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CURRENT AFFAIRS PRELIMS QUICK REVISION’ 2017

1. Social Issues
2. Polity Issues
3. Economy Issues
4. International Relations
5. Summits
6. Science & Technology
7. Environment
8. Culture
9. Schemes
10. Miscellaneous

Quick Revision Prelims 2017


Part 1 - June, July & August 2016
Part 2 – September, October & November 2016
Part 3 – December 2016, January & February 2017 (would be available by 18 th April 2017)
Part 4 – March, April & May 2017 (would be available by 25th May 2017)

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 1
SOCIAL ISSUES

1- Union Government launches POCSO e-box


 Launched by the Minister for Women and Child Development.
 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), e-Box, is an online complaint
management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely
action against the offenders under the POCSO Act, 2012. E-Box is very simple to operate and
will help to maintain the confidentiality of the complaint.
 The e-Box is incorporated prominently in the home page of National Commission for Protection
of Child Rights (NCPCR) website http://ncpcr.gov.in/ where a user has to simply push a button
named POSCO e-Box.

2- India certified Yaws, Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus free by WHO


 The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially certified India as free of maternal and neonatal
tetanus (MNT) and Yaws.
 Neonatal (in the first 28 days of birth) deaths annually. The elimination reflects improved
institutional deliveries (now 75 per cent for India) and clean umbilical cord practices.
 MNT occurs in new borns through infection of the unhealed umbilical stump when it is cut with a
non-sterile instrument.
 India being certified as the first yaws-free nation. Yaws is a chronic bacterial infection that
affects the skin, bones and cartilages. India has achieved this important milestone in May this
year much before the WHO global target year of 2020.
 MNT validation was started by the WHO in 1989 but India’s first MNT-free state was Andhra in
2003. By April 17, 2015, all states were declared MNT-free, ahead of WHO's global MNT-free
target deadline of December 2015.

3-Union Government launches Accessible E-Library Sugamya Pustakalaya


 Sugamya Pustakalaya: A step towards an Accessible Digital India” (An online library for persons
with visual disabilities).
 “Sugamaya Pustakalaya” is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print-
disabled people.
 It has been created by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan),
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH)
in collaboration with member organizations of Daisy Forum of India and powered by TCS
Access, Integrating libraries across India and the Globe, including the largest international
library, ‘Bookshare’.

4-Union HRD Ministry launches Prashikshak, an online teacher education portal


 'Prashikshak’ is launched with a vision to strengthen District Institutes of Education and Training
(DIETs) and bring quality teachers into the Indian school education system.
 Developed by the ministry of HRD in collaboration with Central Square Foundation
 The objective of Prashikshak is to help DIETs make informed decisions about their institutes,
compare the performance of their institute against other DIETs in the state/country as well as
help aspiring teachers make informed decisions about which institute to join.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 2
5- Union Cabinet approves introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
 Surrogacy – when a couple wants a baby but is unable to have a child because either or both
partners are medically unfit to conceive.
 Regulating surrogacy by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State
Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and Union Territories.
 Prohibits commercial surrogacy and allow ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples.
 Allows ethical surrogacy for all infertile Indian married couple in the country.
 Protects rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy.
 All Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics will be registered.
 It bars foreigners, homosexual couples, people in live in relationships and single individuals to
have babies through surrogacy.
 Background: India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries.
incidents concerning unethical practices of surrogacy across country such as exploitation of
surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets of intermediaries
importing human gametes and embryos were reported.
 The 228th report of the Law Commission of India (LCI) also had recommended for banning
commercial surrogacy by enacting a suitable legislation. However, it had allowed ethical
altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens.

6-UNICEF: State Of Children’s Report


 Annual flagship report of United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
 The report identifies the widening gap between rich and poor countries when it comes to ensuring
child survival.
 It recommends ways to meet the 2030 goals to improve prospects for the survival and good health
of all children in every society.

7- Union Government caps prices of 24 essential drugs


 Essential drugs: Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the
population. Essential medicines are intended to be available within the context of functioning
health systems at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured
quality, and at a price the individual and the community can afford.
 In India National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) formed in 2011 decides the essential
medicines. The list is prepared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
 National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is nodal government regulatory agency that
controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. It functions under the aegis of Union
Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser.
 It revised ceiling prices of 24 scheduled formulations of schedule-I under Drugs (Price Control)
Amendment Order, 2016.
 Prices of 42 essential medicines used in treatment of various ailments including tuberculosis,
cancer, cardiac diseases, asthma, epilepsy and depression have been capped by the
government.

8- Union Government launches Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight


 Health Ministry today launched ‘Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight' (IDCF).
 Under this various activities has been planned including visits by ASHA(Accredited Social
Health Activist) workers to all such households which have children under the age of five.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 3
 The children will be administered Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) and Zinc therapy
by the ASHA workers while they will also be counselled about the benefits and the process of
preparing it.
 The main reasons for diarrhoeal attacks amongst children are contaminated water, malnutrition,
inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene and lack of immunisation.
 Under this initiative, government aims at covering over 80 per cent of children (of the 10 crore
children below five years of age) affected by diarrhoea across the country

9-Union Cabinet approves Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016


 The cabinet approved the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 for social,
economic and educational empowerment of transgender.
 The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of
female and male; or neither female nor male. In addition, the person’s gender must not match
the gender assigned at birth, and includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex
variations and gender-queers.
 A transgender person must obtain a certificate of identity as proof of recognition of identity as a
transgender person and to invoke rights under the Bill.
 Such a certificate would be granted by the District Magistrate on the recommendation of a
Screening Committee. The Committee would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or
psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person.
 The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in areas such as education,
employment, and healthcare. It directs the central and state governments to provide welfare
schemes in these areas.
 Offences like compelling a transgender person to beg, denial of access to a public place,
physical and sexual abuse, etc. would attract up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine.
Key Issues and Analysis
 The Supreme Court has held that the right to self-identification of gender is part of the right to
dignity and autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution. However, objective criteria may be
required to determine one’s gender in order to be eligible for entitlements.
 The Bill states that a person recognised as ‘transgender’ would have the right to ‘self-perceived’
gender identity. However, it does not provide for the enforcement of such a right. A District
Screening Committee would issue a certificate of identity to recognise transgender persons.
 The definition of ‘transgender persons’ in the Bill is at variance with the definitions recognised by
international bodies and experts in India.
 The Bill includes terms like ‘trans-men’, ‘trans-women’, persons with ‘intersex variations’ and
‘gender-queers’ in its definition of transgender persons. However, these terms have not been
defined.
 Certain criminal and personal laws that are currently in force only recognise the genders of
‘man’ and ‘woman’. It is unclear how such laws would apply to transgender persons who may
not identify with either of the two genders.

10-Parliament passes Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016
 The Bill seeks to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, which
prohibits the engagement of children in certain types of occupations and regulates the condition
of work of children in other occupations.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 4
 The Act prohibits employment of children below 14 years in certain occupations such as
automobile workshops, bidi-making, carpet weaving, handloom and power loom industry, mines
and domestic work. In light of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act,
2009, the Bill seeks to prohibit employment of children below 14 years in all occupations except
where the child helps his family after school hours.
 The Bill adds a new category of persons called “adolescent”. An adolescent means a person
between 14 and 18 years of age. The Bill prohibits employment of adolescents in hazardous
occupations as specified (mines, inflammable substance and hazardous processes).
 The central government may add or omit any hazardous occupation from the list included in the
Bill.
 The Bill enhances the punishment for employing any child in an occupation. It also includes
penalty for employing an adolescent in a hazardous occupation.
 The penalty for employing a child was increased to imprisonment between 6 months and two
years (from 3 months-one year) or a fine of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 (from Rs 10,000-20,000) or
both.
 The penalty for employing an adolescent in hazardous occupation is imprisonment between 6
months and two years or a fine of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 or both.
 The government may confer powers on a District Magistrate to ensure that the provisions of the
law are properly carried out.
 The Bill empowers the government to make periodic inspection of places at which employment
of children and adolescents are prohibited.
 The Bill is aligned with the statutes of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention. It
calls complete ban on child labour so they can get compulsory primary education in light of
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

11-WHO Report On The Health Workforce In India


 Only one in five doctors in rural India are qualified to practice medicine.
 The health workforce in India, based on 2001 Census data says nearly one-third of those calling
themselves allopathic doctors were educated only up to Class 12. Also, 57% of the practitioners
did not have any medical qualification.
 Medical Council of India (MCI) only maintains the data regarding registered medical
practitioners of Modern Medicine or Allopathic System of Medicine.
 At the national level, the density of doctors -- allopathic, ayurvedic, unani and homeopathic --
was 80 per 100,000 of the population and the number of nurses 61. The numbers compare
poorly with China -- 148 for doctors and 103 for nurses.

12-Rajya Sabha passes Mental Health Care Bill 2013


The Bill repeals the Mental Health Act, 1987.
The Statements of Objects and Reasons to the Bill, state the government ratified the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007. The Convention requires the laws of
the country to align with the Convention.
The key features of the Bill are:
 Rights of persons with mental illness: The right to access mental health care includes
affordable, good quality of and easy access to services, protection from inhuman and degrading
treatment, free legal services, access to their medical records, and complain regarding
deficiencies in provision of mental health care.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 5
 Advance Directive: A mentally-ill person shall have the right to make an advance directive that
states how he wants to be treated for the illness during a mental health situation and who his
nominated representative shall be.
 Central and State Mental Health Authority: These are administrative bodies are required to (a)
register, supervise and maintain a register of all mental health establishments,(b) develop
quality and service provision norms for such establishments, (c) maintain a register of mental
health professionals, (d) train law enforcement officials and mental health professionals on the
provisions of the Act, (e) receive complaints about deficiencies in provision of services, and (f)
advise the government on matters relating to mental health.
 Mental Health Establishments: Every mental health establishment has to be registered with the
relevant Central or State Mental Health Authority.
 Mental Health Review Commission and Board: The Mental Health Review Commission will be a
quasi-judicial body that will periodically review the use of and the procedure for making advance
directives and advise the government on protection of the rights of mentally ill persons.
 Decriminalising suicide and prohibiting electro-convulsive therapy: A person who attempts
suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be
punished under the Indian Penal Code. Electro-convulsive therapy is allowed only with the use
of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia. The therapy is prohibited for minors.

13- Hidden Hunger (Bio-fortification)


Hidden hunger is a form of under nutrition that occurs when intake and absorption of vitamins and
minerals (such as zinc, iodine, and iron) are too low to sustain good health and development in
children and normal physical and mental function in adults.
Causes include poor diet, disease, or increased micronutrient needs not met during pregnancy and
lactation.
Green revolution focused on increasing productivity of staple crops in order to reduce malnutrition.
However the intensified production of high-yielding cereal varieties may have both improved and
worsened nutrition. The increase in total output of food staples translated into a drop in the prices of
starchy staples relative to the prices of more micronutrient-rich non-staple foods, such as
vegetables and pulses. While staple cereals became more affordable, the prices of non-staple
foods in some countries rose, making micronutrient-rich foods less attractive to poor people.
Solutions to Hidden Hunger
Increasing dietary diversity
Commercial food fortification: common examples of fortification include adding B vitamins, iron,
and/or zinc to wheat flour and adding vitamin A to cooking oil and sugar.
Biofortification: a nutrition-specific intervention designed to enhance the micronutrient content of
foods through the use of agronomic practices and plant breeding.
Vitamin A supplementation is one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving child
survival.
Distribution of Iron and Folic Acid Tablets

14-Global Nutrition Report


 Published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
 Theme: From Promise to Impact: Ending Malnutrition by 2030
 The Global Nutrition Report highlights progress in combating malnutrition and identifies gaps
and proposes ways to fill them. Report helps to guide action, build accountability and spark
increased commitment for further progress towards reducing malnutrition much faster.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 6
 The World Health Organization(WHO) is a Global Nutrition Report Partner.

15-World Day against Child Labour: 12 June


 Organised by International Labour Organization (ILO).
 It focuses on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.
This year, the focus for World Day against Child Labour is on child labour and supply chains.
 To support businesses in their actions to remove child labour from their supply chains, the ILO
and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) have jointly created the Child Labour
Guidance Tool.

16- Maharashtra Government grants minority status to Jews


 The Jews have been a part of Indian society for over 2,300 years now.
 Maharashtra Cabinet approves minority status to Jew community.
 This decision will benefit students from these communities to avail scholarships from the state
government and setting up of educational institutions.
 According to 2001 Census, the number of Jews living in India was 4,650 with 2,466 of them
living in Maharashtra.
 At present, there are six notified minority communities in India - Muslims, Christians, Buddhists,
Sikhs, Parsis and Jains.

17- 11 July: World Population Day


World Population Day is observed on July 11 every year to raise awareness of global population
issues.
2016 Theme : “Investing in teenage girls”
History : World Population Day is observed on July 11 every year to raise awareness of global
population issues. On this date in 1989 world’s population reached approximate Five Billion.
The day was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) in 1989.
AIM : Observing the Day is aimed at highlighting the need is to pay attention towards reproductive
health problems of the community people as it is the leading cause of the ill-health as well as
deaths of pregnant women worldwide.

18- Kerala Government imposes 14.5 per cent fat tax on Junk Food
 Kerala Government has proposed a “Fat Tax” on fast food items like burgers, pizzas at 14.5%
tax on branded restaurants.
 In sync with the World Health Organization’s advocacy of using fiscal tools to promote healthy
eating.
 Meanwhile, the state government has also made consumption of ready-to-eat chapatis dearer
with the introduction of 5% tax on wheat products in packets. Along with this, 5% tax has been
imposed on packaged basmati rice and coconut oil.
 Disposable glasses made out of plastic are set to be taxed at a whopping 20%.
AIM : Discourage the junk food culture.
 Kerala has one of the highest numbers of patients of diabetes or hypertension in the country
caused due lifestyle changes.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 7
 Fat tax on junk food has been successfully imposed in European countries such as Denmark
and Hungary.
 In India Kerala isn’t the first state to impose so-called Fat tax. In January 2016, Bihar
government decided to impose a 13.5% value-added tax (VAT) on items such as salted
peanuts, samosas, sweets and a few branded snacks.

19- Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016


 The Rajya Sabha passed the amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act that seeks to provide 26
weeks of maternity leave to working women and 12 weeks to commissioning mothers and
introducing an enabling provision of "work from home" for nursing mother.
 In a step aimed at benefitting about 1.8 million women in the organised sector and increasing
the strength of the working women force.
 Once the new law is enacted, India will jump to third position in terms of the number of weeks
for maternity leave after Norway (44) and Canada (50).
 The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her
maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care for her child.
 The legislation will go a long way in ensuring that the future generations are healthier, a
woman's body needs to heal over a period of time. "It is a very stressful time for the mother,
who should be with the child".

20- Quit India Movement 2 against social evils


 Quit India 2 Swaraj to Suraj Movement against various social ills during commemoration of
Platinum Jubilee anniversary of the Quit India Movement launched by Maharashtra
Government.
 On 8th August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi had given the clarion call of Quit India at the historic
August Kranti Maidan, Mumbai.
 It would emphasize on freedom from social evils farmer suicide, illiteracy, wastage of water,
malnutrition, addiction among youth and corruption in order to achieve faster all-inclusive
progress on all fronts.

21. Union Government launches MAA, nation-wide breast feeding programme


 Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched MAA (Mothers Absolute Affection), a
flagship programme for promotion of breastfeeding.
 The Ministry has allocated 30 crore rupees for the Programme and 4.3 lakh rupees for each
district will be allotted for implementing the various activities under MAA programme.
 Around 20 percent newborn deaths and 13 percent under-five deaths can be prevented by
breastfeeding.
 The programme will be monitored by UNICEF and other partners.
 Unicef has roped in actor Madhuri Dixit as brand ambassador to promote breastfeeding.

22- Microsoft to design app for HRD Ministry’s SWAYAM platform


 The technology giant Microsoft is going to design mobile application for Union Human
Resources Development (HRD) Ministry’s SWAYAM platform.
Key feature:
SWAYAM : It stands for “Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds”

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 8
 Microsoft has been selected as the technical partner for HRD ministry's SWAYAM platform that
will launch 2,000 massive open online courses(MOOC).
 over three crore students will be benefited under this platform.
 After three years of launching the app, AICTE will take over the entire app from Microsoft.
 As per the sources, a deal of Rs 38 crore has been signed between Microsoft and All India
Council of Technical Education.

23. Ramayana & Krishna Circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme


 The first meeting of National Committee on Ramayan Circuit and Krishna Circuit, under
Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism (MoT), was recently held in New Delhi.
 AIM : The Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15 with an aim to develop theme based tourist
circuits in the country.
 Under Ramayana Circuit -
 11 destinations spread across 6 states have been proposed.
o The destinations covered under
 Uttar Pradesh: Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringhverpur & Chitrakoot,
 Bihar: Sitamarhi, Buxar & Darbhanga,
 Chattisgarh :Jagdalpur, Telangana : Bhadrachalam, Karnataka: Hampi and Tamil Nadu :
Rameshwaram
 Expert committee suggested including Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Nashik & Nagpur
(Maharashtra) and Mahendragiri (Odisha) in the proposed circuit.
 Under Krishna circuit -
 12 destinations spread across 5 states have been proposed. The destinations covered are (i)
Gujarat: Dwarka (ii) Rajasthan: Nathdwara, Jaipur and Sikar (iii) Uttar Pradesh: Mathura,
Vrindavan, Barsana, Gokul, Nandgaon and Govardhan (iv) Odisha:
 Under the scheme, 13 thematic circuits have been identified – North-East India circuit, Buddhist
Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco
Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.

24- VIDYANJALI SCHEME


 The HRD Ministry has launched an initiative called ‘Vidyanjali’ to encourage youngsters to
volunteer their services at any neighbourhood government school.
 This is sub-programme under SSA launched to enhance community and private sector
involvement in Government run elementary schools across the country under the overall aegis
of the SSA.
 Aim: To strengthen implementation of co-scholastic activities in government schools through
services of volunteers.
 So far 3306 Volunteers registered for the programme creating 10443 activities to be conducted
in schools, 841 Volunteers have gone to schools and conducted activities.
 Retired teachers, professionals government officials, defence personnel and women who are
home makes can also offer to help under this programme which has been started on a pilot
basis across 2,200 government schools in 21 states.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 9
25- GLOBAL GENDER GAP REPORT
 The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as a
framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress
over time.
 The study examines 144 countries across four standards of health, education, economic
opportunity and political empowerment.
 India ranks 87 in WEF gender gap report 2016.
 The rankings are designed to create global awareness of the challenges posed by gender gaps
and the opportunities created by reducing them.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 10
Polity
Scrapping the separate Rail Budget
 A panel headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy recommended that the integration of the
Railway Budget with the General Budget is a necessary move.
 The Constitution does not mandate the government to lay a separate railway budget," the latest
report said.
Bibek Debroy Committee
recommendation
The Bibek Debroy Committee is
a high level committee for
“Mobilization of Resources for
Major Railway Projects and
Restructuring of Railway Ministry
and Railway Board”.

 The panel argued that the rail budget has become an exercise to dispense popular measures
and have failed to address the "problem of under-investment".
 Following the recommendation of the Acworth Committee in 1920-21, headed by British railway
economist William Acworth ,The "Acworth Report" led to reorganisation of railways
 The railway finances were separated from the general government finances in 1921. After that
in 1924 the budget was announced, a practice that continued till 2016.
Office of Profit
 An office of profit means a position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or
advantage, or benefit. It may be an office or place of profit if it carries some remuneration,
financial advantage, benefit etc.
 The idea behind the concept of office of profit – which evolved in England – is to preserve the
independence of the legislature by keeping the members away from any temptations from the
executive that can come in the way of independent discharge of their duties.
 The term is used in Article 102 (1)(A) of the Indian Constitution. It refers to a post under
central/state government which yields salaries, perks and other benefits and bars a member of
the Indian Parliament from holding such an Office.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 11
 There is no law which defines the term “Office of Profit”. Therefore, one has to depend on the
decisions of the Supreme Court of India. Accordingly SC has given these conditions to
determine whether an office comes under office of profit or not.
1. The government makes the appointment
2. The government has the right to remove or dismiss the holder
3. The government pays the remuneration
4. The holder performs the functions for the government
5. The Government exercises control over the performance of those functions.
Issue of Parliamentary secretary in Delhi
 A Parliamentary secretary is a member of a Parliament in the Westminster system, who assists
a more senior minister with his or her duties.
 In Delhi, CM Arvind Kejiriwal appointed 21 Parliamentary secretaries to his cabinet, which
already has 7 ministers. To prevent their appointment becoming invalid, he sought to amend the
“Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of the Disqualification) Act, 1997”.
 President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the amendment, which sought to make the position
of Parliamentary Secretary in the Delhi Assembly exempt from the definition of “Office of Profit.
 As per Article 239AA of the Constitution of India, The total number of ministers in the Council of
Ministers in a Union Territory shall not exceed ten percent of the Total number of the members
of the Legislative assembly.
 As per Article 191 of the Constitution of India, A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as
member of Legislative assembly or Legislative council if, inter-alia, he hold an “Office of Profit”
of the government.
 The Delhi High Court has set aside the order of the Arvind Kejriwal government appointing 21 of
the party’s MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.
Rejection of three Manipur Bills by President
 President Pranab Mukherjee returned three bills the Manipur Assembly had passed. The
contentious bills were the Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue (7th Amendment) Bill,
2015, the Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Manipur
Protection of Peoples Bill, 2015.
 The controversy is related to The Inner Line of Permit. Since Manipur is not officially a tribal
state, there are constitutional challenges to implementing the ILP system. The ILP is a special
permit required to enter certain restricted areas in the country. The system is already in force in
Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
 Had these biils got implemented strictly, many of the hill people (the Kukis and the Nagas) could
have found themselves declared non-Manipuris since the bill requires a person to have been
enumerated in all three registers — the National Register of Citizens, 1951, the Census Report
1951, and the Village Directory of 1951.
 Given the deep division between the hill and valley people on the issue, it was a right decision
on the part of the president to return the bills back for re-examination by legal and constitutional
experts.
Swachh Yug: Gram Panchayats along the Ganga to be made Open Defecation Free
 The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in partnership with Ministry of Youth Affairs and
Sports, and Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, is
intensifying support to the five States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West
Bengal, to make all villages along the banks of the Ganga Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 12
 The campaign, being a collaborative effort between the Swachh Bharat Mission, local youth
leaders (युवा) and the Namami Gange project (गं गा) - is being called ‘Swachh यु -ग’, which
translates into ‘the age of Swachh’.
 In addition to the monetary incentive offered by the government under the Swachh Bharat
Mission, extensive interpersonal behaviour change communication training will be given to local
trainers through a network of virtual classrooms across the 5 Ganga States.
Ammendment to the Citizenship Act,1955
 Amendments to citizenship law that will exempt minority citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh
who have come to India out of fear of religious persecution from being tagged as illegal
migrants.
 The changes to the Citizenship Act, 1955, will give a legal path to the refugees to remain in
India and even claim citizenship.
 As per the proposed amendments to Citizenship Act, December 31, 2014 will be designated as
the cut-off date for eligibility for citizenship.
 The move stands to benefit nearly 2 lakh Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh who often
complain they are treated as “second-class citizens” and are vulnerable to violence.
New print media advertisement policy
 The Information and broadcasting ministry has framed a new print media advertisement policy
introducing a "marking system" to incentivize newspapers which have better professional
standing and who get their circulation verified.
 The marking system is based on six objective criteria. Advertisements shall be released by
DAVP to newspapers based on marks obtained by the publication.
It involves certification by RNI(Registrar of Newspapers for India) or ABC(Association of Boards
of Certification) if circulation exceeds 45,000 copies per publishing day and for circulation up to
45,000 copies per publishing day certificate from cost or chartered accountant, statutory auditor
certificate or ABC is mandated.

Reduced budget for Panchayati Raj Ministry


 After the BJP government closed two of its key programmes — the Backward Regions Grants
Fund (BRGF) and the Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan (RGPSA), the Panchayti
Raj ministry is soon to be turned into a department under Ministry of Rural Development.
 With no funds in hands, the ministry is acting like an advisory body. Also, in view of the budget
cuts, the Ministry recently realigned. Its mandate from financing panchayats to capacity-building
and training.
 Ministry of Panchayati Raj looks into all matters relating of Panchayati Raj and Panchayati Raj
Institutions. It was created in May 2004.
 Ministry of Panchayati Raj is responsible for the work of advocacy for and monitoring of the
implementation of Constitution 73rd Amendment Act the Provisions of the Panchayats.
Privilege Motion
 A notice for a privilege motion has been given in the Rajya Sabha against Congress MPs
Jairam Ramesh and Renuka Chowdhury for allegedly misbehaving with Union Minister
Harsimrat Badal.
 Article 105 of the Indian Constitution, deals with the 'Parliamentary Privileges' enjoyed by the
Parliament as a whole, and Members of Parliament (MPs) in their individual capacity.
 When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of
privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 13
 Some of the privileges are: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the public to publish parliamentary
proceedings, Power of the Parliament to arbitrate its own proceedings etc.
Mhadei River water tribunal
 Mhadei river has a length of 77 km, 29 km of which lies in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa. It
originates from a cluster of 30 springs at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in the Belgaum district
of Karnataka.Mhadei is also known by the name Mandovi in Goa.
 The Mahadayi water-sharing dispute has the states of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka fighting
for water from the Mahadayi river.
 Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) was enacted by the parliament of India
under Article 262 of Constitution to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use,
control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.
 Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) Interim Order , the tribunal headed by J.N. Panchal
Rejected Karnataka’s plea for diversion of 7 tmcft of water from the river to the Malaprabha
basin.
 The tribunal gave a number of reasons such as ecological concerns in Goa,costs of
submersible pumps and wildlife concerns.
 The tribunal’s interim order signals a halt to Karnataka’s Kalasa-Banduri Nala project which is
intended to utilise water from the Mahadayi river for drinking purposes in Hubballi-Dharwad and
the districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
National Medical Commission Bill
 The bill seeks to repeal Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and be replaced by a body called
National Medical Commission(NMC).
 NMC will become the main regulatory body and will take over all roles and responsibilities of the
Medical Council of India.
Medical Council of India(MCI)
The Medical Council of India (MCI) is a apex body to establish and maintain high standards of
medical education and recognition of medical qualifications in India. It is a statutory body
(formed by an act of parliament) aimed to protect and promote the health and safety of the public
by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. The Medical Council of India was first
established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933. The Council was later
reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced the earlier Act.
The objectives of the Council are as follows:-
a- Maintenance of uniform standards of medical education, both undergraduate and postgraduate.
b- Recommendation for recognition/de-recognition of medical qualifications of medical institutions of
India or
foreign countries.
c- Permanent registration/provisional registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications,
d- Reciprocity with foreign countries in the matter of mutual recognition of medical qualifications.

Members of MCI
The Council was superseded by the President of India and its functions entrusted to a Board of
Governors.

 The bill seeks to constitute a Medical Advisory Council which will advise the NMC on various
issues.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 14
 NMC will have eminent doctors and experts from related fields to suggest the direction that
should be given to medical education in the country so as to ensure that the quality of education
is at par with global standards.
 The Bill also has provisions related to periodic assessment of institutions, encouraging
research, ensures that medical institutions are flexible enough to adopt changing needs, ethical
issues.
SC ends Impunity for Armed Forces in Disturbed Areas
 Every death caused by the armed forces in a disturbed area, whether the victim is a dreaded
criminal or a militant or a terrorist or an insurgent, should be thoroughly enquired into .
 The judgment came on a plea by hundreds of families in the north-eastern State of Manipur for
a probe by a Special Investigation Team into 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters involving
the Army and the police.
 Its a blow to the immunity enjoyed by security personnel under the Armed Forces (Special
Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) against criminal action for acts committed in disturbed areas.
 The SC said there is no concept of absolute immunity from trial by a criminal court if an Army
man has committed an offence. Alleged enemy is a citizen of our country entitled to all
fundamental rights including under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act
 Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant
special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what each act terms "disturbed areas.
 The Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance of 1942 was promulgated by the British on 15
August 1942 to suppress the Quit India Movement.
 On the lines of this ordinance, the Government of India promulgated four ordinances in 1947 to
deal with internal security issues arising due to partition in Bengal, Assam, East Bengal and
United Provinces.
 The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was enacted in 1958 to bring under control what the
government of India considered ‘disturbed’ areas. Presently it is in force in the states of Assam,
Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and J&K.
 Governor of the State and Central Government are empowered to declare any part or full of any
state as disturbed area.
 Section 4 of the act gives special powers such as shoot(to even kill) to army officers in
disturbed area. The only condition is that the officer has to give warning before opening fire.
 Section 6 provides immunity to officers so any prosecution requires prior sanction of the Central
Government.
11th Inter State Council Meeting held after a gap of 10 years
 Article 263 for the establishment of an ISC for effective coordination between the states and
was first setup on the recommendations of Sarkaria commission on 28 May 1990.
 It is not a permanent Constitutional Body and can be established at nay time President thinks to
be fit. .ISC is supposed to meet thrice a year but in 26 years it has met just 11 times.
 PM acts as the ex officio chairman with cabinet ranked Union ministers and CMs of states and
union territories as other members.
 In the latest meeting , issues related to AADHAR for DBT, Punchhi commission
recommendations ,quality of school education and internal security were discussed.
Persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh to get faster benefits
 persecuted” minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh living in India on long-term
visas can now take up self-employment, buy property, open bank accounts and get driving
licenses’, PAN card and Aadhaar.

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 Many members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities have come
to India fearing persecution in their home countries.
 Measures such as waiver of late application penalty, reduced fees for registration of citizenship,
easier norms for Long term Visas, etc have been taken.
 Powers for such registration and related issues have been delegated to the District Collectors of
the states such residents are present.
SC accepts Lodha Committee Recommendations
 Barring ministers and civil servants and those above 70 years of age from becoming BCCI
members. An office-bearer of BCCI cannot hold a post for more than three years.
 Parliament to decide whether BCCI should come under the Right to Information Act (RTI) and
the issue of legalizing betting. There should be a player’s association in the BCCI.
 Disallowing BCCI office-bearer from holding dual posts simultaneously i.e. in a state cricket
association and in the BCCI.
 Each state should have only one vote. states with more than one associations to have rotational
voting rights. Member of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to be included in the
BCCI’s governing council.
Multiple life sentences will be served concurrently and not consecutively:SC
 Like any human being, a convict too has only one life and cannot serve consecutive sentences
of life imprisonment, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held.
 Logic behind life sentences not running consecutively lies in the fact that imprisonment for life
implies imprisonment till the end of the normal life of the convict,” Chief Justice Thakur observed
in the verdict for the Bench.
 Interpreting Section 31 (sentence in cases of conviction of several offences at one trial) of the
Criminal Procedure Code, the Constitution Bench clarified that two or more life sentences have
to run concurrently and not consecutively.

Speaker’s power to Disqualify Members


 A Speaker should refrain from deciding the disqualification of MLAs for defection under the
Tenth Schedule of the Constitution if he himself is facing the prospect of removal, the Supreme
Court has held.
 The court was discussing Speaker Nabam Rebia’s disqualification of 14 legislators of Arunachal
Pradesh assembly when a resolution against his own removal was pending.
 Article 179(c) provides that a Speaker (or Deputy Speaker) “may be removed from his office by
a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly”.
 The judgment points to the phrase “all the then members of the Assembly” to conclude that the
composition of legislators should remain the very same while deciding whether a majority in the
House wants the Speaker to continue or not.
Delhi HC says L-G is Delhi’s Administrative Head
 Delhi High Court held that the Lieutenant Governor was its “administrative head”.
 The High Court also set aside the AAP government’s contention that the L-G was supposed to
act “only on the aid and advice of the Ministers”.
 It also held that “The matters connected with 'Services' fall outside the purview of the Legislative
Assembly of NCT of Delhi.
 The HC also held that Delhi continues to be a Union Territory even after the Constitution (69th
Amendment) Act, 1991 inserting Article 239AA making special provisions with respect to Delhi.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 16
Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) to protect Good Samaritans and Bystanders
 Affidavit “Good Samaritan”, a person who voluntarily declares himself to be an eyewitness,
shall be treated by the investigating officer as a final statement.
 The crux of the guidelines is that no bystander rushing to the rescue of an accident victim
should be subject to civil or criminal liability and/or be forced to be a witness.
 Complete anonymity in case the Good Samaritan does not want to reveal his name or details.
 SOPs as laid down by the court under Article 32 (right to constitutional remedies), read with
Article 142, is binding on the Union Territories and the States.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 17
Economy Issues
1- HDFC issues world’s first Masala bond listing in LSE
 Why in news?
HDFC Ltd, the country’s largest private sector mortgage lender, plans to raise Rs.3,000 crore
through synthetic bonds, the first ever by an Indian company.
 The corporation is the first Indian public issuer of synthetic INR notes.
 The synthetic notes are in the nature of rupee denominated bonds i.e. Masala bond as per
applicable Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.
 Masala Bonds are rupee-denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers. The rupee-
denominated bonds or masala bonds are instruments through which Indian entities can raise
funds by accessing overseas capital markets, while the bond investors hold the currency risk.
But How?
They are issued to foreign investors and settled in US dollars. Hence the currency risk lies with the
investor and not the issuer, unlike external commercial borrowings (ECBs), where Indian
companies raise money in foreign currency loans.
 The opening of the 'masala bond' market globally will support the Indian company and
infrastructure financing.
 The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, issued
bond to fund infrastructure projects in India.

2- India Post Payment Bank launched


 The government launched the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), a basic financial services
facility, as a pilot in Raipur and Ranchi with plans to scale it up to 650 branches by the end of
September,2017.
 Payments banks can accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh per account from individuals and small
businesses.
 These new banks will focus on providing basic financial services, including payments of all
sorts, including social security and utility bill payments, remittance services, current and saving
accounts with a balance of up to Rs1 lakh; distribution of insurance, mutual funds and pension
products, and acting as business correspondent to other banks for credit products, especially in
rural areas and among the underserved segments of the population.

 IPPB will offer three distinct accounts to its customers: Safal, the regular account; Sugam, a
basic savings bank deposit account (BSBDA); and Saral, BSBDA-Small.
 All three bank account options will request its customers to make a Rs100 initial minimum
deposit, with no minimum balance requirements.
 Both Safal and Sugam need KYC (know your customer) details for verification and minimum
age of 10 years.
 Saral can be opened by anyone above the age of 10 years without KYC.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 18
Difference Small Bank Payment Bank

Eligibility Professionals with 10 years in Card Issuers, Finance Companies,


financial services or promoter Business Correspondents, Telecom
group with 5 year track record. Companies, Retailers etc.

Capital Rs. 100 Crore Equity Capital Rs. 100 Crore Equity Capital
Requirement

Scope of Providing basic banking facilities to Accept Deposits, Issue Debit Cards,
Activity poor and small businessmen Remittance services. Can not issue
credit cards

Promoter Promoter’s initial contribution Promoters should retain a 40%


Contribution should be 40% lowered to 26% in stake for first five years.
12 years.

3- UPI becomes operational


 Why in news?
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced that bank applications for the Unified
Payment Interface(UPI) have officially become operational, which means that UPI apps of banks
can now be downloaded and used for transactions.
About NPCI
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail
payments system in India.
It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian
Banks’ Association (IBA).

 UPI is a payment system that allows money transfer between any two bank accounts by using a
smartphone.
 UPI allows a customer to pay directly from a bank account to different merchants, both online
and offline, without the hassle of typing credit card details, IFSC code, or net banking/wallet
passwords..
 It is safe as the customers only share a virtual address and provide no other sensitive
information.
 The per transaction limit is Rs.1 lakh.

6- Establishment of Fund of Funds for funding support to Start-ups


 The Cabinet has approved the establishment of ‘Fund of Funds for Startups’ (FFS) at Small
Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for contribution to various Alternative Investment
Funds (AIF), registered with SEBI which would extend funding support to startups in line with
the ‘Startup India Action Plan’.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 19
What is Startup?
A startup company is an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-
growing business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing or offering an innovative
product, process or service.
A startup is usually a company such as a small business, a partnership or an organization
designed to rapidly develop a scalable business model.
 FFS would encompass support at seed stage, early stage and growth stage.
 The Rs 10,000 corpus shall be built up over the 14th and 15th Finance Commission cycles,
subject to progress of the scheme and availability of funds.

7- Sebi issues stricter KYC, disclosure regime for P-Notes


 The markets regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) has put in place a
stricter KYC (Know Your Customer) norms and disclosure regime for Participatory Notes (P-Notes).

 What are P-Notes?


P-Notes are offshore/overseas derivative instruments (ODIs) issued by registered foreign
institutional investors (FII) to overseas investors.
They provide easier and cost-effective route to foreign investors to invest in Indian markets without
directly registering as Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs).

8- Cabinet increases the limit for foreign investment in Stock Exchanges from 5% to 15%
 The Union Cabinet has given its approval for raising foreign shareholding limit from 5% to 15%
in Indian Stock Exchanges for a stock exchange, a depository, a banking company, an
insurance company, a commodity derivative exchange.
 The move will help in enhancing global competitiveness of Indian stock exchanges by
accelerating/facilitating the adoption of latest technology and global best practices which will
lead to overall growth and development of the Indian Capital Market.

9- Arvind Subramanian committee to tackle the shortage of pulses


 The Union government established a committee to consider increasing the Minimum Support
Price (MSP) and the bonus for pulses, a move that could promote pulses farming.
 The committee headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, and it would consider
a reasonable increase in the MSP for pulses and bonus for farmers for growing the crops.
 In a move to contain the shortage of pulse, the government also decided to increase the buffer
stock of pulses to 20 lakh tonnes from the current eight lakh tonnes.

11- Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A)


 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued guidelines called Scheme for Sustainable
Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A).
 Aim of these guidelines-
(a) To strengthen the lenders’ ability to deal with stressed assets
(b) Put real assets back on track of entities facing genuine difficulties by providing an avenue for
reworking financial structure.
 The S4A is an optional framework for the resolution of large stressed accounts.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 20
 The S4A envisages determination of sustainable debt level of a stressed borrower and bifurcate
outstanding debt into sustainable debt and equity/quasi-equity instruments.

12- CBDT inks 7 Advance Pricing Agreements to cut tax litigation


 The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed seven unilateral Advance Pricing
Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers to reduce tax litigation.
 What is Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)?
An advance pricing agreement (APA) is an ahead-of-time agreement between a taxpayer and a tax
authority on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology (TPM) for a set of transactions at issue
over a fixed period of time.
 It seeks to introduce certainty in tax law by reducing compliance costs and make tax regime
investment friendly.
 In Indian context, APAs seeks to give-
(i) Boost to economy and ease of doing business
(ii) Provide alternative path to the investors with rollback provision to reduce litigation
(iii) Strengthen Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.

13- BRICS Bank issued first Yuan denominated bond


 The New Development Bank of the BRICS countries issued its first Yuan-denominated bonds to
finance sustainable development project.
 The NDB is planning to release more bonds in local currencies including in Indian Rupee .
 The NDB’s first five-year yuan-denominated bonds (or green bonds) will be issued after
receiving a rating from international ratings agencies as well as getting authorities’ approval.
 The Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) has been founded by Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa (BRICS). It is headed by eminent Indian banker K V Kamath.

14- INFLATION TARGETING


 India adopted an inflation(CPI based) target of 4% for next five years under the monetary policy
framework.
 Inflation targeting is in line with the government's focus on macroeconomic stability to boost
growth while keeping prices in check.
 The Government fixes inflation target at 4 per cent with upper tolerance level of 6 per cent and
lower limit of 2 per cent.
 What is Inflation targeting?
Inflation targeting refers to the monetary policy strategy where an inflation target is set and policy
formulation is done in such a way so as to achieve that specified target.
 Monetary Policy Committee-
1. A 6-member monetary policy committee is to be setup to decide key policy rates.
2. The panel will have three members from RBI. They are the governor, deputy governor and
another officer.
3. The other three members will be decided by the centre based on the recommendations of a
panel headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
4. The RBI governor will have a vote in case of a tie.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 21
15- Union Government approves 100% FDI in Aviation, Defence and e-commerce sectors
 The Union Government has eased foreign direct
investment (FDI) norms for nine sectors to give
impetus to job creation and ease of doing
business in the country.
 With these changes, India becomes most open
economy in the world for FDI.

 FDI Reforms in various sectors :


(1) Defence sector-
Under the new reforms foreign investment in
defence sector beyond 49 per cent (and upto 100
per cent) has been permitted through the
government approval route, in cases resulting in
access to modern technology in the country or for
other reasons. Previously FDI limit in defence sector
was 49%.
(2) Pharmaceutical Sector-
The government has permitted up to 74 per cent
FDI under automatic route in existing pharmaceutical ventures. FDI allowed- (1) In Brown Field
Pharma = upto 100% under government approval (2) Govt. allowed 100% ownership in Green
Pharma Business
(3) Food products-
100% FDI under government approval route has been approved.
It will include trading in food products including through e-commerce, in respect of food products
manufactured or produced in India.
(4) Aviation Sector-
The government has allowed 100 per cent FDI in airlines compared with 49 per cent now.
Up to 49 per cent FDI will be allowed under the automatic route and more than that after
government permission.
The FDI limit for Brownfield airports has been raised to 100 per cent from 74 per cent, opening up
the possibility of overseas acquisitions of existing facilities for development.
 FDI continues to be prohibited in :
Atomic energy, Lottery, Gambling, Real Estate and Real Estate Investments Trusts (REIT) and
Railways Operations.
 Automatic route: By this route FDI is allowed without prior approval by Government or Reserve
Bank of India.
 Government route: Prior approval by government is needed via this route. Foreign Investment
Promotion Board is the responsible agency to oversee this route.

17- Grid of national highway corridors to improve road connectivity


 The National Highway Authority of India proposed a ‘National Highway Grid.’
 The grid will include 27 horizontal and vertical highway corridors spread across the country.
 The corridors, that will crisscross and connect with each other, will be spaced at a distance of
250 kilometres.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 22
 The grid will connect 12 major ports, 26 state capitals and more than 45 cities. It is expected to
be 36,000 kms long.

18- Krishi Kalyan Cess


 The finance minister proposed the Krishi Kalyan Cess (KKC) in the February 2016 Budget.
 With effect from June 1, KKC adds on another 0.5 per cent to service tax.
 What is it?
Amounts collected via cess are meant be segregated in government accounts and used for a
specific purpose. The KKC is based on the idea that levying a cess on a thriving sector service
sector (58% of GDP) of the economy can help fund a lifeline to a sector that is in distress
(Agriculture).
 KKC is not calculated on service tax, but on the total value of the service that is being provided.
 KKC is levied, charged, collected and paid to the government independent of service taxes. It is
not applicable on services mentioned in the 'negative list' and 'mega exemption list'.

19- Development of Port-Rail Connectivity Projects approved under Sagarmala Programme


 Sagarmala is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping for promoting port-led
development in India.

 4 major objectives of the programme -


(i) Port Modernization & New Port Development,

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 23
(ii) Port Connectivity Enhancement,
(iii) Port-led Industrialization and
(iv) Coastal Community Development.
 The Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL), which has been incorporated by the Ministry
of Shipping, would take up the projects after prioritizing them.

20- Cabinet gives ‘in-principle’ nod to set up port in TN


 The Centre gave its ‘in-principle’ approval to set up the country’s 13th major port at Enayam,
near Colachel in Tamil Nadu.
 The new port at Enayam will reduce the logistics cost for exporters and importers in south India
who currently depend on trans-shipment in Colombo or other ports leading to additional port
handling charges.
 India has 12 major ports at present — Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Managlore,
Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V.O. Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including
Haldia).
 Classification of Indian ports into major and minor is on the basis of administrative significance.
Major Port Minor Port
The ports administered by Union Shipping The ports managed by other relevant
Ministry are called major ports. departments are called minor ports.

21- Draft policy for Second Generation Ethanol


 Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced come out with draft policy for 2nd
generation ethanol.
 What is second generation ethanol ?
Second-generation biofuels, also known as advanced biofuels, can be produced by using biomass
consisting of the unused (Ligno-) cellulosic plant parts such as stems, leaves and husks.
First Generation Ethanol-
The first generation biofuels refer to the fuels that have been derived from sources like starch,
sugar, animal fats and vegetable oil. The oil is obtained using the conventional techniques of
production. Example- Bio-diesel, Vegetable oil, Bio Gas, Bio alcohol, Syngas.
Third Generation Biofuels
Third generation biofuel refers to biofuel derived from algae. Algae are capable of much higher
yields with lower resource inputs than other feedstock.
The list of fuels that can be derived from algae includes:
 Biodiesel
 Butanol
 Gasoline
 Methane
 Ethanol
 Vegetable Oil
 Jet Fuel

22- Skill Bank to train workers for global market


 Why in news?
The government is setting up 50 global skill banks this year to train potential immigrant workers in
110 job roles as per international standards.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 24
 These banks, or training centres, will impart skills across sectors such as medicine and
healthcare, hospitality, IT, construction, automobile and retail trade — where job opportunities
exist or are likely to arise across different countries.
 Before they emigrate, youth trained in these skill banks would also be made familiar with the
respective local culture and language of the country they obtain a job in as well as its work ethic.

23- National Committee on Trade Facilitation(NCTF) constituted to develop the pan-India


road map for trade facilitation.
 The Government of India has constituted an inter-ministerial NCTF, a body headed by the
cabinet secretary to oversee the implementation of the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement
(TFA) ratified in April 2016.
Trade Facilitation Agreement
Trade facilitation—the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import
processes— emerged as an important issue for the world trading system.
WTO members concluded negotiations at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference on the
landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force on 22 February 2017
following its ratification by two-thirds of the WTO membership.
The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods,
including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and
other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

 The objective behind setting up the NCTF is to have a national level body that will facilitate
domestic co-ordination and implementation of TFA provisions.
 It will play the lead role in developing the pan-India road map for trade facilitation.

24- Nuclear plants insured


 India’s first insurance policy covering public liability to an atomic power plant operator has been
issued to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
 The policy complies with all the provisions of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLND).
 The Central government had announced in June 2015 the setting up of the Rs.1,500-crore India
Nuclear Insurance Pool to be managed by national reinsurer GIC(General Insurance
Corporation of India) Re.
 The policy would cover the liability towards public as a consequence of any nuclear accident in
the plants covered under the policy and also the right of recourse of NPCIL against equipment
suppliers.

25- SURYAMITRA
 In order to create more professionals in the field of solar energy, Ministry of New and
Renewable Energy funded the SURYAMITRA Programme to train future solar energy
technicians.
 The solar skill development programme, named “Suryamitra”,has been launched under Ministry
of New and Renewable Energy.
 Suryamitra mobile application-
National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), an autonomous institute under the Ministry, has launched
a mobile application to provide users information about technicians.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 25
 To achieve and maintain the target of 100 GW solar power plants for 25 years, India requires
about 6.5 lakh personnel, trained in solar energy sector (estimated by CII). This course is
designed and oriented as per requirement of solar industry.

26- Rajya Sabha passes The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014
 The Bill amends the Constitution to introduce the goods and services tax (GST).
 Goods and Services Tax-
GST is integration of most of
the indirect taxes at union
ans state level horizontally as
well as vertically.
 Parliament and state
legislatures will have
concurrent powers to make
laws on GST. Only the
centre may levy an
integrated GST (IGST) on
the interstate supply of
goods and services, and
imports.
 Alcohol for human consumption has been exempted from the purview of GST.
 GST will apply to five petroleum products at a later date.
 The GST Council will recommend rates of tax, period of levy of additional tax, principles of
supply, special provisions to certain states etc.
 The GST Council will consist of the Union Finance Minister, Union Minister of State for
Revenue, and state Finance Ministers.
 The Bill empowers the centre to impose an additional tax of up to 1%, on the inter-state supply
of goods for two years or more. This tax will accrue to states from where the supply originates.
 Parliament may, by law, provide compensation to states for any loss of revenue from the
introduction of GST, up to a five year period.

27- Government to universalise the use of Public Financial Management System (PFMS)
 The government has decided to universalise the use of Public Financial Management System
(PFMS) for all transactions or payments under the Central Sector Schemes.
 It will facilitate just-in-time releases and monitor the usage of funds including information on its
ultimate utilization.
 About PFMS-
PFMS is a web-based online transaction system for fund management and e-payment to
implementing agencies and beneficiaries.
The primary objective of PFMS is to establish an efficient fund flow system and expenditure
network.
PFMS also provides various stakeholders with a reliable and meaningful management information
system and an effective decision support system.
PFMS, administered by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance is an end-to-end
solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting.
 It provides the scheme managers a unified platform for tracking releases and monitoring their
last mile utilization.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 26
28- World Bank cuts global growth forecast to 2.4%

 The World Bank in its Global Economic Prospects report has cut global growth forecast to 2.4%
in 2016 and at 2.8% in 2017.

29- India ranks second on GRD index on ease of doing business


 India has moved 13 positions to rank 2nd among 30 developing countries in 2016 on ease of
doing business and China is topped in the list.
 About Global Retail Development Index(GRDI)
The Global Retail Development Index is an annual study that ranks the top 30developing countries
for retail expansion worldwide.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 27
The Index analyzes 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables to help retailers devise
successful global strategies and to identify developing market investment opportunities.
 GRDI listed top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide.

30- India ranks 10th in FDI inflows: UNCTAD report


 Theme- Investor Nationality: Policy Challenges
India continues to be among the top ten countries in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows
globally and the fourth in developing Asia, as per the World Investment Report 2016 by the United

Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

31- WTO launches new World Trade Outlook Indicator


 The WTO has launched a new World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) designed to provide “real
time” information on trends in global trade.
 The WTOI was unveiled in Shanghai, China on 8 July, ahead of a meeting of G20 trade
ministers.
 Combining a variety of trade-related indices, the WTOI is designed to give an early signal of the
current direction of world trade and where it is likely to go in the near future.
 A reading of 100 would indicate trade growth in line with recent trends, a reading greater than
100 would suggest above trend growth, while a reading below 100 indicates below trend growth.
 The WTOI will be updated on a quarterly basis.

32- Logistics Performance Index, 2016 : World Bank Report


 The index was published in the World Bank bi-annual report.
 Theme- ‘Connecting to Compete 2016: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy’.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 28
 Among 160 countries India ranked 35th.
 Top 5 countries in 2016 LPI:
Germany (score: 4.23 points), Luxembourg (4.22), Sweden (4.20), Netherlands (4.19) and
Singapore (4.14).
For the third time, Germany has topped in LPI.
 India has increased its LPI score to 3.42 compared to LPI score of 3.08 in 2014.

33- India ranked 105th on WEF's Human Capital Index


 India has been ranked 105th out of 130 countries on the World Economic Forum's Human
Capital Index, which measures countries’ ability to nurture, develop and deploy talent for
economic growth.
 The report was released by Geneva-WEF in the Chinese city of Tianjin at its Annual Meeting of
New Champions which is also known as `Summer Davos’ summit.
 Top 10 Countries in 2016 HCI:
Finland (1st position), Norway (2nd), Switzerland (3rd), Japan (4th), Sweden (5th), New Zealand
(6th), Denmark (7th), Netherlands (8th), Canada (9th) and Belgium (10th).
 India is ranked lowest among BRICS countries as against Russia (28th), China (71st), Brazil
(83rd) and South Africa (8th).
 India has got better rankings HCI’s indicators such as quality of education system (39th), staff
training (46th) and ease of finding skilled employees (45th).

34- Annual Networked Readiness Index 2016: WEF


 India is ranked the lowest (91st) with Russia retaining the top place at 41st rank, followed by
China at 59th (up three places), South Africa up 10 places at 65th and Brazil moving up to 72nd
position.

 Others in the top-ten are Sweden, Norway, the US, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK,
Luxembourg and Japan.
 India's position on the list has come down for the fourth year in a row, from 89th in 2015, 83rd in
2014 and 68th in 2013.
 The index, forming part of the WEF's Global Information Technology Report, measures
countries' success in creating the conditions necessary for a transition to a digitised economy
and society.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 29
International Relations

1- Colombia and FARC rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict
 The Colombian government and the leftist FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)
rebels signed a historic ceasefire and disarmament agreement.
 This deal puts a definitive end to the longest civil war in Latin America.
 It was signed in presence of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, FARC leader Timoleon
Jimenez and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon at a ceremony held in Havana, Cuba.
 Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos accepted the Nobel Peace prize,2016 for this historic
deal with FARC.
 FARC is Colombia’s largest rebel group and Latin America’s oldest left-wing insurgency. It was
established in 1964 as a communist-inspired peasant army fighting to reduce the gulf dividing
rich and poor and land reform for equality in the Andean country.

2- SCO summit 2016 begins in Tashkent, Uzbekistan


 The 2016 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit started in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
 The 2-day meeting of heads of state of SCO is being conducted under the presidency of
Uzbekistan.
 In this summit, India and Pakistan signed a memorandum of obligation for obtaining SCO
member states status. The acceptance process will take some months, by which they are
expected to become full members by the next meeting at Astana in 2017.
 Issues related to strengthen stability and security in Central Asia was undertaken in the summit.
 SCO is a Eurasian economic, political and military organisation headquartered in Beijing,China.
 Established: 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders 6 countries viz. China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan,
Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
 It is an outcome of The Shanghai Five grouping established in 1996 by Kazakhstan, China,
Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
 Currently Member States- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
 Acceding States - India & Pakistan

3- India becomes 35th member of Missile Technology Control Regime


 India became the 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which will
enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures.
 MTCR aims at restricting the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air
vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogramme
payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of
mass destruction (WMD).
 MTCR - Informal and voluntary association of countries that works toward the non-proliferation
of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and seeks to
coordinate national export licensing efforts.
 It was originally set up in 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the
United States.
 China, Pakistan, Israel and Iran have not yet joined the voluntary regime.
 Admission to the MTCR would open the way for India to buy high-end missile technology, also
making more realistic its aspiration to buy state-of-the-art surveillance drones.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 30
 The MTCR membership will provide a boost to India's space and missile technology, besides
the government's Make in India initiative.
 WASSENAAR Agreement-
The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and
Technologies, commonly known as the Wassenaar Arrangement, is a multilateral export control
regime (MECR) with 41 participating states including many former COMECON (Warsaw Pact)
countries.
The Wassenaar Arrangement has been established in order to contribute to regional and
international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers
of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising
accumulations.
 AUSTRALIA GROUP
The Australia Group (AG) is an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of
export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or
biological weapons.
The group, initially consisting of 15 members, held its first meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in
September 1989. With the incorporation of Mexico on August 12, 2013, it now has 42
members,including the European Commission, all 28 member states of the European
Union, Ukraine, and Argentina.
The name comes from Australia's initiative to create the group. Australia manages the secretariat.
 NSG(NUCLEAR SUPPLIER GROUP)
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute
to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for
nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
The NSG was founded in response to the Indian nuclear test in May 1974 and first met in
November 1975.
It has also been referred to as the London Group, or the London Suppliers Group. The name of the
"London Club" was due to the series of meetings in London.
The NSG Guidelines also contain the so-called “Non-Proliferation Principle,” adopted in 1994,
whereby a supplier, notwithstanding other provisions in the NSG Guidelines, authorises a transfer
only when satisfied that the transfer would not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
As of 2014 NSG has 48 members.
2016/2017 NSG Chair Country: Republic of Korea
The European Commission and the Chair of the Zangger Committee participate as observers.

4- India, Namibia sign two MoUs


 India and Namibia have signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) during the final leg
of President Pranab Mukherjee’s three-nation African visit.
 The two signed MoUs include- (1) MoU on Capacity building for civil servants of Namibia.
 (2) Mou on setting up of centre of excellence in Information and Communication Technology
(ICT).
 CIVIL NUCLEAR DEAL- Later in the delegation level talks, Namibia has invited Indian
companies to directly mine Uranium from the country.
 However, it has asked India to enter into similar nuclear agreements it has reached with other
countries in order to convince the member-states of the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone
Treaty (ANWFZT) which is also known as Pelindaba treaty.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 31
 The Pelindaba Treaty signed in 1996, also known as the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone
Treaty, aims at preventing nuclear proliferation and preventing strategic minerals of Africa from
being exported freely.

5- Mahashangarh declared as the SAARC cultural capital for 2016-17


 An archaeological site in Bogra, Bangladesh, Mahasthangarh (3rd century BC site) has been
declared as the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SARRC) cultural capital for
the year 2016-17.
 The cultural capital will be the historic place will host festivals on literature, films, foods and
dances from October 2016 to September 2017.
 The same year 2016-17 has also be declared the SAARC Year of Cultural Heritage.
Mahasthangarh is one of the earliest urban archaeological sites so far discovered in
Bangladesh.

6- UNGA elect Ethiopia, Bolivia, Sweden and Kazakhstan as non-permanent UNSC member
 The UN General Assembly elected Ethiopia, Bolivia and Sweden as non-permanent members
of the Security Council for a two-year period beginning in January, 2017.
 The two-year terms of the new members will begin January 1 next year and run through
December 31, 2018.
 The UN Security Council consists of 10 non-
permanent members who sit alongside the five
permanent(P5), veto-wielding members - China,
France, Russia, the UK and the US.

7- Israel elected as Chair of UNGA’s Legal


Committee for the first time
 The U.N. General Assembly elected Israel to chair
one of its six major committees for the first time.
 The legal committee deals with U.N. activities related
to international law and the Israeli Ambassador said one of his first tasks will be to advance the
Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

8- Expanded Panama Canal reopens after 9 years of work


 Panama officially opened its revamped 80-kilometer long canal to far bigger cargo ships after
nearly a decade of expansion work aimed at boosting transit revenues and global trade. The
expansion is estimated to have cost USD 5.5 billion.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 32
 The Panama Canal is an artificial 77 km waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the
Pacific Ocean.
 A Chinese-based Neopanamax-class cargo ship will be the first vessel to test the new
infrastructure, entering from the Atlantic and exiting into the Pacific.

9- United Kingdom in historic referendum votes to exit European Union (BREXIT)


What does Brexit mean?
 It is a word that has become used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU -
merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit, in a same way as a possible Greek exit from
the euro was dubbed Grexit in the past.
European Union
The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 European countries that
together cover much of the continent.
The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster
economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become
economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict.
The result was the European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958, and initially increasing
economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and
the Netherlands. Since then, a huge single market has been created and continues to develop
towards its full potential.
Later a name change from the European Economic Community (EEC) to the European Union (EU)
in 1993 reflected a purely economic union has evolved into a political union.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 33
Why is Britain leaving the European Union?
 A referendum - a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part - was
held on Thursday 23 June, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European
Union. Leave won by 52% to 48%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30
million people voting.
 For the UK to leave the EU it has to invoke an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon
Treaty which gives the two sides two years to agree the terms of the split.

10- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between IWAI and IPGPL on the Kaladan
Multimodal Transit Transport Project
 The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL)
have signed a MoU for implementation of additional works on the Kaladan Multimodal Transit
Transport Project (KMTTP) in Myanmar.
 As part of the MoU, both signatory parties will be implementing three additional works on the
KMTTP, these three projects are-
(1) Container handling facilities at Paletwa and Sittwe.
(2) Operation and Maintenance (OM) of the completed works.
(3) Removing wrecks in Sittwe Port basin area.
 The ambitious project seeks to facilitate connectivity between the mainland India and the
landlocked North Eastern States through maritime shipping, inland waterways and roads of
Myanmar.

11- India and Bangladesh Transit Facility “Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura” Becomes Operational


 The transit facility “Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura” under the revised Inland Water Transit and Trade
Protocol between India and Bangladesh became operational after Prime Minister Narendra
Modi signed it during his visit to Dhaka in June 2015.
 It has compacted the time of the journey of cargo from 30 days to just 10 days between central
India and Northeastern states.
 The Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura transit route will provide central India cheaper and easier contact
to the seven interior northeastern states.
 Under this Bangladesh is allowed to transit goods to Bhutan and Nepal while India can access
Myanmar via Bangladesh giving impetus to Act east policy.
 Though this protocol trade and development will not only allowed between Bangladesh and
India but also in the entire sub-region simplifying trade and growth in the sub-region.

12- PM Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President inaugurate Duraiappah stadium in Jaffna
 Modi, along with Srilankan president Sirisena, jointly inaugurated the newly renovated
Duraiappah Stadium, named in honour of a former Mayor of Jaffna late Alfred Thambirajah
Duraiappah.

13- Afghanistan, India inaugurated Friendship Dam


 Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have inaugurated a
multi-million-dollar dam in western Afghanistan that will bring power and used for irrigation.
 The Afghan-India Friendship Dam (Salma Dam) in Herat province, which borders Iran, was built
with Indian aid.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 34
 Salma Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by Government of India on river Hari
Rud , in Herat province of Afghanistan.
 Prime Minister Modi was also conferred with Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour, the Amir
Amanullah Khan Award.
 It is the Highest Civilian honour bestowed by Afghan government to Afghan national as well as
foreigners in appreciation of their services.
 The award is named after the Afghan national hero, Amanullah Khan (Ghazi), who championed
the cause of Afghanistan’s freedom. He was the ruler of the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1919-
1929 who led Afghanistan to independence.

14- Asia’s largest annual security forum Shangri-La Dialogue opens in Singapore
 The Asia’s largest annual security forum “Shangri-La Dialogue”(15th Asia security summit) has
recently opened in Singapore to talk about security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
 The forum has been organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies
(IISS).
 The IISS Asia Security Summit was launched in 2002 by the Singaporean government and
British think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies. This annual dialogue got its
name from the location of the meeting, the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore.

15- India joins the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation
 India has joined the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC), a
global ballistic missile proliferation regime.
 What is Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC)?
The HCoC is a voluntary, legally non-binding international confidence building and transparency
measure that seeks to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles that are capable of delivering
weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
It was established on 25 November 2002 as a result of international efforts to regulate access to
ballistic missiles which can potentially deliver WMDs.
The HCOC does not ban ballistic missiles, but it calls for restraining their production, testing, and
export. It is the only normative instrument to verify the spread of ballistic missiles.
Ballistic Missile: It is a missile with a high, arching trajectory which is initially powered and guided,
but falls under gravity on to its target. Most of its trajectory is unpowered and governed by gravity
and air resistance if it is in the atmosphere. In contrasts, cruise missiles are aerodynamically guided
in powered flight.
Ballistic missile Cruise missile

1- A ballistic missile is a (usually) 1- A cruise missile is an unmanned, self-guided (usually)


rocket-powered booster that propels turbine-powered airplane that depends on
its warhead on a ballistic (i.e. not aerodymanic lift.
aerodynamic) trajectory. 2- Cruise missiles shoot up into the air (and in the case
2- They fly high up into the atmosphere of a lot of them), will dive down a bit and fly the rest
then just rely on gravity to bring of their course at that altitude.
them down. 3- cruise missiles don't leave the atmosphere, so they
3- Their flightpath is pretty much just a can't rely on earth's gravity to carry them for the trip.
big arc. Thus, they're always burning fuel and their engines
are always running.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 35
16- PM Narendra Modi, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurate Petrapole Integrated Check Post
 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina jointly
inaugurated the Petrapole Integrated Check Post (ICP).
 Petrapole ICP is located in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.
 Petrapole is the Indian side of Petrapole-Benapole border checkpoint between India and
Bangladesh.
 It is second ICP on India-Bangladesh border after Agartala ICP located at Agartala (India)-
Akhaura (Bangladesh) land border.
 The Petrapole ICP will provide better facilities for efficient and effective discharge of functions
such as security, customs, immigration, quarantine, etc.

17- OPERATION SANKAT MOCHAN


 Operation Sankat Mochan was the first big evacuation effort in a year after Operation Rahat
evacuated hundreds of citizens of India and other countries in July 2015 from Yemen.
 Two C17 aircraft with a team under the leadership of Minister of State for External Affairs V.K.
Singh, to evacuate hundreds of Indians caught in the civil war in South Sudan.

18- RAMPAL POWER STATION


 Bangladesh and India today signed a landmark deal for the construction of a 1,320 megawatt
coal fired power plant at Rampal , near the sunderbans., in Bangladesh.
 Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), the joint venture
enterprise inked the deal with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), for constructing the
super thermal plant.
 India's Exim Bank will provide $1.49 billion for the project, scheduled to start generating power
in 2019.

19- eTHEKWANI DECLARATION


 In the ‘eThekwani Declaration’ adopted during the BRICS summit in March 2013 at Durban ,it
was decided to explore, besides economic issues, various new areas of cooperation among the
member States, including drug related issues.
 In keeping with the spirit of the eThekwani Declaration, the first anti-drug working group meeting
of BRICS countries was organized at Moscow, Russia in November, 2015.
 The second anti-drug Working Group meeting of Heads of Drug Control Agencies of BRICS
countries Was held at New Delhi.

20- The first meeting of the BRICS Working Group on ‘Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency’
held at Visakhapatnam
 The Working Group on Energy Saving & Energy Efficiency will deliberate on a plan on
development of cooperation in energy saving and energy efficiency within BRICS.
About PAT scheme
The Perform Achieve Trade (PAT) is an innovative, market-based trading scheme announced by
the Indian Government in 2008 under its National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency
(NMEEE) in National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
It aims to improve energy efficiency in industries by trading in energy efficiency certificates in
energy-intensive sectors
The 2010 amendment to the Energy Conservation Act (ECA) provides a legal mandate to PAT.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 36
 India will also showcase its efforts in energy saving, energy efficiency, particularly the LED
street lighting programme and PAT (Performance Achievement & Trade) programme for
industrial energy efficiency.

