Current Affairs Update 25th and 26th July 2017
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Walmart India appoints Devendra Chawla as chief operating officer (COO)
- Walmart India has roped in Devendra Chawla from Future Group as chief operating officer, as part of its larger strategy to strengthen its buying clout of consumer products, especially foods.
- Chawla, an Harvard alumnus, has worked with Asian PaintsBSE -0.35 % and Coca-Cola before joining Future Group in early 2009 to develop nearly three dozen in-house brands and was earlier head of Food Bazaar.
Ram Nath Kovind Takes Oath As 14th President of India: Important Highlights -
- President-elect Ram Nath Kovind became the 14th President today at a ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament.
- President Kovind was administered oath by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar.
- Mr Kovind's swearing-in ceremony was attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, union ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers, Ambassadors and other diplomats, MPs and senior civil and military officers.
- President-elect Ram Nath Kovind began the day with a visit to Rajghat to pay his respect to Mahatma Gandhi before heading to Rashtrapati Bhavan where he was received by President Pranab Mukherjee. Last week, Ram Nath Kovind, who was the former Governor of Bihar won the 2017 presidential election against opposition candidate Meira Kumar, the former Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Mr Kovind got 65.65 per cent of the total votes which totalled 702,044 electoral college votes. Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th President of India.
India ranks 132 in commitment to narrow income inequality
- India has been ranked 132nd among 152 nations in a new index tracking commitment to reducing income inequality, Sweden led the index while Nigeria remained the worst performer
- India has been ranked 132nd among 152 nations in a new index tracking commitment to reducing income inequality. Sweden led the index while Nigeria remained the worst performer.
- The index prepared by Development Finance International, Inc. and Oxfam ranks nations on the basis of their welfare spending, the progressive nature of their tax system and prevailing wage inequality in the labour market.
- Welfare spending is measured by expenditure on health, education and social protection. In a progressive tax system, the tax burden on corporations and individuals goes up progressively as per income levels, with the idea of taxing assessees based on their ability to pay.
- The report highlights India’s less-than adequate spending on welfare measures on account of its low tax to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio compared to that of some other nations as well as the disparity between wages of men and women for the same work. India collects just 16.7% of GDP as taxes, while South Africa manages to collect over 27%, pointed out the report.
Doordarshan plans to replace its logo after 58 years
- State-owned broadcaster Doordarshan is planning to change its iconic logo and has issued an invitation asking for entries from the public for logo designs. Doordarshan will take new logo design entries till August 13, 2017 and the winner will be awarded a cash prize of ₹1 lakh. It has been sporting the current logo since 1959.
Madras HC makes Vande Mataram mandatory in schools, govt and private offices
- If any person/organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the song, they shall not be compelled or forced to sing it, provided there are valid reasons for not doing so, the judge ruled
- "If people feel it difficult to sing the song in Bengali or in Sanskrit, steps can be taken to translate the song in Tamil," the judge said.
Rajya Sabha passes Maritime Admiralty Bill
- Parliament today gave its nod to a bill that seeks to upgrade the law related to maritime claims, arrest and detention of ships and extends jurisdiction of trial to various courts across the country.
- The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims), 2017 seeks to repeal laws such as the Admiralty Court Act, 1861, the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890.
- The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote. It had been passed by the Lok Sabha in March.
Jaitley introduces Bill to replace NPA ordinance in Lok Sabha
- Finance minister Arun Jaitley introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which empowers the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to resolve stressed assets clogging the banking system.
- This bill seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, which was promulgated on 4 May.
- It gives powers to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ask any bank to initiate insolvency proceedings and give directions for resolution of stressed assets.
- “Stressed assets in the banking system have reached unacceptably high levels and hence, urgent measures are required for their speedy resolution...Therefore, it was considered necessary to make provisions in the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 for authorizing the Reserve Bank of India to issue directions to any banking company or banking companies to effectively use the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 for timely resolution of stressed assets,” Jaitley said in a statement of intent, which is a part of the bill.
