Current Affairs Daily Digest – August 23′ 2017

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  1. Arkansas Novelist Padma Viswanathan Awarded 2017 Porter Fund Literary Prize

Indian American novelist and playwright Padma Viswanathan is the recipient of the 2017 Porter Fund Literary Prize for fiction.

The Porter Fund Literary Prize is presented annually to an Arkansas writer who has accomplished a substantial and impressive body of work that merits enhanced recognition.

The $2000 prize makes it one of the state’s most lucrative as well as prestigious literary awards.

  1. Hyderabad startup wins award CMO Asia Excellence

Hyderabad based startup, Paynear Solution was awarded ‘Best Use of Mobile Technology in Financial Services in Asia’ at the ‘Eighth CMO Asia Excellence’ awards, which were held in Singapore.

Pitted against some stiff competition in the category, Paynear emerged as a winner, thanks to its innovative use of technology to help the seamless processing of omni-channel transactions across platforms. 

  1. Ajay Vipin Nanavati appointed chairman of Syndicate Bank

Ajay Vipin Nanavati was appointed as the chairman of Syndicate Bank. The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved his appointment as non-official director/non-executive chairman of Syndicate Bank for three years, according to an order issued by the department of personnel and training.

In 2015, the government had bifurcated the posts of chairman and managing director in public sector banks. While the chairman became responsible for overall policy directions, the managing director and chief executive officer became the executive head, accountable for day-to-day functioning of the bank.

  1. Railway Board chairman Ashok Mittal resigns

Chairman of the Railway Board AK Mittal tendered his resignation to Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabh, after Uttar Pradesh witnessed the second train derailment in five days.

His resignation comes in the wake of a number of high-profile accidents and derailments on the Indian Railways.

The two Indian Rails namely Kaify at Express and Utkal Express derailed.

  1. N B Gupta appointed as Director (Finance), PFC

State-owned lender Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) has announced it has appointed N B Gupta as the new Director (Finance).

Gupta joins the company’s board with an experience of more than 30 years in the power sector in the fields of fund raising, international finance, internal audit and accounts finalization

  1. Andhra Pradesh first to implement Bharat QR digital payments

Andhra Pradesh’s Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (EPDCL) and the Southern Power Distribution Corporation of AP Ltd (SPDCL) have become the first state-owned distribution companies in India to accept payments through Bharat QR.

The world’s first interoperable quick response code acceptance solution launched by the Reserve Bank of India.

As part of the ‘Vizag less–cash city’ initiative underway between Visa and the Andhra Pradesh government, the state has witnessed a slew of initiatives aimed at increasing the rate of digital payment adoption across the masses. 

  1. SC strikes down instant triple talaq

The Supreme Court banned a controversial Islamic practice of instant divorce as arbitrary and unconstitutional, in a landmark verdict for gender justice that will stop Muslim men calling off a marriage on a whim.

In a split verdict, three of the five all-male judges on the case said the practice of saying “talaq”, or divorce, three times in one go – sometimes even over email and WhatsApp – violated women’s right to equality and was not integral to Islam.

  1. Transgender beauty pageant to be held in Gurugram

The first edition of Miss Transqueen India, a beauty pageant for transgenders, will take place in Gurugram. At the final event, 16 contestants from Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Karnataka and other states will compete to win the Miss Transqueen India title.

Miss Transsexual Australia 2017 Laeticia Phylliscia Raveena will be crowning the first Miss Transqueen India.

The winner will go to Thailand for Miss International Queen, the first runner-up will compete at Miss Transsexual Australia.

  1. ‘Food ATM’ installed for poor and needy in Kolkata

‘Food ATM’, a 320-litre refrigerator laden with leftovers, is ensuring that the poor and needy in the city do not go hungry, thanks to an initiative by a restaurateur.

Asif Ahmed, the co-owner of Sanjha Chulha restaurant chain, started the ‘Food ATM’ with the support of three organisations (Rotary, Round Table, JITO) in front of one of his outlets in Park Circus to help curb food wastage and feed the needy.

The refrigerator is topped with a placard saying “the amount of food India wastes annually is enough to feed entire Egypt for a year”.

  1. 17th Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC held

The seventeenth Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) held in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister Arun Jaitley.

The meeting was attended by RBI Governor Dr. Urjit R. Patel, SEBI chairman, IRDA Chairman along with heads and other senior officers of the Government.

FSDC is a super regulatory body for regulating financial sector which is a vital for bringing healthy and efficient financial system in the economy.

  1. UIDAI launches door step Aadhar enrolment in Delhi

UIDAI has joined hands with CSC India for launching door step enrolment facility in the national capital for the elderly, patients and others who cannot travel the Aadhar centres.

A mobile van in partnership with CSC India will go and enroll people who are unable to travel to Aadhaar centers for enrollment like elderlies, patients, small children. The van was flagged off by Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

CSC India provides permit and monitors operations of common service centers across India which are meant to provide government services in rural area.

  1. Cabinet gives in-principle approval for Public Sector Banks to amalgamate through an Alternative Mechanism (AM)

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given in-principle approval for Public Sector Banks to amalgamate through an Alternative Mechanism (AM).  The decision would facilitate consolidation among the Nationalised Banks to create strong and competitive banks.


