Current Affairs Update – 1 August, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 1 August, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB  & Other Exams.

Banking & Financial News

Samsung Pay extended to SBI debit cards

  • The State Bank of India (SBI) and Samsung India on Tuesday announced the availability of payment platform Samsung Pay for higher variants of SBI debit Card.
  • This will allow SBI debit card holders to make payments using Samsung smartphones at Point of Sale (PoS) card machines at merchant outlets.
  • "Both Samsung and SBI are household names in India and it is a momentous occasion for us to collaborate on Samsung Pay and extend an innovative solution that is transforming people's lives worldwide," said Asim Warsi, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.
  • SBI debit card users can also avail introductory cashback benefits up to Rs 500.
  • Samsung Pay uses Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology, enabling consumers to make offline payments using Samsung smartphones without the need for a physical Card.

Airtel Payments Bank ties up with HPCL for ATM services

  • Airtel Payments Bank, on Tuesday, said it has partnership with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), to give further boost to digital payments in the country and to add to customer convenience.
  • All 14,000 HPCL fuel stations will act as banking points for Airtel Payments Bank, the company said.
  • All Airtel Payments Bank customers would be able to access a range of convenient banking services at these 14,000 fuel stations like opening new accounts, make cash deposits and withdrawals facility, and transfer money.
  • This will add to the depth and reach of Airtel Payments Bank’s retail based network that leverages over 300,000 Airtel retail outlets as banking points.
  • Airtel Payments Bank customers will also be able to make secure and convenient digital payments for fuel purchases across 14,000 HPCL fuel stations by using their mobile phones, it said.
  • These cashless payments can be made via smartphones (MyAirtel App) as well as feature phones (USSD), the company said.
  • The customer is not charged any transaction fee for these digital payments. This partnership will further expand Airtel’s nationwide digital payments ecosystem that has over three million merchant partners/outlet across India.


Union Government orders LPG prices to be hiked by Rs 4 per month

  • With an aim to eliminate all subsidies by March 2018, the Union Government has ordered state-run oil companies to raise subsidised cooking gas, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), prices by four rupees per cylinder every month.
  • The information in this regard was provided in the Lok Sabha by Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on 31 July 2017. In a written reply, Pradhan informed that the government in its order dated 30 May 2017 has authorised the oil companies to increase the price by four rupees excluding tax per month. The order came into effect on 1 June 2017.
  • He said, it will be in effect till the reduction of government subsidy to 'nil', or till March 2018, till further orders, whichever is earliest.
  • Oil companies have raised rates twice since then, the last being on 1 July 2017 when rates were up by a steep Rs 32 per cylinder. This hike was because of the 30 May 2017 order as well as a reflection of hiked tax rates on it under the Goods and Services Tax regime. It was the steepest increase in six years.
  • The government had previously asked the Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs), namely Indian Oil (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL), to raise rates of subsidised domestic LPG by Rs 2 per 14.2-kg cylinder per month (excluding VAT).
  • Every household is entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rates in a year. Any requirement beyond that is to be purchased at market price.

New Trade and Transit agreement between India and Bhutan comes into force

  • The new bilateral Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan came into force on 29 July 2017. It aims to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and Bhutan.
  • The Agreement provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan. It also provides for a duty-free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.
  • The agreement was last renewed on 29 July 2006 for ten years.
  • The validity of the same was extended (with effect from July 29, 2016) for one year or till the new agreement comes into force, through the exchange of diplomatic notes.
  • The new agreement was signed on 12 November 2016 by the Minister of State (IC), Ministry of Commerce and Industry on behalf of the Government of India.
  • As per the pact’s provisions, it has come into force with effect from 29 July 2017, a date that was mutually decided by the two nations.
  • The new pact will help strengthen the bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan.

News related to India & States

Swachh Survekshan 2018’s anthem ‘Swachhata Ki Jyot Jagi Hai’ released

  • The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on 31 July 2017 released the Swachh Survekshan 2018’s anthem ‘Swachhata Ki Jyot Jagi Hai’ that states that the flame of sanitation has been lit.
  • The anthem was launched to inspire the people to participate in the Swachhata Jan Andolan and connect themselves with the ‘Swachhata Survekshan-2018’.
  • The anthem is scripted by Prasoon Joshi, sung by Babul Supriyo, Udit Narayanan, Shreya Ghoshal, Akriti Kakar, Shann Banerjee and Alka Yagnik. The music of the anthem is directed by Shankar Mahadevan.
  • The anthem has been visualized free for the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs by Producer Mukesh Bhatt. The song also has messages of Amitabh Bachhan and Sachin Tendulkar.
  • The anthem will now be extensively used on various platforms including social media to connect the people with the sanitation survey. The song will also be dubbed into regional languages for wider outreach.

