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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Current Affairs Update – 5 July, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 5 July, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, NABARD Grade A & Other Exams.

Banking & Financial News

China-led AIIB clears $329-mn loan for building roads in Gujarat villages

  • China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on Wednesday said that its board has approved $329 million loan to build access roads to 4,000 villages in Gujarat.
  • "The board of directors of the AIIB approved a loan of $329 million to build access roads to approximately 4,000 villages in all 33 districts of Gujarat, India," AIIB said in a statement.
  • Insufficient road connectivity into these villages limits their ability to access healthcare services, bring their goods to market and access transportation for their children to attend schools, it said.
  • This project will construct and upgrade district and farm-to-market roads for the villagers and provide approaches to educational institutions, schools and hospitals.
  • The upgraded road access is expected to have a positive impact on women and girls by improving school attendance rates as the latter drop out due to lack of access to all weather roads.

Axis Bank rolls out loans for super bikes

  • Axis Bank on Wednesday said it has launched Super Bike Loans for 500cc and above bikes.
  • Under the product offering, the private sector bank will give loans up to 95 per cent of the bike cost including accessory funding with special offers & programmes for its own high net worth individual customers.
  • The trend of riding clubs & adventure biking activities surrounding these luxury bikes is further adding to the popularity quotient of the segment, the bank said in a statement.
  • The average age of customers in this segment is now at mid 30s down from the age of early 40s a couple of years back, it added.

Svatantra Microfin launches cashless solution ‘Saathi’

  • Mid-sized microfinance institution Svatantra Microfin is looking at doubling its loan disbursals to ₹800 crore by 2019, even as it plans to expand its operations to more States within the same period.
  • The firm, founded and promoted by Ananya Birla in 2012, has so far disbursed micro-credits worth 450 crore. Its loan book stands at ₹260 crore, and it has grown 220 per cent year-on-year since its launch in 2014. The firm also claims to have broken even this year.
  • Svatantra has also launched an app, an end-to-end cashless solution called Saathi, for an entire spectrum of operations in areas such as loan originating system, loan management system and collections. In partnership with third-party service providers, it has also created a affordable, cashless mediclaim product for up to five family members.
  • The company, which started with just one branch at Wada in Maharashtra, currently has about 85 branches in six States.
  • The plan is to expand to more States this year, said Birla, adding that the company is looking to raise funds from social capital ventures, both domestic and global, next year. She, however, did not quantify the amount the company plans to raise.

Govt's MERIT app launch to help customers save up to Rs 20,000 cr

  • The ministry of power on Wednesday launched a mobile app and web portal for tracking and managing merit order dispatch of power. The web portal, called MERIT (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency), according to the government, would entail savings of close to Rs 20,000 crore to consumers in the coming five years.
  • The merit order stack is a common approach to the problem of minimising the sum of generators’ operating costs, while honouring the operational constraints of the available generation to supply the demand in a secure and reliable manner, said a government statement.
  • The Tariff Policy, 2016 provides that the states and electricity distribution companies (discoms) shall follow merit order for the procurement of power and there should be uniformity in the merit order mechanism. During the Power Ministers' conference held at Vadodara in October 2016, it was decided that a committee would be constituted to examine the status of the ‘merit order dispatch’ and other issues involved in it. The committee was also tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the proper dispatch of renewable sources, involving compliance to the merit order principle.


Notify price increase through advertisement in two newspapers, if increased due to GST

  • Union Government, which is closely monitoring the price and supply situation of commodities following implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), on 4 July 2017, said that the manufacturers/companies have time until 30 September 2017 to clear the unsold pre-GST goods.
  • The government has allowed manufacturers, traders and importers to clear their stock lying with them prior to 1 July 2017 by 30 September 2017.
  • Briefing media in New Delhi, Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash Srivastava said, if the rates of commodities have gone up following the imposition of GST then, the companies will have to display the revised and previous rates on packets and publish it in at least two newspapers. The revised rate stickers on unsold items have been allowed till 30 September 2017.
  • However, where the price has gone down, the manufacturer/the company will not have to publish the rates in the newspaper but they will have to display the old and revised rates on packets.
  • In addition to this, the Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia has informed that the Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha on 3 July 2017 chaired the meeting of Central Monitoring Committee to take stock of price situation. The meeting will be held every Tuesday regarding it.
  • According to Adhia, 175 senior officers of Central Government will be given the responsibility of four to five districts to monitor the GST situation.
  • The Revenue Secretary said they will be briefed about their responsibilities on 5 July 2017 in Vigyan Bhawan.
  • Adhia said, all the state governments except Jammu and Kashmir have notified GST-related rules and people have accepted it well and no issues have been reported so far in the implementation of GST.
  • Besides, to educate people about GST, a six-day master class will be started from 6 July 2017 for one hour per day. At the same time, the media campaign is on to educate the people about the reduction in commodity prices after the implementation of GST.

