Current Affairs Update – 17 August, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 17 August, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.

Banking & Financial News

Axis Bank launches new home loan product "Shubh Aarambh"

  • Aiming to ramp up its mortgage book volumes and expecting better credit behaviour, Axis Bank today launched a home loan product that entails waiving off a few EMIs during the course of a loan.
  • The third largest private sector lender will waive off four equated monthly instalments (EMIs) each at the end of the fourth, eighth and the 12th year of a two-year loan.
  • This means that if a borrower takes a 20-year loan, the consumer will get 12 of the EMIs waived off, which the bank claimed will help save Rs 3.09 lakh on a Rs 30-lakh loan.
  • The waivers will be applicable for loans of up to Rs 30 lakh and will be given in the form of reduction in loan tenures, it said, adding that the interest rate stays the same at 8.35 per cent.
  • When asked if it will impact the net interest margin as the total tenure is coming down, executive director Rajiv Anand said the bank will benefit from better credit behaviour and longevity of a loan as pre-payments will be less.
  • But a single missed EMI will disqualify the borrower from getting the benefit, while on the longevity front, the incentives can help reduce prepayments, he said.

ICICI Bank signs MoU with Government of Odisha for e-governance Services

  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of Odisha to provide e-governance services to the people of the state.
  • This initiative will enable anyone including non-ICICI Bank customers to pay their utility bills, including electricity, water, withholding tax, etc. directly on the website of the Government of Odisha, using an ICICI Bank payment gateway.


RBI makes Aadhar linkage mandatory for farmers to avail short-term crop loans in 2017-18

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 16 August 2017 made Aadhar linkage mandatory for farmers who wish to avail short-term crop loans in 2017-18.
  • In its, notification RBI has said, “To ensure hassle-free benefits to farmers under Interest Subvention Scheme, the banks are advised to make Aadhar linkage mandatory for availing short-term crop loans in 2017-18.”
  • RBI has clarified that farmers can avail of short-term crop loans of up to Rs 3 lakh at the subsidised interest rate of 7 per cent that could go down to 4 per cent on prompt repayment.
  • An interest subvention of 2 per cent per annum will be offered to lending institutions viz. Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Private Sector Commercial Banks (in respect of loans given by their rural and semi-urban branches only) on the use of their own resources. This subvention will be provided on the short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh to farmers at an interest rate of 7 per cent per annum during the year 2017-18.
  • The notification says, “This interest subvention of 2 per cent will be calculated on the crop loan amount from the date of its disbursement/drawal up to the date of actual repayment of the crop loan by the farmer or up to the due date of the loan fixed by the banks whichever is earlier, subject to a maximum period of one year.”
  • The notification says, an additional interest subvention of 3 per cent will be available for those who pay their pay dues on time. This also implies that the farmers paying promptly as above would get short term crop loans @ 4 per cent per annum during the year 2017-18.

Union Cabinet approves new Metro Rail Policy

  • The Union Cabinet on 16 August 2017 approved new Metro Rail Policy focussed on compact urban development, cost reduction and multi-modal integration.
  • This new Metro Rail Policy seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail targets of a large number of cities.
  • The policy enables private investments across a range of metro operations making Public-Private Partnership (PPP) component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects.
  • Private participation either for complete provision of metro rail or for some unbundled components will form an essential requirement for all metro rail projects seeking central financial assistance.
  • It seeks to ensure a catchment area of 5 kms on either side of metro stations to provide necessary last mile connectivity through feeder services, Non-Motorised Transport infrastructure like walking and cycling pathways and introduction of para-transport facilities.
  • It mandates evaluation of various modes of mass transit like BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System), Light Rail Transit, Tramways, Metro Rail and Regional Rail in terms of demand, capacity, cost and ease of implementation to ensure that least cost mass transit mode is selected for public transport.
  • It also mandates setting up of Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) to prepare Comprehensive Mobility Plans for cities for ensuring complete multi-modal integration.
  • It specifies a shift from the present ‘Financial Internal Rate of Return of 8 per cent’ to ‘Economic Internal Rate of Return of 14 per cent’ for approving metro projects.
  • It mandates Transit Oriented Development (TOD) to promote compact and dense urban development along metro corridors as TOD reduces travel distances besides enabling efficient land use in urban areas.

