[current affairs] 13 – 19 May 2017

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21 – 27 January 2017


  • National Youth Day: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that youth power can drive India's campaign against corruption. On 21st National Youth Day, the Prime Minister called on the youth to take forward the movement towards a less cash economy and gave a mantra of collectivity, connectivity and creativity. The birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda is celebrated as National Youth Day every year as he was a source of inspiration to youth world over. The occasion saw curtains go up on the National Youth Festival on 12th January in Haryana's Rohtak with the theme 'Youth for Digital India'. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the youth at the inauguration of the event through video conferencing. He urged them to move towards less cash economy asking them to help those around them to adapt to the digital medium. The PM also appealed to youth to come forward to eradicate all social ills from society. He said if the nation is witnessing change, the youth have a major role to play in it. Referring to demonetisation, Prime Minister Modi said youth have supported the government's move to the hilt. He also gave them 3 cs mantra on the occasion.
  • The Ken-Betwa River linking project has received environment, forest and tribal clearances. The project aims at addressing water needs of dry swathes in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Speaking to media on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi today, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati said the first river linking project has received the clearances formally. She said the Ministry is working out the funding pattern with NITI Aayog. The phase I of the project, of linking Ken river in Madhya Pradesh and Betwa in Uttar Pradesh, at a cost of Rs. 9500 crore is envisaged to help irrigate an area of 6.35 lakh hectares annually. Of this, 3.69 lakh hectares will be covered in Madhya Pradesh's Chattarpur. Tikamgarh and Panna districts. The remaining 2.65 lakh hectares of area falls in Uttar Pradesh's Mahoba, Banda and Jhansi districts.


  • Supreme Court has said that there is nothing wrong in national Green Tribunal interim order banning glass coated manjha and turned down plea of manjha traders. During the hearing, the apex court said that ban on glass coated Chinese manjha will continue in the country and refused to allow its use in kite flying. The court further asked manjha traders from Gujarat to move NGT for any relief.

  • The Pinaka Rocket converted to a Guided Pinaka has been successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha. The Pinaka Rocket Mark-II, which evolved from Pinaka Mark-1 is equipped with navigation, guidance and control kit and has been transformed to the Guided Pinaka. According to an official release, this conversion has considerably enhanced the range and accuracy of Pinaka.

  • Khanderi, the second Scorpene class submarine was launched from the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai. 'Khanderi includes superior stealth and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapon. The attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles. It works underwater or on surface too. All means and communications are provided to ensure interoperability with other components of a Naval task force. It can undertake multifarious types of missions typically undertaken by any modern submarine such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance.
  • Allaying fears of a slowdown following demonetisation, the country's industrial production grew 5.7 percent in November 2016, compared to a contraction of 3.4 percent in November of the previous year. Factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production, IIP, enhanced in November due to better performance of the manufacturing, electricity and capital goods sectors. According to data released by the Central Statistics Office, the manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75 percent of the index, grew 5.5 percent in November last year.


  • Retail inflation fell to a nearly 3-year low of 3.41% in December 2016 from 3.63% in November. Inflation eased mainly on account of falling prices of vegetables and pulses. According to official data, overall food inflation fell to 1.37 percent in December last year, from 2.11% in November. Retail inflation in the vegetables category slipped to minus 14.59 percent in December. Inflation in pulses and products fell to minus 1.57%. Retail inflation in cereals and products stood at 5.25 percent.

  • 'Reading culture is a very important aspect of our cultural ethos', said Shri Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Human Resources Development, while delivering a keynote address on 'Culture of Reading and Nation-Building: Challenges in the Digital Age' at World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. 'Children should read beyond textbooks', added Shri Prakash Javadekar. He said, to become a good human being, one should read books. Referring to Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi's initiative to promote the culture of reading in Gujarat, he said that the mission continues to move forward. Appreciating New Delhi World Book Fair, he said that world of books is a store house of knowledge and helps in developing a wider vision of the world. He desired that efforts may be made to promote it at a larger scale across schools, colleges and universities. To promote the culture of reading, Shri Prakash Javadekar said that we need to make reading interesting and reach out to more and more people through mobile vans and reader's clubs. He further said that there is an urgent necessity and scope for organizations under the Government like Publications Division, Ministry of I&B, Sahitya Akademi under Ministry of Culture and NBT to work together and ensure synergy in their activities.
  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), has announced the formation of exclusive 'North-Eastern Tourism Development Council' (NETDC) on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode. He said that this is for the first time that the Government has decided to set up a separate tourism development agency, devoted to a particular region of the country.