- RBI’s internal advisory committee has already identified 12 large stressed cases, accounting for a quarter of India’s total gross non-performing assets, for proceedings under the insolvency and bankruptcy code.
315th Sainik Rest House opened in Delhi
- Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday inaugurated the 315th Sainik Rest House of the Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) here aimed to provide facilities for former servicemen.
- The minister expressed hope that the rest house, built at Naraina tri-junction near Delhi Cantonment area in west Delhi at a cost of around Rs 8 crore, would be the beginning of an initiative.
- "The KSB will be able to expand on these in the years to come so that such facilities become an integral part of facilities for ex-servicemen," Jaitley said.
- He praised the armed forces for upkeep of the facilities. "The facilities which have been created are extremely hygienic and very liveable."
- "The armed forces have a tradition of maintaining their properties and preserving them well. And I am sure that the kind of modest charges which have been fixed, will be of a great assistance and value to all ex-servicemen."
Meghalaya CM launches ‘Mission Football’ in Shillong
- Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma launched ‘Mission Football’ at a grand ceremony at JN Sports Complex, Shillong on Saturday. During the occasion, Dr Mukul Sangma said that through this mission the future of Meghalaya can be foreseen when the State will be connected with the rest of the world because of the love and passion for the game.
- He said that the game brings everyone together and the Government is focused on creating a dedicated environment to enable our potential footballers to get the right kind of nurturing and hand holding to ensure that Meghalaya ultimately becomes the power house of football.
- Mission Football is an initiative to help develop skills of football enthusiasts and develop young footballers for the country. It is a dedicated programme for talent identification and nurturing of talents to develop national and international players, Dr Mukul Sangma said.
IMF lowers 2017 growth forecasts for US and UK
- The International Monetary Fund lowered its 2017 growth forecast for the US to 2.1% from 2.3% in a quarterly update to its World Economic Outlook, attributing the cut to the Trump administration not introducing policy reforms it had promised. The IMF also trimmed its UK forecast and identified Japan, China, Canada and the eurozone as emerging leaders of global economic growth.
World's first floating wind farm emerges off coast of Scotland
- The world's first full-scale floating wind farm has started to take shape off the north-east coast of Scotland.
- The revolutionary technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines.
- The Peterhead wind farm, known as Hywind, is a trial which will bring power to 20,000 homes.
- Manufacturer Statoil says output from the turbines is expected to equal or surpass generation from current ones.
- It hopes to cash in on a boom in the technology, especially in Japan and the west coast of the US, where waters are deep.
- "This is a tech development project to ensure it's working in open sea conditions. It's a game-changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down," said Leif Delp, project director for Hywind.
Defence & Railway
Reliance Defence launches first two naval patrol vessels
- Reliance Infrastructure subsidiary Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) on Tuesday announced the launch of its first two Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) at their shipyard in Pipavav, Gujarat.
- The two NOPVs -- 'Shachi' and 'Shruti' -- are among five ships being constructed by RDEL under the P-21 project of the Indian Navy, the company said in a statement here.
- Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited is the first private shipyard in India to obtain defence production licence and sign a contract for defence ships in 2011. The company is also engaged in construction of one training ship and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) for the Indian Coast Guard, the statement said.
Sweden to hold 'biggest military exercise in decades' with Nato amid fears over Russia
- The Swedish military has announced plans to conduct its largest joint military drill with Nato in 20 years over fears about the growing encroachment of Russia.
- The first exercise, called Aurora 17, is scheduled for September and designed to strengthen the country’s defences and create a “credible and visible” deterrent to make its neighbours “carefully consider the risks of attacking” it, the Swedish Armed Forces said in a statement.
- It said: “The overarching mission of the Swedish Armed Forces is to defend the country's interests, our freedom and the right to live the way of our choice.”
