Current Affairs (August 21st - 27th, 2017)


    International:
  • International Solar Alliance to be a recognised multilateral agency of UN by December
    Current Affairs The International Solar Alliance is likely to be a recognised multilateral agency of the UN by this year-end. According to the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Coal, Power, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal before the end of this calendar, Indian Government wants to ensure that the International Solar Alliance as a multilateral agency ratified by the first 15 countries who would then be founding members. ISA was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francoise Hollande in November 2015. It aims to channel $300 billion in 10 years to promote renewable energy projects under a global mega fund for clean energy.

    The ISA was instituted to connect nearly 121 solar-resource-rich nations for research, low-cost financing and rapid deployment of clean energy.

  • BRICS Governance Seminar Highlights another Golden Era
    The BRICS Seminar on Governance opened in southeast China on 17 August, during which over 160 representatives from BRICS members – -Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — as well as other developing nations brainstormed ideas on how to usher BRICS cooperation into another “golden decade”.

    The two-day Seminar, themed with “Openness, Inclusiveness, Mutual Benefits and Win-Win: Working Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind”, served as an important supporting event of the ninth BRICS Summit to be held early next month.

    The academics, consultants and business leaders, during the meeting held in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, contributed their wisdom on how to enrich the outcomes of the upcoming summit.

    The meeting also passed a “Quanzhou consensus” that encourages the signatories to prioritize development, launch mutually beneficial cooperation, engage in global governance in an active manner and learn more from other civilizations.

    The representatives agreed that an intensified exchange of state governance experience will endow the BRICS members with a better prospect.

    The great vision mapped out by Chinese President Xi Jinping on global governance could make unique contribution to the win-win cooperation of the entire world, Robert Lawrance Kuhn, chairman of the US-based Kuhn Foundation, said when commenting on China’s new governance ideas.

  • Trump signs memo banning transgender recruits from US military
    US President Donald Trump has signed a memo ordering the Pentagon to ban an Obama-era plan of recruiting transgender individuals in the military, a move Democrats said is cruel and meant to hurt and humiliate American soldiers.

    In a memorandum, a copy of which was released by the White House, Mr Trump directed the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the US Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding practice on military service by trans gender individuals that was in place prior to June last year.

    In the memorandum, Mr Trump alleged that his predecessor Barack Obama dismantled the Defense Departments' established framework by permitting transgender individuals to serve openly in the military, authorising the use of its resources to fund sex-reassignment surgical procedures, and permitting accession of such individuals after July 1, this year.

    The memorandum has requested the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, which should be put in place on March 23, 2018.

  • Trump seeks India’s help to achieve Afghanistan ‘goals
    US President Donald Trump has said that he wants to further develop strategic partnership with India to achieve country’s goals in Afghanistan, saying American troops “will fight to win” and “from now on victory will have a clear definition.”

    Trump on 22nd August detailed several of the US’s goals in Afghanistan, including “obliterating IS”, “preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan” and strengthen Afghan security forces. He noted that “the stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do.”

    The US President also vowed to change the country’s approach to dealing with Pakistan, promising to crack down on Pakistan’s harbouring of terrorist and militant groups.

    Trump promised that Pakistan has “much to gain” from partnering with the US, but also warned “it has much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists.” Trump also said the US would pressure India to increase its support for Afghan economic development. Trump’s plan involves a modest increase of several thousand troops.

    According to Pentagon, additional troops, above current levels of about 8,500, would serve very specific purposes, including boosting training, capacity-building and allowing advisers to work more closely with Afghan soldiers along the front lines.

    The increase was effectively approved in June, when Trump gave Defense Secretary James Mattis the go-ahead to boost levels by as many as 3,900 troops.

    US commanders would bring in additional advisers to support Afghan special forces, the Afghan air force and the Afghan army and police professional schools, such as the infantry and artillery schools.

  • Qatar restores diplomatic ties to Iran
    Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, disregarding the demands of Arab nations that it lessen its ties to Tehran.

    Qatar's Foreign Ministry announced early on 24th August that the country's ambassador would return to Tehran. Qatar pulled out its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, a move to show solidarity with the kingdom.

    A Foreign Ministry statement said the state of Qatar expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields.

  • Trump signs memo banning transgender recruits from US military
    US President Donald Trump has signed a memo ordering the Pentagon to ban an Obama-era plan of recruiting transgender individuals in the military, a move Democrats said is cruel and meant to hurt and humiliate American soldiers.

    In a memorandum, a copy of which was released by the White House, Mr Trump directed the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the US Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding practice on military service by trans gender individuals that was in place prior to June last year.

    In the memorandum, Mr Trump alleged that his predecessor Barack Obama dismantled the Defense Departments' established framework by permitting transgender individuals to serve openly in the military, authorising the use of its resources to fund sex-reassignment surgical procedures, and permitting accession of such individuals after July 1, this year.

    The memorandum has requested the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, which should be put in place on March 23, 2018.

    National:
  • Work on Asian Trilateral Highway to begin shortly as part of India's Act East Policy
    Current Affairs Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industries Nirmala Sitharaman has said on 20th August at Imphal that the construction work of Asian Trilateral Highway will be started shortly to catalyze the Act East policy.

    According to Minister:
    • Manipur will be the gateway for the entire South-East Asia.
    • Manipur will have a lot more to benefit from the country’s Act East Policy. Ministry has launched Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme(TIES) for exporting industrial goods outside the country and a sum of nine crore rupees will given for infrastructure development at Imphal Airport under this scheme.
    • 316 central sponsored schemes are being implemented through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)
    • 29.4 crore people have opened their bank accounts through Jan Dhan Yojana
    • So far 17 million LPG connections have been provided under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna and 20 million toilets have been constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission.