14 – 20 January 2017

  • Election Commission has announced the schedule for polls in 5 states. Voting in Uttar Pradesh will be held in 7 phases while the counting will take place on March 11. Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases between 11 February and 8 March, while Punjab and Goa will go to the polls together on 4 February, Uttarakhand on 15 February and Manipur in two phases on 4 and 8 March. Chief Election Commission Nasim Zaidi said counting of votes in all five states will take place on 11 March. Zaidi added that the Model Code of Conduct becomes effective immediately. Announcing the poll schedule for five states, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi said the seven-phased Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls for 403 constituencies will be held on 11, 15, 19, 23, 27 February and 4 and 8 March. The main players in the five states include the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Shiromani Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Manipur People's Party. The CEC said, over 15 crore voters will exercise their democratic rights for a total of 690 constituencies in five states, for which the Commission has set up 1.85 lakh polling stations, which are 15 percent more than those set up in 2012 polls.

  • Supreme Court has refused to give an urgent hearing to a plea seeking postponement of the Union Budget to March, after the Assembly polls in 5 states were completed. A Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar said, it will hear the matter in due course of time, but not now.
  • The Budget is scheduled to be held on February 1. The Opposition parties had approached the election Commission and demanded that the Budget be postponed to a date beyond March 8, the last date on which voting for Assembly elections will be held.


  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that the National Cadet Corps is shaping the character and moral fibre of our young people, and ultimately the effectiveness and dynamism of the nation. Inaugurating the NCC Republic Day Camp 2017, in New Delhi, the vice President said that through programmes like the National Cadet Corps (NCC), the Government of India is investing in today's youth and India's future. If the youth of a country are educated and willing to go the extra mile to effect positive change, nothing can prevent the country from greatness, he added. The Vice President also said that NCC cadets are a model to the youth of the country and their conduct must be exemplary and just. He urged them to continue with this hard work and achieve their dreams and goals with dedication and distinction.

  • Commerce and Industry Ministry has said that the Department of Revenue has promised to refund tax claims of exporters after the 2nd meeting of the Council for trade development and promotion in New Delhi. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she had raised the issues of exporters in the GST Council meeting. She also said that exporters will get interest on the refund if it is delayed beyond two weeks. Ms. Sitharaman said she has also suggested to the GST Council to exempt leather and plantations sector from the GST ambit. The Minister said exporters have been demanding ab-initio exemption from payment of taxes under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime arguing that delay in refunds often takes months and also results in blocking the working capital.
  • The Government imposed an anti-dumping duty ranging from US $6.30 to US $351.72 per tonne on imports of jute and its products from Bangladesh and Nepal. This anti-dumping duty has been imposed in order to protect the domestic industry. A revenue department notification said the duty has been imposed for five years. It further added the import restrictive levy has been imposed on jute yarn, twine, Hessian fabric and jute sacking bags in all forms and specifications.


  • Veteran actor Om Puri who gave countless memorable performances in movies of diverse genres, died at his resident in Mumbai after a massive heart attack. He was 66. From Bollywood to Hollywood, from independent to art films, the noted actor, known for his versatility, gave several acclaimed performances. Puri featured in several Indian, Pakistani, British and Hollywood mainstream commercial films. He was awarded the Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award, in 1990. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Puri's demise and recalled his long career in theatre and films. Bollywood celebrities, including Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Anupam Kher, Javed Akhtar and Mahesh Bhatt expressed grief over Puri's demise, calling it a huge loss to Indian cinema.