Union Government releases 4th Advance Estimate of production of major crops for 2016-17

  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, on 16 August 2017 released the 4th advance estimates of production of major crops for 2016-17.
  • The assessment of production of different crops is based on the feedback received from States and validated with information available from other sources.
Key highlights of the 4th Advance Estimates

  • The total food grain production in the country is estimated at 275.68 million tonnes, which is higher by 10.64 million tonnes (4.01%) than the previous record production of food grain achieved during 2013-14.
  • The current year’s production is also higher by 18.67 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2011-12 to 2015-16) average production of food grains.
  • Total production of rice is estimated at record 110.15 million tonnes, which is a new record.  This year’s rice production is higher by 3.50 million tonnes (3.28%) than previous record production of 106.65 million tonnes achieved during 2013-14. Production of rice increased significantly by 5.74 million tonnes (5.50%) than the production of 104.41 million tonnes during 2015-16.  
  • Total production of wheat is estimated at 98.38 million tonnes, which is also a record. This year’s wheat production is higher by 2.64% than the previous record production of 95.85 million tonnes achieved during 2013-14. The current year’s production is higher by 6.10 million tonnes (6.61%) as compared to wheat production of 92.29 million tonnes achieved during 2015-16.
  • Total production of coarse cereals is estimated at a new record level of 44.19 million tonnes, which is higher than the average production by 2.85 million tonnes (6.88%).
  • As a result of significant increase in the area coverage and productivity of all major pulses, total production of pulses during 2016-17 is estimated at 22.95 million tonnes, which is higher by 3.70 million tonnes (19.22%) than the previous record production of 19.25 million tonnes achieved during 2013-14. 
  • With an increase of 6.85 million tonnes (27.11%) over the previous year, total oilseeds production in the country is estimated at 32.10 million tonnes.
  • Total production of sugarcane is estimated at 306.72 million tonnes, which is lower by 41.73 million tonnes (-11.98%) than the last year’s production of 348.45 million tonnes.
  • Higher productivity of cotton resulted into higher production of 33.09 million bales (of 170 kg each), i.e. an increase of 10.29%, as compared to 30.01 million bales during 2015-16.
  • Total production of jute and mesta is estimated at 10.60 million bales (of 180 kg each) is marginally higher (0.73%) than their production of 10.52 million bales during the last year.

Union Cabinet approves completion of North Koel Reservoir Project

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 August 2017 approved the proposal to complete the North Koel Reservoir Project in Jharkhand and Bihar at an estimated expenditure of Rs 1622.27 crore to be incurred during three financial years.
  • The Cabinet also approved storage of water in dam restricted at lower level to protect Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve.
  • The project is situated on North Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river that joins the river Ganga. 
  • North Koel Reservoir is located in the most backward tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand.
  • The construction of the project originally began in the year 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Bihar's Forest Department. Since then, the work on dam is at a standstill.
  • The major components of project are: 67.86 m high and 343.33 m long concrete dam called Mandal dam; 819.6 m long barrage at Mohammadganj, 96 km downstream of the dam and two canals originating from left and right banks of Mohammadganj Barrage.
  • With the new lowered elevation level (EL) of 341 metre, the Mandal dam will now have storage of 190 MCM. 