  • NHAI to roll out incident management system
    The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has set to roll out an ‘incident management system’ by the end of 2017. Under this, ambulances will be stationed every 50 kilometres to be able to respond to any mishap within 15 minutes of it being reported on a national accident helpline.

    A greener drive is also likely for road users. Trucks running on CNG will be able to hit the highways without worrying about their fuel tank’s range.

    Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel stations will come up within wayside amenities on highways as part of a proposal now under discussion between the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways as well as Petroleum and Natural Gas.

    A larger four-bedded ambulance with medical recovery systems that can save lives within the ‘golden hour’ will be placed every 100 km of highway lengths in seven States to begin with: Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

    National highways accounted for 35% of total deaths on Indian roads and 29% of the total number of persons injured in road accidents in 2015, as per official statistics.

    The NHAI plans to invite bids for running the ambulance service on highways from manufacturers of such specialised vehicles, hospitals and emergency response service providers, among others, by the end of this month.

    The NHAI has also mooted the inclusion of CNG fuel stations in the wayside amenities coming up along all highways. CNG-powered trucks or buses need a top-up after every 100 km, whereas CNG cars can travel up to 200 km before a refill is needed.

    NHAI announced that all toll plazas will have electronic toll collection facility with at least one lane dedicated to vehicles with electronic tag device, known as FASTags, beginning September 1. It also said all toll plaza planes will be RFID [Radio-frequency identification] tags-enabled by October 31.

  • PM Modi announces assistance of Rs 500 crore for flood-hit Bihar
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced immediate assistance of 500 crore rupees to flood ravaged Bihar. He held detailed review meeting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over relief operations, compensation and rehabilitation work in flood affected areas.

    Mr. Modi said, 2 lakh rupees each will be paid next to the kin of those who died in flood related incidents. Fifty thousand rupees each will be given to injured persons.

    The Prime Minister said, more assistance will be given after assessing the damage. A central team will visit to Bihar to assess the damage caused by flood.

    Mr Modi assured that all possible help will be extended to the state to tackle flood. The Prime Minister also stressed upon the immediate payment of crop insurance amount to the farmers of the flood affected areas.

    Earlier on 26th August, Mr Modi undertook an aerial survey of the worst-affected bordering districts of Araria, Purnea, Katihar and Kishanganj to take stock of the flood situation.

  • ICMR, Ministry of Health sign pact with South Korea's IVI for vaccine
    The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Union Ministry of Health on 21st August inked a pact with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea to collaborate on vaccine research and development.

    The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Dr Jerome H Kim, Director General of IVI, South Korea.

    The ICMR is the apex body in the country for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. An official statement said in New Delhi that with a long history of scientific collaboration with IVI, India officially became a signatory to the treaty of the Seoul-based organisation in 2012. The IVI has 35 signatory countries.

    With this partnership, India is committing an annual contribution of USD 5, 00,000 to IVI and joins Sweden and South Korea as financially contributing signatories to IVI.

  • Supreme Court strikes down instant Triple Talaq
    The Supreme Court on 22nd August set aside the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims, terming it as unconstitutional, illegal and void. In a 3:2 majority judgment, the apex court held that triple talaq is against the basic tenets of Quran and hence, is unacceptable. The three judges also said, triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the constitution and must be struck down.

    While Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman and U U Lalit held triple talaq as violative of the constitution, Chief Justice J.S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting the practice on hold for six months and asking the government to come out with a law.

  • Institutional deliveries up by 40 per cent in Telangana State
    Telangana Information Technology Minister K T Rama Rao on 22nd August said institutional deliveries had gone up by 30 per cent to 40 per cent after the introduction of KCR Kits scheme in the State. Besides financial assistance of Rs 12,000 to pregnant women, healthcare materials were also given to protect the health of lactating mothers and new born under the scheme.

    Attracted by the scheme, pregnant women were making a beeline to government hospitals for deliveries, the Minister said addressing a public meeting in the district headquarters hospital.

    Telangana stands first in the entire country by establishing 40 dialysis centres in government hospitals. With a view to reduce financial burden on patients, State government has established dialysis centres in all major hospitals.

  • Cabinet approves setting up of Commission to examine sub-categorization of OBCs
    Union Cabinet has approved setting up of a Commission to examine sub-categorization of OBCs. According to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the decision is based on the recommendation of National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). Parliamentary Standing Committee had also made similar recommendations. The sub-categorization will apply for reservation in Central government jobs.

    The Commission will be mandated to examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among castes and communities included in the central list of OBC. As per proposed terms of reference, it will also work out a mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters through a scientific approach for sub-categorization.

    The Commission will take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes, sub-castes, communities and synonyms in the Central list of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories. The Commission will submit its report within 12 weeks from the date of appointment of Chairperson.

    In an another decision, the Cabinet has increased the creamy layer ceiling for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category to eight lakh rupees per annum from the existing six lakh for central government jobs.

  • Supreme Court declares right to privacy as Fundamental right
    In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on 24th August declared the right to privacy a fundamental right under the constitution.

    A nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar ruled that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution.

    The bench unanimously overruled the two earlier judgements of the apex court that the right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution.

    Several petitioners had challenged the validity of the Aadhaar scheme on grounds of it being violative of the right to privacy.

    The court had also voiced concern over the possible misuse of personal information in the public domain. The question whether Aadhaar violates right to privacy will be dealt with by the five-judge bench which has been hearing the petitions since 2015.

  • Union Government finalizes new cadre policy of IAS,IPS, IFOS
    Union Government finalized a new policy for cadre allocation by the Central government for IAS, IPS and other officers, aimed at ensuring "national integration" in the country's top bureaucracy.