  • India and Kazakhstan signed in the national capital a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between the two countries which was earlier signed on 9th December 1996 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. The Protocol provides internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters. Further, the information received from Kazakhstan for tax purposes can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorization of the competent authority of Kazakhstan and vice versa.
  • A bill backing key changes in the H1-B programme that allows skilled workers from countries like India to fill high-tech jobs in the US has been re-introduced in the US Congress by two lawmakers who claim that it will help crack down on the work visa abuse. The 'Protect and Grow American Jobs Act' which makes important changes to the eligibility requirements for H1-B Visa exemptions was re-introduced by Republican Darrell Issa and Scott Peters – both from California. The bill among other things increases the minimum salary of H-1B visa to one lakh US dollar per annum and eliminate the Masters Degree exemption. The legislation, they argued, will help crack down on abuse and ensure that these jobs remain available for the best and brightest talent from around the world. The bill comes after a number of companies – Disney, SoCal Edison and others – have come under fire for abusing the H1 B Visa programme to replace American workers with foreign workers.


  • Government has realized around Rs. 23,500 crore during the current financial year so far from disinvestment of its stake in Central Public Sector Enterprises, CPSEs. This includes Rs. 21,432 crore through minority stake sale in 14 CPSEs and around Rs. 2096 crore through strategic disinvestment. Finance Ministry said, the disinvestment target for the current financial year has been set at Rs. 56,500 crore. It comprises Rs. 36,000 crore from disinvestment of CPSEs and Rs. 20,500 crore from strategic disinvestment. The Ministry also said, the department has taken a number of measures to accelerate the disinvestment process. These include replacing annual plan with rolling plans, creating a pipeline of proposals for CPSEs to take advantage of better market condition and fast tracking of approval process.

  • In United States, for the first time, the Marine Corps has put three enlisted female Marines in a ground combat unit once open only to men. 1st Lt. John McCombs, spokesman for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejuene said, they will serve as a rifleman, machine gunner and mortar marine. McCombs said, the three women will serve in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. The identities of the women are not being released at this time to allow them to get acclimated to their unit.


31 December 2016 – 6 January 2017
  • In a bid to promote salary payments by employers via banking channels, the Union Cabinet has cleared an ordinance for amendment of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, facilitating removal of the need of obtaining a written authorization from an employee for payment of wages by cheque or through a bank account. The relevant government centre or state, shall notify to specify the industrial or other establishments where the employer shall pay wages 'only' by cheque or by crediting the wages in the bank accounts, according to the proposed amendment which the government had introduced in Winter Session of Parliament last week but was unable to get it passed. The labour ministry, however, clarified in a statement that the proposed amendment does not close the option of cash for salary payments to workers.


  • With an aim to support the Centre's drive of creating a cashless ecosystem, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that a 'reasonable' amount of free mobile internet should be provided to rural subscribers every month. This scheme, the costs of which are suggested to be met from the government's Universal Service Obligatory Fund (USOF), would be facilitated by third-party aggregators, which are agnostic telecom service providers, TRAI said.

  • Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat will succeed General Dalbir Singh as the next Indian Army Chief. Dalbir Singh will retire at the end of this month. Previously, Rawat was General Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Command. Before this assignment, Rawat was General Officer Commanding Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa area located in Mumbai.

  • In a reversal to Jammu and Kashmir High Court for asserting the state's sovereignty' and 'sovereign powers', the Supreme Court has said J&K 'has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India.' A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman also rejected the J&K High Court's view that the J&K Constitution was equal to the Constitution of India. The bench, referring to the preamble of the Constitution of J&K, 1957, said, it is clear that the state of Jammu & Kashmir has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own Constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India. The bench said, they (residents of state) are governed first by the Constitution of India and also by the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court has sentenced to death Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal along with Zia-ur-Rehman, Asadullah Akhtar, Tahaseen Akhtar and Aijaz Sheikh in the 2013 Hyderabad blasts case, which killed 18 people.


  • Government has announced new passport rules in order to streamline, liberalize and ease the process of issue of passport. Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. V.K. Singh, said birth certificate is no longer mandatory for getting passport. He said date of birth on documents such as PAN Card, Driving License, Aadhar, and Matriculation Certificate will also suffice. The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of only one parent and not both. This would enable single parent to apply for passport for their children. Besides, married applicants would not be required to provide any marriage certificate.

