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Rajya Sabha passes FDDI Bill and Admiralty Bill 2017
On July 24, 2017, Rajya Sabha passed Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 and The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims), 2017. Both the bills were passed by voice vote.
i. The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017 provides for establishing and declaring the Footwear Design and Development Institute as an institute of national importance for promotion and development of quality and excellence in education in this area. The bill had been passed by the Lok Sabha in April 2017.
ii. The Admiralty bill seeks to upgrade the law related to maritime claims, arrest and detention of ships and extends jurisdiction of trial to various courts across the country. It had been passed by the Lok Sabha in March 2017.
Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 introduced in LS
On July 24, 2017, Government introduced in the Lok Sabha, Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017, a bill providing for allocation of about Rs 2,000 crore from Central Road Fund (CRF) for developing national waterways (NWs).
Details pertaining to Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017:
i. Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was moved by Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan in absence of Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari.
ii. The bill seeks to amend the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, to allocate 2.5 per cent of the proceeds of CRF for development and maintenance of NWs and a reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways.
iii. According to the objects of the bill, National Waterways provide cost-effective, logistically efficient and environment-friendly way of transport, whose development as a supplementary mode would enable diversion of traffic over congested roads and railways
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chairs first meeting of Islands Development Agency (IDA)
The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the first meeting of the newly constituted Islands Development Agency (IDA) on 24th of July 2017 in New Delhi
i. The Union Home Minister presented the vision for developing India’s maritime economy while preserving the natural eco-system and addressing the security concerns.
ii. He emphasized upon the need for sustainable development of Islands with people’s participation.
iii. The CEO of NITI Aayog has made a detailed presentation on the current status. He informed that Concept Development Plans and Detailed Master Plans are being prepared for identified islands.
iv. It includes the following factors principles of sustainability, people’s participation, eco-system preservation and determination of carrying capacity as the guiding principles.
v. It was also decided that Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Administrator of Lakshadweep Islands will be included as members of IDA.
vi. In the first phase 10 islands have been identified for holistic development includes Smith, Ross, Aves, Long and Little Andaman in Andaman & Nicobar and Minicoy, Bangaram, Suheli, Cherium and Tinnakara in Lakshadweep.
vii. With this meeting, the efforts for holistic development of Islands of India received a major boost.
Some more points:
♦ The IDA was set up on 1st June 2017.
♦ Other Members of the IDA including Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary (Environment, Forests and Climate Change), Secretary (Tourism) and Secretary (Tribal Welfare) also participated in the meeting.
Government approves construction of 30,000 affordable houses on private land
The Centre has approved the construction of 30,000 houses for the urban poor on private land in Maharashtra’s Sholapur on 25th of July 2017.
i. It is the first such project to be taken up on private land under PMAY(U).
ii.Itsmain aim is to give momentum to affordable housing in urban areas.
iii .The State Level Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (SLSMC), set up under PMAY(U), will oversee the implementation of the project.
iv. Central assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh for each beneficiary is provided under this component.
v. Under the Centre’s flagship programme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry gave a nod to central assistance of Rs 450 crore for the project.
vi. Under PMAY(U) the Raynagar Cooperative Housing Federation, Sholapur had submitted a proposal to build 30,000 houses for its members comprising beedi and textile workers and other urban poor belonging to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) at a cost of Rs 1,811 crore.
vii. The cost of each dwelling unit of Rs 6,03,777 has been determined in a transparent manner with central and state assistance. The delivery price would be Rs 3,53,777 per house.
viii. The CSMC, in its 24th meeting has approved the construction of 2,84,803 more affordable houses for urban poor under PMAY (U).
ix. Total cost of these houses to be built in six states is Rs 16,407 crore for which central assistance of Rs 4,272 crore has been approved.
x. Andhra Pradesh has been sanctioned 2,25,245 houses, Uttar Pradesh 23,322, Tamil Nadu 15,374, Manipur 10,392, Assam 9,767 and Meghalaya 703.