    Officers of all-India services include the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) have to choose cadres from a set of zones instead of states.

    The Zone I has seven cadres namely AGMUT (also known as Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories), Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana.

    The Zone-II consists of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha.

    The Zone-III comprises Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

    The Zone - IV consists of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, and Nagaland

  • Violence after Baba Ram Rahim conviction
    Massive violence has followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on 25th August by a special Panchkula court, holding the Dera Sacha Sauda leader guilty of rape.

    The situation deteriorated soon after the conviction was announced and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was taken into custody. There have been about 300 incidents of violence reported from across Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi. So far, 31 people have died and about 250 have been injured in the violence which ensued after the court verdict.

  • Taj Mahal is a tomb and not a temple, ASI tells court
    The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has told an Agra court that the Taj Mahal-- widely regarded as a masterpiece of Muslim architecture—is a tomb and not a temple as claimed by a group of petitioners. In a written statement filed in the court of civil judge (senior division) on 24th August, the ASI refused to accept the contention that the world heritage site was built on a temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva.

    The court in April 2015 admitted a law suit filed by six lawyers, who had claimed the Taj is a Hindu temple, Tejo Mahalaya and as such followers of the religion should be allowed access inside the premises of the monument to perform ‘darshan’ and ‘aarti.’ They also asked for opening of the locked rooms in the monument.

    Currently, only Muslims are allowed to worship at the site, offering prayers at a mosque attached to the monument. The court has fixed the next hearing on September 11. The court had earlier issued notices to the central government, Union ministry of culture, home secretary and ASI to file their replies.

    The ASI is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of historical monuments in the country. The counsel for the Union of India and ASI, appearing before the court, stated that the petitioners had no locus standi in the matter and neither did they have the right to worship or perform any religious rituals as the monument is Islamic.

  • Telangana government to distribute Bathukamma sarees to over one crore women
    Over a crore women in Telangana, irrespective of caste, creed or religion will receive a handloom spree as a gift from the State Government on the occasion of Batukamma festival next month.

    This decision taken of the Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao will see women above the age of 18 years receiving this unique gift, which would also provide a much needed fillip to the ailing handloom sector in the State.

    These sarees are to be distributed through ration shops to 1,04,57,610 women for three days starting from September 18. The sarees are to be procured from handloom and power loom sectors and this move is expected to support the weavers community and revive the handloom and powerloom sector.

    These decisions were taken by the Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao, who reviewed the saree distribution program at Pragathi Bhavan on 25th August. He appealed to the the Members of Parliament, MLAs, MLCs and other public representatives to ensure that the saree distribution program was made a success. The Chief Minister was shown the samples of sarees to be distributed and he expressed satisfaction over the quality

  • PM Modi announces assistance of Rs 500 crore for flood-hit Bihar
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced immediate assistance of 500 crore rupees to flood ravaged Bihar. He held detailed review meeting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over relief operations, compensation and rehabilitation work in flood affected areas.

    Mr. Modi said, 2 lakh rupees each will be paid next to the kin of those who died in flood related incidents. Fifty thousand rupees each will be given to injured persons.

    The Prime Minister said, more assistance will be given after assessing the damage. A central team will visit to Bihar to assess the damage caused by flood.

    Mr Modi assured that all possible help will be extended to the state to tackle flood. The Prime Minister also stressed upon the immediate payment of crop insurance amount to the farmers of the flood affected areas.

    Earlier on 26th August, Mr Modi undertook an aerial survey of the worst-affected bordering districts of Araria, Purnea, Katihar and Kishanganj to take stock of the flood situation.

  • UIDAI says Aadhaar system secure, refutes reports of biometric data breach
    The Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI on 27th August asserted that Aadhaar system has stringent security features to prevent any unauthorised capture or transmission of data, refuting reports that hinted at sensitive biometric data being allegedly accessed by certain foreign agencies.

    The statement by the UIDAI came after WikiLeaks hinted that the Central Intelligence Agency had allegedly accessed the Aadhaar database.

    Dismissing the allegations, UIDAI said Aadhaar biometric capture system has been “developed within own country and it has adequate and robust security features to prevent any possibility of any such unauthorised capture and transmission of data regardless of any biometric device that may be used”. The UIDAI said that such “misinformation” was being spread by certain “vested interests”.

    Outlining the stringent checks and balances in UIDAI system, it said that any biometric device before being used in the Aadhaar system is "thoroughly tested" internally and externally extensively by Standardised Testing Quality Certification and certified.

    The Aadhaar issuing body said that the biometric identifier had been issued to over 1.17 billion people, with around 40 million authentications taking place every day.

    Bilateral
  • Cabinet approves signing of MoU between India and Nepal on drug demand reduction
    Current Affairs The Cabinet on 23rd August gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding 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.

    Cooperation on drug matters is expected to curb the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals in the two countries.

  • RBI appoints Committee to Link Home Loan Rates to Repo Rate
    Reserve Bank of India appointed committee on Household Finance suggested that banks link their home loan rates to the RBI's repo rate, the rate at which it lends to banks.

    In the past three years, the central bank has reduced the policy rate by 200 basis points, but the weighted average lending rates have fallen by 145 basis points.

  • Arun Jaitley inaugurates manufacture of light combat helicopter at HAL
    After the Defence Acquisition Council approved procurement of 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, the PSU is set to start manufacturing of the helicopters at its Helicopter Division in Bengaluru. On 26th August, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the LCH production facility

    The basic version of LCH has been cleared by CEMILAC, a military certification agency. HAL designed the twin engine LCH of 5.8 tonne class featuring narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/weapon system operator.