21- RIMPAC 2016


 RIMPAC, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, is the world's largest international maritime warfare
exercise. RIMPAC is held biennially during June and July of even-numbered years
from Honolulu, Hawaii.
 RIMPAC 2016 Saw participation of navies from 26 countries. This year it is the 25th edition of
biennial exercise in the series that began in 1971.
 In RIMPAC 2016, three new nations are participating for the first time. They are Denmark,
Germany and Italy.
 It is hosted and administered by the United States Navy and other US agencies.India is being
represented by Indian Naval ship (INS) Satpura, an indigenously built guided missile stealth
frigate.

22- World Bank, ISA sign agreement for India’s solar-energy program
 The World Bank (WB) Group has signed an agreement with the International Solar Alliance
(ISA) to provide more than 1 billion dollars to support India’s solar initiatives.
 World Bank will support projects such as solar rooftop technology, infrastructure for solar parks,
introducing innovative solar and hybrid technologies to market and transmission lines for solar-
rich state.
 It will provide 625 million dollars to India’s grid-connected rooftop solar programme that will
finance the installation of at least 400MW of solar photovoltaic installations.
 ISA is an alliance of more than 120 countries, sunshine countries, which come either
completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

23-Project Development Fund (PDF) for CLMV countries viz. Cambodia, Laos Myanmar and
Vietnam.
 PDF will corpus of Rs 500 crore and should be located in the Department of Commerce.
 It will be operated by the EXIM Bank
 CLMV countries namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have a special position in
regional value chains in the Southeast Asian region.

24- LEMOA
 LEMOA stands for Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, one of the three
foundational agreements — as referred to by the U.S.
 Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communications Interoperability and Security
Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for
Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) are referred to as the foundational agreements
 LEMOA gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the
purpose of refuelling and replenishment.
 The agreement will primarily cover four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and
Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. There will be no basing of the U.S. troops or
assets on Indian soil. This is purely a logistical agreement.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 37
25-The world’s first self-driving taxis began picking up passengers in Singapore
 nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup has taken this initiative.
 Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar,
including one that constantly spins on the roof.
 There are also two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles and detect changes in
traffic lights.

26- AKASHVANI MAITREE INAUGRATED BY PRESIDENT PRANAB MUKHERJEE


 The channel is a unique venture of All India Radio and is aimed at strengthening ties between
the two neighbours, India and Bangladesh.
 Channel's uniqueness lies in sharing of content between Bangladesh Betar & Akashvani
Maitree.
 Duration of the channel will be 16 Hrs per day.

27- JOINT INAUGRATION OF STOR PALACE IN KABUL


 Restored by Indian help, the palace one of the rooms in the palace was the setting for the
signing of the Rawalpindi Agreement, by which Afghanistan became an independent sovereign
state.
 India has already helped Afghanistan to renovate their Parliament building apart from providing
engineering support in building Salma dam.

28- US TO END AID TO PAKISTAN


 Under the Coalition Support Fund(CSF) , Pakistan used to get funds, which is essentially
reimbursement money for the expenses made by Pakistan Army in support of U.S. operations in
Afghanistan.
 The USA has decided to block $300-million military aid to Pakistan for its failure to take
sufficient action against Haqqani network.
 The Haqqani Network has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against U.S.
interests in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan government and civilian targets.

29- SIMILAR TARIFF CUTS TO ALL RCEP MEMBER NATIONS


 RCEP comprises the 10 economies of the ASEAN region (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and six of its free trade
partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea).
 Japan has been pushing for a single-tier system to which India has now agreed.
 Negotiations on services front are still pending.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 38
Summits

SUMMITS HOSTS REMARKS


First time that two Revenue Boards Central Board
Rajswa Gyansangam’,
of Direct Taxes (CBDT) & Central Board of Excise
An annual conference of tax New Delhi
& Customs (CBEC) are holding the conclave at the
administrators
same time.
St Petersburg International
Russia
Economic Forum (SPIEF)
Tashkent,
SCO Summit 2016 India and Pakistan became permanent members
Uzbekistan
BRICS cooperation by adopting a five-pronged
approach –
 institution building to further deepen and
sustain BRICS cooperation;
 implementation of the decisions of previous
Summits including Hon’ble PM’s
announcements at the Fortaleza and Ufa
BRICS policy planning Patna, Bihar Summits;
dialogue Meeting  integrating synergies among the existing
cooperation mechanisms;
 innovation, i.e., new cooperation mechanisms;
and
 continuity, i.e., continuation of mutually agreed
existing BRICS cooperation mechanisms. In
short, the ‘IIIIC or I4C’ objectives.

The theme of the summit was “Youth as bridge for


intra-BRICS exchanges“.
It also adopted the ‘Guwahati BRICS Youth
Summit 2016 Call to Action’ and focused on skill
development and entrepreneurship, social
inclusions, youth volunteerism and youth
participation in governance.
Guwahati,
Second BRICS Youth Summit Assam Read more at:
http://currentaffairs.gktoday.in/brics-youth-summit-
concludes-guwahati-07201634132.html

Read more at:


http://currentaffairs.gktoday.in/brics-youth-summit-
concludes-guwahati-07201634132.html

The Warsaw Declaration on Transatlantic Security


Warsaw, was adopted. The declaration describes the
NATO Summit 2016 Poland negative long-term change in the security
environment and NATO's response based on

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 39
enhanced military presence on the eastern flank
and building stability in both southern and eastern
neighbourhood.
Ulaanbaatar, Theme: ‘20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the
11th ASEM summit Future through Connectivity’
Mongolia
‘The Great India Education Fair’ showcases the
Dhaka, strengths of the Indian Education System and is
India Education Fair Bangladesh the exciting platform for introducing various
institution to an eager and growing market of large
potential pool of international students.
The purpose of the summit is to eliminate the illicit
International summit on Noida, India
trade of tobacco products.
Tobacco‐Control
Counter‐Terrorism Financing Bali, develop regional solutions to critical terrorism
(CTF) Summit 2016 Indonesia financing issues and risks
 First ever SAARC YPC conference.
SAARC Young
 SAARC YPC 2016 intends to offer young
Parliamentarians
parliamentarians’ narrative as a prelude to the
Conference (YPC) on Islamabad,
19th SAARC summit that Pakistan will be
Peace and Pakistan.
hosting
Harmony for Development’

Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India didn't


19th SAARC Summit Pakistan take part, so postponed

Theme : ‘Fostering an Inclusive India through


World Economic Forum(WEF) Davos Digital Transformation’
i. BRICS countries were striving to set up a joint
task force on disaster management as a
permanent forum for regular dialogue, mutual
BRICS meeting on Disaster support among the member nations.
Udaipur
Risk Reduction
ii. Meeting ended with the adoption of the Udaipur
Declaration.
i. First session on the theme of ‘Achieving
SDGs‐ Role of Women Parliamentarians in
involving Citizens‘.
ii. Theme of the second session, to be held on
the second day on August 21, was ‘Containing
BRICS Women’s Climate Change – Imperatives of Global
Parliamentarian Forum Jaipur, Cooperation’.
Rajasthan iii. Adopted the Jaipur declaration calling upon
international financial institutions to “support
and facilitate financing for development on
favorable terms” to developing and least
developed countries.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 40
PAVA Shells to replace pellet guns
 Newly developed PAVA shells, a chilli-based less-lethal munition, which temporarily
incapacitates the target and renders them immobile for several minutes.
 PAVA stands for Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, also called Nonivamide, and is an organic
compound found characteristically in natural chilli pepper.
 The PAVA shell has a projected jet range of 4-5 metres, which gives officers a useful
reactionary gap when dealing with violent subjects.
 It is completely odourless and will not damage clothes or skin.
Quantum Experiments at Space Scale(QUESS)
 QUESS is a proof-of-concept mission designed to facilitate quantum optics experiments over
long distances to allow the development of quantum encryption and quantum
teleportation technology.
 A satellite, nicknamed Micius or Mozi ,is operated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well
as ground stations in China. The University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of
Sciences are running the satellite’s European receiving stations.
 It uses the principle of entanglement to facilitate communication that is totally safe
against hacking, let alone decryption, by a third party by producing pairs of entangled photons.
SCRAMJET ENGINE
 India is the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of Supersonic Combustion Ramjet
Engine(SCRAMJET).
 Scramet engine designed by ISRO uses Hydrogen as fuel and Oxygen from the atmospheric air
as the oxidizer.
 Scramjet engines will help bringing down launch cost by reducing the amount of oxidiser to be
carried along with the fuel.
CYBATHLON
 The Cybathlon is an international competition organised by ETH Zurich for disabled competitors
allowed to use bionic assistive technology.
 Other international competitions for disabled athletes, such as the Paralympics, only permit
competitors to use unpowered assistive technology.
 The Cybathlon encourages the use of performance-enhancing technology such as powered
exoskeletons and is dubbed as Bionic Olympics.
 The Cybathlon will feature six disciplines – a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bicycle
race, a Powered Leg Prosthesis Race, a Powered Wheelchair Race, a Powered Exoskeleton
Race, a Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, and a computerised race for competitors with paralysis
using brain-computer interfaces.
PROXIMA B
 Proxima Centauri b Proxima b or Alpha Centauri Cb is an exoplanet orbiting within
the habitable zone of the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun.
 It is located about 4.2 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus, making it the
closest known exoplanet to the Solar System.
 It is unlikely to be habitable , as the windpressure from solar winds will destroy any existing
atmosphere.
 The exoplanet is orbiting within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, the region where, with
the correct planetary conditions and atmospheric properties, liquid water may exist on the
surface of the planet.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 41
HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS INFECTION
 Human papillomavirus(HPV) infection is an infection by human papillomavirus (HPV), a DNA
virus from the papillomavirus family.
 Most HPV infections cause no symptoms and resolve spontaneously. HPV is the most common
sexually transmitted infection globally.
 In some, they persist and result in warts or precancerous lesions which increase the risk of
cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, or throat. Nearly all cervical cancer is
due to HPV.
 HPV Two vaccines — Gardasil and Cervarix — are available in India but both are infested with
gynaecological concerns.
INDIGENOUS LEPROSY VACCINE
 A vaccine, called Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP), developed by the National Institute of
Immunology, New Delhi will be launched on a trial basis.
 Leprosy, the disease, caused by the bacteria, Mycobacterium leprae , affects around 1.25 lakh
people every year in India.
 MIP can bring down leprosy cases by 60 percent in three years.
CHINESE SCIENTISTS DISCOVER XMU-MP-1 MOLECULE TO REPAIR ORGANS
 Chinese scientists have discovered a small molecule (new drug) named XMU-MP-1 that can
regenerate tissue.
 The drug, XMU-MP-1 can promote repair and regeneration in the liver, intestines and skin.
 It has potential to eliminate transplants of some organs.
Airlander 10: World’s largest aircraft embarks maiden flight
 The world’s largest (longest) aircraft the Airlander 10 has embarked its maiden flight.
 Airlander 10 is hybrid ship i.e. it is a partly plane and partly airship filled with helium gas.
 It can stay airborne for more than two weeks unmanned and up to five days if manned.

BARC develops portable kit for detection of Chromium contamination of water


 The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed a kit for onsite determination of
toxic Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI) in drinkingwater.
 Chromium is widely used in various industries like steel, leather, chrome plating, paint
manufacturing, wood preservation etc.
 The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Cr(VI) as carcinogenic and can cause
stomach ulcers, cancers and severely damage kidneys and liver.
 The water sample treated with reagent in the kit , the colour develops within 5 minutes and the
distinction can be made with naked eye.
India’s first facility to produce nickel at Jharkhand
 Launched by the Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) at its Indian Copper Complex (ICC) at
Ghatshila in Jharkhand.
 It will produce nickel metal of London Metal Exchange (LME) grade from primary resource.
 The plant will utilize eco-friendly technology and help check pollution and also eliminate use of
lead, reduce liquid effluents and cut down solid waste by 75%.
 Presently India is totally dependent on imports for high quality Nickel.
India’s first ever BIO-CNG plant producing CNG at PUNE

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 42
 It will Compressed Natural Gas) from agricultural residue was inaugurated in Pune,
Maharashtra.
 It has been set up as a Proof of Concept project which can be replicated elsewhere.
 It uses special bacterial solution for treating agricultural waste in the process of generation of
CNG. The gas generated is cleaned and compressed for use in vehicles.
 The bio-fuel will help in reducing the import of diesel up to 50% and also will help reduce
problem of disposal of agricultural waste was a major concern in the country.
Researchers have successfully isolated cancer stem cells that cause skin cancer
 They have successfully demonstrated that Andrographolide (a compound) isolated and purified
from Andrographis paniculata (a herb) found in India
 The study indicates that the compound Andrographolide has therapeutic potential for the
management of cancer stem-cell mediated melanoma growth and lung metastasis.
 The compound has ability to inhibit CD133 positive cancer stem cells growth which mediates
tumour growth and lung metastasis.
LAST UNIVERSAL COMMON ANCESTOR
 The Last universal Common Ancestor, also called the last universal
ancestor (LUA), cenancestor, is the most recent organism from which all organisms now living
on Earth have a common descent.
 LUCA should not be assumed to be the first living organism on Earth.
 LUCA is no less than 4 Billion years old and was a single celled organism.
 It also proves the Charles Darwin proposed theory of universal common descent through an
evolutionary process.
TRI-NETRA
 TRI-NETRA stands for – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers INfra-red, Enhanced opTical &
Radar Assisted system.
 TRI-NETRA system is made up of high-resolution optical video camera, high sensitivity infra-red
video camera and additionally a radar-based terrain mapping system.
 TRI-NETRA is designed to “see” the terrain ahead of the running locomotive during inclement
weather.
 It will create a composite video image which shall be displayed in front of the Loco Pilot on a
computer monitor.
AQUILLA
 Facebook has completed its first successful test of its solar-powered Aquila drone, being
developed to deliver internet service to remote areas of the world.
 Aquila project is part of the Facebook’s Connectivity Lab, which is creating new technologies
including aircrafts, satellites and wireless communication systems .
 It will fly at an altitude of 60,000 ft. and will be launched by using Helium Balloons.
 Similar project being undertaken by Google’s Parent company Alphabet Inc is named Project
Loon.
JUNO SUCCESSFULLY ENTERS JUPITERS ORBIT
 NASA’s unmanned Juno spacecraft has successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit, after a five year
journey.
 Juno became the first spacecraft to cruise this far out into the solar system powered solely by
the sun, beating Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft.
 The main aim of this spacecraft is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 43
 It is second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter after Galileo.
NASA’S DAWN MISSION
 The goal of the dawn mission is to characterize the conditions and processes of the earliest
history of giant Proplanet Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.
 It explored the giant Proplanet Vesta in 2011-12 and is presently studying Ceres.
 Ceres, the largest object in the Asteroid belt , is a dwarf planet, the only one located in the inner
circle of the solar system.
SOLAR POWER TREE
 It has been developed by the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), a
constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) .
 A solar power tree takes less space as compared to a conventional photovoltaic setup.
 By holding the panels at a higher height and rotating panels it captures more sunlight.
 There is also a provison of water sprinkler at the top for self cleaning of solar panels.
INDIA RECEIVES YAWS FREE STATUS FROM WHO AND UNICEF
 Yaws is a tropical infection of the skin, bones and joints caused by the bacterium Treponema
pallidum pertenue.
 India is the first country officially declared free of yaws by WHO in 2016 and eradication was
made possible by use of oral antibiotic Azithromycin.
 The disease affects mainly affects children below 15 years of age, living in hilly,tribal and
remote parts and is spread by skin to skin contact of infected part.
 The disease is still prevalent in atleast 14 tropical countries as of 2012.
CHARGE SYNDROME
 CHARGE syndrome (formerly known as CHARGE association), is a rare syndrome caused by
a genetic disorder(CHD7 Gene).
 The acronym "CHARGE" came into use for newborn children with the congenital features
of coloboma of the eye, heart defects, atresia of the nasal choanae, retardation of growth and/or
development, genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and ear abnormalities and deafness.
 A mutation in the CHD7 gene is responsible for 60-70 per cent of all CHARGE defects.
 The expression of the gene peaks in the early stages of embryo development, starting from 2-4
cells.
PLANET HD 131399Ab
 HD 131399 Ab is an exoplanet orbiting the star HD 131399 A, which is part of the trinary star
system .
 Located about 320 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus it is about 16 million
years old, making it also one of the youngest exoplanets discovered to date.
 It also marks the first discovery of an exoplanet made with the SPHERE instrument on the VLT
telescope.
 SPHERE is sensitive to infrared light, allowing it to detect the heat signatures of young planets.
CASPOL
 CASPOL, IS A WATER -BASED READY- TO-COAT AND EASY-TO-USE FLAME-PROOF COATING,
DEVELOPED BY ISRO ( VIKRAM SARABHAI SPACE CENTRE )
 IT CONTAINS NO TOXIC MATERIAL , IS ECO FRIENDLY, KEEPS BUILDINGS AROUND 5-6ºC COOLER IN
SUMMERS AND IS EVEN WATER SEEPAGE RESISTANT.
 IT HAS EXCELLENT FLAME RETARDANT, WATERPROOFING , AND THERMAL - CONTROL PROPERTIES .
IT CAN BE APPLIED ON WALLS, CLOTHES, PAPER, THATCHED ROOFS , AND WOOD.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 44
 IT HAS MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS RANGING FROM USE IN LAUNCH VEHICLES , HOUSEHOLD ,
AUTOMBILES AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
ZIKA VIRUS VACCINE
 ZIKA VIRUS DISEASE IS CAUSED BY A VIRUS TRANSMITTED PRIMARILY BY AEDES GROUP OF
MOSQUITOES .
 ZIKA VIRUS CAUSES MICROCEPHALY(BABY’S HEAD MUCH SMALLER THAN EXPECTED) AND A RARE
NERVOUS DISORDER G UILLAIN-BARRÉ SYNDROME .
 THE VACCINE WHICH GOES BY THE WORKING NAME GLS-5700 — IS A SO-CALLED DNA VACCINE.
 IN THIS KIND OF VACCINE, DNA CODED TO PRODUCE THE PROTEIN THAT SURROUNDS THE ZIKA
VIRUS IS INJECTED INTO THE SKIN.
BONE RECONSTRUCTION METHOD BY IISC
 a a team of scientists from bengaluru’s indian institute of science (iisc) has developed an
alternative for bone reconstruction method similar to sutures.
 In this method Maltitol ,derived from Maltose, a sweetening agent is used to fill in the bone gap
caused by fracture,instead of traditional rod.
 Maltitol is combined with other components to make long chain-like structures that become
plastic which is then used to fill the gap.
 It offers advantage in terms of solubility in water, better drug delivery that hastens healing with
fewer side effects.
LIDAR
 Lidar or Light Detection and Ranging is a surveying method that measures distance to a target
by illuminating that target with a Laser light.
 Lidar uses ultraviolet, visible or near infrared light to image objects.
 A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver .
 Recently Telangana government used it for mapping the river flow of Godavari and is planning
to use it preparation of high resolution maps in various upcoming projects.
BIONIC LEAF
 Scientists from Harvard University have created a unique " bionic leaf " that uses solar energy to
split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid
fuels from CO2.
 Bionic leaf is a true artificial photosynthetic system that can covert solar energy to biomass with
ten percent efficiency, better than the efficiency of natural photosynthesis.
 It can be used to generate usable fuels like isopropanol and isobutanol by using an engineered
bacterium Ralstonia eutropha.
 this new bioreactor could help mitigate planet-warming pollution problems while bringing cleaner
fuels to people.
CHINA ‘S FIRST DARK SKY RESERVE
 A Dark sky reserve is an area that is kept free of artificial light pollution with the purpose to
promote astronomy.
 China established country’s first dark sky reserve for astronomical observation in the Tibetan
part of Ngari,measuring 2500 sq.km, bordering Nepal and India.
 Ngari is among the best sites for astronomical observation on earth, due to its high altitude and
large number of cloudless days throughout the year.
 Light pollution is artificial brightening of the night sky caused by man-made lightening sources,
which inhibits the observation of stars and planets.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 45
LISA PATHFINDER
 LISA Pathfinder, formerly Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-2 (SMART-2),
is an ESA spacecraft that was launched on 3 December 2015.
 This mission is to be carried out jointly by NASA and ESA will test technologies needed for
the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA), an ESA gravitational
wave observatory planned to be launched in 2034.
 LISA itself plans to use a combination of three spacecraft, trailing the earth and using special
laser beams and telescopes, the trio will measure gravitational waves.
 Since there are three points from which the observation is carried out, this space antenna will
be able to pinpoint the location of the source of the detected gravitational waves to a high
accuracy.
EINSTEIN RING
 An Einstein ring is a distorted image of a very distant galaxy, which is termed “the source”. The
distortion is produced by the bending of the light rays from the source due to a massive galaxy,
termed “the lens”, lying between it and the observer
 The strong gravitational field produced by the lens galaxy distorts the structure of space-time in
its neighbourhood, and this does not only attract objects which have a mass, but also bends the
paths of light
 These phenomena, predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, are quite rare but
scientifically interesting.
SUNWAY TAIHULIGHT
 A Chinese supercomputer named Sunway Taihu Light built using domestic chip technology has
been declared the world’s fastest supercomputer.
 The new number one is capable of performing some 93 quadrillion calculations per second or
petaflops .
 Previous record holder ,Tianhe-2 is also from china but was made from Intel processor chips.

MISSION OBJECTIVE
HAYABUSA 2 Launched by JAXA, is enroute to asteroid 162173 Ryugu.

OSIRIS-REx Launched by NASA, is en route to asteroid 101955 Bennu.


ARTEMIS P1/P2 Launched by NASA, are studying the effect of the solar wind on
the Moon. Originally launched as Earth satellites, they were later
repurposed and moved to lunar orbit.
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Launched by NASA, is engaged in lunar mapping intended to
identify safe landing sites, locate potential resources on the
Moon, characterize the radiation environment, and demonstrate
new technology.
Akatsuki The first Japanese Venusian probe. Also known as Planet-
C and Venus Climate Orbiter, Akatsuki failed to enter Venusian
orbit in December 2010. It continued to function and entered
Venus orbit in 2015.
2001 Mars Odyssey, A tribute to the classic novel and film, is one of six currently
active human-made Mars satellites. It is continuing its extended
mission to map the surface of Mars and also acts as a relay for
the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers. Launched by NASA.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 46
Mars Express Mars orbiter designed to study the planet's atmosphere and
geology, search for sub-surface water, and deploy the Beagle
lander.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter The second NASA satellite orbiting Mars. It is specifically
designed to analyze the landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and
ice of the red planet.
Curiosity Rover is searching for evidence of organic material on Mars, monitoring
methane levels in the atmosphere, and engaging in exploration
of the landing site at Gale Crater.
Mangalyaan Is the first Indian interplanetary space probe. It was successfully
inserted into orbit of Mars on 24 September 2014.
Mars Atmosphere and Volatile is a space probe developed by NASA designed to study
Evolution Mission (MAVEN) the Martian atmosphere while orbiting Mars. Mission goals
include determining how the planet's atmosphere and water,
presumed to have once been substantial, were lost over time.
Trace Gas Orbiter (ExoMars Launched by ESA is carrying the lander Schiaparelli ,scheduled
2016) to use atmospheric braking for some months before commencing
data collecting operations.
Dawn successfully entered asteroid Vesta's orbit in July 2011. There it
studied Vesta until September 2012, when it departed for dwarf
planet Ceres
Juno Launched by NASA to scientifically investigate Jupiter andis
in polar orbit around Jupiter .
Cassini Orbiter Began studying Saturn and its moons after passing Venus and
Jupiter and deploying the Huygens Landing Probe to Titan. It is
primarily investigating Saturn's rings, its magnetosphere and the
geologic composition of its satellites; the mission may potentially
continue until 2017.
New Horizons Is the first spacecraft to study Pluto up close, and ultimately the
Kuiper Belt. It is the fastest artificially-accelerated object and will
be the fifth probe to leave the solar system.

Voyager 1 Is currently the farthest man-made object from Earth, as well as


the first object to leave the Solar System and cross into
interstellar space. It was originally tasked with investigating
Jupiter and Saturn, and the moons of these planets.
Voyager 2 Has not yet left the solar system, but will become one of the first
five probes to do so eventually. Its mission to study all four gas
giants. Scientists are now using Voyager 2 to learn what the solar
system is like beyond the heliosphere.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 47
Rosetta Operated by ESA, is orbiting the comet 67P/Churyumov–
Gerasimenko. On November 12, 2014, a lander was successfully
deployed
for further investigation. Mission ended on 30 September 2016,
when the probe landed onto the comet's surface.

Messenger was studying Mercury. It is only the second probe to do so and is


the first to orbit the planet. Technologically, it is far superior to its
1975 predecessor, Mariner 10. Having previously
passed Earth once, Venus twice and Mercury three times, it
entered orbit in March 2011. Mission ended on 30 April 2015,
when the probe crashed onto the planet's surface.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 48
Environment
1- CSIR Launches its first anti diabetic ayurvedic drug
 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Wednesday launched BGR-
34(blood glucose regulator) -- the country's first anti-diabetic ayurvedic drug designed for Type-
2 diabetes mellitus, which has been scientifically validated for its efficacy and safety.
 BGR-34 has been developed jointly by the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the
Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), which are the research units of
CSIR and located in Lucknow.

2- Darjeeling zoo to receive snow leopard from London


 Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) in the hill station of Darjeeling,West
Bengal runs a specialized conservation breeding programme for snow leopards, an endangered
species under International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list. whose survival is
challenged by poaching and habitat loss.
 The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) in Darjeeling, West Bengal has
received a male snow leopard named Makalu from London’s Dudley Zoological Gardens.
 The snow leopard is named after the world’s fifth highest peak at 27,765 feet on the south-east
side of the Everest.

3 - Australian Rodent Is First Mammal Made Extinct by Human-Driven Climate Change


 Australian researchers say rising sea levels have wiped out a rodent that lived on a tiny outcrop
in the Great Barrier Reef, in what they say is the first documented extinction of a mammal
species due to human-caused climate change.
 The long-tailed, whiskered creature, called the Bramble Cay melomys, was considered the only
mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef.
 The key factor responsible for the death of the Bramble Cay melomys is almost certainly high
tides and surging seawater, which has traveled inland across the island.

4 - Scientists turn CO2 into rock to combat climate change- Carbafix Project
 Scientists have turned carbon dioxide into stone in a matter of months by pumping it deep
underground, offering a revolutionary new way of storing the greenhouse gas to tackle climate
change.
 Basalt makes up most of the world’s seafloors and approximately 10 per cent of continental
rocks, according to the study’s researchers. A porous, blackish rock, basalt is rich in calcium,
iron and magnesium, minerals researchers said are needed to solidify carbon for storage.
 The Carbfix project at Iceland’s Hellisheidi plant — the world’s largest geothermal facility, which
powers Reykjavik — sought to solidify the CO2.

5 - Norway Just Banned Deforestation


 Norway is the first country to adopt a ban on deforestation, a policy that will likely have global
effects.
 The basis of the forest protection commitment comes from the UN Climate Summit in New York
in 2014.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 49
 Crops typically associated with large-scale rainforest destruction are soy, timber, palm oil and
beef. The Norwegian government will now require sustainable policy and practice in producing
the aforementioned products if they are to be procured by the government.

6 - Gangateic Dolphin to become city animal of Guwahati


 Assam's Guwahati became the first city in the country to have its own city animal with the district
administration declaring the Gangetic river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) as the mascot.
 The district administration had organised online and offline voting among three protected
creatures, which are on the verge of extinction, to decide the mascot.
 Along with Gangetic river dolphin, the other two animals were black softshell turtle (Bor Kaso)
and greater adjutant stork (Hargila).
 Gangetic dolphin- locally named as SIHU, IUCN status- Endangered

7 - Dia Mirza is ambassador for Swachh Saathi


 Actor Dia Mirza has been named the ambassador for Swachh Bharat Mission’s youth-based
‘Swachh Saathi’ (student internship) programme.
 Under the programme, more than 2,000 interns would be enrolled. They will coordinate with
around 10,000 schools across the country to ensure that all students in these schools take the
pledge for a clean India.

8 - RAJVAYU app launched by Rajasthan CM


 Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje launched a mobile app 'RajVayu' for sharing
information about air quality index of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur.
 Another app 'Drishti' for monitoring of pollution levels in industrial regions was also launched by
Raje.

9- Asia’s first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’


 Haryana Government has launched Asia’s first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’ at the
Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore.
 Himalayan Griffon vultures: They are closely related to the critically endangered resident Gyps
species of vultures but are not endangered. The IUCN has listed this species as Near
Threatened .
 They are scavengers, preying on dead animals as they have a robust digestive system which
can even digest disease-causing pathogens found in rotting meat of dead. Thus, they help in
keeping environment clean.
 The main reason for rapid decline in population of vulture is due to Diclofenac, a non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drug which is given to cattle in inflammation and pain.
 The Diclofenac drug was banned by Union Government of India for veterinary use in 2006.
Later in July 2015, the multi-dose vials of Diclofenac drug for human use were banned by the
Drug Controller General of India.

10- June 5- world Environment Day


 2016 Theme: Go Wild for Life (Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife) This year’s theme
seeks to encourage conservation of all those species under threat and calls for taking action to
help safeguard them for future generations

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 2016 Host Country: Angola. The African country is seeking to restore its elephant’s herds,
conserve biodiversity-rich wildlife. It also seeks to safeguard the environment as it continues to
rebuild after more than a quarter-century of civil war.
 WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment 1972 which began in Stockholm.

11- Green Economy Visionary Award 2016


 R Seetharaman, group chief executive officer of Doha Bank , was honoured with the 'Green
Economy Visionary award' at the 2016 Union of Arab Banks International Banking Summit held
in Rome on Monday.
 He has been awarded for his contribution in environment-friendly activities and for promoting
green economy for nearly two decades.

12 - Landmark meeting between Bhutan and India held at Guwahati


 For the 10th time since 2008, important delegates representing the Governments of Bhutan and
India along with conservation NGOs of the region met in Guwahati, Assam.
 The landmark meeting was held on 21st-22nd June 2016 to discuss Conservation of
Biodiversity issues and opportunities in the large Transboundary landscape between India and
Bhutan across the International boundary from the river Sankosh in the west to the River
Dhansiri in the east, referred to as the Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA).
 In India, it includes the Manas Tiger Reserve, in Bhutan, the forested areas of south covering
the Royal Manas National Park, Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jomotshangkha Wildlife
Sanctuary.

13 - Sailesh Nayak Committee report on coastal zone regulations released


 The Sailesh Nayak committee report was commissioned in June 2014 after states expressed
dissatisfaction regarding the limitations set by the CRZ notification of 2011.
 The CRZ notification 2011 enshrined the concept of a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP).
It was to be prepared with the fullest involvement and participation of local communities. The
amendment had mandated all states to submit coastal development plans for Centre’s approval
which were pending since 1991, the date of CRZ notification.

14 - Govt okays Rs 58 crore to mitigate NH-17 widening impact on Karnala Bird Sanctuary
 National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has made a provision of Rs 58 crore to mitigate the
impact of widening of a National Highway-17 stretch passing through Karnala Bird Sanctuary,
Mumbai, government said on Tuesday.
 The KBS is covered with moist mixed deciduous forest and falls in the Western Ghat bio-
geographic zone. The sanctuary is particularly rich in climbers and as many as 11 species are
recorded from KBS.
 Among mammals, three species of primates (Common Langur, Bonnet Macaque and Rhesus
macaque) are occurring in the sanctuary.

15 - Eurasian Otter found in Kanha-Pench corridor


 During this year’s camera trapping exercise by Wild Conservation Trust and Madhya Pradesh
Forest Department, Eurasian otter ( Lutra lutra), one of the rarest Indian mammals, was
discovered from Satpura Tiger Reserve Madhya Pradesh and Kanha-Pench Corridor.
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 The Eurasian otter has a wide distribution covering Europe, Africa and Asia. The species is
listed as Near Threatened as per the IUCN Red List (2004, 2008).
 Eurasian otter is believed to be found in the Himalayas and in some parts of the Western
Ghats.
 These records of the Eurasian otter from the Satpura Tiger Reserve and Kanha-Pench Corridor
not only extends their geographical range to central India but also provides the first-ever
photographic evidence of the species in India.

16 - Russian poplar species a public nuisance: High Court


 Observing that poplars of Russian species are public nuisance, the Jammu and Kashmir High
Court has sought compliance of its orders on their chopping in Kashmir.

17 - June 17 - World day to combat desertification and drought


 2016 Theme: Inclusive cooperation for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality
 Slogan: Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People
 The World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 to promote public
awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of
drought.
 In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared the implementation of the United
Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious
drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.
 The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind everybody that
desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this
aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.

18 - Axis bank launches india's first certified Green Bond at LSE(LONDON STOCK
EXCHANGE)
 Axis Bank raised $500 million at the London Stock Exchange after it unveiled India’s first
internationally-listed certified green bond to finance climate change solutions around the world.
 The bond is certified by the Climate Bonds Standards Board.
 The proceeds of the bond will be invested in green energy, transportation and infrastructure
projects, reinforcing India’s commitment to produce 175,000 MW of renewable power by 2022.
 What are Green Bonds?
1. A bond is a debt instrument with which an entity raises money from investors. The bond
issuer gets capital while the investors receive fixed income in the form of interest. When the
bond matures, the money is repaid.
2. A green bond is like any other regular bond but with one key difference: the money raised by
the issuer are earmarked towards financing `green' projects, i.e. assets or business activities
that are environment-friendly. Such projects could be in the areas of renewable energy ,
clean transportation and sustainable water management.

19- June 8 observed as world ocean day


 2016 Theme: Healthy oceans, healthy planet
 World Oceans Day is the official UN-designated international day of ocean celebration.
 The concept for a “World Ocean Day” was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada
at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

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 United Nations General Assembly resolution passed in December 2008, World Oceans Day is
now officially recognized by the UN as June 8th each year.

20- Assam's Majuli becomes India's first island district


 Majuli, the seat of neo-Vaishnavite Bhakti renaissance, became India’s first island district.
 With this erosion-troubled Majuli island will become the 35th district of Assam. Earlier it was
sub-division of Jorhat district.
 Majuli island is mostly inhabited by Mishing tribal people.
 It has been the hub of Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture initiated by saint-reformer Srimanta
Sankardeva in 15th century.

21- Arunachal tiger reserve bags Indian biodiversity award 2016


 Pakke Tiger Reserve in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh has won the ‘India
Biodiversity Award 2016’.
 The tiger reserve was selected in the conservation of threatened species category for its
Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme.
 Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme = The Programme is a joint collaboration of Ghora-Aabhe
Society, Nature Conservation Foundation and the State Forest Department.
 The award recognise the contribution of a range of stakeholders towards the conservation of
biodiversity.

22- Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) to
make India disaster resilient and reduce loss of lives.
 The first of its kind of national plan is based on the four priority themes of the “Sendai
Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-30”. They are -
1. Understanding disaster risk
2. Improving disaster risk governance
3. Investing in disaster risk reduction (through structural and non-structural measures)
4. Disaster preparedness, early warning and building back better in the aftermath of a disaster.
Salient Features of the Plan-
1. The plan covers all phases of disaster management: prevention, response, mitigation and
recovery.
2. It provides for vertical and horizontal integration among all the Government agencies and
departments.
3. It also spells out the roles and responsibilities of all levels of Government right up to Urban
Local Body and Panchayat level in a matrix format.
4. The plan has a regional approach, which will be beneficial for disaster management and
also for development planning.
5. It emphasizes on a greater need for Information, Education and Communication activities to
prepare communities to cope with disasters.

23- Long Term Ecological Observatories for Climate Change


 Long Term Ecological Observatories (LTEO) for Climate Change Studies are one of the
components under the ‘Climate Change Action Programme’ in the 12th Plan Period.

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 A Science Plan of LTEO was released during the 21st Conference of Parties to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Paris in December 2015.
 LTEO Programme aims to understand the biophysical and anthropogenic drivers of ecosystem
change in the selected biomes and their effects on social- ecological responses through a
network of scientific institutions.

24- Indigenously developed fecal incontinence management system ‘Qora’ launched


 The Union Government has launched ‘Qora’, an indigenously developed affordable Faecal
Incontinence Management System (FIMS).
 The FIMS-Qora was developed under the Union Ministry of Science & Technology’s
Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Bio design Programme by M/s. Consure Medical.
 What is Fecal incontinence?
1. Fecal incontinence (FI) is a medical condition marked by inability to control one’s bowel
movements. It causes feces (stool) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum.
2. This medical condition worldwide affects nearly 100 million bed ridden patients.
Furthermore, about 50% of the psychiatric ward patients due to long-term neurological
diseases have FI.

25.- Bornean orangutan


 A primate species has been declared critically endangered by the International Union for
Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
 Bornean orangutan is a primate species native to the island of Borneo.
 Found only in the wild in Sumatra island (Indonesia) and Borneo in the Malaysian states of
Sarawak and Sabah and Kalimantan.
 Together with the Sumatran orangutan, Bornean orangutan belongs to the only genus (Pongo)
of great apes native to Asia.
 Reasons for decline in Population- Deforestation, Hunting , Slow breeding

26.- India’s Agasthyamala listed among 20 world biosphere reserves


 India’s “unique” Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is among 20 new sites added by the UN’s
top cultural body UNESCOto its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
 “Located in the Western Ghats, in the south of India, the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve
includes peaks reaching 1,868 metres above sea level.
 It is also a unique genetic reservoir of cultivated plants especially cardamom, jamun, nutmeg,
pepper and plantain. Three wildlife sanctuaries, Shendurney, Peppara, Neyyar and Kalakad
Mundanthurai Tiger reserve are included in the site.
 The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was established in 2001 and is spread across the
two states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
 New reserves are designated each year by the International Co-ordinating Council of the
UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, which brings together elected
representatives of 34 UNESCO Member States.
 There are 18 biosphere reserves in India out of which only nine, including the Nilgiris, Nanda
Devi, Nokrek, Gulf of Mannar, Sundarbans, and the Great Nicobar, had been included in the
network. Biosphere reserves in India protect larger areas of natural habitat and often include
one or more National Parks and/or preserves, along with buffer zones that are open to some
economic uses.

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27- Addis Ababa Action Agenda
 It provides a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda.
 The agreement was reached by the 193 UN Member States attending the Conference.
 The Conference is the first of three crucial events this year that can set the world on an
unprecedented path to a prosperous and sustainable future.
 The Action Agenda builds on the outcomes of two previous Financing for Development
conferences, in Monterrey, Mexico, and in Doha, Qatar.
 United Nations-backed Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the
‘Agenda’ was to outline measures to generate funds to finance the ambitious Sustainable
Development Goals, the successor to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) that expired.

28- System of Aerosol Monitoring and Research (SAMAR)


 It will help the country in studying concentration of black carbon in atmosphere due to air
pollution and its impact on climate.
 Aerosols are a subset of air pollution that contains gases, fumes and dust in harmful proportion.
Aerosols particles can be both solid and liquid which also affects environmental visibility.
 The SAMAR, equipped with many sophisticated equipments including 12 sky radiometers, will
study aerosols' different properties and determine how it impact the climate over a longer period
of time.

29- Union Government launches National Green Highways Mission


 The Union Government has launched National Green Highways Mission (NGHM), a plantation
drive around 1500 km of National Highways.
 National Green Highways Mission NGHM was launched under the Green Highways Policy,
2015 to provide a holistic vision of developing eco-friendly and green National Highways.
 The mission aims to provide a green canopy along 100,000 km of highways and create jobs for
1 million youth.
 The funds for the mission will be met by Green Fund corpus which is 1 per cent of the total
project cost set aside for plantation purposes.

30- Kisan Harit Rajmarg Yojana


 It is a pilot scheme to extend green belt beyond the existing ‘Right of Way’ of highways.
 It seeks to engage farmers and also provide alternative livelihood option to the nearby
communities.

31- 29 July: International Tiger Day


 The International Tiger Day (also known as Global Tiger Day) is observed annually on 29 July to
raise awareness for tiger conservation.
 Goal of observance= To promote the protection and expansion of the wild tigers habitats, to
gain support through awareness for tiger conservation.
 The International Tiger Day was founded in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit.
 The summit had issued St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation with an aim to double
the big cat population by 2022.

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32- Gymnothorax indicus, new species of eel found in Bay of Bengal
 Scientists from have discovered Gymnothorax indicus (proposed name Indian unpatterened
moray), a new species of eel (a snake-like fish) in the northern Bay of Bengal region along the
West Bengal coast.

33- PM Narendra Modi launches first phase of SAUNI project in Gujarat

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the first


phase of SAUNI (Saurastra Narmada Avataran
Irrigation) Yojana at Sanodara of Jamnagar district of
Gujarat.
 SAUNI Yojana is multipurpose project that aims to
solve the water problems of a parched Saurashtra
region of Gujarat.
 SAUNI is a ‘linking’ project where the water will be
filled in irrigation dams that are already equipped with
canal network.
 Under this project, 115 dams in the Saurashtra region
will be filled with excess water from the Sardar
Sarovar dam.

34- US to create world’s largest protected marine


area off Hawaii
 United States is going to create world’s largest protected marine reserve area named as
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the Hawaiian coast.
 It will be created by expansion of present national monument off Hawaii.
 . In 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had
designated the area a world heritage site.

35- Global Green Awards, 2016


 Kolkata scientist bagged highest international award in Environmental leadership i.e. Global
Green Awards.
 Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, became the first Indian environmental activist to receive the Luc
Hoffman award, about the recognition.
 The scientist mapped the East Kolkata Wetlands area and calculated its economic value.
 East Kolkata Wetlands is "wetland of international importance" under the Ramsar Convention.

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Culture
NIHALI LANGUAGE IN DECLINE
 Nihali is a language spoken in Jalgaon Jahod in Maharashtra by close to 2,500 people of the
region. It is said to be pre-Aryan and Pre-Munda language.
 The languages in India can be grouped into Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, Austro-
Asiatic or Andaman language families but Nihali is said to be a ‘language isolate’ as it does not
belong to any of them.
 Nihali has been classified by UNESCO as a critically endangered language.

KAPALIKAS
 A nearly 1,000-year-old rare stone inscription on Kapalikas (worshippers of Bhairava, a
manifestation of Shiva) was found in Raichur district.
 Kapalika was a mysterious cult known for human sacrifice and immolation among other things.
 The finding assumes significance especially in the wake of the lack of info about Kapalikas in
any literature in Indian language, except Sanskrit.
 The inscription also refers to a ‘Kankala Gorava’ who hadmastered Somasiddantha or Kapalika
Siddantha . It states that though Soma Siddanthis led a lavish life, they had a cordial
relationship with the society.

PM Narendra Modi conferred Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour


 Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with Amir Amanullah Khan Award, the highest
civilian honors of Afghanistan.
 It was instituted in 2006 and is bestowed by the Government of Afghanistan to Afghan and
foreign nationals in recognition of their services to Afghanistan.
 The award is named after Afghan national hero Amanullah Khan who championed the cause of
Afghanistan’s freedom.
 US President George W. Bush, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Turkish
President Tayyip Erdogan are other notable winners.

UNESCO’s World Heritage List: India gets three new sites


 In UNESCO’s lexicon, a World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex,
desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) of special cultural or physical significance.
 The Nalanda Mahavira site in Bihar is often recognized as the most ancient university in India
and dates back to the 3rd century BCE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas and important art
works in stucco, stone and metal.
 Le Corbusier’s Capitol complex in Chandigarh is part of a transnational series comprising 17
properties that are spread over seven countries, and built over a period of 50 years. It includes
the Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh (India), the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
(Japan), the House of Dr Curutchet in La Plata (Argentina) and the Unité d’habitation in
Marseille (France).
 Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park—home to the world’s third highest peak, Mount
Khangchendzonga. Located in the heart of the Himalayan range, the Park includes a number of
plains, valleys and lakes, alongwith snowcapped mountains and ancient forests. UNESCO has
categorized it as a mixed site, which means it is part “natural” and part “cultural”.

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Age estimation of Indus Valley Civilization
 According to new research the IVC,the Bronze age civilization may be 8000 years old-2500
years older than previously dated.
 A team of researchers from prestigious Indian institutes including IIT Kharagpur, Institute of
Archaeology, Deccan College Pune, Physical Research Laboratory and Archaeological Survey
of India (ASI)conducted the survey.
 They used carbon dating techniques on animal remains and pottery fragments from the
Bhirrana site in India.
 Using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) method researchers came to the conclusion that
earlier dating may have been incorrect.

Moat restoration of Fort St. George


 The 2.3 km moat,the channel, surrounding the historic Fort St. George in Chennai is all set to be
restored. The plan for its restoration has been launched by the Archaeological Survey of India -
Chennai Circle, the Army, and the Public Works Department.
 The moat, dating back to 1760s and built in the wake of a French attack, became a waste water
chamber over the years.
 Fort St George is the name of the first English (later British) fortress in India, founded in 1644 at
the coastal city of Madras, the modern city of Chennai.
 The fort currently houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and other official buildings. The
fort is one of the 163 notified areas (megalithic sites) in the state of Tamil Nadu.

MYSURU DASARA TO GO GREEN


 The famed Mysuru Dasara will adopt a theme-based approach this year shifting the focus on
water conservation in a bid to go green and on account of scanty rainfall in many parts.
 Mysuru Dasara is Nadahabba (state festival) of the state of Karnataka .This year Yuva Dasara
will be back to woo the youth and the new generation.
 The Gajapayana , traditional march of the elephants from the jungle camps to the city signaling
the countdown for the festival is an attraction of the event.

JUANG CHILDREN DEATHS


 Juang are a tribal (Adivasi) group of people of the Munda ethnic group found mainly in the
Gonsaika hill range of Keonjhar district of Odisha, India.
 The Juang language belongs to the Munda family of the Austroasiatic languages.
 The Tribe has been identified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.
 Nineteen Juang tribal children have died in the last three months due to acute malnutrition-
related diseases in inaccessible hamlets atop the Nagada hills, in Odisha’s Jajpur district.

CLASSICAL LANGUAGES
 Madras High Court has disposed of a batch of public interest litigation petitions which
challenged the classical language status accorded to Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Odia’
 The court has made it clear that only experts can verify whether the languages satisfy the norms
set for according the classical status.
 Languages so far declared to be Classical are Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam,
and Odia.

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 In 2004, the Government of India declared that languages that met certain requirements could
be accorded the status of a “Classical Language in India Which include:
 High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500–2000 years.
 A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of
speakers.
 The literary tradition should be original and not borrowed from another speech community.
 The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a
discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 59
Schemes
eNivaran scheme
 The Union Government initiated a step to launch “e-Nivaran”Scheme to deal with Tax related
issues of the public and to respond to them timely on trial mode.
 Officials of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Central board of Indirect Taxes have
created a website to examine tax reforms.

Vidyut Pravah & Urja Mobile App


 URJA- Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan Mobile app intends to enhance consumer connect with the Urban
Power Distribution sector by providing information of IT aided towns.
 Vidyut Pravah App which will allow common people to demand 24X7 power and will take
transparency that makes state governments more accountable.

Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan or Yojana


 Under the scheme the pregnant ladies will be given free health check-up and required treatment
for free on 9th of every month and will be available across all government hospitals.
 The scheme is applicable only to the women in their pregnancy period of 3 to 6 months. The
doctors will use different colors of stickers on the health cards of the pregnant women (red-risk
prone and green risk free).
 All kinds of medical checkups several tests including blood pressure, sugar level, weight,
hemoglobin test, blood test and screening will be completely free.

National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) for promoting industrial training


 The scheme with a total outlay of 10,000 crore Rupees has a target to train 50 lakh apprentices
by the year 2019-20.
 The scheme will be implemented by the Director General of Training (DGT) under Ministry of
Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
 Under the scheme, the government will incentivize employers to engage apprentices. 25% of
the total stipend payable to an apprentice would be shared with employers directly by
Government of India.
 The scheme also provides basic training, which is essential component of apprenticeship
training. 50% of the total expenditure incurred on providing basic training will be provided by the
union government.

Vidyalakshmi Scheme – Interest Free Loan Scheme for IIT Students


 Ministry of HRD has decided to launch a new scheme named as Vidyalakshmi to assist IIT
students in getting loans to pay the fee.
 Under the Vidyalakshmi scheme, the Ministry will help students in getting interest free loans
from the banks to pay their fee.
 The recent fee hike for IIT has proved to be difficult for the students in paying the fee. only the
candidates whose family income is less than Rs. 9 Lakh per annum will be eligible for getting
loans

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Swayam Prabha – 32 DTH Channels for Live Telecast of Lectures
 The scheme will allow students from across the country to access classroom lectures on their
TV sets. The lectures from different institutions on different subjects will be provided on 32
channels.
 Every day, there will be new content of at least four hours that would be repeated six times a
day, allowing students to choose the time of their convenience.
 Under the Ministry of HRD, the scheme will have subject experts. The subject experts appointed
by the government will be paid on an hourly basis to produce the good quality content.
 The interactive study content including pictures, videos and diagrams will be delivered by the
subject experts appointed by the ministry. students can call on toll free helpline number to
cleartheirdoubts.

Right to Light scheme


 Under this scheme the school goer students will get solar powered lamps for their study
purpose in the evening or night.
 The program was recently launched inUP post its success in Assam,Bihar,Jharkhand,Odisha.
 In this program central government and state government have decided to distribute 1 crore
lamps to students.
 The scheme is a brainchild of IIT Bombay .

Pradhan Mantri Gram Parivahan Yojana


 Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Parivahan Yojana (PMGPY), the central government will
provide commercial PV’s to defence personnel and women self-help groups.
 The scheme will supplement the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana which was launched to
improve road conditions in the villages.
 The government is considering to provide 10-12 seater passenger vehicles at subsidised rates
to retired defence personnel and women self-help groups for running on these roads.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana


 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of Rs.12000 crore is the flagship
scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
 Objective : to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training.
Individuals with prior learning experience or skills will also be assessed and certified under
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
 The target for skilling under the scheme will be associated with Government’s flagship
programmes such as Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and National Solar
Mission.
 The skill training will involve soft skills, good work ethics, personal grooming, behavioural
change for cleanliness etc. will be undertaken on the basis of demand assessed on the basis of
skill gap studies conducted by the NSDC for the period 2013-17.

Smart Ganga City programme


 The focus of the completely Centrally-sponsored programme, which will be extended to other
cities, would be to build and upgrade sewage treatment infrastructure and improve drainage
networks.

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 National Mission for Clean Ganga has chosen Ten cities in the first phase of the project are
:Rishikesh Haridwar Mathura, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi , Allahabad, Patna ,Sahibganj and
Barrackpore .
 The work would be done based on hybrid annuity model in which first 40 per cent of the project
cost will be paid by the government annually over a fixed period to the developer while the
remaining 60 per cent will be disbursed on the basis of the quality of the asset created.
 The government is trying to entrench a mechanism as per which treated water will be used by
Industries.

Swachh Survekshan 2017


 Second survey after the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission was launched recently to assess and
rank 500 cities and towns on the basis of the level of sanitation and municipal bodies efforts for
the same.
 The aim: to capture progress towards Open Defecation Free status .Rankings will be based on
reports of Urban Local bodies for construction of toilets,feedback from citizens, population of
cities covered, etc
 The survey is conducted by the Quality Council of India and has increased its ambit from 73 to
500 cities with incentives for various players involved by rewarding the cities performing better,
rewarding workers at the grass root level.
 A web portal Swachhta App and Swachhta Helpline 1969 were also launched to associate more
citizens in urban areas with Swachh Bharat Mission. Mysuru is presently ranked no 1.

Mission Bhagiratha-The Water Grid System


 Mission Bhagiratha is an initiative of the state government of Telangana to provide safe drinking
water to everyone through dedicated water pipeline in the state.
 The objective of Mission Bhagiratha is to provide 100 liters of clean drinking water per person in
rural households and 150 liters per person in urban households.
 The state-level grid will comprise of a total of 26 internal grids. The main trunk pipelines of this
project would run about 5000 km, and the secondary pipelines running a length of about 50000
km would be used to fill service tanks in habitations.
 From here the village-level pipeline network of about 75,000 km would be used to provide clean
drinking water to households. The project will draw water from the two main rivers flowing
through the state, Krishna and Godavari.

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Miscellaneous

1- Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway appointed as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador


 Anne Hathaway is appointed by the United Nations as a global goodwill ambassador to promote
gender equality and the empowerment of women.
 The UN Women also known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the
Empowerment of Women a nodal UN agency for promoting gender equality and the
empowerment of women. It became operational in January 2011.

2- International Tennis Federation (ITF) bans Maria Sharapova for two years
 Maria Sharapova has been handed a two-year ban from tennis after she tested positive for
meldonium at the Australian Open in January.
 About Meldonium - It is a medical drug also known as Mildronate given to patients suffering
from heart and circulatory conditions for enhancing their physical capacity and mental function.
Its use mainly leads to production more red blood cells (RBCs) in the body in order to increase
oxygen supply to muscles for enhancing endurance.

3- Thailand first Asian country to eliminate MOTHER-TO-CHILD HIV Transmission


 Thailand has become the first Asian country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV
and syphilis.
 Elimination of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it
no longer constitutes a public health problem.
 In 2015, Cuba was the world's first country to receive WHO validation for eliminating mother-to-
child transmission of HIV.
 Thailand had launched a programme that year to provide antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and
counselling for pregnant women with HIV.

4- World's longest rail tunnel to open in Switzerland under Alps


 The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel Gotthard base tunnel has officially opened in
Switzerland, after almost two decades of construction work.
 The trailblazing rail passage under the Swiss Alps aiming to ease transit through the heart of
Europe.
 The twin-bore Gotthard Base Tunnel is the first flat low-level route through the Alps Mountain
and is situated 2.3 km deep under the Alps and 57 kms in length.

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5- WHO declares Brazil measles free
 WHO has declared Brazil free of measles after no case of the disease was registered in the last
year.
 Measles, or Rubeola, is a viral infection (measles virus, single stranded RNA virus) of the
respiratory system. Measles is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with
infected mucus and saliva.
 It can be spread rapidly through the air due to sneezing or a cough, and the first symptoms
appear after 10 days with red spots on the skin.

6- International Yoga Day 2016


 Every year 21 June is being observed as International Day of Yoga across the globe to spread
awareness about practicing yoga.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 64
 An international day for yoga was declared by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on
December 11, 2014.
 2016 Theme: “Connect the Youth”
 Maharishi Patanjali is the ‘father of Yoga’ who compiled 195 Yoga Sutras that became the
foundation of Yoga philosophy.
 The commentary on these sutras is called Bhasya.
 The core essence of Patanjali is the eightfold path of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) that focuses upon
healthy living through Yoga.

7- Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety


 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety.
 At the close of the Conference, the 2200 delegates adopted the “Brasilia Declaration on Road
Safety” through which they agreed ways to halve road traffic deaths by the end of this decade a
key milestone within the new Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target.
 The Brasilia Declaration is a call to rethink transport policies in order to favour more sustainable
modes of transport such as walking, cycling and using public transport.
 The Brasilia Declaration encourages WHO and partners to facilitate the development of targets
to reduce road traffic crashes and fatalities, and support the definition and use of indicators
linked to the SDG targets related to road safety.

8- Rio Olympics 2016 opens with a glittering ceremony in Rio De Janerio


 The 31st edition of Summer Olympic Games opened in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.
 The theme of the 31st edition of Summer Olympic Games was “World peace and Environment".
 The 2016 Rio Olympics games are scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 5 to
21 August 2016. It is officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.
 It is for first time the summer Olympics will be held in South American Continent and Brazil is
hosting it for the first time.

9- India’s first Green Rail Corridor launched in Tamil Nadu


 The India’s first Green Rail Corridor was inaugurated on the 114-km long Rameswaram-
Bio-toilet
Bio-digester technology treats human waste at the source. A collection of anaerobic bacteria that
has been adapted to work at temperatures as low as -5°C and as high as 50°C act as inocula (seed
material) to the bio-digesters and convert the organic human waste into water, methane, and
carbon-dioxide. The anaerobic process inactivates the pathogens responsible for water-borne
diseases and treats the fecal matter without the use of an external energy source.
Manamadurai stretch in Tamil Nadu.
 The Green Rail Corridor ensures zero toilet discharge on rail tracks as part of its commitment to
clean environment under the ‘Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ initiative.
 Trains in the section have been equipped with bio-toilets to ensure zero discharge of human
waste on the rail tracks.
 Under the bio-toilet concept of the DRDO, the bio-digester tank in every toilet is filled with
inoculums containing four types of bacteria. The water trap system in the toilet prevents air from
getting into the tank, the human waste is processed by anaerobic bacteria in seven chambers in
the tank and the methane gas is allowed to escape into the air.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 65
10- MOU in the field of production and marketing of Pigeon peas/ Tur Dal
 The Cabinet has approved a long-term contract for import of pulses(Pigeon pea) from
Mozambique.
 The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Mozambique provides for import of
pulses either through private channels or government-to-government sales through State
agencies nominated by the two countries, an official release said.
 India buys tur and green gram from Myanmar and Mozambique, chickpea from Australia and
Russia, and yellow peas and lentils from Canada.

11- AR Rahman conferred with Japan’s Fukuoka prize 2016


 Rahman has been conferred with the award for his outstanding contribution towards creating,
preserving and showcasing South Asian traditional fusion music.
 The Fukuoka Prize is an award established by the city of Fukuoka and the Yokatopia
Foundation to honor the outstanding work of individuals or organizations in preserving or
creating Asian culture. There are three prize categories: Grand Prize, Academic Prize, and Arts
and Culture Prize.
 Last year, noted Indian Historian Ramchandra Guha was conferred with Fukuoka Prize in
academic category.

12-Margaret Atwood wins 2016 Pen Pinter Prize


 Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and well known
environmental activist is praised by judges for championing environmental and human rights
cause.
 The prize was established in 2009 in memory of playwright and Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter,
who had died the previous year.

13-South African writer Lidudumalingani wins 2016 Caine Prize


 The South African writer and filmmaker, Lidudumalingani, has won the prestigious Caine Prize
for his short story, Memories We Lost.
 Africa’s leading literary award.

14-Padma Sachdev awarded 2015 Saraswati Samman


 Eminent author Padma Sachdev was awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year
2015 for her autobiography 'Chitt-Chete' written in Dogri language.
 Saraswati Samman: the award was instituted in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation.The award is
given every year for an outstanding literary work written by an Indian citizen in any of the 22
Indian languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India, published during the last 10
years.

15- 51st Jnanpith Award conferred on Gujarati writer Dr. Raghuveer Chaudhari
 He was awarded with the India’s highest literary honour for the year 2015.
 A scholar and a Gandhian in spirit and behaviour, authored more than 80 books and some of
his notable novels include Amrita, Venu Vatsala, Uparvas, Purvarang and Laagni Samjyaa
Vinaa Chuuta Padvan. He has received numerous accolades including Sahitya Acadmi Award
for his novel Trilogy Uparvaas in 1977.
 Mr. Chaudhary is the fourth Gujarati litterateur to bag this prestigious award after Uma Shankar
Joshi (1967), Pannalal Patel (1985) and Rajendra Shah (2001).

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 66
 Janpith was instituted in 1961 and is presented annually by Bharatiya Jnanpith trust founded by
the Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain family that owns the Times of India newspaper group.

16-Bezwada Wilson, TM Krishna two Indians win Ramon Magsaysay Award 2016
 Human right activist Bezwada Wilson has been lauded for his efforts towards “asserting the
inalienable right to a life human dignity.”
 South Indian classical musician T M Krishnan has been awarded for “ensuring social
inclusiveness in culture.”
 The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award, named after former Philippine President
Ramon Magsaysay, to honour "greatness of spirit in selfless service to the peoples of Asia
 the four other awardees for 2016 are Conchita Carpio-Morales from the Philippines, Indonesian
Dompet Dhuafa, Vientiane Rescue from Laos and the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.

17-Mission Bhagiratha in Telangana


 Vision: To ensure safe and sustainable PIPED drinking water supply from surface water sources
available in Krishna & Godavari.
 The aim of Telangana Water Grid is to provide 100 liters of clean drinking water per person in
rural households and 150 liters per person in urban households. This project aims to provide
water to about 25000 rural habitations and 67 urban habitations. Inspiration on Water Grid
Project: drew from the success of another project ,The Siddipet Drinking Water Project.
 PM Narendra Modi to launch the first phase of Mission Bhagiratha on Aug 7th, 2016 at
Komatibanda Village, Gajwel in Medak District of Telangana.

18-Internet Sathi’ in West Bengal to empower rural women


 The Indian unit of search giant Google Inc and Tata Trusts launched 'Internet Saathi' program
in West Bengal. The initiative will roll out from West Bengal's Purulia district and will focus on
training women and larger communities in the state to learn and explore various uses and
benefits of the Internet.
 This program has trained and benefitted over 2 lakh women across villages in Rajasthan,
Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
 The `Internet Saathi' initiative is part of Google's `Helping Women Get Online' campaign, which
is designed to create awareness about the benefits of Internet among women in rural India.
 Tata Trusts will play a crucial role of training women master trainers identified from Self Help
Groups and Women's federations. These master trainers are called "saathis" who then train
more women in their own and neighbouring villages.
 Google will provide the mobile and tablet devices, the training material and also trains the
master trainers. To drive broader access and continuity in usage after the training, Internet-
enabled devices like tablets and smartphones are also made available within the school
premises, community centres, self-help group meeting places, agriculture centres, PHCs, etc.
for optimum exposure and learning amongst the community.

19-DISHA for timely implementation of Central Schemes


 Union government formed a District Development Coordination and Monitoring
Committee (DDCMC) in place of the District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC) for
effective implementation and development of Central government schemes to be named
“Disha,” whether it is for infrastructure development or Social and human resource
development.

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 The main purpose of this committee is to coordinate with Central and State and local Panchayat
Governments, for successful and timely implementation of the schemes. Efforts will be made to
ensure the participation of people’s representative at all levels.
 The meetings of the committee should be held once in every Quarter (Third Saturdays of April,
July, October and February) and this has been made mandatory.
 The Chairperson of the committee will be the senior most Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha)
elected from the district, nominated by the Ministry of Rural Development.
 The Member Secretary should ensure that meeting notice, agenda notes and proceedings of
meetings are uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Rural Development and also the
website of the State.

20-Natural Gas Discovery Has Been Made In the Indian Ocean


 A large natural gas discovery has been made in the Indian Ocean following a joint expedition by
India and the U.S., opening up a new resource to meet energy needs.
 India’s Oil Ministry and the US Geological Survey made the discovery of large, highly enriched
accumulations of natural gas hydrate — an icy form of the fuel — in the Bay of Bengal.
Example:KG Basin in the Bay of Bengal.
 Natural gas hydrates are a naturally occurring, ice-like combination of natural gas and water
found in oceans and Polar Regions. They are considered as vast resources of natural gas
(methane) and are known to occur in marine sediments on continental shelf margins.
 Gas hydrate resources in India are estimated at 1,894 trillion cubic meters and these deposits
occur in Western, Eastern and Andaman offshore areas.

21-Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project


 Pattiseema lift irrigation project in Polavaram, Telangana aims to divert 80 tmcft of Godavari
water to the Krishna delta.
 India’s first river linking project from the ongoing Polavaram Multi-purpose Irrigation Project
 Water is pumped up to a nearby point and discharged into Polavaram Right Main Canal that
flows under gravity to a tributary of River Krishna about 170 km. The project contains 24 pumps
and 24 motors of 5,300 HP and 6,300 HP respectively with a combined capacity to discharge
8,500 cusecs of water.
 Polavarm project: It was declared as a national project under the Andhra Pradesh
Reorganisation Act, 2014 and was being funded by the Union Government. It is being built
on Godavari River.

22-Ministry Of Power Launches Surya Mitra Mobile App


 Ministery of Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy launched "Surya Mitra" mobile App.
 Surya Mitra acts as a technical platform in the field of Renewable energy to serve customers at
their doorsteps with quality installation, repair, and O&M services.
 The application looks to enhance the employment of trained youth in solar PV technology and
also improve the businesses of solar entrepreneurs by improving quality of servicing and
maintenance.
 Suryamitra Mobile App will come in handy with respect to O & M, Repair and maintenance of
solar pumps. The GPS based mobile app is developed by National Institute of Solar Energy
(NISE) which is an autonomous institution of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE).
 Under NABARD scheme of off grid Solar PV system, few lakhs of off-grid systems have been
installed and their systems require regular maintenance, which could be maintained by the

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 68
Suryamitras. MNRE has an ambitious target of installing 100,000 solar PV pumps in several
states.
 MNRE set a target of 50,000 "Suryamitras" of skilled manpower in solar energy sector in next 3
years. As on date more than 3,200 Suryamitra are trained under the program.