Supreme Court bans use of five harmful metals in firecrackers

  • The Supreme Court of India on 31 July 2017 announced a ban on the use of five metals including lithium, mercury, arsenic, antimony and lead in firecrackers, deeming them as harmful for the environment.
  • The decision was taken by a bench of justices headed by Justice Madan B Lokur who cited air pollution as one of the main reasons behind the move.
  • The order came after the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) Member Secretary informed the apex court that standards on air pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers are yet to be laid down and the exercise would be completed by 15 September.
  • The CPCB stated that till the completion of the project, no firecrackers manufactured should contain the banned metals in any form whatsoever.
  • The bench stated in its judgement that it is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance particularly in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. The apex court also made it clear that for setting up of standards for firecrackers, collaborative efforts will be made between CPCB and PESO.


Lt Gen Abhay Krishna appointed as Chief of Eastern Command

  • Lt General Abhay Krishna, who owns extensive service experience of the Northeast India, was on 31 July 2017 appointed as the Chief of the Indian Army's Eastern Command. Krishna succeeds Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi who has retired from service.
  • The appointment of Krishna comes at a time when India is facing a stand-off with Chinese troops along the Sikkim sector.
  • Krishna was currently serving as the Head of the Army's Jaipur-based Southwestern Command.


Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman, Arvind Panagariya resigns

  • Arvind Panagariya, Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog announced his resignation from the post on 1 August 2017.
  • Panagariya revealed that he would be returning to the field of academics in the US. His last working day in office would be 31 August 2017.
  • The 64-year-old was the first one to hold the post of Vice- Chairman in Niti Aayog. He was appointed to the position in January 2015. His resignation now brings an end to his two and a half year-long stint with the Government of India’s policy think-tank.

World News

Switzerland breaks all record, launches world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge

  • Switzerland is now home to the world's longest suspension footbridge that was inaugurated on 29 July 2017.
  • The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge has broken all the record with its length of 1621 feet and height of 279 feet that makes it the longest in the world. The bridge is named after Charles Kuonen, a psychologist and winery co-owner.
  • It passes through the valley between the towns of Zermatt and Graechen and cuts the journey across the valley from three to four hours to a mere 10 minutes. In actual, the total journey time between Zermatt and Graechen is about two days.
  • Guinness has not yet recognized the bridge as the longest. The current recognized longest pedestrian suspension bridge is the Kokonoe Yume Bridge in Japan, which measures 1279 feet.

Awards & Honors

US army medic conferred Medal of Honour by President Trump 48 years later

  • US President Donald Trump on 1 August 2017 awarded the Medal of Honour, first such award under his administration, to US army medic James McCloughan, who risked his own life to save wounded Americans during the Vietnam War.
  • The recognition comes to the war veteran almost 48 years after his selfless acts. The award ceremony was attended by several senior White House and administration officials including Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and the new White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Trump who was full of praises for McCloughan said, “I know I speak for every person here when I say that we are in awe of your actions and your bravery.” Trump added saying that McCloughan ran into danger.
  • The 71-year-old after receiving the medal pledged to give his all to represent the men who fought alongside him as the caretaker of this symbol of courage and action beyond the call of duty.

Sports News

Summer Olympics: Los Angeles agrees to host 2028 Games; Paris gets 2024

  • Los Angeles formally announced its bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics after agreeing on a deal with the Olympic organizers. This deal with Olympic organizers paves the way for Paris to host the Summer Olympics in 2024.
  • With this Los Angeles will be hosting the games for the third time since it first hosted in 1932. It last hosted Olympics in 1984.
  • Games in Paris, the French capital, marks 100 years since the last time it hosted the Games. Paris last hosted the Olympics in 1924 and had narrowly lost out to London for the right to host the 2012 Games.
  • The Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic bid committee in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the same on 31 July 2017. The LA bid committee said in a statement that Los Angeles will host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2028.
  • Los Angeles had been in a race with Paris to host the 2024 Games, with the winner to be named by the IOC on September 13 in Lima, Peru.
  • The two cities, namely Los Angeles and Paris, were competing for the 2024 Summer Games after several other contenders withdrew.


Dhrupad maestro Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar passes away

  • Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, a classical vocalist and one of the leading exponents of Dhrupad tradition, passed away on 31 July 2017 following a brief illness in Pune. He was 78 and is survived by his wife and two sons.
  • Known to his admirers as Sayeed Bhai, Sayeeduddin belongs to Dagar family of musicians that is the only one to practice Dhrupad, a form of Hindustani classical vocal music. He is the 19th generation of the family practising this form of music.
  • With his demise, Sayeeduddin's sons Nafeesuddin and Aneesuddin Dagar will now be the 20th generation of the family to practice Dhrupad.
  • Dhrupad is a Sanskrit blend of Dhruva (immovable) and Pad (verse). It has its roots in ancient times, it was first mentioned in 3rd Century B.C. in the Natyashastra.


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