    The helicopter has indigenous state-of-the-art technologies, including anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash-worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, armour protection and stealth features from visual, radar and infra-red signatures. It is equipped with a 20mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket and airto- air missile.

    The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes.

    The LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons, according to an official from the Ministry of Defence.

  • India, Qatar discuss matters of mutual interest in New Delhi
    India and Qatar on 26th August discussed matters of mutual interest pertaining to bilateral, regional and international affairs at present in New Delhi.

    The two sides reviewed progress on the follow up of key decisions taken during the high-level bilateral visits which have been contributing to building a mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.

    The Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who was in New Delhi on two day visit from 25th August held delegation level talks with External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj.

    He also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hand over a letter from the Emir of Qatar. He separately met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

    The visiting Minister assured India of continued Qatari support in energy security through uninterrupted energy supplies. Sheikh Mohamed conveyed appreciation for the contribution of the 6.3 lakh strong Indian community which forms the largest expatriate group in Qatar.

    The Minister assured India of the continued safety, welfare and well-being of the Indian community and briefed the Indian side about new labour laws in Qatar which favour expatriate workers.

    During the meeting, the Qatari side welcomed participation of the Indian companies in Qatar’s infrastructure development, including for the ongoing FIFA 2022 related infrastructure. On regional issues, Sheikh Mohamed briefed his Indian interlocutors about the situation in the Gulf region.

    He was briefed about India’s position that peace and security in the Gulf are of paramount importance for the continued progress and prosperity of the region.

    Terrorism, violent extremism and religious intolerance pose grave threat not only to the regional stability but also to the global peace and order. India is of the view that parties should resolve their differences through a process of constructive dialogue and peaceful negotiations.

  • India, Nepal ink 8 pacts, review bilateral ties
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba reviewed bilateral economic and strategic ties in a meeting on 24th August following which the two countries signed eight pacts in areas including post-earthquake re-construction and checking drug trafficking.

    The two leaders also jointly inaugurated the Kataiya-Kusaha and Raxaul-Parwanipur cross border power transmission lines. Deuba is in India on a four-day visit.

    Of the eight pacts, four were related to utilisation of India’s grant component in the post-earthquake re-construction package in the areas of housing, education, health and cultural heritage.

  • India, Qatar discuss matters of mutual interest in New Delhi
    India and Qatar on 26th August discussed matters of mutual interest pertaining to bilateral, regional and international affairs at present in New Delhi.

    The two sides reviewed progress on the follow up of key decisions taken during the high-level bilateral visits which have been contributing to building a mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.

    The Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who was in New Delhi on two day visit from 25th August held delegation level talks with External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj.

    He also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hand over a letter from the Emir of Qatar. He separately met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

    The visiting Minister assured India of continued Qatari support in energy security through uninterrupted energy supplies. Sheikh Mohamed conveyed appreciation for the contribution of the 6.3 lakh strong Indian community which forms the largest expatriate group in Qatar.

    The Minister assured India of the continued safety, welfare and well-being of the Indian community and briefed the Indian side about new labour laws in Qatar which favour expatriate workers.

    During the meeting, the Qatari side welcomed participation of the Indian companies in Qatar’s infrastructure development, including for the ongoing FIFA 2022 related infrastructure. On regional issues, Sheikh Mohamed briefed his Indian interlocutors about the situation in the Gulf region.

    He was briefed about India’s position that peace and security in the Gulf are of paramount importance for the continued progress and prosperity of the region.

    Terrorism, violent extremism and religious intolerance pose grave threat not only to the regional stability but also to the global peace and order. India is of the view that parties should resolve their differences through a process of constructive dialogue and peaceful negotiations.

    Economy:
  • India's top five cities by start-up deals
    Current Affairs Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka and the Silicon Valley of India, has attracted the largest number of venture-backed start-up deals compared to any other city in the country over the past five years. Accounting for 30 per cent of the start-up funding deals in the country, Bengaluru justified its position as India’s start-up hub, but only barely. The National Capital Region, having more unicorns than Bengaluru, was at its heels with 29 per cent share, according to a CB Insights Report on Asia Tech Investments. Mumbai came third with 20 per cent share of deals.

  • FDI jumps 37% to 10.4 billion USD during April-June 2017
    Foreign direct investment, FDI, into the country grew by 37 per cent to 10.4 billion US Dollar during the first quarter of the current fiscal. According to the figures of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, DIPP, India had received around eight billion FDI US Dollar during the same period last year.

    The main sectors which attracted the highest foreign inflows include services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile.

    Bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan. The government has announced several steps to attract foreign inflows. The measures include liberalisation of FDI policy and improvement in business climate.

    Foreign investments are considered crucial for India, which needs around one trillion US Dollar for overhauling its infrastructure sector such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth.

    A strong inflow of foreign investments will help improve the country’s balance of payments situation and strengthen the rupee value against other global currencies, especially the US dollar.

  • ONGC board approves HPCL takeover of 51.11% stake
    The board of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, ONGC, has given 'in-principle' approval to acquire government's 51.11 per cent stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd.

    The ONGC board at its meeting in New Delhi on 21st August constituted a committee of directors to examine various aspects of the acquisition and to provide its recommendations to the board of directors.

    The government last month had approved sale of its 51.11 per cent stake in oil refiner HPCL to India's largest oil producer ONGC. The deal will be completed within a year.

    The government had also constituted a committee - headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and road minister Nitin Gadkari to work out the modalities of the sale. Jaitley had in his Budget for 2017-18 talked about creating an integrated oil behemoth.

