Current Affairs 2017 (March)

Current Affairs 2017 (March)

NATIONAL

  1. The Union Government has signed a Financing Agreement with World Bank for IDA credit of $63 million for the Tejaswini Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) Project. It is World Bank’s first project in India solely focused on the welfare of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) aged between 14 and 24 to complete their secondary level education and provide relevant skills for job market.

  2. Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala has topped in city governance ranking of the Annual Survey of India’s City Systems (ASICS) 2016 conducted by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy.

  3. Haryana Government has announced Tirtha Darshan Scheme under which senior citizens above 60 years of age in the state will be able to go on a pilgrimage within the country at government expense

  4. India has accepted an invitation to attend the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), to be held in Lahore in March 2017. The last round of the PIC was held in July 2016. This development came after two months of diplomatic negotiations, with World Bank officials playing mediator in encouraging Pakistan to extend the invitation and for India to accept.

  5. The Union Government has announced that half of the 4,096-km long border India shares with Bangladesh has been fenced. The remaining half will be fenced by 2019 deadline. Its aim of fencing the India-Bangladesh border is to curb infiltration and smuggling of cattle and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).

  6. The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation. The MoU was signed between the National Productivity Council (NPC), an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE.

  7. The world’s longest serving warship INS Viraat was decommissioned by the Indian Navy at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra after nearly six decades of service. This marks the end of an era of Viraat being the flagship of the Indian Navy as it had provided utmost protection to the country during many tense situations. The decision on the warship’s future has not been taken yet.

  8. The Trade Mark Rules, 2017 have come into effect, streamlining and simplifying the processing of Trade Mark applications. The new rules were released by Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry and will replace the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules, 2002.

  9. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved proposal for revival of 50 under-served/un-served airports or airstrips of the State Governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Civil enclaves. The announcement for making adequate provisions for revival of under-served/un-served airports was made by the Union Finance Minister in Union Budget 2016-17.

  10. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for India’s accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) and necessary procedures for ratification. By joining the convention, Indian traders will get access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of goods by road or multi-modal means across the territories of other contracting parties.

  11. Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women). Under this MoU, Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) and UN-Women will work in collaboration with each other to promote participation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

  12. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. The portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry under the (CRZ) by the Project proponents for ease of doing business.

  13. According to recent survey released by Transparency International (TI), India had highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia-Pacific countries surveyed between July 2015 and January 2017. The survey was conducted among more than 21,000 people in the region. It revealed that more than one in four people, when accessing basic services like medicine, education or water.

  14. Union Government has appointed Narendra Kumar as the new chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC).

  15. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued draft Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules 2017 for Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) company or e wallet firms. The draft rules seek to ensure integrity, security and confidentiality of electronic payments made through PPIs. It covers an entire spectrum for protecting consumer information, especially financial data.

  16. The Union Ministry of Agriculture has launched Mission Fingerling, a programme to enable holistic development and management of fisheries sector in India with a total expenditure of about Rs. 52000 lakh. The mission aims to achieve the target to enhance fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21 under the Blue Revolution.

  17. The Union Government is going to launch pilot project on ornamental fisheries in 8 potential States with total outlay of over 61 crore rupees. These 8 potential States identified includes Assam, West Bengal , Odisha, Maharashtra , Gujarat , Karnataka , Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

  18. State-run NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) has installed India’s largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (RGCCPP) at Kayamkulam in Kerala. The 100 kWp (kilowatt peak) floating solar PV plant has been indigenously developed as a part of Union Government flagship ‘Make In India’ initiative.

  19. The Union Cabinet has approved Revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Mode of Operation (MoO) between India and Bangladesh for establishing Border Haats on India-Bangladesh Border. The revised MoU and MoO will provide a legal framework for establishment and operationalization of additional Border Haats along India-Bangladesh border.

  20. The Madhukar Gupta Committee on border protection has submitted its report to the Union Government to strengthen border protection and address vulnerabilities in fencing along the Indo-Pakistan border. It was announced by the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju in a written reply to question in the Lok Sabha.

  21. The Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry has launched Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme for developing export linked infrastructure in states with a view to promoting outbound shipments. TIES seeks to bridge the critical infrastructure gap and provide forward and backward linkages to units engaged in trade activities.

