Current Affairs Daily Digest – May 05 2017


  1. Govt appoints MDs, CEOs of seven public sector banks

The government has appointed new managing directors and chief executive officers of seven public sector banks

S.No Person Appointment
1. R Subramaniakumar MD and CEO of the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).
2. Rajkiran Rai G MD and CEO of the Union Bank of India.
3. Sunil Mehta MD and CEO in the Punjab National Bank
4. Usha Ananthasubramanian MD and CEO of Allahabad Bank
5. Dinabandhu Mohapatra MD and CEO of the Bank of India
6. M O Rego Syndicate Bank
7. R A Sankara Narayanan MD and CEO of Vijaya Bank.
  1. Madhya Pradesh Assembly declares Narmada living entity

Madhya Pradesh government has passed a resolution granting river Narmada the status of a living entity and committed itself to the protection of its legal rights. the Uttarakhand High Court had declared Ganga, Yamuna and their tributaries living entities with the status of a legal person. A week ago, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while participating in the Narmada Seva Yatra, had suggested that the Madhya Pradesh government bring a Bill in the Assembly to this effect.

  1. Cabinet approves National Steel Policy 2017

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017. The new Steel Policy enshrines the long term vision of the Government to give impetus to the steel sector.  It seeks to enhance domestic steel consumption and ensure high quality steel production and create a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry.

Some highlights of New Steel Policy

  • The Indian steel sector has grown rapidly over the past few years and presently it is the third largest steel producer globally, contributing to about 2% of the country’s GDP.
  • The New Steel Policy, 2017 aspires to achieve 300MT of steel-making capacity by 2030. This would translate into additional investment of Rs. 10 lakh Crore by 2030-31.
  • The Policy seeks to increase consumption of steel and major segments are infrastructure, automobiles and housing. New Steel Policy seeks to increase per capita steel consumption to the level of 160 Kgs by 2030 from existing level of around 60 Kg.
  • Potential of MSME steel sector has been recognised. Policy stipulates that adoption of energy efficient technologies in the MSME steel sector will be encouraged to improve the overall productivity & reduce energy intensity.
  • Ministry through policy measures will ensure availability of raw materials like Iron ore, Coking coal and non-coking coal, Natural gas etc.  at competitive rates.

Background:

Steel is one of the most important products in the modern world and forms the backbone to any industrial economy. India being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and steel finding its extensive application right from construction, infrastructure, power, aerospace and industrial machinery to consumer products, the sector is of strategic importance to the country.

  1. Cabinet approves New Central Sector Scheme- SAMPADA

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for re-structuring the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) for the period 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.

SAMPADA with an allocation of Rs. 6,000 crore is expected to leverage investment of Rs. 31,400 crore, handling of 334 lakh MT agro-produce valuing Rs. 1,04,125 crore, benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate 5,30,500 direct/ indirect employment in the country by the year 2019-20.

The objective of SAMPADA is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease agri-waste.

  1. TRAI to launch app for users to rate call quality

The sector regulator Trai has said it will soon roll-out an app that enables subscribers to rate the service quality of a phone call. The ‘mycall’ app would be available by the end of this month, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman RS Sharma said at ‘Digital Broadcasting in India Way Forward’, a seminar to commemorate the completion of 20 years of the regulator’s formation.

  1. Reliance, SAP launch ‘SARAL GST’ solution for taxpayers

An IT services arm of Reliance Industries and business software provider SAP have signed an agreement to jointly launch ‘Saral GST’ solution to serve taxpayers under the goods and services tax (GST) regime.

Reliance Corporate IT Park Limited (RCITPL) – a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SAP SE to launch ‘SARAL GST’ solution for taxpayers in the GST regime.

The Saral GST platform will enable taxpayers to be GST compliant and access the government’s GST system. The GST is to be rolled out from July 1, 2017.

SAP as ASP will enable taxpayers to effectively create, manage and file GST returns in a simple, safe and seamless environment.

  1. President Pranab gives nod to ordinance on banks’ non-performing assets

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his nod to the ordinance dealing with the banking sector’s non-performing loans and the amendment to the Banking Act. The cabinet had taken some significant decisions related to the banking sector, without revealing details saying the decisions needed Presidential assent.

The new framework for non-performing assets (NPAs) will allow state-owned banks to conduct open auctions of NPAs, wherein cash-rich public sector companies will be encouraged to buy such assets in their sector.

  1. Quikr acquires home services start-up Zimmber

Online classifieds company Quikr has announced the acquisition of Zimmber, an on-demand household services provider, to further scale its hyperlocal household services business. This strategic move will help the company accelerate its growth in household services and continue towards its goal of organising this fragmented category. Zimmber will benefit from synergies with QuikrServices and other Quikr verticals and also enter into newer markets.

  1. GSLV Successfully Launches South Asia Satellite

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) successfully launched the 2230 kg South |Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) into its planned Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on May 05, 2017.The launch of GSLV was its eleventh and took place from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India. This is the fourth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage. In its oval shaped GTO, the South Asia Satellite is now orbiting the Earth with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 36,105 km with an orbital inclination of 20.65 deg with respect to the equator.

The South Asian Satellite – Some highlights

  • Space diplomacy has touched new heights with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unique gift in the sky to South Asian neighbours.
  • The gift of a communications satellite for use by neighbours at no cost has perhaps no precedent worldwide.
  • The satellite, which weighs over 2 tonnes, has been fabricated in three years at a cost of over Rs. 230 crore.
  • Its footprint that extends all over South Asia.
  • The South Asia Satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which India’s neighbours can utilise to increase communications.
  • Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they could beam their own programming.
  • The satellite will facilitate DTH television, VSAT links, tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support. It will provide critical communication links in times of disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and tsunamis.
  • Heads of Government from all the seven South Asian nations who are benefiting from the satellite, connected via video conference, in a unique celebration of the successful launch.
  1. UK scientists develop first-ever soft tissue retina

A synthetic, soft tissue retina developed by an Oxford University student could offer fresh hope to visually impaired people. The new research, by Vanessa Restrepo-Schild, a 24 year old PhD student and researcher at the Oxford University, Department of Chemistry, is the first to successfully use biological, synthetic tissues, developed in a laboratory environment.

The study could revolutionise the bionic implant industry and the development of new, less invasive technologies that more closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.

  1. UK’s latest nuclear fusion reactor generates its 1st plasma

The United Kingdom switched on its newest fusion reactor.  The reactor, created by Tokamak Energy, should heat plasma to 100 million degrees Celsius (or 180 million degrees Fahrenheit) by 2018. The UK’s newest fusion reactor has been turned on for the first time and has officially achieved first plasma. The reactor aims to produce a record-breaking plasma temperature of 100 million degrees for a privately-funded venture. This is seven times hotter than the centre of the Sun and the temperature necessary for controlled fusion.

  1. World’s biggest X-ray laser generates first laser light

The world’s biggest X-ray laser has generated its first beam of light, that will allow scientists to get a glimpse of new materials, drugs and chemical reactions at the atomic level. The 3.4-kilometre-long European XFEL, most of which is located in underground tunnels in Germany, will usher a new era of European research, according to scientists.

  1. UN owes India $55 million for peacekeeping operations

The United Nations owes a total of $55 million to India for its contribution to the world body’s peacekeeping operations, the second highest outstanding payment to any member country.

Under-secretary-general for management Yukio Takasu, in his semi-annual overview of the Organisation’s finances, told reporters that the top troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations such as Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Egypt “deserve timely payment” for their contributions and participation in UN peacekeeping.

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Read Current Affairs Daily Digest For April 2017