News related to India & States

President Pranab Mukherjee approves ordinance allowing Kambala in Karnataka

  • President Pranab Mukherjee on 4 July 2017 approved the promulgation of The Prevention of cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to legalise Kambala in Karnataka. Kambala is the folk sport involving the bullock cart race.
  • The ordinance also calls to exempt bulls from The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • In November 2016, the Karnataka High Court banned kambala along with bull-cart race in the state while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty.
  • The high court had stayed these traditional sports in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu.
  • However, following the protests by people and kambala organisers, Karnataka Assembly passed an ordinance Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 in February 2017 to allow Kambala.
  • In June 2017, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice cleared the bill with an aim to legalise Kambala.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister of India to visit Israel in 70 years. Modi is on a three-day official visit to Israel. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

India, Israel resolves to fight menace of terrorism and radicalism

  • During his historic visit to Israel that started with firm handshakes and hugs on 4 July 2017, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that common objective of his visit to the country is the economic prosperity of the two nations.
  • He also said that the two countries must resolutely oppose the evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence that plague our times. Modi said those who believe in humanity and civilised values must come together and defend it at all costs.
  • His Israeli counterpart Netanyahu, also, asserted that the two countries must stand together to fight the menace.
  • On the first day of his visit to Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, shortly after his arrival in the day that the museum was “a tribute to your unbreakable spirit to rise above the depths of tragedy, overcome hatred and forge ahead to build a vibrant democratic nation.
  • Giving the pre-dinner press statement at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu home in Jerusalem, PM Modi said, he wants to frame a relationship that transforms the landscape of economic engagements between the two nations.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that technology and innovation were important development priority of India which provides the scope to expand academic, scientific and business links with Israel.

ISB launches multi-disciplinary research project to study Aadhar impact

  • The Indian School of Business (ISB) has taken up multi-disciplinary research initiative on Aadhaar and its implications.
  • The research will be taken as part of the Digital Identity Research Initiative (DIRI) launched by the Hyderabad-based business school which also has a campus in Mohali.
  • The school will engage with researchers and academic institutions from India and abroad to promote an ecosystem of academic research on Aadhaar. The initial phase of the research will cover the impact of Aadhaar in areas such as benefit transfers, financial inclusion, healthcare schemes, public distribution systems and public policy.
  • ISB is excited to be leading the Digital Identity Research Initiative as we are confident that this research will be path-breaking and will translate into knowledge with immediate application for policy makers, educators, service providers, and entrepreneurs,’’ Rajendra Srivastava, Dean, ISB said in a release issued here on Wednesday.

Haryana government to run electric buses in Gurgaon

  • The Haryana government is planning to set up an environment-friendly transportation system in Gurgaon on the pattern of Poland.
  • The same was announced by the state’s Urban Local Bodies Minister, Kavita Jain on 4 July 2017. The Cabinet Minister, who is leading a delegation on a visit to the plant of JBM Solaris Electric Vehicles Limited in Poland's Ponzan, said that in the first phase, 75 to 100 electric buses would be operated.
  • In the first phase, the electric vehicles would be operated in Gurgaon that has excellent infrastructure and facilities in residential, commercial and public sectors.
  • In comparison to ordinary buses, each electric bus would help save about 4.25 lakh litres diesel and reduce carbon emissions by 1150 tonnes in ten years of operation.
  • The deployment of the electric vehicles will also reduce traffic congestion and provide better public transport system to an average of 50,000 people every day.

Environment Minister launches plantation drive to mark Van Mahotsav

  • The Union Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched a month-long plantation drive to mark Van Mahotsav on 5 July 2017. The Minister planted a sapling and also distributed saplings for plantation to local residents.
  • The plantation drive was organised at Ram Lila Park, C. C Colony and Model Town early in the morning.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Harsh Vardhan urged the states to undertake similar initiatives and urged people to become ‘green ambassadors’ and participate actively in plantation drives during the period of monsoon, in keeping with the spirit of Van Mahotsav.
  • He further advised that native trees, which have a high survival rate, should be planted as they readily adapt to the local climate and integrate well into the eco-system.
  • He also added that in order to meet goals set by India under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), initiatives such as plantation drives with large scale active participation from people are important.


