs. 1,000 through its IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) to promote small transactions.
  • State Bank of India had been charging Rs. 5 along with the applicable service tax for IMPS fund transfer of up to Rs. 1,000.
  • IMPS is an instant interbank electronic fund transfer service through mobile phones as well as Internet banking.
  • “In order to promote small ticket size transactions, SBI has waived IMPS charges for transfers up to Rs. 1,000,” the bank said while informing about the revised IMPS transfer charges under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
  • For IMPS, the charge will be Rs. 5 along with GST for fund transfer in the range of Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. The charge will go up to Rs. 15 for transactions of Rs. 1-2 lakh.
  • GST at the rate of 18 per cent is applicable on all financial transactions.

Union Government launches new tax payer service module Aaykar Setu


  • Arun Jaitley, the Union Finance Minister, on 10 July 2017 launched Aaykar Setu, a new tax payer service module.
  • The module was launched in a mobile responsive android version along with the desktop version to enhance mobile access experience.
  • While launching the Aaykar Setu, Arun Jaitley stated that this e-initiative would help in reducing physical interface between assesses and tax assessing authorities and thereby minimizing the chances of any tax harassment.  
  • The new step is an effort by the Income Tax Department (ITD) to directly communicate with the taxpayers, on a range of multiple informative and useful tax services aimed at providing tax information at their fingertips.

Railways launches 'RailCloud' to optimise server usage, faster connectivity


  • In a significant IT initiative, the Railways today launched RailCloud - a virtual server with an inbuilt security system to optimise server usage and faster connectivity.
  • Cloud computing is the emerging technology for faster and on-demand commensurate deployment of server resources which result in reduced costs.
  • "Efforts are being made to bring the entire Railway system on integrated digital platform. RailCloud is another step towards digitisation of railways," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said after the launch of RailCloud.
  • Developed by rail PSU RailTel at an estimated cost of about Rs 53 crore, RailCloud will pave the way for swifter deployment of applications within 24 hours as compared to conventional time running into weeks and months.
  • Currently all IT applications have separate servers which increase the cost of operations and purchases.
  • The technology enables maximising the usage of the available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space.







Cabinet approves signing of JIN pact with Bangladesh


  • The cabinet today approved the signing of the joint interpretative notes (JIN) agreement with Bangladesh to ensure smooth implementation of the investment promotion and protection pact.
  • JIN play an important supplementary role in strengthening the investment treaty regime, an official statement said after the Union Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • With increasing bilateral investment treaty disputes, issuance of such statements is "likely to have strong persuasive value before tribunals", it said.
  • "Such pro-active approach by States can foster a more predictable and coherent reading of treaty terms by arbitration tribunals," it added.
  • The JIN would impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing agreement between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (BIPA).

Cabinet approves upgradation of Manipur Highway connecting Myanmar


  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved upgradation of a 65-km-long National Highway in Manipur to boost the state's connectivity with south and southeast Asia via Myanmar.
  • Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters that NH-39 from Imphal to Moreh near the Myanmar border would reduce travel time from three-and-a-half hours to one hour and 45 minutes.
  • The Imphal-Moreh Highway would not only boost international trade and business, but would also be important from security point of view, he said.
  • It is also crucial for socio-economic development in the northeast region which currently has a poor road network, he said.
  • He said the project would create employment opportunities in Manipur and is part of the Asian Highway project.
  • It is estimated to cost around Rs 1,630 crore.

News related to India and states

Rajasthan becomes first State to fix minimum education qualification for cooperative body poll


  • Rajasthan in July 2017 laid down the minimum educational qualifications for contesting elections to village cooperative societies and various other cooperative bodies.
  • With this, Rajasthan became India’s first state to fix minimum education qualification for cooperative body poll.
  • In this regard, the Rajasthan Government amended State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003. The new rules would benefit about 10000 cooperative and agricultural credit societies. Moreover, the benefit of education will accrue to the societies as their management will go to expert hands.
  • The State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003, were amended for the purpose and notification was issued on 10 July 2017.
  • The educational qualifications will range from Class V to Class VIII for election as members of governing boards of dairy societies, farming societies, consumer societies, weavers' societies, housing construction societies, urban banks, primary land development banks, credit societies, salary earners' societies and cooperative unions.
  • The minimum qualifications for the primary committee members will be class VIII. For district-level committees, it will be Class X. The education level will be graduation for the state level committee.