23-Madhukar Gupta Committee: Recommendations on border protection


 The Madhukar Gupta Committee on border protection has submitted its report to the Ministry of
Home Affairs (MHA). The Committee was constituted to suggest recommendations for
strengthening border protection and addressing the issue of gaps and vulnerability in border
fencing along India-Pakistan Border.
 The committee has made a several recommendations regarding border protection on India-
Pakistan border.
 The mandate of the committee was to study all types of gaps in fencing and all other
vulnerabilities in the International Border and to suggest comprehensive approach to fix these
gaps in fencing and other vulnerabilities on interim and permanent basis, use of technology and
heightened vigil on riverine frontiers. It has expressed displeasure over not installing laser walls
in many infiltration-prone areas due to treacherous and marshy terrain.

24-Andhra Pradesh becomes first state to launch DNA profiling of criminals


 As part of its proactive policing, the Andhra Pradesh government launched the DNA Index
System for the first time in India. This system uses the latest DNA technology tool developed by
IntegenX, Inc., USA known as RapidHIT DNA System.
 It allows generation of DNA profiles from live samples such as buccal swabs, blood stains,
saliva etc., within less than two hours as the currently available technologies take at least two
days or more.
 DNA profiling plays a crucial role not only in solving crimes but also has a potential to link a
series of crimes by placing the suspects at the scene of crime and also helping to prove their
innocence.
 DNA profiling (also called DNA fingerprinting, DNA testing, or DNA typing) is a forensic
technique used to identify individuals by characteristics of their DNA. A DNA profile is a small
set of DNA variations that is very likely to be different in all unrelated individuals, thereby being
as unique to individuals as are fingerprints

25-India ranks 66th in 2016 Global Innovation Index


 India has ranked 66th in 9th edition of The Global Innovation Index 2016.
 The Global Innovation Index 2016 (GII) is co-published by France-based international business
school INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialised agency
of the United Nations).
 The study ranked 142 economies across the world on their innovation capacity and efficiency.
 Among the middle income countries, India (25th) came second after China (17th) in innovation
quality by overtaking Brazil (27th).

26-August 12: International Youth Day


 Observed by United Nations, since 1999.
 The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and
Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 69
 This year’s Day is about achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It focuses on
the leading role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable
development through sustainable consumption and production.

27-UNESCO announces 9 new World Heritage Sites


 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the 40th
session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey added nine new sites on
its World Heritage List.
 Armenian city i.e. Old City Of Ani, near Turkey's now closed border with Armenia, once served
as the capital of the Armenian kingdom in the 10th century. Mostly abandoned after a
devastating earthquake in the 14th century, the ruins include a relatively well-preserved
cathedral and hold major significance for Armenians.
 China's Zuojiang Huashan rock art cultural landscape: Dating back to the 5th century B.C.,
Zuojiang Huashon rock art cultural landscape straddles steep cliffs in southwest China and
represent the only trace left of the Luoyue people.
 Iran's ancient aqueducts known as Qanat: Iran's Qanat system tapped into alluvial aquifer and
transported water underground across vast valleys helping sustain agricultural life and
settlements in arid areas.
 India's archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara: The Nalanda site comprises the
archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century B.C.
to the 13th century A.D.
 The medieval tombstones and graveyards, known as stecci, combine 30 sites in Bosnia, central
and southern Croatia, western Montenegro and western Serbia. Carved from limestone, they
feature decorative motives and inscriptions
 The Greek archaeological site of Philippi, founded in 356 B.C. by the Macedonian King Philip II,
lies in the present-day region of eastern Macedonia and Thrace. It later became an important
Christian site, following the visit of Apostle Paul, UNESCO said.
 The Antequera Dolmens site, in Andalusia, southern Spain, is comprised of three megalithic
monuments as well as two natural mountainous formations.
 Micronesia's artificial islets of Nan Madol and simultaneously placed it on the List of World
Heritage in Danger. Made of basalt and coral boulders, the 99 artificial islets of Nan Madol are
home to ruins ranging from temple to tombs dating between A.D. 1200 and 1500.
 The natural sea caves —or Gorham's Cave Complex— in the British overseas territory of
Gibraltar, also made the list, and provide evidence of Neanderthal occupation over a span of
more than 125,000 years

28- Kabaddi World Cup, 2016 hosted by Gujarat


 The International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) announced that the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup will be
hosted in Gujarat's leading city, Ahmedabad.
 Gujarat hosted the 12 Kabaddi teams from around the world including India, USA, Canada,
UK, Australia, Iran, Poland, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Korea, Japan and Kenya.
 A special consideration of the IKF in inviting these countries is to make the Kabaddi World Cup
representative of all the five geographies of the Olympic Games.
 The Kabaddi World Cup matches held in Ahmedabad's in state-of-the-art stadium, The Arena
by TransStadia.
 Logo: Asiatic lion

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 70
 Finals: Men: India v/s Iran –winner: India

29-Rio Olympics 2016 held in Rio De Janerio, Brazil


 The 31st edition of Summer Olympic Games opened in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.
 The theme of the 31st edition of Summer Olympic Games was “World peace and Environment".
 The 2016 Rio Olympics games are scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 5 to
21 August 2016. It is officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.
 It is for first time the summer Olympics will be held in South American Continent and Brazil is
hosting it for the first time.

30- World No-Tobacco Day: 31 May


 WHO mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and additional risks
associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco
consumption.
 The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017 is "Tobacco – a threat to development."
 WHO is calling on countries to prioritize and accelerate tobacco control efforts as part of their
responses to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is seen as one of the most
effective means to help achieve SDG target 3.4 of a one-third reduction globally, by 2030, of
premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease,
cancers and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease.

31- RIMPAC 2016: World’s largest international maritime exercise kicks off
 Theme: “Capable, Adaptive, Partners”.
 RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) 2016 began in Pacific Ocean at Hawaii, United States is world’s
largest international maritime exercise.
 In 2016, 26 navies from different countries participated. This year it is the 25th edition of biennial
exercise in the series that began in 1971. 45 ships, 5 submarines, about 200 aircrafts and
25000 personnel are participating. Three new nations are participating for the first time. They
are Denmark, Germany And Italy.
 India is being represented by Indian Naval Ship (INS) Satpura, an indigenously built guided
missile stealth frigate.

32- India’s first integrated Defence Communication Network launched


 The Defence Communication Network (DCN), a strategic, highly secure and scalable system,
has a pan-India reach — from Ladakh to the North East to island territories.
 It will enable the army, air force, navy and the Special Forces Command to share situational
awareness for faster decision-making process. It is first tri-service communication and IT
network of the armed forces.
 While all the three forces have their own command, communication and intelligence networks,
this is the first time when there will be a dedicated network for greater synergy.
 Built by HCL, DCN offers high quality voice, video and data services covering 111 entities
spread across the country.
 It is capable of working on terrestrial as well as satellite mode of communication and has also
been fixed onboard different military vehicles.

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33- Medium range surface-to-air missile developed by India, Israel successfully test-fired
 India successfully test fired a new, long range surface-to-air missile jointly developed with Israel
from a defence base off chandipur, Odisha coast.
 Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert
Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile, providing the users the
capability to neutralise any aerial threats.
 Indian Navy had also successfully test launched the long range surface to air missile (LR-SAM).
The test was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by INS Kolkata.

34- Anti-submarine torpedo Varunastra inducted in Indian Navy


 Indigenously-built heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo Varunastra has been successfully
inducted in the navy, making India one of the eight countries to have the capability to design
and build such a system.
 Developed by Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), a premier laboratory of
DRDO.
 Varunastra, weighing around 1.25 tonnes that carries about 250 kg of explosives at a speed of
around 40 nautical miles an hour. It has almost 95% indigenous content.
 Torpedo: It is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive warhead. It is launched above or below
the water surface and propelled underwater towards a target. It is designed to detonate either
on contact with its target or in proximity to it.

35- HAL unveils indigenous basic trainer aircraft HTT-40


 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) inaugurated indigenous Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) HTT-
40 .
 The indigenous content on HTT-40 is close to 80 per cent. Almost 50 per cent of the
components on HTT-40 are manufactured by private players of the Indian aerospace
ecosystem.

36-India, Japan and US navies kick off 2016 Malabar Exercise near South China Sea
 India, Japan and United States (US) navies have kicked off 2016 MALABAR trilateral naval
Exercise near South China Sea.
 It includes harbour phase exercises at Sasebo, Japan and the sea phase exercises in the
Pacific Ocean.
 Aim of exercise: Increase interoperability amongst the three navies and develop common
understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 72
CURRENT AFFAIRS PRELIMS QUICK REVISION’ 2017

1. Social Issues
2. Polity Issues
3. Governance Issues
4. Economy Issues
5. International Relations
6. Summit
7. Science & Technology
8. Environment
9. Health
10. Culture
11. Miscellaneous

Quick Revision Prelims 2017

Part 1 - June, July & August 2016

Part 2 – September, October & November 2016

Part 3 – December 2016, January & February 2017 (would be available by 18th April 2017)

Part 4 – March, April & May 2017 (would be available by 25th May 2017)

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 1
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. 2016 BRICS Convention on Tourism begins in Madhya Pradesh
The 2016 BRICS Convention on Tourism has begun at UNESCO World heritage site Khajuraho in
Madhya Pradesh to promote intra-regional tourism.
Key Facts :
 The event comprised of inter-governmental exchange of views and ideas and panel discussions
on different subjects including cooperation between the BRICS countries for promoting intra-
regional tourism.
 Business to Business meetings between the India Travel Trade and their counterparts from the
BRICS countries was organized.
 The convention has been organized as a precursor to the BRICS Summit to be held at Goa in
October 2016.
Khajuraho Temple: It is a group of Hindu and Jain Temples in Madhya Pradesh build by Chandela
Dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD. It is an UNESCO World heritage Site.

2. MARRAKESH TREATY COMES INTO FORCE


 Marrakesh Treaty came into force, after 22 countries ratified the treaty adopted in 2013 by
members of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
 Marrakesh Treaty or Marrakesh VIP Treaty is formally known as Marrakesh treaty to facilitate
Access to Published works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print
Disabilities. It is also called “Books for Blind” treaty.
 The treaty allows for copyright exceptions to help for the creation, export and import, sharing,
translation of the books in any format for accessible versions of copyrighted books and other
works for the people with impaired visibility.
 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a United Nations Organisation based in
Geneva, administers the Marrakesh Treaty and leads an alliance of private and public partners
known as the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC). The ABC has established a free
centralized electronic database of accessible books produced by libraries for the blind around
the world. It is a library-to-library service.
 India was the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty back in July 2014 .India has 63
million visually impaired people, of whom about 8 million are blind, according to WHO.
 In line with Marrakesh treaty, India launched Accessible India Campaign (Sugama Bharat
Abhiyan) and has set up Sugamya Pustakalaya, which has 2,00,000 volumes.

3. THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION BILL, 2016


Union ministry of women and child development (WCD) has drafted the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction Bill, 2016.
That once approved will facilitate prompt return of any child under 16 who has been “wrongfully
removed to or retained in other state which is not his/her habitual residence.”
The bill will provide an enabling legislation to implement the provision of the Hague convention.
Various Objectives and provisions-
 The draft mandates setting up of a central authority, to be headed by a joint secretary level
officer. The authority would have the power to decide all the cases.
 Voluntary return of any such child to the country in which such child had his or her habitual
residence.

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 To exchange information relating to any such child, with the appropriate authorities of a
Contracting State.
 To provide, on request, information of a general character, as to the law of India in connection
with the implementation of the Convention in any Contracting State.
 To institute judicial proceedings with a view to obtaining the return of any such in which that
child has his habitual residence. It also facilitate the provision of legal aid or advice.
 It provide administrative arrangements related to return of a child.
Significance:
 Replaces the outdated Guardians and Wards Act of 1890. A new law incorporating international
measures of Hague Convention( though India has not signed this convention).
 In an absence of any domestic law this law will secure the future of child.
 It will ensure better understanding with foreign countries as following SOP.

4. AARAMBH INITIATIVE
India launched its first internet hotline to encourage people to report online child pornography
and curb a surge in photographs and videos on the internet showing children being sexually
exploited.
Significance:
 Aarambh Initiative, a network of organisations and individuals working on child protection in the
country, has collaborated with the U.K.-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
 The hotline in India will be hosted on aarambhindia.org and will enable users to report child
sexual abuse images and videos in a safe and anonymous environment.
 With the help of the Britain’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) IWF’s 120 partners, such as tech
firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, the material is traced to where the server is hosted.
It is then blocked, eventually removed from the internet and the information shared with police for
prosecution.

5. NEW DELHI DECLARATION ON EDUCATION


The BRICS nations have adopted the ‘New Delhi Declaration on Education’ to ensure inclusive
and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.
The declaration was adopted at fourth Meeting of BRICS Education Ministers Conference held in
New Delhi. It was attended by Ministers of Education and assigned representatives of BRICS
nations.
Key Features:
 Reiterates commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) which aims to ensure
inclusive and equitable quality education and the Education 2030 Framework for Action.
 Initiate actions to formulate country-specific targets within the broader scope of the SDG4.
 Integrate the SDG4 related targets with sub-national and the national level education sector
development plans and programmes Build capacity at the subnational and national levels for
measuring and monitoring progress towards SDG4 and corresponding targets using the
indicators adopted by the UNGA
 Share the best practices available in BRICS nations on collaboration in education, innovation
and research through the BRICS Network University (BNU).
 Information and communication technologies (ICTs) will be used for improving access to
education, teacher development, enhancing quality of teaching-learning process etc.

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6. Himachal Pradesh declared India’s second Open Defecation Free State
The State of Himachal Pradesh was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF), making it the second
State in the country (after Sikkim) to achieve the feat.
Every individual household in the state has functional toilet under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’.
What is Open defecation?
 Open defecation means people defecate in open spaces such as fields, bushes, forests, open
bodies of water rather than using the toilet.
 Hazards of Open Defecation: It is important factor in causing various diseases like intestinal
worm infections, diarrhoea, polio, hepatitis etc.
“The hill state of Himachal has become the first large state to become completely ODF”

7. Union Cabinet approves establishment of National Academic Depository


The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval for establishment and operationalisation of a National
Academic Depository (NAD). The decision aims at bringing another dimension and enhancement of
the vision of Digital India.
 Under it all academic degrees, certificates and awards in the country will be made digitally
available for verification on single spot.
 The NAD would be established and operationalised within the next three months and would be
rolled out throughout the country in 2017-18.
 The NAD would be operationalised by NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL
Ventures, Limited (CVL) - two of the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered
under Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

8. 28 October: National Ayurveda Day


The first National Ayurveda Day was observed on 28 October on the occasion of Dhanwantari
Jayanti.
Theme : “Ayurveda for Prevention and Control of Diabetes”
 The ministry of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (Ayush),
recently, announced its decision to observe Dhanvantari Jayanti, popularly known as Dhanteras,
as National Ayurveda Day every year.
 The Ministry of AYUSH is also going to launch “Mission Madhumeha through Ayurveda” on
the occasion.
 The Mission Madhumeha will be implemented throughout the country through a specially
designed National Treatment Protocol for effective management of Diabetes through Ayurveda.

9. India ranks 87th on the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2016 was released recently.
 India has improved its rank in the Global Gender Gap index — moving from 108th to 87th
position.
Key Highlights of the report:
 The WEF measures the gender gap index of the countries by taking four factors into account-
economy, health, education and political representation.
 Globally, the leading four nations continue to be Scandinavian: Iceland, Finland, Norway and
Sweden, in that order.

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 India is also among a group of countries that have made key investments in women’s education
but have generally not removed barriers to women’s participation in the workforce.

10. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates first National Tribal Carnival


Prime Minister inaugurated the first National Tribal Carnival in New Delhi to promote a sense of
inclusiveness among the tribals.
The main purpose of this four-day carnival is to promote a sense of inclusiveness among the tribals.
It will also showcase and promote various facets of tribal culture on a large scale.
Key Facts
 The idea behind the carnival is to preserve and promote various facets of the tribal life relating to
culture, tradition, customs and their skills.
 Besides it also seeks to expose it to the general public with a view to utilise the potential for
overall holistic development of the Scheduled Tribes.
 The carnival will host activities like displaying documents on traditional socio-culture aspects,
exhibition of art/artifacts, cultural performances. It will also demonstration of skills like paintings,
traditional healing practices, sports, etc.
 It will also host workshops on issues like implementation of Panchayats (Extension to the
Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.

11. 17 October: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty


The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed globally on 17 October for
eradication of poverty throughout the world.
2016 Theme : Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all
its forms.
 The United Nations most Sustainable Development Goal is to “end poverty in all its forms and
dimensions from everywhere”
Background : The United Nations had declared 17 October as the International Day for the
Eradication of Poverty by adopting a resolution on 22 December 1992. For the first time, it was
observed in 1993.

12. India ranked 97th in 2016 Global Hunger Index


 India ranked 97th out of 118 countries on the International Food Policy Research Institute’s
(IFPRI) Global Hunger Index (GHI) in 2016.
 India has scored low 28.5 on a 0-100 point scale of the index.
 It describes India’s hunger situation as “serious. The index was released by the International
Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
 Global Hunger Index is based on a country’s performance on indicators such as the proportion
of the undernourished in the population, prevalence of wasting in children under five years,
prevalence of stunting in children under five years and the under-five mortality rate.
 At the end of 2016, around 15 per cent of the country’s population was undernourished, down
from 17 per cent at the end of 2009.

13. October 11: International Day of the Girl Child


 The International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) is observed every year across the world on 11
October to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

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Significance of Day: The observance of the day seeks to increase awareness of gender inequality
faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender and supports more opportunity for girls. This year
it was fifth edition of this day after it was observed for first time in 2012.
 2016 Theme: “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls”. It calls for action
for increased investment in collecting and analyzing girl-relevant, girl-focused and sex-
disaggregated data.
 The International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) was instituted by the United Nations General
Assembly (UNGA) by adopting Canada backed Resolution in December 2011.
14. 3 October: World Habitat Day
World Habitat Day is observed every year on the first Monday of October throughout the world.
The 2016 World Habitat Day campaign aims to raise awareness about the need for affordable
housing for all in urban areas, towns and cities.
2016 Theme: “Housing at the Centre”.
Focus of the theme
 The 2016 World Habitat Day campaign aims to raise awareness about the need for affordable
housing for all in urban areas, towns and cities.
 The purpose of the day is to reflect on the state of our cities and towns and the basic human
right to adequate shelter.

15. Government launches e-Pashuhaat portal to connect farmers and breeders of bovine
animals
 The Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister, launched e-pashuhaat portal
(www.epashuhaat.gov.in) on the occasion of National Milk Day here today.
 The portal will act as a single online e-trading market platform, including availability of bovine
germplasm. It will enable the farmers to buy bovine animals, frozen semen and embryo.
Aims and Objectives:
 E-Trading Market portal for livestock germplasm and additional related services.
 Will connect farmers with breeders - Central, State, Co-operative, Milk Federations, and private
agencies.
 Real time authentic certified information on availability of germplasm.
Key Facts
 It would become a platform for sell of bovines, including information on semen, embryos and
live animals with all the agencies and stake holders in the country.
 The portal would make the farmers aware of availability of quality disease free bovine
germplasm with different agencies in the country.
 India has the largest bovine population in the world.

16. 25 November: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
The United Nations has designated November 25 International Day for the Elimination of
Violence Against Women. The day recognizes women across the world who are subject to rape,
domestic abuse and other forms of violence.
2016 Theme: “Orange the World – raise funds to end violence against women”.
About international day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women :

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 The day was observed to create the awareness about violence against women,end the
violence against the women and to show that the prevention is possible against violence
of women.
 This day is commemorated in the memory of the Mirabal sisters who were three political
activists from the Dominican Republic. They were brutally assassinated during the Rafael
Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961) in 1960.

17. International Forum on adopting ICT Perspective to Education and Learning


The International Forum on adopting ICT Perspective to Education and Learning is being held in
Delhi.
Organizers: International Bureau of Education (IBE), UNESCO in partnership with Google and the
Union Ministry of Human Resource Development & NCERT.
Key Facts
 The forum targets countries which are implementing the UNESCO developed General Education
Quality Analysis Framework (GEQAF). Best practice cases from countries will be presented.
 Participating countries include Egypt, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Gabon, India, Lithuania, Oman,
Seychelles, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mauritius, US and Swaziland.
About International Bureau of Education (IBE)
 IBE is a UNESCO category 1 institute mandated as the Centre of Excellence in curriculum and
related matters.
 It supports countries efforts both through direct technical assistance and also by proving
platform to share experiences and best practices from around the world.
 It also helps to build country’s capacity to harness technology to strengthen education systems
for sustained improvement of education quality, equity and inclusion.

18. India ranks 133rd in 2016 Global Youth Development Index


India has ranked very poorly at 133 in a new Global Youth Development Index compiled by the
Commonwealth Secretariat on the countries’ prospects for young people in employment,
education, health, civic and political spheres.
Key Facts
 Top 10 countries in 2016 YDI: Germany (1), Denmark (2), Australia (3), Switzerland (4), UK (5),
Netherlands (6), Austria (7), Luxembourg (8), Portugal (9) and Japan (10).
 India’s neighbours: Sri Lanka (31), Bhutan (69) and Nepal (77).
 The report highlights that India accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the global youth population,
with nearly 345 million young people between the ages of 15 and 30 living in the country.
 The report highlights need for greater investment to reap so-called demographic dividend.

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POLITY ISSUES
1- Army sets up design bureau to reduce dependence on imports
 To indigenise procurements and reduce import dependence, the Indian Army announced the
establishment of the Army Design Bureau which will integrate various stake holders in its
long-term requirements.
 The design bureau will be the repository of all technical know-how for defence equipment
manufacturing.
 The Army Design Bureau (ADB) has been conceptualised as an interface of the Indian Army
with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), academia, defence PSUs,
OFBs and private industry, paving the way for high-quality research and development of defence
products.
 The establishment of the ADB which is expected to be headed by a Maj Gen rank officer.

2- Higher Education Financing Agency gets the green signal


 The Union Cabinet, has approved the creation of the Higher Education Financing Agency
(HEFA) to give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational
institutions.
 The HEFA would be jointly promoted by the identified Promoter and the Ministry of Human
Resource Development (MHRD) with an authorised capital of Rs.2,000 crore.
 The HEFA would be formed as a SPV(Special Purpose Vehicle) within a PSU Bank/
Government-owned-NBFC (Promoter).
 HEFA would leverage the equity to raise up to Rs. 20,000 crore for funding projects for
infrastructure and development of world class Labs in IITs/IIMs/NITs and such other
institutions.
 The HEFA would also mobilise CSR funds from PSUs/ Corporates, which would in turn be
released for promoting research and innovation in these institutions on grant basis.
 The HEFA would finance the civil and lab infrastructure projects through a 10-year loan.
 All the Centrally Funded Higher Educational Institutions would be eligible for joining as members
of the HEFA.

3. Trinamool Congress is now 7th 'national party' in India


 The All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) has been recognised as 7th national party by the
Election Commission of India.
 Trinamool Congress has satisfied one of the three conditions mentioned in the Election
Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 to be recognised as a national party —
having been recognised as a State party in at least four States.
 The poll panel had on August 22, 2016 amended a rule whereby it will now review the national
and State party status of political parties every 10 years instead of the five.
 According to the criteria set by the poll panel for recognising as national party,
1. A “national party” needs to win at least two per cent of the total seats in the Lok Sabha
(11 seats) from at least three different states, OR
2. Get at least six per cent votes in four states in addition to four Lok Sabha seats,
OR
3. Be recognised as a “state party” in four or more states.
 TMC is a recognised State party in West Bengal, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.

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 Recognition as a national or a State party ensures that the election symbol of that party is
not used by any other political entity in polls across India.
 National parties get land or buildings from the government to set up their party offices. They can
have up to 40 ‘star campaigners’ during electioneering. Others can have up to 20 ‘star
campaigners’.
 Now, India has seven recognised national parties — the Congress, the BJP, the BSP, the CPI,
the CPI(M), the NCP and the All India Trinamool Congress.

4. Cabinet approves grant of Permanent Residency Status to Foreign Investors


 The Union Cabinet has approved the scheme for grant of Permanent Residency Status (PRS)
to foreign investors subject to the relevant conditions as specified in the FDI Policy notified by
the Government from time to time.
 In order to avail this scheme, the foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of Rs. 10
crores to be brought within 18 months or Rs.25 crores to be brought within 36 months.
 Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident
Indians every financial year.
 Permanent Residency Status will be granted for a period of 10 years initially with multiple
entry facility, which can be renewed for another 10 years.
 PRS will serve as a multiple entry visa without any stay stipulation and PRS holders will be
exempted from the registration requirements.
 PRS holders will be allowed to purchase one residential property for dwelling purpose.
 The spouse/ dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private
sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for Employment Visa) and undertake studies in India.

5. Government approves use of chilli-based PAVA shells for mob control


 The Government has approved the use of chilli-based PAVA shells for crowd controlling as
an alternative to pellet guns which would still be used in rarest of rare cases.
 PAVA shells are non-lethal munition which temporarily incapacitates the targets and renders
them immobile for several minutes.
 An expert panel of the home ministry was set up and the use of PAVA was recommended by a
seven-member expert committee, headed by Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry T V S N
Prasad, in its report submitted.
 PAVA shells were on trial for over a year at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR)
a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory in Lucknow.
 PAVA stands for Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, also called Nonivamide, and is an organic
compound found characteristically in natural chilli pepper.
 On the Scoville scale (the degree to measure the power of chilli), PAVA is categorised as
"above peak", meaning it will severely irritate and paralyse humans, but temporarily.
 It is also used as a food additive to add pungency, flavouring and spicy effect to food.

6. SC moves away from death penalty


 The Supreme Court has moved away from death penalty (capital punishment) after it commuted
the death sentence of a youth for raping and killing a seven-year-old girl with the Special
Category of Punishment.
 Special Category of Punishment is judicial innovation that will be veering away from capital
punishment. It will be limited to a “very few cases”.

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 In this case capital punishment will be shifted to life imprisonment without the benefit of release
on remission for prolonged periods ranging from 25 to 30 years, if not more.
 Special category status was formalised by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the
Rajiv Gandhi killers’ case in December 2015.
 The judicial innovation of the special category of punishment bridges the gap between death
sentence (capital punishment) on the extreme and only 14 years of actual life imprisonment on
the other.

7. Web Responsive Pensioner’s Service portal to provide better services to the pensioners
 Web Responsive
Pensioners' Service is a
Digital India initiative
taken-up by the
Controller General of
Accounts which works
under the administrative
control of the Union
Ministry of Finance.
 The Web Responsive
Pensioners' service has
been developed to
provide single-point web
solution for pensioners to
obtain comprehensive
information relating to
status of the pensions and pension payments.
 This service will also help in speedy redressal of pensioners’ grievances.

8. Inter State Council (ISC) and Standing Committee of ISC Reconstituted


 The Government has reconstituted the Inter State Council (ISC) and the Standing Committee
of the Inter State Council under Clause 2 of the Inter State Council order,1990.
 The Government has approved the following composition of the Inter State Council.
Chairman - Prime Minister
Members
(i) Chief Ministers of all States.
(ii) Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and Administrators of Union
Territories not having Legislative Assembly.
Six Union Ministers
a) Minister of Home Affairs
b) Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs
c) Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting
d) Minister of Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs
e) Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping
f) Minister of Defence.
Union Cabinet Ministers/Minister of State (Independent charge) as Permanent invitees.
 The Prime Minister has also approved the following composition of the Standing Committee of
the Inter State Council.
Chairman - Minister of Home Affairs

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Members
(i) Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs
(ii) Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting
(iii) Minister of Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation & Parliamentary Affairs.
(iv) Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping
(v) Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh
(vi) Chief Minister, Punjab
(vii) Chief Minister, Chattisgarh
(viii) Chief Minister, Tripura
(ix) Chief Minister, Odisha
(x) Chief Minister, Rajasthan
(xi) Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh
 The Standing Committee will:
(i) have continuous consultation and process matters for consideration of the Council
(ii) Process all matters pertaining to Centre State Relations before they are taken up for
consideration in the inter-State Council.
(iii) Monitor the implementation of decisions taken on the recommendations of the Council and
(iv) consider any other matter referred to it by the Chairman/Council.
(v) The Standing Committee may, if necessary, invite experts and persons eminent in
specific fields to have the benefit of their views while deliberation upon the related subjects.
 The Inter-State Council is a constitutional body to facilitate coordination between states and
the centre. The Inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination
between the states and Central government.
 It is a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the
states or the Central government have a common interest.
 It is set up on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Constitution of India by a Presidential
Order, 1990 based on the recommendation of Sarkaria Commission.
9. Employees Online (EO) Mobile App of DoPT
 EO App is a mobile application of the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Ministry of
Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
 The mobile application aims to update on Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)
appointments and postings on real time basis and to bring transparency.

10. Justice Reddy committee on OROP submits report


 The one-man judicial committee on One Rank One Pension (OROP) submitted its report to the
Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar.
 The Central Government had appointed the committee under the Chairmanship of Justice L
Narasimha Reddy, retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court to look into the anomalies, if any,
arising out of implementation of OROP.

11- Smaller parties, Independents in Rajya Sabha unite for more talk time
 Vice-President Hamid Ansari has formally recognised a group of 22 MPs belonging to parties
with less than four MPs and certain independents as a consolidated block — the United
Group.
 This is only the third time in the history of Indian Parliament that this is happening, the first was in
1983, and the second in 1990.

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 With this grouping, United Group will be the third largest group of MPs in the Rajya Sabha, after
the Congress and the BJP and it will find a place in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC)
that decides time allotment.
 Time allotted to parties to speak on debates depends entirely on their strength in the House.

12- SC widens ambit of Domestic Violence Act


 Supreme Court orders striking down of the two words ‘adult male’, paving the way for
prosecution of women and non-adults for violence against a woman.
 The Supreme Court has widened the scope of the Domestic Violence Act by ordering deletion
of the words “adult male” from it, paving the way for prosecution of women and even non-
adults for subjecting a woman relative to violence and harassment.
 The apex court has ordered striking down of the two words from Section 2(q) of the Protection
of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which deals with respondents who can be sued
and prosecuted under the Act for harassing a married woman in her matrimonial home.

13- ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ scheme


 On the occasion of 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel ,Prime Minister Narendra
Modi pitched for “Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat” scheme.
 "Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat" will bridge the cultural gap in the country and enhance interaction
between people living in different states.
 About the "Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat" scheme -
1) The "Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat" scheme draws inspiration from the life of India's freedom fighter
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The prime minister recalled Sardar Patel's initiatives as mayor of
Ahmedabad during the 1920s, including a campaign for cleanliness and a proposal for 50 percent
reservation for women.
2) The 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' initiative will be launched soon under which every state will
choose another state each year and then promote its language and culture.
3) The government has formed a committee to work out the modalities of the scheme in
consultation with the states.
4) According to the scheme, two states will undertake a unique partnership for one year which
would be marked by cultural and student exchanges.
5) Students of a particular state would travel to another state to learn each other's culture.

14- Western Zonal Council Meeting held in Mumbai


 The 22nd meeting of the Western Zonal Council consisting of the States of Maharashtra,
Gujarat, Goa and Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli was held at
Mumbai under the chairmanship of Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister.
 The Council reviewed issues related to internal security, coastal security, issuance of bio-metric
identity cards to fishermen and card readers, modernization of police force, formulation of plans
for countering terrorism etc.
 It also reviewed other important issues such as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban) Mission,
providing shelters to the urban homeless, and surplus lands of Union Government for ‘Housing
for All: 2022’.
 Issues related to checking pollution in Daman Ganga River and Kolak River due to discharge
of untreated effluents from Vapi industrial area was also discussed.
 What are Zonal Councils?

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(1) Zonal Councils were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 (so it is not
constitutional body) to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States.
(2) Currently, there are total five zonal councils viz. Northern, Western, Eastern, Central and
Southern.
(3) The Zonal Councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of
common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities
or inter-State transport etc.
(4) They are regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other economically,
politically and culturally.

15- Government extends AFSPA in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh


 Considering Naga underground factions' increased indulgence in extortion and inter-factional
rivalry, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has extended Armed Forces Special Powers Act or
AFSPA in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
 The districts (Tirap, Changlang, and Longding) have been specified as 'disturbed areas' under
Section 3, AFSPA.
 The acts are not invoked in cases of civil unrest during elections. The AFSPA is invoked
when a case of militancy or insurgency takes place and the international borders of India
are at risk.

16- Punjab law terminating SYL(Satlej-Yamuna Link) pact unconstitutional: SC


 The Supreme Court has scrapped Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004
which unilaterally allows Punjab to stop sharing Ravi, Beas waters with other States
including Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.
 The SC bench gave its opinion on a Presidential Reference made by then President APJ
Kalam in 2004 to the apex court under Article 143 (1) of the Constitution questioning the
constitutional validity of the Act.
 This judgement implies that the 2004 Act was not in consonance with the apex court judgement
of 2003 which had mandated the construction of the SYL canal that has been stalled.

17- Entire Country gets National Food Security Act coverage


 The Union Government has announced that the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013
which envisages supply of subsidised foodgrains has been implemented across the country after
last two remaining states Kerala and Tamil Nadu rolled out the NFSA from November 2016.
 About National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 -
1- The NFSA aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of the population
(75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
2- It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Central
Government. It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme
and the Public Distribution System.
3- Grains like wheat, rice and coarse grain will be distributed at the subsidized price of Rs. 3, Rs. 2
and Rs. 1 respectively.
4- Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children are entitled to get meals under the
prescribed nutrition by MDM and ICDS.
5- NFSA 2013 will provide high nutrition food to the children from age group of 6 months to 14
years. Pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to get maternity benefit of not
less than Rs. 6,000.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 13
Governance Issues
1. Union Government launches Gas4India campaign to promote use of natural gas in the
country
 The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has launched Gas4India campaign, aimed at
promoting the use of natural gas in the country.
 "The country is moving towards a gas-based economy, and it is working to increase the share of
gas in the country's energy basket.
Key features
 Gas4India is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign to communicate the
national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to
every citizen.
 The campaign includes social engagement via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and
its official website, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers
through discussions, workshops and cultural events, it said.
 Besides the move to enhance gas production, the government is promoting a nation-wide gas
grid and setting up gas infrastructure.

2. Mandi, and Sindhudurg emerge cleanest Districts in India: Gramin Swachh Survekshan
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj released
the ‘Swachh Survekshan’ for rural India, revealing Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) and Sindhudurg
(Maharashtra) as the cleanest districts in India.
Sindhudurg was judged as the cleanest in the ‘Plains’ category and Mandi in the cleanest district in
‘Hills’ category.
Key Facts :
 The Ministry had commissioned Quality Council of India (QCI) to carry out the assessment.
Each district has been judged on four distinct parameters.
 Maximum weightage was places on accessibility to safe toilets and water. The parameters
to judge sanitation status include:
1. Households having access to safe toilets and using them (toilet usage, water accessibility, safe
disposal of waste) (40%)
2. Households having no litter around (30%)
3. Public places with no litter in the surrounding (10%)
4. Households having no stagnant wastewater around (20%)

3. Union Government launches Urja Mitra Helpline for power outages


The Union Government has launched Urja Mitra Helpline through which customers can get
information on power outages from distribution companies by dialing 14401. The helpline was
launched by the Department of Telecom (DoT) of the Union Ministry of Communications and
Information Technology.
Key Facts
 The helpline is for pan-India usage to send information through voice calls and SMSs to
apprise customers about power situation in their area.
 The information will apprise customers about power situation in their area so that they can plan
accordingly.
 It is a mandatory service, which will be provided by all the telecom operators.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 14
 Power Finance Corporation (PFC) developed app on behalf of the Power Ministry, will enhance
consumer connect with power distribution companies.
 Consumers can get information on outages, timely release of connections, complaint redressal
and power reliability, among others.

4. Indian Railways launches Yatri Mitra Sewa to help elderly, differently-abled


 Indian Railways has launched ‘Yatri Mitra Sewa’ in a move to make rail travel comfortable for
elderly, differently-abled and ailing travellers.
 Railways has launched ‘Yatri Mitra Sewa’ to facilitate access to wheelchairs, battery
operated cars porter services across Major Railway stations in the country.
 'Yatri Mitra' or 'Passenger Friend' can be a "Sahayak (assistant)" or any other person
nominated for the purpose.
 The service can be availed at the time of online booking of tickets, calling or messaging ‘139’,
accessing an app developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS).
 The IRCTC has been mandated to implement the service which may provide it 'free of cost' by
involving some NGO, charitable trust, PSUs, etc under the Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) category.
 Yatri Mitra Seva is derived from the ‘Sarathi Seva’ introduced in the Konkan Railways.

5. Union Government to launch Mission Parivar Vikas for improved family planning
services
Health Ministry to launch “Mission Parivar Vikas” in 145 High Focus districts in seven states for
improved family planning service.
These 145 districts have been identified based on total fertility rate and service delivery
(PPIUCD and Sterilization performance) for immediate, special and accelerated efforts to reach the
replacement level fertility goals of 2.1 by 2025.
 The main objective of ‘Mission Parivas Vikas’ will be to accelerate access to high quality
family planning choices based on information, reliable services and supplies within a rights-
based framework.
 Improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services.
 Dovetailing with new promotional schemes, Ensuring commodity security, building capacity
(service providers) and Creating an enabling environment along with close monitoring and
implementation.

6. Union Cabinet gives approves Varistha Pension Bima Yojana, 2003 and Varistha Pension
Bima Yojana, 2014
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana
(VPBY) 2003 and VPBY 2014, Approval has also been granted for the expenditure incurred on
subsidy amount released to Life Insurance Corporation during the period 2003-04 to 2014-15 for
VPBY 2003.
Key Facts :
 VPBY was launched on July 14, 2003, the VPBY 2014 was launched on August 14.
 The schemes are implemented through Life Insurance Corporation and the difference
between the actual yield earned by LIC on the funds invested under the scheme and the assured
return committed by the Government is paid as subsidy to LIC.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 15
 Both are pension schemes intended to give an assured minimum pension to Senior
Citizens based on an assured minimum return on the subscription amount.
 The pension is envisaged until death from the date of subscription, with payback of the
subscription amount on death of the subscriber to the nominee.

7. Union Government launches Biotech-KISAN and Cattle Genomics to empower farmers


The Ministry of Science and Technology has launched two new schemes Biotech-KISAN and
Cattle Genomics in order to apply science to boost rural economy.
AIM: Improve farm productivity, empower farmers, especially women farmers.
Biotech-KISAN (Krishi Innovation Science Application Network)
Scheme Empowering Small- and Women- Farmers with Science Implementation.
 It will train women farmers across 15 agro-climatic zones on new technologies and know-
how available in the country and outside.
 The main aim of the scheme is to understand individual problems of the small holding
farmers and provide ready solutions.
 The scheme includes the Mahila Biotech- KISAN fellowships, for training and education in
farm practices, for women farmers.
 The Scheme also aims to support the women farmers/ entrepreneur in their small enterprises,
making her a grass root innovator.
Cattle Genomics: Taking Indigenous Livestock to Pole Position
 Government aims to improve the genetic health of the cattle population through genomic
selection. When breeding is selective, it will ensure high-yielding, disease-resistant, resilient
livestock.
 The programme also envisages development of high-density DNA chips.
 This will reduce the cost and time interval for future breeding programmes and productivity
of indigenous cattle would be enhanced.

8. PM Narendra Modi launches Urja Ganga in Varanasi


Prime Minister has laid the foundation stone of Urja Ganga, the highly ambitious gas pipeline
project in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Aim: To provide piped cooking (PNG) gas to residents of the eastern region of the country
and CNG gas for the vehicles.
Key facts:
 The project is being implemented by state-run gas utility GAIL. It envisages laying a 2,050-km
pipeline connecting Jagdishpur (UP) to Haldia (West Bengal) by 2018.
 The Urja Ganga project also augments existing GAIL’s network of trunk pipelines covering the
length of around 11,000 km by 2540 km.
 Besides, under this project work on 2540-km long Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra
Natural Gas pipeline project will begin and will be completed between 2018 and 2020.
 Seven East India cities Varanasi, Jamshedpur, Patna, Ranchi, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack –
will be the major beneficiary of this network development.

9. Union Government launches UDAN Scheme for Regional Air Connectivity

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The Union Government has launched the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka
Aam naagrik) which seeks to get more people to fly in the smaller towns. It will be rolled out by
January, 2017 and will be in operation for a period of 10 years.
UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) Scheme
 UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market.
 This first-of-its-kind scheme will ensure affordability, connectivity, growth and development.
 It aims to increase ticketing volume from 80 million to 300 million by 2022.
 Airline operators will bid for up to 40 subsidised seats and minimum seats will be 9. There
will be 50% seats on market based pricing.
 It will create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that
flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.

10. Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)


Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is a safe motherhood intervention under the National Rural Health
Mission (NHM). It is being implemented with the objective of reducing maternal and neonatal
mortality by promoting institutional delivery among poor pregnant women.
Key finding :
 As per the new study Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) has played important role in reducing
‘socioeconomic disparities’ existing in maternal care.
 As per the latest report on maternal health, India accounted for 15% the total maternal deaths in
the world in 2015 second only to Nigeria with 45,000 women dying during pregnancy or
childbirth.
 This is for first time study has shown JSY has reduced socioeconomic inequalities in maternal
care compared to earlier studies which showed impact of JSY in reducing maternal mortality..
 It integrates cash assistance with delivery and post-delivery care.
 It is a 100% centrally sponsored scheme (CSS).
 ASHA (Accredited social health activist) is considered as a link between Government and poor
pregnant women for encourage institutional deliveries among poor women.

11. IAE to tie up with India for its global LED programme
 International Energy Agency (IAE/ IEA) collaborated with India to implement the government of
India’s Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) initiative universally for energy
savings.
 The scheme is implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of
PSUs under the Union Ministry of Power.
About Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme
 UJALA was launched by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on 1st May, 2015.
 LED-based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP).
 Support efficient lighting, reducing energy consumption and energy savings.
 “Bachat Lamp Yojana” was replaced by UJALA scheme in March 2016.
 Efficient Lighting Programme first launched in Puducherry on 7th February, 2014.
 UJALA scheme promotes LED bulbs over tube lights, incandescent bulbs and CFL bulbs,
as they are long lasting, more efficient, and economical in their life cycle duration.
 Ministry of New and Renewable Energy stopped the subsidy on CFL-based solar lighting system
because they want to encourage the people to maximum use of the LED Bulbs.
About International Energy Agency (IEA)
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 17
 IEA is a Paris-based autonomous non-governmental organisation.
 IEA was established in 1974. It was established to meet the industrial countries ’energy
organisation needs.
 Only Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states can
become the members of the IEA.

12. HRIDAY [ Heritage City Development Scheme]Scheme


The National Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) is a recently launched
scheme to preserve and rejuvenate the rich cultural heritage of the country.
Key Facts:
 It is a Rs. 500-crore project for reviving the heritage of 12 cities including Varanasi, Mathura,
Gaya, Dwarka and Puri.
 HRIDAY seeks to promote an integrated, inclusive and sustainable development of heritage
sites, focusing not just on maintenance of monuments but on advancement of the entire
ecosystem including its citizens, tourists and local businesses. The tourism potential of the
country is still to be fully harnessed and the new scheme will help in this regard.
 Central government will meet the entire expenditure under the scheme. But, the states and
local urban bodies are requested to supplement their resources for rapid development of
heritage cities.
 The project will work through a partnership of Government, Academic Institutions and local
community combining affordable technologies.
 The 12 cities selected for the scheme are Ajmer, Amritsar, Amravati, Badami, Dwarka, Gaya,
Warangal, Puri, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Varanasi and Velankanni.

13. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY)


Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 proposes to introduce a scheme named the
'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016'.
Features
 Its aim is to use black-money collected post-demonetization in welfare schemes for the
poor.
 The government wants to give people an opportunity to pay taxes with penalties and declare
undisclosed income through the proposed Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
 PMGKY will allow people to deposit previously untaxed money by paying 50% of the total
amount: 30% as tax and 10% as penalty on the undisclosed income, as well as 33% of the
taxed amount as cess.
 The declarant will also have to deposit 25% of undisclosed income in a deposit scheme to
be notified by the RBI under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016.
 If the declarant refuses the option of using the government deposit scheme, 85% of the
amount will be deducted as taxes and penalties.
 For money that is found in raids, taxes and penalties of nearly 90% of the amount will be levied,
leaving just 10% with the owner.

14. PM Narendra Modi launches Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin)


Prime Minister formally launched a rural housing scheme, whereby the Centre proposes to provide
an environmentally-safe and secure pucca house to every rural household by 2022.
The Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) or PMAY-G, the scheme intends to complete the
construction of 1 crore houses by March 2019.
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About the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) or PMAY-G :
 PMAY-G is a major step forward in bringing together Skill India, Digital India, Make In India,
IT/DBT Aadhaar platform and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).
 The implementation of housing developments in the rural areas of the nation will be done under
the name of Gramin – Awaas Yojana.
 As per the Ministry of Housing, the project cost will be shared by both the central government
and the state govt.
 Delhi and Chandigarh are the two cities which will not be covered under the scheme.
Features :
 “The unit cost for these houses has been significantly increased and now through convergence a
minimum support of nearly ₹1.5 lakh to ₹1.6 lakh to a household is available.
 There is also a provision of Bank loan upto ₹70,000, if the beneficiary so desires.
 The selection of beneficiaries has been through a completely transparent process using the
Socio Economic Census 2011 data and validating it through the Gram Sabha .
 The programme provides for skilling 5 lakh rural masons by 2019 and allows over 200 different
housing designs across the country based on a detailed study of housing typologies,
environmental hazards and the households’ requirements.
 Large-scale use of local materials is envisaged along with a complete home with cooking space,
electricity provision, LPG, toilet and bathing area, drinking water, etc through convergence.
 The programme targets poor households and uses information communication technology (ICT)
and space technology to further confirm correct selection of beneficiaries and progress of work.

15. Union Government launches Pehchan identity cards for artisans :


Union Textiles Minister of India distributed ‘Pehchan’ identity cards to artisans of five clusters of
Gujarat at the inaugural ceremony of the Thematic Exhibition on Handicrafts at Ahmedabad, India.
The upgraded ‘pehchan’ cards were distributed to artisans from five clusters of Gujarat namely
Jamnagar, Naroda, Surendranagar, Amreli and Kalol.
Pehchan cards scheme :
 Pehchan cards scheme was launched as part of the Pehchan’ initiative to register and provide
Identity (ID) cards to handicraft artisans and link them to a national database.
 It is a new upgraded ID card for artisans that will be linked with their Aadhar numbers and
bank accounts so that they can receive direct cash transfer benefit.
The cards being distributed to the artisan shall essentially provide the following benefits :
 Easy loan, insurance and credit guarantee.
 Easy to avail benefits of the scheme run by GoI.
 Easy to participate in any domestic /international fair /event.
 The artisan can get the benefit of life insurance and 1200 Rs for the artisan’s children studying
between class ix and class xii.

16. President launches National Student Startup Policy :


President Pranab Mukherjee launched the National Student Startup Policy (NSSP) to promote
technology-driven student start-ups.
Key Points:
 The NSSP has been formulated by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

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 It aims to create 1 lakh technology based student start-ups and a million employment
opportunities within the next 10 years.
 It also aims to propel Indian youth to contribute to the nation’s socio-economic progress through
promotion of technology-driven student start-ups.
 NSSP seeks to develop an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem by lending crucial soft skills like
decision-making in the students.
 It also seeks to promote strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions.

17. Hunar Haat inaugurated at 2016 India International Trade Fair(USTTAD scheme)
 Hunar Haat” (Skills Market), organised for the first time at India International Trade Fair at
Pragati Maidan.
 It is aimed at promoting and supporting artisans from Minority communities and providing
them domestic as well as international market for display and sell their products.
 National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has organised the exhibition
Hunar Haat under scheme USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional
Arts/Crafts for Development) of Ministry of Minority Affairs.
USTTAD scheme
 The scheme was launched on 14 May 2015 in Varanasi.
 It seeks to build a capacity of traditional artisans and craftsmen.
 It also seeks to provide employment opportunities to traditional artisans and craftsmen by
establishing the linkages their arts/crafts with the national and international market.

18. Union Government launches Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana for entrepreneurs
Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched the Pradhan Mantri YUVA
Yojana, its flagship scheme for entrepreneurship training and education at the Ministry’s
second foundation day.
About Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana for entrepreneurs:
 The scheme spans over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21).
 It will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 lakh students in 5 years through
3050 Institutes.
 The scheme will also include easy access to information, mentor network, credit, incubator,
accelerator and advocacy to create a pathway for the youth.
 The institutes under the PM’s YUVA Yojana include 2200 Institutes of Higher Learning (colleges,
universities, and premier institutes), 300 schools, 500 ITIs and 50 Entrepreneurship
Development Centres, through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

19. Union Government launches Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA)
 It has been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
 It aims provide assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all
pregnant women on the 9th of every month.
Key Highlights Of PMSMA
 Participation of the Private Practitoners:-The programme follows a systematic approach for
engagement with private sector which includes motivating private practitioners to volunteer for
the campaign developing strategies.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 20
 Identification and follow up of high risk pregnancies. A sticker indicating the condition and risk
factor of the pregnant women would be added onto MCP card for each visit:
 Green Sticker- for women with no risk factor detected
 Red Sticker – for women with high risk pregnancy
 A National Portal for PMSMA and a Mobile application have been developed to facilitate the
engagement o Private/ voluntary sector.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 21
Economy Issues

1- India ranked 112th in World Economic Freedom Index


 India has slipped by 10 positions to 112th, out of 159 countries and territories, as it "fared
badly" across categories including legal system and regulation, according to the Economic
Freedom of the World: 2016 Annual Report.
 China, Bangladesh and Pakistan lagged behind India at 113th, 121st and 133th ranks
respectively, Bhutan (78), Nepal (108) and Sri Lanka (111) were better placed on the World
Economic Freedom Index.
 According to the report, Hong Kong has the highest level of economic freedom worldwide,
followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and so on.
 India's leading public policy think tank, Centre for Civil Society, has published the report in
collaboration with Canada's Fraser Institute.

2- Project SAKSHAM
 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra
Modi has approved ‘Project SAKSHAM’, a New Indirect Tax Network (Systems Integration) of
the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
 It will help in -
(a) implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST),
(b) extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and
(c) other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital India and Ease of Doing Business of Central
Board of Excise and Customs.

3- Railways launches travel insurance scheme with cover up to Rs 10 lakh


 A travel insurance cover of up to Rs10 lakh can be availed while booking a train ticket online (e-
ticket) by paying less than one rupee from 31 August.
 About the travel insurance scheme-
(1) The new facility will be available to all passengers excluding those travelling on suburban
trains while booking online irrespective of the class.
(2) The cover will not be applicable for children upto 5 years of age and foreign citizens.
(3) It will be for passengers holding tickets such as confirmed, RAC and wait-listed ones.
(4) The scheme offers travellers/nominees/legal heirs a compensation of Rs10 lakh in the event of
death or total disability, Rs7.5 lakh for partial disability, upto Rs2 lakh for hospitalisation
expenses and Rs10,000 for transportation of mortal remains from the place of a train accident
or where an untoward incident, including terrorist attack, dacoity, rioting, shootout or arson,
occurs.
(5) No refund of the premium will be given in case of cancellation of the ticket.
 The scheme is being implemented by IRCTC in partnership with ICICI Lombard General
Insurance, Royal Sundaram General Insurance and Shriram General Insurance selected
through a bidding process.

4- India ranks 39th in 2016-17 Global Competitiveness Index


 India has secured the 39th rank, climbing 16 places from last year, on the annual Global
Competitiveness Index prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
 India has a score of 4.52 on the Index, while that of Switzerland, ranked 1st, is 5.81.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 22
 The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny,
Geneva.
 Every year, WEF releases its Global Competitiveness Report based on their analysis of the
world’s 138 economies.

5- Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS)


 Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP
2015-20) is one of the two schemes introduced in Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20, as a
part of Exports from India Scheme. (The other scheme is SEIS, Service Exports from India
Scheme).
 It seeks to promote export of notified goods manufactured/ produced in India.
 MEIS is a major export promotion scheme of GOI implemented by the Ministry of Commerce
and Industry.
 Salient features of MEIS are as under :
(1) MEIS is result of major consolidation and simplification of following schemes-
 Focus Product Scheme (FPS)
 Focus Market Scheme (FMS)
 Market Linked Focus Product Scheme (MLFPS)
 Agri. Infrastructure incentive scheme
 Vishesh Krishi Gramin Upaj Yojna (VKGUY)
(2) Rewards under MEIS are payable as a percentage (2, 3 or 5%) of realized FOB value of
covered exports, by way of the MEIS duty credit scrip
(3) Duty credit scrips are freely transferable and usable for payment of custom duty, excise duty
and service tax.
(4) Incentives under MEIS are available to units located in SEZs also.
 Objective of MEIS-
To offset infrastructural inefficiencies and the associated costs of exporting products produced in
India giving special emphasis on those which are of India’s export interest and have the capability
to generate employment and enhance India’s competitiveness in the world market.

6- India’s first commercial arbitration centre to be opened in Mumbai


 The Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA), India’s first major centre for
commercial arbitration, launched in Mumbai.
 The centre, being set up with the view of making India a hub of international commercial
arbitration and helping ensure ease of doing business, is a joint venture between the
Maharashtra government, industry members and the legal fraternity.
 MCIA will serve as an alternative forum that Indian businesses can approach instead of the
Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the London Court of International Arbitration.
 The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, provides a legal framework for domestic and
international arbitration and its mode of conduct and enforcement of awards.

7- India is non-committal on market economy status for China


 India is not inclined to automatically grant the coveted ‘Market Economy Status’ (MES) to
China under World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms in December 2016.
 What is Market Economy Status (MES)?
Under WTO norms, once a country gets MES status, exports from it are to be accepted at the
production costs and selling price as the benchmark.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 23
As per the 2001 agreement (Protocol on accession of China to the WTO), WTO-member countries
had then decided to deem China as a ‘market economy’ from December 2016.
 The main reason India is reluctant to grant MES to China is that it will severely curb India’s
ability to impose anti-dumping duties on “unfairly priced” Chinese imports.
8- India’s First Coastal Industrial Corridor
 Multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank has approved $631 million for building
India’s first coastal industrial corridor between Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
 East Coast Economic Corridor will spur development on India’s eastern coast and create
seamless trade links with other parts of South and Southeast Asia.
 The Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor section of the East Coast Economic Corridor,
connecting four economic hubs and nine industrial clusters, will mark the first industrial corridor
developed along India’s coast.
 The East Coast Economic Corridor will ultimately extend from Kolkata in West Bengal in the
northeast of India to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu near the southern-most point of the country.

9- India ranks 130th in ease of doing business index- World Bank report
 In the
World
Bank's
latest
'Doing
Business'
report,
India
placed
130th
from a
revised
rank of
131 last
year, with
the
nation’s
‘ease of
doing business’ ranking improving in just two out of 10 parameters.
 The list of countries in the Doing Business 2017 is topped by New Zealand while Singapore is
ranked second.

10- 2016 Nobel prize for economics


 Two US-based economists of European origin, UK born Oliver Hart and Finland born Bengt
Holmstrom , have been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Economics 2016.
 They have been awarded the Prize for their contributions to Contract Theory, helping the
understanding of issues like the performance-based pay for top executives.
 Their work lays an intellectual foundation for designing policies and institutions in many areas,
from bankruptcy legislation to political constitutions.
Oliver Hart
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 24
Bengt Holmström
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
 The economics prize, officially called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in
Memory of Alfred Nobel, was established in 1968. It was not part of the original group of
awards set out in dynamite tycoon Nobel's 1895 will.
11- Four public sector banks face AT1 bonds coupon challenge
 A sharp decline in profitability and mounting losses could wipe out the revenue reserves of
some public sector banks (PSBs) and affect their ability to make interest payments on their
Additional Tier-1 (AT-1) bonds.
 Under the Basel III capital regulations, banks need to keep their top-quality tier-I capital ratio
at 7 per cent. Additional Tier-1 bonds, which blend the perpetuity of equity with the interest
payments of bonds, qualify under tier-I capital.
 What are Additional Tier 1 (AT1) Bonds?
AT1 bonds are the hybrid bonds that combine debt and equity elements. They are also called as
contingent convertible capital instruments (CoCos).
AT1 or Cocos bonds have their roots in financial crisis when governments were forced to bail
out banks. They are the riskiest debt issued by banks and do not have any set maturity
date.
The defining characteristic of AT1 or Cocos bond is that it may be converted into shares when
certain conditions are met.

12- Sports Sector Gets the Infrastructure Status


 The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports Affairs proposed addition of sports in the coordinated
master list of infrastructure sub-sectors. Union Ministry of Finance gave approval.
 The decision becomes important for earning long-term financial support as available to other
infrastructure projects.
 Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports Affairs provides Sports Stadia and Infrastructure for
Training/Research in sports and sports related activities.
 Would inspire private investment and have sports contribute to the economy.

13- PROJECT INSIGHT


 'Project Insight' is an initiative of the Finance Ministry in India. It will be used to nab tax
evaders
 Insight is the ministry's flagship project, aimed at widening the tax base by catching tax
evaders using technology.
 The project is also expected to rank tax evaders based on the amount of tax that could be
recovered, so that the authorities could go after the highest value targets first, the person said.
 The project will track the Permanent Account Number (PAN) quoted on financial transactions
and then tally them with the individual's tax filings.
 It will use data mining, big data and analytics to scoop out tax evaders from social media
platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

14- BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) became operational


 The Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of BRICS nations viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China
and South Africa was declared operational.

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 It was announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who had chaired the Governing
Council meeting of the BRICS’ CRA in New York, United States.
 What is BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA)?
CRA was established in 2015 during 7th BRICS summit in July 2015. The Treaty for the
establishment of BRICS CRA was signed at Fortaleza, Brazil in July 2014.

Both CRA and NDB (New Development Bank) were announced as part of BRICS Fortaleza
Declaration announced during 6th BRICS summit held in Fortaleza, Brazil in July 2014.
It is a framework that aims at providing support through additional liquidity and other means
to BRICS countries at a time of economic crisis.
The initial total committed resources of the CRA will be 100 billion dollars with individual
commitments as follows: China ($41 billion), India ($18 billion), Brazil ($18 billion), Russia
($18 billion) and South Africa ($5 billion).

15- ZED (Zero Defect, Zero Effect) Scheme


 ZED or Zero Defect, Zero Effect is the scheme for MSME (Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises) Sector to increase the quality of products matching global standards.
 The main objective of ZED (Zero Effect, Zero Defect) scheme is to reduce the bad effect of
products on environment. The scheme will help contribute to environment as well.
 Under the scheme, the MSME companies which follows the guidelines and meet the standards
set by the ZED will be awarded ZED certification along with several benefits.

16- National hub for SC/ST


 National hub for SC/ST aimed at strengthening skilled training, market access, and providing
financial support to prospective and existing entrepreneurs.

17- 50 years of establishment of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
(UNCITRAL)
 India hosted the golden jubilee (50th anniversary) celebrations of United Nations Commission
on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in New Delhi.
 About United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
UNCITRAL was established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1966 to promote the
progressive unification and harmonization of international trade law.
It is the core legal body of the UN system in the field of international trade law. It specializes in
reforms in commercial law worldwide for a period of over 40 years.
India is a founding member of UNCITRAL. India is only one of eight countries which have
been a member of UNCITRAL since its inception.

18- Union Govt. forms committee to push cashless transactions


 The Centre announced a new committee, headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, to form a
strategy to expedite the process of transforming India into a cashless economy.
 The panel is tasked with identifying various bottlenecks affecting access of digital payments.
 The committee will identify and operationalise in the earliest possible time frame user-friendly
digital payment options in all sectors of the economy.

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19. Maharashtra Tops In 2016 Agricultural Marketing And Farmer Friendly Reforms Index Of
Niti Aayog
 NITI Aayog has launched an index to rank States and UTs that is based on
implementation of seven provisions proposed under model APMC Act, joining eNAM
initiative, special treatment to fruits and vegetables for marketing and level of taxes in
mandis.
 These indicators reveal ease of doing agribusiness as well as opportunities for farmers to
benefit from modern trade and commerce, competitiveness, efficiency and transparency
in agri markets.
 The second area of reforms included in the index is relaxation in restrictions related to lease in
and lease out agricultural land and change in law to recognise tenant and safeguard land
owners liberalisation.
 The third area included in the index represent freedom given to farmers for felling and transit of
trees grown on private land. This represent opportunity to diversify farm business.
 The Index is named as “Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index” and it
has a score which can have minimum value “0” implying no reforms and maximum value “100”
implying complete reforms in the selected areas. States and UTs have been ranked in terms of
the score of the index.
 Maharashtra tops in implementing agricultural reforms and offers the best environment for
doing agri business. Maharashtra scored 81.7 on the index partly due to its decision to exclude
fruits and vegetables from the APMC Act.
 Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are in the next three positions. The Centre is
trying to encourage States to carry out reforms in the three broad areas--agricultural
market, lease reforms and reforms related to forestry on private land-felling and transit of
trees.

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INTERNATIONAL RELATION
1. World leaders adopt New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants at UNGA
 World leaders approved a declaration aimed at providing a more coordinated and humane
response to the refugee crisis that has strained resources and sparked divisions from Africa to
Europe.
Highlights of the New York Declaration:
 Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status. This includes the
rights of women and girls and promoting their full, equal and meaningful participation in finding
solutions.
 Ensure that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of
arrival. Prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.
 Support those countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and
migrants.
 Work towards ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their
migration status.
 Find new homes for all refugees identified by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) as needing resettlement..
 Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) into the UN system.
Other Developments
 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also launched a new campaign called Together – Respect,
Safety and Dignity for All to respond to rising xenophobia and turn fear into hope.
 United Nations and International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed the new agreement by
which IOM officially becomes a related organization of the United Nations system.

2. UNSC approves resolution for global implementation CTBT to ban nuclear weapons tests
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved a resolution urging quick global
implementation of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty (CTBT) to ban tests of nuclear
weapons.
What is CTBT?
 The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty that bans all
nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments.
 It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) under Resolution 50 on
September 10, 1996, but has not entered into force as eight designated nuclear-capable states
have not yet ratified the treaty.
 The Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the date of deposit of the instruments of
ratification by all. .
 The treaty already has a network of monitoring stations but does not have the power to go on
site to inspect for tests until it enters into force.
 But for that, the holdouts among the 44 countries that are designated nuclear capable, the
United States, Egypt, China, India, Israel, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan must ratify it.

3. Cuba, Russia sign Agreement on Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation

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 Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom and Cuba's Ministry of Science, Technology and
Environment signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of peaceful atomic energy use on
the sidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna.
Key Highlights :
 The agreement was signed on the sidelines of International 60th Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
General Conference held in Vienna, capital city of Austria.
 The deal, laying the basis for further Russian-Cuban cooperation in different fields of peaceful
atomic energy use, from agriculture to training nuclear specialists, was signed.

4. Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children. UNICEF Report on
Refugees
 This UNICEF report is the first to present comprehensive, global data about the 50 million
refugee and migrant children around the world. This report addresses where they are born,
where they move, the causes of their migration and displacement, and some of the
opportunities and dangers they face along the way both globally and regionally.
 It also presents the six goals developed by UNICEF to protect child migrants and refugees and
provide them with hope for the future. These are:
1) Protect child refugees and migrants from exploitation and violence
2) End detention of child asylum seekers and migrants
3) Keep families together
4) Provide education, health, and other services
5) Urge action on the root causes of conflict and displacement
6) Fight xenophobia and discrimination in destination countries

5. BRICS to set up credit rating agency


The five-nation group BRICS agreed to set up an independent rating agency based on market-
oriented principles, saying it would further strengthen the global governance architecture.
Key Highlights:
 There are concerns that the methodologies of the big three global agencies- S&P Global
Ratings, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service- is biased against developing countries,
reflected by their poor rating of these economies.
 Despite having deep capital buffers, the ratings of multilateral banks like the BRICS-promoted
NDB are affected due to the parent countries' sovereign ratings.
 Further, under the present pricing model of rating agencies, the company or institution issuing
bonds pays the rating agency to be rated, known as issuer-pays model. This is an ethical issue
of moral hazard in this model of rating.
 The declaration stated. “to further bridge the gap in the global financial architecture, we agreed
to fast-track the setting up of a BRICS Rating Agency.”

6. 8th BRICS Summit concludes in Goa


The eighth BRICS summit was held in Goa from 15 to 16 October 2016. The summit concluded
with adaptation of Goa Declaration.
Theme: “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions.”
Key Highlights of Goa declaration

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 On world Security: Strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms, committed to increase
effectiveness of the UN counter terrorism framework. Also, called for need for adaptation of
Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN General Assembly
 On SDGs- Welcomed adoption of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its
Sustainable Development Goals.
 On UN Reforms- Reiterated urgent need to reforms of the United Nations, including
International UN Security Council to increase representation of developing countries.
 On New Development Bank- BRICS members were satisfied with the approval of the first
batch of loans by the New Development Bank (NDB), particularly in renewable energy projects
in BRICS countries.
 BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement
 CRA, established in 2015 by BRICS member nations is now operational and the central banks
of the grouping's members are "fully ready to carry out" the transactions.
The Ninth BRICS Summit will be hosted by China in 2017.