  • India and Tajikistan have decided to step up defence cooperation and signed an agreement to share financial intelligence to counter money laundering and financing of terrorism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held bilateral talks with visiting Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, said that India and Tajikistan live in an extended neighbourhood that continues to face multiple security challenges. He further said that the threat from terrorism endangers not just our two countries. It casts a long shadow of violence and instability over the entire region.

  • Injecting fresh momentum in ties, India and Kyrgyzstan have firmed up broad contours of a bilateral investment agreement and inked six other pacts covering a range of areas even as they resolved to work closely to combat the challenge of terrorism, extremism and radicalism. In their comprehensive talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev also decided to strengthen ties tin areas of defence, security, mining, IT, agriculture and energy.
  • The Chinese Navy has seized an underwater drone in plain sight of the American sailors who had destroyed it in international waters, in a seemingly brazen message to the incoming Trump administration. According to a US defence official, the unmanned glider had come to the surface of the water in the South China Sea and was about to be retrieved by the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic and surveillance ship, when a Chinese naval vessel took hold of it despite radioed protests.


  • A young Turkish policeman, railing about Russia's role in Syria's bloody war, shot and killed Moscow's ambassador to Ankara during an art opening, an attack that all three countries termed an act of terror.

  • India has become the first nation to win the hockey junior World Cup at home. At the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Sunday night, Indian boys beat Belgium 2-1 to win their second world title after 15 years.

  • Indian Women's Under-18 team have clinched the bronze medal in the 4th Women's Under-18 Asia Cup hockey tournament in the bronze-medal play off match in Bangkok. They blanked Korea 3-0. Sangita Kumari scored twice after Ritu had put India ahead in the 45th minute.

  • For their creditable bronze-winning performance, Hockey India announced cash rewards of 1 lakh rupees for each player and 50,000 rupees for each of the support staff.

  • India beat England by innings and 75 runs to seal 4-0 series win. India's victory over England in the five-match test series is historic and will long be remembered. This is India's biggest series win over England ever, overshadowing the 3-0 white-wash under Mohammad Azaruddin's captaincy in 1993.
  • Mumbai based writer Jerry Pinto, Tamil author Vannadhasan, Hindi Writer Nasira Sharma are among 24 others declared the winners of the Sahitya Akademi awards this year. Sharma's Hindi novel Paarijat, Pinto's Em and the Big Hoom and Vannadhasan's Oru Siru Isai won them the literary honour. Among the winners are eight books of poetry, seven books of short stories, five novels, two on criticism, one of essays and one play. The books were chosen on the basis of recommendations made by a jury of three in the languages concerned and approved by its executive board, the Akademi said in a statement.



29 October – 4 November 2016

  • India has termed Pakistan's ban on Indian TV and radio programmes as unfortunate. Ministry of External Affairs spokespersons Vikas Swarup said, it reflected the neighbouring country's lack of self-confidence. Pakistan's media regulatory authority had announced enforcing a complete ban on Indian TV and radio contents and warned that the licences of those found guilty of violating the ban will be suspended. The ban extends to all Indian content on cable and radio being aired in Pakistan. Mr. Swarup said, there is no blanket ban on Pakistani artistes' performing in India. Asked whether the government is planning to have a SAARC minus Pakistan, Mr. Swarup said, India remained committed to the regional bloc and its principles.

  • The Indian Navy commissioned the highly maneuverable fast attack craft INS Tihayu at the Eastern Naval Command on 19 October 2016. The ship was commissioned by Vice admiral H.C.S. Bisht AVSM, ADC Flag Officer, Commanding in Chief, Eastern Naval Command at a formal ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Vishakhapatnam. INS Tihayu would be based in Vishakhapatnam under the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) and would be deployed for coastal patrol and surveillance operations along the Eastern Coast.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep anguish over the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. Prime Minister also assured all possible support from the Centre to the injured and affected. An ex-gratia relief of Rs. 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the persons deceased and Rs. 5,000/- each to the persons, seriously injured in the fire accident that occurred in the Bhubaneswar SUM hospital, Odisha on 17 October 2016 was sanctioned from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

  • Centre will establish at least one Krishi Vigyan Kendra in each of the districts in the country to provide technical assistance to farmers. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh announced this while interacting via video conference with all the Krishi Vigyan Kendra experts, district level officers associated with agriculture development and progressive farmers of 12 States. He called upon the farmers to use the residual husk after paddy farming to make organic fertilizer, in papermaking and cardboard industry and as animal feed. The Minister said, this would prevent the adverse effect of husk burning on the environment.


