Current Affairs Daily Digest – February 17 2017


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  1. Vikas Swarup appointed as India’s High Commissioner to Canada

Senior Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer and noted novelist Vikas Swarup of Slumdog Millionaire-fame will be the India’s High Commissioner to Canada. Swarup, currently working as Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, will replace Arun Kumar Sahu who is currently working as acting Indian High Commissioner to Canada.

Swarup, who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986, has served in various Indian diplomatic missions, including Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Japan.

  1. Ranganathan, Mehta appointed Non-Official Director in IOB, PNB

T C A Ranganathan and Sunil Mehta were appointed as Non-Official Directors in Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab National Bank respectively.

The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has cleared their appointment as Non-Official Director/Non-Executive Chairman in the respective banks for a period of three years.

Mehta’s appointment is subject to a condition that he needs to resign from the board of State Bank of India before joining the new post.

  1. Neelam Damodaran is Bank of India new ED

The Government has appointed Neelam Damodaran as Executive Director of Bank of India. His tenor is up to November 30, 2019.

Prior to his elevation as ED, Damodaran was General Manager with Bank of Baroda. He took charge on February 16.

With this appointment, Bank of India now has two EDs. R A Sankara Narayanan has been ED of the bank since May 15, 2015.

  1. Science Express Train flagged off in Delhi

The world’s largest “science exhibition on wheels”, the Science Express themed on climate change this year, was  flagged off by India’s Science, Environment and Railway ministers.

The 16-coach AC Science Express Climate Action Special train, custom-built by the Indian Railways, will embark on a 205-day journey of over 19,000 km to cover 68 locations across India till September 8, 2017.

  1. Service of delivering Milk for babies in trains launched by RailYatri

Startup, a train travel marketplace, has launched milk delivery service for train travellers. Warm milk will be delivered in specially designed spill-proof thermo packages. The milk for babies can be ordered through the RailYatri app and delivered at the designated stations. analysis found that in more than 80% instances, trains are not prepared to serve baby food or milk to passengers. Long delays and uncertainties that often mark train travel add to this persistent problem leaving travelling parents in a big fix.

  1. Food-only physical outlets to be opened by Amazon in India

India could be the second country to see Amazon brick-and-mortar stores, with the Seattle-based company having sought the government’s approval to open food-only outlets along with an online platform to sell these locally produced items.

The US giant plans to undertake “retail trading of food products (produced or manufactured in India) to customers at any location through any channel, offline or online, including e-commerce, across India.

  1. India Ranked 143 in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom

India ranked a dismal 143rd in an annual index of economic freedom by a top American thinktank, behind its several South Asian neighbours including Pakistan, as progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven”.

The Heritage Foundation in its Index of Economic Freedom report said despite India sustaining an average annual growth of about 7 per cent over the past five years, growth is not deeply rooted in policies that preserve economic freedom.

  1. Radha Mohan Singh Inaugurated 2017 Indian Seed Congress in Kolkata

The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated the Indian Seed Congress 2017 in Kolkata.

The theme of Seed Congress is ‘Seed of Joy’.2017 Indian Seed Congress in Kolkataiii. The theme is in line with vision of PM Modi government to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of farmers by doubling their farm income by 2022.

  1. Kerala cabinet Gives In-Principle Approval for Greenfield Airport at Sabarimala

The Kerala cabinet has gave in-principle approval for setting up a greenfield airport at pilgrim centre Sabarimala. The government-run Kerala State Industrial Development Corp. (KSIDC) will conduct a study on the proposed airport.

In November, the union government had agreed to issue a no objection certificate (NOC) for an airstrip near Sabarimala.

  1. Himachal Pradesh Governor Inaugurates Campaign against Drug Addiction

Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat has inaugurated the campaign against drug addiction organised by Shimla Press Club in Shimla, he said the state should be made “drug free” as it was ruinous for people, especially for youth and society at large.

The Governor announced rupees grant of Rs one lakh to the Press Club Shimla for organising the campaign against drugs.

  1. Cabinet Approvals on 17 February 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given some cabinet approvals. The cabinet approvals are as follows:

  • The Union Government chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved setting up of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha, Sehore in Madhya Pradesh for meeting the emerging food security challenges.
  • The Cabinet approved the signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Rwanda which will enable the airlines of the two countries to operate services in each others’ territory.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to award contract in 31 contract areas under Discovered Small Fields Policy 2016 undertaken last year
  • The Union Cabinet approved the merger of the State Bank of India with its 5 subsidiary banks namely State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur; State Bank of Hyderabad; State Bank of Mysore; State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore.

12. RBI Doubles Gold Loan Limit for Regional Rural Banks to Rs. 2 lakhs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that regional rural banks (RRBs) can grant gold loans up to Rs2 lakh with bullet repayment option against the current limit of Rs1 lakh.

Under bullet repayment schedule, loan amount is paid at the end of maturity.The loans with a bullet repayment will have a maximum maturity of 12 months and the loan-to-value ratio should be 75% of the gold pledged.

  1. New cross-border power lines to be built between India and Nepal

India and Nepal have agreed to build new cross-border power transmission lines to help in the distribution of electricity from power projects being developed in Nepal.

The new Butwal(Nepal)-Gorakhpur (India) and Lumki (Nepal) –Bareilly ( India) transmission lines and new 400 kV sub-stations at Dhalkebar, Butwal and Hetauda, all in Nepal, were discussed during the fourth meeting of the Indo-Nepal joint working group and joint steering committee (JSC) on power cooperation.

  1. UNICEF Makes $110 Million Appeal for Sudan Children

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched a $110 million appeal to help two million acutely malnourished children across Sudan including hundreds of thousands living in conflict areas.

Sudan is home to around 13% of all children suffering from acute malnutrition across Africa. Two million children under five in Sudan are acutely malnourished.

  1. IBM plans for emergency weather alerts without internet through Mobile app

IBM is developing an Android app Mesh Network Alerts Which offers a new technology that can transmit notifications from phone to phone via Bluetooth and WiFi. It’s potentially much more useful than typical emergency alerts from governments, because those don’t work when cellular networks go down. The app offers much more than just a mere weather update, in some places it could up saving lives during emergencies.


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