News related to India & states

LED bulbs, tubelights, fans to go on sale at petrol pumps across India

  • The Energy Efficiency Services Limited on 16 August 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with three state-owned oil marketing companies for the distribution of energy-efficient appliances through petrol pumps across India.
  • The energy-efficient appliances include LED bulbs, tubelights and ceiling fans and they would be sold under the flagship Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All (UJALA) scheme.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, the three oil marketing companies have over 53 thousand petrol pumps and the products will be available across the country in the next 6 months.
  • The three oil marketing companies are Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.
  • The distribution of the energy efficient appliances will be conducted in a phased manner across the country. In the first phase, the distribution will start from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • The consumer would now be able to purchase high-quality 9W LED bulbs at Rs 70, 20W LED tubelight at Rs 220 and 5 star rated ceiling fans at the rate of Rs 1200.
  • Currently over 25 Cr LED bulbs, 30 lakh LED tubelights and more than 11 lakh energy efficient fans have been distributed under the Ujala scheme.


Union Cabinet approves creation of non-lapsable Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh

  • The Union Cabinet on 16 August 2017 approved the creation of a single non-lapsable corpus fund Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK) for secondary and higher education.
  • Under Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh, all proceeds of Secondary and Higher Education Cess will be credited.
  • The funds arising from the MUSK will be utilized for schemes in the education sector which would be available for the benefit of students of secondary and higher education.
  • Union Ministry of Human Resource Development will be responsible for the administration and maintenance of the funds.
  • Accruals from the Cess would be utilized in the ongoing schemes of Secondary and Higher Education.
  • The expenditure on ongoing schemes of the Department of School Education & Literacy and Department of Higher Education will be initially incurred from the gross budgetary support (GBS) and the expenditure will be financed from the MUSK after the GBS is exhausted.
  • MUSK will be maintained as a Reserve Fund in the non-interest bearing section of the Public Accounts of India.
  • For Secondary Education, accruals from the Cess will be utilized in the secondary education for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shlksha Abhiyan Scheme, National Means-Cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme and National Scheme for Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education.

India has 27312 elephants: All-India Elephant Population Estimation

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on 12 August 2017 released preliminary results from the first-ever synchronised All-India Elephant Population Estimation.
  • As per the estimation, the population of Asian elephant in India stands at 27312.
  • The estimate is derived from the sighting-based direct count method alone. However, the estimate will be confirmed with estimates from the indirect dung-count method in three months.
  • According to the report, Karnataka has the highest number of elephants (6049), followed by Assam (5719) and Kerala (3054).
  • The numbers are lower than from the last census estimate in 2012. However, the experts say that parallels cannot be drawn, because in the 2012 count, various states used different methodologies and the effort was not synchronised across the country. As per them, errors and duplication could have led to overestimation.
  • As per the estimation, a number of indices, including birth rate, indicate that the elephant population is increasing.

India’s first Partition Museum opens after 70 years of Independence

  • A new museum on the Partition of the Indian subcontinent was inaugurated in the third week of August 2017 after 70 years of bloodstained tragedy that had split British India into India and Pakistan in 1947.
  • In the past 70 years since India and Pakistan were created, there has never been a venue focused on the memorabilia of those who survived the partition until now. This is the first time that a venue is created to mark India's independence and to focus on the stories of survivors of the chaotic and bloody history of India.
  • In August 2017, India and Pakistan celebrated their seven decades of their independence.
  • The museum is located in the red-brick Town Hall building in the North Indian border city of Amritsar.
  • It exhibits photographs, newspaper clippings and donated personal items that depict India's struggle for freedom from colonial rule.
  • It also portrays that how India's Independence in 1947 was one of the most violent episodes where communal clashes left hundreds of thousands of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs dead and displaced another 15 million from their ancestral homes.

Sports News

Real Madrid beats Barcelona to win 2017 Spanish Super Cup

  • Real Madrid on 16 August 2017 defeated Barcelona 2-0 in the second leg of the 2017 Spanish Super Cup to seal the win.
  • Real Madrid achieved the feat without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the referee after he was sent-off in the first leg.
  • Real Madrid is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain.
  • The football club was founded on 6 March 1902 as Madrid Football Club.
  • The word Real is Spanish for Royal and was bestowed to the club by King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with the royal crown in the emblem.
  • The club was estimated to be worth USD 3.65 billion in 2015.
  • Real Madrid is one of three founding members of La Liga that have never been relegated from the top division, along with Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona.




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