  • In a major initiative, railway stations and adjoining areas will be redeveloped on Smart City lines for enhancing passenger amenities, easy access to stations, enabling optimal utilization of land at railway stations, as a part of Smart City development. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard by the Ministries of Urban Development and Railways in the presence of Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu and Shri Suresh Prabhu. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said on the occasion that this convergence based city development will result in qualitative improvement in city life. He also suggested involvement of local people in redevelopment plans.
  • The Central Government has taken up a number of youth centric initiatives especially for North Eastern states like providing venture funds for 'Start Ups' in the region, sports university in Manipur and Brahmaputra study center in Guwahati University,. These initiatives will help to tap up potential in the region and will help in bringing misguided youth into the mainstream. This was stated by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of Development of North Eastern Region, PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Development of Atomic Energy and Department of Space while addressing Regional Editors Conference in Chandigarh.


  • In Libya, pro-government forces have freed five foreign nationals held by Islamic State in Sirte after heavy fighting to capture the final district of the city. Two of the freed foreigners were from Turkey, two from India and one from Bangladesh, said Rida Issa, a spokesman for the Bonyan Marsous forces which have been battling for six months against militants in Sirte.

  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended imposition of 3,050 crore rupees penalty on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea cellular for allegedly denying interconnectivity to newcomer Reliance Jio. TRAI, in its recommendation to the Department of Telecom, said it has found the three companies to be non-compliant with licence conditions regarding giving interconnection to Reliance Jio customers. It also noted that denial interconnection by these operators to RJio appears to be with the ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer. The recommendation came on complaint by Reliance Jio that over 75 percent of calls on its network are falling as incumbents were not giving sufficient points of interconnect that would help complete calls.
  • Days after India's largest banking security breach came to light, the Cyber Crime Cell of Maharashtra Police has written to several banks seeking information on fraudulent withdrawals. The Cyber Crime Cell has informed that even though incidents of data security breach started surfacing some two months back, yet none of the banks have filed a police complaint. Even after the reports of fraudulent withdrawals from 19 banks so far amounting to 1.3 crore, not a single bank has come forward to register a police complaint. A few customers have claimed that their cards were fraudulently used in China and the US while they were in India. But these claims are not taken seriously by the banks. In the light of the ongoing incidences, it has become necessary for the banks to alert their customers and also to take help from the cyber experts to avoid the fraudulent withdrawals.


  • A tiny lander dispatched to Mars on a trial run has crashed and possibly exploded on the Red Planet. European Space Agency (ESA) mission control said, this while confirming Europe's second failed attempt to reach the alien surface. It said, a NASA photograph of the intended landing site revealed the 600-kilogramme craft, offline for two days, had 'reached the Martian surface a lot faster than intended. The image contained a white spot, thought to be the doomed lander's parachute spread out on the alien surface, some 170 million kilometres from Earth. The ESA said, the lander's speed-breaking retro-rocket boosters appeared to have switched off prematurely. Engineers and scientists are combing through the data Schiaparelli sent home before its untimely demise, to piece together exactly what happened. Schiaparelli was on a test-run for a future rover meant to seek out evidence of life, past or present, on the Red Planet.

  • Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma chaired the first meeting of the Reconstituted central Advisory Board on Culture (CABC) held in New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, he stressed the need to evolve a participative process of decision making in the field of Culture. Mr., Sharma also invited suggestions from the eminent members on it. An official release said, the members of the CABC were requested to highlight priority areas in the fields of art, music, dance and literature. Some of the members were of the view that the local cultures and artists at the village and district level need to be galvanized so as to bring about a true cultural revival.




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