  22. The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution unveiled the revised Building Code, making builders liable for the structure’s safety. The code has been prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). It is voluntary in nature, but the states can incorporate them in their building bylaws.

  23. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Gas Marketing and Pricing Freedom for CBM Gas. The policy provides marketing and pricing freedom to the CBM Contractors to sell the CBM at Arm’s Length Price in the domestic market.

  24. In recently released 2017 Women in Politics Map report, India was ranked low at 148th position in representation of women in executive government. It was released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women. The report was launched on sidelines of 61st Commission on Status of Women, the largest inter-governmental forum on women’s rights and gender equality. The theme for this year event is on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

  25. The Union Union Cabinet approved the National Health Policy 2017. It will replace the previous policy which was framed 15 years ago in 2002. It aims at providing healthcare in an “assured manner” to all by addressing current and emerging challenges arising from the ever changing socio-economic, epidemiological and technological scenarios.

  26. Former BJP legislator from Gujarat Manhar Valjibhai Zala has assumed charge as Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK). Along with him, two other members Dilip Kallu Haathived from Maharashtra and Manju Diler from Uttar Pradesh also took charge as members of the NCSK.

  27. India and Brazil have finalised text of the Social Security Agreement (SSA). It will come in force by early 2018 after it is ratified. It will be the first such agreement between the BRICS countries. This SSA takes forward the spirit of Goa Declaration adopted at 8th BRICS Summit, outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held in June 2016 in Geneva and September 2016 in New Delhi.

  28. India’s contribution to the United Nations has rose by 55% to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16 compared with the previous fiscal. In 2014-15, India had contributed Rs 157 crore.

  29. The Union Labour Ministry has proposed a labour code which will provide social security cover to the entire workforce in the country, including self-employed and agricultural workers. In this regard, it has proposed a draft code on Social Security and Welfare with an aim to provide social security cover to the entire workforce in the country of about 45 crore workers.

  30. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement to work together They will work together on crop improvement and agronomy programmes for grain legumes and dryland cereals. It will benefit small farmers in India and globally.

  31. The Union Government has announced that total of 29 lakh debit cards were subjected to malware attack in through ATMs that were connected with the switch of Hitachi.  It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The reply mentioned that the malware-induced security breach between May and July 2016 had compromised only 3,291 cards as reported by banks to the RBI.

  32. The World Bank has approved $175 million for India’s ambitious National Hydrology Project to improve its ability to forecast floods and reduce vulnerability to recurring floods and droughts. The loan has been issued from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with maturity of 23 years. It also has a six-year grace period in which no interest payments will be due.

  33. India and Russia have signed two long-term support agreements for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet, covering around 57,000 spares and components related to the aircraft. The agreements were signed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation at the first India-Russia Military Industrial Conference held in New Delhi.

  34. The Union Government will soon launch country’s first-of-its-kind Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary which aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people. It is being developed in both print and video format by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC).  It will give an uniform language to 50 lakh hearing and 20 lakh speech impaired people in the country.

  35. According to recent report tabled in the Lok Sabha, West Bengal has the highest number of arsenic-affected people in the country. State’s 83 blocks in eight districts have ground water affected by arsenic contamination. Despite the State government’s efforts to curb the Arsenic menace, there is still a lot to be done. So far, state government was able to provide safe drinking water to 52% of the arsenic-affected areas in Bengal.

  36. The Uttarakhand High Court has recognized the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers as so-called living entities. It is for the first time any court in India has recognized a non-human as a living entity. The two rivers are sacred for the Hindus, sustain millions of people in the country but have seen years of damage at the hands of humans. The HC Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Singh and Justice Rajiv Sharma gave a landmark judgment while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by one Mohammad Salim in 2014.

  37. India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017 published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on the eve of International Day of Happiness (20 March). The rankings are based factors such as  inequality, life expectancy, GDP per capita, public trust (i.e. a lack of corruption in government and business), and social support.

  38. The Uttarakhand High Court has recognized the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers as so-called living entities. It is for the first time any court in India has recognized a non-human as a living entity.