7. Russia withdraws from International Criminal Court


Russia has officially withdrawn from International Criminal Court (ICC) after President Vladimir
Putin signed an executive order in this regard.
The executive order mentioned that Russia is pulling out of the 2002 Rome Statute, which
establishes the ICC’s status and powers. However, Russia had never ratified the statue meaning
it was never member subject to its jurisdiction.
What is the issue?
Russia was against by ICC’s declaration that Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea
peninsula was an armed conflict. Russia is also under international pressure over its campaign of
air strikes in Syria over the issue of bombing civilians and civilian targets. Russia has denied those
allegations. Besides, ICC is also examining allegations of war crimes committed by Russian and
Georgian forces during a brief 2008 war.
About International Criminal Court (ICC)
 ICC based in The Hague, Netherlands is an intergovernmental organization and international
tribunal.
 It has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide,
crimes against humanity and war crimes.
 It was established by the Rome Statute which was adopted in July 1998 end entered into
force in July 2002.

8. Pakistan conducts military exercise close to Indian border


Pakistan conducted RaadulBarq (Strike of Thunder) military exercise in a strategically located
area in Punjab province, bordering India.
It was the comprehensive joint exercise carried out jointly by Pakistan Army and Air Force to
reflect the preparedness of our armed forces to respond to any threat to its national security.
Key Facts
 During the military exercise, JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, helicopter gunships and Al-Khalid
tanks hit designated targets on the ground.
 It also demonstrated Pakistan’s indigenously developed surface-to-air missiles, multi-barrel
rocket launchers, sky radars for target detection and rocket propelled target system.

9. Latvia becomes first Baltic Sea country to link with China’s OBOR
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Latvia has become the first country in the Baltic Sea area to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding to link up with China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative.
The MoU was signed after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s meeting with his Latvian counterpart Maris
Kucinskis in Riga (capital of Latvia). It was Chinese Premier’s first visit to the European Union
country.

Importance of Latvia Joining OBOR:


 Latvia totally supports China’s OBOR and controversial 3 seas initiatives as well.
 Latvia gives China opportunity to distribute goods to Europe directly from Latvia.
 Enterprises from China will offer their production at a rate 5-6% cheaper on average bringing
competitiveness advantages for both China and Latvia.
China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative :
 OBOR initiative is China’s key development strategy that targets to boost its connectivity and
trade in Asia, Africa, and Europe.
 It includes two components:
 Silk Road Economic Belt
 21st Century Maritime Silk Road
 It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
 Consider a part of China’s recovered 21st century Silk Road diplomacy that pushes it to take a
bigger role in global affairs.

10. RCEP members worry over market access to China .


 RCEP is the proposed mega-regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 16 Asia-Pacific
countries aims to open up trade in goods and services as well as liberalise investment policies.
 It includes India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10-member
ASEAN bloc and covers a market of over 3 billion people in these 16 countries — whose total
combined GDP is more than $17 trillion and collectively account for 40% of world trade.

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SUMMIT
1. 2016 G-20 Summit held in Hangzhou, China
The 2016 Group of Twenty (G20) Summit was held in Hangzhou, China to discuss efforts to
reform Global Economic Governance.
It was the eleventh meeting of the G20. G20 accounts for 85% of the world trade and two-
third of world population. It consists of 19 head of the state and European Union.
The theme of 2016 G20 Summit : “Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and
Inclusive World Economy”.
Highlights of 2016 G20 Summit
 The basic agenda in all these meeting is Growth. How to have better, transparent, and
effective global economic governance and how to promote growth..
 Finance, Trade and Investment is the major problems in international community.
 The 2017 G20 summit will be held in Hamburg, Germany from 7-8 July 2017.

2. 2016 ASEAN Summit held in Vientiane, Laos


The 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit was held in
Vientiane, Laos from 6th to 8th September 2016.
Prime Minister of the Lao PDR H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith was Chairperson of the summit.
The theme of the summit was : “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN
Community”.
14th ASEAN-India Summit and 11th East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR
2017 will mark 25 years of India's dialogue partnership with ASEAN.
 Future of ASEAN-India cooperation’s was discussed under each of the three pillars of
politico-security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation.
 The East Asia Summit (EAS) is the premier leaders-led forum in the Asia-Pacific. Since its
inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and
economic evolution of East Asia. Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia
Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United
States and Russia.
 India, being a founding member of the East Asia Summit, is committed to strengthening the
East Asia Summit and making it more effective for dealing with contemporary challenges.

3. India to host 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction
India hosted the 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR)
from November 3 to 5, 2016 in New Delhi. This is second time India hosting AMCDRR.
The Conference aims: At transforming the commitments of governments and stakeholders
during the Sendai Conference into national and local action.
Key facts:
 This is the first AMCDRR after the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk
Reduction (SFDRRR), adopted at the third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in March,
2015. It will set the direction of Sendai Framework implementation in the region.
 The Conference adopted the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai
Framework’ endorsed by the Asian countries.
 It will also consolidate the political commitment of governments towards preventing and
reducing risk as well as strengthening resilience in the form of a political declaration.

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 Voluntary statements of action of stakeholder groups towards a ‘shared responsibility’ approach
in implementation of the SFDRR would also be adopted.

4. 2nd SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism held in New Delhi


 India hosted the second meeting of the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to strengthen the
SAARC anti-terrorism mechanism from September 22-23.
 The meeting was recommended by the SAARC Ministerial Declaration on Cooperation in
Combating Terrorism, adopted by the 31st Meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers in
Colombo, in 2009.
 SAARC members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan,
and Sri Lanka.
Key Points:
 The member countries shared their national experiences on various related legislations to
counter terrorism.
 They agreed towards operationalizing the SAARC Drugs Offences Monitoring Desk
(SDOMD) and SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) in order to strengthen
the combat efforts against terrorism.
 STOMD: The desk was established in 1995 in Colombo (Sri Lanka) to collate, analyse and
disseminate information on terror offences, strategies, tactics and methods in SAARC region. It
is not functional due to some technical issues.

5. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated World Sustainable Development Summit


President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first edition of World Sustainable Development
Summit (WSDS) in New Delhi.
The summit was organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Theme- Beyond 2015: People, Planet and Progress.
Key Facts:
 WSDS has replaced TERI’s earlier called Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS).
The first DSDS was organised in 2005.
 It underscored need for businesses and private sector to take lead in poverty reduction
and to ensure rapid and sustained adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
 It had brought together Nobel laureates, decision-makers political leaders from around the world
to deliberate on issues related to sustainable development.
 The aim of the summit is to provide various stakeholders a single platform in order to
provide long-term solutions for the benefit of the global community.

6. High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of IOR adopts Colombo declaration to Counter
Drug Trafficking
 The high-level meeting in Colombo,Srilanka was attended by 18 littoral states of the Indian
Ocean Region.
 The meeting was also attended by seven international organizations/partner agencies and UN
agencies engaged in counter-narcotics initiatives in the region.
 The delegates resolved to work towards making the Indian Ocean a “Drug Free Zone”.
Colombo declaration:
The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Colombo declaration.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 33
 The declaration states that narcotic drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean poses a threat to
peace and security in the region and its possible link to organized crime and funding of
terrorism.
 It stresses upon the need for coastal states to cooperate more closely on enforcing maritime
law, sharing information, and providing mutual legal assistance, including the expansion and
development of communication through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC’s) Indian Ocean Prosecutors Network.
 The declaration also called on the littoral states of the Indian Ocean to meet on an annual
basis within the framework of the Southern Route Partnership (SRP) of Indian Ocean Forum on
Maritime Crime (IOFMC) to assess and report on the drug trafficking threat in the Indian Ocean
and develop a coordinated approach to counter such threats.

7. Peru to host 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit


 The 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum’s Leaders Summit held in Lima,
Peru.
 The theme of the summit is “Quality Growth and Human Development”
 Official logo is the architecture of the ancient city of Caral.
 Four priority areas are Human Capital Development, Regional Food Market, Upgrading SMEs
and Regional Economic Integration Agenda. .
About Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation :
 A forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-
Pacific region.
 It was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific
economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world; to defuse fears that
highly industrialised Japan (a member of G8) would come to dominate economic activity in the
Asia-Pacific region; and to establish new markets for agricultural products and raw materials
beyond Europe.

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Science & Technology
India’s first LIGO laboratory to come up in Hingoli, Maharashtra
 India’s first LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) laboratory will be set
up in Aundh in Hingoli district of Maharashtra.
 It will be third such laboratory in the world and first outside the United States. The existing two
laboratories are located in Hanford, Washington and in Livingston, Louisiana.
 Known as the LIGO-India project, it is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and
Department of Science and Technology (DST). It is jointly coordinated and executed by three
Indian research institutions: the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics
(IUCAA), Pune and Department of Atomic Energy organisations: Institute for Plasma Research
(IPR), Gandhinagar and the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.
 These observatories are being upgraded to their advanced configurations (called Advanced
LIGO). LIGO-India project aims to move one Advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to
India.

1. Bengaluru hosts first edition of IoT India Congress

 The first edition of ‘IoT (Internet of Things) India Congress, 2016’ began Bengaluru,
Karnataka.
 The congress aims to bring together key stakeholders across the value chain and verticals to
collaborate, ideate and share a common roadmap for Internet of Things (IoT) implementation.
 The event will also host the “IoT Start-Up Awards 2016” and “IoT Thought Leadership Awards
2016”.
 Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and
digital machines, objects, or people that are provided with unique identifiers.
 Thus it can be said that it is an internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings
and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network
connectivity. The internetworking has ability to transfer data over a network without requiring
human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

2. Integration of Digi Locker with Driving Licenses & Vehicle Registration Certificates
launched.
 The Union Government has launched a new service integration of DigiLocker with Driving
Licenses (DL) & Vehicle Registration Certificates (RC).

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 With this integration people will no longer need to carry around physical copies of their RCs and
Driving Licences. They can instead access digital copies of the same on their mobile
phones via the DigiLocker mobile app.
 DigiLocker is a key initiative under Digital India programme aims at transforming India into a
digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. It is a platform for issuance and
verification of documents and certificates digitally.

3. ICICI Bank: First bank to introduce Software Robotics for power banking operations
 India's largest private sector bank ICICI Bank has announced the deployment of 'Software
Robotics' in over 200 business processes across various functions of the bank.
 The bank is the first in the country and among few globally to deploy 'Software Robotics' that
emulates human actions to automate and perform repetitive, high volume and time
consuming business tasks cutting across multiple applications.
 This initiative deeply embodies the bank's philosophy of 'khayaal aapka', wherein we strive
to offer the best-in-class experience to our customers.

4. ISRO’s GSLV-F05 launches advanced weather satellite INSAT-3DR


 The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the rocket GSLV-F05 carrying an
advanced weather satellite ‘INSAT-3DR’ from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
 INSAT 3DR, weighing 2,211 kg, put into a geosynchronous orbit. A geosynchronous orbit is a
high Earth orbit that allows satellites to match Earth's rotation. Located at 22,236 miles (35,786
kilometers) above Earth's equator, this position is a valuable spot for monitoring weather,
communications and surveillance.
 Applications: It will provide service continuity to earlier meteorological missions and further
augment the capability to provide various meteorological, search and rescue services.
 A significant aspect of it is set to be the first operational flight of the GSLV carrying
indigenous cryogenic engine.
 Significance: ISRO is perfecting the crucial cryogenic engine technology in order to save
precious foreign exchange by launching heavier satellites on its own. Currently, ISRO relies on
the European Space Agency (ESA’s) Ariane rocket to launch its heavy communication
satellites.

5. Super Computer PARAM-ISHAN at IIT Guwahati


 Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister has inaugurated the super computer PARAM
ISHAN at IIT Guwahati campus.
 PARAM ISHAN is the fastest and most powerful computer in North East, Eastern and
Southern region of India outside Bengaluru (Karnataka).
 PARAM ISHAN PARAM ISHAN has been jointly developed by IIT Guwahati and C -DAC
(Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.
 It can be used research initiatives such as computational chemistry, computational
electromagnetic, computational fluid dynamics, civil engineering structures, nana-block self-
assemble, optimization etc. It can be also used for Weather, climate modeling and seismic data
processing.

6. Submarine OFC connectivity between Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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 Cabinet approves provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine
Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Mainland (Chennai) and Port Blair & five other islands viz.
Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar.
 The approval would equip Andaman & Nicobar Islands (ANI) with appropriate bandwidth and
telecom connectivity for implementation of e-Governance initiatives; establishment of
enterprises & e-commerce facilities and also enable the provision of adequate support to
educational institutes.
 Currently the only medium of providing telecom connectivity between Mainland and Andaman &
Nicobar Islands is though satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 Gbps.

7. World’s largest radio telescope built in China


 Beijing is ramping up its space program, with the construction of the world's largest radio
telescope used to pick up sounds, signals from stars and galaxies and, perhaps,
extraterrestrial life from outer space . The dish, located deep in the mountains of
southwest China's Guizhou Province, will be the first of its kind for China, and will allow
its military-run space program to gather its own data.
 The dish will have a perimeter of about a mile and there are no towns within three miles,
which researchers said was ideal for minimizing sound interference.
 The single-aperture spherical telescope, called "FAST," will overtake the American-run
Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, as the world’s largest and most powerful. Launch of the
Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, would search for gravitational
waves, detect radio emissions from stars and galaxies and listen for signs of intelligent
extraterrestrial life.

8. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award


Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award, considered to be a coveted science honour in the
country.The Ministry of Science and Technology announced 11 awards in seven different
fields.
1. Biological science category: Balasubramanian Gopal (iisc) Bengaluru, Rajeev Kumar
Varshney (ICRISAT) Hyderabad.
2. Earth, atmosphere, ocean and planetary sciences : Jyotiranjan Srichandan Ray Physical
Science Laboratory, Ahmedabad
3. Engineering sciences: Yogesh Joshi, IIT Kanpur
4. Mathematical sciences: Ritabrata Munshi (TIFR), Mumbai
5. Applicable Mathematics: K. Sandeep from TIFR Centre Bengaluru.
6. Medical science category: Vidita Vaidya TIFR Mumbai
7. Physical sciences category: Bedangadas Mohanty from the National Institute of Science
Education and Research, Bhubaneshwar and Mandar Deshmukh from the TIFR Mumbai
8. Chemical sciences : D. Srinivasa Reddy from CSIR’s National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and
Pradyut Ghosh from the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Jadavpur.

9. India To Become An Associate Member of CERN


 Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Atomic Energy signing an agreement for making
India an associate member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the
world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory.
 India had ‘observer’ status till September this year, when the CERN Council adopted a
resolution upgrading its position. Pakistan became an associate member of the body in 2014

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 37
 There are three major activities going on in our laboratory—accelerators, detectors and
computing.

10. NIDHI (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations)


 The Union Government has recently launched an umbrella program “National Initiative for
Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)” for nurturing ideas and innovation into
successful start ups.
 The purpose of the program is to provide technological solutions not only to the pressing
needs of the society but also targets to create new avenues for wealth and job creation.
 The programme will focus on helping startups to meet their funding, infrastructure and other
mentorship needs.

11. Gaia Space Probe


 Space probe Gaia searches for galaxy's dark energy.
 The spacecraft, called Gaia, built by the European Space Agency will carry the world's
biggest, most accurate camera which it will use to pinpoint more than a billion stars with
unprecedented precision and create a 3D map of the Milky Way.
 It will reveal how the Milky Way formed and how it will evolve over the next few billion years.
Gaia will locate hundreds of thousands of distant planets in orbit around other stars;
survey asteroids that orbit close to our own Sun, giving warnings of any on a collision
course with Earth; and provide clues about dark energy, the mysterious force that is
thought to permeate space and which is pushing the universe apart.

12. NASA launches OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to collect samples from Bennu asteroid
 Nasa launches the Osiris-Rex spacecraft into space on an unprecedented seven-year quest
to collect samples from the asteroid Bennu and return to Earth.
 OSIRIS-Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-
Regolith Explorer.
 The probe will reach its destination in August 2018, spend two years mapping the asteroid and
send back interstellar material that could date back to the origins of the solar system.
 Nasa’s Osiris-Rex probe set to attempt ‘smash-and-grab’ on speeding asteroid.
 OSIRIS-Rex is NASA’s third planetary science mission selected in the New Frontiers Program,
after Juno and New Horizons. 101955 Bennu is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group.
It was discovered in September 1999 by the LINEAR Project.

13. World’s first daily driverless bus service launched in Lyon, France
 The world’s first driverless bus service began in the French city of Lyon Two electric
minibuses with a capacity of 15 passengers each are now operating a 10-minute route with five
stops in the city centre at an average speed of 6 miles (10km) per hour.
 The buses are not capable of manoeuvring around other traffic and the routes are near a
tramway where other vehicles are not allowed.
 Each minibus is equipped with lasers, cameras, electronic systems LIDAR radar
technology and motion sensors that detect and analyse any movement around it.
 LIDAR is acronym of Light Detection and Ranging. It is a surveying technology that measures
distance by illuminating a target with a laser light. Simply referred to as 3D scanning or laser
scanning with terrestrial, airborne and mobile applications.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 38
14. China successfully launches Tiangong-2 space lab
 China successfully launched its first human space flight mission.
 Tiangong-2 ( in English means Heavenly Palace 2) its predecessor, Tiangong-1 (launched in
September 2011), are prototypes for China’s ultimate goal to launch a permanent 20-ton
space station after 2020 just as International Space Station (ISS).
 It will make China potentially the only country with a permanent space presence. In 2003,
China had conducted its first crewed space mission becoming only the third country after Russia
and the US to do so ..
 It will be used for testing systems and processes for mid-term space stays and refuelling. It will
be placed at slightly higher orbit around 393 kilometres above the earth.
.

15. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to make final observations of Saturn


 After studying Saturn, its rings and moons for more than 12 years,
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its epic voyage during which it will
make the closest-ever observations of the planet.
 The conclusion is planned for September next year. Beginning on November 30, Cassini's orbit
will send the spacecraft just past the outer edge of the main rings. These orbits, a series of 20,
are called the F-ring orbits.
 Cassini's final phase, called the Grand Finale, begins in earnest in April next year. A close
flyby of Saturn's giant moon Titan will reshape the spacecraft's orbit so that it passes through
the gap between Saturn and the rings, an unexplored space only about 2,400 kilometers wide.
 During the Grand Finale, Cassini will make the closest-ever observations of Saturn, mapping
the planet's magnetic and gravity fields with exquisite precision and returning ultra-close views
of the atmosphere, new insights into Saturn’s interior structure, the precise length of a Saturn
day, and the total mass of the rings. Friction with the atmosphere will cause the spacecraft to
burn up like a meteor soon afterwards.

16. MIT scientists develop new technique to find signs of life on Mars

 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists have developed a novel spectroscopic


technique that may help NASA’s new Mars rover, to be launched in 2020, find signs of
present or former extraterrestrial life on the red planet.
 The rover will collect samples of rocks and soil, and store them on the Martian surface; the
samples would be returned to Earth sometime in the distant future so that scientists can
meticulously analyse the samples for signs of present or former extraterrestrial life.
 The 2020 Mars rover includes SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman
and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals), an instrument that will acquire Raman
spectra from samples on or just below the martian surface.
 The improved technique enables scientists to more accurately interpret the meaning of existing
Raman spectra, and quickly evaluate the ratio of hydrogen to carbon – thereby identifying the
most pristine, ancient samples of rocks for further study.

17. CSIR celebrates its platinum jubilee


 India's largest civilian research and development agency Council of Scientific and Industrial
Research, CSIR is celebrating its platinum jubilee.
 Prime Minister is President of CSIR.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 39
 On this day seven new plant varieties developed at CSIR laboratories were released.
 CSIR is an autonomous body and the largest research and development (R&D) organisation
in India. It became operational on 26 September 1942.
 It is mainly funded by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
 CSIR’s R&D activities include aerospace engineering, ocean sciences, structural engineering,
metallurgy, life sciences, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environment.

18. 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry


 The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in
Chemistry 2016 to
 Jean-Pierre Sauvage (University of Strasbourg, France)
 Sir J. Fraser Stoddart (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA )
 Bernard L. Feringa (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)
 For their work on: The Design and Synthesis of Tiny Molecular Machines.

19. 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics


 The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics
2016 to
 David J. Thouless (University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA)
 F. Duncan M. Haldane (Princeton University, NJ, USA)
 J. Michael Kosterlitz (Brown University, Providence, RI, USA)
 For their work on exotic states of matter: Theoretical Discoveries of Topological Phase
Transitions and Topological Phases of Matter
 The work helps explain why some materials have unexpected electrical properties, such as
superconductivity, and in future the work could pave the way for quantum computers.

20. Indian Railways to introduce Tri-Netra to check collisions


TRI-NETRA - Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers Infra-red, Enhanced Optical & Radar
Assisted system
 Ministry of Railways, has initiated a proposal to install TRI-NETRA systems on locomotives for
enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather.
 TRI-NETRA system shall be made up of high-resolution optical video camera, high
sensitivity infra-red video camera and additionally a radar-based terrain mapping
system. These three components of the system shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the
Locomotive Pilot.
 TRI-NETRA is designed to “see” the terrain ahead of the running locomotive during inclement
weather by combining the images captured by the three sub-systems and to create a composite
video image which shall be displayed in front of the Loco Pilot on a computer monitor.

21. China launches world’s longest super-secure quantum communication line


 China has launched a quantum communication line 712 kilometers in length that is meant
to safely transmit sensitive information. It is expected to be extended to 2,000 kilometers
soon.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 40
 The line connecting Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province, and Shanghai, a coastal trade
hub, has 11 trusted nodes along its length. It transmitted a secure video conference between
the two cities in one of its first test communications.
 Aim is to connect Shanghai to China’s capital, Beijing, and run through another major city,
Jinan.
 Quantum communication uses quantum entanglement of photons to ensure that nobody
taps into the line, as doing so would inevitably corrupt the signal.
 The relay nodes are weak points, because the information is translated back into regular form
there before being re-entangled and sent further along the optic fiber link.
 China has already launched world’s first quantum communication satellite. It was
nicknamed as Micius after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher and scientist. The Micius
quantum satellite will be connected with the Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication line
through the line’s station in Beijing. It will enable the space-to-Earth highly secure hack-proof
quantum communication network.

22. NASA launches Next Generation Weather Satellite GOES-R


 A “next generation” US weather satellite that was rocketed into space is on its way to provide
more timely and accurate information that is critical for life-saving weather forecasts and
warnings,
 After the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary
Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R), reaches its final designated orbit in the
next two weeks, it will be renamed GOES-16.
 The satellite’s primary instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager, will provide images of
Earth’s weather, oceans and environment with 16 different spectral bands, including two visible
channels, four near-infrared channels, and 10 infrared channels.
 Improved space weather sensors on GOES-R will monitor the sun and relay crucial information
to forecasters.

23. China’s Sunway Taihulight wins fastest supercomputer title


 China’s ‘Sunway Taihulight’ has won the fastest supercomputer title in the 48th edition of
Top500 list of supercomputers. Chinese supercomputer has retained the top spot in the list of
the world’s fastest supercomputers for the eighth consecutive year.
 Sunway TaihuLight is built entirely using processors designed and made in China. It was
developed by the China’s National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and
Technology (NRCPC). It can perform 93 quadrillions calculations per second (petaflop/s)
almost three times as fast as Tianhe-2.
 TaihuLight is intended for use in research and engineering including climate, weather, life
sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics.
 Other supercomputers in Top500 list:
1. An Intel-based Chinese Tianhe-2 supercomputer
2. Supercomputer Titan of the US Department of Energy (DOE).
3. IBM Sequoia Supercomputer system installed at US DOE’s
4. The Cori supercomputer.
 Top500 list is considered one of the most authoritative rankings of the world’s supercomputers.
It is compiled on the basis of the supercomputers’ performance on the Linpack benchmark by
experts from the United States and Germany.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 41
24. Biggest and brightest Supermoon observed
 The Supermoon was observed after the moon was closest to the Earth. This is for the first
time moon came closest to Earth since 1948. Next time the supermoon will be observed on 25
November 2034.
 Supermoon or perigee full moon is a phenomenon that occurs when a full moon
coincides with the moon being the closest to the Earth on its orbit. During this time, the
natural satellite appears roughly 30% larger in area and 30% brighter than the smallest full
moons. In terms of diameter, the width of the moon is about 14% wider than the smallest full
moons.
 Why are supermoons not all the same size? The reason is that the shape of the ellipse that the
moon draws around the Earth is changing all the time as it is pushed and pulled by other
gravitational forces.

25. City Union Bank launches India’s first banking robot Lakshmi in Chennai
 India's first banking robot Lakshmi made her debut in the Chennai city. Launched by
the Kumbakonam-based City Union Bank, the artificial intelligence powered robot will be the
first on-site bank helper.
 Lakshmi is artificial intelligence powered robot. It can speak English, gesture and engage in
a life-like manner in conversations.
 The robot can interact with customers on more than 125 subjects including account balance
and interest rates on loans.
 It will not voice the sensitive financial information like account details rather display it discreetly
on its screen.
 Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with making
computers behave like humans. In contrast to normal hardware and software, artificial
intelligence enables a machine to perceive and respond to its changing environment. The
artificial intelligence machines learn automatically like humans during their processing by
assimilating large volumes of information.

26. China successfully launches pulsar navigation satellite XPNAV-1


 China launched the world's first X-ray pulsar navigation satellite, XPNAV-1, which will
conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies.
 XPNAV-1 — weighing more than 200 kgs, launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
in China’s northwest.
 The satellite operates in a Sun-synchronous orbit. While in orbit, the satellite will undergo
tests on its detector functions and space environment adaptability.
 X-ray pulsar navigation is an innovative navigation technology in which periodic X-ray signals
emitted from pulsars are used to determine the location of a spacecraft in deep space.
 Pulsars are highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars that emit a beam of electromagnetic
radiation. They are spherical, compact objects that are about the size of a large city but contain
more mass than the sun. Scientists are using pulsars to study extreme states of matter, search
for planets beyond Earth’s solar system and measure cosmic distance.
 In a sun-synchronous orbit, though, the satellite passes over the same part of the Earth at
roughly the same local time each day.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 42
27. 10 November: World Science Day for Peace and Development
 The World Science Day for Peace and Development is observed on 10 November 2016 across
the world to raise awareness of benefits of science in our daily life, organized by United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
 2016 Theme: “Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums”.
 It highlights the importance of science centres and museums for capacity building and to send
strong messages about the importance of science for sustainable development.
 Background: World Science Day was started in 2001 by UNESCO as a follow-up to the
first World Conference on Science in 1999. The conference was jointly organised by
UNESCO and International Council for Science in Budapest (Hungary).

28. Union Government launches Smart India Hackathon


 The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched Smart India
Hackathon 2017. It is the world’s largest digital national building initiative.
 The Hackathon aims to find digital solutions by harnessing creativity and technical
expertise of over 30 lakh students from technology institutes in remotest parts of India.
 Besides, it seeks to spark several institute-level hackathons countrywide and help build a funnel
for ‘Startup India, Standup India’ campaign.
 It is joint initiative of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants
Commission (UGC), MyGov, NASSCOM, i4c, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhiniand Persistent
Systems.
 It will find digital solutions to problems in the areas of education, health, water, power,
agriculture, finance, urban & rural development, energy, aviation & shipping, transport,
sanitation, law & justice, sports, skill development & entrepreneurship, textiles, tourism, defence
etc.
 The initiative will help to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and skills of youth
for nation-building. The Hackathon will have nearly 500 problem statements in all and will be
published on innovate.mygov.in. In the first set of 250 problem statements were unveiled.

29. President Pranab Mukherjee presents Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards
 The President of India, presented the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards to the winning
children of IGNITE competition organized by the National Innovation Foundation.
 The IGNITE competition is a national competition of original technological ideas and
innovations by children up to class 12 or those out of school up to the age of 17 years.
 The award is an effort to focus primarily on the creativity of the children and promote
inclusive and compassionate thinking among them.
 It was started in 2008 and is organized every year by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) to
promote creativity and originality among children.
 The awards of competition are announced on 15 October every year on Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s
birthday, which is celebrated by NIF as Children’s Creativity and Innovation Day
 NIF is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Union Ministry of
Science and Technology. It was set up in February 2000 to provide institutional support for
scouting, sustaining, spawning and scaling up the grassroots innovations across the country.
 It is committed to making India innovative by documenting, adding value, protecting IPR of
contemporary unaided technological innovators as well as of outstanding traditional knowledge-
holders and disseminating their innovations on non-commercial and commercial basis.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 43
 Department of Science and Technology to partner with NIF in INSPIRE MANAK (Million Minds
Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge) scheme would boost the IGNITE model
There is a need to create an innovation eco-system in our country.
 The Atal Innovation Mission is a very important initiative of the government aimed at
promoting innovations and start-ups all over the country. The idea of unleashing the
creativity of children is a valuable step in that direction.

30. NASA’s MMS mission sets Guinness world record


 NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, or MMS providing new insight into Earths
magnetosphere -- now holds the Guinness World Record for highest altitude fix of a GPS
signal.
 Operating in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth, the MMS satellites set the record at 70,006.4
kilometres above the surface. The four MMS spacecraft incorporate GPS measurements into
their precise tracking systems, which require extremely sensitive position and orbit calculations
to guide tight flying formations.
 The mission uses four individual satellites that fly in a pyramid formation to map magnetic
reconnection - a process that occurs as the sun and Earth's magnetic fields interact.
 Understanding the causes of magnetic reconnection is important for understanding phenomena
around the universe from auroras on Earth, to flares on the surface of the sun, and even to
areas surrounding black holes.

31. Coradia iLint: World’s first zero-emissions hydrogen train unveiled in Germany
 Germany is set to host the world's first zero-emission, hydrogen passenger train which
should kick into gear next year.
 The Coradia iLint only emits excess steam into the atmosphere, and provides an alternative
to the country’s 4,000 diesel cars currently in circulation in Germany.
 Testing of the new silent train developed by French rail transport company Alstom, which was
first presented at Berlin’s InnoTrans trade show in August, is set to be carried out by the end of
the year.
 Train's fuel source is effectively carbon neutral since the hydrogen used by the train actually
came from waste byproducts from the chemical industry and other manufacturers.
 The hydrogen, or hydrail, train is set to run on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-
Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony in December 2017.

32. NASA completes construction of James Webb Space Telescope


 NASA has completed the construction of the world's largest space telescope: The James
Webb Space Telescope is considered to be the successor to NASA's 26-year-old Hubble
Space Telescope.
 NASA said an Ariane 5 rocket will launch it from French Guiana in October 2018.
 We will see things we have not seen before because this telescope is much more powerful than
even the great Hubble telescope.
 Captures both reflective sunlight and by thermal radiation and heat emitted.

33. Russia invites India to join fast-neutron reactor project


 Russia has invited India to join in developing next-generation nuclear reactors and to participate
in its fast-reactor research project.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 44
 The multipurpose fast research reactor project, known by the Russian acronym MBIR, is
coming up as the International Research Center in Dimitrovgrad located in the Ulyanovsk
region.
 The purpose of the programme is the creation of a new technological platform for nuclear
energy, which will be based on the closed fuel cycle with fast neutron reactors.
 The closed fuel cycle, which involves recycling the nuclear waste as new fuel, in the case of
the MBIR project, essentially signifies research on a sodium-cooled Generation 4 fast reactor to
design an advanced fast neutron reactor for use in nuclear power plants.
 A fast neutron reactor, also known simply as a fast reactor, is a type in which the nuclear
fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons. Such a reactor needs no neutron
moderator like normal water, which serves such a purpose in thermal reactors.
 Transition to the closed fuel cycle, which is based on the fast neutron reactors, will lead to the
solution of the five key problems — safety, competitiveness, shortage of fuel, reprocessing
and refabricating the used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste — as well as in enforcing non-
proliferation of fission materials and weapons technologies.
 Russia has offered India a new range of reactor units – the VVER-Toi (typical optimised,
enhanced information) design – for the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam project in Tamil
Nadu being built by Rosatom.

34. IIL develops CYSVAX, world’s first vaccine to fight against tapeworms in pig
 Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB),
launched CYSVAX, touted as the world’s first vaccine to fight against Tapeworms in pigs.
 The vaccine was developed in collaboration with Dr.Marshall Lightowlers, University of
Melbourne, Australia and GALVmed (Global Alliance for Veterinary medicine).
 IIL has obtained the license the to manufacture and market the vaccine after conducting
extensive field trials in India and many other countries such as Spain, Peru etc. Trials are also
underway in Nepal, Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania.
 Open defecation and unhygienic pig rearing are the primary breeding grounds for
Tapeworms. Cases of Cysticercosis have been found to occur across India, particularly in the
North UP and Northeast states.
 Cysticercosis, is caused by ingesting the eggs of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium.
Humans are usually infected by the ingestion of eggs present in the under-cooked pork,
vegetables and greens that have been improperly washed. The vaccine also has the
potential to significantly reduce the incidence of epilepsy in humans.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 45
Environment

1. 16 September: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer


 The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had designated 16 September as the
International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on December 19, 1994.
 The day is commemoration of the date in 1987 on which the Montreal Protocol was signed on
substances that deplete the ozone layer.
 2016 theme: “Ozone and climate: Restored by a world united”. The theme recognizes the
collective efforts of the parties to the Montreal Protocol and Vienna Convention towards the
restoration of the ozone layer over the past three decades and the global commitment to
combat climate change.
 The ozone layer is a region of Earth’s stratosphere at height of 20-30km that absorbs most of
the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation that may cause skin cancer. It contains high concentrations
of ozone (O3) in relation to other parts of the atmosphere. Stratospheric Ozone is not
harmful, but its presence on land it is harmful.
 Montreal Protocol,1989 is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by
phasing out production of numerous Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) that are
responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on 26 August 1987 in Montreal, Canada and
entered into force on 26 August 1989.
 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer is a Multilateral Environmental
Agreement that was agreed upon at the 1985 Vienna Conference and entered into force in
1988. It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer.

2. Invasive Giant African Land Snail sighted at Goa University


 The Goa University campus at Taleigao plateau near area showing indicators of impact of
gross human interference in the natural ecosystem as it has become a nursery of Giant
African Land Snail (GALS), listed in the world’s top 100 invasive species.
 The two giant specimens of 11-cm long exotic invasive species of the snail spotted, that bears
the biological name Achatina fulica.
 Potential threat: (i) To agro-horticultural crops and local flora in Goa (ii) Could also displace
local land snails species (Xetatle Konge). (iii) Pose a health threat as they are vectors of human
disease such as brain fever (eosinophilic meningitis).
 Invasive Species any species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material
capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem; and whose
introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to
human health.
 Invasive alien species are a major driver of biodiversity loss. In fact, an analysis of the IUCN
Red List shows that they are the second most common threat associated with species that have
gone completely extinct.
 For example the water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes, a native to South America is
spreading across Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America.
3. National Board for Wildlife clears first phase of Ken-Betwa interlinking project
 India’s first inter-State river interlinking project was given a go-ahead by the National Board
for Wildlife (NBWL) .This would be the first time that a river project will be located within a tiger
reserve.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 46
 Ken-Betwa project will irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region but, in the
process, also submerge about 10 per cent of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya
Pradesh, feted as a model tiger-conservation reserve.
 The main feature of the project is a 230-km long canal and a series of barrages and dams
connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers that will irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares in Madhya Pradesh and
14,000 hectares of Uttar Pradesh, in Bundelkhand.
 The key projects are the Makodia and Dhaudhan dams, the latter expected to be 77 m high and
responsible for submerging 5,803 hectares of tiger habitat in the Panna tiger reserve.

4. Researchers produce carbon from sugarcane waste for use in batteries


 Researchers from Pune’s National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science
Education and Research (IISER) have used a simple, cost-effective and quick process to
convert sugarcane bagasse into anode-grade porous, conducting, activated carbon
material for use in Li-ion batteries. Anode-grade carbon is generally produced through
decomposition at nearly 1000 degree Celsius.
Significance of Research:
 It will bring down the time to get anode-grade carbon dramatically. Thus, it will help to reduce
electrical energy input substantially.
 The quality of carbon and battery performance using this carbon is quite good and competitive
compared with carbon made through other complicated schemes and processes.
 The carbon was produced using Simple kitchen microwave used to derive high-quality
material in minutes.

5. World’s largest solar power plant commissioned at Kamudhi, Tamil Nadu


The 'world's largest solar power plant' with an installed capacity of 648MW was
commissioned at Kamudhi in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. The plant is set by
Adani group.

6. National waterways project threatens Gangetic dolphins


 Scientists and wildlife conservationists are worried over the threat posed to Gangetic river
dolphins by the National Waterways project. The animal is protected under Schedule I of the
Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and is a declared endangered species.
 The development of the Ganga for shipping is seen as the single-largest threat to the
survival of the species, whose numbers are declining in most parts of their natural habitat.
This is mainly due to construction of dams and barrages on the river, depletion of prey
base, accidental mortality in fishing nets and accidents with vessel propellers.
 The species are practically blind, and rely on bio-sonar method to move around. The
ships’ noise-levels would disrupt the ability to navigate, and find prey.
 The NW1 stretching from Allahabad to Haldia is seen to have a potential to emerge as the
logistics artery for northern India, while reducing the congestion on this high-traffic transport
corridor. However, this stretch is also home to the endangered dolphin. River dolphins are
found in the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

7. IGI becomes Asia-Pacific’s first carbon neutral airport


 Airports Authority of India (AAI) run Delhi Airport The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) has
become the first carbon neutral airport in Asia-Pacific following a series of measures taken
by it to reduce carbon footprint, including setting up of a 7.84MW solar power plant.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 47
 The announcement was made by the international body of aerodrome operators across the
world, Airports Council International (ACI) during the Airport Carbon Accreditation
certificate presentation ceremony in Montreal, Canada.
 Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon emissions over an entire year are zero or
when the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of emission that was generated.
This achievement is accredited by ACI under Airport Carbon Accreditation that monitors the
efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.
 At IGI, DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) has taken the proactive approach towards
environment management and sustainability development. Terminal 3 of Delhi Airport is a LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Gold certified green building.

8. Aviation Climate Deal


 The 191 countries in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have agreed a
carbon offsetting scheme to constraining aviation emissions for international aviation.
 The proposed landmark deal, backed by the United States and China, aims to limit rising
airline pollution to 2020 levels after it takes effect in 2021, but has been watered down as
it will be voluntary for the first five year.
 Airlines that have opted into the measure will have to purchase offsets to balance their
emissions growth above 2020 levels. More than 65 countries representing over 85% of
global air traffic have said they will participate from the beginning. More countries can opt
to join in after 2024 or 2027, by which point the scheme will be mandatory for all but the
smallest countries. The scheme will be reviewed every three years.

9. GM Mustard
 The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the environment ministry is
about to approve commercialisation of a genetically modified (GM) variant of mustard food
crop developed by Delhi University (DU).
 DU's GM mustard-- Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 or DMH 11 is a herbicide-tolerant crops its
commercialisation gives 25-30 per cent more yield than the best varieties such as ‘Varuna’
currently grown in the country.
 India is the third largest producer of the crop internationally.
 The team has used a “Barnase” gene isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus
amyloliquefaciens. It codes for a protein that impairs pollen production and renders the
plant into which it has been introduced male-sterile. This male-sterile plant is crossed with a
fertile parental line, containing, in turn, another gene, “Barstar”, from the same bacterium that
blocks the action of the “Barnase” gene. The resultant progeny, having both the foreign genes,
is a hybrid mustard plant that is not only high-yielding, but also fertile and capable of producing
seed/grain

10. Heritage Heroes Award


 The Heritage Heroes award aims to recognise the outstanding efforts of people, of who
make efforts to conserved natural World Heritage sites despite life-threatening situations.
 Assam-based ecologist and conservation activist Bibhuti Lahkar has won prestigious
‘Heritage Heroes Award’ of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
 For the past two decades Lahkar, has been working to save the grasslands, flora and fauna
of Manas National Park area.

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 With this, he became the first Asian to win this prestigious environmental award. He was
presented this award at the IUCN’s ongoing World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii.

11. Habitat Destruction Of Laggar Falcon In Madurai


 Indiscriminate sand quarrying on the Vaigai river bed, and granite quarrying in many
parts of Madurai, have spelt disaster for many raptor species only two Laggar Falcons survive
on the rock cliffs of Arittapatti near Melur in the district.
 Laggar Falcons are an indigenous raptor species, are the greatest indicators of climate
change, and of loss of habitat and biodiversity.
 Due to sand quarrying, felling of palm trees, which is a nesting spot of many raptor species, are
one of the reasons for the disappearance of the birds. Madurai lost its Vaigai-based biodiversity,
including hundreds of Brahminy Kites, Black Kites and native fishes.
 IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these
falcon species and has listed them as "Near Threatened".

12. Giant Panda No Longer Endangered


 World’s threatened wildlife, the giant panda has just been downgraded from ‘Endangered’ to
‘Vulnerable’ on the global list of species at risk of extinction, demonstrating how an
integrated approach can help save our planet’s vanishing biodiversity.
 The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced the change to the
giant panda’s status in the Red List of Threatened Species, pointing to the 17% rise in the
population in the decade up to 2014, when a nationwide census found 1,864 giant pandas in the
wild in China.
 While the panda’s status has improved, other species are under increasing threat,
including the Eastern gorilla that is now listed as critically endangered, just one step
away from extinction, primarily due to poaching.

13. New species of Pika found in Sikkim


 A new species of a small mammal in the rabbit family has been discovered in the higher
altitudes of the Himalayas in Sikkim. Identified as ‘Ochotona sikimaria’ - the new pika
species.
 Unlike other mammalian species inhabiting such harsh environments, pikas do not hibernate.
They prepare for winter by collecting and storing hay piles for their winter food.
 Pikas look like tailless rats. They live in the mountains or in temperate regions. They are a
keystone species and ecosystem engineers. The common name pika is basically used for
any member of the Ochotonidae family.
 Keystone species determine the ability of a large number of other species to survive in the
ecosystem. When they become extinct, it has cascading effect on extinction of other
species. Example of keystone species is bees as pollination of fruits and flowers is
dependent on them.

14. Prakampana-2016
 Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercises, the Armed
Forces in collaboration with Central Armed Police Forces and civil administration have started
conducting Joint HADR exercises in different places of the country.

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 First Joint Exercise ‘JALRAHAT’ on flooding in Urban Areas was conducted by the Army,
in Guwahati, Assam.
 Second exercise ‘PRAKAMPANA’ by Indian Navy in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh is
primarily based on super cyclone in the coastal region.
 Third such HADR exercise ‘SAHAYATA’ will be conducted by Indian Air Force at Bhuj, Gujrat.
This exercise is primarily aimed at preparing the Forces to undertake rescue and relief
operations during major earthquakes of Western region.

15. Antartica’s Ross Sea declared as world’s largest Marine Protected Area
 The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)
agreed unanimously to designate the Ross Sea as world's largest marine protected area.
 The Ross Sea in Antarctica has shelf and slope only comprise 2% of the Southern Ocean but
they are home to 38% of the world's Adelie penguins, 30% of the world's Antarctic petrels
and around 6% of the world's population of Antarctic minke whales.
 The Ross Sea is a deep bay in the Southern Ocean that many scientists consider to be the
last intact marine ecosystem on Earth – a living laboratory ideally suited for investigating life
in the Antarctic and how climate change is affecting the planet.
 The agreement also establishes a large 322,000 sq km “krill research zone” that will allow for
research catching of krill, but prohibit toothfish catching.

16. Smooth-coated otter sighted for first time in Krishna sanctuary


 Smooth-coated otter was sighted for the first time in the mangrove forest near the
Krishna wildlife sanctuary (KWS) in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh..
 The presence of the otter is a key indicator for rise of the mangrove cover in the KWS.
 The smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is a carnivorous mammals. The fur of this
species is smoother and shorter than that of other otters. It is distributed throughout South Asia
and South East Asia. The otter lives in rivers, lakes, peat swamp forests, mangroves and
estuaries.
 It has been categorised ‘vulnerable’ in the red data book of International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

17. IUCN to declare Kashmir’s Red Stag as Critically Endangered


 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has decided to put Kashmir's Red stag,
on the critically endangered species list. The organisation is also aiming to enhance the
conservation efforts to increase its declining population.
 The cited reasons for the decline in its population are said to be habitat destruction, over-
grazing by domestic livestock, and poaching.
Other than this animals included in critically endangered species list are:
 Kakapos are the heaviest parrots in the world, weighing as much as 8 pounds. These parrots
are very unusual and nocturnal. Kakapos do not fly and are found in New Zealand. These
parrots are also known as owl parrots.
 The Bactrian Camel is a rare camel with two humps found in countries like Mongolia, China,
India, Pakistan, and Russia. These camels are in danger of extinction with only 800 left for the
world to see.
 The Philippine Eagle is the national bird of Philippines and is also known as the monkey-
eating eagle. These birds are at the verge of extinction with only 500 left in the world. The
primary reason for them becoming endangered is deforestation.

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18. Historic Global Greenhouse gas emission Agreement signed in Kigali
 Nearly 200 nations have agreed a legally binding deal to cut back on greenhouse gases
used in refrigerators and air conditioners, a major move against climate change. The deal
was "a monumental step forward" in Kigali capital of Rwanda.
 The deal, which includes the world's two biggest economies, the United States and China,
divides countries into three groups with different deadlines to reduce the use of factory-
made hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases, which can be 10,000 times more powerful than carbon
dioxide as greenhouse gases.
 Under the pact, developed nations, including much of Europe and the United States, commit to
reducing their use of the gases incrementally, starting with a 10 percent cut by 2019 and
reaching 85 percent by 2036..
 Two groups of developing countries will freeze their use of the gases by either 2024 or 2028,
and then gradually reduce their use. India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and the Gulf countries will meet
the later deadline.
 They refused the earlier date because they have fast-expanding middle classes who want air
conditioning in their hot climates, and because India feared damaging its growing industries.

19. Union Government launches satellite-based illegal Mining Detection System


 The Centre recently launched the Mining Surveillance System (MSS), a satellite-based
monitoring system which seeks to curb instances of illegal mining activity through
automatic remote sensing detection technology.
 The system, which enables public participation, seeks to check exploitation of natural
resources, reduce the impact of mining on the environment, make the monitoring
process more transparent, and enable quicker response to unauthorized activity.
 The system checks a region of 500 meters around the existing mining lease boundary for
unusual activity, possibly an instance of illegal mining, and generates automatic triggers. Using
a mobile app, which even citizens can use, officials can submit reports of their inspections.
 Developed by Gandhinagar based Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and
Geo-informatics (BISAG) in co-ordination with Indian Bureau of Mines.

20. India, Russia ink agreement to set up 25 Agro Irradiation Centres


 India and Russia signed a pact to set up 25 integrated infrastructure centers for irradiation
treatment of perishable food items to improve shelf life and cut post-harvest
losses. Perishable items ranging from flowers to fish will be treated there on a commercial
scale
 The agreement was signed between Russia’s United Innovation Corporation (UIC) — a
subsidiary of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation — and Hindustan Agro Co-op Ltd on
the sidelines of the BRICS Business Forum here.
 At least 7 centers will be set up in Maharashtra these are Sindhurg, Satara, Solapur, JNPT,
Jalana, Napur and Pune in the first phase. The locations in other states are yet to be finalized.
 Food irradiation is a technology in which food products are subjected to a low dosage of
radiation to treat them for germs and insects, increasing their longevity and shelf life.
 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommends the irradiation doses for Food
irradiation.
 Irradiation does not reduce the nutritional value of food products and does not change their
organoleptic properties and appearance. The irradiation treatment of food and foodgrains

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preserves them for longer time, prevent the spread of invasive pests, delay/eliminate ripening or
sprouting and reduce the risk of food borne illness.

21. India to eliminate use of HFC-23 by 2030


 India will eliminate the use of HFC-23, a greenhouse gas that harms the ozone layer, by 2030
on tackling climate change.
 The announcement came at a meeting of parties to the Montreal Protocol at Kigali in Rwanda
where final negotiations taken place to reduce the use of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) by 2030.
 The Montreal Protocol, which came into force in 1989, is aimed at reducing the production and
consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer.
 HFC-23, a potent greenhouse gas with global warming potential of 14,800 times more
than that of CO2, is a by-product of HCFC-22, which is used in industrial refrigeration.
HCFC stands for hydrochloroflurocarbon.

22. Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme


 Government, through Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), is implementing the Ethanol Blended
Petrol (EBP) Programme under which, OMCs sell ethanol blended petrol with percentage
of ethanol upto 10%.
 Government has allowed procurement of ethanol produced from other non-food feedstocks, like
cellulosic and ligno cellulosic materials including petrochemical route.

23. October 13: International Day for Disaster Reduction


 The International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) is observed to encourage citizens and
governments to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.
 2016 Theme: “Live to Tell: Raising Awareness, Reducing Mortality”.
 The 2016 edition of IDDR marks the launch of the new Sendai seven Framework for Disaster
Risk Reduction by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
 The Sendai Framework is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes that
the countries have the primary role to reduce disaster risk. It is the successor agreement
to the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005–2015), which was the most encompassing
international accord on disaster risk reduction to date.
 The Sendai Framework also seeks to promote best practices at the international, regional and
national level across all sectors, to reduce disaster risk and disaster losses. The framework
has seven targets and first of it is reducing disaster mortality. The four priority themes of
the Sendai Framework are: (i) Understanding disaster risk, (ii) improving disaster risk
governance, (iii) investing in disaster risk reduction (through structural and non-structural
measures) and (iv) disaster preparedness, early warning and building back better in the
aftermath of a disaster.

24. First World Tsunami Awareness Day to be celebrated at AMCDRR 2016


 The first World Tsunami Awareness Day will be celebrated on November 5, 2016 at the Asian
Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016.
 The conference will organized in New Delhi by the Union Government in collaboration with
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

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 The objective of the day is to spread awareness among people across the world in
matters related to the dangers of tsunami and stress on the importance of early warning
systems in order to mitigate damage from the devastating natural calamity.
 India’s initiatives Following the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, Central
Government established an Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC). It is operational
since October 2007. ITEWC was established under the Indian National Centre for Ocean
Information Services (INCOIS) at Hyderabad.

25. Himansh, India’s remote, high-altitude station opens in Himalayas


 Indian government has established a high altitude glaciological research station in
Himalaya called HIMANSH (literally meaning, a slice of ice), situated above 13,500 ft (>4000
m) at a remote region in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.
 The research lab, established by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research
(NCAOR), has automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems
and other sophisticated facilities to study and quantify the Himalayan glacier responses towards
the climate change
 Initiatives would contribute to the integrated study the glaciers in the upper Indus basin
(Chandra basin) in Himachal Pradesh and their contribution to discharge. Understanding
the behaviour of these glaciers and their contribution to the sustainable supply of water for
mankind and agriculture is one of the grand challenges of Indian scientific community.

26. CM Pawan Chamling honoured with Sustainable Development Leadership Award


 Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling honoured with prestigious "Sustainable
Development Leadership Award", During "World Sustainable Development Summit"
organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
 The award was presented to him in recognition of his vision and leadership in
environment and sustainable development leading to the establishment of Sikkim as the
first and only organic state in the country. Sikkim is the only state in India to have attained
the official status of fully organic state in January 2016.
 Chamling has taken various green initiatives under which ban on pan masala/gutka was
enforced in the entire state in the year 1995, and subsequently in 1997 passed an Act on
prohibition of throwing of non-degradable garbage in public drains and sewerage.There is a ban
also in the state on smoking at public places.

27. Elephant researcher Prajna Chowta conferred with knighthood by France


Film-maker and elephant researcher Prajna Chowta has been appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre
National du Mérite (Knight in the National Order of Merit), one of the highest civilian recognitions
of the French government. In recognition of her life devoted to caring for wild Asian elephants.

28. National Mission on Bioeconomy launched in Shillong, Meghalaya


 In order to boost rural economy by utilising bio-resources, a National Mission on
Bioeconomy was launched in Shillong, Meghalaya by the Institute of Bio-resources and
Sustainable Development (IBSD) under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

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 The mission focuses on sustainable utilization of renewable biological resources for food, bio-
based products and bio-energy through knowledge-based approaches. The mission is unique to
south-east Asia and India has become one of the few countries to have tapped bio-resources,
which when optimally utilized can create a large number of jobs at village level.
 The NE region is among the world's top 10 biodiversity hot spots and people should take
advantage of these resources to improve their economy.

29. Tamil Nadu tops list of endemic flowering plants: BSI


 According to the recent publication released by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Tamil
Nadu accounts for the highest number flowering plants in the country.
 The publication titled Endemic Vascular Plants of India also revealed that almost one of every
four species of flowering plants found in India are endemic to the country.
 Of the total 18,259 flowering plants reported in the country, 4,303 (over 23%) are found only in
India or they are endemic to the country. Of these, Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest
number of species with 410, followed by Kerala (357 species) and Maharashtra (278 species).
 In case of the geographical distribution of endemic plants, Western Ghats tops the list with
about 2,116 species, followed by the Eastern Himalayas with 466 species. These two regions
are among the biodiversity hot spots of the country.
 Some of the plants species are restricted to only certain areas of the country like an
insectivorous plant Nepenthes khasiana which is only found in the Khasi hills of
Meghalaya.

30. Worst coral die-off recorded at Australia’s Great Barrief Reef


 Warm seas around Australia's Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700-km (435
miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months, the worst die-off ever recorded on the World
Heritage site.
 The die-off was "almost certainly" the largest ever recorded anywhere because of the size of the
Barrier Reef, which is the biggest coral reef in the world.
 Bleaching occurs when the water is too warm, forcing coral to expel living algae and
causing it to calcify and turn white. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature
drops and the survey found this occurred in southern parts of the reef, where coral mortality was
much lower.
 While bleaching occurs naturally, scientists are concerned that rising sea temperatures caused
by global warming magnifies the damage, leaving sensitive underwater ecosystems unable to
recover.
 Climate scientists argue that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat radiating
from earth, creating global warming. Australia is one of the largest carbon emitters per
capita because of its reliance on coal-fired power plants for electricity.

31. WWF’S Living Planet Report 2016


 World Wildlife Fund published its 2016 Living Planet Report that warned the substantial
decline in animal populations would continue unless significant action is taken immediately.
 Activities such as deforestation, poaching and human-induced climate change are in large part
to blame for the decline. If the trend continues, then by 2020 the world will have lost two-
thirds of its vertebrate biodiversity

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 The main threat facing declining populations is habitat loss — caused by logging, agriculture
and the disruption of freshwater systems such as rivers. Freshwater populations, which declined
by 81%, are increasingly thought to be faring worse than those living in terrestrial regions.

32. Neerdhur
 As is well known, indoor pollution is one of the major causes of ill health and high mortality rate
in the hinterland. The enhanced cook stove could go a long way in reducing its impact if
marketed in the right manner and made available across the country.
 Developed by the National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) and
christened ‘Neerdhur’, this multi-fuel domestic cook stove is supposed to be super efficient,
saves 50 per cent of fuel, has high thermal efficiency and reduces cooking time.
 Its USP is that besides wood it can consume several fuels including coal, cow dung,
charcoal, biomass and other agricultural residue. Designed as a hybrid with technology
innovations, it uses much less fuel with lower emissions.
 The cook stove has also been approved by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and
is now certified to meet cook-stove emission standards by Bureau of Indian Standards.

33. Internal Carbon Price


 Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd became the first Indian company to announce its internal carbon
price of $10 per tonne of carbon emissions.
 The move is in line with its business commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions by 25% over the next three years.
 Carbon pricing is an internationally recognized business tool that enables companies to
create resources which are invested in low-carbon technologies which help reduce
future emissions and lower operating costs.
 The company has also invested in developing India’ first and only electric car, the E2O.
 It is also the first Indian company that joined the World Bank’s ‘Carbon Pricing Leadership
Consortium’ which was launched at the Paris climate summit last year.
 Some of the global companies that have announced carbon pricing are Unilever, Microsoft,
Google and Novartis

34. Report On Palaeo Channel Of North West India


 Report on Palaeo Channel of North West India: Review & Assessment by Expert Committee
headed by Prof. K.S. Valdiya, eminent Geologist.
 The report is based on the study of the land texture of states of North-West India including-
Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. It has also taken account of the geological changes that had
occurred in the past
 The report is an assertion of the assumption that River Saraswati originated from Adibadri
in Himalaya to culminate in the Arabian Sea through the Runn of Kutch.

35. Tamil Nadu Gets World’s First Salt-Tolerant Plant Garden


 The world’s first Genetic Garden of Halophytes (naturally occurring salt-tolerant plants) was
inaugurated at the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.
 The garden has been set up by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). It will
have over 1,600 species belonging to 550 genera and 117 families of Halophytes plants.

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 Initially it will comprise halophytes occurring along the coasts of India including the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands.
 Halophytes are salt-tolerant or salt-resistant plants. They can thrive and complete their life
cycles in soils or waters containing high salt concentrations.
 In recent times, alarming rise in the sea level has prompted agriculture scientists to call for the
cultivation of saline-tolerant crops in light danger of sea intrusion.

36. Cop22 Adopts Marrakech Action Proclamation


 The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hosted by Morocco in Marrakech.
 The Marrakech Action Proclamation welcomes the Paris Agreement, adopted under the
Convention, already ratified by over 111 Parties, and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
 The Proclamation refers to the ambitious goals and inclusive nature of the Paris agreement,
reiterates its reflection of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, and reaffirms the
strong – and irreversible – commitment of all Parties to take action on climate and sustainable
development, moving forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster adaptation
efforts, thereby benefiting and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
 The Developed Country Parties reaffirmed their goal to mobilize USD $100 billion annually from
2020 in climate finance.
 The importance of climate action in agriculture features strongly in the NDCs and was more
prominent at COP22 than in the past, with particular emphasis on the Adaptation of African
Agriculture (AAA) initiative launched through the signing a “Marrakech Declaration”.
 Fiji was elected to serve as President of COP23 to be held in November 2017 at the seat of
the UNFCCC secretariat in Bonn. COP23 will primarily serve to take stock of progress on the
implementation of the work programme under the Paris Agreement.

37. Andhra Pradesh Tops World Bank’s Energy-Saving Rankings


 Andhra Pradesh has been ranked number one in the World Bank’s ‘Energy Efficiency
Implementation Readiness’. The ranking of the states were released in the World Bank’s
study report titled: ‘India’s State Level Energy Efficiency Implementation Readiness’.
 Andhra Pradesh topped with overall score of 42.01 followed by Rajasthan (41.89), Karnataka
(39.34) and Maharashtra (39.29).
 Andhra Pradesh topped the list by achieving an energy saving of 1,500 million units (MU) i.e.
Around 650 MW in two years through use of LED lighting.
 Another novel initiative called 'AP Energy Star Programme'. As part of this, the state
government has made it mandatory for all the departments to procure electrical appliances
such as ac’s, refrigerators, ceiling fans and water pump-sets of '5-star' rating.

38. IISER Researchers Develop Gelator To Scoop Out Marine Oil Spills
 Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram developed
simple, efficient and cost-effective, compound (gelator) for marine oil spills.
 Gelators, which are in a powder form, can be easily applied over oil-water mixture and do
not cause any environmental damage.
 Made from glucose as a starting material and through several chemical reactions produced
compounds (gelators) that selectively congeal oil, including crude oil, from an oil-water
mixture.

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 The gelator molecule is partly hydrophobic and partly hydrophilic. While the hydrophilic part
helps in self-assembling to form gelator fibres, the hydrophobic part is responsible for its
diffusion into the oil layer.

39. Union Environment Ministry Constitutes Four-Member Team For Conservation Of Loktak
Lake
 A four-member team for conservation and management of Loktak Lake in Manipur, a
UNESCO recognised World Heritage Site has been constituted by the Ministry of
Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
 Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis
floating over it. Phumdis are the heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic
matter at various stages of decomposition.
 Keibul Lamjao National Park is also one of Phumdis in the lake. It is only floating national
park in world and is last natural refuge of endangered Sangai deer.
 It serves as a source of water for irrigation, drinking water supply and hydropower generation
and have ecological status and its biodiversity values.
 Loktak lake was initially designated as a wetland of international importance under the
Ramsar Convention in 1990. Later it was also listed under the Montreux Record in 1993.
Human activity has led to severe pressure on the lake ecosystem.

40. Delhi Declaration On Agrobiodiversity Management Adopted


 The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC) was organized in New Delhi, India.
 The Congress aimed to provide a platform to all the stakeholders engaged in genetic
resource conservation and management, with major emphasis on rational and effective use of
agrobiodiversity for food, nutrition and environmental security.
 Based on detailed deliberations, the delegates unanimously adopted the Delhi Declaration.
Key Features of Declaration : 1.Agrobiodiversity Conservation, 2.Traditional knowledge,
3.Conservation strategies, 4.Modern technologies, 5.Global exchange, 6.Agrobiodiversity index
 International Agrobiodiversity Fund” is created for assisting countries for scientific conservation
and use of available agrobiodiversity and the documentation of available rich traditional
knowledge.

41. Union Government Constitutes Ak Sinha Committee To Study Silt In River Ganga In Bihar
 A four member expert committee headed by member of Ganga Flood Control commission
A .K. Sinha to study silt in river Ganga in Bihar had been constituted by the Union
Government
 Bihar CM had requested PM to send an expert team to study silt in Ganga which caused
devastating prevailing flood in the state. Besides, he also had requested Central Government to
frame National Silt Policy to sort out various problems related to rivers throughout the state.

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Health
1. Bindheswar Pathak as brand ambassador of Swachh Rail Mission
 Ministry of Railways has appointed Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak (73), the founder of Sulabh
International as a Brand Ambassador for Swachh Rail Mission of Indian Railway.
 Indian Railways had tied up with Sulabh International to clean some important railway stations
across the country as part of the mission with an aim to promote cleanliness at rail
premises.
 These railway stations are Gorakhpur, Old Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Gwalior.
 Focus area: Swachh Stations (Clean Stations), Swachh Rail Gaadi (Clean Train), Swachh Neer
(Clean Water), Swachh Parisar (Clean Complex), Swachh Sahyog (Cleanliness Participation),
Swachh Samvad (Cleanliness Dialogue), Swachh Samarpan (Dedication for ensuring
Cleanliness), Swachh Aahar (Clean Food).

2. SUGAR TAX
 UK Chancellor George Osborne is introducing a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry
to combat child obesity.
 The tax will be levied on the drinks companies in two years' time i.e. from 2018.
 There will be two categories of taxation: one for total sugar content above 5g per 100ml, and a
second, higher band for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.
 Pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks will not be included.

3. India’s first Medipark will be set up in Tamil Nadu


 India’s first Medipark (Medical Park) will be set up in Tamil Nadu at Chengalpet near Chennai,
Tamil Nadu. An initiative under Make In India programme.
 330.10 acres of land is sub-lease to HLL Lifecare (PSU) to set up medical devices
manufacturing park ( Medipark) through a special purpose vehicle in the country.
 First it will manufacture cluster in the medical technology sector in the country, envisaged to
boost the local manufacturing of hi-end products at a significantly lower cost .It will provide
affordable healthcare delivery, particular in diagnostic services to a large section of people.

4. Japan’s Yoshinori Ohsumi wins 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine


 Biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi, of Japan, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine prize or
physiology for his discoveries in autophagy -- the process whereby a cell recycles part of
its own contents.
 Autophagy means “self-eating”. It refers to the process in which cellular junk is captured and
sealed in sack-like membranes, called autophagosomes. The sealed contents are transported
to another structure called the lysosome, also called suicidal bag.
 Autophagy is the body’s internal recycling programme - scrap cell components are
captured and the useful parts are stripped out to generate energy or build new cells.
 The process is crucial for preventing cancerous growths, warding off infection and, by
maintaining a healthy metabolism, it helps protect against conditions like diabetes.

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5. International Conference on Brucellosis 2016 inaugurated in New Delhi
 Brucellosis is a dreadful animal diseases caused by the genus of the bacteria known as
Brucella infecting various species of Brucella cows, buffalos, sheep, goats, deer, pigs, dogs
and other animals as well as humans.
 Human become infected by coming in contact with animals or animal product like meat and milk
contaminated with these bacteria. Brucellosis is endemic in India.

 International Conference on Brucellosis, organized by the Department of Biotechnology in


collaboration with Indian Council for Agriculture Research.

6. World’s first three-parent baby born in Mexico


 Three-person IVF, prevents babies from inheriting lethal genetic diseases.
 Babies born using the technique would receive majority of DNA from the mother and father and
a small amount of DNA comes from a female donor.
 UK became the first country to legalise mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), as the
technique is known.
 Mitochondria are organelles inside cells that generate energy. The organelles are passed from
mother to child. Like, Leigh syndrome, a fatal neurological disorder.
 Here’s a closer look at techniques that produce a baby that carries mitochondrial DNA from a
donor:
Cytoplasmic transfer
Cytoplasm contains mitochondria, other organelles, proteins and other molecules that do the work
of the cell. The cytoplasm from a donor egg and injected it along with a single sperm cell into a
recipient egg. But not studied much due to regulatory issues.
Pronuclear transfer
The first “mitochondrial replacement” technique developed to stop mitochondrial diseases is
called pronuclear transfer. Pronuclei are nuclei from the egg and sperm that are in the fertilized egg,
called a zygote, but have not yet fused into a single nucleus.
In this technique, the mother’s egg and a donor egg are fertilized at the same time. The pronuclei
are removed from the donor egg and discarded. Then the pronuclei are sucked out of the mother’s
egg and transferred into the empty donor egg.
Drawback: a bit of cytoplasm is usually transferred along with the pronuclei. That means
unacceptably high numbers of mitochondria — including disease-carrying ones — from the
mother’s egg may be carried into the donor egg.
Spindle transfer
The technique used to produce the baby boy born in April is called spindle transfer. When a dividing
cell divides up its chromosomes, they are attached to protein fibers called microtubules or spindles.
The transplant technique starts with two unfertilized egg cells, one from the donor and one from the
mother. In both cells, the membrane surrounding the nucleus has broken down, but the cell has not
yet completely divided.
The spindle and its attached chromosomes are removed from the mother’s egg and inserted into
the donor egg, which has been emptied of its spindle and chromosomes. Then a sperm cell is
injected to the resulting egg to fertilize it.
Drawback: Chromosomes may fall off the spindle. That could result in an embryo with too few
chromosomes — or too many if some are left in the egg from the donor or extras are carried over
from the mother’s egg. Both cases usually result in abnormal development.

