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13 September 2017 - Current Affairs

13 September 2017 - Current Affairs

Center set to introduce Rs 100 coins soon

  • The Centre is all set to roll out Rs 100 coins for the first time in the country. 
  • The Ministry of Finance issued a notification regarding the introduction of Rs 100 coins to commemorate the birth centenary of AIADMK founder Dr MG Ramachandaran and renowned Carnatic singer Dr MS Subbulakshmi.
  • The Reserve Bank of India will also issue new Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins to honour the former Tamil Nadu chief minister and the Bharat Ratna-winning singer. 
  • The notification said that the year ‘1917-2017’ will be flanked below the portrait of Dr M G Ramachandran.
  • The coins will also bear the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar in the centre with the inscription ‘Satyamev Jayte’ on the obverse side. 
  • The Rs 100 coin will weigh around 35 grams, while Rs 5 coins will weigh 6 grams.
  • The new Rs 100 coin will be made of silver (50 per cent), copper (40 per cent), nickel (5 per cent) and zinc (5 percent), while Rs 5 coin will be made of copper (75 per cent), zinc (20 per cent) and nickel (5 per cent).
  • Ramachandran, popularly known as ‘MGR’, was the founder of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party, currently ruling in Tamil Nadu. 

PayU ties up with IRCTC

  • PayU, a payment gateway provider, has collaborated with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), to provide an option to pay for rail tickets booked on the IRCTC website.  
  • PayU will now be available as a payment option under MPS (Multiple Payment Services) on the IRCTC website at the payment stage of booking an e- ticket. 

State startup conference kicks off in Delhi

  • A conference to discuss developing congenial start-up ecosystem in the states, including incubation facilities, begins in New Delhi. 
  • Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, C R Chaudhry has inaugurated the event.
  • The conference is expected to provide a significant impetus to the creation of an enabling Startup Ecosystem in the country. 
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India has organized the Second State Startup Conference in New Delhi.

Kochi to host summit on coastal shipping and waterways

  • Kochi will host the fifth edition of Coastal Shipping and Inland Water Transportation Business Summit 2017 on September 22 at Hotel Crown Plaza.
  • The summit will be an initiative to explore the immense potential of coastal shipping and waterways as well as an effort to build a shared commitment and decipher the role that each stakeholder will have to play in integrating the coastal and waterways transport infrastructure. 
  • Kerala Governor P Sathasivam will present the India Seatrade Award for Excellence in Coastal Shipping & Inland Water Transportation.
  • The seminar will create a platform to discuss various topics like Indian Coastal Shipping & Inland Water Transport: Policies, Current Updates & Vision, IWAI’s perspective to propelling India’s trade and economic growth, with particular focus on Kerala

AYUSH Minister inaugurates India’s first advanced Homoeopathy Virology lab in Kolkata 

  • The Union Minister of State for AYUSH (Independent Charge) Shripad Yesso Naik inaugurated India’s first State of art virology laboratory at Dr. Anjali Chatterjee Regional Research Institute for Homeopathy in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The lab will play important role in developing new drugs and technologies in Homeopathy to combat emerging challenges of viral diseases.
  • The laboratory, established at a cost of Rs. 8 crore, is the first in India for conducting basic and fundamental research in Homoeopathy for viral diseases like influenza, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, chickunguniya and swine flu.
  • New drugs and technologies would also be developed here to combat emerging challenges of viral diseases.

India, Belarus sign 10 pacts to expand cooperation

  • India and Belaru have inked 10 agreements to expand cooperation in range of areas including oil and gas, education and sports and also decided to explore joint development and manufacture of military platforms.
  • The agreements were signed after extensive delegational levels talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Belarus President A G Lukashenko in New Delhi.
  • Both leaders agreed to focus on ramping up economic engagement between two countries and held that their is huge scope for boosting trade and investment. 
  • MoU in the Oil and Gas Sector
  • MoU for Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Education
  • Programme of cooperation in the field of culture for 2018-2020
  • MoU between Sports Ministry and Ministry of Education of Belarus
  • MoU for Cooperation in the Field of Vocational Education and Training 
  • MoU between JSC Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) and Indian Potash Ltd (IPL)
  • Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and Indian National Science Academy (INSA) 
  • India was one of first countries to officially recognize Belarus as independent country in 1991. 