  39. the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the four Goods and Services Tax (GST) related bills. These Bills were earlier approved by the GST Council after clause by clause, discussion over 12 meetings in past 6 months. The passage of these four GST related bills will pave the way for the biggest reform in the area of Indirect Taxes in the history of the country.The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (CGST Bill): It makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services for both by the Union Government.The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (IGST Bill): It makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the Union Government.The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (UTGST Bill): It makes provisions for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the UTs without legislature. It is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST) that will enacted by state legislatures for levy and collection of tax by the States/UTs on intra-state supply of goods or services or both.The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill): It provides for compensation to states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the GST for a period of five years as per section 18 of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.

  40. Assam Government launched Sustainable Action for Climate Resilient Development Initiative to develop Majuli, the world’s largest river island, as the country’s first carbon neutral district. It was launched by state Chief Minister Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on the occasion of International Day of Forests (observed on March 21).

  41. India was ranked 131 in the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) among the 188 countries.  India scored 0.624 and was placed in medium human development category. The index was unveiled recently as part of the Human Development Report (HDR) 2016 titled Human Development for Everyone published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

  42. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.  In this regard, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar commissioned two facilities – a 1-m Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and a 1-m Shock Tunnel.

  43. The Union Cabinet has approved the amendment to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The amendment seeks to ensure all teachers, in position as on March 2015, acquire minimum qualifications prescribed by academic authority to extend period for such training for 4 years up to March 2019.

  44. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved North East Road Network Connectivity Project (NERNCP) Phase I for development of 403 kms of National Highways in Meghalaya and Mizoram. Out of total 403 km, approximately 351 km will be in developed in Mizoram and 52 km in Meghalaya. The project will be executed in EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Mode.

  45. The Rajya Sabha has passed HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014. The Bill seeks to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. It aims to prevent social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIV). It also seeks to strengthen legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances to probe discrimination complaints against those who discriminate against PLHIV.

  46. The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Customs and Excise Acts related to abolition of cesses and surcharges on various goods and services to facilitate implementation of GST Regime Decision

  47. in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. It has approved the following proposalsAmendment to Customs Act, 1962; Amendment to Central Excise Act, 1944.Amendments to Customs Tariff Act, 1975. Repeal of Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 and Amendment/repeal of the provisions relating to Acts under which cesses are levied.

  48. Union Cabinet has approved proposal for amending National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981. Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

  49. The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-ln) and the US Homeland Security Department on cooperation in the field of Cyber Security. The MoU was signed in January 2017 in New Delhi. It intends to promote closer co-operation and exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security between both strategic partners in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations and on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and reciprocity.

  50. The Union Finance Ministry has notified hird Protocol amending India-Singapore Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). The agreement came into force in February 2017and was signed in December 2016. The Third Protocol amends the DTAA between both countries to provide for source-based taxation of capital gains arising on sale of shares in a company.

  51. The Union Cabinet approved setting up of National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) as a constitutional body. In this regard, constitutional amendment bill for amending Constitution mainly by insertion of Article 338B will be soon introduced in the Parliament.

  52. The Union Cabinet has approved proposals to tweak Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) rules to enable greater flow of resources. FFS was established in June 2016 with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores.

  53. India ranked 87th among the surveyed 127 countries on a Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) released as part of report of Geneva- based World Economic Forum (WEF). EAPI is a composite index developed by WEF in collaboration with Accenture Strategy. It focuses on tracking specific indicators to measure the energy system performance of the countries.

  54. The Lok Sabha has approved amendments to The Finance Bill, 2017 proposed by the Union Government to wind up eight tribunals These eight tribunals currently exclusively deal with disputes pertaining to employees’ provident fund (EPF), Competition law, Airports economic regulation, IT law, National highways, railways, copyrights and Forex. The amendments in the Finance Bill of 2017 also has proposed changes in the norms for tribunals, appellate tribunals and other boards associated with the administration of 17 central laws.

  55. The Union Water Resources Ministry has drafted new dam safety bill to contemplate an institutional mechanism to improve safety of around 5300-odd dams across in India. The new law has been vetted by the Union Law Ministry. It will now go to the Union Cabinet for approval and its introduction in Parliament.

  56. Government has notified that Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) will now be permanently chaired by a senior MoEF official. Recently, new Board of 18 members, chaired by Sharad Singh Negi, Special Secretary and Director-General (Forests), MoEF came into effect for three years term.