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The infant reportedly has 1 percent of mitochondrial DNA from his mother. At 3 months old, he was
healthy. Long-term consequences are unknown.

Pronuclear Transfer

Spindle transfer

7. Healthy India Initiative magazine and No More Tension mobile App


 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the “Healthy India Initiative/Swastha
Bharat-ek pehal” magazine and launched the “No More Tension” Mobile Application.
 It is part of the Government’s Digital India programme,

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 The “Healthy India Initiative/Swastha Bharat-ek pehal”, a quarterly magazine, will raise
awareness about healthy living, women and child health, elderly health, seasonal ailments, daily
nutritional needs, safe medication practices, home remedies healthy living and many more.
 Stress management mobile application “No More Tension” helps users to manage stress.
The main objective is to provide information to users regarding stress such as, what is stress,
effects, symptoms and its management. The application allows the user to measure their stress
level and learn various techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce stress from their lives.

8. WHO declares Sri Lanka malaria-free


 Sri Lanka is the second country in the WHO South-East Asia Region to eliminate malaria
after Maldives.
 The announcement came at the 69th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East
Asia Region's annual committee meeting in Colombo.
 In regard to Malaria, India is in the “control phase”, but is working to reach pre-elimination by
2017 and to complete elimination thereafter, according to a 2015 WHO report.
 Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease most commonly transmitted by an infected
female Anopheles mosquito. It caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled
microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.

9. Health Ministry launches campaign to eradicate LEPROSY


 National Leprosy Eradication Programme has been reviewed and pursuant to that, Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare has launched the biggest Leprosy Case Detection Campaign
(LCDC) in the country on 5th September 2016 across 149 districts of 19 states/UTs.
 The Leprosy Case Detection Campaign is a unique initiative here each and every member of
the targeted population will be examined by the search team constituted of one male and one
ASHA worker at household level.
 The objective of the campaign is the early detection of leprosy in affected persons, providing
them timely treatment and saving from physical disability and deformity. Also halting the
transmission of disease at the community level.
 Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a bacteria. The
disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract,
and the eyes
 Multidrug therapy (MDT) treatment has been made available through WHO free of charge to all
patients worldwide since 1995. MDT provides a highly effective cure for all types of leprosy.
Leprosy today
 Leprosy control has improved significantly due to leprosy case detection and awareness
campaigns in several endemic countries..
 In 2016 WHO has launched the "Global Leprosy Strategy 2016–2020: Accelerating
towards a leprosy-free world" – which aims to reinvigorate efforts for leprosy control and to
avoid disabilities, especially among children affected by the disease in endemic countries.

10. India declares itself free from Avian Influenza


 The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture and
Farmers welfare has declared India free from Avian Influenza (H5N1) popularly known
as bird flu from 5th September, 2016, notified the same to the World Organization for Animal
Health (OIE).

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 India had notified outbreak of avian influenza on 9 May 2016 at Humnabad, Bidar district,
Karnataka, the government took measures, including culling, disinfection and clean-up, to
contain the spread of avian influenza.
 Post the surveillance, the state has shown no evidence of presence of the disease... There has
been no further outbreak reported in the country thereafter.
 Bird flu affects mainly the domestic poultry. The disease spreads from infected birds to other
winged creatures through contact with nasal and respiratory secretions and also due to
contamination of feed and water.
 Human Infections: Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans however A(H7N9) and
A(H5N1) virus strains have caused serious infections in people.

11. Global pledge to stamp out drug-resistant infections


 The 193 countries of the United Nations have agreed a landmark declaration to rid the
world of drug-resistant infections or Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or "superbugs".
 It is the fourth time a UN declaration has been reached on a health issue - following HIV in
2001, non-communicable diseases in 2011 and Ebola in 2013.
 What is Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs: Antimicrobial resistance happens
when microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites change when they are
exposed to antimicrobial drugs. These microorganisms are also termed as “superbugs”. As a
result, the medicines or drugs become ineffective and infections persist in the body further
increasing the risk of spread to others.
 Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Threats AMR has become one of the biggest threats to global
health and endangers other major priorities, such as human development, it is conceivable
that simple infections could soon become entirely untreatable with existing drugs. At the
same time, not enough new antimicrobial drugs especially antibiotics are being developed to
replace older and increasingly ineffective ones

12. IGKV developed Protein-Enriched Rice Variety


 Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV) in Chhattisgarh developed a protien-enriched rice
variety along with high zinc content; it has over 10% protien content i.e. 3 % more than any
popular variety. It also has 30 PPM (parts per million) zinc content.
 This protein rice variety will play a crucial role in addressing issues of protein deficiencies and it
will serve as a boon for malnourished population, especially children, in tribal-dominated
Chhattisgarh
 Advantages: Zinc and other mineral content are not lost upon polishing. Zinc is important
cofactor in various enzymatic reaction in the body. Zinc is essential in supporting our
immune system, in synthesising and degrading DNA, in wound healing and several other
activities. Our body requires very small amount of Zinc.
 Background: As per a survey conducted in 2015 very high rate of malnutrition was found
among preschool children in tribal areas across Chhattisgarh which is considered rice bowl
of the country. The survey had showed that over five lakh children in the state are underweight
and stunted growth especially in the tribal districts. The Women and Child Development
Department in September 2016, informed that malnutrition rate in Chhattisgarh has declined to
29.8 per cent from 47.1 per cent.

13. Japanese Encephalitis claims 54 lives in Odisha’s Malkangiri district

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 The vector-borne deadly disease, which originates from pigs and wild birds spreads to
humans, mostly children, through mosquitoes bite primarily the Culex
tritaeniorhynchus group.
 Japanese encephalitis virus JEV is the most important cause of viral encephalitis in Asia. It is
a mosquito-borne flavivirus, and belongs to the same genus as dengue, yellow fever and West
Nile viruses.
 There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving severe clinical signs and
supporting the patient to overcome the infection. Safe and effective vaccines are available to
prevent JE.
 WHO recommends that JE vaccination be integrated into national immunization schedules in all
areas where JE disease is recognized as a public health issue.
.
14. Munialappa Committee to monitor bird flu situation
 Agricultural Ministry has constituted a High-Level Committee headed by Munialappa to monitor
the bird flu or avian influenza (H5N8) situation and help state governments take steps to contain
the disease.
 The state government will be assisted by the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases
(NIHSAD), Indian Veterinary Research Institute and four regional laboratories
 Background: The committee was constituted after mortality among the birds in National
Zoological Park, Delhi NCR and other parts of the country due to Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1)
was found.
 What is Avian influenza? Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu is an infectious viral
disease of birds. Thus, it is zoonotic disease. It is an infectious viral disease of birds and can
sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease.

15. Anti-Malaria Battle


 Scientists have discovered a series of a novel compound (bicyclic azetidine series) that
shows great promise in the battle against malaria, act on all three life stages of the malaria
parasite.
 The compound was found to cure the disease with just a single, low-dose treatment, provide
prophylaxis and prevent disease transmission both in the lab and in animals. .
 The need for new malarial drugs is becoming increasingly urgent as new resilient strains of the
malaria parasite have emerged, threatening to leave existing drugs powerless against the
infection.
 Researchers from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, New Delhi’s International Centre for
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and other institutions published the results
of their study on September 7 in the journal Nature.

16. India, South-East Asian Countries To Set Up Fund For Health Emergencies In Region
 India along with 10 other member countries of WHO's South-East Asian Regional Committee
has decided to set up a dedicated fund aimed at building preparedness for health
emergencies in the region. Decision was taken in the 69th session of WHO Regional
Committee Meeting at Colombo.
 The region comprises 11 countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of
Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

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 In the recent years, earthquakes, cyclones and floods have caused health emergencies in
south-east Asian region and it has also been threatened by a range of emerging diseases,
including SARS, MERS CoV, pandemic influenza and Zika virus. .
 To help countries better preparing for such events a joint funding stream under the South-
East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) is established.
 The new funding stream will allow countries to invest in infrastructure and human resources that
will enhance preparedness.

17. Indians test positive for Zika Virus in Singapore


 External Affairs Ministry has officially confirmed that 13 Indians have been tested positive for
the Zika virus in Singapore.
 It should be noted that Asia’s first Zika virus was reported in Singapore.
 Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The
virus is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal
deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller
heads. Besides a possible link between the virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS: a
condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also
suspected.

18. Scientists develop Zika replicon system to develop vaccines


 The Zika replicon system is considered as an advance novel tool that may pave the way for
development vaccine to fight Zika virus.
 Replicons are segments of viral genome that can replicate on their own, independent of
the cellular chromosome.
 The new Zika replicon system has deleted some of the genes that give the virus its structure.
Because of this, the altered Zika virus is no longer infectious, lowering the safety risk involved in
working with it.
 The system was engineered by attaching genes that allow researchers to tag certain parts of
the Zika virus for making it a powerful tool for vaccine development.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 64
CULTURE
1- Adi tribe begins Agro-based ‘Solung’ Festival in Arunachal Pradesh
 Arunachal Pradesh celebrated the Solung festival . This festival is celebrated by the Adi tribe
of Arunachal Pradesh.
 It is celebrated in the first week of of September every year for 5 days and is an agro based
festival of India. The festival also symbolizes the socio-religious aspects of Adi community.
The festival also reflects care and protection of animals which are vital components of their
family and social life of Adi tribe.
 The Adi or ‘Bangni-Boker lhoba’people are the major collective tribes living in the himalayan
hills of ‘Nyingchi’ prefecture.
 The ‘Solung’ is celebrated throughout the Siang district and also by the Adis inhabiting the Lohit
district.
 The origin of the ‘Solung’ festival is related with a ‘legend’ i.e., the growth of paddy. The
legendry narrates that the plant of the paddy originated from the life juice of ‘Yidum-Bote’ (Son
of the God of knowledge) and the paddy plant was reared by ‘Kine-nane’ (the Goddess of the
underworld).
 To mark the celebrations, people perform various rituals and make offerings to gods and
goddesses during the celebration and pray for a bumper harvest. During the celebration,
Mithun (Great Indian Bison) which is considered as holy animal and occupies an important
religious significance among the Adis is sacrificed.

2- Book on Indian tribe wins U.K. fiction award


 A book that tells the story of the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh(Tibeto-Burman-
speaking tribes of northeast India) during British India has bagged the M.M. Bennetts Award
for Historical Fiction 2016 in the U.K.
 Stuart Blackburn was presented the award at the HNS Conference in Oxford for his novel Into
the Hidden Valley.

3- Mother Teresa canonised as Saint


 Mother Teresa, revered for her work with the poor in India, has been proclaimed a saint by Pope
Francis in a ceremony at the Vatican.
 Mother Teresa founded a sisterhood that runs 19 homes, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

4- Incredible India Tourism Investment Summit-2016(IITIS)


 “Incredible India Tourism Investment Summit 2016” has been organized by the Ministry of
Tourism in New Delhi.
 It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in association with Tourism
Finance Corporation of India (TFCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
 IITIS is a platform for domestic and international investors to meet project owners from across
Indian states and the private sector.

5- World Tourism Day- 27 September


 World Tourism Day (WTD) is commemorated each year on 27 September.
 Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of
tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.

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 The event seeks to highlight tourisms potential to contribute to reaching the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs), addressing some of the most pressing challenges society is
faced with today.
 Theme for 2016: "Tourism for All - promoting universal accessibility"
 The official World Tourism Day 2016 celebrations held in Bangkok, Thailand.
 It was at its third session (Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979), that the UNWTO General
Assembly decided to institute World Tourism Day, commencing in the year 1980.

6- National Gallery of Australia returns stolen Indian antiquities


 Australia’s prestigious art gallery has returned to India three sculptures, at a handback
ceremony in Canberra.
 The three sculptures are-
1- over a 900-year-old stone statue of Goddess Pratyangira
2- A third-century rock carving of Worshippers of the Buddha
3- A 900-year-old sculpture called the ‘Seated Buddha’.

7- ‘Second Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2016’

 The “Second Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM)-2016” held from 15th to 23rd October, 2016
in the premises of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), Janpath, New Delhi.
 Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav was conceived by the Ministry of Culture in the year 2015 with an
intent to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Country in all its rich and varied dimensions,
viz Handicrafts, Cuisine, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Documentation and Performing Arts-
Folk, Tribal, Classical and Contemporary- all in one place.
 It showcased an amalgamation of ‘Ek Bharat, Srestha Bharat’, ‘Hamaari Sanskriti, Hamaari
Pahchaan’ and ‘Swachh India’.

8- Bob Dylan wins Nobel prize in literature


 The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to American singer-songwriter Bob
Dylan, for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song
tradition."
 Dylan is the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature since author Toni Morrison
in 1993.
 Dylan has previously won 11 Grammy Awards, as well as an Oscar for his song Things Have
Changed, used in the 2000 film Wonder Boys.

9- Harikatha: An ancient art of story-telling


 Why in news?
Harikatha, a traditional art story-telling was in news for its revival due to patronage from
various cultural organisation.
 Harikatha is an art form composed of storytelling, music, drama, dance, poetry, and
philosophy in South India especially in villages of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil
Nadu.

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 It had originated from Ajjada village of Srikakulam in Coastal Andhra. Its aim is to imbibe truth
and righteousness in the minds of people and sow the seeds of devotion in them.
 In South India, the art of story telling is referred to as Kathakalakshepa, which is a Sanskrit
term meaning, “Katha” - story, “kala” - time, and “kshepa” - throwing away.
 Such performances are held in temples, weddings and other religious or social functions.
 The storyteller is looked upon as a teacher who is a scholar in ancient texts in Sanskrit and
other vernaculars. He interprets the religious and mythological texts of the past to the present
and future generations.
 In the various States of India there are three traditions of storytelling.
1. The first is the Purana-Pravachana,which literally means, “expounding the Purana”. The
Purana-Pravachana was narrated by the Pauranika, who was an expert in the exposition. Such
expositions are solemn and serious.
2. The second tradition, Kathakalakshepa is unique because the story is carried through various
songs and compositions in different Indian languages like Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu,
Kannada and Hindi, which is a peculiarity in the Tamilnadu-style of story telling.
3. The third is a folk art, prevalent in Andhra Pradesh (a State in South India),
called Burrakatha. Burra is a drum that is shaped like a human skull (Burra means skull). In
this tradition, gypsies narrate stories beating this drum. As referred to earlier, in Tamilnadu the
folk story tradition is called Villu-pattu, viz., the bow-song.
 In Krta, Treta and Dvapara yugas (different eras in Hindu mythology), one had to
do yajnas(sacrificial rites), tapa (penance) and other severe austerities to obtain the grace of
God. But in the Kali yuga there is a very easy method to attain God or receive His blessings and
that is Harikeertan.
 Harikatha, Harikeertan and Kathakalakshepa are synonymous and mean, narrating stories
from epics and puranas, interspersed with musical compositions. Keertan is a very typical
usage of Maharashtra.

10- Kaawad bachana - An ancient art of story-telling


 The little-known art form from Rajasthan ‘Kaawad
bachana’ is an amazing blend of picture painting, singing
and narration of mystical tales.
Picture showing Kaawad
 What is the Kaawad?
The quaint Kaawad resembles a temple structure
carved out of wood with many apertures that open like the
doors of a temple and get neatly folded up within the
layers of one another.
The vintage shrine is painted in bright colours with
mythological characters that tell a story within the pictures
as each door is unfastened.
Atop this temple like structure is placed a painted face of either the Sun god (Surya) or the
patron (a landlord or rajah) which is really big when compared to the other pictures painted on
the Kaawad.
The doors are supposed to lead to chambers of the sanctum and there can be any number of
them from ten to 20.
The Kaawad can be anywhere around one foot to three feet and is carried around by mobile
narrators called Kaawadiya(the storyteller).
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Kaawadiyas narrate the story of Pandavas, Ramayana, the story of mother goddess,
story of Thakurji (Krishna), our local deity Bhomiyaji Maharaj and so on.

11- Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn conferred with First World Sanskrit Award
 The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has recognized Princess Maha Chakri
Sirindhorn of Thailand with the first ‘World Sanskrit Award’ for the year 2015.
 American linguist and Indologist Prof. George Cardona conferred with World Sanskrit Award for
the year 2016 for their exemplary contribution for the promotion of the Sanskrit language.
 About World Sanskrit Award
The award was instituted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The award was announced by the Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her
inaugural speech in the 16th World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok in June 2015.
It is presented to eminent Sanskrit scholars to recognize their outstanding contribution to
the study, research and teaching in Sanskrit language and literature.

12- October 2: International Day of Non-violence


 Every year October 2 is being observed as International Day of Non-violence throughout the
world on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
 This day is observed by all member countries of the United Nations to promote the principles
of non-violence through education and public awareness. In India, this day is referred as
Gandhi Jayanti.
 A resolution to establish the International Day of Non-violence was tabled in the United Nations
General Assembly (UNGA) in 2007 in a global effort to spread the message of non-violence.

13- Iranian film 'Daughter' bags Golden Peacock at IFFI 2016


 Iranian film Daughter, directed by Reza Mirkarimi, won the coveted Golden Peacock award at
the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
 The film also won the best actor [male] award for Farhad Aslani, who won the Silver Peacock
prize.
 Daughter is a family drama set in southern Iran. It brings out intergenerational conflict between
a strict father and a young daughter.

14- Portugal PM António Costa to be chief guest at 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
 Dr. António Costa, Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal has accepted an invitation from
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to be the Chief Guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
Convention to be held from 7 to 9 January, 2017 at Bengaluru in Karnataka.
 Mr. Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin, Vice President of the Republic of Suriname will be
the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held on 7 January, 2017
in Bengaluru.

15- 272 products registered as geographical indication so far


 According to the data of the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade
Marks, under the Commerce and Industry Ministry as many as 272 products such as Sangli
raisins, Banaras metal repousse craft and Beed custard apple have been registered as
geographical indications since September 2003, according to a government data.
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 The famous goods which carry this tag include Basmati rice, Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi
Fabric, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Thanjavur Paintings, Allahabad Surkha,
Farrukhabad Prints, Lucknow Zardozi and Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving.
 Under Geographical Indication (GI) law {Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration &
Protection) Act 1999}, a product is identified as a good or an item manufactured or produced in
a particular region. It enjoys the specific reputation which is attributable to that geographical
region.
 It is a legal right under which the GI holder can prohibit others from using the same name.
 The ministry stated that such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which
is essentially attributed to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or
country.
 Under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical
indications are covered as an element of intellectual property rights (IPRs).
 They are also covered under the WTOs Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPS) agreement.

16- Xuan Zang stayed in Vijayawada to study Buddhist scriptures


 Chinese Buddhist pilgrim and scholar Xuan Zang stayed a couple of years in Bezawada (the old
name of Vijayawada) to copy and study the Abhidhammapitakam, the last of the three pitakas
(Pali for baskets) constituting the Pali canon, the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism.
 The writings of Xuan Zang (also spelled Hsuan Tsang or Hiuen Tsang) about his travels in India
are detailed accounts of the life of the people in the 7th century.
 The Chinese government has used his work to establish that the relationship between India and
China is 1,400 years old.
 Xuan Zang travelled to Andhradesa to visit the Viharas at Amaravathi and Nagarjunakonda
around 640 C.E.

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Miscellaneous

1. India, Kazakhstan Joint Exercise PRABAL DOSTYK-16 begins


 To strengthen Indo-Kazakhstan relations, troops of Indian & Kazakhstan Army are presently
engaging in a joint exercise ‘PRABAL DOSTYK – 16.
 The exercise was conducted in Karaganda region of Kazakhstan.
 The primary aim of the fourteen day exercise will be to enhance interoperability while
undertaking Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations in rural & semi-urban
environment under the umbrella of United Nations.
 ‘Prabal Dostyk’ meaning ‘Robust Friendship’ will be a significant step towards fostering
military as well as diplomatic ties between both countries.

2. HAL successfully tests Light Utility Helicopter


 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, (HAL) conducted a technical flight of the new indigenous Light
Utility Helicopter (LUH) in Bengaluru.
 The helicopter is designed to carry out various utility roles such as reconnaissance, transport,
cargo load and rescue operations. The helicopter can operate from sea level to high altitudes of
Himalayas.
 Make-in-India import substitution: HAL LUH is recognized by the international industry as a
replacement to other light utility helicopters such as Agusta Westland AW109, Aerospatiale SA
360 Dauphin, Eurocopter EC135, Eurocopter AS355, Sikorsky S-70, Sikorsky UH-60 Black
Hawk and other models.

3. India and Russia joint military exercise INDRA 2016 begins


 The eighth edition of India-Russia Joint Military Exercise ‘INDRA-2016’ has begun in the
Ussiriysk District in Vladivostok, Russia.
 Main focus of this edition of the joint exercise is on Counter-Terrorism Operations in
semi mountainous and jungle terrain under United Nations Mandate.
 250 soldiers of the KUMAON Regiment are representing the Indian Contingent and the
Russian army is being represented by 250 soldiers from the 59th Motorized Infantry Brigade.

4. China, Russia conduct joint naval exercises Joint Sea-2016 in South China Sea
 China and Russia will hold naval drills in the South China Sea off southern China's Guangdong
province.
 The "Joint Sea-2016" exercise will feature surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-
borne helicopters and marines. The two countries will carry out defence, rescue and anti-
submarine operations, as well as "island seizing" .
 Last year, they held joint military drills in the Sea of Japan and the Mediterranean.

5. China tests stealth-defeating quantum radar


 China has tested its first quantum radar, which could detect objects — including stealth aircraft
— within the range of 100 km.
 The device employs single photon detection technology. Quantum radar is a device that
uses quantum entanglement photons to provide better detection capabilities than
conventional radar systems.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 70
 Earlier, China launched the world's first quantum communications satellite, which uses quantum
entanglement for cryptography.

6. Mariyappan Thangavelu wins India’s first Gold medal at 2016 Rio Paralympic Games
 Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Singh Bhati got India's first medals at Rio Paralympics
2016.
 Mariyappan Thangavelu became the first Indian to win a gold medal in the T 42 high jump
of 1.89 metre-jump event of the Paralympic games in Rio de Janiero.
 Bronze medal won in the same event by Varun Singh Bhati .
 The T42 is a disability classifications for sports events in which athletes have single above the
knee amputations or comparable disability.

7. 08 September: International Literacy Day


 2016 is 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day
 UNESCO is celebrating it under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”.
 At the same time the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) will be launched, a new and
ambitious initiative to make all major stakeholders pull together to promote literacy as a
foundation for lifelong learning.
 On this day also International Literacy Prizes are awarded to people with outstanding solutions
that can drive literacy towards achieving the 2030 Education Agenda. This year the focus is
on innovation. Literacy is a part of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure
inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

8. Indian film Thithi wins best film award at BRICS Film Festival
 National Award for the best Kannada film,bagged the best film award at the first BRICS Film
Festival,
 Organised as part of the special events planned in run-up to the BRICS summit to be held in
India, festival screened movies from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
 Written by Ere Gowda and co-written by Raam, the movie is a dramatic comedy about how
three generations of sons react to the death of the oldest in their clan, a man named Century
Gowda: a locally renowned, highly cantankerous 101-year-old man.
 The next edition of the BRICS Film Festival will take place in Chengdu, China

9. Yudh Abhyas 2016 begins in Uttarakhand


 Indo-US defence cooperation, a 12th edition of joint military training exercise, 'Yudh
Abhyas 2016' conducted in Chaubattia, Uttarakhand.
 The exercise is aimed at simulating a scenario where both nations were working together to
counter insurgency and terrorism in mountainous terrain under UN charter.

10. Devendra Jhajharia wins gold medal in javelin throw at 2016 Rio Paralympics
 Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia became the first Indian to clinch two gold medals at the
Paralympics, previous gold in the 2004 Athens Games with throw of 62.15mts, bettered his
own world record to finish on top in the men’s F46 event in Rio de Janeiro 2016, with a throw
of 63.97 metres.
 Jhajharia was the flag-bearer for the Indian Paralympic contingent in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 71
11. Deepa Malik first Indian woman to win Paralympics medal
 Deepa Malik, first woman from the country to win a medal at the Paralympics.
 Bagged a silver medal in the shotput F-53 event with a throw of 4.61m was the best in her six
attempts. With the win, she confirmed India’s third medal from the Rio Paralympics.

12. Indian Coast Guard commissions offshore patrolling vessel Sarathi


 The offshore patrolling (OPV) vessel, Sarathi, made at Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL), deployed for
surveillance and to safeguard the maritime interests of the country.
 The 105-metre Sarathi is designed to carry one twin-engine light helicopter and five high
speed boats. It is equipped with integrated bridge system, integrated machinery control
system, power management system, high power external fire fighting system, and
advanced electronic warfare systems.
 Achieved a speed of over 25 knots as against the contractual speed of 23 knots.

13. Long range surface-to-air Barak-8 missile successfully test fired


 The Indian Navy successfully conducted the maiden firing of its newly developed Long Range
nearly 70 KM range Barak 8 Surface-to-Air Missile (LR SAM), enhancing its anti-air warfare
capability.
 The LR-SAM Jointly developed by India and Israel and has been manufactured by M/s
Bharat Dynamics Limited.
 Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert
Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. Israel made MF-STAR
radar system is capable of simultaneously tracking hundreds of airborne targets to a range of
more than 250 KM.
 DRDL, Hyderabad, a DRDO Lab, has jointly developed this missile in collaboration with Israel
Aerospace Industries.

14. Syrian aid group White Helmets wins Right Livelihood Award
 The White Helmets, a Syrian civil organisation of emergency responders in rebel-held areas,
won the Right Livelihood Award, which is also known as ‘alternative Nobel’ prize,.
 Also known as the Syria Civil Defence, the group was honoured “for their outstanding
bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians from the destruction of
the Syrian civil war.
 Russian activist Svetlana Gannushkina, who has championed the rights of refugees for
decades, Egypt’s feminist leader Mozn Hassan, and Cumhuriyet , a leading independent
newspaper in Turkey, also shared the prize with the White Helmets.
 The prize was established in 1980 by German-Swedish philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull. An
international jury decides the awards in such fields as environmental protection, human rights,
sustainable development, health, education, and peace.

15. 21 September: International Day of Peace


 International Day of Peace was observed across the world on 21 September 2016.
 The 2016 theme for the day is The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for
Peace.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 72
 The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General
Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, designated the Day as a period of non-violence and
cease-fire.
 To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell was rung at UN Headquarters in New
York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and
was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as "a reminder of the human cost of
war"; the inscription on its side reads, "Long live absolute world peace".

16. 15 September: International Democracy Day


 Observed every year to raise public awareness about the democratic system.
 It focuses on essential elements of democracy i.e. values of freedom, respect for human rights
and principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage.
 2016 Theme: “Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development“.
 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in November 2007 had decided to observe
‘International Democracy Day’ every year on September 15.
 It was observed for first time in 2008. In this regard a resolution was passed by UNGA in 2007
to strengthen national programmes devoted to the promotion and consolidation of democracy.

17. First Russia-Pakistan military exercise Druzhba-2016(‘Friendship—2016’) begins


 The first Druzhba-2016 ("Friendship-2016") Russian-Pakistani joint military exercise kicked off
in Pakistan.
 The drills took place at the Army High Altitude School in northern Pakistan's Rattu and
at a special forces training center in Cherat.

18. Indian Air Force successfully test fires long range air-to-air MICA missile
 Tiger', the first squadron of Indian Air Force (IAF), fired the recently acquired long range
'Beyond Visual Range' (BVR) air-to-air MICA missile on a manoeuvring target from Mirage-
2000 Upgrade aircraft.With the success of this mission, the IAF has become one of the few Air
Forces in the world with the capability of such long range BVR air-to-air missile.
 MICA (Missile d'Interception, de Combat et d'Autodéfense).

19. India, France ink deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets


 The deal includes aircraft in fly-away condition, weapons, simulators, spares, maintenance, and
Performance Based Logistics support for five years, for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets,
the first fighter aircraft deal since the purchase of Sukhois from Russia in the late 90’s.
 The Rafale is a twin-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft. According to Dassault, it is capable of
carrying out all combat missions: air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes,
reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
 The weapons package includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile with
range of over 150 km and Scalp long range air to ground missiles.

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20. India, Russia agree to double the range of BrahMos Missile
 India and Russia have agreed to double the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile
from 290 km to over 600 km.
 India’s recent accession to MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), allowed Russia to
provide the critical systems and technology to extend the range of the missile beyond 300km.
 What are features of BrahMos Missile?
 BrahMos is one of its kind supersonic cruise missile.Named from the names of two rivers,
India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River. It operates on fire and forget principle
and is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land
targets.
 It is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kilogram and has top supersonic speed of Mach 3
(that is, three times the speed of sound).
 What is Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?
 MTCR was established by G-7 countries in 1987. It is only an informal political understanding
and not an official treaty with legally binding obligations. The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the
proliferation of missiles, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), complete rocket systems and
related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload for at least
300 kms, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction
(WMDs).

21. Paul Beatty wins 2016 Man Booker Prize


 Paul Beatty has become the first American writer to win the Man Booker prize, for a caustic
satire on US racial politics, “The Sellout”.

22. India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise Mitra Shakti 2016 begins
 The Indo-Sri Lankan military exercise ‘MITRA SHAKTI 2016' being conducted at Sinha
Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka.
 The main focus of this edition of the joint exercise is to enhance inter-operability while carrying
out Counter Insurgency
(CI)/Counter Terrorism (C
T) operations under the
United Nations Mandate.
 The previous exercise was
successfully conducted in
2015 at Pune
in India. "Mitra Shakti" is
one of the major bilateral
defence cooperation
initiatives
between India and Sri
Lanka since 2013.

23. October 31: Rashtriya


Ekta Diwas
 National Unity Day
(Rashtriya Ekta Diwas)
was observed across India

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 74
on 31 October 2015 to commemorate the 140th birthday of Independent India’s first Deputy
Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
 In 2014, 31 October declared as National Unity Day
 He is known as the Iron Man of India or Bismarck of India. He is also remembered as the
Patron Saint of India’s civil servants for establishing modern All-India services.

24. 29 September: World Maritime Day


 The theme for World Maritime Day 2016 is "Shipping: indispensable to the world".
 Aim was to highlight the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine
environment.
 The theme was chosen to focus on the critical link between shipping and global society and to
raise awareness of the relevance of the role of IMO as the global regulatory body for
international shipping.
 The World Maritime Day marks the date on which convention of the IMO (a specialized agency
of the United Nations) was adopted in 1958. It was first observed in 1978, The IMO’s original
name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) but it was
changed to IMO in 1982, Headquarter at London.

25. Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar win 2016 Sakharov Human Right Prize
 Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar have been selected for European Union’s
prestigious Sakharov Prize for Human Rights for year 2016.
 Both of them were among thousands of Yazidi girls and women who were abducted by Islamic
State (IS) militants in Iraq and forced into sexual slavery in 2014.Now they campaign for the
Yazidi community.
 The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is annual award given by the European
Parliament. It is bestowed on individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the
defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
 It is awarded annually on or around December 10 (also celebrated as Human Rights Day), day
on which UN General Assembly ratified Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948

26. October 24: United Nations Day


 The United Nations Day is being observed on October 24. This day is part of United Nations
Week, which runs from 20 to 26 October.
 The day marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter (the founding document
of UNO) in 1945. It entered into force on 24 October 1945 after it was ratified by the original five
permanent members of the Security Council—China, France, Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics (now Russia), United Kingdom, and United States and majority of the other
signatories.
 2016 year’s UN Day was used to highlight concrete actions people can take to help achieve the
Sustainable Development Goals.

27. India signs pact with Russia to lease second nuclear submarine
 Russia has agreed to lease a second multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India in
a deal. The deal was struck during the sidelines of the BRICS meet in Goa, 2016 on the
sidelines of 8th BRICS Summit.
 The Akula 2 class submarine is expected to arrive in Indian waters in 2020-21.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 75
 The Indian Navy already operates an Akula 2 class nuclear submarine, INS Chakra (formerly
known as K-152 Nerpa) , which was leased by Russia for 10 years and commissioned on April
4, 2012 .
 Akula-class submarines are considered one of the most silent, capable of sailing at speeds up
to 35 knots, nuclear powered but are armed with conventional land attack missiles.
 INS Arihant in August 2016, India had quietly inducted its first indigenously built nuclear
ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Arihant into service completing its nuclear triad.
 The second indigenous nuclear submarine of the same class, INS Aridhaman, will be
commissioned in 2018.

28. India, China conduct second Joint tactical Exercise in Ladakh


 India and China have conducted second joint military exercise “Sino India Cooperation 2016”
in Ladakh region along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Jammu and Kashmir. The exercise
compliments Hand in Hand series of India-China joint military exercises conducted border
troops in Sikkim that aims to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquility along
border areas of both countries. The first exercise was conducted in the Chushul-Moldo area.
 The theme of the joint exercise was based on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR).
 The first Joint Exercise under BDCA, 2013 was held in February 2016 in the area of Border
Personnel.

29. Sir David Cox honoured with first International Prize in Statistics
 British statistician Sir David Cox (92) was awarded inaugural recipient of the International
Prize in Statistics, in recognition of Survival Analysis Model (or Cox Model) Applied in
Medicine, Science, and Engineering.
 He is known for developing the proportional hazards model i.e. Cox Model in 1992. His model is
widely used in analysis of survival data.
 The prestigious award given by the International Prize in Statistics Foundation. The Prize aims
at promoting understanding of the growing importance and diverse ways statistics, probability
and data analysis.

30. Saina Nehwal appointed member of IOC’s Athletes’ Commission


 Star shuttler Saina Nehwal has been appointed as a member of the International Olympic
Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission.
 The IOC Athletes’ Commission is a body of sportspersons maintained by the IOC for the
purpose of representing athletes.
 It was established in 1981 and its creation was codified by the IOC in Rule 21 of the Olympic
Charter.
 The athletes commission works as a consultative body and act as link between active
athletes and the IOC. It makes recommendations to the IOC’s executive bodies. It meets once
or twice a year and also organises an Athletes’ Forum once every two years.

31. Antonio Guterres elected as new Secretary-General of UN


 Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has been officially appointed as the
next UN secretary-general becoming the ninth U.N. chief in the body's 71-year history.

32. India-Indonesia bilateral maritime exercise commences at Belawan, Indonesia

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 76
 The 28th India and Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) and Second Bilateral Maritime
Exercise have commenced at Belawan, Indonesia in the Andaman Sea.
 Under the broad ambit of this strategic partnership, the two navies have been carrying out
Coordinated Patrolling (CORPAT) along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)
twice a year since 2002, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe
and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
 The Bilateral Maritime Exercise and the CORPAT would see participation by one warship and
one Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both sides.

33. 2016 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
 Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize
for efforts to end decades of war with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
guerrillas to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.

34. Union Government launches Indian Bridge Management System


 Indian Bridge Management System : It is a major step towards ensuring Safety of Bridges
 Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping launched the Indian Bridge Management
System (IBMS) in. IBMS is being developed to create an inventory of all bridges in the
country and rate their structural condition so that timely repair and rehabilitation work
can be carried out based on the criticality of the structure.
 IBMS aims to fill this gap by preparing a data base of all bridges in the country and
detailing their structural condition so that timely action can be taken to repair the structures
or build new ones in their place.
 IBMS is the largest platform in the world owned by a single owner, with database that could
exceed 1,50,000 bridge structures. Each bridge is assigned a National Identity
Number, Bridge Location Number, Bridge Classification Number, Structural Rating
Number. Socio-Economic Bridge Rating Number which will decide the importance of the
structure in relation to its contribution to daily socio-economic activity of the area in its vicinity.
 The use of waste material and locally available raw material for construction so that costs can
be brought down.

35. Asia’s first cycle highway inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh


 Asia’s first and longest cycle highway was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh.
 The 207-km-long cycle highway runs between Etawah and Agra.
 The track begins from the lion safari in Etawah.
 It criss-crosses the natural beauty of the Chambal and Yamuna rivers On its way it has tourist
destinations like Naugava ka Quila, Raja Bhoj ki Haveli, and Bateshwarnath Temple.

36. Malini Subramaniam honoured with International Press Freedom Award


 Indian journalist Malini Subramaniam has been conferred with the International Press Freedom
Award for her reporting from the Naxal-infested Bastar area, one of the four journalists
felicitated by the annual award for their commitment to a free press. Others are Oscar Martinez
(El Salvador), Can Dundar (Turkey) and Abou Zeid (Egypt).
 International Press Freedom Award (IPFA) honors journalists or their publications around the
world for showing courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats or
imprisonment.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 77
 The award was established in 1991 and is administered by the Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ), an independent NGO based in New York, US.

37. Radhika Menon becomes first woman to receive IMO’s Exceptional Bravery award at Sea
 Captain Radhika Menon was awarded with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) award
for Exceptional Bravery at Sea, for saving lives of seven fishermen from sinking fishing boat in
Bay of Bengal.
 She became the first woman in the world to receive the Award.
 B M Das operator and diver of a rescue helicopter at Indian Coast Guard air station Daman
was also presented with this award, for rescuing all 14 crew members of the merchant ship
Coastal Pride, which capsized and eventually sank.
 In 2011, Radhika Menon had made history by becaming the first woman to become captain of
Indian Merchant Navy.
 International Maritime Organisation (IMO): It UN’s specialised agency responsible for the safety
and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships

38. IAF’s Upgraded Jaguar DARIN III aircraft receives IOC


 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has upgraded 3 DARIN I Standard Jaguars to DARIN III
Standard which has received Initial Operation Clearance (IOC).
 The aircraft is now equipped with world class avionics system. The upgraded aircraft
incorporates new state-of-the-art
avionics architecture including the
Open System Architecture Mission
Computer (OSAMC), Fire Control
Radar. It also has Solid State Digital
Video Recording System (SSDVRS),
Autopilot with Alt Select & HNAV and
Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF)
and more.
 DARIN I Standard Jaguar is an
Anglo-French jet attack aircraft. It
was originally used by the French Air
Force and British Royal Air Force in
the close air support and nuclear
strike role. It is still in service with the
Indian Air Force and its fleet is
based at the Ambala air force station.

39. Nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile successfully test-fired


The indigenously
built nuclear
capable Agni-I
ballistic missile was
successfully test-
fired from a mobile
launcher from the
launch pad-4 of the

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 78
Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island).
Agni-I missile is intermediate range nuclear capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
It weighs 12 tonnes and is 15-metre-long. It is designed to carry a payload of more than one
tonne. It can hit a target 700 km away. It can be fired from road and rail mobile launchers

40. Twin trial of Prithvi-II missile successfully conducted


 India test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile twice in quick
succession as part of a user trial by the army from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha.
 In salvo mode, the two surface-to-surface missiles which have a strike range of 350 km and are
capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000kg of warheads were successfully test-fired in quick
succession from mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at
around 9.35 am, defence sources said.
 Inducted into Indian armed forces in 2003, the nine-metre-tall, single-stage liquid-fuelled Prithvi-
II is the first missile to be developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile
Development Programme (IGMDP), defence sources said.

41. Indian Navy inducts 4 types of indigenously developed sonars


 The systems have been designed and developed by NPOL Naval Physical & Oceanographic
Laboratory (NPOL), a Kochi based laboratory of DRDO.
 These 4 types of sonars are:
 Abhay: It is an advanced hull mounted active-cum-passive integrated sonar system. It has been
designed for the smaller platforms such as shallow water crafts and coastal surveillance/patrol
vessels. It is capable of detecting, classifying, localizing and tracking sub-surface and surface
targets in both its active and passive modes of operation.
 Humsa UG: It has been designed for upgrading the existing Humsa sonar system for
intensifying the command over the high seas.
 AIDSS: It stands for Advanced Indigenous Distress sonar system for submarines. It is distress
sonar is an Emergency Sound Signaling Device. It is used to indicate that a submarine is in
distress and enable quick rescue and salvage. It is also provided with a transponder capability.
 NACS: It stands for Near-field Acoustic Characterisation System. It determines the in-situ
performance of SONAR systems used to find the frequency-dependent 3-D transmission and
reception characteristics of SONAR. It is also used to measure magnitude and phase
characteristics of SONAR transmission and reception electronics and the transducers.

42. India’s combat-capable Rustom-II drone successfully completes maiden test flight
 India’s indigenously developed long-endurance combat-capable drone, Rustom-II (TAPAS
201) successfully completed its maiden-flight.
 The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka,
which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft.
 RUSTOM–II is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The UAV weighs two
tonnes. It has an endurance of 24 hours. It is multi-mission UAV which can conduct Intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the armed forces.
 It can also be used as an unmanned armed combat. It is capable to carry different combinations
of payloads like Medium Range Electro Optic (MREO), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and
Long Range Electro Optic (LREO). It can also carry Electronic Intelligence (ELINT),

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Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) to perform
missions during day and night.
 It has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the
Bangalore-based lab of DRDO, HAL and BEL are the production partners.

43. Padmini Rout wins 2016 National Women Premier Chess Championship
 Master Padmini Rout played out a hard fought draw with her PSPB teammate Eesha
Karavade that helped her to secure a hat-trick of title wins in the National Women Premier
Chess Championship.

44. India-Nepal Joint Training Exercise Surya Kiran culminates


 Indo-Nepal Joint Military Training was conducted at Army Battle School (NABS), Saljhandi,
Nepal.
 Surya Kiran-X, which was the tenth such Indo-Nepal joint training exercise between the two
nations, provided an ideal platform for troops of the two countries to share their experiences on
Counter Terrorists Operations and Disaster Management.
 Other activities conducted during training included basic familiarization with each other’s
weapons & equipment and concepts while operating in Counter Terrorism environment.

45. India-Bangladesh joint military exercise SAMPRITI-2016 begins


 The Sixth edition of India-Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise “SAMPRITI-2016” commenced at
Bangabandhu Senanibas, Tangail, Dhaka (Bangladesh’s Capital).
 Main focus is on Counter-Terrorism Operations in mountainous and jungle terrain under the
United Nations Mandate.
 The previous joint exercise with the Bangladesh Army was conducted successfully in the year
2015 at Binnaguri, West Bengal in India.

46. India completes nuclear triad by commissioning INS Arihant


 India becomes sixth country to have a nuclear triad i.e. capable of delivering nuclear
weapons by aircraft, ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles. Other countries
having nuclear triad are Russia, United States, United Kingdom, France and China.
 It belongs to class referred to as Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN).
 Its design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine. It was built with Russia’s help
under Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project started in the 1980s. It weighs 6000 tonnes
and is 112 metre long. It is powered by 83 MW pressurised light water nuclear reactor with
enriched uranium fuel. It will be armed with the K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750
km.
 SSBNs provide a nation with an assured second strike capability i.e. capability to strike back
after being hit by nuclear weapons first.
 In case of India, second strike capability is particularly important as it had committed to a
‘No-First-Use’ policy as part of its nuclear doctrine.

47. 16 October: World Food Day


 The World Food Day is observed globally on 16 October to mark foundation of Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945.
 Significance of Day: It aims to raise public awareness about hunger challenges and
encourage people around the world to take action in the fight against hunger.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 80
 2016 Theme: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”.

 Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is an agency of the United Nations that leads
international efforts to defeat hunger. Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social
Council (UNESC). It is neutral forum serving both developed and developing countries where all
nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.
 Established16 October 1945. Headquarters: Rome, Italy.

48. Russia, India ink defence deal on S-400 Air Defence Systems
 Russia and India sign an agreement to deliver advanced S-400 Triumf’ air defence systems.
Surface-to-air missile systems to New Delhi.
 The agreement signed at an India-Russia summit taken place in BRICS summit in Goa.
 An S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile system is one of the most advanced long-
range defence systems in the world. It is referred to as SA-21 Growler by NATO. It is capable
of firing three types of missiles. Thus, it creates a layered defence, and simultaneously
engaging 36 targets. It has capability to destroy incoming all airborne targets at ranges of
up to 400 km. With it, India can destroy Pakistani aircrafts even when they are in their
airspace.

49. 15 October: International Day of Rural Women


 The International Day of Rural Women is observed to recognize the critical role and
contribution of rural women, including indigenous women in enhancing rural and agricultural
development, eradicating rural poverty and improving food security.
 2016 Theme: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”.
 It tries to bring focus on farmers, pastoralists and fishers who are standing on the frontlines of
food insecurity due to climate changed due to temperatures rise. The United Nations also
calls for empowering rural women as a pre-requisite for fulfilling the vision of the
Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) which aims at ending poverty and hunger, achieve
food security and empower all women and girls.
 The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Sep to Nov 2016) Page 81
CURRENT AFFAIRS PRELIMS QUICK REVISION’ 2017

1. Social Issues
2. Polity Issues
3. Government Schemes
4. Economy Issues
5. International Relations
6. Summits
7. Science
8. Environment
9. Defence
10. Culture
11. Miscellaneous

Quick Revision Prelims 2017

Part 1 - June, July & August 2016

Part 2 – September, October & November 2016

Part 3 – December 2016, January & February 2017

Part 4 – March, April & May 2017 (would be available by 25th May 2017)

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 1
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Saanjhi Saanjh
 Under aegis of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
 National Newspaper dedicated to Senior Citizen, 'Saanjhi Saanjh'.
 This newspaper carries important and useful news pertaining to elderly persons
besides inspirational stories. It serves as a bridge between old and new generations.
 This bilingual newspaper has got 8 pages which will be published from Delhi by
Harikrit publishers.

2. Swasthya Raksha Programme


 Programme launched by the AYUSH Ministry to promote health and health
education in villages
 Initiated through Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS),
Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM), Central Council for
Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) and Central Council for Research in Siddha
(CCRS) in selected districts/ villages.
 Aims:
 Organize Swasthya Parikshan Camps, Swasthya Rakshan OPDs and Health and
Hygiene awareness programme
 Create awareness about cleanliness of domestic surroundings and environment.
 Provide medical aid and incidental support in the adopted villages and colonies.
 Document demographic information, hygiene conditions, food habits, seasons,
lifestyle etc., incidence and prevalence of disease and their relation to the incidence
of disease.
 Assess health status and propagation of Ayurvedic concept of pathya-apathya and
extension of health care services.

3. ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign


 The ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign aims to mobilise 100 million youth and
children for 100 million underprivileged children across the world, to end child
labour, child slavery, violence against children and promote the right of every child to
be safe, free, and educated, over the next 5 years.
 The campaign was conceptualized by Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi
and was organized by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.

4. Indian Institute of Skills at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.


 It is conceptualised by PM Modi.
 The institute opened by the Skill Development Ministry in partnership with the
Institute of Technical Education, Singapore. The Union ministry plans to set up
six such institutes across the country.
 Kaushal Pradarshani (Skill Exhibition) for the youth showcasing state-of-the-art
vocational training practices of various sectors.
 MSDE plans to open one Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) in each
district of the country to create career opportunities for the youth.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 2
5. NITI Aayog launches the National Index for Performance on Health Outcomes
 The index is launched along with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
 This initiative (launch of ‘Performance on Health Outcomes’ index) is envisioned to
bring about the improvements in the social sector outcomes and propel action in the
states to improve health outcomes and improve data collection systems
 It captures the annual incremental improvements by states rather than focus on
historical achievements.

6. Swachh Swasth Sarvatra launched


 An inter-ministerial joint initiative between the Ministry of Drinking Water and
Sanitation and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
 The objective of the initiative aimed at strengthening health centres in open
defecation-free blocks.
 It is build on achievements of two complementary programmes – Swachh Bharat
Mission (SBM) and Kayakalp – of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and
Ministry of Health and family welfare, respectively. Under this initiative:
o Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has declared over 700 blocks as Open
Defecation Free (ODF). Community Health Centres (CHCs) in ODF blocks of
the country will be allocated Rs 10 lakhs under National Health Mission (NHM) to
focus on sanitation and hygiene.
o Under Kayakalp, one Primary Health Centre (PHCs) in each district is awarded
for meeting quality standards including sanitation and hygiene.
 Swasth Bacche Swasth Bharat’, between Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
 Swachh Bharat focusses on mindset and behaviour change campaign. That is an
educated children will be the best agents to spread the message of sanitation to their
parents.

7. Delhi declared free of bird flu


 The Capital has been declared free from
H5N8 avian influenza. Swine flu:
 Other strains of bird flu are: H5N1, H7N9  H1N1 type A influenza
 There is no commercially available vaccine  People get the disease from other
for humans against bird flu strains. people, not from pigs.
 Virus repositories are birds.  Virus came from pigs

8. Women Entrepreneur Council


 The Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed the setting up of a
Women's Entrepreneurship Council for taking up with the government the
problems faced by businesswomen.
 The strong advisory council modelled on the lines of chambers of commerce,
will seek to resolve issues through policy changes.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 3
 The council will emerge from the Ministry's online platform called 'E-Mahila Haat'
launched to promote women entrepreneurship.
 Women will be voted on the website and the districts or states with highest votes will
form the council.

9. Measles-rubella vaccine
 Health Ministry launches Measles Rubella (MR) a single vaccine campaign for
dual protection against measles and rubella as part of Universal Immunization
Programme
 All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years will be given a single
shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination irrespective of their previous
measles/rubella vaccination or disease status.
 MR vaccine will be provided free- of- cost across the states at schools, health
facilities and outreach session sites.
 After the completion of the campaign, MR vaccine will be introduced in routine
immunization and will replace measles vaccine, given at 9-12 months and 16-24
months of age of child.
10. World’s first gender literature fest in Patna
 The world’s first ‘Gender Literature Festival’ will be held in Patna in the second week
of April.
 The festival will be organised by Gender Resource Centre of Bihar’s Women
Development Corporation.
 The objective of this initiative is to create a platform, to exchange ideas, and to share
and learn experiences of renowned people in the field of gender [-based or focussed]
literature.

11. Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations


 India is a key member of the newly formed
CEPI is a new alliance to finance
Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
and coordinate the development
(CEPI).
of new vaccines to prevent and
 Headquarter: Norwegian Institute for Public Health,
contain infectious disease
in Oslo.
 The coalition will not focus on diseases that
epidemics.
already have sufficient attention, but will be guided by WHO’s R&D blueprint
(2016), which lists eleven illnesses to focus on, including Chikungunya, Middle
East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever.

12. UNESCO report on Universal Educational Goals in India


 Global Education Monitoring Report, 2016, UNESCO has claimed that India will
be half a century late in achieving its universal education goals in relation to
the 2030 deadline for achieving sustainable development goals.
 India will achieve universal primary education by 2050, universal lower secondary
education (Grades VI - VIII in case of India) by 2060 and universal upper
secondary education (Grades IX-XII in case of India) by 2085.
 Ministry of Human Resource Development not involved in this exercise.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 4
13. Delhi High Court reverses ban on fixed dose combination drugs
 Combination drugs or fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs are those with two or
more active pharmaceutical ingredients combined in a fixed dose to form a single
drug.
 Eg: A combination of nimesulide and paracetamol that is prescribed as an anti-
pyretic (used to prevent or reduce fever)
 Issue:
 Health Ministry banned 344 such combination drugs, citing health risks and
dangerous side-effects and that many of these combinations do not have any
advantage over the individual drugs.
 Kokate Committee — set up to examine these drugs — which recommended
the ban.
 Judgement:
 The court found that the government failed to consult statutory authorities like the
Drug Testing Advisory Board (highest statutory decision-making body under the
Union Health ministry on technical matters. It is constituted as per the Drugs and
Cosmetics Act, 1940) and the Drugs Consultative Committee for the ban.
 The court also recorded that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation was
not a statutory authority.

14. 7th World Ayurveda Congress held in Kolkata


 The event was organized by the World Ayurveda Foundation with support of
Ministry of AYUSH, and the State government of West Bengal.
 AROGYA Expo is also organised to showcase the best that Ayurveda sector has to
offer in products and services to the society.
 Focus – ‘Strengthening the Ayurveda Ecosystem.
 A Buyer Seller Meet in which 50 foreign buyers have been invited at the behest of
PHARMEXCIL and Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

15. Stanpan Suraksha app launched to promote breastfeeding


 App developed for promoting breastfeeding and baby food promotion reporting
mechanism.
 The mobile application has been developed by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network
of India (BPNI).
 Breastfeeding practices are undermining in the country, out of 79% institutional
deliveries only 45% given breastmilk in the first hour. To address this problem Union
Government had launched MAA (Mothers Absolute Affection) programme. It aims
to enhance optimal breastfeeding practices.

16. Researchers develop first Chikungunya Vaccine


 Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that causes a disease. It is transmitted by
Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 5
 US Researchers have developed the first vaccine for chikungunya fever made
from an insect-specific EILAT virus that doesn't have any effect on people, making
the vaccine safe and effective.
 The Eilat/Chikungunya vaccine was structurally identical to natural chikungunya
virus. The difference is that the hybrid virus replicates very well in mosquito cells, it
cannot replicate in mammals.

17. India suffers from huge gender pay gap: ILO Report
 International Labour Organisation released Global Wage Report 2016-17 had
found that India suffers from huge gender pay gap.
 It shows that India has among the worst levels of gender wage disparity (men
earning more than women in similar jobs) with the gap exceeding 30%.
 Singapore has among the lowest gender wage disparity at 3%.Among major
economies, South Korea only fared worse than India, with a gap of 37%.
18. December 10: Human Rights Day
 Celebrated every year by the United Nations General Assembly, since 1950.
 On this day United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights.

19. Government to launch prevention, screening and control programme for 5 non-
communicable diseases
 Launched by Ministry Of Health
 Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) are Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) such
as heart attacks and stroke, Diabetes, Chronic Respiratory Diseases (Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases and Asthma) and Cancer.
 Account for over 60% of all mortality in India.
 As part of the National Health Mission, the five NCDS include hypertension,
diabetes, and cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix.
 Training to ASHAs and ANM workers regarding these NCDs and collecting
information on major risk factors involved, so that counselling can be done before
onset of diseases.

20. Union Government releases National Action Plan for Children, 2016
 National Action Plan for Children, 2016 released by Ministry of Women and Child
Development.
 The Action Plan has four key priority areas; survival, health and nutrition;
education and development; protection and participation.
 The NPAC defines objectives and indicators for measuring progress under the key
priority areas and also identifies key stakeholders for the implementation of different
strategies.
 The plan focuses on new and emerging concerns for children such as online child
abuse, children affected by natural and man-made disasters and climate change, etc.
 The strategies and action points largely draw upon the existing programmes of
various Ministries. However, for new and emerging issues related to children; it
suggests formulation of new programmes as required.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 6
 The plan takes into account the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and
provides a roadmap towards achieving them.
The National Policy for Children (2013) provides for formation of a National Co-
ordination and Action Group (NCAG) under the Ministry of Women and Child
Development to coordinate and implement the plan and monitor the progress with other
Ministries concerned as its members.

21. Genetically Modified mosquito trials launched to control dengue, chikungunya and
zika
 To check the efficiency of genetically modified mosquitoes in suppressing wild
female Aedes aegypti mosquito an outdoor caged trial launched in Dawalwadi,
Badnapur, in Maharashtra’s Jalna district.
 Aedes aegypti transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
 The trials are conducted by Oxitec and use the Release of Insects carrying
Dominant Lethal genes (RIDL) technology.
 Oxitec’s technology uses GM male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry a
dominant lethal gene. This gene is passed on to offspring after mating of male GM
mosquitoes with wild female mosquitoes.
 The lethal gene in the offspring kills the larvae before they reach adulthood.
 Since male mosquitoes do not bite humans, the release of these GM mosquitoes will
not increase the risk of dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
 Oxitec’s mosquitoes were first released in Brazil were they have successfully
reduced the local populations of mosquitoes by more than 90%, whereas insecticides
only affect 30%.
 Advantages: most eco-friendly, as it only targets a specific mosquito strain and does
not produce any toxic compounds. It has 99% efficiency to kill offspring.

22. Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign


 The Union Government has launched “Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign
(SLAC)” on the occasion of Anti-Leprosy Day (observed on the last Sunday of
January).
 The day is observed every year on January 30 in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi
to remember his selfless efforts and care for the people affected with Leprosy.
 Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and it
affects the skin and peripheral nerves. The mode of transmission of leprosy is still not
known.
 Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign’s thrust is to promote community participation
in diagnosis and treatment of leprosy in its early stages and to spread awareness
about the disease to help in early diagnosis and treatment.

23. Government clarifies Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has no provision for cash transfer
component
 The scheme has no provision for individual CASH TRANSFER COMPONENT by
Ministry of women & child development.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 7
 The scheme focuses on challenging mindsets and deep rooted patriarchy in the
societal system, strict enforcement of PC&PNDT Act, advancing education of the girl
child: focus is on issues of women empowerment on a life cycle continuum.
 It is not a DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) scheme and any cash incentive under this is
a fraud.

24. Anushka Sharma and Shilpa Shetty appointed as ambassador of Swachh Bharat
campaign
 They will feature in TV and radio campaigns aimed at discouraging people from littering
on roads.
 Anushka will highlight the women-centric aspects of open defecation in rural and semi-
rural area.

25. Mahila Shakti Kendra will be set-up at village level: Budget


 Mahila Shakti Kendra will be set-up at village level with an allocation of Rs. 500
crores in 14 lakh ICDS Anganwadi Centres.
 This will provide one stop convergent support services for empowering rural
women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health
and nutrition.
 Financial assistance of Rs. 6,000 to each pregnant woman will be transferred directly
to the bank accounts who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.

26. Neeti Mohan collaborates with UN for women empowerment


 Indian singer Neeti Mohan's composition "Udne de" is a tribute to all women and in
support of gender equality.
 It will be part of an album for United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund project titled
'Music To Inspire - Artists United Against Human Trafficking".
 United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund is for Victims of Trafficking in Persons,
managed by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).
 This is a collective fight by the music community to make a social statement and
end human trafficking

27. HRD ministry to set up NTA to conduct exams for higher, secondary education
 HRD Ministry will soon set up a department – National Testing Agency (NTA) to
conduct examinations for higher and secondary education.
 NTA will be the single authority that will conduct entrance tests for all higher
institutions like JEE, NEET, NET and other prestigious exams.
 NTA will free CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from conducting various exams and
enable them to focus on their core areas and work on improving the quality of
education. Its main purpose is to bring reforms in the education system.
 CBSE conveyed to the HRD Ministry that conducting exams for various government
bodies puts a lot of burden on them and stretches its resources.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 8
28. February 10: National Deworming Day
 India is observing its third National Deworming Day in 2017.
 Aims to combat parasitic worm infections among preschool and school kids i.e. 1-19
year age children across India.
 Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) interfere with nutrients uptake in children; can lead
to anaemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development.
 The programme is being implemented through the combined efforts of Department
of School Education and Literacy under Ministry of Human Resource and
Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Drinking
Water and Sanitation.
 During NDD single dose of Albendazole is administered to children through the
platforms of schools and aanganwadi centers.

29. Government launches SAATHIYA Resource Kit and SAATHIYA SALAH mobile app
for adolescents
 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched ‘SAATHIYA’ Resource Kit and
‘SAATHIYA SALAH’ Mobile App for Adolescents as part of the Rashtriya Kishor
Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program.
 Aim of the programme is to introduction of the Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who act
as a catalyst for generating demand for the adolescent health services and
imparting age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer
groups.
 The Resource Kit has been developed by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
and Population Foundation of India (PFI).
 The kit comprises i) Activity Book, ii) Bhranti-Kranti Game iii) Question-Answer Book
and iv) Peer Educator Diary.
 The mobile app ‘Saathiya Salah’ acts as cost-effective information platform for the
adolescents. It also has feature of toll-free Saathiya Helpline which will act as an e-
counselor.
 Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) programme was launched in 2014
with an aim to cater and address health and development needs of the country’s
adolescents.
 It identifies six strategic priorities for adolescents: (i) nutrition, (ii) sexual and
reproductive health (SRH), (iii) non-communicable diseases (NCDs), (iv) substance
misuse, (v) injuries and violence (including gender-based violence) and (vi) mental
health.
 The strategy focuses on age groups 10-14 years and 15-19 years with universal
coverage. It covers males and females in school and out of school, in urban and
rural, married and unmarried and vulnerable and under-served.

30. FSSAI unveils Food Fortification Logo


 The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
(FSSAI), which is addressing the nutritional gap in the
population through fortification of various foods.
 FSSAI has unveiled a Logo for fortified foods which may

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 9
be used by food businesses.
 This Logo comprises of a square encompassing an F with a ‘+’ sign with a ring around it
which signifies the addition of extra nutrition and vitamins to daily meals to provide good
health, protection and an active life
 Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients i.e. essential
trace elements and vitamins into the food.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 10
POLITY ISSUES
1. Government approves inclusion of 15 new castes in Central OBC list
 The National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended a
total of 28 changes in respect of 8 states —Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh,
Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
 The changes will enable the persons of these castes/communities to avail the
benefits of reservation in Government services as well as in Central Educational
Institutions. They will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare
schemes, scholarships etc.
 NCBC examines requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward
class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any
backward class in such lists. Its advice is binding upon the Central Government.
 This commission was created under the National Commission for Backward Classes
Act, 1993 in the aftermath of Mandal Case (1992) judgement.
 NCBC is made of a chairman, a social scientist, two persons having special
knowledge in matters of backward classes and a member secretary.
 The Commission presents an annual report to the Central Government. The
Central Government places the report before each House of Parliament, along with a
memorandum explaining the action taken on the advice tendered by the
Commission.

2. The Rajasthan High Court struck down Special Backward Classes reservation
given to Gujjars and five other communities of the state.
 A division bench of justices M N Bhandari and J K Ranka of Rajasthan High Court
held that the special reservation beyond the permissible limit of 50 per cent cannot
be made.
 It held that the report of the OBC Commission of the state was calculated one to
favour these communities.
 On November 28, 2012, the Rajasthan Cabinet decided to provide a separate five
per cent quota to the SBCs without touching the 21 per cent reservation available to
Other Backward Classes.
 The community, currently enjoying OBC status, had initially demanded its
inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes and was later persuaded to accept the creation
of a new reserved category for it.

3. Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with UNDP and National Scheduled
Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC) launched “Vanjeevan” the
National Resource Centre for Tribal Livelihood issues at Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
 Vanjeevan will be a programme to identify the problems in livelihood issues in
select districts of six states of Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Odisha and Telangana, having low HDI of tribal people in the first phase.
 The programme will focus on the identification of local resources, keeping in view
the existing skill level, facilitate utilization of funds under various Government
programmes for the above purpose.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 11
 National Resource Centre will serve as a platform for livelihood mapping, skill
gap analysis and knowledge hub where consolidation of best livelihood and
entrepreneurship models will be accessible for tribal entrepreneurship development.
 In the second phase the programme will be implemented in the states of Arunachal
Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Tripura.

4. Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016 passed in Parliament.


 The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016 replaces the Persons with
Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act,
1995.
 The number of categories of differently-abled has also been increased from 7 to
21 so that they can avail the profits of various schemes..
 The revision to the Disability Bill recognises acid attacks and Parkinson’s disease
as disabilities.
 It also makes sure that the people with disabilities are provided with barrier-free
access in buildings, transport systems and all kinds of public infrastructure.
 The Disabilities Bill also aims to reserve seats for differently-abled from 3 per cent
to 4 per cent and promises 5 per cent reservation for persons with benchmark
disabilities.

5. Union Government reconstitutes committee helping Krishna River Board


 The Union Water Resources Ministry has reconstituted a committee that was tasked
with assisting the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).
 The new committee will be headed by A.K. Bajaj, former chairman of the Central
Water Commission (CWC). Besides, Gopala Krishnan, R.P. Pandey, Pradeep Kumar
Shukla and N.N. Rai will be its members.
 The terms of reference include: Assisting KRMB to prepare a manual on how
projects, common to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, ought to be handled and
Decide how the Godavari waters ought to be transferred to the Krishna Basin in
accordance with the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal Award.
 The committee was reconstituted based on the demand of Telangana
government after it had opposed the earlier Mohile committee’s
recommendation considering it as one-sided and biased against Telangana.

