“Daily Current Affairs – 31/08/2017”


National News:-

1.Atal Pension Yojana (APY) surges ahead with 62 lakh enrolment:-

  • The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) through its ‘One Nation One Pension’ Mobilization Campaign has sourced approximately 3.07 lakh APY accounts which led to a total of 62 lakh enrolments under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) as on date.
  • This campaign was organized all over the country by PFRDA from 2nd August to 19th August 2017 in association with the APY Service Provider Banks.
  • The objective of PFRDA is to cover the maximum possible population uncovered by any pension scheme under the APY scheme so that India as a nation can move from a pension less to a pensioned society and the citizens can live a life of dignity in their vulnerable years.

About APY:-

  • The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.

2.Cabinet approves MoU with Myanmar for the Conservation of Pagodas at Bagan:-

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan, Myanmar.

Significance of this MoU:-

  • Implementation of the project will further strengthen India’s enduring ties in culture and religion with Myanmar.
  • It will also generate immense goodwill for India among the people of Myanmar due to the religious significance as well as the touristic significance of the project.
  • It will also contribute to India’s development partnership with Myanmar.
  • It will be an opportunity to showcase India’s expertise in the restoration and conservation of monuments not only to the people of Myanmar but also to the tourists from other countries.

3.ISRO to launch new navigation satellite IRNSS-1H:-

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch a new navigation satellite on August 31. IRNSS-1H will replace IRNSS-1A which failed due to deficiencies in three atomic clocks that are crucial in providing positional information to users on earth.
  • IRNSS-1H will be launched on board ISRO’s PSLV-C39 The new satellite will expand the existing seven satellites of NavIC constellation.

What is a navigation satellite?:-

  • A satellite navigation is based on a network of satellites that transmit radio signals to determine the geospatial location of the receivers with high accuracy. The satellite systems can be used for providing position, navigation or for tracking the position of something fitted with a receiver.
  • The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) provides two types of services:-
  • Standard Positioning Service: Available to all users.
  • Restricted service: Encrypted service available only to authorised users such as for defence forces.

4.STPs to be constructed under Hybrid Annuity Model:-

  • In the first-of-its-kind success, the creation and maintenance of sewage treatment infrastructure under Hybrid Annuity based PPP model has taken off, with NMCG awarding work to private sector for construction and maintenance of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in two major cities in Ganga river basin – Varanasi and Haridwar.
  • The awarded projects would ensure that no untreated sewage waste water goes into river Ganga.
  • Hybrid Annuity based PPP model has been adopted for the first time in the country in sewage management sector. Such a model has earlier been adopted successfully in highway sector only.

What you need to know about the Hybrid Annuity Model?

  • The Government of India had accorded Cabinet approval to Hybrid Annuity-PPP model in January 2016 with 100% central sector funding.

5.Ministry of Defence approves first phase of reforms in The Armed Forces:-

  • In a first ever exercise after Independence, the Ministry of Defence in consultation with the Indian Army has decided to reform the Indian Army in a planned manner.
  • These decisions were approved by the Defence Minister Shri Arun Jaitley after an extensive consultation with all stakeholders.
  • The purpose of reforms is to enhance combat capability and also optimize and rebalance defence expenditure of Indian Army.

Major reforms concerning the following have been approved:-

  • Optimisation of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.

International News:-

1.MoU between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies:-

  • The Union Cabinet was recently apprised of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
  • The MoU was signed in October, 2016.

Highlights of the MoU:-

  • The MoU aims to strengthen the existing friendly relations between India and Brazil and promote development of Genomics and Assistant Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in Cattle through joint activities to be implemented through mutually agreed procedures.
  • An implementation committee shall be created with an equal number of representatives of each party for the purpose of regularly determining the activities and developing work plans and subsequently their evaluation.
  • It will be done through joint projects in the fields of Productivity Improvement of cattle and buffaloes, for the purpose of broadening the existing knowledge base on sustainable dairy development and institutional strengthening.

2.India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund:-

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on “India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)”. The MoU was concluded in July, 2017.

Key facts:-

  • The MoU envisages promotion of bilateral Industrial R&D and Innovation cooperation in the fields of science and technology by extending support to joint projects for innovative or technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes.
  • Such projects will lead to affordable technological innovations in focus areas of mutual interest such as water, agriculture, energy and digital technologies. Institutional support in building up consortia including private industry, enterprises and R&D institutions from India and Israel will be enabled through these collaborative projects.
  • India and Israel will make an contribution of four million US Dollars each for the Fund, both equivalent amount, annually for five years.
  • The Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint Board which will consist of four members from each country.

3.China forced to abandon plan to enlarge BRICS in face of resistance from India, others:-

  • China has aborted its attempt to create a permanent BRICS Plus feature and invite other countries to join in following resistance from the other members of the five-nation grouping, including India, who apprehend dilution of BRICS’s goals if other counties, including Beijing’s close allies, are brought in.

About BRICS:-

  • BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC”, before the induction of South Africa in 2010.
  • The BRICS members are all leading developing or newly industrialized countries, but they are distinguished by their large, sometimes fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional affairs; all five are G-20 members.
  • Since 2009, the BRICS nations have met annually at formal summits. China will host the 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen in September 2017.