  57. The Law Commission of India (LCI) in its 267th Report has laid out that bare the danger of hate speech to the Union Government and called for action from the government and Parliament. It held that hate speech has the potential to provoke individuals and society to commit acts of genocides, terrorism and ethnic cleansing. The Supreme Court of India in 2014 had referred to the Law Commission for means to arm the Election Commission to crack down on hate speech.

  58. Union Government is going to launch Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) scheme for providing physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens belonging to BPL category. It is the first-of-its-kind Central Sector Scheme (CCS) in India, to be fully funded by the Central Government. It is expected to benefit 5,20,000 Senior Citizens.

  59. India and World Bank have singed Signs Financing Agreement for IDA credit of $100 million for the “Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project. The project aims to improve access to quality health services, particularly in the hilly districts of the state and to expand health financial risk protection for residents of the State.

  60. The Union Finance Minister has approved re-organisation of field formations of the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) for the implementation of Goods & Services Tax (GST). Under it, CBEC will be renamed as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) after getting required legislative approval.

  61. Indian Navy successfully conducted maiden test of short range surface-to-air Barak missile from country’s sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.  The test was conducted in the Arabian Sea in which missile was fired against a live, low-flying, high-speed target. The missile successfully engaged and destroyed the target, validating operational readiness inspection of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy.

  62. The Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries (FPI) has sanctioned 101 new integrated cold chain projects across the country. These projects will leverage a total investment of Rs. 3,100 crore for creation of modern infrastructure for the food processing sector.

  63. The Indian Navy has de-inducted TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft after 29 years of dedicated service to the nation and 30,000 hours of accident-free flying. The aircraft was formally de-inducted at a ceremony held at INS Rajali naval air station in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu. Now its role will be taken on by the newly inducted Boeing P-8I aircraft.

  64. The Union Defence Ministry has approved most of the proposals of a committee of experts, headed by Lt. Gen. D.B. Shekatkar (Retd) to bring host of reforms in the military and improve financial management. Around 90 recommendations have been of the committee were approved. Most of these recommendations are measures to increase coordination among the three Services and cut down flab in Army to make it lean and agile.

  65. Indian Air force has formally launched web based e-billing system Aviation Turbine Fuel Digital Issue and Payment (ATF DIP). It was unveiled by Chief of Air Staff (CoAS), Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in New Delhi and it will be implemented from April 1, 2017.

  66. India and Nepal have signed an agreement to renew supply of petroleum to Nepal for a period of five years i.e. till 2022. The renewed agreement, which was overseen by the Petroleum Ministers of both countries, was signed even as both sides pledged to build a new pipeline for LPG.

  67. Lok Sabha has passed four Bills relating to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It paves way for implementing a new, consolidated indirect tax regime from the proposed date of July 1, 2017. The four bills passed were Central GST Bill, Integrated GST Bill, GST Compensation Bill, and the Union Territory GST Bill, 2017. These Bills were passed as Money Bills, thus eliminates the role of Rajya Sabha.

  68. Indian Navy has commissioned latest indigenously developed surveillance ship INLCU L51. It was commissioned at a ceremony held in Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Command of Navy INLCU L51 is the first of the eight ships of the LCU Mk IV Class. It has been built and designed indigenously by Kolkata based M/s Garden Reach Ship Builders & Engineers Ltd.

  69. The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) and Indian Army have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to identify the critical technological areas that can be enhanced in the armed forces. The MoU was signed by IITM Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi and Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S) Lt. Gen. Subrata Saha in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

  70. The third edition of G20 Framework Working Group (FWG) meeting was held in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The two-day meeting took place under the G20 German presidency, and was co-hosted by the Union Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It was inaugurated by Shaktikanta Das, Economic Affairs Secretary and Dinesh Sharma, special secretary in the Finance ministry was head the programme.

  71. The Supreme Court has banned the sale and registration of Bharat Stage (BS)-III emission norm-compliant vehicles from April 1, 2017, when environmentally friendly BS-IV emission norms will come into force across the country. The order came after all vehicle manufacturers including their association -Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) approached SC to stop the ban till existing stock is sold.