Retail inflation in August shoots up by 3.36%

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) or retail inflation, as it is more commonly known, rose 3.36 per cent in August from a year earlier.
  • The current rate of inflation is the highest in five months. 
  • The rate however is still below the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) medium-term target of 4 per cent. 
  • The CPI had risen by 5.05 per cent for the month of August, a year ago.
  • The rise compares with a 3.20 per cent increase forecast by economists in a Reuters poll of 40 economists. 
  • The Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) has gone up to 1.52 per cent for the month of August as against (-) 0.36 per cent in July.

Approves survey project of Un-appraised Areas of Sedimentary Basins

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved survey project to acquire 48,243 Line Kilometer (LKM) 2D seismic data for appraisal of Indian sedimentary basins where limited data is available.
  • The project will be implemented by Oil India Limited (OIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
  • Sedimentary basin is a low area in the Earth’s crust, of tectonic origin, in which sediments accumulate.
  • It can range from as small as hundreds of meters to large parts of ocean basins.

Approves hiving off BSNL’s mobile tower assets into a separate company

  • The Union Cabinet has approved proposal for hiving off mobile tower assets of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) into a separate tower infrastructure company, fully owned by BSNL. 
  • Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Approves Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017

  • The Union Cabinet has given approved introduction of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament.
  • The Bill seeks to amend Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. 
  • The proposed law amend to double the maximum gratuity payout to private sector workers from ₹10 lakh to ₹20 lakh.
  • The Amendment will increase maximum limit of gratuity of employees, in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)/Autonomous Organizations under Government and in private sector who are not covered under Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, at par with Central Government employees. 
  • The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is an important social security legislation to wage earning population in industries, factories and establishments.

Approves MoU between India and Japan in field of Silk Industry

  • The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Japan for collaborative research in the field of silkworm and silk industries. 
  • The MoU was signed between Central Silk Board (CSB), India and National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), Japan in November 2016.

Approves 1% DA Hike for Central Govt staff

  • The Union Cabinet on Sept 12 approved the release of an additional 1% of dearness allowance (DA) to Central Govt employees and dearness relief (DR) to Pensioners. 
  • The new rate will be applicable retrospectively from July 1, 2017. 
  • The release of the additional instalment of DA represents an increase of 1% over the existing rate of 4% of the basic pay/pension, to compensate for price rise.

Airtel, SK Telecom tie-up to build high speed network, 5G

  • Telecom operator Bharti Airtel announced strategic partnership with South Korean telecom operator SK Telecom, known for using latest technologies, to build the most advanced telecom network in India. 
  • The two companies will also collaborate on an on-going basis to evolve standards for 5G and advanced technologies like network functions virtualisation (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT).
  • The companies will jointly work towards building an enabling ecosystem for the introduction of these technologies in the Indian context. 
  • SK Telecom is Korea’s largest telecommunications company with more than 29 million mobile subscribers, which accounts for around 50 per cent of the total market.

National Pension System entry age limit raised to 65 years

  • The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has upped the age limit for joining the National Pension Scheme (NPS) to 65 years from the current 60.
  • It was announced by Chairman PFRDA Hemant Contractor at a conference on “Transferring Superannuation Funds to National Pension System”.
  • NPS is currently open for people between 18 and 60.
  • The scheme has the option of continuing and making contributions up to the age of 70. 
  • As of now only 15-16% of employees in India are covered by pensions as 85 per cent of the workforce is employed in the unorganised or informal sector.

India, Afghanistan exchange pacts in areas of health, transport

  • India and Afghanistan exchanged four pacts in areas of health, transport, space and new development partnership.
  • The agreements were exchanged after delegation level talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani in New Delhi. 
  • Development of Chahbahar Port in trilateral cooperation with Iran is being expedited and India will supply wheat to Afghanistan in coming weeks through Chahbahar port.
  • 116 new High Impact Development Projects would be jointly implemented to bring socio-economic and infrastructure development in Afghanistan.