  • NITI Aayog forms six CEO groups to give inputs to PM
    NITI Aayog has formed six groups of CEOs to suggest implementable ideas and changes. The groups will divide some 200 CEOs who will make presentations to the Union Cabinet and the Prime Minister.

    The groups will also be attached to individual ministries to suggest inputs. An official aware of the sessions said. The CEOs will focus on job creation, income enhancement, tech disruption, ease of doing business and governance. They have been divided into the groups themed – New India by 2022, Make in India, Cities of Tomorrow, World Class Infrastructure, Doubling Farmers Income, and Fixing Finance.

    As the government’s principal policy ideating think tank, the NITI Aayog will identify the action points from the inputs given by industrialists. Under the group themed New India by 2022, the CEOs will brainstorm on economy, social capital and gender parity. The group themed Make in India will focus on topics such as Industry 4.0, MSMEs and value chains, exports, logistics, FDI and FII. The Cities of Tomorrow group will brainstorm on smart urbanisation, sustainable planning, city governance, growth clusters and public transportation.

  • Aadhaar-PAN linkage to continue: UIDAI CEO
    Linking of Permanent Acount Number, PAN with biometric identifier Aadhaar will continue as previously directed and so will be the quoting of the 12-digit Aadhaar number for availing various government subsidies. According to UIDAI CEO Ajay Bushan Pandey, t he Aadhaar Act, which entails its quoting for services ranging from getting subsidised cooking gas to opening bank account and obtaining a new phone number, had been drafted keeping in mind privacy as a fundamental right. judgement has not said anything about the Aadhaar Act so the Aadhaar Act is a valid Act passed by the Parliament (and) is the law of the land

    The UIDAI CEO Ajay Bushan Pandey added that Aadhaar Act protects privacy of people as a fundamental right and its provisions provide for safeguarding of personal data and how such data can be used.

    He noted that core biometric can never be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever, except in particular circumstances which too has to be cleared by a committee headed by cabinet secretary.

  • Finance Minster unveils NITI Aayog's 3-year Action Agenda
    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 24th August unveiled NITI Aayog's three Year Action Agenda which is an integral part of the 15 year Vision Document of India. according to Jaitley:

    The action agenda has the potential to trigger much more economic activity and development than what the country has at present.

    The document can be a good govt textbook which will be useful in the economic planning of the country.

    NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said the major impediment in job creation is that entrepreneurs of the country do not invest in labour intensive activities. Mr Panagariya said the document has been divided into seven parts including how to double farmers' income and civil services reforms among others.

  • Union Cabinet renames SAMPADA Scheme as PMKSY
    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs 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. The new scheme was approved by the Central Government in the month of May. The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.

  • Govt sets up task force on artificial intelligence
    Government has constituted a task force on Artificial Intelligence for the country's Economic Transformation. The 18-member panel, headed by Dr. V. Kamakoti of IIT Madras, will comprise of experts, academics, researchers and industry leaders. It will explore the possibilities to leverage Artificial Intelligence for development across various fields.

    The task force will submit concrete and implementable recommendations for government, industry and research institutions. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, with rapid development in the fields of information technology and hardware, the world is about to witness a fourth industrial revolution

  • Govt bans gold import at zero duty from South Korea
    The director general of foreign trade (DGFT) on 25th August notified the withdrawal of the zero-duty import facility for gold, silver, and their coins and articles. The facility was being misused for importing duty-free gold from South Korea from July.

    Now with immediate effect, such import has been banned by the government. The DGFT issued the notification withdrawing the facility given under a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea signed in 2009 regarding gold, silver and their articles.

    The notification is timely because it was a case of blatant misuse of the facility, violating the spirit of the free trade agreement. Ninety per cent of the import is said to have been done by the top five importers. Importers also kept changing items of import or declarations under different customs codes.

    As a result of the duty-free imports, the Indian bullion market was quoting at a huge discount of $20 per ounce (Rs 425 per 10 gram), resulting in virtually halting duty-paid import and paralysing the organised trade.

  • RBI appoints Committee to Link Home Loan Rates to Repo Rate
    Reserve Bank of India appointed committee on Household Finance suggested that banks link their home loan rates to the RBI's repo rate, the rate at which it lends to banks.

    In the past three years, the central bank has reduced the policy rate by 200 basis points, but the weighted average lending rates have fallen by 145 basis points.

  • Arun Jaitley inaugurates manufacture of light combat helicopter at HAL
    After the Defence Acquisition Council approved procurement of 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, the PSU is set to start manufacturing of the helicopters at its Helicopter Division in Bengaluru. On 26th August, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the LCH production facility

    The basic version of LCH has been cleared by CEMILAC, a military certification agency. HAL designed the twin engine LCH of 5.8 tonne class featuring narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/weapon system operator.

    The helicopter has indigenous state-of-the-art technologies, including anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash-worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, armour protection and stealth features from visual, radar and infra-red signatures. It is equipped with a 20mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket and airto- air missile.

    The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes.

    The LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons, according to an official from the Ministry of Defence.

  • Under-employment severe in India: NITI
    Making a case for promoting highly productive and well-paid jobs, NITI Aayog has said that not unemployment but a “severe under-employment” is the main problem facing the country.

    The government think-tank, in its three-year Action Agenda, released in the third week of August, 2017, has said that a focus on the domestic market through an import-substitution strategy would give rise to a group of relatively small firms behind a high wall of protection. The more serious problem, instead, is severe underemployment, the Aayog said in the Action Agenda.

    The Aayog recommended the creation of a handful of Coastal Employment Zones, which may attract multinational firms in labour-intensive sectors from China to India. Making a case for reforming labour laws, the Aayog noted that recently fixed-term employment has been introduced in the textiles and apparel industry.