6. President Promulgates Payment of Wages Act (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016


 Through the ordinance, Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act has been
amended and would enable an employer to pay wages by crediting it into the bank
account of the employee.
 Earlier, wages were to be paid in current coin or currency notes or in both, and
without obtaining a written authorisation of the employee, the employer could not
have paid it by cheque or by crediting it in his bank account.
 Now, the employer need not obtain any consent from the employee to pay the
wages in cheque or by crediting in his bank account. Further the government can
make it mandatory for the employer to pay it by the way of cheque or by
crediting in employee’s account.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 12
7. Constitution of high level committee to review Institutionalization of Arbitration
Mechanism in India
 The Union Ministry of Law and Justice has constituted a High Level Committee
(HLC) to be Headed by Justice B N Srikrishna to review institutionalisation of
arbitration mechanism in India. It will look into various factors to accelerate
arbitration mechanism and strengthen the arbitration ecosystem in the country.
 The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 envisages quick
enforcement of contracts, easy recovery of monetary claims, reduce the pendency of
cases in courts and hasten the process of dispute resolution through arbitration.
 Its terms of reference include reviewing present mechanism, ADR (alternative
Dispute Resolution) Assess skill gaps in ADR and allied institutions, etc.The
committee will submit its report within 90 days.

8. Panel to Draft National Sports Development Code


 Former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, badminton player Prakash Padukone
and athlete Anju Bobby George are a part of the nine-member government
panel formed to make recommendations for bringing out a comprehensive
National Sports Development Code across all disciplines.
 The committee will be headed by Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas and will study
issues related to sports governance, including court judgments and best international
practices.
 The Committee will study the existing sports governance frame work, issues
relating to sports governance in the country, including court judgments &
international best practices and make recommendations on bringing out a
comprehensive National Sports Development Code across sports disciplines.

9. AADHAR must for MNREGA work


 From April 1, 2017, workers in rural areas enrolled under the Mahatma Gandhi
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) must have an Aadhaar
card.
 However, till an Aadhaar card is obtained, ration card, driving licence, voter
identity card, Kisan passbook with photo, job card issued under the MGNREGS and
a certificate issued by a gazetted officer or a tehsildar will be admissible as proof of
identity to get the benefits.
 The government has invoked Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, which mandates
that when the government gives subsidy, benefit or service from the
Consolidated Fund of India (CFI), an individual can be asked to undergo
authentication or furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar.
 The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has also made it mandatory for 50
lakh pensioners and four crore subscribers to provide either the Aadhaar number or
proof that they have applied for it.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 13
10. SC wants paper trail in EVMs for fair poll
 This is the second time the Supreme Court has directed Election Commission (EC)
for the implementation of Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in electronic
voting machines (EVMs) to ensure 100 per cent transparency in elections.
 In the VVPAT system, when a voter presses the button for a candidate of his choice
in the electronic voting machines (EVM), a paper ballot containing the serial
number, name of the candidate and poll symbol will be printed for the voter.
 It is intended as an independent verification system for EVM designed to (i) allow
voters to verify that their votes are casted correctly, (ii) detect possible election
fraud or malfunction and (iii) Provide a means to audit the stored electronic
results.

11. Discussion to move water into the concurrent List


 The Union ministry for water resources, river development and Ganga
rejuvenation has begun the process to make water a part of the concurrent list,
moving it away from being a state subject.
 There has been a rise in conflicts among states over access to water. While
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are fighting over Krishna river, Tamil
Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry are in a fight over Cauvery river. Punjab
and Haryana are also in conflict over Sutlej-Yamuna.
 According to the Constitution of India, as most of the rivers in the country are
inter-state, the regulation and development of water of these rivers is a source of
inter-state differences and disputes and is included in the state list.
 Water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments and storage
fall in the state list.

12. Goa became the first State to send Postal Ballots via Electronic mode.
 This facility allows service voters (who are either in the defence, para-military
forces or on diplomatic missions) to download the postal vote, cast their vote and
send it via e-mail to returning officer.
 Goa also became the first state in the country to use Voter- Verified Paper Audit
Trail (VVPAT) machines in all assembly constituencies.

13. Karnataka government to amend law for conducting kambala.


 Kambala is an annual traditional Buffalo Race (he-buffalo) held in coastal
districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area. Slushy/marshy paddy
field track is used for Kambala.
 The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in
two separate wet rice fields’ tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
 The Karnataka government has brought an amendment to the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 for conducting traditional sports of
Kambala and bull-cart race in the State.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 14
14. Committee led by former CAG Vinod Rai to run BCCI
 The Supreme Court has appointed former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)
Vinod Rai as head of four-member Committee of Administrators to run Board of
Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
 The panel, which will be chaired by Vinod Rai, the former Comptroller and Auditor
General of India, consists of Ramachandra Guha, the historian and cricket
writer, Diana Edulji, the former India women's captain, and Vikram Limaye,
managing director and CEO of IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance
Corporation).

15. Mysuru gets India’s 1st post office passport Kendra


 Mysuru got India's first Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK), which will offer
all passport related services on the lines of PSKs.
 It has been named as POPSK because the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has
tied up with the postal department to offer passport related services through a
network of post offices.
 Except printing and dispatch of passports, the POPSK will carry out all other
operations like receiving an application, document verification and fee collection from
applicants and facilitating further process by sending it to the regional passport office
in Bengaluru.

16. Union Cabinet gives nod to amend Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950
 The Union Cabinet had approved the amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled
Castes) Order, 1950 to modify the list of SC in Odisha.
 It also approved amending the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes
Order, 1964 to change the name of the Union territory to Puducherry from
Pondicherry.
 Under the provision of Article 341, first list of SCs in relation to a states/UT is to be
issued by a notified Order of the President after consulting concerned state
Government.
 But the clause (2) of Article 341 envisages that, any subsequent inclusion in or
exclusion from the list of Scheduled Castes can be effected through an Act of
Parliament.

17. Government Frames National Transit Oriented Development Policy


 To address the growing problems of pollution, congestion and shortage of housing
stock for the poor and middle class in Delhi, the Ministry of Urban Development has
approved the Transit Oriented Development Policy (TOD) for Delhi.
 TOD is a key policy initiative for low-carbon, high-density, compact, mixed land
use and sustainable development by minimizing travel time for citizens,
promoting use of public transport, reducing pollution and
congestion, creating more homogeneous neighborhoods, having work places near
residences, creating public amenities within walking distances and providing safe
environment through redevelopment along MRTS .

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 15
 TOD presently being taken up Ahmedabad, Karkardooma in Delhi, Nagpur, Naya
Raipur and NaviMumbai.

18. CCEA approves $854.4 million investment for 900-MW Arun 3 hydropower project
in Nepal.
 The project is located on Arun River, a transboundary river and a tributary of
Kosi, in Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal. Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN)
Limited had bagged the project through International Competitive Bidding.
 The project is based on Run-of-River scheme that envisages about 70 metre
high concrete gravity dam and 74 Km Head Race Tunnel (HRT).
 The Project Development Agreement (PDA) provides 21.9% free power to Nepal for
the entire concessionperiod of 25years.The surplus power from the project will
be exported to India from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in Bihar.

19. SC introduces Middle Income Group Scheme.


 The Supreme Court has introduced Middle Income Group Scheme, (MIGS) a self-
supporting scheme for providing legal services to the middle and relatively lower
income groups.
 MIGS is a self-supporting scheme that will provide legal services to the middle
income group citizens whose gross income does not exceed Rs.60, 000 per month
or Rs. 7, 50, 000 per annum.
 A case will be registered under the MIG Legal Aid Scheme and forwarded to
Advocate-on-Record/ Senior Counsel/Arguing Counsel on the panel for their opinion.

20. Government Launched the TAMRA portal and Mobile app


 The Ministry of Mines has launched Transparency, Auction Monitoring and
Resource Augmentation (TAMRA) Portal and Mobile Application to ensure
transparent award of statutory Clearances for mining operation.
 The TAMRA covers block-wise, state-wise and mineral-wise information of mines
to be auctioned. It monitors various statutory clearances and also highlights the
additional resources generated through e-auction.
 In case of delay in obtaining any statutory clearances, TAMRA platform will send
triggers to the concerned authority so that they can take remedial steps
immediately.

21. Union Women and Child Development Ministry has announced setting up of
compensation fund
 It will provide financial help to children who are victims of sexual crimes under
POCSO Act.
 The money for this fund will be drawn from Nirbhaya Fund. Nirbhaya Fund with
corpus of Rs. 1000 crores was announced by governmnent for empowerment, safety
and security of women and girl children.
 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was formulated in 2012 to
address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 16
Government Schemes
1. VISAKA- Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan (Digital Financial Literacy Campaign)
 A campaign launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD)
to promote a digital economy through youth volunteers across India.
 The purpose is to actively engage the youth / students /Higher Education
Institutions to receive nothing in cash (fee/fines/deposits) and pay nothing in cash
(wages/salaries/vendor payments) and develop a cashless campus (covering
shops/canteens/services) and motivate all to use a digitally enabled cashless
economic system for transfer of funds.

2. Nai Roshni Scheme


 Under Ministry of Minority Affairs.
 Scheme for leadership development of Minority Women.
 The scheme aims to empower and instil confidence among minority women by
providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems,
Banks and other institutions at all levels.
 Implemented through selected Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) all over the
country.

3. Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana


 Skill development programmes targeted at the Indian youth by providing
training and certify Indians seeking overseas employment.
 It was launched in 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention at Bengaluru,
Karnataka. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa was the Chief Guest of
the event.
 It will be implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
through its training partners and in consultation with the Union Ministry of External
Affairs and the Union Skill Development Ministry.

4. World’s Largest Street Light Replacement Programme to the Nation


 Ministry of Power, had dedicated the Street Lighting
National Programme (SLNP), in the South Delhi SLNP scheme- A National
Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area as the Programme to convert
World’s Largest Street Light Replacement conventional street and
Programme. domestic lights with energy
 Implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services efficient LED lights in 100
Limited (EESL). cities.
 EESL replaces the conventional street lights with LEDs The main objective is to
at its own costs and consequent reduction in energy and promote efficient lighting,
maintenance cost of the municipality is used to repay enhance awareness on using
EESL over a period of time. efficient equipment which
reduce electricity bills and help
preserve environment.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 17
5. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana’- DAY
 Scheme for uplift of urban and rural poor through enhancement of livelihood
opportunities through skill development and other means.
 September 25: Antyodaya Diwas
 Under:
o Urban: Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA), starts from 2016
o Rural: Rural Development Ministry starts from 2014 itself.
Rural Deen Dyal Scheme: National Rural Livelihood Mission
 NRLM renamed to Aajeevika and then again renamed as Deen Dayal scheme.
 Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is a subcomponent for skill
Development
o Train 10 lakh rural youth in 3 years by 2017 (15 years age and above).
Urban Deen Dyal Scheme
 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Antyodaya Yojana (DAY)
 Skilling urban poor with 6 pillar program
 City livelihood centres
 Train 5 lakh urban poor per year from 2016, spending Rs.15k-18k on each of
them
 Urban Self Help Groups (SHG) with Rs.10,000 to each.
 Vendor markets + skill training to vendors
 Permanent shelters for urban homeless + other essential services.
 Help poors setup enterprises. Give them loan At 7% interest rate

6. Cabinet approves New Scheme for promotion of Rural Housing


 The Government would provide interest subsidy under the scheme.
 Interest subsidy would be available to every rural household who is NOT covered
under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Grameen), PMAY(G).
 The scheme would enable people to construct new houses or add to their existing
pucca houses to improve their dwelling units.
 The beneficiary who takes a loan under the scheme would be provided interest
subsidy for loan amount upto Rs. 2 Lakhs.
 National Housing Bank would implement the scheme.

7. Union Cabinet approves Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017


 It is a part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.
 The scheme will be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)
during the current financial year to provide social security during old age and
protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest
income due to uncertain market conditions.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 18
 The scheme will provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of
return of 8% per annum for ten years.
 The differential return, i.e., the difference between the return generated by LIC and
the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as
subsidy on an annual basis.

8. TOP Scheme: Target Olympic Podium Scheme


The TOP Scheme was formulated by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports within
the overall ambit of National Sports Development Fund (NSDF).
 The objective of scheme is to identify and support potential players having medal
prospects for 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.
 Under the scheme selected athletes will be provided financial assistance for their
customized training at Institutes having world class facilities and other necessary
support. Benchmark for selection of athletes under the scheme will be in relation to
international standards.
 The committee headed by Abhinav Bindra along with other members had awarded
assistance to as many as 106 players.

Athletes from the following disciplines come under the scheme:

1. Athletics (19 athletes) (Athletes for 4x400 Women’s Relay Team and Race Walking
Team are yet to be identified)
2. Archery (16 archers) (yet to be identified)
3. Badminton (6 Players)
4. Boxing (8 boxers)
5. Shooting (17 shooters)
6. Wrestling (7 wrestlers)
7. Yachting (2 sailors)

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 19
Economy Issues
1. Public Financial Management System (PFMS)
 Why in news ?
There are about Rs.1-1.5 lakh crore of idle funds lying with the government. Now, if the
government can access these funds through PFMS, it need not borrow that amount.
At 7% interest, that works out to a saving in interest costs of at least Rs.7,000 crore.
 PFMS, is a web based application administered by the department of
expenditure. It is an end-to-end solution for processing payments, tracking,
monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting.
 The PFMS platform compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information
regarding all government schemes, and, significantly, provides the government real-
time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes.
 The platform will also allow government expenditure to adopt a Just-in- Time (JIT)
approach, with payments made only when they are needed.
 Later It will be integrated with IT network of the GST.

2. Ratan Watal Committee for Digital Payments


 The Committee on Digital Payments headed by Ratan P. Watal has submitted its
final report to the Union Finance Ministry.

3. Indian Enterprise Development Service (IEDS)


 Government approved the creation of the Indian Enterprise Development Services
(IEDS) in the Office of Development Commissioner, Ministry of Micro, Small and
Medium Enterprises.
 The service has been created by absorbing 11 trades, recruitment to which had been
done differently following different rules.
 The creation of the new cadre and change in structure will strengthen the
organisation, and will help to achieve the vision of Startup India, Stand-up India and
Make in India.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 20
 The measure will enhance the capacity and efficiency of the organisation and also
help in achieving growth in the MSME sector through a focussed and dedicated
cadre of technical officers.

4. Coal Mitra
 'Coal Mitra' is a Web portal for flexibility in utilization of domestic coal.
 The Coal Mitra Web Portal has been designed to bring about flexibility in Utilization
of Domestic Coal by transferring the reserves to more cost efficient State/Centre
owned or Private sector generating stations, leading to lower generation costs and
ultimately lesser cost of electricity for the consumers.
 With this the Government has also allowed coal swapping between PSUs and the
private sector.
 This portal will enhance transparency in coal swapping and help reduce operational
and logistic costs bringing tariffs down.

5. Market stabilisation scheme (MSS) bonds


 The central bank decided to issue market stabilisation scheme (MSS) bonds to
manage the excess liquidity that has resulted due to demonetisation.
 What are MSS bonds?
These are special bonds floated on behalf of the government by the RBI for the
specific purpose of mopping up the excess liquidity in the system when regular
government bonds prove inadequate.
These are mostly shorter-tenure bonds, of less than six months maturity. But the
tenure differs depending on the requirement.
 RBI chosen to issue MSS bonds because of the sudden surge in deposits due to the
surrender of demonetised currency notes in large quantities. It skewed bond yields
and interest rates, disrupting the functioning of the market. To impound the excess
liquidity, MSS bonds were a better option than a hike in CRR holdings.
 How MSS bond is different from CRR?
CRR MSS Bond
MSS bonds earn a return and qualify
CRR is perceived to be a blunt for statutory liquidity ratio, or SLR, that
instrument with an immediate impact on banks need to maintain in the form of
liquidity . short-tenured treasury bills and
government bonds.

MSS bonds, too, are raised through an


It does not fetch any return for the
auction and are tradable in the
depositing bank.
secondary market.

 How are MSS bonds different from regular government bonds?

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 21
The regular government bonds are part of the government's borrowing programme and
the interest payout on these has an impact on the fiscal position.
The MSS bills and securities are matched by an equivalent cash balance held by the
government with the Reserve Bank. Hence, they have only a marginal impact on the
government's revenue and fiscal positions. The cost of such interest payment is shown
separately in the Budget.
 Has this instrument been used in the past?
The Reserve Bank first introduced MSS bonds in February 2004 when the country was
flushed with dollar inflows, which needed to be converted into the rupee. This created
huge surplus liquidity in the system and the RBI decided to impound it by issuing MSS
bonds as the central bank was running out of stock of regular government bonds.
6. UPI based mobile payment app- BHIM
 BHIM is a digital
payments solution
app based on the
Unified Payments
Interface (UPI) from
the National
Payments
Corporation of
India (NPCI), the
umbrella
organisation for all
retail payments
systems in India.
 The app allows
easily transferring money or making a payment from bank account using only phone
number. It can work even on basic phones as it supports USSD(Unstructured
Supplementary Service Data) payments.
 It has mobile wallet facility in which money can be loaded. Using it anyone can
directly connect their phone to bank account like a debit card.
 The app allows user to scan a QR code. The merchant can also generate his QR
code through the app. Payment can be done through scanning QR code.
 Merchants can also use the BHIM app to receive money from a smartphone or
Aadhaar Pay if customer has linked a bank account and Aadhaar ID.
 All major UPI connected Indian banks accepts money through BHIM app. Even
banks not connected to UPI can receive money through BHIM through IFSC
assigned to banks.

7. GARV-II App to track Rural Household Electrification


 To ensure transparency in implementation of rural electrification programme, the
Power Ministry launched a new app, GARV-II, to provide real time data of all six
lakh villages of the country.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 22
 The GARV-II will enable the commoners to participate in the development work and
can give their input about rural electrification programme.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)
1- The DDUGJY is one of the flagship programmes of rural electrification of the Ministry of
Power and will facilitate 24x7 supply of power.
2- It focuses on feeder separation (rural households & agricultural) and
strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure including metering at
all levels in rural areas.
3- The earlier scheme for rural electrification viz. Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran
Yojana (RGGVY) has been subsumed in the new scheme as its rural electrification
component.
4- The major components of the scheme are -
>feeder separation;
>strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network;
>Metering at all levels (input points, feeders and distribution transformers);
>Micro grid and off grid distribution network & Rural electrification

 Under this facility, village-wise, habitation-wise base line data on household


electrification for all states provided by them has been incorporated.
 Village-wise works sanctioned under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti
Yojana(DDUGJY) have also been mapped to monitor progress of works in each village.
 The status of release of funds to the states for projects sanctioned under DDUGJY has
also been incorporated in 'GARV-II' .
 GARV-II will have a citizen engagement window 'SAMVAD' to enhance participation.

8. 16th meeting of Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC)


 The 16th meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was
held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely.
 Heads of all financial sector regulators as its members attended this meeting.
 Objective-
To discuss about the obstacles faced by the economy and to bring out the solution to
tackle them.
 Issue discussed are-
1. Measures to eliminate shadow economy and tax evasion
2. Financial regulators gave suggestions to promote financial stability
3. Discussed issues relating to Fintech, digital innovations and cyber security
4. Key issues relating to increase in Non Performing Assets (NPA) in banks
5. Discussed initiatives to promote financial inclusion / financial literacy

 About FSDC -
The Central Government had established Financial Stability and Development Council
(FSDC) in December 2010 with the Finance Minister as it Chairman.
The idea to create it was first mooted by the Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial
Sector Reforms in 2008.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 23
It is a super regulatory body for regulating financial sector which is a vital for bringing
healthy and efficient financial system in the economy.
The FSDC envisages to strengthen and institutionalise mechanism of (i) maintaining
financial stability, (ii) Financial sector development, (iii) inter-regulatory coordination
along with monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy.

9. India ranks 4th in Global Wind Power Installed Capacity Index


 India has attained the fourth position globally in installed wind power capacity after
China, U.S. and Germany as per Global Wind Power Installed Capacity Index
released by Global Wind Energy Council.
 The cumulative installed wind power generation capacity of India is 25088 MW. The
worldwide installed capacity of wind power reached 435 GW by the end of 2015.
 The cumulative installed wind power generation capacity of China is 145362 MW.
The cumulative installed wind power generation capacity of the USA is 74471 MW
and that of Germany is 44947 MW.
 India’s renewable energy sector is undergoing transformation with a target of 175
GW of renewable energy capacity to be reached by 2022.

10. ILO report on unemployment in India


 Unemployment in India is projected to witness marginal increase between 2017 and
2018, signalling stagnation in job creation in the country, according to a UN labour
report.
 The United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) released its 2017
World Employment and Social Outlook report , which finds economic growth
trends lagging behind employment needs and predicts both rising unemployment and
worsening social inequality throughout 2017.
 Unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million last year to 17.8
million in 2017 and 18 million next year. In percentage terms, unemployment rate will
remain at 3.4 per cent in 2017-18.
 Manufacturing growth has underpinned India's recent economic performance, which
may help buffer demand for the region's commodity exporters.
 The global unemployment rate is expected to rise modestly in 2017, to 5.8 per cent
(from 5.7 per cent in 2016).

11. Centre shifts disinvestment advice to new department


 The government transferred the role of advising the government on how to utilise the
proceeds from disinvestment from the Department of Investment and Public Asset
Management (DIPAM) to the Department of Economic Affairs.
 Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry will now be in charge of
financial policy in regard to the utilisation of the proceeds of disinvestment
channelized into the National Investment Fund.
 It seems to be streamlining the process because the Department of Economic Affairs
is in charge of budget-making, which includes deciding what to do with the proceeds
from disinvestment.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 24
 The Centre had created a National Investment Fund in 2005 in which the proceeds
from the disinvestment of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) were to be
channelized.

12. IIP grows at four-year high of 5.7% in November


 Data released by the statistics
office showed that India’s
factory output, measured by
the Index of Industrial
Production (IIP) has registered
5.7% growth in November 2016
as against 1.9% in October
2016.
 About Index of Industrial
Production (IIP)
The IIP is compiled and
published every month by
Central Statistics Office (CSO)
of the Union Ministry of
Statistics and Programme
Implementation.
It covers 682 items comprising Manufacturing (620 items), Mining (61 items) &
Electricity (1 item).
The weights of the three sectors are 75.53%, 14.16%, 10.32% respectively and are
on the basis of their share of GDP at factor cost during 2004-05.
The eight Core Industries comprise nearly 38 % of the weight of items included in IIP.

13. Google introduces tools for small businesses in India


 Google launched two new initiatives My Business Website and Digital Unlocked to
train and help small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India capitalise on the
digitisation wave faster.
 Under My Business Websites, Google will provide free websites and web tools to
small businesses in order to bolster their digital presence. This will help SMBs create
a free, mobile optimised website.
 Digital Unlocked, an education programme in association with industry body FICCI
and Indian School of Business. The programme will impart mobile and online
courses to help small businesses.
It will provide Indian SMBs essential digital skills to enable them to get online and
connect to customers in different parts of the country. The trainings will be certified
by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI.

14. India 60th in inclusive development index


 India has been ranked 60th among 79 developing economies, below neighbouring
China and Pakistan, in the inclusive development index, according to a WEF's(World
Economic Forum) 'Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017'.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 25
 The Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is based on 12 performance indicators. In
order to provide a more complete measure of economic development.
 The Inclusive Development Index has three pillars -- Growth and Development,
Inclusion and Intergenerational Equity, and Sustainability.

15. Eight core industries grow 5.6% in December


 Eight core industries register a
growth of 5.6 per cent in
December 2016 on the back of
healthy output recorded by
refinery products and steel.
 The growth rate of eight
infrastructure sectors -- coal,
crude oil, natural gas, refinery
products, fertilisers, steel,
cement and electricity -- was
2.9 per cent in December
2015.
 The core sectors, which contribute 38 per cent to the total industrial production,
expanded 5 per cent in April - December 2016 compared to 2.6 per cent growth in
the same period last financial year
 Refinery products and steel production jumped 6.4% and 14.9%, respectively, during
the month under review.
 Crude oil, fertiliser, natural gas and cement output reported contraction. Coal output
declined by 4.4% in December 2016 from 5.3% in the same month previous year.
 Electricity generation, too, dipped by 6% as compared with 8.8% in December 2015.

16. India Signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for “Third Technical Education
Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP III)”
 The World Bank has signed an agreement with the government to provide $201.50
million loan for quality engineering education across several states in India
 The loan agreement is part of the Technical Education Quality Improvement
Programme (TEQIP III), which is the third phase of a 15-20 year programme that
started in 2002.
 The focus of the project is to strengthen engineering education in India’s low-
income, hill states and states of the North East.
 TEQIP III will support affiliating technical universities for the first time, multiplying
benefits to all affiliated colleges and not just those being supported individually that
will benefit nearly 30 lakh under-graduates and post-graduates.
 TEQIP will impart skill training to labour market entrants more equitably across the
country by focusing on states with under-performing engineering education set-up.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 26
17. WTO's trade facilitation agreement comes into effect
 The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Goods of World Trade Organisation
(WTO),which seeks to ease customs norms came into effect with its ratification by
two-thirds members of WTO including India.
 The TFA in Goods was adopted by the WTO Members in 2014. It aims to streamline,
simplify, standardise and ease customs procedures and norms. It will help to cut
trade costs around the world.
 TFA was the outcome of WTO’s 9th Bali (Indonesia) ministerial package of 2013.
 The agreement includes provisions for-
 Abolish hard import quotas
 Lowering import tariffs and agricultural subsidies
 Reduction in red tape at international borders

18. Niti Ayog launches 'India Innovation Index'


 To make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial
Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together
launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index” .
 It will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal
that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly
update it in real time.
 The India Innovation Index Framework will be structured based on the best practices
followed in Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators and additionally by adding
India-centric parameters those truly reflect the Indian innovation ecosystem.

19. Ceta: EU parliament backs free trade deal with Canada


 The European Parliament has approved a landmark free trade deal Comprehensive
Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) with Canada.
 What is Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)?
CETA is a free free-trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and the EC. It aims to
revoke roughly 9,000 tariffs, covering many industrial goods and agricultural and food
items.
It links single European Union market with Canada, world’s 10th largest economy.
It also promises to open up competition and cooperation in the services sector ranging
from regulations, to financial services, and telecoms.
It remove customs duties, open-up the services market, end restrictions on access to
public contracts, offer predictable conditions for investors and help prevent illegal
copying of EU innovations and traditional products.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 27
INTERNATIONAL RELATION ISSUES

1. Kolkata-Mizoram trade route to open via Myanmar


 A deep water port built in Sittwe in Myanamar on the Bay of Bengal by India is
ready to be commissioned.
 The Indian achievement pips to the post a Chinese endeavour to create a deep-sea
berthing infrastructure and an SEZ further down the Rakhine coast at Kyaukphyu.
 Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State (which has been in the news for the plight of
Rohingya Muslims) in south-western Myanmar. It is located at the mouth of the
Kaladan river, which flows into Mizoram in north-eastern India.
 The strategic advantage would be that it would significantly lower the cost and
distance of movement from Kolkata to Mizoram and beyond.

2. Qatar abolishes ‘kafala’ labour system in view of the 2022 Football Worldcup
 Under “kafala”, all foreign workers working in Qatar require a local sponsor, in
the form of an individual or company, and need their permission to switch jobs or
leave the country.
 The system was compared to modern-day slavery and left vulnerable workers
with little protection and open to abuse.
 Freedom of movement is guaranteed under the new rules, including giving workers
the right to change jobs.

3. Battle of Aleppo(2012-2016) ends.


 The Battle of Aleppo was a major military confrontation in Aleppo, the largest city
in Syria, between the Syrian opposition (including the Free Syrian Army (FSA)
and other Sunni groups, such as the Levant Front and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-
Nusra Front), against the government of Bashar al-Assad, supported
by Hezbollah, Shia militias and Russia and against the Kurdish People's
Protection Units.

4. China’s freight train to London travels 12,000 km in 18 days

 The first freight train travelling all the way from China to London set off - on a
journey that covered a staggering 7,456 miles and pass through nine countries.
 The Train departed from yiwu west railway station in Zhejiang Province of China
and ended its journey in Barking, east London in around 18 days.
 Its route will snake through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland,
Germany, Belgium, France and finally Britain.

5. World Bank holds meet with India on Indus Water Treaty


 India maintained its position that the designs of the Ratle and Kishenganga projects
do not violate the Indo-Pak Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

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 Following this, the World Bank decided to set up a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to
settle the disputes following Pakistan’s demand and also agreed to appoint a neutral
expert as sought by India.
 IWT is a bilateral water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan signed in
1960. It was brokered by the World Bank.
 It gives India control over three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and
Pakistan control over three western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.

6. ‘One China’ policy is ‘non-negotiable’: China


 The ‘One China’ principle is non-negotiable, the China’s foreign ministry said,
adding that it forms the political foundation for relations with the US.
 One China has been acknowledged by the US since 1979, when President Jimmy
Carter developed closer ties with Beijing, at the expense of contact with Taiwan.
 For decades, the US has avoided direct diplomatic contact with Taiwan's
leaders, concurring with Beijing's assertion that Taiwan is simply a breakaway
province of China. Taiwanese authorities consider the island an independent
country.

7. Ecuador to chair G-77


 Ecuador has taken over from Thailand as chair of the Group of 77 (G77) countries
of the United Nations for the year 2017.
 The group promote collective economic interests of the 134 developing
countries at the United Nations, including India.
 The group was founded in June 1964 by the Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven
Countries at the UNCTAD and had 77 members initially.

8. India and France sign White Shipping Agreement.


 The agreement will enable navies of India and France to coordinate their roles
in stabilising Indo-Pacific region.
 It will enhance Indo-French maritime security cooperation in the region. It will be
implemented over the next few months.
 India and France firmed up cooperation on sharing of radars in the Indian Ocean
during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in 2015.
 The Indo-French dialogue also emphasised on Freedom of Navigation in IOR and
Pacific in the backdrop of China's territorial claims and dominance in the South
China Sea region.

9. Tech diplomacy: Denmark to appoint world’s first ‘digital ambassador’


 Denmark will become the first country in the world to appoint a special “digital
ambassador” to work on building ties with the globe’s tech giants.
 The market values of Apple and Google are so large that the corporations could
take chairs at the international G20 forum, the panel of the world’s 20 largest
economies, if they were countries.

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10. Venezuela, Libya again lose UN vote rights over dues debts
 Venezuela and Libya have been suspended from voting in the U.N. General
Assembly for the second time in two years because of millions of dollars in unpaid
dues to the world body.
 Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy has spiraled into crisis since world oil prices
began a plunge in 2014. Venezuelans are grappling with triple-digit inflation and
widespread food shortages.
 Libya’s economy has suffered greatly since the country was hurled into turmoil by
the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 30
Summits
1. Mercosur revokes membership of Venezuela
 Mercosur is a sub-regional economic bloc of South American countries. Its
purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and
currency like a common market.
 The founding members of Mercosur — Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
 It was established in 1991 and its headquarters are located at Montevideo (Uruguay).
 It had suspended Venezuela from it for violating the bloc’s democratic principles and
failing to meet its basic standards.

2. 6th Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference of Housing and Urban Development


(APMCHUD)
 Hosted in New Delhi, India.
New Urban Agenda: It was
 Mission: Promoting Sustainable Development of
adopted at the UN
Human Settlements in Asia Pacific Region, this
Conference on Housing and
accounts for 60 per cent of the world population and 55 Sustainable Urban
per cent of global urban population. Development (also known as
 Discussed issues ranging from crowded city centres to “Habitat III” conference).
peripheral expansion, metropolitan based urban
population growth, megacities and urban corridors, It sets the global vision of
among others. sustainable urbanization for
 Outcome: Delhi Declaration and implementation plan the next 20 years
for aligning urban development strategies of member
countries with the New Urban Agenda adopted at
Quito, Eucador in 2016.

3. 6th Heart of Asia conference held in Amritsar, Punjab


 Heart of Asia- Istanbul process of Afghanistan, adopted the Amritsar declaration,
which focuses to address terrorism and enhancing regional economic
cooperation in Afghanistan.
 The theme of this edition of the conference was “Addressing Challenges,
Achieving Prosperity”.
 14 participating countries: Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE,
Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Amritsar Declaration deals with:


Terrorism also talks about haqqani network (Afghan guerilla insurgent group ), Drug
menace, CCIT (comprehensive convention on international terrorism), Connectivity to
enhance wider and regional economic cooperation, regional connectivity including Iran-India-
Afghanistan trilateral agreement on developing Chabahar, OBOR (Silk Road Economic Belt)
and Maritime Silk Road between China and Afghanistan, International community and

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 31
ANDSF for continued financial support to the Afghanistan National Defence and Security
Forces (ANDSF) until 2020.

4. Nepal to host 4th BIMSTEC Summit 2017


 Nepal is likely to host the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical
and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit this year.
 The BIMSTEC was founded in 1997 and is an international organisation involving a
group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
 Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal are
members of the body that works on 14 sectors including trade and investment,
technology, energy, transportation and communication, among others.
5. India to host International Nuclear Security meet
 The MEA (Ministry of Economic Affairs) in coordination with the Department of
Atomic Energy is hosting the Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of
the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).
 The event highlights India’s commitment to global nuclear non-proliferation and
peaceful uses of nuclear energy and is part of its overall engagement with the
international community on nuclear security issues.
 GICNT was launched in 2006 jointly by the Russian Federation and the United
States. In the past 10 years, it has grown to include 86 partner nations and five
official observer organisations and has held several multilateral activities in support of
its Statement of Principles.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 32
SCIENCE

1. TeamIndus to launch India’s first Private moon mission in 2017.


 TeamIndus, a Bengaluru-based private aerospace company, has said it will send a
spacecraft to the moon on December 28, 2017, aboard an Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) rocket.
 The mission’s aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon, have it travel at least
500 metres and beam high- definition video, images and data back to the
earth.
 Except for the launch vehicle, all of the technology that will power the rover and
lander is developed in-house by TeamIndus.
 TeamIndus has high-profile investors, including Ratan Tata of the Tata Group;
Sachin and Binny Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart and Nandan Nilekani, co-
founder of Infosys Ltd, and is a 100-member team of engineers, space enthusiasts,
former Air Force pilots and former ISRO employees.
 The Team only one from India — is in the running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a
$30 million (approx. Rs. 200 crore) competition, to encourage private companies
to launch space missions.

2. Japan Launches Space Junk Collector into Orbit


 More than 500,000 pieces of “space junk” are circling our planet and being
tracked by NASA.
 Japan’s space agency (JAXA) launched a Kounotori 6 (HTV-6) spacecraft that will
deliver a large magnetic tether, made from thin wires of stainless steel and
Aluminum. It is designed to redirect space junk towards Earth’s atmosphere.
 Electrodynamic tether (EDT), an advanced high-efficiency propulsion system,
is a promising candidate to deorbit the debris objects at low cost.
 In theory, the net-like tether will generate enough slowing effect to influence the
trajectory of space debris toward Earth’s atmosphere where they will burn up.
 Once in orbit, the spacecraft is set to perform Kounotori Integrated Tether
Experiments (KITE) in order to test out the new technology designed by JAXA
engineers in collaboration with Nitto Seimo Co., a Japanese fishing net company.

3. Tarang Sanchar
 The Department of Telecom (DoT) launched ‘Tarang Sanchar’ portal that will let
users check radiation compliance status of mobile towers and transmitters
across country.

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 The portal has data from 12.5 lakh base transceiver stations (BTS). It will enable
users to view tower-specific details such as the operator, the supporting technology
(2G/3G/4G).
 It will also help user to check with mobile tower meets electro-magnetic frequency
(EMF) by putting in a specific request to DoT.

4. SASTRA Ramanujan prize for Radziwill, Matomaki


 The 2016 SASTRA-Ramanujan award for mathematics was presented to Maksym
Radziwill of McGill University, Canada. The joint winner is Kaisa Matomaki of
University of Turku, Finland.
 SASTRA University presents the Ramanujan award to a leading mathematician
under 32 years. The age limit for the prize is 32 because Ramanujan had achieved
so much in his brief life of 32 years.
 This year the prize has been jointly for their ‘revolutionary’ collaborative work on
short intervals in number theory.
 Kaisa Matomaki from Finland’s University of Turku is first woman to receive this
prize.

5. TanSat launched by China, to monitor Global Carbon emissions


 TanSat will thoroughly examine global CO2 levels every 16 days, accurate to at least
4 ppm (parts per million).
 Located in sun synchronous orbit about 700 kms above the earth,It has three-
year mission life
 China is the third country after Japan and the US to monitor greenhouse gases
through its own satellite.

6. IIT Madras group develops alternative system of communication during disasters


 An IIT Madras team is developing a low-cost communication system that can
enable rescue workers to communicate with a locally established centre and,
through this centre, to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in
Delhi.
 The system, named DISANET, allows basic services such as voice, text and video
communications to be exchanged within this network of rescue workers, Master
Operation Centre and the NDMA.
 The design has four subsystems — WiFi, a satellite link, single-carrier GSM and
LTE (Long Term Evolution) which is a standard for high-speed wireless
communication for mobile phones and data terminals.
 Presently Walkie talkie/VHF/UHF devices are used which are very expensive. The
whole new system is compatible with basic model mobile phones.

7. Trojan Asteroids
 Trojans are asteroids that are constant companions to planets in our solar system
as they orbit the Sun, remaining near a stable point 60 degrees in front of or behind
the planet.

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 Since they constantly lead or follow in the same orbit, they will never collide
with their companion planet. There are six planets in our solar system with
known Trojan asteroids—Jupiter, Neptune, Mars, Venus, Uranus and Earth.
 Scientists predict that there should be more Trojans sharing Earth’s orbit, but these
asteroids are difficult to detect from Earth because they appear close to the Sun from
Earth’s point of view.
 NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft which would bring samples from Asteroid Bennu,
is set to search for elusive “Trojan” asteroids which are constant companions to Earth
as it orbits the Sun.

8. China opens first fully-owned satellite ground station near North Pole
 It is formally known as China Remote Sensing Satellite North Pole Ground Station. It
is located about 200 kms north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden.
 The Artic ground station is built and run by Chinese Academy of Sciences. It will
allow China to collect satellite data anywhere on Earth at speeds that were more than
twice as fast as before.
 It will also play an important role in China’s Gaofen project, a network of
observation satellites orbiting Earth to provide global surveillance capabilities
which is due to be completed in 2020.

9. Mesentery
 Named as the
mesentery, the organ
connects the intestine
to the abdomen and had
for hundreds of years
been considered a
fragmented structure
made up of multiple
separate parts.
 Mesentery is a fold of the
peritoneum which
attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen, and other organs to
the posterior wall of the abdomen.

10. Data From India’s GMRT Among Others Help Astronomers Find Cosmic Double
Whammy
 By combining data from several telescopes around the world, including India's Giant
Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune, astronomers have discovered a
cosmic double whammy unlike any ever seen before. Besides GMRT, the
researchers combined data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the US
National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array Telescope.
 Two of the most powerful phenomena in the Universe, a supermassive black
hole, and the collision of giant galaxy clusters, have combined to create a
stupendous cosmic particle accelerator.
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 35
 This cosmic double whammy is found in a pair of colliding galaxy clusters called
Abell 3411 and Abell 3412 located about two billion light years from Earth.
 This discovery solves a long-standing mystery in galaxy cluster research about the
origin of beautiful swirls of radio emission stretching for millions of light years,
detected in Abell 3411 and Abell 3412 with the GMRT.

11. IGI Airport first in world to adopt digital platform Arc


 Delhi Airport has claimed it has become the first aerodrome in the world to
adopt unique performance and benchmarking digital platform, Arc, which helps
in tracking and monitoring building performance.
 Developed by Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI) and US Green Building
Council (USGBC), the global certifying body for all Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) projects, this dynamic platform at T3 would be used
by airport operator to measure, manage and improve performance of airport on
resource consumption, carbon emissions and quality of passenger space.

12. The 2017 Crafoord Prize has been conferred upon two American and one
Japenese scientists for their fundamental discoveries in immune regulation.
 The awardees of the scientific prize include Japan’s Shimon Sakaguchi, Fred
Ramsdell and Alexander Rudensky.
 The researchers are being rewarded for their work on the discovery of regulatory T
cells, which function as security guards for the immune system by curbing
overzealous white blood cells that attack healthy cells in the body
 Autoimmune diseases arise when the body's immune system malfunctions, attacking
normal tissue. Globally, these diseases cause great suffering and premature death
for millions of people.
 Autoimmune diseases include multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes and
polyarthritis. The latter is a term used for rheumatic diseases in which multiple
joints are affected.
 The work has lead to open way for the transformative treatments for autoimmune
diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, MS and type 1 diabetes.

13. NASA has approved a mission to explore 16 Psyche, an iron-rich asteroid.


 NASA craft will be launched in 2023, and will arrive at Psyche in 2030.The Planet is
almost entirely composed of iron and nickel .The mineral contents on the asteroids
are worth over 100-thousand times the value of the entire world economy.
 Scientists believe Psyche to be a protoplanet i.e. its entire body consisting of what
one day could be the core of a new planet.
 The information gathered will undoubtedly useful to astronomers to learn more about
the formation and early life of planets.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 36
 Astronomers also believe Psyche to contain water, making it a possible
candidate for a stellar fuel station, as water can be used to sustain life and
synthesize rocket fuel.

14. Ministry of Earth Sciences commissions Higher Resolution Weather Prediction


Model
 The new model which has a resolution of 12 km has been on trial since September
last year. It has now replaced the earlier version which had a horizontal resolution of
25 km.
 The MoES's operational Ensemble Prediction System (EPS) will also be upgraded
to 12 km.The EPS is adopted to overcome the problem of uncertainties in the
forecasts.
15. Scientists spot sunspot with centre twice the size of Earth
 Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) antennas located in Atacama
Desert of northern Chile has spotted a new view of the dark, contorted centre of a
sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth.
 Sunspots: They are darker, cooler areas on the surface of the sun in a region
called the photosphere (having temperature 5,800 degrees Kelvin).
 Sunspots can be very large, up to 50,000 kilometers in diameter and have
temperatures of about 3,800 degrees K. They are dark in comparison with the
brighter and hotter regions of the photosphere surrounding them.

16. Japan successfully launched its first military communications satellite Kirameki-2
satellite.
 The Kirameki-2 satellite has been designed to upgrade Japan’s existing
communication network in the face of China’s increasingly assertive maritime activity
and North Korea’s missile threat.
 They will be also used by Japanese troops operating overseas as part of
international peacekeeping operations, including those off the Somali coast and in
South Sudan.

17. Scientists creates world’s first stable semi-synthetic organism


 The semi-synthetic organism is the modified E.coli bacteria created by introducing
DNA molecules that are not found in nature in a common bacterium.
 The newly created bacterium has two human-created X and Y bases that grow and
divide, much like the four natural bases.
 For this, researchers had optimised a tool called a nucleotide transporter, which
brings the materials necessary for the unnatural base pair to be copied across
the cell membrane.
 In future, it can help in creation of microbes capable of manufacturing entirely new
proteins, which can provide leads to new medicines and nanotechnology
breakthroughs.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 37
18. Vampire star caught in the act by ASTROSAT
 India’s first dedicated space observatory, ASTROSAT has captured the rare
phenomenon of a small six-billion-year-old vampire star preying on a bigger celestial
body.
 The vampire star phenomenon is observed when smaller star sucks material
(mass and energy) out of the bigger companion star, causing its eventual
death.
 It is also called a blue straggler as small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer,
giving it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and
collapses to a stellar remnant.
 Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory launched in
September 2016.

19. New TB-resistant cows developed in China


 Chinese scientists have produced world’s first live cows with increased resistance to
bovine tuberculosis (TB).
 Researchers had used a modified version of the CRISPR gene-editing
technology called CRISPR/Cas9n to insert a new TB resistance gene NRAMP1 into
the genome of bovine foetal fibroblasts, cell derived from female dairy cows.
 When it was exposed to Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), bacterium that causes
bovine TB, transgenic animals showed increased resistance to M. bovis.

20. Toxins in Litchi Fruit May kill Children


 Scientists from US and India have found that consumption of litchi fruit on an
empty stomach can result in very low blood glucose level and acute
encephalopathy leading to seizures and coma, and causes death in Children in
many cases.
 Litchi fruit contains the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropyl-glycine
(MCPG). Its consumption and skipping evening meals causes very low blood
glucose level (less than normal 70 mg/dL) and acute encephalopathy in children.
 Unripened litchi contains Hypoglycin A, naturally-occurring amino acid that
causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness). MCPG is a poisonous
compound found in litchi seeds that cause a sudden drop in blood sugar,
vomiting, altered mental status with lethargy, unconsciousness, coma and death.
 These toxins may block enzymes involved in normal glucose metabolism and result
in an inability to synthesis glucose leading to acutely low level of blood sugar.
 Litchi is a tropical fruit native to the Guandong and Fujian province of
China.China is the main producer followed by India(Bihar accounts for 71%).

21. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indigenously developed
Telemetry & Telecommand Processor (TTCP)
 The processor development was undertaken up by ISRO as part of ‘Make in India’
campaign to replace the expensive imported equipment necessary for uplinking
and downlinking to satellites.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 38
 It will be used by ISRO in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit,
Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft.

22. Intech DMLS launches India’s First indigenously developed Jet engines
 Intech DMLS Limited, a metal 3D printing provider and metal additive
manufacturing establishment in aviation sector, has launched the country's first
indigenously developed jet engine series.
 The engine MJE 20 is indigenously designed and manufactured with a thrust of 20
Kgf. It is currently undergoing testing at our Bengaluru facility.

23. 28th February: National Science Day


 National Science Day is celebrated in India on 28 February each year to mark the
discovery of the Raman effect by Indian physicist Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata
Raman on 28 February 1928.
 The theme of the year 2017 was "Science and Technology for Specially Abled
Persons”.

24. ISRO Successfully tests Cryogenic Engine for Upper Stage of GSLV Mk III
 ISRO has successfully ground tested its indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper
Stage engine for GSLV Mark III at its Liquid Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in
Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
 The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses
Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination. The development of C25
cryogenic stage will provide ISRO capability to launch four ton class satellites in
Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
 A Cryogenic rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every
kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid
propellant rocket stages.

25. First ever Cloud Seeding Project approved


 Under this programme, weather scientists using aircrafts will spray chemicals (silver
iodide) over clouds hovering above Solapur district, a rain shadow region of
Western Ghats in the state.
 In this experiment, scientists will fly two aircraft and spray silver iodide and dry ice
on 100 clouds and compare them with 100 unseeded clouds. Ground radar will be
used to track the clouds and verify which ones contributed rain.

26. Scientists ‘unmask’ superbug-shielding protein


 Scientists from University of Western Australia have successfully mapped three-
dimensional molecular structure of EptA protein that shields superbugs from
antibiotics.
 The EptA protein causes multi-drug resistance by masking bacteria from both the
human immune system and important antibiotics.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 39
 The shape of protein was mapped using technique called X-ray crystallography
which is mainly used for determining the atomic and molecular structure of a crystal.
 This mapping is a breakthrough because it will allow development of a drug to
prevent superbugs hiding from medication.

27. India launches record 104 satellites in single mission


 India has created history by successfully launching 104 satellites on a single
mission, overtaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in
2014.
 Of the 104 small satellites, 96 belong to the United States while Israel, Kazakhstan,
the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and the Netherlands are the other foreign
clients.
28. IAF inducts indigenous Early Warning System
 The Indian Airforce (IAF) has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne
Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) dubbed as NETRA.
 It consists of active electronically scanned radar, secondary surveillance radar,
electronic and communication counter measures, LOS (Line of Sight) and beyond-
LOS data link, voice communication system.
 AEW&C NETRA system is based on Embraer aircraft (Emb-145 platform). It has
self-protection suite and also mid-air refuelling capability to enhance surveillance
time.
 This system gives 240-degree coverage of airspace. DRDO has developed three
NETRA systems and its three aircraft will be based at Bhatinda, facing the
Western border. With this India, joins group of other countries such as United
States, Russia and Israel which have developed the AEW&C system.

29. Thubber:Stretchable Rubber Material with high Thermal Conductivity


 It is an electrically insulating composite material that exhibits an unprecedented
combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, elasticity similar to soft, biological
tissue.
 Thubber consists of a soft elastomer with non-toxic, liquid metal microdroplets
suspended within it. This semi-liquid state allows the metal to deform with the
surrounding rubber at room temperature. When it is pre-stretched at room
temperature, it stretches up to six times its initial length.
 Potential applications: In developing wearable computing and soft robotics, industries
like athletic wear and sports medicine and in advanced manufacturing, energy, and
transportation.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 40
Environment
1. MoES launches Winter Fog Experiment 2016-17
 The Ministry of Earth Sciences inaugurated the Winter Fog Campaign at the New
Delhi Airport to understand the science of fog formation.
 The campaign is being conducted at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA),
with support of Airport Authority of India and GMR, IGIA.
 The goal of the Winter Fog Experiment (WIFEX) is to
1. Develop methods for forecasting winter fog on various temporal and spatial
scales,
2. Reduce its adverse impact on aviation, transportation and economy, and loss of
human life due to accidents.
 Land use changes and increasing pollution in the region are responsible for growing
fog occurrence.

2. Tropical Cyclonic Storm Vardah to hit Andhra Pradesh


 Originated in Southern Thailand.
 The main areas hited by the storm are Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh
 Severe cyclonic storm with a velocity of 100 to 110 km/hr gusting to 120km/hr.
 A list of few cyclones that have hit India in the last one year
a. Nanda (2016): Made a land fall near Nagapattinum in Tamil Nadu. This was only
a deep depression and it never became a cyclone.
b. Kyant (2016): Velocity around 35-45km/hr upto 50km/hr crossed the southern
Andhra Pradesh coast. This was also a depression and never got intensified into
a cyclone.
c. Roanu (2016): Made a landfall in the north of Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Origin: Low pressure formed in the south of Sri Lanka. Torrential rainfall
occurred in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha.
Flood-like situation occurred in north-eastern states of Manipur, Tripura,
Mizoram, Nagaland, lower Assam and Meghalaya
 A landfall is the intersection of the center of tropical cyclone with a coastline.

3. Majuli set to become country’s first ever carbon neutral district


 Assam government has initiated a project to make river-island Majuli the country's
first ever Carbon Neutral district by 2020.
 The project titled 'Sustainable Action for Climate Resilient Development in Majuli'
(SACReD, Majuli).
 The project, SACReD, Majuli has been initiated to combat climate change and
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 The project will be designed and implemented by a district level committee in
partnership with other departments of the district.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 41
4. Huge dead zone discovered in Bay of Bengal
 ‘Dead zone’ — an area in water body that contains little or no oxygen and supports
microbial processes that remove vast amount of nitrogen from the ocean.
 An estimated 60,000 square kilometres of dead zone found in Bay of Bengal.
 Dead zones are well-known off the western coasts of north and south America, off
the coast of Namibia and off the west coast of India in the Arabian sea.
 Mostly they occur naturally but it can be caused by excessive nutrient pollution from
human activities coupled with other factors.

5. Cancel Illegal Salt Pans In Sambhar Lake: NGT


 National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Rajasthan government to cancel
allotments of salt pans in the Sambhar Salt Lake that fall within the wetland and run
contrary to the mandate of Wetland Rules, 2010.
 A/C to Vinod Kapoor Committee report in 2010 there was illegal business of brine
extraction in the Sambhar Salt Lake (SSL). It resulted in to exploitation of water
resources leading to decline groundwater level by almost 60 metres in the area.
 These activities were carried out illegally contrary to the provisions of the Wetland
(Conservation and Management) Rules framed under the Environment
Protection Acts, 1986.
 Sambhar Salt Lake is India’s largest inland salt lake. It is located in Nagaur and
Jaipur districts of Rajasthan. The lake is actually an extensive saline wetland
designated as a Ramsar site. It is important wintering area for flamingos and other
birds that migrate from northern Asia.

6. Union Government’s Approval For Using Deer Antlers in Ayurveda Medicines


 The Kerala Government has approached the Union Government for allowing use of
antlers of spotted deer and sambar in Ayurveda medicines.
 Kerala State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) has forwarded proposal to National Board for
Wildlife (NBWL) and Ministry of Environment and Forests.
 SBWL is seeking suitable amendments to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as
it prohibits (bans) sale and use of antlers in India. It has included antler in the
definition of wildlife trophy and Section 39 of the Act prohibits person from
acquiring or keeping trophies in his possession without the previous permission of
Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer.
 Antlers are the extensions of the deer’s skull. They shed their antlers annually. It is
believed that antlers have medicinal values mainly used for invigorating spleen,
strengthening bones/muscles and boosting blood flow.

7. Eco-Sensitive Zone: Sanjay Gandhi National Park


 MoEF declares the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), located in
north Mumbai and southern Thane declared an "Eco-Sensitive Zone".
 The ESZ will have a minimum extent of 100 metres and maximum upto four kms
from the SGNP's boundaries.
 The objective was to create a buffer area for the protection of the national park.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 42
 Due to the unique location of SGNP within a mega-city, any new construction within
ESZ will be as per the laws of the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation,
Maharasthra Regional and Town Planning Act and ESZ provisions.
 The area is the origins of Mumbai's only river, the Mithi, and the 2,400-year old
Kanheri Caves complex.
 Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas
notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife
Sanctuaries. The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock
absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around
such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas
involving lesser protection.

8. 45% Of Country’s Bird Species Found In Himachal Pradesh: Great Backyard Bird
Count
 About 45 per cent of country’s total bird spices were reported in Himachal Pradesh
during Great Backyard Bird Count (GGBC) 2017 in the State.
 The Great Backyard Bird Count is the first online citizen-science project aimed at
collecting data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.
 It was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon
Society, a powerful source of information on birds.
9. New Ginger Species With Medicinal Properties Discovered In Andamans
 Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has found a new species of Zingiber (commonly
referred as Ginger) from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
 The new species Zingiber pseudosquarrosum, indeed possesses ethno-medicinal
uses like to treat abdominal pain and anti-helminthic troubles
 The pseudo stem of the new species is predominantly red in colour. Flowers have a
vermilion tinge and dehisced fruit [fully mature fruits] are lotus shaped. Inflorescence
buds are urceolate in shape. The species has got tuberous root. The morphological
features of this species make it distinct from other species belonging to the genus
Zingiber.

10. New Fault In Indian Ocean May Trigger


Earthquakes In Future: Study
 A new plate boundary may be forming on the
floor of the Indian Ocean in Wharton Basin as a
result of the 2012 earthquake that shook the
Andaman-Sumatra region.
 Scientists created a high-resolution imagery of
the sea floor by using data which unveiled
deformations that had occurred on the Indo-
Australian Plate. It showed that the plate had
broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone due to

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 43
2012 earthquakes, resulting in a new plate boundary and likely to be the site of future
fault-slip earthquakes.

11. New Species Of Gibbon Discovered In China


 Scientists have discovered a new species of primate, living in south-west China’s
rainforests.
 It has been named the ‘Skywalker hoolock gibbon (Hoolock tianxing),’ because
the Chinese characters for its scientific name translate to “heaven’s movement” —
but also because they’re fans of Star Wars.
 This species already has been proposed to classify as endangered in IUCN list.
Gibbons are classified under vulnerable category of IUCN.

12. SC Approves Centre’s Graded Response System To Tackle


 The Supreme Court-
backed grade system
categorizes four
levels of air pollution
in Delhi NCR.
 Environment Pollution
Control Authority
(EPCA), reports
categorize four levels of
air pollution based on
atmospheric particulate
matter (PM) levels.
 Particulate matter can
be fine—measuring 2.5
micrometres or less and
coarse—those that are
10 micrometres or less.
 Four categories of air
quality—moderate to
poor, very poor, severe,
very severe or
emergency.

13. Parliamentary Committee Report Highlights Alarming Rise In Forest Fires


 The frequency of fires raging across Central Indian forests and the Himalayan Pine
forests has risen by a drastic 55 per cent in the past year.
 The number has touched 24,817 in 2016, a “really alarming” rise, from around 15,937
fires in 2015, says the report by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and
Technology, headed MP Renuka Choudhary.
 The committee has suggested a national policy on managing forest fires.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 44
 The three central States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh contribute a
third of the forest fires. Madhya Pradesh has seen a nearly ten-fold increase, from
just 294 in 2015 to more than 2,600 in 2016.

14. NGT Bans Open Waste Burning Across The Country


 The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a complete ban on burning of waste in
open places and announced a fine of Rs. 25,000 on each incident of bulk waste
burning.
 Directing every State and Union Territory to enforce and implement Solid Waste
Management Rules, 2016, and also asked to ban the short-life Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
and chlorinated plastics within a period of six months.
 NGT is a statutory body established by a Government Notification using the powers of
Section 3 of the NGT Act 2010.

15. Hope Island becomes graveyard for Olive Ridleys Turtles


 54 Carcasses of Olive Ridley turtles are found on the beaches of Hope Island,
Andhra Pradesh.
 This indicates that the breeding cycle of the vulnerable species has been dealt a
severe blow this year by mechanised fishing boats. Owners of these boats are not
taking precautions and most of them are crushed under the boats and succumb to
injuries.
 The turtles, commence their journey from the warm Indian and pacific Ocean during
their mating season in October and November. When they reach the Bay of Bengal,
majority lay eggs on the beaches in Gahirmatha, Odisha and some on Hope
Island of the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary.
 The Fisheries Department tried to encourage the mechanised boat owners to fit a
Turtle Excluder Device (TED) to their trawl nets to allow the animals to pass.

16. Union Cabinet approves ratification of the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto
Protocol
 Cabinet approves ratification of the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol to
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on containing the
emission of Green House Gases (GHGs).
Background
 The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and the 1st commitment period was from
2008-2012.
 At Doha in 2012, the amendments to Kyoto Protocol for the 2nd commitment
period (the Doha Amendment) were successfully adopted for the period 2013-
2020. Developed countries have already started implementing their commitments
under the 'opt-in' provisions of the Doha Amendment.

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17. Government launches Rubber Soil Information System
 Commerce & Industry ministry launched Rubber Soil Information System
(RubSIS).
 It is an online system for recommending application of appropriate mix of fertilizers to
the specific plantations of rubber growers depending upon their soil nature
 RubSIS, developed by Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) under the Rubber
Board in collaboration with three agencies viz Indian Institute of Information
Technology and Management, Kerala, National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use
Planning, ICAR and National Remote Sensing Center, ISRO.
 It is a cost effective tool for sustainable &scientific management of rubber growing
soils and preventing indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and soil degradation.
 Kottayam (Kerela), the largest rubber growing district of India.

18. Climate change plan to get 3 new missions


 Prime Minister’s Council has instituted a National Action Plan on Climate Change
in 2012 with eight-point plan to fight climate change.
 3 new missions to address the impact of climate change on health, coastal zones
and waste-to-energy.
 India’s will soon have an 11-point plan on climate change.
 Older 8 missions were: National Water Mission, Green India Mission, National Solar
Mission, National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, National Mission on Enhanced
Energy Efficiency, National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem, National
Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, and a National Mission on Strategic Knowledge
for Climate Change.

19. FAO calls for International collaboration on wheat rust


 The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), a United Nations agricultural agency
has called for International collaboration on wheat rust to curb threat to global
supplies.
 According to studies wheat in Africa, Asia and Europe is increasingly threatened by
fresh groups of two new groups or races of both yellow rust and stem rust.
Some of the most vulnerable regions are also the highest producers of wheat.
 Yellow rust is a fungal disease which turns leaves yellowish and stops the
photosynthesis. It is caused by the Magnaporthe oryzae fungus.

20. February 2: World Wetlands Day


 On February 2, 1971, the convention of wetlands was adopted in Ramsar, Iran, on
the shores of the Caspian Sea. Also called the Ramsar Convention, the World
Wetland Day marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands.
 World Wetland Day was celebrated for the first time in 1997.
 For World Wetlands Day in 2017, the theme is Wetlands for Disaster Risk
Reduction
 India has around 26 wetlands of international importance as defined by the Ramsar
Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands

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 In September 2016, report by IUCN, prepared in coordination with the secretariats of
the Ramsar Convention and UNESCO, “Managing MIDAs-Harmonizing the
Management of Multi-Internationally Designated Areas: Ramsar Sites, World
Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Global Geoparks” was launched
with the aim to support integrated management of these areas.
21. Barren Island volcano, India’s only live volcano, became active in January
 India’s only live volcano which had started showing activity in 1991 after lying
dormant for over 150 years has again started spewing ash.
 The Barren Island volcano, located 140-km north-east of Port Blair, dormant for
more than 150 years started erupting in 1991.
 Scientists from CSIR-NIO have been surveying the Andaman Basin and they have
identified many small submerged volcanoes in a linear chain called a volcanic
arc.
 These volcanoes are formed due to the rising magma formed deep in the mantle
due to the melting of the subducted Indian Ocean crust.

22. Scientists claim discovery of Zealandia a submerged continent in Pacific Ocean


 Zealandia is around 4.5-million square km land mass and is 94% under water. Only
its highest points — New Zealand and New Caledonia are visible.
 It is believed that it had broken off from Antarctica about 100 million years ago, and
then from Australia about 80 million years ago as part of the breakup of super-
continent Gondwanaland and sank beneath sea.

23. Two new critically endangered plant species spotted in Eravikulam National Park
 The new species of balsams (impatiens) Impatiens Mankulamensis and Impatiens
panduranganii were discovered from the shola forests on the periphery of the park
and Mankulam forests.
 Impatiens plants are also called jewel weeds. They are seen in pristine forests where
moisture content and relative humidity are high.

24. Meghalaya’s Living Root Bridge Nominated for NIF Award


 Meghalaya’s root-bridge has been nominated for the prestigious National
Innovation Foundation (NIF) award for grassroots innovations and outstanding
traditional knowledge.
 It is a community-driven innovation by forest dwellers in the southern slopes of
of the state. The recognition is not for any single community, but for all
communities who are engaged in growing living root bridges which have
simplified bridge construction across rivers and streams.
 Meghalaya Basin Development Authority has identified at least nine villages that
train and utilises the aerial roots of Rubber Trees (Ficus elastica) to make
bridges across water bodies.

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25. 181 Irrawaddy Dolphins counted in Odisha
 Irrawaddy Dolphin is not a true river dolphin, but an oceanic dolphin that lives in
brackish water near coasts, river mouths and in estuaries in South and
Southeast Asia.
 It has established subpopulations in freshwater rivers, including the Ganges and
the Mekong, as well as the Irrawaddy River from which it takes its name.
 Its habitat range extends from the Bay of Bengal to New Guinea and the
Philippines. They do not appear to venture off shore.

26. Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute
confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus
 This plant is a medicinal plant endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats
and Sri Lanka.
 The therapeutic properties of the plant were discovered based on traditional
knowledge of Cholanaickan tribeof Kerala who used it to treat inflammations and
wounds.
 The herbal drug formulation derived from Neurocalyx calycinus possesses burn-
healing, wound-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, immuno-enhancing, anti-
inflammatory, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.
 The presence of high Vitamin E content and potent cytoprotective activity in cell
lines has also enhanced the prospects of developing an anti-cancer drug.

27. World Wetland Day :2nd February


 World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 each year to mark the Day the
Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar in 1971.
 The theme of World Wetlands Day for 2017 is ‘Wetlands for Disaster Risk
Reduction’. This theme has been selected to raise awareness on the vital roles of
healthy wetlands in reducing the impacts of extreme events on communities and in
helping to build resilience.
 This year World Wetland Day is being celebrated in collaboration with the
Government of Madhya Pradesh at Bhoj Wetlands, Bhopal, which is one of the 26
Ramsar sites that India has designated under the Ramsar Convention.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 48
Defence
Exercise Country venue Purpose
involved
Konkan India and Mumbai and Maritime exercise conducted in two phases:
2016 UK Goa
1.Command Planning exercise
2. Live Exercise (LIVEX), at Goa, which involves interaction
between Marine Commandos (MARCOs).
Both phases will involve sharing of best practices and
lessons learnt in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and
Disaster Relief (HADR) and Non-combatant Evacuation
Operations (NEO).

Indra India & Bay of The primary aim of exercise INDRA NAVY-16 is to increase
Navy- Russia Bengal inter-operability amongst the two navies and develop
2016 common understanding and procedures for maritime
security operations.

Exercise India and Kadhdhoo, The aim of the Joint military Exercise is to acquaint both
EKUVERI Maldives Lammu forces with each other’s operating procedures in the
N-2016 Atoll in backdrop of amphibious and counter insurgency/ Counter
Maldives. terrorism environment as also to enhance the existing
military relationship

Sard India’s Rajasthan The purpose of the operation is to keep a hawk’s eye on the
Hawa BSF international border and check the instances of infiltration
due to the dense fog in the area.
TROPEX Indian 1. Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Readiness Operational
17 Navy And Exercise (TROPEX)
Air Force 2. The exercise provided an apt-opportunity to test the
combat capability of the Indian Navy, Indian Army,
Indian Air Force and Coast Guard,
3. strengthened inter-operability and joint operations in
complex conflict situation.
Joint Indian  Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Pavak has
exercise Coast arrived on a goodwill visit to Dubai and anchored itself at
Port Rashid.
between Guard
 Samudra Pavak or "Purifier of the Seas" has been
India and (ICG) deployed along the northwest maritime frontier to
UAE and safeguard the maritime interests of India, like EEZ
their UAE surveillance, search and rescue, pollution response and
counter such other duties as enshrined in the Coast Guard
parts Dubai charter.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 49
Weapons
Name Range and Type
Nirbhay  Long range surface-to-surface nuclear-capable subsonic cruise
missile developed indigenously by the DRDO.
 Terrain hugging missile which keeps on encircling the area of its target
for several minutes and then hits bull’s eye.
 Strike range of 700 km to 1000km, India’s answer to US’s Tomahawk
and Pakistan’s Babur missile.

