Current Affairs Update – 30-31 August, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampunditHere are the Important Current Affairs of 30 & 31 August, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.


Banking & Financial News

99 per cent of demonetised notes returned: RBI report


  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 30 August 2017 released the Status of the Return of SBNs- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Annual Report 2016-17. The report states that around 99 per cent of the demonetised notes that is Rs 15.28 lakh crore have been returned to the bank.
  • The high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 were banned by Union Government in November 2016 as a means to combat counterfeiting, black money and the financing of terrorist activities.
  • RBI was under intense scrutiny since January 2017 after the window for depositing the withdrawn Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes was closed.
  • Until 30 June 2017, demonetised notes were received by RBI either directly or from bank branches or post offices through the currency chest mechanism.  Some of these notes are still in the currency chests. 
  • The value of the Specified Bank Notes (SBNs) received by the currency chests was credited to the banks’ account and after an estimation, it was found that Rs 15.28 trillion value of SBNs have been returned.
  • The currency in Rs 1000 and Rs 500 denomination in circulation was at Rs 15.44 lakh crore before November 2016. 
  • An estimated Rs 16000 crore worth of demonetised notes have not come back to the RBI so far.
  • The report shows that only 89 million pieces of Rs 1000 notes were not deposited.
  • During 2016-17, over 762000 pieces of counterfeit notes were detected in the banking system, of which 95.7 per cent were detected by commercial banks.  Detection of counterfeit notes was 20.4 per cent higher than the previous year. 

Union Cabinet approves equivalence of posts in PSUs, Banks, Insurance companies


  • The Union Cabinet on 30 August 2017 approved the norms for establishing equivalence of posts in Government, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Banks, Insurance Institutions for claiming benefit of OBC reservations.
  • This approval came after nearly 24 years.  This will ensure that the children of those serving in lower categories in PSUs and other institutions can get the benefit of OBC reservations.
  • It will prevent treatment of children of OBC category individuals in senior positions as non Creamy Layer by virtue of wrong interpretation of income standards.
  • The cabinet also approved the increase in the Creamy Layer ceiling of OBCs from Rs 6 lakh per annum to Rs 8 lakh per annum. This increase came with the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
  • The above measures form a part of the Union Government's efforts to ensure greater social justice and inclusion for members of the Other Backward Classes. These measures are expected to ensure greater representation of OBCs in educational institutions and jobs.

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Joint Proposal by India & China in WTO on Aggregate Measurement of Support


  • India and China have jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for the elimination of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies, known as Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) as a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.
  • The proposal is significant in view of the ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, which is scheduled to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017. It counters the efforts of some countries to target the subsidies of the developing countries while letting the developed countries retain their huge farm subsidies.
  • The proposal reveals that developed countries including the US, the EU and Canada have been consistently providing trade-distorting subsidies to their farmers at much higher levels than the ceiling applicable to developing countries.
  • Developed countries have more than 90 percent of the global AMS entitlements amounting to nearly US$ 160 bn.
  • Most of the developing countries including India and China do not have AMS entitlements.
  • While listing out the most heavily and frequently subsidised products by the developed nations since 1995, the proposal calls for the elimination of such subsidies.

Union Cabinet approves MoU on India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund


  • The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 30 August 2017 approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel.
  • The MoU is on India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F), which was concluded in July 2017.
  • As per the terms and conditions of the MoU, India and Israel will make a contribution of four million US dollars each for the Fund annually for five years.
  • The Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint board, which will consist of four members from each country.
  • The MoU envisages promotion of bilateral Industrial R&D and Innovation cooperation in the fields of science and technology by extending support to joint projects for innovative or technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes.
  • Such projects will lead to affordable technological innovations in focus areas of mutual interest such as water, agriculture, energy and digital technologies.
  • Institutional support in building up consortia including private industry, enterprises and R&D institutions from India and Israel will be enabled through these collaborative projects.
  • The activities supported by the Joint Fund would increase the techno-economic collaboration between the two nations by investing in jointly developed technology projects and collaborations based on technological innovation.
  • It would leverage the complementary strengths of Israel and India to encourage Israel-Indian joint projects that capitalize on both the national and global marketplace.

Amazon to help implement Karnataka’s Ksheera Bhagya Scheme


  • Amazon on 30 August 2017 announced a partnership with the Akshaya Patra Foundation to implement the Karnataka Government’s Ksheera Bhagya Scheme in the city.
  • Under the scheme, the school children of the city would be provided a glass of milk each five days a week. This scheme ensures that children start their day in school with a healthy glass of milk, which is rich in protein and fat, essential for healthy growth and all-round development of children.
  • The partnership between Amazon Cares and Akshaya Patra will enable Akshaya Patra to implement the Ksheera Bhagya Scheme to provide milk to school children for five days of the week for this entire academic year. The partnership aims to reach out to 170000 children across 1300 government schools in the state.
  • The Ksheera Bhagya Scheme was launched by the Karnataka Milk Federation in association with Lower and Higher Education Department, Women & Child Department of Karnataka State on 1 August 2013.