Application / Portal
Mobile App for Road Maintenance "Aarambh" launched
- The visiting ILO Deputy Director General(Policy) International Labour Organization Ms. Deborah Greenfield, who is on an official visit to India called on Hon’ble Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Drinking Water & Sanitation on 24th July 2017.
- She highly appreciated the ongoing Flagship Programmes of MORD such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDUGKY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY-Grameen) and thanked Government of India for launching these initiatives which not only address the basic subsistence needs of the rural poor but also effectively contribute to employment creation, poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.
- Concept Note and Guidance Note “Mobilizing Funds for Maintenance of Rural Road”.
- Resource mobilization for rural roads maintenance has always been a challenge for the States. This Concept Note outlines innovative ways which can be adopted by the state Governments for mobilizing additional funds for road maintenance and presents some international best practices worldwide.
- “Mobile Phone based App for Performance Based Maintenance Contracting and Community Contracting for maintenance of rural roads” Brochure
- This Mobile Phone App aims at use of GIS based mapping for making road inventories, condition surveys, and producing cost estimates and other relevant data for preparation and monitoring of annual road maintenance plans. Its usage would greatly enhance the service delivery of the state level institutions in planning and implementing performance based rural roads maintenance contracts.
Govt launches ‘SHe-box’ portal for sexual harassment complaints
- ‘SHe-box’ (sexual harassment electronic box) — hosted on the website of the Women and Child Development Ministry, also seeks to ensure “effective implementation” of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
- The Women and Child Development ministry on Monday launched an online platform to enable women employees of the Central government to file complaints related to sexual harassment at the workplace.
- Union minister Maneka Gandhi said the platform will cater to Central government employees in the beginning and thereafter, its ambit will be widened to include the private sector as well.
- “We are also going to soon conduct a national survey to assess the nature and magnitude of sexual harassment at the workplace,” the minister of woman and child development said after launching the portal at her office here.
Schemes / Programme
UP government launches free power connection scheme for BPL families
- Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Srikant Sharma today launched free power connection scheme for the BPL card holders in the state.
- "The scheme of providing free power connection to the BPL card holders has been launched at 624 places across the state," he said.
- Sharma said the scheme would also benefit the poor people who do not have BPL cards at present.
- "Such people would have to pay between Rs 80 to Rs 120 for getting the power connection," he said.
- "The scheme would also provide relief to the middle class people as the instalment payment facility would be admissible for them," the minister said.
- Sharma said while the Centre had launched the free gas connection scheme for the poor, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is giving free power connection to the same class of people.
Airport Authority of India signs MoU with Govt. of Uttarakhand for development for aviation sector in the State
- Going ahead with its commitment towards the responsibility of creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in the country, Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed an MoU with Government of Uttarakhand last week and joined hands with Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) to develop the civil aviation sector in the state.
- The scope of the MoU is to identify relevant factors influencing the development of civil aviation infrastructure in Uttarakhand, assessing commercial potential of various airports of the state, identifying technical considerations for airport operations in the state, evaluating site related technical and engineering parameters for development of projects, making estimate of the capital outlay for the future projects and development of master plan for existing and future civil aviation infrastructure in the state. AAI will also assist UCADA in obtaining necessary clearances for airport operations starting with the upgraded airport at Pithoragarh and later at Chiniyalisaur.
Iran and Iraq sign accord to boost military cooperation
- Iran and Iraq signed an agreement on Sunday to step up military cooperation and the fight against "terrorism and extremism", Iranian media reported, an accord which is likely to raise concerns in Washington.
- Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan and his Iraqi counterpart Erfan al-Hiyali signed a memorandum of understanding which also covered border security, logistics and training, the official news agency IRNA reported.
- "Extending cooperation and exchanging experiences in fighting terrorism and extremism, border security, and educational, logistical, technical and military support are among the provisions of this memorandum," IRNA reported after the signing of the accord in Tehran.