  • Niti Aayog favours simultaneous LS, assembly polls from 2024
    The Niti Aayog has favoured conducting synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and assembly elections from 2024 in "national interest".

    All elections in India should happen in a free, fair and synchronised manner to ensure minimum "campaign mode" disruption to governance, the government think tank said in its report released recently.

    To implement this in the national interest, a focused group of stakeholders comprising constitutional and subject matter experts, think tanks, government officials and representatives of various political parties should be formed to work out appropriate implementation related details, the report said.

    This may include drafting appropriate Constitution and statutory amendments, agreeing on a workable framework to facilitate transition to simultaneous elections, developing a stakeholder communication plan and various operational details

    It has made the Election Commission the nodal agency to look into the suggestion and set a "timeline" of March 2018 for this purpose.

    The recommendation of the Aayog assumes significance as former President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have pitched for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

    Mukherjee in his speech on the eve of this year's Republic Day had favoured holding Lok Sabha and assembly elections together.

    The time is also ripe for a constructive debate on electoral reforms and a return to the practice of the early decades after Independence when elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were held simultaneously.

    Elections are held all the time and continuous polls lead to a lot of expenditure, he had said replying to the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the former president's address.Modi had said that more than Rs 1,100 crore was spent on the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the expenditure had shot up to Rs 4,000 crore in 2014.

    Over a crore government employees, including a large number of teachers, are involved in the electoral process. Thus, the continuous exercise causes maximum harm to the education sector, he had said.

    Security forces also have to be diverted for the electoral work even as the country's enemy keeps plotting against the nation and terrorism remains a strong threat, Modi had said.

  • Govt notifies changes in Banking Regulation Act
    The government has notified the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act under which it can authorise the RBI to issue directions to banks to initiate insolvency resolution process to recover bad loans. The banking sector is saddled with non-performing assets (NPAs) of over Rs 8 lakh crore, of which Rs 6 lakh crore is with public sector banks (PSBs).

    Earlier this month, Parliament had approved the Act, which replaced an ordinance in this regard. The government in May had promulgated an ordinance authorising the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue directions to banks to initiate insolvency resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

    Following the ordinance, the RBI had identified 12 accounts each having more than Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans and accounting for 25 per cent of total NPAs of banks for immediate referral for resolution under the bankruptcy law.

    The loan defaulters identified by the RBI include, Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel, ABG Shipyard, Electrosteel and Alok Industries.

    Under the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2017, the RBI can issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets.

    The RBI can specify authorities or committees to advise banks on resolution of stressed assets. The members on the committees will be appointed or approved by the RBI.

  • Govt imposes anti-dumping duty on tempered glass from China for 5 years
    The Centre has imposed anti-dumping duty on tempered glass, used for protecting mobile phone screens, from China for five years to protect the domestic industry from below-cost imports. The revenue department has issued a notification imposing anti-dumping duty in the range of $52.85-136.21 per tonne on tempered glass imports from China.

    The duty has been imposed on 'textured toughened (Tempered) Glass with a minimum of 90.5 per cent transmission having thickness not exceeding 4.2 mm (including tolerance of 0.2 mm) and where at least one dimension exceeds 1500 mm, whether coated or uncoated. India imposes anti-dumping duty to protect domestic industry from an increase in cheap price imports. India's imports from China marginally dipped to $61.28 billion in 2016-17 as against $61.7 in the previous fiscal.

  • NITI Aayog to launch Mentor India Campaign
    NITI Aayog will launch the Mentor India Campaign, a strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students at Atal Tinkering Labs. More than 900 such labs have been established across the country as a part of the Atal Innovation Mission and by the end of the year 2000 such labs will be in place.

    An official release said, CEO NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant will unveil the online nationwide initiative in the national capital on 23rd August. Atal Tinkering Labs are non-prescriptive by nature, and mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors.

    NITI Aayog is looking for leaders who can spend anywhere between one to two hours every week in one or more such labs to enable students experience, learn and practice future skills such as design and computational thinking.

    Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students from Class 6th to Class 12th learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission is among one of the flagship programs of the Government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country to set up the Atal Tinkering Labs across the country.

  • Canada opens doors to Indian banana, mango, pomegranate
    Canada has opened its markets to Indian fruits and vegetables such as banana, mango, pomegranate, custard apple and okra (bhendi).

    The Agricultural and Processed Foods Exports Development Authority (APEDA), in an advisory to exporters here, conveyed Canada’s decision on opening its doors to Indian vegetables and fruits, asking them to tap the North American market.

    The shipments will be subject to general phyto-sanitary import requirement and inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

    The decision could help revive India’s sagging agri and processed food exports to Canada, which came down to Rs. 838 crore in 2016-17 from around Rs. 1,046 crore in 2014-15. Fresh vegetable exports to Canada account for Rs. 36 crore, while fresh fruit shipments, including grapes, stood at Rs. 13.7 crore in 2016-17.

  • Cabinet approves framework of consolidation of public sectors banks
    Cabinet has also approved framework of consolidation of public sectors banks. The decision is aimed at creating strong and competitive banks in public sector to meet the credit needs of a growing economy, absorb shocks and have capacity to raise resources without depending unduly on the State exchequer.

    The decision about creating strong and competitive banks could be solely based on commercial consideration. According to the Finance Minister Aruin Jaitley, the final scheme will be notified by the Central government in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India.

  • Govt notifies new Rs 200 notes
    The government on 23rd August gave its go ahead to the RBI to issue 200 rupee notes that will ease pressure on lower-denomination currency bills. Finance Ministry, in a notification, said that on the recommendations of the Central Board of Directors of the RBI, government has notified bank notes of 200 rupees.

