Daily Current Affairs – 14/07/2017

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National News:-

1)Delhi government to start online RTI portal:-

  • Delhi became the second state to launch e-RTI portal that will enable citizens to file online Right to Information (RTI).
  • The Central government had launched its own online RTI application portal in 2013, which allowed users to file queries, pay application fee and submit requests for appeal.
  • The Central government had urged the States to set up their own online application portals. Maharashtra had followed suit in 2015 with its own RTI portal.

2)Revamped NHB RESIDEX launched:-

  • Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu released the new version of NHB RESIDEX on the occasion of the National Housing Bank entering its 30th year.
  • This component of RESIDEX, called Housing Price, Prices is based on actual market information.
  • The other component of RESIDEX called as Prices based on the information furnished by banks and other lending agencies showed that prices have increased in 27 of the 50 cities surveyed.

Important Points:-

  • RESIDEX, the country’s first official housing price index (HPI) was launched in 2007 covering 26 cities and was published till March, 2015 on a quarterly basis.
    Base year for the new RESIDEX has been moved from 2007 to 2012-13.

3)Varanasi to have an international center for research on rice varieties:-

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi.
  • This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.
  • The Centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties and achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents.

4)Cabinet approves SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program:-

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur.
  • The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program which aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.
  • The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India’s Gateway to the East.

5)India to host 8th international Theatre Olympics in 2018:-

  • Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Culture and Tourism has announced that 8th edition of the greatest carnival of Theatre in the World will take place in India for the first time ever from February 17 – April 08, 2018 simultaneously in various cities across the country.
  • The Theatre Olympics, being held in India for the first time, is being organised by National School of Drama, under the aegis of Ministry of Culture.

Important Points:-

  • The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, as the first international theatre festival.
  • In 2016 the 7th Theatre Olympics were held in Wroclaw, Poland.

6)National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination in India (2017-22):-

  • Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) at a function.
  • The Strategic Plan gives year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years.
  • Highlighting the salient features of the NSP, Shri Nadda stated that the strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years.

7)CPWD reminded of challenges ahead as it turns 163:-

  • The public sector construction major, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) turned 163 on July 12th, 2017. On this occasion, it was reminded of the challenges ahead and the need to innovate to retain its primacy.
  • CPWD came into existence in July, 1854 when Lord Dalhousie established a central agency for execution of public works and set up Ajmer Provincial Division. It is housed under the Ministry of Urban Development.
  • Through the professional expertise in disciplines including Architecture, Engineering, Project Management coupled with comprehensive experience in building construction and maintenance CPWD has been serving the nation for last 162 years and has executed
  • priority of works in difficult and demanding geographical and climatic conditions.
    It is headed by DG who is also the Principal Technical Advisor to the Government of India. The regions and sub-regions are headed by Special DGs and Additional DGs respectively, while the zones in all state capitals (except a few) are headed by Chief Engineers.

International News:-

1)Cabinet approves SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program:-

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur. The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program.
  • The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus trade, commerce and tourism in the region will get a boost.

About SASEC:-

  • Established in 2001, the SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program, which to date has supported a total of 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • The SASEC OP, endorsed in June 2016 by the SASEC member countries, is SASEC’s first comprehensive long-term plan to promote greater economic cooperation among the member countries in the areas of transport, trade facilitation, energy, and economic corridor development.

2)Cabinet approves interpretative notes between India, Bangladesh:-

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the agreement between India and Bangladesh for the promotion and protection of investments between the two countries.
  • The JIN includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses, including, the definition of investor and investment, exclusion of taxation measures, Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET), National Treatment (NT) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, expropriation, essential security interests and settlement of disputes between an investor and a contracting party.
  • Joint Interpretative Statements play an important supplementary role in strengthening the investment treaty regime. With increasing Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) disputes, issuance of such statements was likely to have strong persuasive value before tribunals.

3)China sends PLA unit to man overseas base:-

  • China has dispatched People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel to man its first overseas military base at Djibouti in the strategic Indian Ocean region, a move likely to spark concerns in the U.S.

Base at Djibouti:-

  • The establishment of the PLA Djibouti base was a decision made by the two countries after friendly negotiations, and accords with the common interest of the people from both sides.
  • The base is aimed at ensuring China’s performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and West Asia.

Economic News:-

1)Bitcoin trade may come under SEBI:-

  • The government is considering the introduction of a regulatory regime for virtual or crypto currencies, such as Bitcoin, that would enable the levy of the Goods and Services Tax on their sale.
  • The new regime may possibly bring their trading under the oversight of the stock market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
    Proper regulation of these currencies will “promote” a formal tax base, while keeping a tab on their use for illegal activities such as money laundering, terror funding and drug trafficking.
  • Crypto-currency that is planned to be brought under the regulatory regime is a digital currency which allows transacting parties to remain anonymous while confirming that the transaction is a valid one. It is not owned or controlled by any institution – governments or private.
  • There are multiple such currencies — bitcoin, ethereum, ripple are some of the popular ones. Currently, they are neither illegal nor legal in India.

2)Axis Bank ties up with IIC:-

  • Axis Bank has entered into collaboration with Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) to facilitate trade with Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The private sector bank, in a statement, said it is the first Indian bank to participate in the Trade Finance Facilitation Programme as a confirming bank.
  • IIC, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to supporting the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean.

3)NABARD celebrates 36th Foundation Day:-

  • Self Help Group Bank Linkage Programme (SHG BLP), the pioneering initiative of Financial Inclusion by NABARD completed 25 years during this year and is well poised to deliver the savings and credit services at the doorstep of rural poor especially women through their self-managed institutions called SHGs.
  • Commemorating this occasion, NABARD has dedicated its 36th Foundation Day to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of SHG Bank Linkage Programme.
  • With more than 8.5 crore rural women as the direct participants in this mass movement, NABARD celebrated the Silver Jubilee of SHG BLP at Vigyan Bhavan in national capital on 11th July, 2017.

Books:-

1)RSS Chief releases book on “LIFE OF MODI”:-

  • The book on the life of Modi, titled Narendra Damodardas Modi: The Making of a Legend, was unveiled in Delhi in the presence of Bhagwat and Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah.
  • The book, penned by Bindeshwar Pathak, a Padma Bhushan recipient known for work in Sanitation (founder of Sulabh International), is all about Modi and the journey of his life.