- Iran-Iraq ties have improved since Iran's long-time enemy Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003 and an Iraqi government led by Shi'ite Muslims came to power. Iran is mostly a Shi'ite nation.
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
India to host men’s World Boxing Championship in 2021
- In a historic first for Indian boxing, the country will host the men’s World Championship for the first time in 2021 besides women’s World Championship in 2018, shaking off the last remnants of administrative turmoil that once plagued the sport.
- The International Boxing Association (AIBA) made the announcement at the end of its two-day executive committee meeting in Moscow. “We are delighted to have the AIBA Men’s World Championships 2019 confirmed for Sochi, and equally excited to announce New Delhi as host city in 2021 as the Boxing Federation of India continues to show its commitment to developing the sport,” AIBA president Dr Ching Kuo Wu said in a statement.
- “Following the presentation of the Turkish Boxing Federation, I know that Trabzon will also meet the demands of hosting the world’s biggest women’s boxing tournament in 2019,” he added.
- India has never conducted the men’s World Championship but has played host to the 2006 women’s mega-event.
- The major men’s boxing events hosted by India have been the 1990 World Cup in Mumbai and the 2010 Commonwealth Championships in New Delhi.
Amitabh Bachchan’s UNICEF ambassadorship for two years
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s ambassadorship for UNICEF has been extended for another two years.
- Bachchan, who had served as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Polio in India, took to Twitter to share the news. “My ambassadorship for Unicef extended for another two years after success of polio drive, now working for MR inoculation for kids (sic),” he wrote.
Sports/Awards & Honours
India lose Women’s World Cup 2017 final to England by 9 runs
- In a heartbreaking end to a fantastic run, India on Sunday lost the Women’s World Cup final to England by nine runs at Lord’s in London.
- It was an anti-climactic result for India since they were well on course for a memorable triumph, sitting pretty at 191/3 in 42.5 before a batting collapse saw them bowled out for 219 in 48.4 overs.
- Needing just 38 runs off 43 balls, India lost seven wickets for 28 runs in 6.5 overs. Opener Punam Raut (86) and Harmanpreet Kaur’s (51) steady half centuries set the platform but once they departed, England Anya Shrubsole (6/46) ripped through the lower middle-order to set up England’s fourth title win.
- Veda Krishnamurthy (35 off 34 balls), Sushma Verma’s (0) and Jhulan Goswami (0) were dismissed in space of nine balls. Krishnamurthy had raised hopes with a cameo but her sloppy shot selection off Shrubsole in the 45th over changed the script as it exposed the tail-enders to a pressure situation which they could not cope with.
Mithali Raj named captain of ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 team of the tournament
- She might have finished on the losing end as captain of India for a second time but Mithali Raj was still named as skipper of the Team of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 on Monday. Other Indian players to make the list are Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma. This is the second time that Mithali has been named in the Team of the tournament at a World Cup (last was in 2009). The team was selected by Geoff Allardice, Ian Bishop, Charlotte Edwards, Snehal Pradhan and Lisa Sthalekar.
- Mithali, 34, from Hyderabad possibly playing her final World Cup and came within ten runs of tasting glory at Lord’s on Sunday against England but a dramatic and heartbreaking collapse tarnished those hopes. She scored 409 runs in the tournament including an inspiring 109 run knock against New Zealand in a virtual quarterfinal to steer India to victory by a whopping 186 run margin. She added 36 runs in the semifinal against Australia which was dominated by Harmanpreet’s unbeaten 171 run knock. She didn’t get going in the final before perishing at just 17 runs while being run out at the striker’s end.
Boxer Sachin Siwach wins gold at Commonwealth Youth Games
- World Youth Champion Sachin Siwach on Sunday clinched a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games after defeating Welsh boxer James Nathan Prober 4-1 in the final.
- Siwach, who won gold last year, was the only one of the 103 boxers to have clinched a gold so far in the tournament, taking place in Bahamas. He had stormed into the finals after defeating SA Kuse 5-0. The World Youth Champion was also the flag bearer of India for the tournament.
