KingMakers IAS Academy Current Affairs – 18/08/2017

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International News:-

1)India moves to revive TAPI gas pipeline:-

  • India will host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

• The decision was came during the sixth joint Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

• The pipeline, that had its ground-breaking ceremony in December 2015, has seen flagging interest since then for a number of reasons. India’s effort is to tap Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh gasfields, which are the fourth largest in the world.

2)India, Turkmenistan hold talks to boost ties:-

  • India and Turkmenistan reviewed the entire gamut of their bilateral relations and took stock of the progress achieved in key areas like energy, trade and security.

• The delegation participated in the 6th Session of the India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation held on August 14.

• EAM Sushma Swaraj and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Meredov comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and took stock of the progress achieved in the various areas as energy, trade and economic cooperation, transport and connectivity, security cooperation, etc.

3)MoU on IPR signed between India and Sweden:-

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Sweden on cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
  • The MoU establishes a wide ranging and flexible mechanism through which both countries can exchange best practices and work together on training programs and technical exchanges to raise awareness on IPRs and better protect intellectual property rights.
  • It has also the provision of exchange of information and best practices regarding Intellectual Property law infringements in the digital environment, especially regarding Copyright issues.

4)A New Landmark in India-USA relationship:-

  • New vistas in the Indo-USA relationship will begin with the arrival of the first shipment of American crude oil to India by the end of September this year.
  • It is the first lot of two million barrels costing $100 million, is a part of expected bilateral oil trade to $2 billion.
  • India joins Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China to buy American crude after production cuts by OPEC drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, or grades with a high sulphur content.
  • The 40-year-old ban on export of American oil was lifted by the then U.S. President Barack Obama in December 2015, but the real move started during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump on June 26 when the two leaders agreed to deepen the engagement in the energy sector.
  • Indian oil companies, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum, the duo placed orders for over four million barrels to the US counterparts.
  • India is the world’s third-largest oil importer.

National News:-

1)Indian Government asks Internet majors to remove Blue Whale links:-

  • Government has directed internet majors – Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo – to immediately remove the links of dangerous online game Blue Whale Challenge, which has led to suicide of children in India and other countries.

• The Blue Whale challenge is reportedly a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete for a period of 50 days and the final task leads to suicide. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing the challenge.
Business

2)New Metro Rail Policy approved:-

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a new Metro Rail Policy that seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail aspirations of a large number of cities in a responsible manner.
  • It focuses on compact urban development, cost reduction and multi-modal integration.
    PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects which is a big move for private investments across a range of metro operations.
  • Seeking to ensure financial viability of metro projects, the new Metro Rail Policy requires the States to clearly indicate in the project report the measures to be taken for commercial / property development at stations and on other urban land and for other means of maximum non-fare revenue generation through advertisements, lease of space etc., backed by statutory support.
  • At present, metro projects with a total length of 370 kms are operational in 8 cities viz., Delhi (217 kms), Bengaluru (42.30 kms), Kolkata (27.39 kms), Chennai (27.36 kms), Kochi (13.30 kms), Mumbai (Metro Line 1-11.40 km, Mono Rail Phase 1-9.0 km), Jaipur-9.00 kms and Gurugram (Rapid Metro-1.60 km).
  • Metro Projects with a total length of 537 kms are in progress in 13 cities including the eight mentioned above. New cities acquiring metro services are; Hyderabad (71 kms), Nagpur (38 kms), Ahmedabad (36 kms), Pune (31.25 kms) and Lucknow (23 kms).

3)$264 Million penalty imposed on Reliance Industries Ltd & BP:-

  • The government has imposed a penalty of 264 million dollar (about Rs 1,700 crore) on Reliance Industries Ltd and its partners for not fulfilling the targeted production of natural gas from KG-D6 fields in 2015-16.
  • The total penalty imposed on the company during the six years beginning April 1, 2010, stands at $ 3.02 billion.
  • The Production Sharing Contract allows RIL and its UK partner BP PLC and Canadian partner Niko Resources to deduct all capital and operating expenses from the sale of gas before sharing profit with the government.

