Current Affairs Daily Digest – July 11 and 12′ 2017

  1. Subhash Garg Takes Charge As Economic Affairs Secretary

Senior bureaucrat Subhash Chandra Garg assumed charge as Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the Finance Ministry. A 1983 batch IAS officer from the Rajasthan cadre, Garg was World Bank Executive Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Sri Lanka prior to this appointment.

He succeeds Shaktikanta Das, who retired after an extended tenure on May 31. Corporate Affairs Secretary Tapan Ray was given additional charge of DEA Secretary after Das’ exit.

  1. Ravi Shastri appointed as Team India’s head coach

BCCI confirmed the Ravi Shastri as the new coach of the Indian cricket team, while also naming Zaheer Khan as the bowling coach. Shastri, in the process, won five-way battle to grab the post until 2019 Cricket World Cup.

The decision was taken by three three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, who interviewed several candidates for the high-profile job in Mumbai.

  1. Rajeev Dubey elected to Governing Board of ILO

Rajeev Dubey, Member Executive Board, FICCI and Group President (HR & Corporate Services), Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, got elected to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Governing Board on June 12 at Geneva.

The ILO Governing Body is an apex level policy making and oversight body with 56 members comprising 14 members from the Employers, 14 from the Trade Unions and 28 from the Government.

  1. Debi Prasad Dash takes over as DRI chief

Debi Prasad Dash, a 1985-batch Indian Revenue Service (customs) officer, has taken over as director-general of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the premier agency that tackles smuggling and black money.

Mr. Dash was the acting DRI chief for the past five months. He has earlier worked in the UN Security Council, Commonwealth Secretariat and the CBI.

  1. Twitter names former Goldman Sachs banker Ned Segal as CFO

Ned Segal, a longtime Goldman Sachs banker and the former Senior Vice President of Finance at Silicon Valley’s financial software company Intuit, has been appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer at Twitter.

Segal will take over the CFO role from Anthony Noto, who was promoted to COO post last November. Segal will report directly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

  1. July 11, 2017: World Population Day

World Population Day is being observed globally on 11th July. The objective of the day is to increase the awareness of the people towards the worldwide population issues.

The theme of this year is ‘Family Planning- Empowering People, Developing Nations’. The Day was first marked on 11 July 1990 in more than 90 countries.

  1. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Launches ‘Aaykar Setu’ To Enhance E-Access Of Taxpayers

The Income Tax Department has launched an online facility that will enable payment of taxes, tracking of tax deducted at source and filing of applications for permanent account numbers (PAN).

The facility known as ‘Aaykar Setu’ launched by finance minister Arun Jaitley will also help people link their 12-digit biometric identifier Aadhaar with PAN.

  1. Ministry Of Health Signs MoU With Government Of West Bengal To Set Up Centre Of Excellence In Transfusion Medicine

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed an MoU with the Government of West Bengal to formalize its support to set up a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Transfusion Medicine at Kolkata.

The Centre of Excellence in Transfusion Medicine will be set up in Kolkata. The initiative helps in strengthening the blood transfusion services in the State and the surrounding region.

The government of India has approved this important initiative with an outlay of approximately Rs.200 Crores towards equipment, manpower and running costs. The land for this initiative will be provided free of cost by the State government.

  1. President of India inaugurates ‘Ashiana Annexe’ in Dehradun

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the ‘Ashiana Annexe’ in Dehradun, Uttarakhand on July 10, 2017 which comprises of twelve low cost dwelling units constructed to accommodate officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan during Presidential visits to the Retreat at ‘Ashiana’.

These dwelling units have been constructed using the Habitech-NivaraTantra – Onsite Sanitation Integrated Community Housing Technology Innovations developed at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

The Technology innovations comprise unique blocks known as “compacted intermeshing” blocks which are made from local soil. The production of these blocks is on site and is an entirely green process.

  1. Committee formed to study legalities for separate State flag for Karnataka

The State has constituted a nine-member committee headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, to study and submit a report to the government on the possibility of “designing a separate flag for Karnataka and providing it a statutory standing.”