Bihar government releases Rs 1935 Cr to undertake relief operations in flood-hit areas


  • The state government of Bihar has released Rs 1935 Cr to undertake relief operations in flood affected areas of the state.
  • The decision was taken by the state cabinet, which was chaired by the state’s Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar.
The released fund would be utilised for:

  • Payment of ex-gratia to the families of the deceased.
  • Monetary assistance of Rs 6000 per affected family.
  • Operation of relief camps for those affected by the disaster.
  • Arrangement of food for people and fodder for cattle.
Besides this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi after making an aerial survey of the affected areas, announced Rs 500 Cr as immediate relief for the flood-hit state. Modi also announced Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of those who died in the course of the disaster.
Overall, around 171 Lakh people have been affected by floods in the state, with around 8,54,936 people being evacuated to safer areas through rescue operations put into place by the Army, National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force. The total death toll has reached around 514.

News related to India & states

Union Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Brazil for Zebu Cattle Genomics


  • The Union Cabinet was on 30 August 2017 apprised of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
  • The MoU was signed by both the sides in October 2016.
  • The MoU will promote development of Genomics and Assistant Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in Cattle through joint activities between both the nations.
  • It calls for the formation of an implementation committee with equal number of representatives from both the sides for regularly determining the activities and developing work plans.
  • Both the countries will undertake joint projects in the fields of Productivity Improvement of cattle and buffaloes for broadening the existing knowledge base on sustainable dairy development.

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EU, India agrees to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation


  • To combat the threat of terrorism and check terror financing, India and the European Union on 30 August 2017 agreed to strengthen cooperation between their security and intelligence agencies.
  • The agreement was reached in New Delhi during the 10th India-European Union Counter Terrorism Dialogue. Reports suggest that the two sides deliberated extensively on combating terror financing and challenges posed by radicalisation and violent extremism.
  • In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, both sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
  • The statement said, they underscored the need for deepening cooperation to combat terrorism in a long term, sustained and comprehensive manner.
  • It says that the two sides exchanged views and assessments on prevailing terrorist threats in their respective regions including state-sponsored, cross-border terrorism in the Af-Pak region.
  • In addition to this, the two sides also agreed to strengthen institutional linkages between Indian agencies and their European Union counterparts including Europol for closer interaction and cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism.

IRNSS-1H: Launch of country's first satellite built by private firms fails


  • Indian Space Research Organsiation's (Isro) attempt to launch India's eighth navigation satellite IRNSS-1H failed today. While the rocket took off successfully, the heat shield did not separate as planned. This is the first failure in 35 launches for Isro's workhorse PSLV.
  • The satellite, weighing around 1,425 kilogram (kg), was carried by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C39) rocket.
  • The mission has failed as heat shield did not open up for the deployment of the satellite, said ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar.
  • This satellite is the first of the two satellites - being contracted by Isro to a consortium of small firms led by Alpha Design Technologies, a Bengaluru-based aerospace firm.
  • So far, private firms have only built components and systems for India's satellites and rockets. Isro had planned to tap private players over a decade ago to build its satellites, but the experiment failed as it found the industry wanted a large-scale commitment before it began work.

Rajnath Singh inaugurates "YUVA - Skill Development Programme"


  • The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 29 August 2017 inaugurated "YUVA - Skill Development Programme".
  • YUVA is an initiative by Delhi Police under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.
  • The YUVA initiative by Delhi Police aims to connect with youth by upgrading their skill as per their competencies.
  • The programme will help the youth to get a gainful employment under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) under the Union Ministry of Skill Development.
  • Delhi Police has tied up with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for providing mass job linked skill training for the selected youth.
  • National Skill Development Corporation will provide skill training to the youth under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna.
  • The Confederation of Indian Industry will provide job linked training through its Sector Skill Councils who are connected to industry and thereby provide job guarantee.
  • A total of 32 police station buildings have been identified where Skill Development Centres would be opened at the earliest.

Appointments

IAS officer Rajiv Gauba takes charge as Union Home Secretary


  • Senior IAS officer Rajiv Gauba took charge as the new Union Home Secretary on 31 August 2017.
  • The 1982 batch officer of Jharkhand cadre will serve at the position for a fixed term of two years. He succeeded Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer who retired from the service on 30 August.
  • Gauba has also served at the Centre in the Ministries of Defence, Environment and Forests and Department of Electronics and Information Technology in different positions.
  • He had also served as district magistrate of Gaya, Nalanda and Muzzaffarpur districts before Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar.
  • He also represented India for four years on the board of the International Monetary Fund.

World News

China’s TCL to launch waterproof BlackBerry phone


  • TCL Corporation, the Chinese electronics company is going to launch a full touchscreen, waterproof Smartphone under the BlackBerry name in October 2017.
  • The launch will happen a month after Apple launches its new flagship iPhone 8 and a refresh of its iPhone 7 devices.
  • According to TCL's François Mahieu, BlackBerry's security know-how will enable TCL to deliver the most secure Android phone in the world. "We are there to play. We are just playing with different cards, mostly by pushing its strengths of battery life, security and durability," he said.
  • The manufacturing and selling rights of BlackBerry branded smartphones India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is owned by a telecommunication company called Optiemus Infracom.

Days

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances observed globally


  • The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances was observed across the world on 30 August 2017.
  • The day was first observed in 2011 after a declaration by the United Nations Generally Assembly. The declaration followed the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance by the assembly on 20 December 2006.
  • On 21 December 2010, by its resolution 65/209  the UN General Assembly expressed its deep concern about the increase in enforced or involuntary disappearances in various regions of the world, including arrest, detention and abduction.



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