Economic News:-

1)Odisha Government and Facebook Launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ Program:-

  • Chief minister Naveen Patnaik launched ‘She Means Business’ programme of Facebook for women entrepreneurs in Odisha.

• Under the scheme 25, 000 women entrepreneurs and self-help group (SHG) members will be given training on digital marketing skills within next one year.

• Odisha government’s partnership with Facebook aimed to reduce the digital divide and empower nearly 25,000 women entrepreneurs and SHGs.

• Facebook will also make a database of entrepreneurs in the state and will monitor their growth, turnover and profit after one year.

2)Seven Indian companies among 200 in green energy revenues:-

  • India is among the top 11 countries as seven of its companies are among a list of the 200 largest publicly traded entities that are making significant revenue from clean energy, an international report said.

• India ranked fifth after China (68), the US (34), Japan (20) and Germany (nine).

• South Korea, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and the UK take the spot after India as per their ranking in the list of top 11 countries compiled by As You Sow and Corporate Knights.

• While As You Sow is a non-profit organisation promoting environmental and social corporate responsibility, Corporate Knights is empowering people to harness markets for a better world.

• The seven Indian companies are Suzlon Energy Ltd, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Tata Chemicals Ltd, Exide Industries Ltd, IDFC Ltd, Thermax Ltd and Havells India Ltd.

3)Sankara Rao to be IFCI Chief Executive:-

  • IFCI Ltd, a government company, is set to have a new Managing Director & CEO in E Sankara Rao, who is currently Chief General Manager at India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).

• The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has given its nod for the Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposal to appoint E Sankara Rao as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of IFCI Ltd.

• Rao’s appointment will be valid for three years. Rao is also currently a director and chief executive officer at IIFCL Asset Management Company Ltd.

4)Record 275.68 million tones Food grains production estimated:-

  • As per Fourth Advance Estimates for 2016-17 released by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers, total Food grain production in the country is estimated at 275.68 million tonnes which is higher by 10.64 million tonnes (4.01%) than the previous record production of Food grain achieved during 2013-14.
  • This is due to very good rainfall during monsoon 2016 and various policy initiatives taken by the Government.
  • The estimated production of major crops during 2016-17 is as under:
    Food grains – 275.68 million tonnes (record)
    Rice – 110.15 million tonnes (record)
    Wheat – 98.38 million tonnes (record)
    Coarse Cereals – 44.19 million tonnes (record)
    Maize – 26.26 million tonnes (record)
    Pulses – 22.95 million tonnes (record)
    Oilseeds – 32.10 million tonnes
    Cotton – 33.09 million bales (of 170 kg each)
    Sugarcane – 306.72 million tones
  • Production of Sugarcane is estimated at 306.72 million tonnes which is 41.73 million tonnes (-11.98%) less than the last year’s production of 348.45 million tonnes.

5)Dr. Mamta Suri takes charge of Executive Director, IBBI:-

Dr. Mamta Suri has taken charge of Executive Director of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).
Dr. Suri was serving as Chief General Manager, Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India before assuming the charge.
She has obtained her Ph.D. in Finance from University of Delhi and M. Sc. in Insurance Risk and Management from City University, London. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India.

Books:-

1)Book chronicles 70 years of India’s independence:-

Puffin Books’ “India at 70: Snapshots since Independence”, written by Roshen Dalal, provides glimpses of the country’s vast and rich culture, its diversity and many languages, its eminent personalities and its achievements in all spheres.

• From Partition to the Sino-India war, from the Emergency to the Kalam years, from the Jan Lokpal Bill to the recent demonetisation move, the book touches almost all important topics.

• Dalal says she wrote this book in a short and easy-to- read format, to provide youngsters with an overview of India after Independence.

• Culture is the main focus of the book.