Bolivia declared total independence from World Bank & IMF
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has declared his government’s independence from World Bank and IMF on 25th of July 2017.
i. Some of Bolivia’s largest resistance struggles in the last 60 years have targeted the economic policies carried out by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
ii. The IMF and the World Bank had dictated the economic fate of Bolivia and the world.
iii. Bolivia’s popular uprising known as The Cochabamba Water War in 2000 against United States– and the associated World Bank policies shed light on some of the debt issues facing the region.
iv. Since 2006, a year after Morales came to power; social spending on health, education, and poverty programs has increased by over 45%.
v. Bolivia is now in the process of becoming a member of the Southern Common Market, Mercosur and Morales attended the group’s summit in Argentina last week.
vi. The Morales administration made enormous transformations in the Andean nation like:
(a)The nationalization of hydrocarbons, poverty reduction from 60% to less than 40%
(b)A decrease in the rate of illiteracy from 13% to 3%.
(c)The tripling the GDP with an average growth of 5% annually.
(d)The quadrupling of the minimum wage, the increasing of state coverage on all fronts.
(e) The development of infrastructure in communications, transportation, energy and industry.
♦ Capital: Sucre
♦ Currency: Boliviano
♦ President: Evo Morales
BANKING & FINANCE
Aurionpro launches a Bank in a Box to reduce branch expansion cost for banks
Aurionpro Solutions has launched its Branch-in-a-Box product, the Virtual Teller Machine (VTM) a fully integrated self-service kiosk for automating 90% of banking transactions at the branch level.
i. Aurionpro Solutions is a global leader in digital innovation, enterprise security and banking solutions.
ii. The VTM helps in migrating routine transactions like KYC, account opening, passbook and statement printing, video assistance, bill payment, cash and cheques.
iii. The branches will focus more on relationship based sales, service and consultancy automated with a retail centric ambience that reviving customer engagement.
iv. Head of Customer Experience Solutions: Raj Meno
Nifty creates history, breaches 10,000 mark
On July 25, 2017, NSE Nifty breached the 10,000 level for the first time while the BSE Sensex hit another record high of 32,374.30 in opening trade.
i. Nifty breached the historic 10,000 level by gaining 44.90 points, or 0.45 %, to trade at an all-time high of 10,011.30, surpassing its previous intra-day high of 9,982.05 touched on July 24, 2017.
ii. As per brokers and analysts, upbeat sentiment, sustained capital inflows and widespread buying by retail investors, driven by strong earnings by some NIFTY constituent companies have been the driving factors of the recent rally in Nifty.
NIFTY 50 index is National Stock Exchange of India’s benchmark stock market index for Indian equity market.
♦ It was launched on April 21, 1996.
♦ Currently the NIFTY has 51 constituent stocks representing 13 sectors of Indian Economy.
Standard Chartered Bank unveils forex card
Standard Chartered Bank has launched a Multi-currency Forex Card for overseas travellers.
i. The card will also provide Forex rate lock-in with zero mark-up on cash withdrawals and shopping abroad.
ii. The card is designed to offer travelers a secure way to carry money when traveling abroad.
iii. It will allow customers the convenience of loading up to 20 widely used currencies on one card with an online reload facility during the overseas travel.
iv. Travelers get protection against the frequent currency fluctuations by locking in the currency exchange rate they availed during the time of loading the card.
v. They do not have to pay different rates every time they use the card.
vi. The card will also provide travelers insurance covers against misuse of lost card, personal accident insurance and loss of baggage or personal documents.
vi. Some of the currencies that can be loaded are US dollar, Euro, British Pound, Singapore dollar, Swiss franc, Thai baht, Japanese Yen and South African rand.