Smart Anti-Airfield  Flight tested from an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft.
Weapon (SAAW)  Indigenously designed and developed 120 kg-class smart weapon,
developed by DRDO, is capable of engaging ground targets with high
precision up to a range of 100 kms.
Dhanush  Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)
 Developed by DRDO aided by the transfer of technology (tot) clause
signed with the Swedish company.
 A range of 45 km with accuracy and precision. It also has night firing
capability in direct fire mode.
Guided Pinaka  Guided Pinaka is transformed version of the Pinaka Rocket Mark-II,
Rocket which has evolved from Pinaka Mark-I.
 It has been jointly developed by ARDE Pune, DRDL Hyderabad and
RCI Hyderabad.
 It is equipped with a navigation, guidance and control kit.
 Pinaka is an unguided rocket weapon area system (WAS) with a
range of 40 km. It meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos. It
can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds.
Agni-V  Strike range of over 5,000-km
Intercontinental  It can hit most northern parts of China and other parts of Asia, Europe
Ballistic and Africa.
Missile(ICBM)  It carries multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV)
payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple
warheads at different targets.
INS Khanderi  Navy’s second of the six submarines of Kalvari class Scorpene
submarine.
 Khanderi built at MDL in collaboration with M/s DCNS of France, as
part of Project 75 of Indian Navy.
 It has superior stealth and the ability to launch a crippling attack
with torpedoes as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles whilst
underwater or on surface
 The first one, Kalvari, is completing sea trials commissioned on 8
December 2016, The Submarine Day, completing 50 years.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 50
 khanderi is named after the Island fort of Maratha forces, it is also the
name for Tiger Shark.
Agni-IV missile  Nuclear- long range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
 surface-to-surface missile with a strike range of 4000 km

Ababeel missile by  surface to surface nuclear-capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up


Pakistan to 2,200 kms, which brings many Indian cities within its striking range.
 Pakistan indigenously-developed
 The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple
Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology
Pakistan’s  cruise missile
 It can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy at a
Babur-3
range of 700kms.
 It is a low flying, terrain hugging missile, which carries certain stealth
features and is capable of carrying various types of warheads.

Integrated  Launched by Indian Navy


Underwater Harbour  The system will enhance the security of valuable assets against
Defence and asymmetric threats.
Surveillance System  The IUHDSS is a state of the art system with integrated radars, electro
optic cameras and sonars, a significant step in strengthening Harbour
Defence and Security at Mumbai.

Advanced Area  The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming


Defence (AAD) targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms successfully destroyed the
incoming missile.
(Endo-Atmospheric
 The launch has proved the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) prowess
Interceptor Missile)
of the country.
 The BMD consists of two interceptor missiles, the Prithvi Defence
Vehicle (PDV) for exo-atmospheric ranges and the Advanced Area
Defence (AAD) missile for endo-atmosphere lower altitudes.
survey vessel INS  It has gone green by installing a 5kw solar power system on board.
Sarvekshak  The system is 100 per cent reliable for power source and can be used
for communication equipment, battery charging and general lightings
onboard round the clock with battery outputs during night.

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Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 52
CULTURE
1. Thiruvalluvar statue unveiled in Haridwar.
 The 12-foot-tall stone statue of renowned Tamil poet and philosopher-saint
Thiruvalluvar was inaugurated at Mela Bhawan in Haridwar.
 He is the author of the book ‘Tirukkural (also known as the Kural), a work on
ethics. It is one of the most revered ancient literally work in Tamil Language.
 Tirukkural is a classic Tamil sangam literature consisting of 1330 couplets or
Kurals. The book is also called as the fifth Veda or ‘Bible of the Tamil Land’.

2. Rajasthani writer Satya Narayan chosen for 2016 Bihari Puraskar.


 Eminent Rajasthani litterateur Dr Satya Narayan was chosen for the 26th Bihari
Puraskar 2016 by the K K Birla Foundation. He was been chosen for his Hindi
book titled Yeh Ek Dunia published in 2010.
 The award was instituted in 1991 by the K K Birla Foundation. It is named after
famous Hindi poet Bihari. It recognises outstanding work in Hindi or Rajasthani,
published during the last ten years by a Rajasthani writer.

3. Thewa art
 Thewa is a special art of jewelry making which involves embossing of intricately
worked-out sheet gold on molten glass. It evolved in Pratapgarh district,
Rajasthan India. Its origin dates back to the Mughal age.
 Thewa is a traditional art of fusing 23K Gold with multicoloured glass. The glass
is treated by a special process to have glittering effects, which in turn highlights the
intricate gold work.
 Thewa, an art that pulsates with life, caught seemingly in movement, in motifs used
on jewellery, which shows the culture, heritage and tales of romance and valour
of Rajasthan with nature and happiness depicting the art of the fine craftsmanship
 Nathu ji Soni invented the process. THEWA is a word from the local Rajasthani
language which literally means “SETTING.

4. Bidri art
 Bidriware is a metal handicraft from Bidar. It was developed in the 14th century
C.E. during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans. Allauddin Behman Shah, the
second King of Bahmani Kingdom, is credited for introducing Bidri craft, a Middle
Eastern art form.
 The term 'Bidriware' originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the chief
centre for the manufacture of the unique metalware.
 The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc and copper inlaid with thin sheets of
pure silver. This native art form has obtained Geographical Indications (GI) registry.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 53
5. Special Stamp on Freedom Fighter Gaya Prasad Katiyar released.
 Department of Posts has brought out a special stamp on freedom fighter Gaya
Prasad Katiyar. Besides, it has unveiled a set of eight commemorative postage
stamps on Personalities Series.
 These include Dr Sachchidananda Sinha (lawyer and journalist), Karpoori Thakur
(politician), Dashrath Manjhi (known for carving a path through a hillock using only a
hammer and chisel), Vidyapati (Maithili poet), Kailashpati Mishra (politician), Kunwar
Singh (freedom fighter), Phanishwar Nath Renu (writer) and Krishna Sinha (first Chief
Minister of Bihar).

6. President presents 2nd ICCR Indologist award to Prof. Yu Long Yu


 The second Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Indologist Award for the
year 2016 was awarded to Prof. Yu Long Yu of China.
 He is Professor and Director at the Centre for Indian Studies, Shenzhen University.
He has studied Indology for half a century and is the pioneer for Indology in South
China.
 He has set up the Centre for Indian Studies and Tan Yunshan Sino-Indian Friendship
Museum in Shenzhen University.
 The first award was presented to Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von Stietencron of
Germany in 2015.

7. Google Doodle Paid tribute to Social Reformer Savitribai Phule on her birth
anniversary
 She was the first woman
teacher of the first women’s
school in India and a pioneer in
modern Marathi poetry.
 Savitribai taught in the school
which she and her husband,
Jyotirao Phule, started in 1848
with just nine students on the rolls.
 Savitri set up a care centre for widows and even encouraged them to remarry. She
also fought for the rights of the untouchables.
 The Government of Maharashtra has instituted an award in her name to honour
women social reformers. Also, a stamp was released by India Post in honour of
Savitribai on March 10, 1998.
8. UN declares 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for
Development.
 The declaration recalls the potential of tourism sector to advance the universal 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs)

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 54
9. 14 th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas held in Bengaluru
 The theme of this edition was “Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora”.
Portugal Prime Minister Dr. Antonio Costa is the chief guest in the PBD
convention.
 PBD is an annual event organised since 2003 by Ministry of External Affairs to
foster greater interaction between the Indian Diaspora and Indian government.
 It is held annually on 9 January to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi from
South Africa to India i.e. on 9 January, 1915.

10. Modi releases postage stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math(YSS)
 Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) is a non-profit religious organization
founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1917, 100 years ago. A special postage
stamp to commemorate the occasion was also released by Modi.
 Paramahansa Yogananda is most noted for his book Autobiography of a
Yogi which became an international bestseller and featured in the 100 Most
Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century

11. Pakistan to renovate Katas Raj Hindu Temple


 Katasraj Mandir is a Hindu temple complex situated in Katas village near Choa
Saidanshah in the Chakwal district of Punjab in Pakistan.
 Dedicated to Shiva, the temple has, according to Hindu legend, existed since the
days of Mahābhārata and the Pandava brothers spent a substantial part of their exile
at the site and later Krishna himself laid the foundation of this temple and established
his hand made Shivling in it.
 Temple was over 5,000 years old and had been the focal point of four civilisations.
Al-Biruni, Persian scholar and polymath, had computed the earth’s
circumference from here.

12. Kerala’s Nilambur teak to get GI tag


 Kerala’s Nilambur teak known internationally for its superior timber quality and
elegant appearance will be added to the list of Kerala produces with the
Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
 Nilambur was christened the Mecca of Teak. Due to its superior mechanical and
physical properties as well as aesthetic appearance, the teak was exported to
England and other parts of the world.
 Produces from Kerala with GI tag: Pokkali rice, Vazhakulam Pineapple, Tirur
Betel vine, Wayanadan rice varieties Jeerakasala and Gandhakasala, Central
Travancore Jaggery and Chengalikodan Nendran, a banana variety.

13. UNESCO includes Yoga in Intangible Cultural Heritage list


 Yoga, has been inscribed in the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of
humanity during the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the
Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
 Yoga has become the 13th intangible cultural heritage that has been listed from India
so far with UNESCO
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 55
 United Nation declares June 21st as the International Yoga Day in 2014.
 Others:
1. Koodiyattam: Sanskrit Theatre of Kerala.
2. Mudiyett: theatre ritual of Kerala.
3. Tradition of Vedic Chanting.
4. Kalbelia: folk songs and dances of Rajasthan.
5. Ramlila: Traditional Performance of the Ramayana.
6. Sankirtana: singing, drumming and dancing ritual of Manipur.
7. Ramman: religious festival and ritual theatre of Garhwal Himalayas.
8. Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil of Thatheras: Punjab.
9. Chhau dance: classical Indian dance originated in the eastern Indian states.
10. Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in Ladakh
region of Jammu and Kashmir

14. Hornbill Festival begins in Nagaland


 A ten-day long Hornbill Festival started from December 1 at the Naga heritage
village, Kisama.
 Also known as the ‘festival of festivals’.
 Hornbill Festival showcases a melange of cultural displays under one roof with an
aim to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza
and traditions.

15. Pre-historic camping site found in Ladakh


 Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unearthed an ancient camping site dating
8500 BC has been found near Saser La in Nubra Valley, Ladakh Jammu and
Kashmir. Saser La leads to the Karakoram Pass.
 The site, discovered 14,000 feet above the sea level, indicates that humans were
camping in the area 10,500 years ago.
 The discovery was first noticed by Joint Director General S B Ota during a visit to
Nubra valley.
 It was used for a seasonal settlement not a permanent settlement by hunters.

16. Dr. B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary will be observed as Water Day


 Birth anniversary of the father of Indian Constitution B R Ambedkar (April 14), will be
observed as "Water Day" in the country.
 The idea is to sensitise people about managing precious water resources.
 Ambedkar was a pioneer in the field of developing multi-purpose projects for
independent India like Damodar Valley, Hirakud and other projects.
 According to research paper brought by central water commission on occasion of the
Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary in April, 2016.

17. English most powerful language in the world: WEF


 English has been ranked first in the top 10 most powerful languages in the world
according to the 2016 World Power Language Index (PLI).
 The index was published by World Economic Forum (WEF).
Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 56
 English is dominant language of 3 G7 nations (USA, UK and Canada).
 Indian language Hindi was ranked 10th in the 2016 PLI.

18. Rio de Janeiro accorded UNESCO world heritage status


 Rio de Janeiro, nicknamed the Marvellous City, officially entered the UN’s list of
world heritage sites in recognition of its soaring granite cliffs, urban rainforest
and beaches.
 UNESCO highlighted the “extraordinary fusion” of man-made and natural beauty in
certifying Rio on the world heritage.
 The UNESCO status was announced in 2012, but only became official after the
Brazilian authorities were given four years to report on their plans for protecting the
likes of Flamengo Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Corcovado, and the Copacabana
beach.

19. Renowned Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar’s statue unveiled in Haridwar


 The statue was inaugurated at the premises of Mela Bhawan in Haridwar.
 Thiruvalluvar is renowned Tamil poet and philosopher-saint believed to have lived
between 3rd Century BC and 1st Century BC.
 It is believed that he was born either in thirunainarkuruchi, a village in Kanyakumari
District of Tamil Nadu or in Thiru Mylai (Mylapore) Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

20. Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh chosen for 2016 Jnanpith Award
 Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh has been chosen for the prestigious 52nd Jnanpith
Award for 2016.
 He is regarded a leading authority on Rabindranath. some of his famous poems are
‘Adim lata-gulmomay’, ‘Kabir abhipray’, ‘Murkha baro, samajik nay’, ‘Mukh dheke jay
bigyapane’, ‘Babarer prarthana’, Dinguli Raatguli and ‘Nihita Patalchaya’
 Instituted in 1961, the award by Bharatiya Jnanpith recognises Indian literateurs
who write in one of the 22 Indian languages listed in the Schedule Eight of the
Indian Constitution.
 Last year the Jnanpith award was given to Gujarati writer Raghuveer Chaudhary.

21. 6,117 Kuchipudi dancers set new Guinness World Record


 Kuchipudi is one of the ten major Indian classical dances. It belongs to Andhra
Pradesh.
 It is a dance-drama performance art. The Kuchipudi style was conceived by
Siddhendra Yogi, a talented Vaishnava poet of 17th century.
 As many as 6,117 Kuchipudi dancers set a new Guinness World Record by
performing together in a single event in Vijayawada district of Andhra Pradesh.
 The Guinness World Record adjudicated for the 12-minute “Jayamu Jayamu” item
as the ‘Largest Kuchipudi dance’ performance.
 Jayamu Jayamu’ was chosen for the ‘Mahabrinda Natyam’ which was part of the
5th International Kuchipudi Dance Convention hosted by the Andhra Pradesh.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 57
Miscellaneous
1. 2016: IAAF World Athlete of the year award
 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
 Usain Bolt from Jamaica has been awarded the 2016 IAAF World Athlete of the
Year award in male category for sixth time.
 Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia won the award in women’s award category.

2. International Children's Peace Prize


 UAE-based Indian environmental activist girl Kehkashan Basu wins 2016 award for
her fight for climate justice and combating environmental degradation.
 She has founded her organisation Green Hope at the age of twelve, through which
she has initiated countless cleanup operations and awareness campaigns.
3. Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) ,2017
 The 4rth edition of GTCI released by INSEAD in partnership with The Adecco Group
and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI).
 The GTCI is an annual report that measures how countries grow, attract and
retain talent.
 Theme: Talent and Technology: Shaping the Future of Work.
 Switzerland and Singapore occupy the top spots; others in the top 10 include the
United States (4th), Sweden (5th), Australia (6th), Luxembourg (7th), Denmark (8th),
Finland (9th) and Norway (10th).
 India has slipped 3 places to 92nd rank from last year‘s 89th rank.
 India's ranking is worst among the five BRICS countries. While China at the 54th
place, Russian Federation at 56th, followed by South Africa at 67th and Brazil 81st.

4. Indian Railways approves first Rail Project in Andaman and Nicobar


 A 240-KM broad-gauge railway line connecting
two major islands Port Blair in south with Diglipur
on the north Andaman Island.
 The line has tourism potential and is of
“immense strategic value” to the defence forces
because Diglipur is just 300 km by sea from the
southern coast of Myanmar.
 A broad-gauge train line from Port Blair to
Diglipur will take three hours at the most.

5. Sports Ministry launches Khelo India National level Competitions


 Khelo India is a National-level competition for various sports for Under-14 and Under-
17 children.
 The Delhi leg of the competitions, organised by Sports Authority of India, included
swimming, cycling and wrestling.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 58
 Objective: To promote sports at grass-root level and create sports infrastructure in
the country.
 It had provide a platform to the budding talents to compete at national level and
Talent identification in the process for grooming them to achieve excellence at
international level.

6. India ranks 79 in Corruption Perception Index, 2016.


 India has been ranked 79th among 176 countries with Belarus, Brazil, & China.
 It is released by the Transparency International organisation.
 Its score marginally improved from 38 in 2015 to 40 in 2016. India had a score of 36
in 2012.
 The list was topped by New Zealand and Denmark with a score of 90 each.
 Higher-ranked countries tend to have higher degrees of press freedom, access to
information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public
officials, and independent judicial systems.
 Somalia was ranked the most corrupt country with a score of 10.

7. Kheleao: official mascot of FIFA U-17 World Cup unveiled


 'Kheleao' a clouded leopard is mascot of FIFA U-17 World Cup.
 The clouded leopard is an endangered wild cat whose habitat extends from the
Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia.
 “Mission 11 Million” FIFA had launched a programme to engage more than 11
million children in soccer-related activities.

8. India’s first Integrated Heliport inaugurated at Rohini in New Delhi


 Joint initiative of Civil Aviation Ministry and Pawan Hans
 The heliport consists of a terminal building with a capacity for 150 passengers, four
hangers with parking capacities for 16 helicopters, and nine parking bays.
 The heliport will provide all helicopter operational facilities, de-congest the busy
Indira Gandhi International Airport and also promote regional air connectivity.
 The heliport will also have services such as helicopter maintenance, disaster
management, helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) and law-and-order
surveillance.
9. Hindi Scholar and writer Surendra Verma selected for 2016 Vyas Samman award
 He was chosen for this award for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha : Padma
Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se, published in 2010.
 The Vyas Samman award award was instituted by the K.K. Birla Foundation in 1991.
It is awarded annually to outstanding literary work in Hindi.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 59
10. 89th Academy awards
The award ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Best Picture - 'Moonlight'


Best Actress in a Leading Role - Emma Stone for 'La La Land'
Best Actor in a Leading Role - Casey Affleck for 'Manchester By The Sea'
Best Director - Damien Chazelle for 'La La Land'
Best Animated Feature - 'Zootopia' by Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer
Best Animated Short - 'Piper' by Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer
Best Foreign Language Film - 'The Salesman' by Asghar Farhadi
Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Viola Davis for 'Fences'

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Dec 2016 to Feb 2017) Page 60
CURRENT AFFAIRS PRELIMS QUICK REVISION’ 2017

1. Social Issues
2. Polity Issues
3. Government Schemes
4. Economy Issues
5. International Relations
6. Summits
7. Science
8. Environment
9. Defence
10. Culture
11. Miscellaneous

Quick Revision Prelims 2017


Part 1 - June, July & August 2016
Part 2 – September, October & November 2016
Part 3 – December 2016, January & February 2017
Part 4 – March, April & May 2017 (would be available by 25th May 2017)

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 1
SOCIAL ISSUES

1. UN appoints David Beasley to head World Food Programme


 United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres has appointed David Beasley as
head of the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP).
 The WFP is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations. It is the world’s largest
humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
 It is a member of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) and part of its
Executive Committee.

2. Government to redefine blindness to meet WHO stipulation


 As defined under the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB), a person
unable to count fingers from a distance of six metres is categorised as “blind” in India,
against the WHO’s stipulation of three metres.
 The Union Government has decided to change a four-decade-old definition of blindness
to bring it in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria and ensure the Indian
data on blindness meets the global estimates.

3. March 24: World TB Day


 The World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) is observed every year on March 24 to raise public
awareness about the global epidemic of Tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the
disease.
 WTD is observed to commemorate discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, bacillus
(bacteria) causing TB on 24th March, 1882 by German microbiologist Dr Robert Koch.
 2017 Theme (Campaign): “Unite to End TB”. This year it is second year of a two year
“United to End TB” Campaign.
 WHO has placed special focus on uniting efforts to “Leave no one behind” including
actions to address stigma, discrimination, marginalization and overcome barriers to
access care.
 It commonly affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is the second
biggest killer disease worldwide next only to HIV/AIDS.

4. India ranks 122 in 2017 World Happiness Report


 India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017, four
notches below its previous rank of 118
 It is published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on the eve of
International Day of Happiness (20 March).
 India was behind the majority of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
(Saarc) nations, apart from Afghanistan, that stood at 141.
 Norway emerged at the top, displacing three-time topper Denmark for the first time.
Denmark dropped to second place.
 The happiness rankings are based on six factors: GDP per capita, healthy years of life
expectancy, social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of
trouble), trust (as measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 2
business), perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity (as measured by
recent donations).

5. India ranks 131 in 2016 Human Development Index


 India came down by one slot and was ranked 131st among 188 countries on Human
Development Index (HDI) 2016 released by the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP).

 Devised and launched in 1990, HDI is a statistic which ranks countries into four tiers of
human development on the basis of indicators like life expectancy, education and per
capita income.

6. India ranks 148 in 2017 UN Women in Politics Map


 In recently released 2017 Women in Politics Map report, India was ranked low at 148th
position in representation of women in executive government.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 3
 It was released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women, on the sidelines
of 61st Commission on Status of Women, the largest inter-governmental forum on
women’s rights and gender equality.
 The theme for this year: women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of
work.
 Top 10 countries with highest women in parliament: Rwanda, Bolivia, Cuba, Iceland,
Nicaragua, Sweden, Senegal, Mexico, Finland and South Africa.

7. NFHS 4 shows improved sex ratio, decline in infant mortality rate


 National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) for 2015-16 unveiled by The Union Ministry of
Health and Family welfare.
 It has shown positive trends in key health indicators, including an decline in infant
mortality rate (IMR) and improvement in sex ratio at birth during 2015-16.
 For the first time it provides district level estimates.
 Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between
NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4..
 Sex ratio at birth (number of females per 1,000 males) has improved from 914 to 919 at
the national level over the last decade. It is highest in Kerala (1,047), followed by
Meghalaya (1,009) and Chhattisgarh (977). Haryana also witnessed a significant
increase from 762 to 836.
 Institutional births: Increased by 40 percentage points from 38.7% in NFHS-3 to 78.9% in
NFHS 4.
 Total Fertility Rate (TFR): It also has declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in
NFHS-3. Thus, it is moving closer to target level of 2.1.
 Full immunization coverage: Children within the age of 12-23 months have been fully
immunized (BCG, measles and 3 doses each of polio) and DPT increased by 18
percentage points to 62% in NFHS-4 from 44% in NFHS-3.
 Underweight children: There was a decline by 7 percentage points, a consequence of
improved child feeding practices and focus on nutritional aspects of children. There was
“substantial” decline of anaemia from 69% in NFHS-3 to 58% in NFHS-4 among children
aged 6-59 months.

8. Government signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for Tejaswini Project
 India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for Tejaswini: Socio-Economic
Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project.
 The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter
provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of
secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary.
 The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand.
 The project has three main components, (i) Expanding social, educational and economic
opportunities (ii) Intensive service delivery (iii) State capacity-building and
implementation support. The closing date for the project is 30th June, 2021.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 4
9. Cabinet approves ratification of 2 ILO conventions on prohibiting child labour
 The government has approved ratification of two fundamental conventions of
International Labour Organization (ILO) to address concerns related to child labour.
 The Cabinet approves ratification of -- Minimum Age Convention (No 138) concerns
minimum age for admission to employment and Worst Form of Child Labour
Convention (No 182) concerns prohibition and immediate action for elimination of the
worst form of Child labour.
 India would be legally binding to comply with the provision of the two conventions. India
would join countries who have adopted the legislation to prohibit and place severe
restrictions on the employment and work of children.
 India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which came
into existence in 1919. At present, the ILO has 187 members.
 India by ensuring proper implementation of the provisions of the Child and Adolescent
Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 which now completely prohibits
employment or work of children below 14 years in any occupation or process, which is
also crucial for the attainment of elimination of child labour as a Sustainable
Development Goals by 2030.

10. Iceland set to become world’s first country to neutralise gender pay gap
 Iceland is set to become the first country in the world to neutralise gender pay gap.
 In this regard, a bill was introduced in Iceland’s parliament that makes mandatory for
public and private businesses to prove they offer equal pay to employees. The bill entails
companies and institutions of a certain size (25 or more employees), to undertake a
certification of their equal-pay programmes.
 According to World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 2015 Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI),
Iceland was ranked first and was followed by fellow Nordic nations Norway, Finland and
Sweden

11. India develops National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial resistance


 AMR (Antibiotic drug resistance) is developed in the micro-organisms. AMR is the ability
of a microorganism such as bacteria, viruses etc., to render the anti-microbial such as
antibiotics, antivirals and anti-malarials ineffective against them. It results in failure of
standard treatments and the spread of infections.
 Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health that requires action
across all government sectors and society.
 Health & Family Welfare ministry announced the finalization of India’s comprehensive
and multi-sectoral National Action Plan at the Inter-Ministerial Consultation on AMR
containment’ held at New Delhi. The Ministers later signed a ‘Delhi Declaration’.
 The National action plan has objectives of enhancing awareness, strengthening
surveillance, improving rational use of antibiotics, reducing infections and promoting
research.
 Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has set up a National Anti-Microbial
Resistance Research and Surveillance Network (AMRRSN) to enable compilation of
data of AMR at the national level.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 5
 National Programme for Containment of AMR is under implementation in 12th Five Year
Plan.

12. First malaria vaccine to be tested in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi in 2018
 The World Health Organization has announced that it is ready to test the first malaria
vaccine in the real world setting in 2018.It will be tested on people from three African
countries—Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.
 The injectable vaccine, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, was developed by British drugmaker
GlaxoSmithKline to protect children(5-17 years) from the most deadly form of malaria in
Africa.
 In 2015, the vaccine received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
 The RTS, S vaccine works by targeting the liver phase of the malaria parasite’s life cycle
as the parasite multiplies inside the liver after getting introduced into the body by a
mosquito bite.
 Malaria remains a major health challenge, infecting more than 200 million people every
year and killing about half a million. Children in Africa are the most vulnerable. In 2015, 88
per cent of global cases and 90 per cent of global deaths occurred in Africa
 The WHO is hoping to eradicate malaria by 2040 despite increasing resistance to anti-
malarial drugs—a problem that exists not just in Africa but also in India.

13. Kerala hosts country’s first ever transgender athletic meet


 The first-ever athletics meet for transgenders was held at Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram’s
Central Stadium, at least 132 people from as many as 12 districts participated in it.
 Organised by the Kerala government and the Sexual and Gender Minority Federation
(SGMF).
 Back in 2014, in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court had ruled that under the law,
transgenders had equal rights and were granted legal status to the third gender.
 Kerala, on their part, took the initiative to promote equal rights for transgenders. Last
year, in December, the first transgender school was opened in Kochi.

14. New Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine against Pneumonia Launched


 The Ministry of health and family welfare introduced Pneumococcal Conjugate
Vaccine (PCV) that protects against diseases such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus
infections and meningitis in a phased manner.
 PCV protects against Streptococcus pneumonia, a bacteria which can cause these
illnesses.
 Although PCV was first introduced in 2000, five of the highest burden countries—India,
Indonesia, Chad, China, and Somalia—have not been using the vaccine in their routine
immunization programmes.
 Lack of access to antibiotics is a bigger issue than antibiotic resistance and scaling up
vaccines against diseases such as pneumonia could reduce the need for antibiotics.
 The Lancet study estimated that 169,760 under-5 pneumonia deaths in India could be
averted with universal antibiotics access.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 6
15. Swachh Sarvekshan-2017: Indore is the Cleanest City
 Indore has been declared the cleanest city in India among 434 cities surveyed for the
government cleanliness ranking by the Quality Council of India, according to the Swachh
Survekshan 2017 report.
 Report was released by Union Urban Development Ministry .
 Madhya Pradesh’s capital — Bhopal — came second. Mysuru, which had topped the list
in 2016, came fifth this year. State-wise, Gujarat has the highest number, with 12 of its
cities among the top 50 clean cities followed by Madhya Pradesh with 11 and Andhra
Pradesh with eight. Union Territory Chandigarh, which had stood second last year,
slipped to the eleventh position this year.
 The worst performing cities are: Gonda of Uttar Pradesh (434th), Bhusawal of
Maharashtra (433rd), Bagaha of Bihar (432nd), Hardoi of Uttar Pradesh (431st), Katihar
of Bihar (430th), Bahraich of Uttar Pradesh (429th), Muktsar of Punjab (428th), Abohar of
Punjab (427th), Shahjahanpur of Uttar Pradesh (426th), Khurja of Uttar Pradesh (425th).

16. Odisha’s Sualgiri, Swalgiri Communities Notified as Scheduled Castes


 Odisha's Sualgiri and Swalgiri communities have been notified as Scheduled Castes by
the new law.
 The president gave the nod to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment)
Act, 2017. The SC category status will entitle these communities to reservation
in government jobs and admission in educational institutions, besides some other
financial benefits.
 The Constitution empowers the president to specify the scheduled castes in states and
union territories in a list of notified scheduled castes. It also allows the list to be modified
by Parliament.
 The new law has also replaced the term Union Territory of Pondicherry to Puducherry in
the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964.

17. HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar launches Vidya-Veerta Abhiyan


 HRD Ministry launched Centre’s Vidya Veerta Abhiyan to encourage 1,000 educational
institutions to display portraits of war heroes on campus. The Param Veer Chakra (PVC)
is India’s highest military decoration.
 As part of this campaign, universities and schools will dedicate a 15×20 feet wall on
campus to display portraits of Param Veer Chakra awardees.
 Centre will not fund this campaign, but this will be done by institutions on voluntary basis
with money collected by students and teachers.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 7
POLITY ISSUES

1. Government Unveils Online Vigilance Clearance system, e-service book.


 The online system aims to fast track process of cases of vigilance clearance for
senior-level appointments in central government.
 Initially, the system will be made available for board-level appointments done by Public
Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) for Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).
 It will reduce time taken for vigilance clearance from three months to a day or two.
 e-Service Book It will electronically maintain service records, including leave, history
of work done by employees at various departments, house building allowance and other
relevant details.
 It has been started on pilot-project mode for the employees of Ministry of
Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and soon it will be extended to other
departments as well.

2. Shivalik region getting fragile': HC orders complete mining ban in Uttarakhand


 Ordering a "complete ban" on all mining activities in the state for four months, the
Uttarakhand high court directed the state government to constitute a high-powered
committee to look into various aspects of mining activities and find out whether
mining activity should be permitted in the state at all.
 The Shivalik region of the Himalayas is further getting fragile by mining activities.
Mining activities are required to be regulated by the state to ensure that no illegal mining
is carried out.

3. Mental Healthcare Bill decriminalizing suicide attempt passed by Parliament


 The new Mental Healthcare Bill that decriminalises attempt to suicide and bans use
of electric shock therapy for treating children with mental illness was passed.
 An important factor in the Bill is that it separates attempt to suicide from the Indian
Penal Code. In effect, IPC provisions cannot be invoked in case of an attempt to
suicide.
 The Bill gives an opportunity to a person to provide advance directions on the kind
of treatment they would want in case diagnosed with a mental illness in future.

4. Union Defence minister Arun Jaitley has given the green light to widespread
military reforms.
 The reforms are based on a report by the Lt General (retired) DB Shekatkar committee,
which made recommendations on enhancing the combat potential of India’s three
armed forces, rationalising the defence budget, and improving the teeth-to-tail
ratio.
 The panel wants the military to move out of non-core areas such as the National
Cadet Corps (NCC), remove duplicity among the three services, and make
institutions such as the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)
and ordnance factory boards more accountable through project audits and by
shelving outdated concepts.

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 A major recommendation is that the defence budget should be 2.5% to 3% of the
GDP. The committee called for redefining the revenue and capital heads in the budget.

5. Environment Ministry official to chair animal welfare board


 The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body under the
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF), will now be
permanently chaired by a senior MoEF official.
 In its 55-year history the organisation has always been chaired by somebody outside
government, such as veterinarians, animal welfare activists or retired judges.
 The Chennai-based organisation, which derives its legal structure from the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, frames a range of rules on how animals
ought to be humanely treated everywhere.
 A petition by AWBI and a 2011 MoEF notification were instrumental to the SC banning
jallikattu in Tamil Nadu in 2014 on the grounds that it was cruel to the animals and also
put participants at risk.

6. Parliament passes Enemy Property Bill


 According to the bill, “Enemy property” refers to any property belonging to, held or
managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm.
 Successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during partition will have
no claim over the properties left behind in India.
 The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property
for India, an office instituted under the central government.
 The purpose of bill is to clarify the 1968 Act. Inheritance law will not be applicable on
Enemy Property. However The tenants of those property will be governed by the
Tenancy Act.

7. Lok Sabha Passes the Admiralty Bill, 2016


 The Bill aims to establish a legal framework to consolidate the existing laws relating
to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of
vessels and related issues.
 It also aims to replace archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance. The Bill
confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and
this jurisdiction extends upto territorial waters.

8. Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Passed


 The Maternity Benefit Act 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of
her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’ – i.e. full paid absence from
work – to take care for her child.
 Maternity leave available to the working women to be increased from 12 weeks to
26 weeks for the first two children.
 Maternity leave for children beyond the first two will continue to be 12 week.
 Maternity leave of 12 weeks to be available to mothers adopting a child below the age
of three months as well as to the “commissioning mothers”. The commissioning

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mother has been defined as biological mother who uses her egg to create an
embryo planted in any other woman.

9. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana


 The scheme will be distribute free of cost physical aids and assisted-living devices
for senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
 It will be implemented through the sole implementing agency ‘Artificial Limbs
Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under Union Ministry of Social
Justice and Empowerment.
 The eligible elderly beneficiary will get devices such as walking sticks, elbow crutches,
walkers/crutches, tripods/quadpods, hearing aids, wheelchair, artificial Dentures and
Spectacles.
 It is the first-of-its-kind Central Sector Scheme (CCS) in India, to be fully funded by the
Central Government. It is expected to benefit 5,20,000 Senior Citizens.

10. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved amendments to the New
Urea Policy–2015
 The amendment is related to the production beyond Re-Assessed Capacity (RAC), to
protect the production beyond RAC by urea units and boost indigenous urea
production in the country.
 It also raises ceiling imposed on production beyond RAC during the year 2016-17 to
enable all urea unit to produce additional production.
 Department of Fertilizers has been authorized to take appropriate decision in
consultation with Department of Expenditure to address any future fluctuation in Import
Parity Price (IPP).

11. The Union cabinet approved the setting up of a regulator for the railways—the Rail
Development Authority (RDA).
 The long-awaited regulator will perform four primary functions—tariff determination;
ensuring fair play and level playing field for stakeholder investment; setting
efficiency and performance standards; and dissemination of information.
 The RDA will be an independent body with separate budget. The independence is
ensured through separate budget, appointment and removal process.
 The regulator, to be headed by a chairman and comprising three members, will have
a five-year term and be empowered to engage experts.

12. The Union Cabinet has approved MoU between India and Bangladesh for fairway
development on two stretches.
 They are Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara river and Sirajganj-Daikhawa
stretch of Jamuna river, the dreging would be jointly done.
 The MoU will considerably help to reduce the logistics cost of cargo movement to
North Eastern states of India.
 It will also reduce the dependence and congestion through the narrow Siliguri
Chicken’s Neck corridor.

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13. Centre sets up National Board of Electric Mobility
 Centre notified the constitution of the National Board of Electric Mobility (NBEM). It also
nominated six members of eminence and expertise from the automobile industry
into it, including Vikram Kirloskar (Toyota Kirloskar Motors), Vinod Dasari (Ashok
Leyland), Pawan Goenka (Mahindra & Mahindra) and Sudarshan Venu (TVS Motors)
 The NBEM will examine, formulate and propose short- as well as long-term plans
and contours of the mission programme on electric mobility.
 One of its key functions will be to explore and recommend collaborations and tie-ups
for technology acquisitions, obtaining technical experts and explore possible agreements
with leading R&D centres globally to facilitate availability of technology to the domestic
industry.

14. The Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016
 The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that provides for legal standards
for motor vehicles, grant of driving licenses, and penalties for violation of these
provisions. It proposes Aadhaar-based verification for grant of online services
including learner's licence.
 He said the government has also proposed compulsory vehicle recall, amendments
like third party insurance, relief to good Samaritans, stricter punishment and fines
to traffic rule violators.
 The bill specifically targets traffic offenders with stringent penal provisions. The bill
has identified priority areas for improving road safety. Stricter penalties are proposed
for high risk offences such as drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading,
non-adherence to safety norms by drivers.

15. Parliament passes Constitution (SCs) order (Amendment) Bill, 2017


 Modify the list of SCs for Odisha: It makes castes Sualgiri, Swalgiri as synonyms to
the Sabakhia caste in the list of SCs for the state.
 Modification of name of Pondicherry: It modifies name of the Union Territory of
Pondicherry to Puducherry by incorporating changes in the Constitution (Pondicherry)
Scheduled Castes Order, 1964.

16. Lok Sabha has passed Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017
 It seeks to insert a new article 338B in the constitution which provides for NCBC, its
composition, mandate, functions and various officers. Insert a new article 342-A which
empowers the president to notify the list of socially and educationally backward
classes of that state / union territory. Since the National Commission for Backward
Classes Act, 1993 becomes irrelevant once this bill becomes an act; Lok Sabha has
also passed a separate bill to repeal that act.

17. The government has reduced the number of centrally sponsored schemes to 28
umbrella schemes from 66
 The 28 schemes have been classified further, wherein six schemes have been
categorised as ‘core of the core’, 20 schemes as ‘core’ and the remaining two as optional
schemes.

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Core Schemes: For these schemes Funding pattern is generally 60:40 for general
states and for North Eastern and himlayan states, it is 90:10.
Core of The core Schemes: These schemes are fully funded by the centre.

18. April 21: Civil Services Day


 The Civil Services Day is organized on 21st April every year, when civil servants re-
dedicate themselves to the cause of the citizens and renew their commitment to public
service.
 This day coincides with the date on which SardarVallabhbhai Patel had addressed the
first batch of probationers at the All India Administrative Service Training School at
Metcalfe House, New Delhi in 1947.
 In the event, 8 break away sessions were held on the replication initiatives awarded by
the Prime Minister and 4 Priority Programmes, the names of which include;
‘PradhanMantri Jan DhanYojana’, ‘Swachh Bharat (Gramin)’, ‘SwachhVidyalaya’
and ‘Soil Health Card’.

19. The agriculture ministry has unveiled “The State/UT Agricultural Produce and
Livestocks Marketing (promotion and facilitation) Act, 2017
 It will introduce features such as a single market within a state, private wholesale
markets, direct sale by farmers to bulk buyers, and promotion of electronic trading.
 traders will be able to transact in all markets within a state by paying a single fee
and sell perishables such as fruits and vegetables outside existing mandis (wholesale
markets).
 The state governments as per the draft law are required to appoint an independent
entity ‘director of agricultural marketing’ who would function as a sole authority to
grant the licence for the establishment of a new market yard in the state concerned.

20. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik)
 ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ means ‘the common man flies’. The PM flagged of the
first UDAN flight under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) on Shimla-Delhi sector.
 Around 45 unserved and under-served airports are set to be connected under
UDAN scheme to make flying more affordable. The airports to be connected under
UDAN include Bhatinda, Bhavnagar, Durgapur, Jaisalmer, Puducherry, and
Shimla.
 Under this scheme, five operators will operate flights services on 128 routes that will
connect 70 airports through 19-78 seater aircrafts. The operators are Air India
subsidiary Airline Allied Services, Air Deccan, Air Odisha, Turbo Megha, and Spice
Jet.
 As per the modalities of the scheme, airfare for a one-hour journey of 500 km has
been capped at an all-inclusive charge of Rs. 2,500. For longer routes and flight
duration, the pricing will vary
 only 50% of the seats will be sold at Rs 2500 per seat per hour. The airlines can sell
the rest of the tickets at market rates.

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21. Assam declared as ‘Disturbed’ Area Under AFSPA for 3 More Months
 As per the notification, the entire Assam besides bordering areas of Meghalaya
has been declared as “Disturbed Area.
 The government has cited various violent activities carried out by certain insurgent
groups like ULFA, NDFB and others as a reason behind the extension of AFSPA.
 The AFSPA has been under force in the three Arunachal Pradesh districts since
January 2016.
 AFSPA is collective name of several acts passed by Indian parliament for
providing special powers to the Indian Armed Forces and to provide army officers
and jawans legal immunity for their actions in disturbed areas.

22. Real Estate Act Passed


 The Real Estate Act which aims to protect the interests of homebuyers by ensuring
transparency has come into effect.
 Since land is a state subject, real estate sector comes within the ambit of the state
governments.
 Buyers and developers of real estate property can seek relief by approaching Real
Estate Regulatory Authorities against violation of the contractual obligations and other
provisions of the Act.
 Under the act, the Regulatory authorities are required dispose of complaints in 60
days and Appellate Tribunals will be required to adjudicate cases in 60 days.

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GOVT. SCHEMES & PROGRAMMES

1. Swachh Shakti Saptah campaign launched


 A campaign titled "Swachh Shakti Saptah" to emphasize on active involvement of
women in the Swachh Bharat Mission.
 The week-long campaign is being jointly implemented and monitored by the Rural
Management and Development Department and the Social Justice Empowerment and
Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim.

2. Government launches Bharat ke Veer web portal and application


 A web portal and mobile application named “Bharat ke Veer” inaugurated on the
occasion of Valour Day of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) i.e. 9th April.
 The portal is an IT based platform, with an objective to enable willing donors to
contribute towards the family of a braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of
duty.
 The amount so donated will be credited to the account of ‘Next of Kin’ of those Central
Armed Police Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers. The idea is contributed by actor
Shri Akshay Kumar.
 This platform is technically supported by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and powered
by State Bank of India (SBI). To ensure maximum coverage, a cap of Rs. 15 lakh is
imposed on donation and donors will be alerted if amount exceeds, so they can choose
to divert part of the donation to another account.

3. Government to launch SAMPADA scheme for food processing


 The Ministry of Food Processing launched an umbrella programme SAMPADA (Scheme
for Agro-Marine Produce Processing and Development of Agro-Processing
Clusters) for food processing sector.
 It will integrate on-going schemes like mega food parks and cold chain projects as well
as new schemes aimed at reducing food wastage and doubling farmers’ income by
2022. It will help to create infrastructure for linkage of entire supply chain.
 To create infrastructure for improving the entire food supply chain, three schemes—
‘Creation/ Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities’, ‘New Agro-
Processing Clusters’ and ‘Backward and Forward Linkages’ are on anvil.

4. Jharkhand police initiates Tare Zameen Par programme for underprivileged kids
 To enlighten children in naxal-affected areas of Jharkhand's Palamau district, Jharkhand
Police has initiated Tare Zameen Par program to encourage children to lead happy lives.
 People from all sections of society took part in the program for contributing basic
amenities for children. Locals are appealed to donate bags, shoes, books and clothes
that would be distributed among poor children.

5. ‘Digi Yatra’ initiative to make flying simpler


 A new initiative under the Ministry of Civil Aviation -- 'Digi Yatra' -- which will
use Aadhaar card or passport number and a digital mode (mobile phones) to verify
passengers and ease the security and boarding procedure.

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 It’s aiming to make a passenger’s complete Air Travel experience digital/ paperless.
 In addition, the ministry is also in the process of coming up with an approach to have a
no-fly list based on safety.
 The government has decided to come with a no-fly list in the wake of instances of unruly
behaviour by air passengers that endanger the safety of all passengers in an aircraft.

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ECONOMY

1. India ranks 87th on energy architecture performance: WEF


 India has been placed at 87th position among 127 countries in the global Energy
Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) 2017 released by World Economic Forum.
 EAPI is a composite index developed by WEF in collaboration with Accenture Strategy. It
focuses on tracking specific indicators to measure the energy system performance of
the countries.
 Top 5 Countries:
(1) Switzerland (2) Norway (3) Sweden (4) Denmark and (5) France
 Bahrain is ranked the lowest at 127th.
 India marginally improved its position by three places from 90th last year, but, ranks
among the worst for pollution.

2. Mission Fingerling to achieve Blue Revolution


 The Union Ministry of Agriculture has launched Mission Fingerling, a program to
enable holistic development and management of fisheries sector in India.
 Recognizing the potential and possibilities in the fisheries sector, Government of India
has envisaged a program named ‘’Blue Revolution’’ to unlock the country’s latent
potential through an integrated approach.
 The Blue Revolution, in its scope and reach, focuses on creating an enabling
environment for an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries for
the socio economic development of the fishers and fish farmers.
 Greater emphasis will be on infrastructure with an equally strong focus on management
and conservation of the resources through technology transfer to increase in the income
of the fishers and fish farmers.
 Fish Fingerling production is the single most important critical input visualized to
achieve fish production targets under the Blue Revolution.
 Government has identified 20 States based on their potential and other relevant factors
to strengthen the Fish Fingerling production and Fish Seed infrastructure in the country.
 This program will facilitate the establishment of Fingerling rearing pond and hatcheries to
ensure the fish production of 426 crores fish fingerling, 25.50 crores Post Larvae of
shrimp and crab in the country.

3. CCEA approves Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane Gas
 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Policy for Early
Monetization of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Gas Marketing and Pricing Freedom for CBM
Gas.
 Coalbed methane (CBM or coal-bed methane), coalbed gas, coal seam gas, or coal-
mine methane is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds. The term refers to
methane adsorbed into the solid matrix of the coal.
 It is called 'sweet gas' because of its lack of hydrogen sulfide. Coalbed methane is
distinct from a typical sandstone or other conventional gas reservoir, as the methane is
stored within the coal by a process called adsorption. The methane is in a near-liquid
state, lining the inside of pores within the coal (called the matrix).

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 Unlike much natural gas from conventional reservoirs, coalbed methane contains very
little heavier hydrocarbons such as propane or butane, and no natural-gas condensate. It
often contains up to a few percent carbon dioxide.
 The policy provides marketing and pricing freedom to the CBM Contractors to sell
the CBM at Arm’s Length Price in the domestic market.
 While discovering the market price for Arm’s Length Sales, the Contractor has to ensure
a fully transparent and competitive process for sale of CBM with the objective that the
best possible price is realized for the gas without any restrictive commercial practices.
 CBM contractors have also been permitted to sell the CBM to its any affiliate, in the
event contractor cannot identify any buyer.
 Royalty and other dues to the Government, however, shall be payable on the basis of
Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) notified prices or selling prices, whichever
is higher.
 The policy is expected to incentivize the CBM operation in the country to boost gas
production and will generate economic activities.
 It will in turn be beneficial for creating more employment opportunities in CBM operations
and related activities.

4. Cabinet approves North East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase I


 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved North East Road
Network Connectivity Project (NERNCP) Phase I for development of 403 kms of
National Highways in Meghalaya and Mizoram.
 Out of 403 km, approximately 52 kms will be in Meghalaya and 351 km in Mizoram.
The project will be executed in EPC Mode.
 The projects will encourage sub-regional socio-economic development by improvement
of infrastructure in Meghalaya and Mizoram. It will also enhance the connectivity with
inter-state roads and International Borders.
 The work for development to two lane standards are under scheme "North East Road
Network Connectivity Project Phase I" with loan assistance of Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA).

5. Govt. announces open acreage licensing policy to boost oil output


 In order to boost the country’s output of oil and gas through greater foreign investment,
the government has announced an open acreage licensing policy (OALP), which will
allow the bidders to select areas where they want to drill.
 The policy will also give the operators the much needed freedom in pricing and
marketing for oil and gas.
 The objective of OLAP is to increase India’s indigenous oil and gas production by
maximizing the potential of already discovered hydrocarbon resources in the country.
 OALP offers single license to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas
resources to propel investment in and provide operational flexibility to the investors.
 Under it, Government will conduct auction of oil and gas blocks twice a year, with the first
round being held in July 2017.

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 The selection of oil blocks will be based on seismic and well data provided by
Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons in National Data Repository which offers total of
160TB data of India’s 26 sedimentary basins.
 The OALP auction will be held under the overhauled exploration licensing policy,
allowing pricing and marketing freedom to operators and shifts to a revenue sharing
model.

6. CCEA approves changes in Mega power policy of 2009


 According to the amendment, a developer must tie up at least 65 percent of installed
capacity through competitive bidding and up to 35 percent of installed capacity
under regulated tariff as per the policy of the host state.
 This dispensation would be one time and limited to 15 projects which are located in
the states having mandatory host State power tie up policy of PPAs under regulated
tariff.
 The second amendment extends the maximum time period for furnishing final
certificates to tax authorities to 60 months instead of 36 months from the date of
import for provisional mega projects.

7. The Union Ministry of Textiles has launched PowerTex India, a three-year


comprehensive scheme for Powerloom Sector Development.
 The PowerTex India scheme aims to boost common infrastructure and modernisation of
the powerloom sector in the country.
 PowerTex India scheme comprises new R&D in power loom textiles, new markets,
branding, subsidies and welfare schemes for the workers.
 Major components : In-situ Upgradation of Plain Powerlooms; Group Workshed Scheme
(GWS); Yarn Bank Scheme; Common Facility Centre (CFC); Facilitation, IT, Awareness,
Market Development and Publicity for Powerloom Schemes, Tex Venture Capital Fund
and Grant-in-Aid and Modernisation & Upgradation of Powerloom Service Centres
(PSCs).
 It also has two new schemes : Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme (PMCS) for powerloom
weavers and solar energy scheme (SEC) for powerlooms.

8. Indian Government Withdraws FAME Subsidies For Mild Hybrid vehicles


 The FAME or ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles’
was introduced in 2015 as a part of NMEM(National Mission on Electric Mobility) and
offered discounts of up to Rs 29,000 for two wheelers and up to Rs 1.38 lakh for four
wheelers.
 Mild hybrid technology is different from plug-in or conventional hybrid vehicles.
Mild hybrid vehicles use the energy generated while applying the brakes and turns
it into electric energy that is then stored in a battery.
 This energy can then be used to turn the starter motor when the car’s start stop
system needs it. In most cases, a mild hybrid will turn its engine off when at idle or
when it comes to a halt at a traffic signal.

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9. Japan has officially recognized bitcoin and digital currencies as legal money along
the lines of other fiat currencies
 The recognition means regulations governing banks and financial institutions will be
applicable to crypto-currency and digital currencies exchange platforms.
 They will be also required to comply with strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know
Your Customer (KYC) requirements, along with annual audits.
 Bitcoin is a form of digital currency or virtual currency created and held
electronically. No one controls it i.e not regulated by any central bank or government.
 It is also called a “cryptocurrency” since it is decentralized and uses cryptography
to prevent double-spending, a significant challenge inherent to digital currencies.

10. Government launches URJA MITRA app


 Union Ministry of Power has launched URJA MITRA app for empowering citizens by
real time information sharing on power supply.
 The app is a first of its kind which provides a central platform, web-portal
(www.urjamitra.com) as well as mobile app for state power Distribution utilities to
disseminate power outage information to rural/ urban power consumers through
SMS/ push/email notifications across the country.

11. All GST Bills Passed In Lok Sabha


 The lower house passed four bills- Central GST Bill, Integrated GST Bill, Union Territory
GST Bill, and The GST (Compensation To States) Bill.
 Since, these bills were tabled as money bills, the Rajya Sabha can only make
recommendations on the proposed laws and that too within 14 days of the bills being
sent to the upper house.
 The GST Council has finalised the process of fitting various goods and services. The
four bands of tax rates have been fixed at 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent and 28
percent. This apart, another category of tax between 40 percent and 65 percent will be
imposed on luxury goods like high-end cars, pan masala, aerated drinks and tobacco
products.
 Food grains will be zero-rated to insulate people from inflationary pressures. There
has been no consensus yet on tax rate for gold.
 A decision has also been taken to levy a cess in order to raise funds to compensate
states for the revenue losses they will incur.
 Demerit goods or sin goods such as luxury cars, pan masala, aerated drinks, and
tobacco and tobacco products, will invite a tax of 28 percent plus the cess.

12. India’s GDP Growth Forecast for 2017 Revised Downward by UN


 In the report titled, World Economic Situation and Prospects, the UN has projected
a 7.3% growth for India in 2017.
 India remains one of the fastest growing developing economy which is ahead of
China. China is projected to grow at 6.5% in 2017 and 2018.
 The report has warned that the stressed balance sheets of the Indian banks is likely
to have an adverse impact on investment rebound in the country.

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13. World bank’s Power Accessibility List: India jumps 73 Spots to be ranked 26th
 India has jumped 73 spots to be ranked 26th in World Bank’s electricity
accessibility list. The country was ranked 99th in 2014.
 A person applying for new electricity connection would be able to get the connection
within 24 hours in areas where power infrastructure is available and in areas where
there is no power infrastructure, electricity connection would be given in a week.
 The Ministry of Power has also launched a new app, GARV-II to provide real-time
data of all six lakh villages of the country.

14. The government has released new-look index of industrial production (IIP) and the
wholesale price index (WPI).
 Instead of the earlier 2004-05, base year for the IIP and the WPI will be 2011-12.
Already, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and
gross value addition etc., have 2011-12 as the base year.
 The new series of IIP will include technology items like smart phones, tablets, LED
television etc.
 Under the mineral group, new items like copper concentrate, lead concentrate and
garnet have been added and other items like copper ore, gypsum, kaolin, dolomite,
and magnesite have been dropped.
 Introduction of the new series would make all the key macroeconomic
indicators such as IIP, WPI, CPI and national accounts to have a common base of
2011-12, paving way for easier comparisons among them.

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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Turkey 'ends' Euphrates Shield campaign in Syria


 Turkey says it has "successfully" ended its seven-month Euphrates Shield military
campaign in northern Syria.
 Turkey launched the offensive last August to push Islamic State militants away from
its border and also to stop the advance of local Kurdish fighters.
 Ankara however fears this would fuel an insurgency being waged by the banned
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in south-eastern Turkey.

2. The US Senate voted to approve Montenegro as the 29th member of the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
 The move to add Montenegro as the 29th member was backed by President Donald
Trump.
 NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance, based on the North Atlantic Treaty,
which was signed on 4 April 1949, headquartered at Brussels, Belgium.
 The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member
states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

3. India, Pakistan to review Miyar project


 India and Pakistan agreed on redesigning the Miyar Hydroelectric project, at the
end of two-day talks of Indus Water Commissioners in Islamabad.
 Miyar Hydroelectric Project is located in District Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
on the Miyar Nallah which is a major tributary of Chenab River. It was also agreed
that the Lower Kalnai and the Pakal Dul projects would be inspected again.
 Kishenganga is in arbitration while officials of the two countries are meeting in
Washington in April,2017 on the Ratle project on the invitation of the World Bank.WB
is the Guarantor of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.

4. US, South Korea Kicked Off Annual Foal Eagle Exercise


 United States and South Korean troops kicked off the 2017 iteration of their large-
scale annual Foal Eagle exercises.
 The exercises will run through April and will overlap with the Key Resolve exercise.
The related Key Resolve, a largely-computer simulated exercise, will be conducted
from March 13 to 23.
 Also land-swap deal reached between the South Korean government and the Lotte
Group conglomerate that clears the way for the installation of a Terminal High
Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile battery on the Korean
Peninsula.
 The US has never renounced the use of a first nuclear strike and the THAAD
system is designed to neutralise Chinese nuclear retaliation.

5. Beijing-backed Carrie Lam won a triangular electoral contest to become the first
woman chief executive of Hong Kong

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 21
 Hong Kong is a special administration region of China, which rules it under the
“one country, two systems” principle. Under the system, Hong Kong enjoys a
degree of autonomy and rights not seen in the mainland.
 The Hong Kong election is not a direct one; candidates are voted by an election
committee, mostly comprising pro-Beijing members.

6. Israel approves new settlement for first time in 2 decades


 The new settlement will be built near the existing settlement of Shilo, which is nearby
to the Amona site, an illegal settler outpost that was demolished in February 2017 under
the orders of Israel’s Supreme Court.
 West Bank and east Jerusalem are disputed territories claimed by the Palestinians which
were captured by Israel in 1967, as parts of a future state.

7. Myanmar Becomes 7th Member of South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation


(SASEC)
 SASEC countries, which comprise Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar,
Nepal and Sri Lanka, launched SASEC Vision 2017-25 for the economic growth of the
sub-region.
 As a project-based partnership, the SASEC programme has been helping realise
regional prosperity by enhancing cross-border connectivity, facilitating faster and
more efficient trade and promoting cross-border power trade.
 The SASEC programme was formed in 2001 in response to the request of the four
countries of South Asia -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal -- from ADB to assist
in facilitating economic cooperation among them.
 These four countries comprise the South Asia Growth Quadrangle (SAGQ), formed
in 1996, as a vehicle for accelerating sustainable economic development through
regional cooperation.

8. Turkey Referendum: President Erdogan wins sweeping powers


 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the referendum on granting him
sweeping new powers by a clear majority.
 The new system Erdogan envisages will resemble those in France and the US and
would help to bring calm to the turmoil caused by the Kurdish insurgency, Islamist
militancy and conflict in neighbouring Syria, which has resulted in a huge refugee
influx.

9. Cuba, Morocco re-establish diplomatic ties after 37 years


 Guided by the mutual will to develop friendly relations, the two governments agreed
to re-establish ties as well as political, economic and cultural cooperation.
 Morocco cut ties with Havana in 1980 after Cuba recognised Western Sahara as
the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Morocco claims the territory
as its own.
 After Cuba’s diplomatic reestablishment with Morocco, Israel, South Korea and
Somalia remain the only countries which do not have any ties with Cuba.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 22
10. Kazakhstan opens consulate in Chennai
 This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations
between India and Kazakhstan.
 Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources, minerals, oil and gas and chemical products. It
is the largest exporter of Uranium to India.

11. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected with an emphatic victory
 Mr Rouhani, a moderate who agreed a deal with world powers to limit Iran's nuclear
programme won 57% of the votes.
 While oil exports have rebounded and inflation is back at single-digits, unemployment
remains high, especially among the young people.

12. China, ASEAN agree on framework for South China Sea code of conduct
 China and the ASEAN members had committed to sign a code of conduct around 15
years ago. But the pace of the negotiations was slow as China claimed the South China
in its entirety.
 In the absence of the code of conduct, each country followed a separate document
called the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China
Sea (DOC), which has a provision committing parties to explore ways to build trust and
confidence based on the principles of equality and mutual respect.
 With this agreement ,a legally binding code of conduct, disputes in the strategic South
China Sea are bound to go down.

13. One Belt One Road (OBOR) summit


 Belt and Road Forum (BRF) is a gathering of world leaders from across the globe,
organized by China to showcase its plans to build a network of trade routes under the
One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
 The two-day Belt and Road Forum identified and agreed on 270 deliverable goals
of Belt and Road Initiative.
 As of now, 68 countries and international organisations have signed belt and road
agreements with China.
 India, however, has boycotted the summit owing to sovereignty concerns related to
the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Unlike India, none of the other
countries have sovereignty related issues with OBOR initiative.
 Although India skipped the initiative, 6 of its neighbours namely Pakistan, Sri
Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Afghanistan attended the summit and
signed 20 infrastructure deals with China at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF).

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 23
SUMMITS & ORGANISATIONS

1. 3rd G20 Framework Working Group meeting held in Varanasi


 The 3rd G-20 Framework Working Group(FWG) meeting under the German presidency
concluded in Varanasi on 28- 29th, March 2017.
 It was co-hosted by department of Economic Affairs, and Reserve Bank of
India (RBI).
 The first two G 20 FWG meetings under the G-20 German presidency have already been
held at Berlin in Dec 16 and at Riyadh in Feb 17.
 Since the inception of the FWG in 2009, this is the fourth occasion that India is hosting
this meeting.
 The G-20 is the group of 19 countries and European Union (EU) deliberating on global
economic issues.
 G-20 FWG in Varanasi discussed the current global economic situation and the policy
options that countries can pursue to counter the important development challenges.
Focus was on the inclusive growth agenda of G-20 and to formulate a framework that
will help countries to frame specific inclusive growth policies.

2. IORA Leaders Summit held in Jakarta

 First Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit was held in Jakarta,
Indonesia from March 5 to 7, 2017.
 The theme of the summit was ‘Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful,
Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean’.
 From India, Vice President attended the two-day summit.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 24
 It discussed issues of regional interest such as maritime security, disaster relief and
humanitarian assistance, fisheries management, people-to-people exchanges, trade and
investment and tourism.
 Three documents were adopted during the Summit. The first was the IORA/Jakarta
Concord that lays out the vision for the cooperation among the 21 IORA member states
on maritime safety and security. The two other documents adopted were the
"Declaration on Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering Terrorism" and the
"Action Plan of IORA for the next 5 years".
 IORA is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian
Ocean, established in 1997 to promote cooperation in the IOR.It is based on the
principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on
Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the
region.

3. India becomes associate member of IEA


 India has joined the International Energy Agency as an associate member.India's entry
into the elite group which the developed countries had set up in in 1974 after the OPEC
cartel shocked the world with a steep increase in oil prices.
 Inclusion of India, the world's third-largest oil consumer, is an important achievement
for the body that has acted as the energy watchdog for the developed world and has also
promoted clean energy and environment protection.
 With India as a member, International Energy Agency now formally covers 70% of the
world's energy consumption.
 India is already a partner of the International Energy Agency, but the upgradation of the
status will enhance its status and weight in its dialogue with major oil Suppliers and
consumers.
 Presently IEA has 29 member countries. India is lone associate member of IAE.
 Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France. It acts as energy policy advisor to 29 member
countries and also non-member countries like China, India and Russia.
 Publications: World Energy Outlook report.

4. India ranks 40 in WEF’s 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index


 India was ranked 40th among the 136 economies across the world in 2017 Travel and
Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
 WEF's biennial report is based on the theme 'paving the way for a more sustainable and
inclusive future'.
 Asia-Pacific also emerged as the most-improved region.

5. G20 Digital Ministerial Meeting on Digital Economy held in Germany


 G 20 Digital Ministers’ Meet on Digital Economy: Better International Cooperation
Needed to Check Cyber Crimes and Cyber Terrorism was held in Dusseldorf,
Germany.
 It concluded with adaptation of declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an
Interconnected World’.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 25
 It talked about the need for greater availability of affordable broadband connectivity,
broader adoption of digital technologies and services improved digital skills and literacy,
greater digital entrepreneurship for the digital economy to achieve the Sustainable
Development Goals.
 The ministerial conference was held according to the G20 Task Force on the digital
economy established in G20 summit held in Hangzhou, China in 2016.
 It comprises total 19 countries plus the European Union (EU), representing 85% of global
GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s population. Its members include
Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy,
Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and
EU.

6. India to host 18th World Road Meeting


 New Delhi, India is set to host the 18th World Road Meeting (WRM 2017) on
November 13, the International Road Federation (IRF) said.
 The WRM, the biggest global platform for road engineers, safety and transport experts
and companies engaged in road safety products, will be attended by over 4,000
delegates from across the world.
 The theme of this year is 'Safe Roads and Smart Mobility: The Engines of Economic
Growth'.
 The WRM, which is held every four years, gives a platform to come together, meet and
discuss issues relevant to road infrastructure and mobility and to exhibit and showcase
their products.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 26
SCIENCE

1. Israeli Scientist develop ingestible 3D-printed snake-like robot


 Scientists have developed a tiny, ingestible 3D-printed snake-like robot that can
navigate through the small intestines, and could one day be used to visualise the
digestive system in real time.
 The robot, called SAW (single actuator wave-like robot), moves in a wave-like motion.
The external shape of the robot is a 2D projection of a rotating helix. The result is a
continuously moving wave.

2. ISRO has developed lithium ion battery for satellite and launch vehicle
applications.
 Four types of batteries have been developed – 1.5Ah, 5Ah, 50Ah and 100Ah. Out of
these, 1.5Ah & 50Ah have been used for space applications and 5Ah & 100Ah batteries
are qualified and is ready for induction in space applications.
 ISRO has supplied 50 Ah lithium-ion cells to Automotive Research Association of
India (ARAI). Lithium-ion battery developed by ISRO was successfully
demonstrated in a prototype two-wheeler.
 Technology is ready for transfer to Indian industries for undertaking the production of Li-
ion batteries. BHEL has expressed interest in the transfer of technology.
 Batteries are the key component of any electric vehicle. At present, all lithium-ion
batteries are imported and it's very expensive.
 Such batteries have high-power, but these weigh less and their volume is much
less as well in comparison to conventional batteries.

3. Let there be light: Germans switch on 'largest artificial sun


 German scientists are switching on “the world’s largest artificial sun” in the hope that
intense light sources can be used to generate climate-friendly fuel.
 The Synlight experiment in Jülich, consists 149 souped-up film projector spotlights
and produces light about 10,000 times the intensity of natural sunlight on Earth.
 When all the lamps are swivelled to concentrate light on a single spot, the instrument can
generate temperatures of around 3,500C – around two to three times the temperature
of a blast furnace.
 The Synlight experiment is investigating the possibility that this setup could be used to
power a reaction to extract hydrogen from water vapour, which could then be used
as a fuel source for aeroplanes and cars.

4. The 105th session of Indian Science Congress will be hosted by Osmania


University (O.U) here during January 3-7, 2018
 The conference will meet with the theme `Science and Technology - Reaching the
Unreached’.
 This will be sixth time that the university will be hosing the conference. The Congress
will be meeting in Hyderabad for the seventh time.
 Set up in 1914, Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), supported by the
Government of India, is the oldest science scientific organisation in the country.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 27
5. ISRO commissions world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel
 The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the
world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel , next only to the ones in the United
States (US) and Russia ,at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
 These tunnels have wide spectrum of simulation capabilities in terms of Mach
number, Reynolds number and re-entry velocities.