    The new 200 rupee notes are likely to be in circulation shortly. This is the fourth new note to be announced since November when 1000 and 500 rupee notes were demonetised. The introduction of the new notes is expected to ease the problems faced by people due to high-value 2,000 rupee notes.

  • Telangana government to conduct land survey
    Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on 23rd August charted a course of action for the successful conduct of the comprehensive land survey across the State, beginning September 15.

    The survey will be conducted over a period of three-and-half months and would be completed by December 31.

    The extensive survey is required to find a permanent solution to land disputes, simplify registration process, transparency in land records maintenance and successful implementation of the agriculture capital scheme

    The modalities for the survey were finalised based on the recommendations of the Raghunandan Rao Committee appointed by the government to look into the issue. Finalising the schedule for the land survey and formation of farmers’ societies

    Village level farmers’ societies comprising all farmers will be constituted from September 1 to 9, and simultaneously, farmers’ coordination committees comprising 11 members would also be formed.

    Science and Technology:
  • ISRO, NASA to put sensors in the sky to keep an eye on Earth
    Current Affairs ISRO and the US space agency NASA, are joining hands to develop advance space-based sensors that can help sharpen earth observation applications, according to Tapan Misra, Director of the Ahmedabad-based, Space Application Centre (SAC).

    The joint venture, called NISAR, will focus on making sensors in the L&S-band.

    They can help in observations such as deformations on land surface, details of coastline and depths of ocean to aid in disaster response, he said, while delivering a lecture organised by the Aeronautical Society of India (ASI) and Sensors Research Society of India here.

    The SAC will take the lead in developing C-band radar imaging as well as in making microwave and optical sensors which have a big role in the future. ISRO is gearing itself to meet the growing demands for observational studies with multiple applications.

    Air-borne sensors
    At present, there are 13 operational Earth Observation (EO) satellites. SAC has built specific air-borne electro-optical sensors to meet the exclusive requirements of high resolution and hyper-spectral imaging from aerial platform as well

    In his address at the technical meet, G Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, said there is lot of excitement in sensor technology. The world is moving towards wearable and miniaturised wireless sensors. In India too, there is need for focussed work on design and development of futuristic sensors with applications in the aerospace and defence sectors.

    Futuristic defence and Aerospace systems and sub-systems will need cutting-edge sensor technologies and need to meet the huge requirements, and should should produce the same in numbers to export them in a big way, Reddy who is also the Chairman of the ASI, said.

  • UK Scientists Create World's Smallest Surgical Robot
    British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform daily operations for tens of thousands of patients. A team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industry. The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures. The robot is set to be launched next year.

  • India’s first calf born to surrogate cow in Pune
    India’s first calf delivered by a surrogate or recipient cow through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) technology carried out in a mobile laboratory in Pune. This is for first time IVF procedure was successfully implemented at the farm level with the help of mobile laboratory. The purpose of producing surrogate calf was to protect indigenous cow breeds in its original form which have been destroyed due to cross-breeding.

    Environment
  • Climate Change could shrink fish size by 30 per cent
    Current Affairs Fish are expected to shrink in size by 20 to 30 per cent if ocean temperatures continue to climb due to climate change, a study has warned. The study by researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada provides a deeper explanation of why fish are expected to decline in size.

    According to Daniel Pauly, the study's lead author, as fish grow into adulthood their demand for oxygen increases because their body mass becomes larger. However, the surface area of the gills - where oxygen is obtained - does not grow at the same pace as the rest of the body. For example, as a fish like cod increases its weight by 100 per cent, its gills only grow by 80 per cent or less.

    When understood in the context of climate change, this biological rule reinforces the prediction that fish will shrink and will be even smaller than thought in previous studies.

    Warmer waters increase fish's need for oxygen but climate change will result in less oxygen in the oceans. This means that gills have less oxygen to supply to a body that already grows faster than them.

    The researchers said this forces fish to stop growing at a smaller size to be able to fulfill their needs with the little oxygen available to them. Some species may be more affected by this combination of factors. Tuna, which are fast moving and require more energy and oxygen, may shrink even more when temperatures increase.

    Smaller fish will have an impact on fisheries production as well as the interaction between organisms in the ecosystems.

  • Jammu and Kashmir Government to build Eco Park at Rajouri
    The Jammu and Kashmir Government decided to build an Eco-Park on over 34 acres of land reclaimed from encroachers in the state's Rajouri district. The park is a first-of-its-kind project in the region. It will have a botanical garden, a cactus garden, a cafeteria and other amenities. Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed is the present CM of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Cyborg bacteria can harvest solar energy to produce fuel
    Scientists have created cyborg bacteria – microbes covered with tiny, highly efficient solar panels – that are better than plants at harvesting the Sun’s energy to produce fuel from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis provides energy for the vast majority of life on Earth. However, chlorophyll, the green pigment that plants use to harvest sunlight, is relatively inefficient.

    To enable humans to capture more of the Sun’s energy than natural photosynthesis can, scientists have taught bacteria to cover themselves in tiny, highly efficient solar panels to produce useful compounds. “Rather than rely on inefficient chlorophyll to harvest sunlight, I have taught bacteria how to grow and cover their bodies with tiny semiconductor nano crystals,” said Kelsey K Sakimoto, from University of California, Berkeley in the US.

    “These nano crystals are much more efficient than chlorophyll and can be grown at a fraction of the cost of manufactured solar panels,” said Sakimoto. Humans increasingly are looking to find alternatives to fossil fuels as sources of energy and feedstocks for chemical production.