Somesh Goyal appointed as DGP of Himachal Pradesh

  • Somesh Goyal, a 1984-batch IPS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, was on 5 July 2017 appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Himachal Pradesh.
  • He succeeds Sanjay Kumar who has now been appointed as Director General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Goyal was presently serving as the DGP (Prisons) of the state.
  • Goyal's main concern as the DGP would be to improve the delivery system, project a people-friendly image of police, root out drug menace and ensure safety of women.

World News

Beijing Declaration on Education adopted

  • The Beijing Declaration on Education was adopted during the 5th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education in Beijing, China on 5 July 2017.
  • The main agenda of the meeting was to discuss education reforms, various approaches to promote equity in education, fostering quality education, strengthening BRICS collaboration in the field of education, and exchange of students and scholars among BRICS Member States.
  • In order to recognize the significance of collaboration in the field of education for enhancing the overall partnership among BRICS Member States and enhance people to people exchanges to a higher level, BRICS Members declared their support through Beijing Declaration on Education.
  • The declaration shows the commitment of the BRICS Nations towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4)-Education 2030 which aims to 'Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.

Xiaomi to acquire key Nokia patents

  • Chinese tech major Xiaomi on 5 July 2017 signed an agreement for business collaboration and patent licencing with Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia. As per the agreement, Xiaomi will acquire key patent assets from Nokia.
  • The multi-year patent agreement includes a cross license to each company's cellular standard essential patents.
  • Under the agreement, Nokia will provide network infrastructure equipment designed to deliver high capacity, low power requirements for large web providers and data centre operators.
  • Nokia and Xiaomi will work together on optical transport solutions for datacentre interconnect, IP routing based on Nokia's newly announced 'FP4' network processor.
  • The companies will also explore opportunities for further cooperation in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • Xiaomi witnessed a rapid growth in the Indian market and clocked over USD 1 billion in revenue in 2016.

Volkswagen returns to Iranian market after 17-year absence

  • German car giant Volkswagen on 4 July 2017 announced its return to the Iranian market for the first time in 17 years due to the lifting of economic sanctions.
  • The company said that it would resume selling cars in Iran from August 2017 after signing a deal with local importer Mammut Khodro.
  • The deal will initially cover Volkswagen’s Tiguan and Passat models to gain an insight into current market needs, establish the Volkswagen brand in Iran, and offer Iranians modern technologies.
  • European firms have been eyeing opportunities in Iran since a nuclear deal with world powers came into force in January 2016, lifting many sanctions in exchange for tight controls on the country's atomic programme.
  • Volkswagen first started selling cars in Iran in the 1950s. However, the company pulled out of the market in 2000 due to the levelling of international sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Jurassic-era crocodile with T-rex teeth discovered in Madagascar

  • A group of scientists discovered fossils belonging to an ancient, extinct crocodile relative that has deep and massive jaw bones armed with enormous serrated teeth like those of a T-rex.
  • The study was published on 4 July 2017 in the journal PeerJ.
  • As per the study, the animal found in Madagascar in Africa was a top land predator of the Middle Jurassic period, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.
  • The full name of the predatory crocodyliform is Razanandrongobe sakalavae, which means "giant lizard ancestor from Sakalava region".

New Israeli Crysanthumum flower named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi

  • A new fast-growing Israeli flower on 4 July 2017 was named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The step comes as a special gesture to mark the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister to the Jewish nation.
  • Israeli Crysanthumum flower will now be called Modi.
  • Danziger Flower Farm named the flower Crysanthumum as Modi, commemorating Prime Minister Modi’s visit.
  • The Danziger flower farm is one of Israel’s leading floriculture companies with approximately 80000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses specialising in reproduction of plants.

Index & Rankings

The Energy Resources Institute ranks second among world's climate think tanks

  • The International Centre for Climate Governance (ICCG) recently ranked The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) second among world’s best climate think tank.
  • The institute was ranked number two under the category 2016 Top Climate Think Tanks in the Rest of the World-Absolute Global Rankings during ICCG’s 23rd annual conference of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE) in Athens, Greece.
  • The Energy and Resources Institute is a research institute based in New Delhi.
  • It conducts research work in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development.
  • The institute was established in 1974.
  • It was formerly known as Tata Energy and Resource Institute.
  • As the scope of its activities widened, it was renamed The Energy and Resources Institute in 2003.

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