ZSI releases first compendium of animal species in Indian Sundarbans

  • Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) published first of its kind compendium titled Fauna of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve in Indian Sundarbans. 
  • It is part of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site.
  • It forms part of Ganga-Brahmaputra delta across 9,630 sq. km, distributed among 104 islands.
  • It has largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  • ZSI is India’s apex organization on animal taxonomy. It was established in 1916.
  • Its main objective is to promote the survey, exploration, research, and documentation on various aspects of animal taxonomy in the Indian subcontinent.

Mouse deer reintroduced into Amrabad forest

  • Telangana Forest Department for first time has re-introduced ‘mouse deer’ in the forests of Nallamalla in Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR) bred at Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad.
  • Eight mouse deer, two male and six females were released from captivity to semi-wild conditions having protected enclosure of 2.14 hectares.
  • Now field biologists and forest staff will closely monitor their adaptability and behaviour in their natural setting, so they can be released from their enclosure into the wild.

Sushil Modi led GoM to resolve IT challenges faced in GST implementation

  • The Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) under the convenorship of Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Modi in order to monitor and resolve the IT challenges faced in the implementation of GST. 
  • The committee was constituted in pursuance of decision taken in the 21st Meeting of GST Council held on September 9 at Hyderabad. 
  • The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted under the convenorship of Sushil Modi will include Amar Agarwal, Minister for Commercial Taxes, Govt of Chhatisgarh; Krishna Byregowda, Minister for Agriculture, Govt of Karnataka; T.M. Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister, Govt of Kerala and Etela Rajendar, Finance Minister, Govt of Telengana. 
  • The GoM will be assisted in its work by the Chairman, Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) and the Chief Executive Officer, GSTN. 
  • The Union Finance Minister has also constituted a Committee on Exports under the Revenue Secretary to look at the issues of export sector and to recommend to the GST Council suitable strategy for helping the export sector in the post-GST scenario. 
  • This Committee consists of the Chairperson, CBEC; Member (Customs), CBEC; Director General, DGFT; Addional Secretary, GST Council; Director General, DG Export Promotion from the Central Govt and Commissioners of Commercial Taxes from the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

UNSC unanimously adopts new sanctions against North Korea

  • The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to impose fresh sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear test on September 3 in violation of previous Security Council resolutions. 
  • It was overall the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by UNSC since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
  • The third Security Council action concerning the Asian country in five weeks curtails the country’s oil supply by almost 30 per cent, bans all its textile exports worth $800 million and remittances of labourers from abroad. 
  • With the new measures, 90 per cent of the country’s exports are now banned. 

Abhay Firodia is SIAM President

  • The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has elected Force Motors’ Chairman Abhay Firodia as its new President.
  • SIAM’s Executive Committee elected Firodia its President on September 7. 
  • He succeeds Vinod K. Dasari, Managing Director and CEO of Ashok Leyland. 

Halimah Yacob becomes the first woman President of Singapore

  • Halimah Yacob became the first woman President of Singapore, being the only candidate who met the requirements for the presidential elections.
  • She, a 63-year-old Muslim of Malay descent, will take her oath of office on Sept 14 in a ceremony to be held in Istana, the presidential residence and office.
  • She was the only presidential hopeful among three potential candidates to qualify for the post.
  • This year’s election was reserved for Malay candidates.
  • Two other contenders, businessmen Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, did not meet one of the minimum requirements to run, Channel NewsAsia reported. 
  • She was born in 1954 to a Muslim Indian-origin father and a Malay mother.

Two U.S. scientists awarded Balzan Prize

  • Two U.S. scientists whose work has contributed to creating immunological treatments for cancer are among the winners of this year’s Balzan Prizes, recognising scholarly and scientific achievements. 
  • Bina Agarwal, a professor at the University of Manchester, was recognised in the gender studies category for her “heroic” work studying women’s contributions to agriculture in India.
  • James Allison of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Robert Schreiber of the Washington University School of Medicine were cited for their work on antibody treatments that has increased the survival of patients with metastatic melanoma.
  • The Balzan Foundation awards two prizes in the sciences and two in the humanities each year, rotating specialities to highlight new or emerging areas of research and sustain fields that might be overlooked elsewhere.
  • Recipients receive 750,000 Swiss francs (₹5 crore), half of which must be used for research, preferably by young scholars or scientists.
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