Current Affairs Updates - 15 and 16 October 2017
Do You Know?
Bengaluru has recorded highest rainfall in 115 years
- Bengaluru in 2017 witnessed the highest rainfall in the recorded history of 115 years. The annual rainfall in the city was 1615.2 mm as of Saturday, breaking the earlier record of 1606.8 mm in 2005. IMD officials said that the annual rainfall could be much higher.
International Day of Rural Women: 15 October
- The crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing, has been increasingly recognized. Women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, including informal work, and perform the bulk of unpaid care and domestic work within families and households in rural areas. They make significant contributions to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.
New Appointments: National
Rukaiya Rangwala appointed as the business head of Mobikwiks' payments gateway Zaakpay
- Digital wallet major MobiKwik has appointed former Jabong vice-president Rukaiya Rangwala as the business head of its payments gateway. Rangwala, a technology and e-commerce industry veteran with over 15 years of experience, has worked across the US, Singapore, Japan and India. MobiKwik had re-launched Zaakpay as MobiKwik Payment Gateway.
New Appointments: International
The newly elected Director-General of UNESCO is Audrey Azoulay
- Former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay was on Friday elected as the new Director-General of UNESCO. Adding that she would modernise the organisation, Azoulay said, "In this time of crisis we need more than ever to support, strengthen and reform UNESCO and not leave it," referring to the US and Israel's exit from the UN body.
Country’s next envoy to China: Gautam Bambawale
- Gautam Bambawale, India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, was appointed as the country’s next envoy to China.
- This was announced by the External Affairs Ministry.
- He will replace Vijay Gokhale.
GDP to grow 7% in FY18 : Niti Aayog
- Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar has said the economic slowdown that began in 2013-14 has bottomed out and the GDP is likely to grow 6.9-7% this fiscal. He said the downward cycle started in 2013-14, mainly because of the surge in lending to undeserving projects since 2007. In the next fiscal, growth would be about 7.5%, Kumar added
IndusInd Bank merges with Bharat Financial
- IndusInd Bank acquired microfinance firm Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFIL), a move that will help it "deepen the reach and widen the delivery mechanism of banking service". IndusInd will exchange 639 of its shares for every 1,000 shares in Bharat Financial.
HDFC Bank unveils SmartUp Zones 65 branches in 30 cities for start-ups
- Private sector lender HDFC Bank has launched SmartUp Zones in all its branches across India. According to the bank, the newly launched zone would be exclusively dedicated to the start-ups.
- In the first phase, the bank is going to launch the SmartUp Zones in’ 65 branches in 30 cities across India, including tier two and three cities that are emerging as the start-up hubs.
- The bank will train special staffs to offer custom-made banking and advisory solutions to the entrepreneurs.
The 1st nation to accept Bitcoins for citizenship- Vanuatu
- Vanuatu, a South Pacific archipelago, has become the first nation to accept Bitcoins as payment for its 'investment citizenship' program. A family of up to four can receive Vanuatu passports by paying the Bitcoin equivalent of 280,000 dollar (1.8 crore). Vanuatu citizenship allows individuals to reside on the island, and travel to over 100 countries without a visa.
The first in India to call attention and adjournment motions online-Rajasthan Assembly
- The Rajasthan assembly has become the first in India to call attention and adjournment motions and proposals online from legislators to send them to the state government. The new system was inaugurated by Rajasthan Assembly Speaker Kailash Meghwal.
The first female referee to officiate a match at the FIFA U17 World Cup - Esther Staubli
- FIFA’s objective to further develop women’s football has been achieved as Esther Staubli became first female referee to officiate a match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. Esther, who hails from Bern, Switzerland officiated the match between Japan and New Caledonia at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. As for the U-17 World Cup, Staubli is one of seven female referees invited to the tournament. Seven Women referee selected by FIFA for the U-17 World Cup are: Esther Staubli, Kateryna Monzul, Anna-marie Keighley, Claudia Umpierrez, Carol Anne Chenard, Gladys Lengwe, RI Hyang Ok.
The first Indian Oil Marketing Company to launch lubricants in Myanmar: HPCL
- HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd) has become the first Oil Marketing Company (OMC) from India to mark its presence in the lubricant market in Myanmar. HPCL has chosen commercial hubs of Yangon and Mandalay.
The first woman to head Saudi multi-sports federation for men and women. - Rima bint Bandar bin
- A princess has been named to head a Saudi multi-sports federation, in a first for women in the conservative Muslim kingdom where men dominate all sports, an official said on Saturday.
- The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that Princess Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan has become “the first woman to lead a federation” covering sporting activities for men and women.
Tamil Nadu govt to set up IAS academies in all 32 districts
- The Tamil Nadu government will soon set up coaching academies for civil services aspirants in all its 32 districts by Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan. The academies would benefit poor and middle class youths in their bid to clear the Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service examinations and get good rank.
Digital India can contribute 30% to GDP by 2025
- Tourism Minister KJ Alphons said that the Digital India program has the potential to provide an incremental 20-30% increase in India's GDP by 2025. Highlighting the importance of digital technology in India's development, Alphons said, "IT never reached ordinary people, Digital India is the biggest revolution happening in the world."
