Current Affairs Update – 2 August, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 2 August, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB  & Other Exams.


Banking & Financial News

Union Government launches e-RaKAM portal for selling agricultural produce


  • The Union Government on 1 August 2017 launched a portal, e-RaKAM, to provide a platform to sell agricultural produce.
  • The portal is a joint initiative by state-run-auctioneer MSTC and Central Warehousing Corporation arm CRWC.
  • The platform is a digital initiative that aims to bring together the farmers, PSUs, civil supplies and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling and buying process of agricultural products.
  • The e-RaKAM is a first-of-its-kind initiative that leverages technology to connect farmers of the smallest villages to the biggest markets of the world through internet and e-RaKAM centres.
  • While launching the portal, the Union Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan stated that the effort should be to auction 20 lakh tonnes of pulses in the first phase through the platform.
  • With the help of the platform, various crops whose price increases due to rainfall or bad weather conditions will be managed and get the market.
  • The portal aims at strengthening the agriculture-oriented Indian economy and farmers, who play an important role in national development.



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RBI Monetary Policy: Repo rate slashed by 25 bps to 6%, lowest since 2010


  • The RBI has cut the repo rate by 25 bps to 6%. This was on expected lines as market consensus predicted a 25 bps cut.
  • Reverse repo rate has also been cut by 0.25 per cent to 5.75 per cent.
  • The six member monetary policy committee voted on the basis of a majority for a cut. Dr. Chetan Ghate, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Viral V. Acharya and Dr. Urjit R. Patel were in favour of the monetary policy decision, while Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia voted for a policy rate reduction of 50 basis points and Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra voted for status quo.
  • The cut in rates comes against the backdrop of slowing credit growth, very low inflation and low economic growth. Retail inflation has fallen to a five year low of 1.5 per cent in June and expected to remain soft for a while longer. Bank credit is growing at just a little over 6 per cent year on year.
  • The economy has slowed down through the past five quarters from a high of 9.1% registered in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 to a level of 6.1% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Factory activity contracted to a 8-year low with the purchasing managers' index at just 47.9 points in July.
Following are the highlights of the Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement issued by RBI:

  • Repo rate reduced by 0.25 percent to 6 percent.
  • Reverse repo rate cut by 0.25 percent to 5.75 percent.
  • Focus on keeping headline inflation close to 4 percent on durable basis
  • Some risks to inflation have reduced or not materialised.
  • Growth forecast unchanged at 7.3 percent for the current fiscal.
  • Pushes for reinvigorating private investments, clearing infra bottlenecks and providing big thrust to PMAY.
  • Forex reserves at $392.9 billion as on 28 July.
  • Four members of Monetary Policy Committee voted in favour of 0.25 percent rate cut.
  • Farm loan waivers by states may result in fiscal slippages, undermine public spending quality.
  • Government, RBI working to resolve large NPAs and recapitalise public sector banks.
  • High levels of stress in twin balance sheets – banks and corporations – are likely to deter new investment.
  • Next MPC meeting on 3 and 4 October, 2017.

News related to India & States

PM Modi announces Rs 100cr corpus to study & find permanent solution to flood problem in North-East


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 August 2017 announced a Rs 100 crore corpus to study and find a permanent solution to the flood problem in the North-Eastern states of India.
  • In addition to this corpus of Rs 100 crore, the Prime Minister also announced Rs 2350 crore as an immediate aid for the North East after holding a review meeting on the flood situation with several North Eastern states in Guwahati.
  • The corpus was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Guwahati, Assam. He was in Assam to take stock of flood situation of Assam and few other North-Eastern States.
  • During the visit, Modi chaired a series of high-level meetings to review the flood situation and relief operations. The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers and senior officials of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur.
  • Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Prime Minister has announced this corpus to find a long-term solution to the flood problem in the region by setting up a high- powered committee and a research project to study Brahmaputra River and its role in creating a devastating flood.
  • Assam Water Resource minister Keshab Mahanta said that Rs 250 crore has already been released for Assam for immediate rehabilitation measures. He said the Prime Minister announced Rs 2000 crore rupees for flood affected North Eastern states for infrastructure development.
  • The Prime Minister also asserted that Assam’s problem is also the problem of the country and assured to take steps to convert problems into possibilities.

Maharashtra government planning to relocate tigers from Vidarbha region to sanctuaries


  • Maharashtra Government is planning to relocate tigers from Vidarbha region of the state to the sanctuaries elsewhere where their population is smaller, including Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR).
  • Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) is located in Sahyadri ranges in the western Maharashtra, which has only seven tigers at present.
  • The information was given in the Legislative Assembly of the State by State’s forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. The forest minister said that the government had set up a committee to examine this issue, and a decision will be taken based on its recommendations.
  • The committee will examine translocation proposal. It will consult experts from the Centre and submit its report in 2-3 months.
  • He also said that most deaths of tigers happen due to territorial fights owing to overpopulation.

Rajya Sabha passes Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017


  • The Rajya Sabha on 1 August 2017 passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that amends Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • The Bill extends the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment by 4 years.
  • The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on 22 July 2017.
  • The Bill states that the teachers who do not possess the minimum qualifications as on 31 March 2015 will acquire the minimum qualifications within a period of four years, that is, by 31 March 2019.
  • The teachers can get the prescribed qualification using the Swayam portal.
  • Teachers will also be provided practical experience by the respective states.
  • Under the scheme 'Swayam Prabha', teachers will not only be trained offline but also online and even through direct-to- home (DTH) television channels.