    Many scientists have worked to create artificial photosynthetic systems to generate renewable energy and simple organic chemicals using sunlight. Progress has been made, but the systems are not efficient enough for commercial production of fuels and feedstocks.

  • New frog species with pig face discovered in Western Ghats
    Indian scientists discovered Nasikabatrachus Bhupathi, a new species of frog that has a snout-shaped nose, just like a pig in West Ghats. Nasikabatrachus Bhupathi species show comparisons with the Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus Sahyadrensis) which was discovered in 2003 in Seychelles. It is soiled-dwelling species of purple frog. It inhabits the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats.

  • Eco Park at Jammu and Kashmir
    The Jammu and Kashmir Government decided to build an Eco-Park on over 34 acres of land reclaimed from encroachers in the state's Rajouri district. The park is a first-of-its-kind project in the region. It will have a botanical garden, a cactus garden, a cafeteria and other amenities. Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed is the present CM of Jammu and Kashmir.

    Sports:
  • Sania settles for bronze at World Badminton Championships
    Current Affairs At the World Badminton championships, Saina Nehwal has settled for a bronze medal. In the first women's singles semi-final at Glasgow on 26th August, she lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in three games. Okuhara is the first shuttler from Japan to reach the finals of World Championship. Saina had won a silver medal two years ago in the World championship at Jakarta.

  • Ronaldo First to be named Men's Player of the Year for Three Times
    Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Men's Player of the Year award for the 2016/17 season. Ronaldo received 482 points in the poll, with Messi (141 votes) and Buffon (109 votes) finishing second and third respectively.

  • P V Sindhu bags silver at world championship
    P V Sindhu's gallant effort to become India's first ever World Champion ended in a heart- wrenching defeat against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in an epic final on 27th August.

    In the longest match of the tournament, which tested the physical and mental strength of both the players, Sindhu lost 19-21 22-20 20-22 after battling hard for one hour and 49 minutes.

    After closing the second game by winning an incredible 73-shot rally, Sindhu saved one championship point in the decider but it was the Rio Olympic bronze medallist who had the last laugh.

  • India wins Series against Srilanka
    An all-round performance helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the 3rd ODI in Pallekele on 27th August. As India sealed the 5-match ODI series 3-0, they also registered their seven consecutive bilateral series win against Sri Lanka.

  • Sania settles for bronze at World Badminton Championships
    At the World Badminton championships, Saina Nehwal has settled for a bronze medal. In the first women's singles semi-final at Glasgow on 26th August, she lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in three games. Okuhara is the first shuttler from Japan to reach the finals of World Championship. Saina had won a silver medal two years ago in the World championship at Jakarta.

  • Ronaldo First to be named Men's Player of the Year for three times
    Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Men's Player of the Year award for the 2016/17 season. Ronaldo received 482 points in the poll, with Messi (141 votes) and Buffon (109 votes) finishing second and third respectively.

    Awards:
  • Devendra, Sardar Singh selected for Khel Ratna award
    Current Affairs Para Athlete Devendra and Hockey player Sardar Singh have been selected for this year's Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

    Cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara, Women Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur and shooter P. N. Prakash are among the 17 sportsmen who will be given Arjuna Awards for their outstanding performance.

    Seven persons have been chosen for Dronacharya Awards for producing medal winners at prestigious International sports events.

    They include late Dr. R. Gandhi in Athletics, Brij Bhushan Mohanty in Boxing and P.A. Raphel in the field of hockey. Dhyan Chand Award will be given to Bhupender Singh in Athletics, Syed Shahid Hakim in Football and Sumarai Tete in Hockey for their life time contribution to sports development. The awardees will receive their awards from the President Ram Nath Kovind in a special function at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 29th of this month.

    Persons in news:
  • Panneer Selvam: In a significant development in Tamil Nadu politics, the warring factions of the AIADMK led by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy and his predecessor O Panneerselvam were merged together on 21st August. Panneer Selvam has been administered by Governor Vidyasagar Rao as the Deputy Chief Minister of state.

  • Current Affairs PVRK Prasad: Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s media advisor PVRK Prasad passed away on 21st August. The book authored by him was s book Wheels Behind the Veil (CMs, PMs and Beyond) in 2012. Prasad made a mark as the Executive Officer of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD) and Chairman of the Vizag Port Trust.

    He brought in several reforms and initiated projects as EO of the TTD during 1978-82 and also as advisor to the body that administers the super rich Devasthanam after his retirement. Influenced by the stint there, he authored several devotional books, including Tirumala Charitamurthan and Tirumala Leelamrutham.

  • Ashwani Lohani: Ashwani Lohani will be the new Chairman of Railway Board, the appointment of Mr Lohani, an officer of the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, IRSME, was cleared by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on 23rd August. He is presently serving as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India. He has previously served as DRM, Delhi Division, Director of National Rail Museum and Chief Administrative Officer of Rail Alternate Fuel. Incumbent Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal resigned owning moral responsibility for Muzzafarnagar train accident which had claimed over 20 lives.

  • Nandan Nilekani: Nandan Nilekani has returned to rescue Infosys, a company he and six others founded in 1981. Nilekani, the architect of the unique identity number, Aadhaar, took over as the non-executive chairman of Infosys. Following this development, Vishal Sikka, R Seshasayee, Jeff Lehman and John Etchemendy stepped down from the Board.

    Ravi Venkatesan, the co-chairman who has also stepped down from his position, will continue to be on the Board for some more time, according to a company statement. UB Pravin Rao will continue to be interim CEO and Managing Director, the company said.
Tags:
Current Affairs 2017 August Current Affairs Current Affairs August 21st - 27th 2017
Published on 8/29/2017 12:23:00 PM

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