Accident insurance for school students by Tamil Nadu
- Tamil Nadu School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan on Saturday said the state government was planning an accident insurance scheme for school students. Tamil Nadu witnessed the highest number of accidents near educational institutes in 2016, according to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways data. It would be the first state to provide insurance to students once the scheme is launched.
The world's record for largest biology class at the India International Science Festival (IISF) in Anna University, Chennai
- As many as 1,049 students at the India International Science Festival (IISF) in Anna University, Chennai, made a Guinness World Record for the Largest Biology Lesson on Saturday. The lesson to Class IX and X students by a local teacher, inaugurated by Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan, included a demonstration on DNA extraction from papaya fruit.
The first-ever All India Institute of Ayurveda launched by PM Modi
- PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate country's first All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in New Delhi on Ayurveda Day on October 17. Set up with a 157-crore budget, the 10-acre campus houses a 200-bed hospital and an academic block. The apex Ayurveda institute will bring synergy between the traditional wisdom of Ayurveda and modern technology, said the Ministry of AYUSH.
PM Modi announces 10,000 cr for India's 20 'best' varsities
- PM Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the government has decided to allot 10,000 crore and autonomy to 10 public and 10 private universities over the next five years, to make them world-class. The universities will not be selected on recommendation, but on the basis of a third party appraisal on laid down parameters, PM Modi added.
Uttar Pradesh's Mughalsarai railway station has been renamed as Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) railway station in a bid to revive the legacy of Pandit Upadhyay
- Uttar Pradesh's Mughalsarai railway station has been renamed as Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) railway station in a bid to revive the legacy of Pandit Upadhyay, who was found dead near the station in 1968. The Centre's approval of the Uttar Pradesh government's proposal to rename the station had attracted criticism from the opposition in the Rajya Sabha earlier this year.
The World's largest combustion research centre inaugurated at IIT Madras
- The world's largest combustion research centre which will impart a major boost to the Indian scientific community was inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. The National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD) was inaugurated by NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat in the presence of Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology. NCCRD's research interests will cover automotive, thermal power and aerospace propulsion, besides fire research and microgravity combustion to minor extent.
Graduate Muslim Girls to get Rs 51,000 Shaadi Shagun from Modi Government
- Meritorious Muslim girls who go on to complete graduation before marriage will get a special gift of Rs.51,000 from the Narendra Modi government. The shaadi shagun – as the scheme is called- is aimed at incentivising higher education among minority groups.
Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun resigns as Company Predicts record profits
- Samsung Electronics CEO and Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun has announced plans to step down from his position at the head of the company. The 64-year-old, who has spent the last 32 years at Samsung, operating as CEO for the last five, cited a need to bring “new spirit and young leadership” into the firm.
Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 brought into force with effect from 12th October, 2017
- A new Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified on 22nd March, 2016, has been brought into force with effect from 12th October, 2017. The Act establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India. The Act has enabling provisions for the Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security.
MasterCard launches India's first innovation centre
- MasterCard today announced the launch of its innovation centre to focus on solving "India-specific" problems in the areas of technology and financial enablement. This would be their second innovation centre, after Singapore, in Asia and ninth globally.
Science & Technologies
NASA's ion thruster rocket engine breaks power output record
- NASA is testing ion thrusters for Mars missions which use electricity to emit a gas-cloud of charged particles. The X3 thruster generated 5.4 Newtons thrust, breaking the previous record of 3.3 Newtons for electric field-propelled thrusters. Operating at 102 kilowatts power, it can propel spacecraft to 40 km/second with 10 times better mileage than chemical-powered rockets which reach 5 km/second.
Defence & Railway
Bengaluru metro launches 4 apps for last mile connectivity
- The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited on Saturday launched four apps including 'Tap Route' and 'Quick Ride' to provide last mile connectivity to commuters of Baiyappanahalli and Swami Vivekananda Road Metro stations. The apps will help the commuters rent two-wheelers, cars, and autorickshaws, and find parking space if they board or alight at these two metro stations.
Special Rajdhani Express between Delhi-Mumbai thrice in a week without flexi-fare
- The Railways on Friday announced it will introduce a faster Delhi-Mumbai Special Rajdhani Express service thrice in a week without flexi-fare from October 16.
Application / Portal
Indian Air Force has launched an innovative mobile health App named MedWatch - the first mobile health app
- On the occasion of its 85th anniversary, the Indian Air Force has launched an innovative mobile health App named `MedWatch' in keeping with the Prime Minister's vision of ‘Digital India'. ‘MedWatch’, the first mobile health app in the three Armed Services, was launched by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.
Schemes / Programme
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) has been started to provide a permanent solution from drought Government is investing Rs 50,000 crore for a period of five years to develop complete irrigation supply chain, water resources, distribution network and farm-level application solutions to achieve the target of providing water for every farm
- Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh said the government started PMKSY to provide a permanent solution from drought. Three ministries are implementing this scheme in mission mode and the Ministry of Water Resources is leading the project. PMKSY aims not only to create irrigation sources but also to create protected irrigation by harnessing rainwater at micro level through ‘Jal Sanchay’ and ‘Jal Sinchan’. He said it today at the concluding session of India Water Week-2017 organized at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The theme of the program at the concluding session was "Water and Energy for Inclusive Growth".
Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojna launched, PLI initiative expanded
- Communications Minister Manoj Sinha here on Friday launched the Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana and an initiative for expansion of clientele base of Postal Life Insurance. Talking to media after launching the schemes, the minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to provide banking services through the postal network needs to be taken forward to provide affordable life insurance services to people living in rural areas of the country.
Odisha government department signs MOU with SBI
- The Odisha government's Directorate of Treasuries and Inspection and the State Bank of India BSE 0.34 % have signed an MOU for integration of SBI e-Pay with cyber treasury.
- The MoU is a landmark initiative by the state government to facilitate revenue collection from citizens through digital banking platform, an official said.
- The SBI e-Pay is the payment aggregator service wing of the bank which will facilitate on line payment of government dues by the customers of any public/ ..
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the the 44th edition of Indian Handicrafts and Gift Fair 2017 at Greater Noida
- Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the 44th edition of Indian Handicrafts and Gift Fair (IHGF) 2017 at India Expo Centre and Mart in Greater Noida. The five-day extravaganza hosting a gathering of over 2,980 exhibitors will have buyers coming from around 100 countries including China, Australia, the US and the UK. The exhibition will end on October 15.
Kolkata to host International Puppet festival from October 26 to be held at Mohorkunj
- Kolkata will host International Puppet festival for the first time and the six-day long festival will commence from October 26 to 31. West Bengal principal secretary Tourism and Home Affairs Atri Bhattacharya will be inaugurating the festival. Artists from the UK, Germany, Peru, Portugal, Italy, Lithuania, Brazil, Singapore and India would be participating in the festival. The puppet festival is aimed at regenerating the emotions attached to puppetry and it will be held at Mohorkunj.
Dr Mahesh Sharma Inaugurates ‘Deep Dharohar’
- Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Culture inaugurated “Deep Dharohar” organized by the Ministry of Culture here today. The festival was inaugurated by the lighting of 1000 diyas by the participating artists and artisans and children from organisations like the CCRT, SAPNA Prayas and Kailash Satyarthi’s foundation, to the beat of pakhawajs, nagadas, dhols etc.
Awards & Honours
Eminent writer Namita Gokhale bags Centenary National Award for Literature
- Eminent writer Namita Gokhale has been nominated for the first Centenary National Award for Literature, to be conferred by one of the most prestigious literary bodies in India -- the Asam Sahitya Sabha -- for her outstanding literary contributions as well as her service to the nation in supporting and showcasing literary talent and creating a literary environment in the country.
- The award will be conferred at a special function in Guwahati on Saturday by Dhruba Jyoti Borah, President of the Asam Sahitya Sabha. This is also the first time that the Sabha will be honouring an English-language author.
M K Sanu chosen for Mathrubhumi Literary award for 2016 in recognition of his rich contribution to the Malayalam literature.
- Eminent critic, biographer and orator M K Sanu has been chosen for the Mathrubhumi Literary Award for 2016 in recognition of his rich contribution to the Malayalam literature.
- The award carries a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, a citation and astatuette.
Sports: Awards & Honours
Indian hockey team beats Pakistan for the 3rd time this year
- India advanced to the second round of the Asia Cup after defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 in their last Pool A match in Dhaka on Sunday. This was the third meeting between the two teams this year, with India ending victorious in all three matches. Pakistan also advanced to the second round, after finishing second in Pool A.
World number two Roger Federer recorded the joint 2nd most men's singles titles in Open Era (Shanghai Master Title)
- World number two Roger Federer recorded the joint second-most number of men's singles titles in the Open Era, registering his 94th with a win against Rafael Nadal in the Shanghai Open. Federer, who equalled Ivan Lendl's record, now lies only behind Jimmy Connors' record of 109 career titles. The Shanghai title was Federer's sixth this year.
Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal to claim his 6th title of the year
- Switzerland's Roger Federer defeated world number one Rafael Nadal for the fourth time in as many matches this year to claim his sixth title of 2017 and 94th overall at the Shanghai Masters on Sunday. Federer, who won 6-4, 6-3, improved his overall head-to-head record against the Spaniard to 15-23. In the process, Federer also ended Nadal's 16-match winning streak.
Maria Sharapova wins first title since doping ban
- Former world number one tennis player Maria Sharapova won her first title since returning from a 15-month doping ban, clinching the Tianjin Open on Sunday. Sharapova defeated Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-5, 7-6(8) to win her career's 36th title and her first since Italian Open in 2015. The 30-year-old had returned to the tour in April after serving the ban.
Historian Satish Chandra passes away
- Veteran historian of medieval India and noted educational administrator Satish Chandra passed away on Friday. He was 95.
- He will be cremated at the Lodhi Road crematorium on Saturday, after which a prayer meeting will be held at Chinmaya Mission.