- Earlier this month, the boxer had claimed a silver medal at the Asian Youth Boxing Championship after losing 5-0 to Uzbekistan’s Samandar Kholmurodov in the final in Bangkok.
HS Prannoy trumps Parupalli Kashyap to win US Open Grand Prix Gold
- Prannoy beat Kashyap 21-15, 20-22, 21-12 in the All-India final, This was Kashyap's first final in 21 months, With this, Prannoy clinched his third Grand Prix Gold title
- Indian shuttler HS Prannoy clinched his third grand prix gold title by defeating country-mate Parupalli Kashyap in the final of the US Open Grand Prix Gold on Monday. Prannoy beat Kashyap 21-15, 20-22, 21-12 in the All-India final.
- Kashyap raced to an early 6-1 advantage in the first game before Prannoy, eyeing a comeback, sent across cross-court smashes. Banking on aggression, he levelled things up at 12-12. Prannoy and Kashyap then played an enthralling rally as Prannoy, coming from behind, sealed the first game 21-15.
- The second game however, saw Kashyap in red-hot flow. Nothing separating the two initially, Kashyap and Prannoy indulged in engulfing rallies that saw Kashyap draw a slender lead of 9-7. After the break however, Kashyap extended his stretch to 14-10 and seemed on course to taking the game. But just then, Prannoy notched a spirited comeback and made things even at 18-18.
Konsam Ormila Devi wins gold in Asian Youth & Junior Weightlifting
- Indian weightlifter Konsam Ormila Devi has bagged a gold medal at the Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- The weightlifter from Manipur lifted 56kg in snatch and 70kg in clean & jerk for a total effort of 126kg in the 44kg weight category to finish on the top of the podium, according to a release from the Indian Weightlifting Federation.
Udupi Ramachandra Rao passes away: Former ISRO chairman and man behind India's first satellite Aryabhata was 85
- Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman and renowned scientist Udupi Ramachandra Rao passed away at his residence in Bengaluru early on Monday. Rao, who was hospitalised earlier in 2017 with a heart ailment, breathed his last at about 2.30am, The Times of India reported. He was 85 years old. He had launched India's first satellite Aryabhata in 1975.
Renowned academic Professor Yash Pal dies at 90
- Yash Pal attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his PhD
- He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2013
- In 2009, he received the Kalinga Prize, awarded by UNESCO for the popularisation of science
- Globally renowned physicist, academic and higher education reformer Professor Yash Pal passed away in Noida on Tuesday. He was 90.
- Yash Pal was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2013.
- The highly-regarded academic began his career at Mumbai's Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He was a member of the 'cosmic rays group'. He then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his PhD, after which he returned to the Tata Institute, where he remained until 1983.
Government launches quality mark logo for milk, milk products
- Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Thursday launched National Dairy Development Board's (NDDB) quality logo, which will signify safe and quality milk and milk products from dairy cooperatives.
- "This reinforces the consumers' recognition that the quality mark is synonymous with good quality," a release quoted him as saying.
- "NDDB's quality mark will provide dairy cooperatives and producer institutions the much-needed brand identity and a competitive edge. This will also contribute to building consumer confidence in dairy cooperative brands," the minister said.
- He further said that the initiative was aimed at bringing about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumers to ensure availability of quality milk and milk products.
Drinking water at Re 1, IRCTC to install 100 vending machines in stations
- The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plans to install 1,100 water vending machines at 450 stations in 2017-2018 as part of its efforts to ensure clean drinking water at low cost in rail premises across the country.
- A glass of 300 ml water dispensed through these machines will cost just Re 1.
- The railway ministry in a series of tweets said on Sunday these water vending machines (WVMs) will provide clean drinking water at low cost, and that the initiative will help in generating employment for around 2,000 people.
- At present, there are 1,106 WVMs at 345 stations in the country, the ministry said.
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