  72. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has launched two mobile applications —e-challan and m-parivahan to provide a comprehensive digital solution for enforcement of traffic rules. These applications will provide access to various services and information, and enable citizens to report any traffic violation or road accident.

  73. The Union Government has launched the Online Vigilance Clearance System and e-Service Book in New Delhi. It was launched by Union Minister Jitendra Singh in New Delhi. The online system aims to fast track process of cases of vigilance clearance for senior-level appointments in central government.

  74. India has signed its first loan agreement with the New Development Bank (NDB)/BRICS Bank for $350 million to be used in the development and upgradation of district roads in Madhya Pradesh. The objective of the project is the upgrade major district roads in Madhya Pradesh to improve road connectivity of the interior areas of the state with the national and state highway networks. The project will include upgradation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of approximately 1,500 km of district roads to intermediate lane, all-weather standards. It will also have road safety features and improved road maintenance and management.

  75. Kumar Mangalam Birla-led telecommunications major Idea Cellular has agreed to merge with the Vodafone India,  Indian unit of the UK headquartered Vodafone Plc. The blockbuster merger will create world’s second largest (after China Mobile) and India’s largest telecom company by overtaking Bharti Airtel Ltd.

  76. The Parliament has passed The Employees Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923. It ensures compensation up to Rs 1 lakh to employee if an injured in an industrial accident and imposes hefty penalty in case of any violation by the employers.

  77. The Union Finance Ministry has lowered interest rates on all nine small saving schemes by 0.1% for the April-June quarter as compared to January-March quarter. These schemes includes Public provident fund (PPF), National Savings Certificate (NSC), Kisan Vikas Patra, Sukanya Samriddhi Account, Senior Citizens Savings Scheme. It does not include Post Office Savings Account.

  78. India ranked 87th among the surveyed 127 countries on a Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) released as part of report of Geneva- based World Economic Forum (WEF).

  79. The third edition of G20 Framework Working Group (FWG) meeting was held in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The two-day meeting took place under the G20 German presidency, and was co-hosted by the Union Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It was inaugurated by Shaktikanta Das, Economic Affairs Secretary and Dinesh Sharma, special secretary in the Finance ministry was head the programme.

INTERNATIONAL

 

  1. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments, scientists and pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs to tackle 12 antibiotics-resistant super-germs threatening an explosion of incurable diseases. This is for the first time, WHO has published a list of bacteria threatening to turn once easily-treatable infections into incurable diseases. It held that antibiotics may not be ready in time if it is left on market forces alone.

  2. In recently released 2017 Women in Politics Map report, India was ranked low at 148th position in representation of women in executive government. It was released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women.

  3. India was ranked 131 in the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) among the 188 countries.  India scored 0.624 and was placed in medium human development category.

  4. Scientists from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have switched on world’s largest artificial sun – a device developed to help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuels. The artificial sun is giant honeycomb-like set-up of 149 spotlights, officially known as Synlight. It is located in Juelich. It uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight.

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

 

  1. European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched Sentinel-2B satellite, fifth of its Sentinel Earth observation satellites part of its multi-billion-euro Copernicus observation program. The optical imaging satellite was launched on board of a Vega rocket from ESA’s spaceport in French Guiana. It marks overall ninth successful launch of the Vega launcher since its debut in 2012.

  2. Scientists have claimed that they have discovered oldest fossils on Earth in rocks from Quebec, Canada. Carbon dating techniques suggest that these rocks are at least 3.8 billion years old and might even be 4.3 billion years old.

  3. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have found India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1 which was considered lost, is still orbiting the moon. They also have found NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The ISRO lost communication with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009, almost a year after it was launched on October 22, 2008. The unmanned spacecraft is still circling some 200 km in the polar orbit around the moon.

  4. Scientists for the first time have discovered three new canyons close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. This discovery was made by team of scientists from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam. These three canyons together form a major canyon system in the depths of the Bay of Bengal.

  5. Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana has claimed developing country’s first genetically-modified (GM) varieties of cotton – PAU Bt 1 and F1861. Cotton is the only GM crop allowed to be cultivated in India. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) also has identified three Bt cotton varieties –F1861, PAU Bt 1 and RS2013 for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

  6. Scientists from US for first time have developed a blood test to accurately predict whether a child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The first of its kind of physiological test for analysing a blood sample opens the door to earlier diagnosis and potential future development of therapeutics.