Jharkhand Cabinet approves Religious Freedom Bill 2017


  • Jharkhand Cabinet on 1 August 2017 approved Religious Freedom Bill 2017. The bill named as Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill, 2017 seeks to bring the stringent anti-conversion law in place under which forceful or allurement induced religious conversion will be a non-bailable criminal offence.
  • According to an official release, Section three of the Bill prohibits forceful conversion. In the event of violation of section three, there will be up to three years imprisonment or Rs 50000 penalty or both.
  • The release says that if the crime involves a minor, woman or person from SC or ST community than the prison term would be up to four years and a penalty of one lakh rupees.
  • Allurement for religious conversion has been well defined in the bill, where cash or economic benefits for religious conversion are included. The bill would be tabled in the upcoming monsoon session of Jharkhand Assembly.
  • If the Bill is passed, Jharkhand would become the seventh State to have a Freedom of Religion Act in place. Other six states with similar Freedom of Religion Act are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to implement.

India and Somalia sign agreement on transfer of sentenced persons


  • India and Somalia on 1 August 2017 signed a bilateral agreement for the transfer of sentenced persons. The move is step forward in deepening humanitarian cooperation between the two nations.
  • Signing the agreement with Somalia will facilitate the Indian prisoners imprisoned in Somalia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence. The step will also facilitate their social rehabilitation.
  • The agreement was signed between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia Yusuf Garaad Omar.
  • The Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia Yusuf-Garaad Omar arrived in New Delhi on 31 July 2017 on a five-day visit at the invitation of Sushma Swaraj. This is his first visit to India since he assumed office earlier in 2017.

Appointments

Sanjaya Baru appointed as Secretary General of FICCI


  • Sanjaya Baru was on 1 August 2017 appointed as the Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with effect from 1 September 2017.
  • He succeeds A Didar Singh, who served as Secretary General for 5 years. However, Didar Singh will continue to serve as a strategic advisor to Pankaj Patel, President of the FICCI.
  • Baru had earlier served as the media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


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US Senate confirms Christopher Wray as FBI Director


  • The US senate on 1 August 2017 confirmed the appointment of Christopher Wray as the Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Wray was elected to the post by winning 92-5 votes of the Senate.
  • With this, Wray succeeds James Comey, who was unexpectedly fired by US President Donald Trump in May 2017 in the midst of the investigation into Russian meddling in US Presidential Elections 2016. Since then, Andrew McCabe has been serving as acting FBI director.
  • Wray, a former high-ranking official in President George W Bush's Justice Department who oversaw investigations into corporate fraud, takes over the FBI at such a challenging time when Trump expelled Comey, who was admired within FBI.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi succeeded Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister of Pakistan


  • Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the loyal supporter of Ex-Prime Minister of pakistan Nawaz Sharif, replaced Nawaz as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The lower house of parliament has elected him the new Prime Minister of pakistan.
  • The name of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was announced during a high-level PML-N meeting. The PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League) holds the majority in the lower house of parliament.
  • Shahid Khaqan Abbasi received total 221 votes out of 343-member parliament.
  • The decision came following Nawaz Sharif’s resignation as Prime Minister of the country on 28 July 2017. He resigned following a decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court to disqualify him from office on corruption charges.
  • Since Nawaz Sharif brother Shehbaz is not a member of the National Assembly or Senate, and in order to be appointed as the Prime Minister of the country, he will have to get elected to the Senate. Therefore, the PML-N wants him to be in office only for the 45 days and work as an Interim Prime Minister of Pakistan till the time Shehbaz become a member of Parliament.

Obituaries

Renowned scientist Pushpa Mitra Bhargava passes away


  • Pushpa Mitra (PM) Bhargava, a veteran molecular biologist and a ardent critic of Genetically Modified crops, passed away on 1 August 2017 following a prolonged illness. He was 89.
  • Bhargava was the Founder-Director of Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
  • He founded the CCMB in 1977 as an institution for research in basic biology and for seeking its application for the benefit of society.
  • He opposed the approval of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in India and called for a moratorium of at least 15 years on genetically modified crops in the country.
  • Bhargava is a recipient of over 100 national and international honours and awards, including the Padma Bhushan in 1986 and the Legion d'Honneur in 1998 of France.

Marian Diamond, known for studies of Einstein's brain, passes away


  • Marian Diamond, one of the founders of modern neuroscience, passed away in July 2017. She was 90.
  • Diamond is mostly known for her investigations of Albert Einstein’s brain. After receiving four preserved slices of the physicist’s brain in 1984, she discovered that it contained an uncommonly high number of glia, cells that were once believed to merely be supporting structures in the brain.
  • Her doctoral dissertation thesis Functional Interrelationships of the Hypothalamus and the Neurohypophysis was published in 1953.
  • She earned her PhD degree in human anatomy.
  • She was the first woman science instructor at Cornell University where she taught human biology and comparative anatomy.

Former Union Minister Santosh Mohan Dev passes away


  • Former Union Minister Santosh Mohan Dev on Wednesday passed away at his home town in Silchar, Assam. He was 83.
  • The Congress veteran was Heavy Industry Minister in the UPA-I government led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  • The seven-time Congress MP is survived by his wife and four daughters, including Ms. Sushmita Dev.
  • Mr. Dev was first elected to the Parliament in 1980. Out of the seven terms as the Lok Sabha MP, he has represented Silchar five times and Tripura twice.
  • Mr. Dev was the Union Minister of State for Communications during 1986-1988 and the Minister of State for Home from 1988-1989.
  • He was also the Union Minister of State for Steel (independent charge) in the PV Narasimha Rao government in 1991.



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