Members of the committee include Secretaries to the Departments of Personnel and Administrative Services, Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, president of Kannada Sahitya Parishat, chairman of Kannada Development Authority, vice-chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi, and Director of Department of Kannada and Culture.

  1. NGT bans use of nylon and synthetic manja

The National Green Tribunal has imposed a complete ban on ‘manja’, the string used to fly kites, made of nylon or any synthetic material which is non-biodegradable, saying it posed a threat to the lives of birds, animals and humans.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed all state governments to prohibit the “manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use” of synthetic manja or nylon threads and all other synthetic threads used for flying kites.

  1. Maharashtra launches free injectable contraceptive for women

Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to provide women an injectable contraceptive for free.

The state’s public health department launched a programme called Antara on July 10 to offer women an injection of Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a birth-control hormone.

The injection is supposed to be used within a week from the day a woman’s menstrual cycle starts.

Currently, the injections are available for free at public health facilities in Mumbai, Pune, Raigad, Nandurbar, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Sangli, Ratnagiri and Beed. These injections will help in birth spacing.

  1. 36th NABARD Foundation Day celebrations

On 12th July 2017 NABARD celebrated its 36th foundation day. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is an apex development bank in India, headquartered at Mumbaiwith branches all over India.

The Bank has been entrusted with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.

NABARD was established on the recommendations of B.Sivaraman Committee, (by Act 61, 1981 of Parliament) on 12 July 1982 to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.

  1. GMR gets Rs 1,330 cr loan from Axis Bank for developing Mopa airport

GMR Goa International Airports Ltd, a subsidiary of GMR Airports Ltd, has executed a debt facility agreement for the development of Greenfield airport at Mopa.

The GMR arm had won the bid to develop and operate the Greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa last year and the concession agreement was signed on November 8, 2016.

The foundation stone for the project was subsequently laid by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on November 13, 2016.

  1. Chhattisgarh govt to merge DCCBs with state cooperative banks

The Chhattisgarh government has decided to merge all the branches of the district central cooperative banks (DCCBs) with the state cooperative banks.

The decision would enable small DCCB to merge into the state cooperative bank that would ensure the fiscal strength of the entity.

After the merger, the working capital of the bank would increase to more than Rs 10 crore. This would help the farmers to get more loans from the banks.

  1. Cabinet approves establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI),

The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi.

This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw. The Centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.

  1. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Palestine on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Palestine on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. The MoU was signed on 16th May, 2017.

  1. Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Palestine on cooperation in the field of Information Technology and Electronics

The Union Cabinet chaired has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Palestine on Cooperation in the field of Information Technology and Electronics (IT&E)

The MoU intends to promote closer co-operation in the areas of e-Governance, m-Governance, e-Public Services Delivery, cyber security, software technology parks, start-ups ecosystem etc.

  1. Cabinet approves Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between India and Germany on cooperation in the field of Health

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for signing a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between India and Germany on cooperation in the field of Health. The JDI was signed on 1st June, 2017.

The JDI covers the following areas of cooperation :-

  1. a) postgraduate education;
  2. b) training of medical personnel;
  3. c) pharmaceuticals and pharmacoeconomics; and
  4. d) health economics.

20. Cabinet approves Joint Interpretative Notes on the Agreement between India and Bangladesh for Promotion and Protection of Investments

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the Agreement between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

The JIN would impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing Agreement between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (BIPA).

  1. Cabinet approves enhancement of the age of superannuation of Medical Officers of Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for enhancement of the age of superannuation in respect of

(i) General Duty Medical Officers of Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles from 60 to 65 years and

(ii) Specialist Medical Officers of Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles of the Ministry of Home Affairs from 60 to 65 years.

  1. Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Bangladesh for cyber security cooperation

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh on cyber security cooperation between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India and Bangladesh Government Computer Incident Response Team (BGD e-Gov CIRT) Bangladesh Computer Council of Information and Communication Technology Division under the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology of Bangladesh. The MoU was signed on 8th April, 2.017.