  7. Scientists have discovered polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus), the world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina. The newly discovered amphibian sports a muted palette of greens, reds and yellows under normal light, but in the dark gives off a bright blue and green glow.

  8. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras has won the 2017 IEEE Spectrum Technology in the Service of Society Award for its solar-direct current (DC) inverter system. The system was developed by Centre for Decentralised Power Systems at IIT-M using micro grid technology.

  9. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement to work together They will work together on crop improvement and agronomy programmes for grain legumes and dryland cereals. It will benefit small farmers in India and globally.

  10. The GRAPES-3 experiment at TIFR’s (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ootacamund in Tamil Nadu is getting upgraded to detect solar storms. GRAPES-3 (Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) experiment had detected the effect of a solar storm that hit the earth in June 2015.

  11. Scientists using Large Hadron Collider accelerator (LHC) at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) have discovered a new system of five particles all in a single analysis. This discovery is unique as observing five new states all at once is very rare. According to the standard convention, these particle states were named Oc(3000)0, Oc(3050)0, Oc(3066)0, Oc(3090)0 b Oc(3119)0. The numbers indicate their masses in megaelectronvolts (MeV), measured by LHCb experiment, one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at LHC, world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

  12. Scientists from Eindhoven University of Technology in Netherlands have developed a new wireless Internet network based on infrared rays that is reportedly 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) networks. It has a huge capacity, more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s). It also does away with the need of sharing Wi-Fi, as every device gets its own ray of light.

  13. Researchers including Indian origin from University of Glasgow have developed new prototype prosthetic limbs having solar-powered skin. The solar-powered skin will give amputees with prosthetic limbs a better sense capabilities of touch, temperature and texture compared to battery powered prosthetics.

  14. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.  In this regard, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar commissioned two facilities – a 1-m Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and a 1-m Shock Tunnel.

  15. Scientists have developed a tiny, ingestible 3D-printed snake-like robot called SAW (single actuator wave-like robot), that can navigate through the small intestines. The snake-like tiny robot was made from a set of interlocking 3D-printed “plastic” pieces that look like vertebrae.

PERSON IN NEWS

  1. Union Government has appointed Narendra Kumar as the new chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC).

  2. Renowned Meteorologist and former director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune) Dev Raj Sikka passed away. He was 85. He is famously known as Monsoon Man and the Father of Indian Meteorology. He was first proposed a link between the El Nino phenomenon and the Indian monsoon in 1982, but that time less importance was given to it.

  3. Former BJP legislator from Gujarat Manhar Valjibhai Zala has assumed charge as Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK). Along with him, two other members Dilip Kallu Haathived from Maharashtra and Manju Diler from Uttar Pradesh also took charge as members of the NCSK.

  4. Indian-American teenager Indrani Das has won the top prize of $2,50,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition in the United States (US). She has won the award for her research on treating brain injury and disease. Her research showed a way for increasing the survival rate of neurons affected by brain injury or neurodegenerative disease.

  5. French mathematician Yves Meyer has won the prestigious 2017 Abel Prize for his pivotal role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets (small waves or ripples). His theory is used for applications ranging from image compression to the detection of gravitational waves from the merging of black holes. It also allowed scientists to create unique wavelet transforms suited to specific signals.

  6. Former RSS pracharak and Uttarakhand BJP chief and Trivendra Singh Rawat (56) was sworn in as ninth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. He was administered oath to office and secrecy by Governor Krishan Kant Paul at oath taking ceremony held in Parade ground of Dehradun. Besides, him seven Cabinet Minister and two Minister of State (MoS) also took oath.

SPORTS

 

  1. Tamil Nadu won the 2017 Vijay Hazare Trophy of cricket for record fifth time defeating Bengal in the final match played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium (New Delhi).Earlier Tamil Nadu has won the trophy in 2002–03, 2004-05, 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons.

  2. Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei won the 2017 All England Championship Title of Badminton in the men’s singles event. In the final match he defeated China’s Shi Yuqi by 21-12, 21-10 score. It was his overall fourth title in men’s singles event and had earlier won in 2010, 2011 and 2014.