 The salient features of the approval Framework for Consolidation of Public Sector Banks are as follows:

  • The decision regarding creating strong and competitive banks would be solely based on commercial considerations.
  • The proposal must start from the Boards of Banks.
  • The proposals received from Banks for in-principle approval to formulate schemes of amalgamation shall be placed before the Alternative Mechanism (AM).
  • After in-principle approval, the Banks will take steps in accordance with law and SEBI’s requirements.
  • The final scheme will be notified by Central Government in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India.
  1. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Nepal on Drug Demand Reduction

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Nepal on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and precursor chemicals and related matters.

The MoU lists out the areas of cooperation on drug matters between the two countries. It also indicates the mechanism of information exchange and the competent authorities in the two countries who are responsible for the implementation of the MoU and exchange of any information.

  1. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Nepal for Bridge over Mechi River at Indo-Nepal border

The Union Cabinet has  approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed between India and Nepal for laying down implementation arrangement on Cost sharing, Schedules and Safeguard issues for starting construction of a new Bridge over Mechi River at Indo-Nepal border.

The estimated cost of construction of the bridge is Rs. 158.65 crore, which would be funded by Government of India through ADB loan. The new bridge is part of up-gradation of the Kakarvitta (Nepal) to Panitanki Bypass (India) on NH 327B covering a length of 1500 meters including a 6 lane approach road of 825 meters. Mechi Bridge is the ending point of Asian Highway 02 in India leading to Nepal and provides critical connectivity to Nepal.

  1. Cabinet approves setting up of a Commission to examine the Sub-Categorization within OBCs

The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal for setting up of a Commission under article 340 of the Constitution to examine the issue of sub-categorization of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

 The Commission shall submit its report within 12 weeks from the date of appointment of the Chairperson of the Commission. The Commission shall be known as the Commission to examine the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes.

  1. Cabinet approves New Central Sector Scheme – “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana”

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the renaming of the new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) as “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) ” for the period of 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.

 Earlier, CCEA in its meeting held in May, 2017 approved the new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) with same allocation and period.

The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.

  1. Cabinet approves Closure of loss making Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of Ministry of Railways to close the Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company Limited (BWEL) – a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under Ministry of Railways.

626 employees of BWEL will be benefitted from the voluntary retirement scheme to be offered at 2007 pay scale. The Government will have to provide one time grant off 151.18 crore towards severance package and for clearing the current liabilities of the company.

This measure will stop flow of financial support from public funds for carrying on the operations of sick/loss making BWEL resulting in savings for the Government.

  1. National Sports Museum to be established in New Delhi

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is going to establish National Sports Museum, first of its kind, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.

The decision was taken three months back and after a series of meetings and his personal visits to several locations in the capital, the current venue for museum was finalized by the Sports.

To aim of the Museum is to popularise the sports as a way of life within the country.

  1. TRAI inks cooperation pact with Malaysia telecom regulator

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has inked an agreement with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to deepen bilateral cooperation in telecom and broadcasting regulation.

The two telecom regulators have signed a letter of intent (LoI), under which they will exchange information and regulatory best practices. Trai chairman RS Sharma and MCMC chairman Halim Shafie were signatories to the pact, which will enhance cooperation and bilateral ties between the two entities.

  1. Rajnath Singh to attend SCO meet in Kyrgyz Republic

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on disaster prevention and relief in Kyrgyz Republic beginning on August 24, 2017 during which he will have bilateral meetings with member nations.

Founded in 2001, the SCO member countries are: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan, and the bloc is headquartered in Beijing.

India and Pakistan had joined the SCO, the China- dominated security grouping, in June in Kazakhstan capital Astana. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the summit.

  1. Alibaba Founder Jack Ma becomes Asia’s richest person

A huge rise in Alibaba Group’s earnings and the stock price has propelled its founder and executive chairman Jack Ma back to the top of the list of Asia’s wealthiest people. According to Forbes Real-time Billionaires List, Ma is now worth $37.4 billion.

Another Chinese internet billionaire, Tencent Chairman Ma Huateng, also known as Pony, dropped to second with a fortune worth $36.7 billion. The two businessmen have been trading places at the top of Asia’s rich list. Earlier this month, Pony overtook Jack Ma to become China’s wealthiest person.

  1. Famed British sci-fi writer, Brian Aldiss dies at 92

Brian Aldiss, one of the most prolific and influential science fiction writers of the 20th century, has died aged 92.

Born in 1925, Aldiss served in India and Burma with the British Army during World WarII and later became a bookseller, publishing his first stories in a trade magazine.

Aldiss was awarded the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

  1. Former Manipur Chief Minister Rishang Keishing passes away

Rishang Keishing, the grand old man of Manipur, who had also served as an MLA for seven terms, apart from having become chief minister of the state four times, passed away at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal, evening. He was 97.

He served as the Chief Minister of Manipur from 1980 to 1988 and from 1994 to 1997. He had also represented Manipur in RajyaSabha.


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