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates Ashiana Annexe in Dehradun


  • Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, on 10 July 2017 inaugurated the Ashiana Annexe in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  • The Ashiana Annexe comprises of twelve low cost dwelling units constructed to accommodate officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan during Presidential visits to the Retreat at ‘Ashiana’.
  • On the other hand, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between M/s Prashak Techno Enterprises and Central Building Research Institute was also signed to collaborate for effective proliferation of Habitech-NivaraTantra Technology solutions with a focus on low cost, disaster resilient housing, more particularly in the rural areas to enable vision of Housing for All with a special emphasis on housing for the economically weaker sections and low income group communities.
  • These dwelling units have been constructed using the Habitech-NivaraTantra - Onsite Sanitation Integrated Community Housing Technology Innovations developed at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).
  • The Technology innovations comprise unique blocks known as compacted intermeshing blocks, which are made from local soil.

NGT imposes complete ban on nylon and synthetic manja


  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 11 July 2017 banned the use of 'Chinese' kite strings, made of nylon or any synthetic material, which is non-biodegradable, with immediate effect.
  • The NGT directed all state governments to prohibit the "manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use" of synthetic manja or nylon threads and all other synthetic strings used for flying kites with immediate effect.
  • The judgement of Tribunal came on a plea filed by animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others.
  • The green panel went on to state that “Although kite flying with 'manja' has been a sport and recreational activity in the country since time immemorial, but the strings endanger the lives of birds, animals and human beings and damage the environment”.
  • The ill-effects of Chinese manja had not only resulted in injuries to birds, animals and human beings, but it also led to a many fatal accidents.

Union Government signs MoU with West Bengal to set up Centre of Excellence in Transfusion Medicine


  • Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 10 July 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with West Bengal Government to set up a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Transfusion Medicine in Kolkata.
  • The move is aimed at strengthening the blood transfusion services in the state and the surrounding region.
  • The Union Government approved this vital initiative with an outlay of approximately Rs 200 Crores towards equipment, manpower and running costs.
  • The land for this initiative will be provided free of cost by the West Bengal government.
  • The National Blood Transfusion Council under National AIDS Control Organization will be the implementing division of the Ministry for this project.

Kerala Government proposes Stray Dog Zoos


  • The Kerala Government on 10 July 2017 informed a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra that it is planning 'Stray Dog Zoos' across the state to keep them off the streets.
  • For this purpose, the State government has asked all district panchayats to keep aside two to three acres of land and label them as ‘Stray Dog Zoos’.
  • The State government was responding to a question from the Supreme Court on the construction of shelter homes for the stray dog population.
  • The population of stray dogs has increased aggressively in the state over the years and has become a dangerous presence on the streets, especially after dark. Today, there are over 1.16 lakh dog bite victims in the State and 22 have died due to dog bites.

Appointments

Gopalkrishna Gandhi named as Opposition’s Candidate for Vice Presidential Election 2017


  • Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi was on 11 July 2017 named as the Opposition candidate for the 2017 Vice-Presidential Election.
  • His nomination was announced by Congress president Sonia Gandhi after eighteen parties jointly approved Gandhi as their vice presidential candidate in a meeting. The meeting was attended by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh as well as senior leaders of Trinamool Congress, Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham.
  • The 2017 Vice-Presidential Elections are scheduled to be held on 5 August 2017 as outgoing Vice-President Hamid Ansari is about to complete his term on 10 August 2017.
  • The total electoral college for the Vice-Presidential Elections is 790, which includes members of both houses of Parliament.

World News

UNESCO adds German Caves with world's oldest known art to heritage list


  • Six caves in south-western Germany’s Swabia Jura region, home to some of the world’s oldest art, In July 2017 were added to the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre.
  • The caves were occupied some 43000 to 33000 years ago. They are among the earliest known dwelling places of modern humans in Europe.
  • These archaeological sites feature some of the oldest figurative art worldwide and help shed light on the origins of human artistic development.
  • In 2008, more than 40 carved ivory figurines have been found in the caves, including one called the Venus of Hohle Fels, were discovered in the cave of the same name.

In a first, Israel transfers authority for West Bank Electrical Substation to Palestinians


  • Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of Palestinian, and Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Energy Minister, on 10 July 2017 launched the first power plant in the West Bank that transforms high to medium voltage in Jenin, north of the West Bank.
  • It is the first time that Israel has given the ownership of electricity infrastructure to the Palestinian Authority.
  • The official ceremony included signing a commercial agreement between Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to increase power supply through operating a new substation in the north of West Bank.
  • As per the agreement, the Palestinian National Authority will pay around USD 47 million to the Israeli Electric Corporation annually, in order to increase the supply of the new power plant by 60 Megawatts in full operation.