About Standard Chartered Bank
♦ Headquartered in London, England
♦ Founded :1969
♦ Chairman :José Viñals
FSSAI bans stapler pins in tea bags from January 2018
The Food Safety and Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the stapler pins in tea bags from January 2018 announced on 24th of July 2017.
i. The FSSAI has directed the concerned food business operators to discontinue the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of stapled tea bags by 1st January 2018.
ii. It has also directed all food safety commissioners to take action to prevent the use of unsafe packaging materials by companies and take up measures for enforcement of its order.
iii. According to industry estimates, the tea bag segment contributes 3-4% by value of total tea sales but it is one of the fastest growing segments at 50-60% year-on-year.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India established under the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
♦ It has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
♦ FSSAI is responsible for promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
♦ HQ: New Delhi
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Veteran Actress Shakuntala Barua Gets ‘Mahanayak Samman 2017’
On July 24, 2017, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee conferred this year’s ‘Mahanayak Samman 2017’ to veteran actress Shakuntala Barua for her contribution to the world of cinema.
i. For this year, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Nusrat Jahan took home the Best Actor and Best Actress awards
ii. The Best Director, Music Director, Cinematographer and Script Writer awards went to Arindam Sil, Pt Bickram Ghosh, Shoumik Halder and Padmanabha Dasgupta
iii. Suparnokanti Karati for ‘Bisarjan’ film and Shiboprasad Mukhopadhyay of Windows Productions for ‘Praktan’ film were awarded in Best Film and Best Producer categories.
♦ Mahanayak Samman is bestowed upon the best talents of the Bengal’s film industry by the West Bengal State Government.
♦ The awards were instituted in memory of Uttam Kumar, who is widely regarded as the greatest actor of Bengali cinema, and also among the greatest actor sever in India.
♦ Mahanayak Awards are given on the death anniversary of Uttam Kumar i.e. 24th
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Google CEO Sundar Pichai joins Alphabet Board of Directors
Google CEO SundarPichai is going to join the board of directors of Alphabet, Google’s parent company announced on 7th of July 2017.
i. Alphabet is the second most valuable U.S. company behind Apple.
ii. Alphabet shares have risen by more than 50% since Pichai, following a steady rise through Google’s managerial ranks.
iii. The move represents a vote of confidence in Pichai, who has led Google through a period of sustained growth.
iv. Google accounts for the vast majority of Alphabet’s revenue and virtually all of its profits.
v. Mr. Pichai is an IIT Kharagpur alumnus born in Chennai, has been leading the company for the past two years.
vi. Mr. Pichai joined Google in 2004 and helped lead the development of key consumer products which are now used by over a billion people.
vii. Under him, Google has boosted sales from its core advertising and YouTube business, while also investing in machine learning, hardware and cloud computing.
Google is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products.
♦ Founded :September 4, 1998
♦ CEO :Sundar Pichai
Janalakshmi Financial Services appoints Ajay Kanwal as CEO
Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS), the largest microfinance company, has announced the appointment of its new CEO Ajay Kanwal. It has been announced on 25th July 2017.
i. Kanwal will take charge from 1st of August 2017. He has having 27 years of experience in both consumer and commercial banking sector.
ii. He will replace VS Radhakrishnan, who will take over the role of vice chairman.
About Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS)
♦ Janalakshmi Financial Services,set up in Bengaluru in 2008 by former Citibank senior executive Ramesh Ramanathan and his wife Swati.
♦ Janalakshmi finance bank gotlicence from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up Small Finance Bank.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Yatra Online acquires ATB to expand corporate travel business
Yatra Online Inc, India’s second-largest online travel operator has acquired Air Travel Bureau (ATB)announced on 24th July 2017.
i. The estimated cash-and debt deal is of $22.5-27.5 million.
ii. The acquisition has been made through Yatra’s online subsidiary Yatra Online Pvt Ltd.
About Yatra Online
♦ Industry:Online travel agency
♦ Founded: August 1, 2006
♦ Founder: Dhruv Shringi (CEO)
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Researchers generate human antibodies from B-cells in the lab
Scientists have produced human antibodies in the laboratory for the first time using a technique that can lead to rapid development of new vaccines to treat a wide range of infectious diseases.
i. Researchers, led by Facundo Batista from the Francis Crick Institute in the UK, produced specific human antibodies in the laboratory by treating patient-derived B cells with tiny nanoparticles coated with both CpG oligonucleotides and an antigen.
ii. The team successfully demonstrated their approach using various bacterial and viral antigens, including the tetanus toxoid and proteins from several strains of influenza A.