6. Green nod for Neutrino Project suspended.


 The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal on Monday suspended the
Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO)
that was to come up in Theni.
 The Tribunal was informed that the Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district
of Kerala was just about 4.9 km from the proposed project site and the Tamil Nadu-
Kerala border was just a kilometre away.
 Since it was near a national park, the INO was also asked to get clearance from the
National Board for Wildlife. Taking into account these new facts, the Bench disposed
of the petition and asked the INO to make a fresh application.

7. GRAPES-3 Telescope upgraded to detect Solar storms


 The GRAPES-3 experiment is located at Ooty in India. It was started as a collaboration
of the TIFR and the Japanese Osaka City University, and now also includes the
Japanese Nagoya Women’s University.
 GRAPES-3 (Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) experiment had
detected the effect of a solar storm that hit the earth in June 2015.
 It is specially designed to study cosmic rays with an array of air shower detectors
and a large area muon detector. It aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays in the
four astrophysical settings.
 GRAPES-3 has an important role in understanding the propagation of storms from the L1
point (Lagrange point 1) to its impact on the Earth. The upgraded detector will have an
increased coverage and improved capacity to determine the direction of incident cosmic
rays.

8. LHC: Five new particles hold clues to sub-atomic glue


 The Large Hadron Collider has discovered new sub-atomic particles that could help to
explain how the centres of atoms are held together. i.e. The Strong Force.
 The particles are all different forms of the so-called Omega-c baryon, whose
existence was confirmed in 1994. The new particles were found to be in excited
states — a particle state that has a higher energy than the absolute minimum
configuration (or ground state). The uniqueness of this discovery is that observing five
new states all at once is very rare.

9. 'Lost' Chandrayaan-1 found orbiting Moon: NASA


 India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, which was considered lost, is still orbiting the
moon.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 28
 The ISRO lost communication with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009, almost a year
after it was launched on October 22, 2008.
 Finding a derelict spacecraft at lunar distance that has not been tracked for years is
tricky because the moon is riddled with mascons (regions with higher-than-
average gravitational pull) that can dramatically affect a spacecraft’s orbit over time,
and even cause it to have crashed into the moon.

10. PAU develops country’s first Bt cotton varieties


 Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana said that it has developed country's first
genetically-modified (Bt) varieties of cotton — the seeds of which could be reused by
farmers, resulting in saving the repeated cost.
 Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified three Bt cotton varieties —
namely PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS 2013 — for cultivation in states of Punjab, Haryana and
Rajasthan.
 PAU Bt 1 and F 1861 were developed by PAU, whereas, RS 2013 was developed at
Rajasthan Agricultural University (RAU), Bikaner. While the PAU Bt 1 was completely
developed at Punjab Agricultural University, the F 1861 and RS 2013 varieties were
converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur.
 The entire three varieties carry ''cry1Ac'' gene imparting resistance against bollworm
complex.Notably, cotton is the only genetically-modified seed that’s legally allowed in
India.

11. European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched Sentinel-2B satellite.


 The Sentinel-2B satellite is part of satellites system under the Copernicus Program
that monitors Earth. It will join its twin Sentinel-2A, which has been in orbit since 2015.
 They will take high-resolution, colour and infrared images for a wide array of
environmental initiatives, including crop forecasting and monitoring natural disasters.
 Copernicus observation program is the world’s largest single earth observation
programme. It is directed by the European Commission in partnership with ESA.
 It consists of constellation of seven Sentinel Earth observation satellites.

12. The Government establishes Banana Research Centre in Vaishali


 It is second such in the country after the National Research Centre for Banana at
Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu.
 It will focus on the reasons for less production of banana and will work on expansion
of its cultivation, plant protection, suitable utilisation of various parts of it such as pulp
and fibre, marketing, processing, and value addition.

13. DRDO signs deal with firm to manufacture key alloy


 The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) signed a technology
transfer agreement with Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited (JSHL) for manufacturing High
Nitrogen Steel (HNS).
 HNS is not only tough but also has a much higher ballistic strength than normal
steel. In addition to being non-magnetic and corrosion-resistant, the HNS cost is
about 40% less compared to Rolled Homogenous Armour Steel (RHA).

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 29
14. Drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has
increased price of stents by around 2%
 A coronary stent is a tube-shaped medical device placed in the arteries that supply
blood to the heart.
 It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart diseases.The Procedure of
Placing the stents in an artery is called Angioplasty.
 In February 2017, the NPPA had brought stents under price control and capped ceiling
price of coronary stents. It was the first medical device to be brought under price control.
 NPPA is nodal government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical
drugs in India. It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser.

15. New way to fight drug resistant superbugs


 A process known as plasmapheresis that is somewhat like kidney dialysis, involves
the removal, treatment, and return of blood plasma from circulation.
 It is followed by replacement of antibodies with those from blood donations. This
treatment restored the ability for the patients’ blood to kill their infecting Pseudomonas
bacteria.
 The procedure was used for Bronchiectasis , a disease that leads to permanent
enlargement of the airways in the lung.

16. Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched Cyber Physical
Systems (CPS) programme
 CPS is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the deployment of computer-based
systems that do things in the physical world, such as, for instance, the self-driven
cars produced by Google and Tesla.
 Autonomous unmanned vehicles (UAVs) and aircraft navigation systems and
smart grids (where electricity is optimally distributed on the basis of calculations in real
time by micro-processors) also qualify as CPS.

17. North India to get DNA bank for wildlife


 Scientists at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly are in the
process of collecting DNA samples of all wild animals to set up the bank.
 At present, the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) in
Hyderabad is the only such facility in the country.
 The bank has ‘positive sample’ meaning ‘known sample’ which will have DNA
sequencing. In future, if we get some ‘unknown sample’ like hair or skin, then with the
help of the DNA bank, we can tell which animal it belongs to.

18. ISRO and Agriculture Ministry Team Up To Geo-Tag Agricultural Assets


 The Union Agriculture Ministry has joined hands with the National Remote Sensing
Centre (NRSC), a wing of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for geo-
tagging agricultural assets.
 At present, officials provide information on the assets manually, so there is no
transparency. Geo-tagging will provide us realistic status of assets, thus not only

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 30
help in monitoring and utilising but also be extremely useful in formulating schemes for
development in the agricultural sector.
 It will also help in avoiding duplication. utilisation of space technology would help farmers
get access to pesticide testing labs, storage infrastructure, and market-related
information.

19. Nakshe Portal


 It will offer free
download of 3,000
Topographic maps
or Open Series Maps
(OSM) in a pdf
format on 1:50,000
scale through
Aaadhar enabled
user authentication
process.
 The maps are meant
for development
activities in the
country, and can be
also used to plan
scientific expeditions,
research and planning
development projects.
 Survey of India is a
chief mapping
agency of the country
and comes under the
Department of
Science and Technology. Formed in Year 1767, making it oldest scientific department
in India and one of the oldest survey establishments in the world.

20. Belle II Detector integrated with superKekb Accelerator


 The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) completed the ‘rolling-in’
of the Belle-II experiment in Tsukuba, Japan.
 Roll-in refers to the operation of moving the entire Belle II detector system from its
assembly area to the beam collision point.
 The experiment is designed to study violations of the Standard Model of particle physics.
 Belle-II has a significant Indian participation both on experimental and theoretical
sides. The fourth layer of the six-layer i.e. highly sensitive particle detector has been
built by Indian scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR),
Mumbai.
 MNNIT Jaipur, IISER ,IIT Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar and others are also participating in
this experiment.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 31
21. MOAB
 The official name used by the US Air Force for GBU-43 is the ‘Massive Ordnance Air
Blast bomb (MOAB). GBU-43 is nicknamed as the ‘Mother of All Bombs’.
 GBU-43 is one of the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in the battlefield. The
bomb has been dropped to destroy a system of tunnels and caves used by the ISIS
fighters to move around freely making easier for them to target US military advisers and
the Afghan forces.
 The idea behind an "air burst" weapon, as opposed to a weapon that explodes on
impact with the ground, is to increase its destructive range. A bomb that penetrates
the ground and then bursts tends to send all of its energy either down into the ground or
straight up into the air. An air burst
weapon sends a great deal of its energy
out to the side.
 MOAB, however, is not the largest bomb
ever made. Russia in 2007 tested ‘Aviation
Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power’,
nicknamed as the “Father of All Bombs.

22. BRABO:First Made in India industrial


robot
 BRABO stands for “Bravo Robot. The robot
has been developed indigenously for
micro, small and medium enterprises
(MSME) in India, by TAL Manufacturing
solutions.
 Other than the motors and drives for the
Robo-arm, all the other parts of the robot
were indigenously manufactured in India.

23. LHS 1140b: Another planet in habitable


zone discovered
 Astronomers have discovered yet another
planet, called LHS1140b, which is
expected to be present in the Goldilocks
Zone. Goldilocks Zone refers to a
habitable zone where the temperature is
neither too high nor too low.
 The planet is found to be rocky, like the
Earth but is over six-times as massive as
Earth and about 1.5-times larger and falls under the category of ‘Super Earth’.
 Rocky planets within the habitable zone are the best candidates to find evidence of
some form of life.
 So far, astronomers have identified 52 potentially habitable planets and around 3,600
planets outside our solar system.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 32
 With the launch of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) by NASA in 2018, chances
of studying planets and detecting a familiar atmosphere will increase manifold.
JWST will succeed the Hubble space telescope.

24. NASA's Cassini spacecraft is back in contact with Earth after its successful first-
ever dive through the narrow gap between the planet Saturn and its rings.
 Launched in 1997, Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004. Following its last close flyby of
the large moon Titan on April 21, Cassini began what mission planners are calling its
"Grand Finale."
 During this final chapter, Cassini loops Saturn approximately once per week, making
a total of 22 dives between the rings and the planet.
 The spacecraft is on a trajectory that will eventually plunge into Saturn's atmosphere
-- and end Cassini's mission -- on Sept. 15, 2017.

25. Scientists at IIT Delhi Develops Cheapest Respiratory Filter, Nasofilter


 Nasofilters’ which is capable of restricting up to 95% of dust and air pollutants.
Involving a cost of Rs 10, it is the cheapest naso filter available.
 The Nasofilter employs an has an assembly of millions of small-sized pores
that creates a thin flexible membrane that gives protection against the finest
particulate pollutants especially the PM2.5 concentration. It offers protection for at
least eight hours and therefore helps in reducing the risk of respiratory diseases.
 The filter is capable of getting struck with the user’s nasal orifice and would prevent
the entry of foreign particulate matter like PM2.5 particles, bacteria and pollen allergens.

26. The Union Cabinet cleared the proposal to construct 10 indigenous pressurised
heavy water nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 7,000 MW
 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as
both moderator and coolant.
 The ten reactors will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-
the-art technology meeting the highest standards of safety.
 Cabinet also approved a new coal linkage policy called the Scheme for Harnessing
and Allocating Koyala Transparently in India (SHAKTI) that will award fuel supply
agreements (FSAs) to coal plants already holding letters of assurance (LoAs).

27. US to Sell high-tech chemical protective clothing to India


 The United States will be selling high-tech Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit
Technology (JSLIST) protective clothing worth $75 million to India.
 JSLIST protective clothing when used with the chemical protective mask would
shield the Indian Soldiers from exposure to any kind of chemical, biological,
radiological and nuclear warfare that can result in a serious injury.

28. Ransomware Cyber Attack Plays Havoc in Several Countries including India
 A global cyber attack has crippled nearly hundred countries, including India. A cyber
gang called Shadow Brokers, which is a mysterious organisation is held responsible
for this massive cyberattack.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 33
 The organisation has carried out the attack by stealing a hacking tool called ‘Eternal
Blue’ from the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s powerful military
intelligence unit.
 Hackers have spread ransomware known as WannaCry, WanaCrypt0r 2.0, WannaCry
and WCry, often through emails. The files in the infected computers gets locked up in
such a way that the user cannot access them anymore.
 It then demands payment in cryptocurrency Bitcoin to retrieve the locked files.
 Ransomware is a type of malicious software when infected restricts the user
access until a ransom is paid to unlock it.
 In India, Andhra Pradesh’s police computers have come under the cyberattack.
Computers in 18 police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and
Srikakulam districts have been affected.

29. Railways to acquire EOTT system to run trains without guards


 The End of Train Telemetry (EoTT) equipment is used to establish communication
between the locomotive driver and the last wagon of the train to ensure that the
train is running with all coaches/wagons as a complete unit.
 The equipment is designed to do the guard’s job by giving indication to the loco driver
in case of parting of coaches or wagons from the rear side of the train.
 Each set of EoTT device is estimated to cost approximately Rs 10 lakh. EoTT
system comprises two units – one unit called cab display unit (CDU) fitted on the
locomotive and the other is sense and brake unit (SBU) fitted on the last coach or
wagon of the train.
 Both the units are fitted with radio transmitter which communicate with each
other. In case of a train parting, the system is designed to indicate to the driver the
parting of the train and to apply brakes to the rear unit, thus averting collision of the rear
portion with the front portion of the train.

30. THAAD
 The US’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system is
operational in South Korea to guard against missile threats emanating from North
Korea.
 THAAD is a missile defence system capable of intercepting and destroying short and
medium-range ballistic missiles in their final flight phase.
 The interceptor by using its kinetic energy destroys the incoming ballistic missile.
Hence it is considered safer as it does not make use of warheads to destroy
missiles.
 The THAAD system in many ways is similar to Israel’s missile defence system
called Iron Dome. Iron Dome helps Israel to prevent Gaza attacking Israel’s urban
and highly sensitive areas. Iron Dome has a much shorter detection range than
THAAD.

31. India successfully launched the South Asia Satellite


 Fully funded by INDIA and touted it as an “invaluable gift” to its South Asian
neighbours, which would provide communication and disaster support to the region.

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 The South Asia Satellite, also known as GSAT-9, is a geosynchronous
communications and meteorology satellite operated by the Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
region.
 The standalone satellite has a liftoff mass of about 2,230 kg. GSAT-9 is the first
Indian satellite to use electric propulsion albeit partially. It carries only 25% of the
normal chemical fuel package compared to other Indian satellites, a xenon based
electric propulsion system is used for orbital functions of the spacecraft.

32. Railways to track wagons, coaches with RFID tags


 Indian Railways is set to make use of the radio-frequency identification tags (RFID)
for tracking of wagons, coaches and locomotives to ensure the effective and
transparent functioning of the system.
 The RFID tags have been designed by the Centre for Railway Information System
(CRIS).
 The RFID uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags
attached to objects. The RFID tags contain electronically stored information. Unlike a
bar code, the tag need not be within the line of sight (LoS) of the reader, so it can
be easily embedded in the tracked object.

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ENVIRONMENT

1. El Salvador becomes world’s first country to ban metal mining


 El Salvador became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals. It is a
landmark move for environmental protection.
 The law bans "prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic
minerals."
 Some Latin American countries thrive on mineral exports but local communities complain
of environmental risks from toxic metals used in the process. It will protect poor rural
communities threatened by proposed mining projects.

2. Kanha tiger reserve becomes first in India to get official mascot


 Kanha has become the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot —
Bhoorsingh the Barasingha — to present the hard ground swamp deer as the spirit of
the reserve and spread awareness to save it from possible extinction.
 Barasingha, or swamp deer, is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh.
 The Kanha tiger reserve, spread over Mandla and Balaghat districts, is the only place in
the world where the species exists.
 It has been listed vulnerable in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Red List of Threatened Species.

3. Cyclone Debbie makes Landfall in Australia’s Northeast Coast


 Cyclone Debbie caused major damage, torrential rain and power cuts in Queensland. It
is a category four storm, whipping gusts of up to 263km/h (163mph).

4. Earth Hour observed across the World


 This year Earth Hour is at 8:30pm on 25 March 2017 and it is 11th edition.
 The initiative began in Australia in 2007 as a grass roots gesture by the World Wildlife
Fund (WWF) and other volunteer organisations, together.
 This event is observed annually in March end, encouraging all to switch off nonessential
lights for 1 hr.

5. 3rd World Conference on Environment held in New Delhi


 The President of India inaugurated Third World Conference on Environment organized
by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi (March 25, 2017).
 Govt argues for a plan for sustainable development balancing the need to protect the
environment and continued growth
 The conference discussed various issues like air pollution, water pollution, economics
and clean technology, and the role of courts and tribunals for environmental protection.
 The Conference was held under the aegis of UNEP, in collaboration with MoEFCC and
Ministry of Water Resources.

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6. Assam Government launches SaCReD initiative to make Majuli carbon neutral
island
 Government of Assam launched Sustainable Actions for Climate Resilient Development
(SaCReD) initiative to develop Majuli, the world’s largest river island, as the country’s
first carbon neutral district and a biodiversity heritage site.
 It was launched on the occasion of International Day of Forests (observed on March 21).
 SaCReD Initiative will also ensure that infrastructure in Majuli has less carbon. It aims to
battle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 Forests are Lives campaign was also launched to underline the importance of Assam’s
rich forest and biodiversity. It urges people to take a pledge to conserve its biodiversity to
make the state pollution free.

7. March 22: World Water Day


 World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about taking action to tackle the water
crisis.
 This year's theme is Wastewater.
 In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World
Water Day. World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with
governments and agencies like United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
United Nations Environment, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-
HABITAT), United Nations University (UNU)
 The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target 6 to ensure
everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to
eradicate extreme poverty.

8. Uttarakhand HC recognise Ganga and Yamuna Rivers as living entity


 The Uttarakhand high court has recognized the Ganga and the Yamuna as so-called
living entities, giving the rivers that have seen years of damage at the hands of humans,
a legal voice.
 First time a court has recognized a non-human as a living entity in India.
 The recognition came while the court was hearing a 2014 public interest litigation (PIL).
 Uttarakhand HC verdict Ganga and Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams are declared as
legal persons [or] living persons in order to protect the recognition and the faith of
society. They will have the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties
and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve them.

9. Scientists discover world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina


 Scientists have discovered the world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina that sports a
muted palette of greens, yellows and reds under normal light, but gives off a bright blue
and green glow in the dark.
 The ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths is
called fluorescence, and is rare in terrestrial animals.
 Three molecules hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1 were responsible for green
fluorescence.

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10. Odisha, Jharkhand ,West Bengal and Chhattisgarh to conduct joint Elephant
census
 First such attempt by the States of Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and
Jharkhand have decided to conduct a synchronised elephant census between May 9
and 12.
 The four States together have the maximum number of human-elephant conflict-
prone regions in India.
 The States will conduct the census based on an identical set of rules — using the direct
and indirect counting methods. The dates have been chosen specifically as the
sighting of elephants is expected to be easier on the night of May 10 — a full moon
night.
 The direct counting method is based on sighting of elephants while the indirect
method uses the ‘dung decay’ formula, in which the the analysis of elephant dung is
used to estimate the population.

11. Mass coral bleaching occurring in Great Barrier Reef for 2nd year
 For the second consecutive year, Australia's Great Barrier Reef is experiencing
mass coral bleaching.
 Coral is composed of thousands of small creatures called polyps that can only thrive
in a very narrow range of temperatures.
 Warmer water temperatures can result in coral bleaching. When water is too warm,
corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn
completely white. This is called coral bleaching. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead.
Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to
mortality.
 The back-to-back bleaching is also an indication that the coral is losing its ability to
recover from extreme heat.
 This year more bleaching is being observed in this central part of the Reef, which last
year escaped widespread severe bleaching.

12. New canyon system found near Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh


 This discovery was made by team of scientists from CSIR-National Institute of
Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam by clearly mapping the ocean floor between
Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam.
 Canyon systems are generally formed by the flow of river water into the sea and
they could be as old as the river system, which is close to 23 million years.
 The new canyon system was probably formed by river Kandivalasa. It is very huge
and its depth varies from about 90 metres at the starting point to about 2,500
metres at the deepest point. It extends to about 50 to 70 km deep into the sea.

13. India Launches second stage of HCFCs phaseout plan


 It is estimated that with this plan, there would be a net direct CO2-equivalent emission
reductions of about 8.5 million metric tonnes annually from 2023.

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 HCFCs are used in various sectors like refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) and
foam manufacturing.
 India has secured $44.1 million from Multilateral Fund for implementation of
Montreal Protocol for phasing out 8,190 MT of HCFC consumption between 2017 to
2023.
 The Montreal Protocol seeks to cut the production and consumption of ozone
depleting substances in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer. It also aims
at phase out HCFCs by 2030.
 Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) generally contain chlorine, fluorine, bromine, carbon,
and hydrogen in varying proportions and are often described by the general term
halocarbons. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform
are important human-produced ozone-depleting gases that have been used in many
applications including refrigeration, air conditioning, foam blowing, cleaning of electronics
components, and as solvents. Another important group of human-produced halocarbons
is the halons, which contain carbon, bromine, fluorine, and (in some cases) chlorine and
have been mainly used as fire extinguishers.

14. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has
launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances.
 The portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry
under the (CRZ) by the Project proponents for ease of doing business.
 The user-friendly portal enables submission of applications for CRZ clearance in a
single-window interface and facilitates quick flow of information related to CRZ
clearances.
 CRZ is the zone along the coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers
and backwaters along the coastline specially demarcated for regulated development
activity.
 The regulations in this zone are governed by the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ),
2011 issued under the under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

15. WCCB’s Operation Thunderbird and Operation Save Kurma for fight against
wildlife crime
 Operation Thunderbird is the code-name for INTERPOL’s multi-national and multi-
species enforcement operation for wildlife protection.
 Preceding this operation, WCCB had convened a species specific operation on
turtles, code named OPERATION SAVE KURMA” from December 15 last year to
January 30, this year.
 The operation brought about awareness among the enforcement agencies to focus on
the existing trade routes and major trade hubs in the country, which will be
specifically focused in future.
 It has resulted in huge seizures of 2, 524 Live species of scheduled animals, 9 wild
animal carcasses, 19.2 kg elephant ivory, 1 tiger skin, 1 organ pipe coral, 1 jar snake
venom, 8 leopard skins and 1 Indian Mujtac skin.

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16. World wildlife Day:3rd March
 This year's theme for 2017 World Wildlife Day is "Listen to the Young Voices". The
idea behind the theme being that the youth, who will be the future leader and the
decision maker of the world, should be encouraged to act at both local level and global
levels to protect endangered wildlife.
 World Wildlife Day is observed in order to celebrate and raise awareness of the
world's wild animals and plants and recognise the important role of CITES in
ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of species.
 The 2016 theme was "The future of wildlife is in our hands", with a sub-theme "The
future of elephants is in our hands".

17. Madras HC orders TN Government to enact law to remove Seemai Karuvelam trees
 Seemai Karuvelam (prosopis juliflora) is invasive species of tree harmful to the
environment as it sucks lot of water ultimately affect the environment and agricultural
activities.
 Seemai Karuvelam tree species are native to West Africa. It was brought to Tamil
Nadu in 1960s as fuelwood. It is an invasive species that has infiltrated the water
bodies and dry lands of Tamil Nadu.
 State Government should enact a law with prohibitory and penal clauses to eradicate
this hazardous species.

18. A river in New Zealand has become the first in the world to be granted the same
legal rights as a person.
 After 140 years of negotiation, Māori tribe wins recognition for Whanganui river- the
third-largest in New Zealand, meaning it must be treated as a living entity.
 The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees
no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are
one and the same.
 Two guardians will be appointed to act on behalf of the Whanganui river, one from
the crown and one from the Whanganui iwi.

19. Barmer-Munawab, Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes declared as Green Corridors


 The North Western Railway has declared the Barmer-Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara
rail routes in Rajasthan as Green Corridors.
 The 114 km long Rameswaram-Manamadurai stretch in Tamil Nadu is the country's
first green rail corridor. With the opening of the above two routes, the total number of
green corridors have increased to five.
 The Okha-Kanalus and Porbandar-Wasjaliya railway sections of Gujarat are the other
two routes that have been declared green corridors.
About the green rail corridors:
 The Green Corridor is a commitment to clean environment under the 'Swachh Rail-
Swachh Bharat' initiative. The Indian Railways have set the target of providing bio-toilets
in all the coaches by September 2019.

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 Trains in the green corridor have been fitted with bio-toilets, which ensure zero discharge
of human waste on the rail tracks thereby improving cleanliness and hygiene
 Bio-toilets store the discharge in a bio-digester tank, which has anaerobic bacteria,
fitted underneath the train coach in a small space.The bacteria has the ability to convert
human faecal matter into water and small amount of gases like Methane.

20. Government launches BS-IV grade fuels


 Bharat Stage-IV grade fuels have been introduced from April 1, the BS-VI standard fuels
have been targeted to be launched from 2020.
 Migration to BS-IV fuels shows India's resolve under the leadership of the Prime Minister
to cut down emissions in a voluntary commitment to @COP21.
 The Supreme Court has banned the sale of BS-III vehicles from April 1. On and from
April 1, 2017, such vehicles that are not BS-IV compliant shall not be sold in India by any
manufacturer or dealer, whether two-wheeler, three- wheeler, four-wheeler or
commercial vehicles.
 The proposed BS-VI regulation will reduce diesel sulphur content to a maximum 10 ppm,
enabling the introduction of advanced emission control technologies.
 As the technology for BS-V is not very different, it was decided to go straight to BS-VI
grade fuels from BS-IV.
 Bharat stage emission standards (BSES) are emission standards instituted by GoI to
regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines, including motor
vehicles.
 The standards and timeline for implementation are set by Central Pollution Control Board
(CPCB) under the Ministry of Environment & Forest and Climate Change.

21. India, UK to set up Green Growth Equity Fund under NIIF for green energy
 India and Britain agreed to jointly set up a fund with corpus contributions of 120 million
pounds each to finance Indian infrastructure projects.
 It came after the ninth India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue.
 The Green Growth Equity Fund will be a sub-fund of National Infrastructure and
Investment Fund (NIIF) to finance energy needs in India.
 India set up the NIIF in December 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding
commercially viable Greenfield, Brownfield and stalled projects.
 Last year, the government announced that it is in the process of setting up two sub-funds
under NIIF -- one in clean energy, which will primarily focus on renewable energy and
another with focus on highway project.

22. 19th commonwealth forestry conference held in Uttarakhand


 The 19th Commonwealth Forestry Conference was held at Forest Research Institute
(FRI)Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
 This is for the second time India hosted the conference after it was hosted for first time
in 1968.
 They focused issues on biodiversity conservation and management, livelihood and
economic security from forests, diversification, multiple uses and sustainable harvest,
forest and climate change.

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 They also shared their ideas and researches on ‘Forests for Prosperity and Posterity’ in
consonance with Aichi targets of the UN Convention on Conservation of Biological
Diversity (UNC-CBD) and Sustainable Development Goals.

23. Tree-dwelling crab species Kani maranjadu found in Kerala


 A new species of long legged, tree-dwelling crabs in Western Ghats of Kerala had been
discovered by the scientists.
 The new species named Kani maranjandu after the Kani tribe in Kerala are substantially
different from other congeners.
 Kani maranjandu is the first crab species of its kind to offer a record of an arboreal crab
(species that lives in trees).
 Characteristic traits: Its upper shell is hard, its male abdominal structure and
reproductive parts and diagnostic elongated walking legs (no other genus has).

24. Union Cabinet approves Collaboration Agreement to support Belmont Forum


Secretariat
 The Union Cabinet has given its approval for collaborative Agreement with French
National Research Agency (ANR), France for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat.
 The Cabinet also approved continued financial support to Belmont Forum Secretariat
beyond 2017.
 The Belmont Forum, created in 2009, is a high level group of the world's major and
emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science
councils.
 India is a member of Belmont Forum, besides Australia, Brazil, Canada, European
Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Netherland, South Africa, UK and USA etc.
Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), represents India in the Belmont Forum since 2012.
 In order to coordinate the activities of the Belmont, a Secretariat is hosted by one of the
Belmont forum member on rotational basis. ANR, France is hosting the Secretariat from
January, 2015 to December, 2017.

25. Depression in Bay of Bengal named “Tropical Cyclone Maarutha”


 A depression in the East Bay of Bengal has intensified into a tropical cyclone named
Maarutha, which was centered over the East-Central Bay of Bengal.
 The cyclone's track is north-easterly, which is expected to take it towards the Myanmar
coast for a likely landfall.
 The tropical cyclones rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and are classified
into three types viz. Tropical Depression ( winds of 38 mph or less); Tropical Storm
(winds of 39 to 73 mph); hurricane (winds of 74 mph) and major hurricane (winds of 111
mph).
 Hurricanes are called typhoons in western North Pacific, while similar storms in the
Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones. Tropical Cyclones in Indian
Ocean.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 42
26. Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura chosen for Krishi Karman Awards,
2015-16
 The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has selected Tamil Nadu in
large category (production more than 10 million tonnes), Himachal Pradesh in
medium category (1 to 10 million tonnes) and Tripura in small category (less than 1
million tonnes) for the Krishi Karman Award2015-16 for commendable increase in
food grain production.
 Tripura gets this national award for the second time. The northeastern state first received
the award in the 2009-10 fiscal.
 Meghalaya too gets commendation prize for total food grain production.

27. RGIA gets carbon neutrality status


 The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad has achieved carbon neutral
status. It is the first in the Asia-Pacific region to attain this status.
 Airports Council International (ACI) has certified it. The ACI’s Airport Carbon
Accreditation programme was initiated in June 2009 and consists of four levels:
‘mapping’ (level 1), ‘reduction’ (level 2), ‘optimisation’ (level 3) and ‘neutrality’ (level 3+).
 RGIA adopted many sustainable measures like proactive energy conservation,
generation of renewable energy, carbon sinking through extensive greenbelt and various
other environment protection initiatives to achieve this status.
 Airports Council International (ACI) is the only global trade representative representing
the world’s airport authorities. It is a member of Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). It
was established in 1991 and develops standards, policies and recommended practices
for airports.

28. April 22: Earth Day


 Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22.
 First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day events in more than 193 countries are now
coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.
 The concept of observing Earth Day was formally proposed by John McConnell at a
UNESCO conference on Environment in 1969.
 On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United
States, China, and some 120 other countries.
 The theme for 2017 is "Environmental & Climate Literacy".

29. Goldman Environmental Prize for Prafulla Samantra


 Social activist Prafulla Samantra was announced one among six winners of the Goldman
Environmental Prize for his “historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous
Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit
aluminum ore mine.”
 Samantara is only the sixth Indian to win the prize after Medha Patkar, M.C. Mehta,
Rasheeda Bi, Champaran Shukla and Ramesh Agrawal since 1990 when the award was
first instituted.
 The Goldman Environmental Prize was created in 1990 to honour environmentalists
undertaking risk to their lives for the cause of protecting the environment.

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 The award is given to six persons, one from six geographical regions of the world,
namely, Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South &
Central America.
 The prize is given by Goldman Environmental Foundation having its headquarters in San
Francisco. The prize is also called as the Green Nobel.

30. Study on Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) for Solar Power Generation
Projects in Solar Rich Countries Commissioned
 Argentina, Burkina-Faso, Chad, France, India, Ivory Coast, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria,
Senegal, Uganda and Yemen have jointly supported commissioning of a study to define
and structure a Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) for solar power generation
projects in solar rich countries.
 Involved ministry is New and Renewable Energy.
 This is a major step in the implementation of the Paris Declaration of the International
Solar Alliance (ISA) adopted on November 30, 2015, on the side lines of COP21and of
the ISA programme aimed at mobilising affordable finance.
 Under the ISA, solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics are invited
to share and aggregate data regarding their needs and objectives; emulate successful
practices; and set up common mechanisms and instruments, in order to address
obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy.

31. Madhav Chitale Committee Recommends Measures for De-silting Ganga


 The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has
formulated a committee headed by Madhav Chitalein July 2016 to prepare guidelines for
desilting the Ganga from Bhimgauda in Uttarakhand to Farakka in West Bengal.
 It recommended creation of sand registry for de-silting of the Ganga and alsoan institute
be established for flood routing studies.
 The committee in its report says erosion, sediment transport and siltation are very
complex phenomena. It is impossible to apply a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to sediment
management and control, because the issues involved are frequently very regionally-
specific.
 The committee suggests good agricultural practices, river bank anti-erosion works and
avoiding encroachment of flood plain and reclamation of adjoining lakes along the river.It
also recommended de-silting of adjoining lakes to increase their storage capacities and
 Also asked for the modification in the bridges across the Ganga which are causing large
afflux (more than one per cent of normal depth) to reduce the sediment deposition and
erosion of banks on the upstream.

32. Purnima Devi Burman and Sanjay Gubbi Wins Prestigious Whitley Awards
 Sanjay Gubbi of Karnataka and Purnima Barman of Assam have won the prestigious
Whitley Award for their contributions in wildlife conservation. Whitley awards are
popularly known as Green Oscars.
 Purnima Devi Burman has been selected for her efforts for the conservation of greater
adjutant storks and its habitat.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 44
 Sanjay Gubbi has been selected for his contribution to protect tiger corridors in
Karnataka.He helped to increase the size of protected areas in Karnataka by 37%.
 Whitley Awards are instituted by the U.K.-registered charity Whitley Fund for Nature.
These awards are given annually to recognise national and regional conservationists in
wildlife and nature.

33. PM Launches Narmada Seva Mission for Conservation of Narmada


 Prime Minister launched the Narmada Seva Missionin Amarkantak, for the conservation
of the crucial river, which is a lifeline of Madhya Pradesh.
 The Central Pollution Control Board recently found that at least in three stretches of the
Narmada, water quality is not even good for bathing.
 Narmada Samagra’ is founded which aimed at protecting the river .
What is the Narmada Seva Yatra?
 Started: December 11, 2016 from Amarkantak, the origin place of the River Narmada
 Distance covered on the southern bank: 1831 km
 Distance covered on the northern bank:1513 km
 Ended: May 15, 2017 at Amarkantak (148 days)

34. India’s First Bio Refinery Plant inaugurated in Pune


 Union Minister of Road Transport and Highway inaugurated the country’s first bio-
refinery plant which produces ethanol from the variety of biomass. The project is
situated at Rahu in Pune district.
 The demonstration plant built by Praj industries.
 The inaugurated Bio‐refinery plant is capable of producing one million litres of ethanol
per annum by processing a variety of biomass like rice and wheat straw, cotton stalk,
bagasse, cane trash, corn cobs & stover with superior product yields.
 Biofuel is cost‐effective and pollution‐free. Ethanol blending is the practice of blending
petrol with ethanol. Globally many countries including India, have resorted to ethanol
blending to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions.

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MISCELLANEOUS

1. Government launches e-challan and m-parivahan apps for enforcement of traffic


rules
 Two mobile applications —e-challan and m-parivahan to provide a comprehensive
digital solution for enforcement of traffic rules launched by The Union Ministry of Road
Transport and Highways. M-Parivahan is a citizen-centric app and e-challan is a law
enforcement app.
M-Parivahan: It will bring convenience to citizen and transparency in the system and safety
of passenger.

2. India becomes net exporter of power for the first time


 First time India has turned around from a net importer of electricity to net exporter of
electricity.
 India has exported around 5,798 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar which
is 213 million units more than the import of around 5,585 million units from Bhutan.

3. Srinath Narayanan set to become India’s 46th Grandmaster


 Srinath Narayanan is set to become India's 46th Grandmaster after he defeated
Spanish GM David Anton Guijarro at the ongoing Sharjah Masters 2017 chess
tournament.

4. West Bengal wins 2017 Santosh Trophy


 West Bengal won the 2017 Santosh Trophy of football by defeating Goa by 1-0 goals. It
was 71st edition of Santosh Trophy and overall record 32nd win of West Bengal.

5. French mathematician Yves Meyer wins 2017 Abel Prize


 French mathematician Yves Meyer was awarded the 2017 Abel Prize for his work on
wavelets, (small waves or ripples).
 A mathematical theory with applications in data compression, medical imaging and
the detection of gravitational waves.
 Theory is used for applications ranging from image compression to the detection of
gravitational waves from the merging of black holes.

6. Tamil Nadu wins Vijay Hazare Trophy


 Tamil Nadu won the 2017 Vijay Hazare Trophy of cricket for record fifth time defeating
Bengal.

7. First fully India-made train Medha flagged off at Dadar station


 First India-made train (rake) Medha was flagged off at Dadar station in Mumbai.

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 The rake (group of coaches) costs Rs.43.23 crore, approximately Rs. 1 crore less than
imported German-made Bombardier rake. It will save foreign exchange worth $50 lakh
per EMU rake along with 25% manufacturing cost.

8. Konkani Writer Mahabaleshwar Sail selected for Saraswati Samman 2016


 Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail has been honoured with the Saraswati
Samman 2016 for his novel Hawthan.
 'Hawthan' is a work of fiction presenting the cultural map of the traditional potter
community of Goa.
Saraswati Samman
 It is an annual award bestowed upon Indian citizen for his outstanding literary work
written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII of Constitution and
published during last 10 years.
 Eminent Hindi author Harivansh Rai Bachchan was the first recipient of this award for his
autobiography in four volumes

9. Shahid Afridi appointed ambassador of Blind Cricket World Cup


 Shahid Afridi has been appointed as the ambassador for the fifth edition of the Blind
Cricket World Cup.
 The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) is going to host fifth edition of the tournament
which will be played in ODI format in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan in
January 2018.

10. Sachin Tendulkar appointed as official ambassador of women’s World Cup 2017
 Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar was announced as the official ambassador of
Women's Cricket World Cup 2017 by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the
occasion of International Women's Day.

11. RavichandranAshwin awarded Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy


 Third Indian player to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named the ICC
Cricketer of the Year and the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year.
 The off-spinner thus became the 12th overall to win the prestigious Trophy.
 He follows in the footsteps of Rahul Dravid (2004) and Sachin Tendulkar (2010).
 He had finished 2015 as the number-one ranked Test bowler in the world, a position he
twice reclaimed in 2016.

12. DawitIsaak selected for 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
 DawitIsaak, Eritrean-Swedish journalist, has been chosen to receive the 2017
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
 The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, created in 1997, honours a
person, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the
defence and promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world.
 The prize, worth US$45,000, is awarded each year on the occasion of World Press
Freedom Day on 3 May.

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13. American singer & song writer Bob Dylan accepts Nobel literature award
 American singer and song writer Bob Dylan has accepted 2016 Nobel Prize for
literature since December 2016 awards ceremony.
 He is the first song writer to win this prestigious award.
 He was awarded for creating new poetic expressions within the great American song
tradition. He is first American to win the prize since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.

14. Germany becomes first NATO member to launch cyber command unit
 Germany has become the first North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member to
launch a self-contained cyber command unit, which is designed to shield IT and
weapons systems from growing attacks.
 The Cyber and Information Space Command (Kdo CIR) will have a status equal to that
of the army, navy, and air force. The Kdo CIR is the youngest branch of Germany’s
military “Bundeswehr”.
 It will operate and protect the military’s own IT infrastructure and computer-assisted
weapons systems, and tackle online threats. The center would also focus on war-game
offensive skills and capabilities.

15. India ink defence deals with Israel for advanced MRSAM
 India and Israel have inked defence deals worth over $2 billion for advanced medium-
range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) systems.
 As part of the deal, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide the Indian Army with
Barak-8 advanced MRSAM systems.
 It has been developed jointly by IAI and India’s Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO).
 Using its Multi-Function Surveillance and Threat Alert Radars (MF-STARs), as well as
weapon control systems with data links, it can detect and track hostile aerial threats at a
range of 100-km and destroy them at 70-km.

16. 64th National Film Awards


 The 64th National Film Awards for year 2016, Marathi film Kasaav won the award in the
Best Feature Film category and Fireflies in the Abyss won in the Non-Feature Film
Category. Telugu drama film SathamanamBhavathi directed by SatishVegesna was
selected as the Best Popular film providing wholesome entertainment.
 Best Actor is Akshay Kumar (Rustom)
 Best Supporting Actress: ZairaWasim (Dangal)
 Best Hindi Film: Neerja
 Best Film on social issue - Pink
 It was established in 1954.These awards are presented by the President of India in
the official ceremony.

17. MalalaYousafzai to become youngest United Nations Messenger of Peace


 MalalaYousafzai is to become the youngest United Nations Messenger of Peace.

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 Yousafzai, will help in promoting girl's education around the world as part of her
new role.

18. 12th Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant held in Vairengte
 The 12th edition of Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2017 has
begun at Vairengte in Mizoram.
 The first joint Nomadic Elephant was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held.
 The exercise is aimed at training the troops in counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism
operations (CICT Ops) under the United Nations mandate.

19. Colson Whitehead wins 2017 Pulitzer Prize for ‘Underground Railroad’
 Colson Whitehead’s celebrated novel The Underground Railroad has won the 2017
Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The novel is about an escaped slave that combined liberating
imagination and brutal reality.
 Earlier in November 2016, the novel had received the National Book Award of US.
 This makes Colson Whitehead first person to win Pulitzer and National Book Award for
fiction in last 20 years.
 The Pulitzer Prize is an annual award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and
online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.

20. Operation Meghdoot


 Operation Meghdoot was an Indian armed forces operation launched on 13 April 1984.
Facts about this operation:
 Operation Meghdoot was launched by Indian Armed Forces to capture the Siachen
Glacier in Kashmir.
 The operation was entrusted to one of the Kumaon Battalions, supported by Ladakh
Scouts. Initial assault was led by Maj (later Col ) RS Sandhu, VrC. This military
operation was unique because it was the first assault launched in world’s highest
battlefield.
 Indian troops landed on Bilafond La on Saltoro ridge, west of Siachen glacier, on
April 13, 1984. It was a Baishakhi day. The operation resulted in Indian troops
gaining control of the entire Siachen glacier, giving India strategic advantage and
also maintaining status quo.

21. Nepal and China to conduct Sagarmatha Friendship-2017


 Nepal and China hold their first-ever joint military exercise named ‘Sagarmatha
Friendship-2017’ with a special focus on combating terror and disaster management.
 Sagarmatha is the Nepali name of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, that is
bordering between Nepal and China.

22. UNESCO’s Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize 2017 winners


 UNESCO has named GiuseppinaNicolini, Mayor of Lampedusa (Italy) and the non-
governmental organisation SOS Méditerranée (France) as the winners of Felix
Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize 2017 “for their work to save the lives of refugees and
migrants and welcome them with dignity”.
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 UNESCO’s Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize was created in 1989 to honour living
individuals and active public or private bodies or institutions that have made significant
contribution to peace.
 The Prize was established by a resolution supported by 120 countries and was adopted
by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 25th session.

23. Newton wins Jury Prize for Best Film at the Hong Kong International Film Festival
 Hindi film ‘Newton’ has won the Jury Prize for Best Film at the Hong Kong
International Film Festival.
 The film had its world premiere at Berlinale and got its first global recognition by winning
the Art Cinema award for the Forum section at Berlinale. The film also went to 16th
Annual Tribeca Film Festival.
 The Hong Kong International Film Festival was founded in 1976 and is Asia’s oldest
international film festival.

24. India becomes world’s fifth largest military spender


 According to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute(SIPRI)-India is fifth on the list of the world’s biggest military spenders as its
military expenditure grew to $55.9 billion in 2016.
 The US remains the world’s largest military followed by China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
 SIPRI was established in 1966 as independent international institute dedicated to
research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. The organization
provides data, analysis and recommendations to policymakers, researchers, media and
the interested public.

25. India’s first sea ropeway to connect Mumbai &Elephanta Island


 India’s first and longest ropeway to connect Mumbai with the famous Elephanta Island in
the Arabian Sea.
 The 8-km ropeway will begin from Sewri in Mumbai’s east coast and end at Raigad
district’s ElephantaIsland,aUnesco World Heritage site.
 Elephanta Island is a 16 sq. km island that has several archaeological remains famous
for its cave sculptures.
 The island is locally known as Gharapuri Caves. It is located in Mumbai Harbour, east of
Mumbai, Maharashtra.

26. K Viswanath wins DadasahebPhalke Award for 2016


 Filmmaker and actor KasinadhuniViswanath, has won the DadasahebPhalke award for
the year 2016 for his outstanding contribution to the film industry.
 The award is conferred by the Union Government for outstanding contribution to the
growth and development of Indian Cinema.
 The Award was established in 1969 to commemorate the birth centenary year of father
of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke. It is the highest official recognition (award) in
Indian cinema.

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27. China launches first indigenously built aircraft carrier
 China launched its second aircraft carrier and, the first to be developed and built
indigenously from the Dalian shipyard in Liaoning Province.
 The new aircraft carrier will be able to operate China’s Shenyang J-15 fighter jets and
will be more dedicated to military and humanitarian operations.

28. Bhubaneswar: First Indian city to win Pierre L’enfant Awards-2017


 Bhubaneswar has become the first Indian city to win the elusive Pierre L’enfant
International Planning excellence award 2017.
 The award is given out by the American Planning Association (APA) for good and
advanced town planning and engaging its residents in the planning process.
 Pierre L’enfant was a French-born American architect and civil engineer
 He is credited for designing the layout of the streets of Washington DC in the United
States.

29. India successfully carries out fresh user trial of Agni-III ballistic missile
 India has successfully carried out a trial of Agni-III ballistic missile from Abdul Kalam
Island.
 The missile has a two-stage solid propellant system and is capable of re-entering the
atmosphere at a very high velocity.
 Missile Agni-III is an intermediate range (3,000 km to 5,000 km) missile with two stages.
 It is surface-to-surface nuclear capable intermediate-range ballistic missile indigenously
developed by DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme
(IGMDP).

30. Prime Minister Releases Book Series written by MS Swaminathan


 The Prime Minister released a two-part book series on the eminent agricultural
scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan.
 The series is titled - M.S. Swaminathan:The Quest for a world without hunger.
 Dr. M S Swaminathan is known as the Father of the Green Revolution in India for
his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties
of wheat in India.

31. Bilateral Exercise SIMBEX-17 between Indian & Republic of Singapore Navy
Commences
 The bilateral exercise involving Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy has
commenced in South China Sea.
 SIMBEX stands for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises“.
 The major thrust of the exercise will lie on Anti-Submarine Operations (ASN), Integrated
operations with Surface, Air and Sub-surface Forces, Air Defence and Surface
Encounter Exercises.
 The Indian & Republic of Singapore Navy began participating in the bilateral exercises in
1994.
 The earlier edition of the bilateral exercise, SIMBEX-16 was held atVisakhapatnam in
Bay of Bengal.

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32. Indian Scientist ShrinivasKulkarni Wins Prestigious Dan David Prize
 Indian scientist ShrinivasKulkarni has won the prestigious Dan David prize as
recognition for his contributions made in the field of astronomy.
 He is a pioneer in the field of time-domain astrophysics.
 The Dan David Foundation was established in 2000 by the late Dan David, an
international businessman and philanthropist.
 Dan David prizeawarded each year in the categories of “Past,” “Present” and
“Future” to people who have made exemplary contributions to humanity in the field of
sciences, humanities, or for their work in civil society.

33. Indian Army gets its First Artillery Gun in 30 Years


 After 30 years of the induction of Bofors howitzers, Indian Army will get its first artillery
guns called M777 from BAE Systems, USA.
 Indian Army has plans to equip 169 regiments with 3,503 guns by 2020.
 The deal for procuring M777 guns from the United States was initiated in 2010.
 The 155 mm/39-caliber howitzers will increase the army’s capabilities in high altitude and
will be deployed in the northern and eastern sectors.

34. AnshuJamsenpa:
First Indian
Women to scale
Mount Everest
Four Times
 AnshuJamsenpa,
a native
ofBomdila in
Arunachal
Pradesh has
scripted history by
becoming the first
Indian woman to
scale Mount
Everest for the
fourth time.

35. Mt Lhotse records First Summit in 3 years


 Indian climber DebasishBiswas and a woman climber from New Zealand were the first
to successfully climb Mt Lhotse.
 After the destruction caused by an avalanche above the icefall section in 2014 and the
devastating earthquakes in 2015, the climbers could not summit Mt Lhotse in the past 3
years.
 Mt Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world. The first three highest mountain
ranges are Mt Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga.

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36. Amitabh Bachchan appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East
Asia Region
 World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Amitabh Bachchan as its Goodwill
Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region.
 He has been appointed to boost awareness to stop the spread of hepatitis, which is one
of the leading causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis.
 Hepatitis viruses is one of the common cause of liver damage but other infections, toxic
substances such as alcohol, certain medicine, food contaminants, bad lifestyle and
autoimmune diseases may also result in chronic hepatitis.

37. ‘CASO’ to be reintroduced as Part of Counter Terrorism Operations


 Indian Army has planned to re-introduce cordon and search operations (CASO) as a
part of its counter terrorism operations after a gap of 15 years.
 The major objective behind the reintroduction of combing operations is to bring the
situation in the Kashmir Valley under control.
 Army will carry out CASO in a major way to flush out militants in the militancy-hit areas of
south Kashmir, indicating a change in strategy.
 CASO was a regular feature of Army’s counter-terrorism operations in the 1990s. The
security forces made use of “area domination and sweep” operations in the 1990s.

38. India- Indonesia Co-Ordinated Patrol Commences


 The 29th series of India–Indonesia CORPAT is schedule at Port Blair under the aegis
of Andaman and Nicobar Command.
 The Indonesian Naval Ship KRI SutediSenoputra has arrived at Haddo Wharf, Port Blair
to mark the commencement of the 29th series of IND–INDO CORPAT.
 The bilateral exercise aims to enhance mutual understanding and inter–operability
between the two navies.
 The main aim of CORPAT is to keep the vital part of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
safe and secure for commercial shipping, International trade and legitimate marine
activities.

39. India elected as President of UN-Habitat


 India has been unanimously elected as the president of the UN-Habitat.
 An organ of the United Nations promoting sustainable human settlements across
the globe.
 India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat 3rd time after 2007 and 1988.
 The UN-Habitat was established in 1978.
 The Governing Council of UN-Habitat is an inter-governmental policy making and
decision making body that aims to promote integral and comprehensive approach to
human settlements.
 Assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and
strengthen cooperation among countries over the issue of human settlement.

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40. Agni-II Ballistic Missile Test Fired Successfully
 India has successfully carried out a trial of Agni-II ballistic missile from a defence test
facility in the Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
 Agni-II missile is a nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface missile which forms a part of
India’s strategic forces arsenal for nuclear deterrence with a range of over 2000 km. It
can carry a payload of 1000kg.
 Agni-II weighs 17 tonnes and the range of the missile can be increased to 3000 km by
reducing the payload. It can be fired from both rail and road mobile launchers.

41. World’s Highest Railway Bridge to Come up Over Chenab River


 The Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir will be spanned by the world’s highest
railway bridge that is expected to be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower.
 The bridge will connect Bakkal (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar). The bridge will be a part
of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project.
 It will surpass the record of the Beipan river Shuibai railway bridge (275 m) in China.
 The Indian Railways is also planning to install sensors on the bridge to check the wind
velocity. The sensors will turn the track signal red to prevent the train movement if the
wind speed exceeds 90 kmph.

42. Tejas Express: New Premier Train between Mumbai and Goa
 Indian Railways rolled out the luxurious feature-packed Tejas Express, fully air-
conditioned train,to bear speeds of up to 200 kmph but for now the train will ply at a
maximum speed of 130 kmph.
 Tejas Express has also been proposed for Delhi-Chandigarh and Surat to Mumbai
route.
 The facilities in the train include coaches with bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators,
tap sensors, hand dryers, and integrated braille displays.
 The train has got all the ultra-modern amenities like on-board infotainment, wi-fi, CCTV,
fire and smoke detection facilities, tea and coffee vending machine etc.
 The train coaches are manufactured in Kapurthala and will have automatic entrance
door, a first for non-suburban trains in the Indian Railways.

43. Indian Navy successfully test fires Barak missile from INS Vikramaditya
 India's navy successfully fired its first surface-to-air Barak missile from its aircraft
carrier INS Vikramaditya.
 INS Vikramaditya is the country’s sole aircraft carrier (after retirement of INS Viraat in
March 2017).
 It was built in 1987 and had served the Soviet navy (named as Baku).

44. BrahMos missile successfully test-fired


 An extended range version of the BrahMos cruise missile has been successfully test
fired. The latest 450-km range version of the cruise missile was tested from the
Integrated Test Range (ITR) Chandipur.
 BrahMos Aerospace, an Indo-Russian joint venture.

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45. Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise Surya Kiran-XI held in Uttarakhand
 The Indo-Nepal Joint Military Exercise Surya Kiran XI commenced at Pithoragarh,
Uttarakhand.
 The Nepal Army is being represented by the officers and troops of the elite Durga Baksh
Battalion. The Indian Army is represented by the Ekta Shakti Battalion of the Punjab
Regiment.
 It will focus on skills required for natural disaster management, counter-insurgency and
jungle warfare.

46. India-Oman joint military exercise Al-Nagah-II 2017 held in Himachal Pradesh
 India and Oman army conducted their second joint exercise “Al Nagah-II 2017” at
Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh. This will be the second joint military exercise between
the two country.
 The first edition of the exercise was held at Muscat, Oman in 2015.
 Joint exercise aims to acquaint both forces with each other’s operating procedures in the
backdrop of counter insurgency, counter terrorism environment.

47. World’s oldest aircraft carrier INS Viraat decommissioned


 The world’s longest serving warship INS Viraat was decommissioned by the Indian Navy
at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, after nearly six decades of service.
 It was also the last British-built ship serving with the Indian Navy. It was built in 1943
during the Second World War and was first commissioned as the HMS Hermes into the
British Royal Navy in November 1959.
 It was commissioned into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987. It had played a major role in
Operation Jupiter in 1989 in the Sri Lankan peace keeping operation.
 It also had participated in the standoff Operation Parakram in 2001-20012 when India
and Pakistan were engaged in a standoff post the Parliament terror attack.
 Its last operational deployment was for participation in International Fleet Review held at
Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh in February 2016.

48. Indigenously developed weapon-locating radar SWATHI handed to Army


 The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) formally handed over an
indigenously developed Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) system dubbed as ‘SWATHI’ to
Indian Army.
 It has a range of 50 km which brings all artillery guns presently in service worldwide
under its coverage.
.
49. Supersonic interceptor missile successfully test-fired
 Indigenously developed supersonic Advance Area Defence (AAD) interceptor missile
was successfully test-fired.
 It validates the reliability of its two layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.
 It can destroy the incoming hostile ballistic missile in the endo-atmospheric region
(less than 30 km altitude) at a low altitude of less than 30 kms.
 It has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking
and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

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50. Iran successfully tests ballistic missile Hormuz 2
 Iran successfully tested a ballistic missile Hormuz 2.
 Hormuz-2 is a naval strike ballistic missile intended to hit moving targets at sea with high
precision.
 It has a range of nearly 300 kilometers. It is similar in appearance to the anti-ship Khalij-
e-Fars (Persian Gulf) ballistic missile. Earlier, Iran successfully tested the S-300 surface-
to-air missile defence system purchased from Russia.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 56
CULTURE

1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated an exhibition titled "Swachhagraha –


Bapu Ko Karyanjali – Ek Abhiyan, Ek Pradarshani" in New Delhi To mark the 100
years of Champaran Satyagraha.
 The exhibition will showcase Champaran Satyagraha and it will connect essential
principles of Satyagraha with Swachhagraha.
 It will also showcase the ground covered by the Swachh Bharat Mission in creating a
mass movement towards a clean India.

2. Kempe Gowda Festival organized by the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Foundation in


New Delhi.
 Kempe Gowda was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara kings and ruled over most parts
of Karnataka in the 16th century.
 Kempe Gowda was a just and humane ruler and is widely accepted as the founder of
Bangalore. He visualized a city with military cantonment, water tanks, temples etc,
which provide employment to tradesmen.
 He is also credited with building the Basavanagudi Bull temple, Ulsoor Someshwara
temple and Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, all of which are stronger even today.

3. PM felicitates descendants of 16 families associated with the Paika rebellion of


1817.
 Paika Rebellion of 1817 is an armed rebellion against British colonialism. The revolution
was in response to the tinkering of the revenue system by the British in 1803.
 The main cause of the revolution was the takeover of the rent-free land that had been
given to the Paiks for their military service to the Kingdom of Khurda.
 Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar, the military chief of the King of Khurda, led the
army of Paikas and forced the British to retreat.

4. Assam plans to develop birth place of Srimanta Sankardev Batadrava


 Srimanta Sankardeva is a 15th – 16th century social and religious reformer, poet,
playwright and preacher of the vaishnavite cult.
 Sankaradev is credited for inspiring the Bhakti Movement in Assam. The ideas of
Sankaradev were based on Bhagavata Purana.
 Sankaradev is widely credited for developing new forms of music (Borgeet); theatrical
performances (Ankia Naat, Bhaona); dance form (Sattriya), and literary language
namely Brajavali.

5. International Conference on Dara Shikoh


 The International conference on “Dara Shikoh - Reclaiming Spiritual Legacy of
India was to be held on April 27 and 28.
 The conference was organised by the Indian Council Of Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The conference saw the participation of eminent scholars from
the US, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and India.

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 The objective of the conference is to highlight Dara Shikoh’s contributions to
bring about spiritual homogenisation of Hinduism and Islam .
 Dara Shikoh dedicated himself to create a bridge of Hindu-Muslim Unity and was so
learned that translated 50 Upanishads from Sanskrit to Persian for
the Muslim Scholars.

6. Prime Minister unveiled translated volumes of Vachana in 23 Indian languages on


the occasion of Basava Jayanti.
 Basavanna was 12th century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social
reformer who lived in Karnataka during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala
I. He served as the chief minister of his kingdom.
 During his tenure as Chief Minister, he introduced many new public institutions
like Anubhava Mantapa (“hall of spiritual experience”) that would facilitate men and
women from all socio-economic backgrounds to have a healthy and open discussi
-on various spiritual and mundane questions of life.

7. PM attends UN Vesak Day, 2017 celebrations in Sri Lanka


 PM attended the Buddhist festival ‘Vesak Day’ (Buddha Jayanti) that
commemorates birth, enlighten and death of Buddha.
 As a part of the celebrations, International Buddhist Conference was also held in
which over 400 delegates from more than 100 countries participated.
 Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitta is believed to have brought a branch of original
Bodh tree to Anuradhapura. Theravada Buddhism is widely practiced in Sri Lanka.
 Last year Vesak celeberations were held at Lumbini that saw China taking advantage
of strained relations between India and Nepal.

8. The Registrar of Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai, has accorded GI Tag


for the much famed Banganapalle Mango of Andhra Pradesh.
 A GI tag specifies that the product comes from a specific region.
 Banganapalle mango is known for its sweetness and is known as “the King of fruits.”
Banganapalle mangoes can retain their quality under cold storage even up to three
months and have been growing in Andhra Pradesh for over 100 years.
 The primary centre of origin of the fruit is Kurnool district comprising
Banaganapalle, Paanyam and Nandyal mandals. It also known as Beneshan,
Baneshan, Benishan, Chappatai and Safeda.

9. Endangered Kurukh gets official language status in West Bengal


 Kurukh, an endangered tribal language of the Dravidian family, is set to get a new
lease of life in West Bengal. It is spoken by the Oraon tribal community, who live
Dooars (North Bengal).
 Most of the tribal languages in the State have their origins in the Austro-Asiatic and
Tibeto-Barman families, Kurukh is an exception. The language is marked as being in
a "vulnerable" state in UNESCO's list of endangered languages.
 The only example of a tribal language having its origin from the Dravidian family is
Malto, which is not spoken in West Bengal, but in the Rajmahal hills of Jharkhand.

Current Affairs Quick Revision For 2017- (Mar 2017 to May 2017) Page 58
 Santhali, Munda and Hoe languages belong to the Austro-Asiastic family, while the
languages spoken by the Lepcha, Tamang and Bhutia tribes of the Darjeeling hills
were of the Tibeto-Burman group.
 The Kurukh script is called Tolong Siki. It resembles that of any Dravidian language.

10. International Buddhist Conference


 The three days “International Buddhist Conference” organized by Ministry of Culture
and Nava Nalanda Mahaviahra, Deemed University was inaugurated by His Holiness
The Dalai Lama at Rajgir, Bihar.
 The Main theme: Buddhism in 21st century: Perspectives and Responses to Global
challenges and Crises.
 There were two highlights of the inaugural session. One is the release of the reprint of
the PaliTripitaka in Devanagri script by His Holiness the Dalai lama. The second
highlight was the announcement of the opening of the department of the Buddhist
science for the first time in Asia.
 Tripiṭaka, also referred to as Tipiṭaka or Pali Canon, is the traditional term for the
Buddhist scriptures. Each Buddhist sub-tradition had its own Tripitaka for its
monasteries, written by its sangha, each set consisting of 32 books, in three parts or
baskets of teachings: (1) the basket of expected discipline from monks (Vinaya Piṭaka),
(2) basket of discourse (Sūtra Piṭaka, Nikayas), and (3) basket of special doctrine
(Abhidharma Piṭaka).

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PLACES IN NEWS

1. Coral Reefs at mouth of Amazon River


 A team of scientists from Brazil and the United States discovered the reef in the muddy
waters at the mouth of the Amazon.
 The reef appears to sprawl across more than 3,600 square miles of ocean floor at the
edge of the South American continental shelf, from the southern tip of French Guiana to
Brazil’s Maranhão State.
 The finding is surprising because large rivers normally create gaps in reef
distribution due to unfavorable conditions such as salinity, pH and light
penetration. However, this coral reef system seems to be healthy.

2. Black Necked Crane


 The black-necked crane is an endangered bird that has chosen a remote – untouched
from modern ills – area deep inside Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh as its
wintering site.
 Zemithang on the Nyamjang Chhu river in the Pangchen Valley of Tawang district is its
chosen winter abode. Zemithang is one of the only two wintering sites of the black-
necked crane in India, the other being Sangti Valley in neighbouring West Kameng
district.

3. Salma Dam
 Salma Dam, officially the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, is a hydroelectric and
irrigation dam project located on the Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat
Province in western Afghanistan.
 The Water and Power
Consultancy Services (India)
Ltd (WAPCOS), a company
owned by the Indian Ministry of
Water Resources, constructed
the dam.

4. India, Iran and Afghanistan


ink trade corridor pact
 The plan is simple: to
connect Chabahar by rail to
Zahedan in Iran to Zaranj in
Afghanistan and there
onwards into Delaram which
is also in Afghanistan. If
Afghan goods come up to
Zahedan, they can be
transported by a 1,380-km rail link to Chabahar and shipped to India.

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5. Mogao Caves
 The Mogao Caves also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes form a system of
492 temples 25 km southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located
at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China.
The caves may also be known as the Dunhuang Caves.

6. Dadaab Refugee Camp


 Located in Kenya, the camp began to grow with the outbreak of instability and
violence in Somalia in the early 1990s and is currently home to approximately 260,000
people.
 The government has long held the view that Dadaab has been used as a base by the
al-Shabaab terror group.

7. Gilgit –Baltistan
 Pakistan wants to make it its 5th province.
 During Tribal rebellion in 1947, British Gave
this region to Pakistan on lease.
 Mostly inhabited by Shia, Noor and Sunni
groups.

8. Baluchistan
 45% land area of Pakistan;5% population
 Borders with Iran and Afghanistan; Quetta –
capital , stronghold of Taliban
 CPEC passes through this province
 Has resources like Natural Gas, atomic
minerals and also has a nuclear research
facility.

9. Indira Sagar(polavaram) Project,AP


 Indira Sagar (Polavaram) project is located on
river Godavari near Ramayyapet village of Polavaram Mandal of West Godavari
district in Andhra Pradesh.
 The project implements Godavari-Krishna link under Interlinking of rivers project.
The project envisages transfer of 80TMC of surplus Godavari water to river Krishna
which will be shared between AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
 The project has been accorded national project status by the central government.

10. Manibhadra Project


 The Manibhadra project was part of the Centre's river-linking initiative to connect the
Mahanadi with the Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.

11. Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, also known as Patnitop Tunnel, is a road tunnel in


the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on NH 44 (former name NH
1A before renumbering of all national highways)

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 It is India's longest road tunnel with a length of 9.28 km. It is the first tunnel in the country
with a fully integrated tunnel control system.
 The tunnel reduces the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 30 km and cut travel
time by two hours. The all-weather tunnel bypasses snowfall and avalanche prone areas
in winter.

12. Border Haats


 Currently, four border haats are operational, along the India-Bangladesh border.
Two border haats are located in Meghalaya at Kalaichar and Balat and two are located
in Tripura at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.
 The trade at border haats is permitted to be carried out in Indian Rupees/Bangladesh
Taka and on barter basis.
 In addition to the four functional border haats, Government of India and Government of
the People’s Republic of Bangladesh have approved six more border haats-two in
Tripura at Palbasti and Kamalpur and four in Meghalaya at Bholaganj, Nalikata, Shibbari
and Ryngku.

13. Two more tiger reserves soon in Uttarakhand


 The Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary, which falls under the Terai Arc Landscape
spanning across India and Nepal, and the Surai Range in the Terai East division of
the Uttarakhand forest department are the two proposed tiger reserves.
 Uttarakhand now has two tiger reserves – the Corbett Tiger Reserve and the Rajaji
Tiger Reserve.
 With the two new tiger reserves, Uttarakhand, would become the first State in North
India to get four tiger reserves.

14. Mhadei River Dispute


 Between the states of Goa,Karnataka and Marashtra
 The river originates in western Ghats and also known as Mandovi in Goa.

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