Okinoshima, Japan’s men-only island, gains UNESCO World Heritage tag


  • Okinoshima Island, an ancient religious site in Japan where women are banned and male visitors need to take off their clothes and take a naked bath before visiting the shrine, was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site on 9 July 2017.
  • Okinoshima, which is a part of the city of Munakata, Fukuoka, Japan, is located in south-west Japan between the main island of Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula. Referred as the men-only island, the island is permanently manned by a Shinto priest who prays to the island’s goddess, in a tradition that has been kept up for centuries.
  • The island is considered sacred by the local Munakata Taisha and consists of a single employee of the shrine. The entire island is considered a Shinto Kami, and the island is off limits to women.

Sports News

Ravi Shastri is new coach of Indian Cricket Team


  • The BCCI on 11 July 2017 named Ravi Shastri as the new chief coach of the Indian cricket team. He will be with the team as its head coach till ICC World Cup 2019.
  • In addition to it, former fast bowler Zaheer Khan was also appointed as bowling coach for a period of two years.
  • Former Indian Captain Rahul Dravid has appointed as batting consultant for specific overseas tours. Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team has been without a head coach after Anil Kumble resigned from the post after the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
  • The appointments were made on the recommendation of the Cricket Advisory Committee. The BCCI's three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprises of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.

Afghanistan batsman Shafiqullah Shafaq scores double century in T20 game


  • Afghanistan's Wicketkeeper-batsman Shafiqullah Shafaq on 9 July 2017 smashed a laudable 214 innings off just 71 balls including 21 sixes and 16 fours in the Paragon Nangarhar Champion Trophy Twenty20, a local tournament of Afghanistan.
  • Shafaq set record books on fire with his swashbuckling right-handed batting, striking a double century in a local T20 match.
  • His run carnage helped his team Khateez Cricket Academy in putting up a massive score of 351 runs in 20 overs. While, the opposite team Kabul Star Cricket Club could only gather 107 runs.

2017 Asian Athletics Championships: India creates history, tops medal tally


  • With five gold, one silver and three bronze  medals on the final day of the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship, India finished on top of the medals tally, comfortably surpassing China and Kazakhstan.
  • China and Kazakhstan took the second and third spots respectively in the medal tally.
  • India showed its best performance ever in the Asian Athletics Championships, clinching a total of 29 medals, including 12 golds.

Days

World Population Day 2017 observed


  • The World Population Day was observed on 11 July 2017 with the theme Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations.
  • Around the world, some 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. Most of these women with an unmet demand for contraceptives live in 69 of the poorest countries on earth.
  • World Population Day is an annual event observed on 11 July every year.
  • The day seeks to raise awareness of global population issues.

Awards & Honors

IROAF wins Golden Peacock Award for Eco Innovation for the year 2017


  • Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel (IROAF) on 10 July 2017 won the Golden Peacock Award for Eco Innovation for the year 2017 for introducing eco friendly and cost saving Dual Fuel 1400 HP Diesel engines on DEMU trains.
  • With this, Indian Railways achieved a major milestone in the field of eco-friendly fuel technologies. IROAF substituted fossil fuels (Diesel) by environment friendly CNG in DEMU passenger train services. The use of CNG in Train Sets for passenger transportation was done for the first time in the world.
  • This innovation is expected to reduce emissions by bringing down NOx by 16 per cent, CO2 by 6 per cent and Particulate Matter by 18 per cent besides achieving economy in fuel cost by 8 per cent.
  • Till now, 19 engines of DEMUs have been successfully converted into CNG based dual fuel engines with this technology.

A R Rahman shortlisted for World Soundtrack Award - Public Choice

  • Academy Award winning composer and music maestro A R Rahman in July 2017 has been shortlisted for the World Soundtrack Award – Public Choice.
  • The music maestro was shortlisted for the development of the music for the British-Indian historical film Viceroy’s House that was directed by British filmmaker of Indian origin Gurinder Chadha.
  • In 2011, A R Rahman won the World Soundtrack Award - Public Choice for the movie 127 Hours.
  • Viceroy’s House stars ace actors like Huma Qureshi, Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson and late actor Om Puri.


Obituaries

Forensic expert Pakkiriswamy Chandra Sekharan passes away


  • Renowned forensic expert Pakkiriswamy Chandra Sekharan passed away on 11 July 2017 following a brief illness. He was 83 and is survived by his wife and daughter.
  • Sekharan helped investigators crack the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and played an influential role in getting back the stolen 1500-year-old Pathur Nataraja idol from the United Kingdom.
  • An acknowledged expert as well as a pioneer in some forensic techniques, he deconstructed the suicide bomb attack on Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. It was he who disclosed that the killer was a woman who acted as a human bomb.




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