  1. Cabinet approves creation of three posts of Directors for the three new AIIMS in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra

The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of three posts of Directors in the pre-revised scale of Rs.80,000 (fixed) {plus NPA Ceiling limit 85000} for the three new AIIMS at Mangalagiri near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Kalyani in West Bengal and Nagpur in Maharashtra.

  • Cabinet approves Development of Four Laning of Solapur-Bijapur Section of New NH-52 in Maharashtra and Karnataka

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired has given its approval for 4 Laning of Solapur-Bijapur Section of New NH-52 (formerly NH-13) in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The development of 4 Laning of about 110 km. is estimated to cost approximately Rs.1889 crore including the cost of land acquisition and pre-construction activities.

  1. Cabinet approves SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program – Tranche 2

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs. 1630.29 crores.

The project will improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of the state. Based on the existing and projected traffic requirements the NH-39 will be widened to 4 lane between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to 2 lane with paved shoulder.

  • Google acquires Bengaluru-based Artificial Intelligence startup Halli Labs

Google has acquired Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup Halli Labs for an undisclosed sum.

The firm was founded with the goal of applying modern artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to solve old problems.

  1. Japan’s Okinoshima island gains Unesco World Heritage status

Japan’s Okinoshima island, an ancient religious site where women are banned, has been declared a World Heritage site by the UN’s cultural body Unesco.

Okinoshima is home to the Okitsu shrine, built in the 17th century to pray for the safety of sailors.

Before setting foot on the island, men must take off their clothes and undergo a cleansing ritual.

  • 12 July 2017: Malala Day

12 July 2013 is observed as Malala Day across the World and by United Nations.

The day is being observed by the United Nations to highlight the fight of education of the Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai.

12 July, the day of Malala’s Birth was declared as Malala Day by UN General Secretary Ban-Ki-Moon on her 16th Birthday.

Malala is the girl from Pakistan, who was shot in head and neck by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on 9 October 2012 for advocating girls for their right to education and speaking against Taliban.

  • Japan launches Pikachu-themed train to cheer up citizens

A Pikachu-themed train was launched in Japan as a disaster relief project after 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The project was launched to cheer up the kids and adults living in the affected areas. From Pikachu-themed food items to Pikachu-themed cars, this time Japan has outdone itself with a train.

Recently, a Pokemon-themed train was introduced for Japan’s Ichinoseki metro station in Iwate Prefecture for sightseeing. The train will begin its journey on Jul 15, 2017 for public visits and will be operated all throughout the summer.

  1. First vaccine shows gonorrhoea protection

A vaccine has for the first time been shown to protect against the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea, scientists in New Zealand say.

There are fears gonorrhoea is becoming untreatable as antibiotics fail.

The World Health Organization sees developing a vaccine as vital in stopping the global spread of “super-gonorrhoea”.

The study of 15,000 young people, published in the Lancet, showed infections were cut by about a third.

  1. P V Sindhu received the ‘Sportsperson of the Year’ award

Rio Olympics silver medallist P V Sindhu was bestowed with the Sportsperson of the Year award during the ‘Maruti Suzuki Sportsperson of the Year’ Charity Gala Awards.

Sindhu’s coach P Gopichand received the Coach of the Year award while the Flying Sikh Milkha Singh was given the Living Legend of the Year award. However, Milkha could not attend the function.

  1. Mithali Raj Creates History, Becomes Leading Run-Getter In Women’s ODIs

Mithali Raj has been India’s premier player ever since she made her debut in 1999. Her exploits in the international stage in both Tests and ODIs have made her India’s premier player.

She created a world record by smashing seven consecutive fifty-plus scores, making her the first woman player to achieve the feat.

Mithali Raj became the first women’s player to reach 6000 ODI runs.  England’s Charlotte Edwards was the previous leading run-getter in ODIs with 5992 runs.

  1. South African jazz musician Ray Phiri dies at age 70

Ray Phiri, a South African jazz musician who founded the band Stimela and became internationally known while performing on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour, died of cancer at age of  70.

Phiri, a vocalist and guitarist known for his versatility in jazz fusion, indigenous South African rhythms and other styles, received many music awards in his home country.


Read Current Affairs Daily Digest For June 2017