Reliance Defence launches first two naval patrol vessels Shachi and Shruti
On July 25, 2017, Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure) announced the launch of its first two Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) – ‘Shachi’ and ‘Shruti’ – at their shipyard in Pipavav, Gujarat.
i. The two NOPVs — ‘Shachi’ and ‘Shruti’ — are the first warships to be launched by a private sector shipyard in India.
ii. The five NOPVs are patrol ships armed with a 76 mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) system along with two 30 mm AK-630 guns, which provide medium range and short range offensive and defensive capabilities.
Kaur breaks into top 10 of ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings
Kaur has made a jump of seven slots to move to 6th position in the latest ICC Women’s ODI Rankings. It is released on 25th of July 2017.
i. Harmanpreet Kaur’s helped India to defeat Australia by 36 runs in the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World Cup.
ii. She has made 51 runs in the final against England.
iii. Poonam Raut has gained five slots to reach 14th position after scores of 86 and 14 in the final and semi-final respectively.
iv. Veda Krishnamurthy has gained seven slots to reach a career-best 26th position.
v. Jhulan Goswami has gained four slots to reach second position in bowling.
vi. She is within four points of South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp after figures of 3 for 23 in the final and two for 35 in the semi-final.
vii. Goswami’s new-ball partner Shikha Pandey up one place to 12th and leg-spinner Poonamup six places to a career-best 28th are other India bowlers to move up.
viii. Mithali Raj has gained No. 2 in batting. She is now the second India batter to feature in the top 10.
ix. In the ICC Women’s Team Rankings, there was no change in positions with Australia retaining top spot at 128 points. England has gained one point to reach 125 in second position, while New Zealand and India remain on 118 and 113 points.
Konsam wins gold in Asian Youth & Junior Weightlifting Championships
Indian weightlifter Konsam Ormila Devi has bagged a gold medal at the Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships in Kathmandu, Nepal.
♦ According to the Indian Weightlifting Federation, the weightlifter from Manipur lifted 56kg in snatch and 70kg in clean & jerk for a total effort of 126kg in the 44kg weight category to finish at the top.
India to host maiden men’s World Boxing Championship in 2021
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has announced on 24th of July that India will host their first Men’s World Championship in 2021.
i. The announcement was made after a two-day executive committee meeting that was held in Moscow.
ii. The AIBA Men’s World Championships 2019 will be held in Russia city of Sochi. iii. The 2018 Women’s World Championships will also be held in New Delhi.
iv. The 2019 Women’s World Championships will be held in Trabzon, Turkey.
v. It is the first time ever that a country has been awarded two major Championships.
vi. The AIBA 2018 Congress was awarded to the Russian capital city of Moscow.
vii. The major men’s boxing events hosted by India have been the 1990 World Cup in Mumbai and the 2010 Commonwealth Championships in New Delhi.
Renowned scientist Professor Yash Pal passes away
Veteran scientist, administrator and popular science communicator, Professor Yash Pal passed away on July 24, 2017 in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. He was 90.
i. Pal gained recognition because of his contribution in the study of cosmic rays.He had held the position of professor at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.He also served as the Director at Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad for almost nine years, between 1973 and 1981.
ii. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2013.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
PM Modi releases book Selected Speeches of President Pranab Mukherjee
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has released the fourth volume of Selected Speeches of President Pranab Mukherjee on 24th of July 2017.
i. The PM said that the guidance he received from President Pranab Mukherjee will help him immensely.
ii. He described President Pranab Mukherjee as extremely knowledgable and extremely simple.
iii. President Pranab Mukherjee would always guide him and offer constructive feedback.
iv. Under President Pranab Mukherjee, Rashtrapati Bhavan became a ‘Lok Bhavan’.
v. The Prime Minister also said that a treasure of historical documentation has come up in his tenure.
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