KingMakers IAS Academy Current Affairs – 19/08/2017

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International News:-

1)Italy to Host G-7 Interior Ministers’ Summit:-

  • Italy will host a summit of G-7 interior ministers centered on security issues.
  • According to Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti, the meeting is being organized at the request of Italy’s G-7 partners namely Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States.
  • Italy currently holds the rotating helm of the G-7 industrialized nations.
  • The summit is expected to be held in October.

2)India Signs Global Environment Facility (GEF) Grant Agreement:-

  • The Government of India, the Governments of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education and the World Bank signed a US$ 24.64 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to improve forest quality, sustainable land management and benefits from Non-Timber Forest Produce for forest dependent communities in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
  • The Ecosystem Services Improvement Project will support the Government of India’s Green India Mission’s (GIM) goal of protecting, restoring and enhancing India’s forest cover and responding to climate change.

3)US, Japan Boost Defence Cooperation with India, S Korea, Australia:-

  • The US and Japan have agreed to advance their multilateral security and defence cooperation with countries like India, South Korea and Australia in view of North Korea’s dangerous provocative behaviour.
  • The ministers highlighted ongoing Alliance efforts to advance trilateral and multilateral security and defence cooperation with other partners in the region, notably the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries.
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told that in cooperation with other nations, they will continue to employ diplomatic and economic pressure to convince North Korea to end its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile program.

National News:-

1)New Corpus Fund for Higher Education:-

  • The Cabinet approved creation of a single corpus fund in which all proceeds of secondary and higher education cess will be credited and utilised for the government’s schemes in education sector.
  • The HRD Ministry will be responsible for the administration and maintenance of the non-lapsable pool account which will be known as “Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh” (MUSK).
  • As a percentage of GDP, the expenditure on education has dipped to 2.8 per cent in 2014-15, from 3.1 per cent during 2009-10 to 2013-14.
  • This new corpus fund would be used for funding ongoing schemes as well as programmes started in the future.

2)President Asks Mining Companies to Make Policy for Welfare of Labourers:-

  • During the National Safety Awards (Mines)-2013 and 2014 in New Delhi, Mr Kovind asked mining companies to put in place world class safety measures in mines for prevention of accidents in mines.
  • President said, the mineral sector contributes 2.6 per cent of country’s GDP and provides direct employment to over 10 lakh people on a daily basis.
  • That the National Safety Awards in Mines will continue to be an excellent motivator for upholding safety and welfare standards in the mines of the country.
  • The award for each mine is received jointly by one management representative and one workers’ representative. The awards were given for the first time in 1984 for the contest years 1982 and 1983.

3)CCEA Approves Proposal of DIPAM for Strategic Disinvestment:-

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA has approved the proposal of Department of Investment and public Asset Management, DIPAM for the strategic disinvestment. The approval will help in speedy completion of strategic disinvestment transactions.
  • The department will set up an alternative mechanism comprising of the Finance Minister, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Minister of Administrative Department, to decide on the matters relating to terms and conditions of the sale from the stage of inviting of Express of Interests till inviting of financial bid.
  • DIPAM is the nodal agency of Union Finance Ministry mandated to advise the Union Government in the matters of financial restructuring of PSUs and also for attracting investment through capital markets. It will also deal with all matters relating to sale of Union Government’s equity in PSUs.

4)NHAI Launches Mobile App MyFASTag and FASTag Partner:-

  • National Highways Authority of India launched two mobile Apps – MyFASTag and FASTag Partner in New Delhi, to facilitate the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection.
  • MyFASTag is a consumer App that can be downloaded from the App Store for both Android and iOS systems. A consumer can purchase or recharge FASTags on this App.
  • The App also helps to keep track of transactions and provides for online grievance redressal.
  • FASTag Partner is a merchant App. Agencies like Common Services Centre, banking partners and vehicle dealers can sell and enroll FASTag through this App. In addition to this, the App can also be used to activate the RFID tags.
  • These RFID tags are already fixed on the cars but are dormant. This App will convert these RFID tags into ETC Tag (FASTag).

5)Swachh Sankalp se Swachh Siddhi Competition:-

  • In pursuit of achieve a New India by 2022 under Sankalp se Siddhi vision, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is organising countrywide Film, Essay and Painting Competition only for Primary School students between 17th August and 8th September, 2017 as another major step towards making Swachhta, a people’s movement.
  • The core objective is to generate mass involvement in Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and related issues.
  • The themes of the aforesaid competitions, to be held under the overall banner of Swachh Sankalp se Swachh Siddhi, are:
    Essay Competition: What can I do for making India clean?
    Film Competition: My contribution to make India clean.
    Painting Competition: Clean India of my Dreams.
  • Based on the aforesaid competitions, the National Swachh Bharat Awards shall be presented on 2nd October, 2017.

6)TRIFED Celebrates World Honey Bee Day:-

  • To create awareness about Beekeeping and uses of its products including Honey, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) is celebrated World Honey Bee Day (WHBD) on 19.08.2017 in the Country.
  • The main theme of celebrating WHBD is to save Indian honey bee.
  • Honeybees/ beekeeping have been recognised as one of the important inputs for sustainable development of agriculture/ horticulture.
  • TRIFED is an apex organisation at National Level and functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • TRIFED is serving the interests of Tribals, who are engaged in collection of NTFP and making of Tribal Art & Handicraft Products for their livelihood so as to ensure better remunerative price for their products as well as for the socio-economic betterment.

Economic News:-

1)SBI Gives Leg-up to CSR Initiatives:-

  • The nation’s largest lender State Bank of India launched a CSR initiative, SBI Gram Seva, which will work in the areas of health, education, environment and rural infrastructure.
  • The SBI Foundation will identify and partner with NGOs to carry out CSR initiatives under which it adopt five villages each from 10 village panchayats with each village getting around Rs 2.40 crore over the next three years.

2)RBI Makes Aadhaar Linkage Mandatory for Farmers:-

  • To ensure hassle-free benefits to farmers under Interest Subvention Scheme, the Reserve Bank of India has advised banks to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for availing short-term crop loans up to Rs.3 lakh in 2017-18.
  • This move is in line with the government’s increasing emphasis on linking Aadhaar to various transactions in the economy including filing Income-Tax returns and getting direct benefit transfer.
  • In order to provide short-term crop loans to farmers at an interest rate of 7 per cent (the same as in the previous year) during the year 2017-18, the RBI it has been decided to offer interest subvention of 2 per cent to lending institutions – public sector banks, private sector commercial banks (in respect of loans given by their rural and semi-urban branches only) on use of their own resources.

3)BSNL Launches Digital Wallet in Partnership with MobiKwik:-

  • State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) went digital by launching a mobile wallet (mobile payment App) that would enable its existing 100 million customers to make Bill payments and transact on e-commerce platforms.
  • The wallet has been developed and issued by MobiKwik on behalf of BSNL.
    Anupam Srivastava, CMD, BSNL expressed hope that this BSNL mobile wallet will not only promote cashless economy but also enhance business for BSNL.
  • Through this strategic partnership between BSNL and MobiKwik, BSNL taking another important milestone in achieving Prime Minister Modi’s vision of enabling and making India a less-cash society based on the grand vision of digital India.

4)Tata Power, First Power Utility to Use QR Code:-

  • Tata Power has become the first power utility to introduce a QR code based bill payments system in India.
  • The company said though this functionality of bill payments through a QR code has been introduced in other service industries, it will be launched in the power industry for the first time in India by Tata Power.
  • According to the Company, the QR code linked to Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will be printed on the electricity bills. The customers can scan the QR code with BHIM app or any other UPI linked bank app and pay their bills without any hassle.