KingMakers IAS Academy – “Daily Current Affairs – 26/08/2017”


International News:-

1.8 MoUs Signed Between India and Nepal:-

  • As Nepal’s PM visits India, the two trusting countries signed a string of MoUs. The MoUs signed will largely provide aid to Nepal for the recovery from its disastrous earthquakes.
  • The MoUs included the modalities for utilization of India’s housing grant component to support reconstruction of 50,000 houses in Nepal, implementation of the grant component of India’s post-earthquake reconstruction package in the education sector, cultural heritage sector and the health sector in Nepal, implementation arrangement on cost sharing.
  • While the other MoUs included schedules and safeguard issues for construction of Mechi Bridge under ADB’s SASEC road connectivity program, funded by the government of India, MoU on drug demand reduction and prevention of Illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemical and related matters, agreement on cooperation in the field of standardization and conformity assessment.

2.Alibaba’s Jack Ma Asia’s Richest Man: Forbes:-

  • A huge rise in Alibaba Group’s earnings and the stock price has propelled its founder and executive chairman Jack Ma back to the top of the list of Asia’s wealthiest people.
  • According to Forbes Real-time Billionaires List, Ma is now worth $37.4 billion.
  • Former English teacher Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999. The company unites a family of internet-based businesses, which enables users to buy or sell anywhere in the world.

3.A New Bridge Over Mechi River at Indo-Nepal Border:-

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed between India and Nepal for laying down implementation arrangement on Cost sharing, Schedules and Safeguard issues for starting construction of a new Bridge over Mechi River at Indo-Nepal border.
  • The cost of construction would be funded by Government of India through ADB loan. The new bridge is part of up-gradation of the Kakarvitta (Nepal) to Panitanki Bypass (India) on NH 327B. Mechi Bridge is the ending point of Asian Highway 02 in India leading to Nepal and provides critical connectivity to Nepal.
  • The construction of the bridge will improve regional connectivity and has potential to strengthen cross border trade between both the countries and cementing ties by strengthening industrial, social and cultural exchanges.
  • National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has been designated as the implementing agency for this project.

4.Festival of India Being Organised in Brazil:-

  • A Festival of India is being organized in Brazil from 31 August-9 September 2017.
  • The Festival will showcase diverse Indian culture, i.e. classical dances, literature, cuisine and Exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The following events will be held in the cities of Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

5.International Military Music Festival in Moscow:-

  • The International Military Music Festival “Spasskaya Tower” is the parade of the best military music bands of Russia and other countries that takes place every year at Red Square in Moscow. This Music Festival is a mega event, where military musicians represent the variety of national, artistic and military traditions of the world.
  • Every year about 1500 musicians, military men and other artists from around 40 countries perform at the “Spasskaya Tower”. The Festival is duly considered one of the largest international events in Russia and attracts tremendous response of the general public.
  • A Tri-Services band from the Indian Armed Forces has also been invited to participate and perform in the prestigious event. The participation of the Tri- Services Band would foster better ties between the Armed Forces of the two countries and is also a befitting acknowledgment of the professional skills of the Indian Armed Forces bands.

National News:-

1.Andhra Pradesh First to Implement Bharat QR Digital Payments:-

  • Andhra Pradesh’s Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (EPDCL) and the Southern Power Distribution Corporation of AP Ltd (SPDCL) have become the first state-owned distribution companies in India to accept payments through Bharat QR, the world’s first interoperable quick response code acceptance solution launched by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The Vizag Digital Dhan Sankalp project is an initiative spearheaded by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Visa, to develop Visakhapatnam into India’s first “less–cash” city.
  • Bharat QR is a secure, network-agnostic interface that enables customers to use their smartphones to make payments without divulging information like card numbers and CVV.

2.Karnataka Ties up With Microsoft to Develop India’s First Farm Price Forecasting Model:-

  • The Agriculture Department of Karnataka government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft India to develop an unique ‘farm price forecasting model’ using the latest IT tools in a bid to help farmers, administrators and other stakeholders understand the market behaviour in advance.
  • The proposed initiative is said to be the first-of-its-kind in the country, as it is a ‘multi-variate’ one that takes into consideration various factors beyond the conventional supply-demand equation. It will examine a slew of related factors, including weather, rainfall and external factors, that impact market behaviour.
  • The initiative appears to have caught the attention of the Centre, which has sought suggestions from the KAPC on the importance of price forecasting for its initiative to double farmers’ incomes. Microsoft would also develop software for providing sowing advisory services to farmers.

3.MEA to Inaugurate First Videsh Bhavan in Mumbai:-

  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has decided to integrate all its offices in Maharashtra into a single building – the “Videsh Bhavan” – for effective management of its engagement with the State Government of Maharashtra.
  • Four offices of MEA in Mumbai, namely, (i) Passport Office, (ii) Office of the Protector of Emigrants, (iii) Office of the Regional Director of ICCR, and (iv) Branch Secretariat of MEA, will be integrated and will be functioning from the newly constructed “Videsh Bhavan”.

4.Government to Establish First National Sports Museum in New Delhi:-

  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is going to establish National Sports Museum, first of its kind, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.
    Shri Vijay Goel said, the Museum will showcase the India’s achievements in sports and also focus on the traditional sports within the country. He said, the aim of the Museum is to popularise the sports as a way of life within the country.
  • Shri Vijay Goel has appealed to all past and present sports persons and members of public to contribute any memorabilia held by them for permanent display in the National Sports Museum. He said such contribution will be recognized and acknowledged.
  • Museum will have audio-visual display of rules and legacy events pertaining to various sports as part of education for the budding sportspersons, a well-equipped library of sports and physical fitness, painting gallery and amphitheater for screening of legacy matches/ contests/games is also planned.

5.Microsoft Unveils ‘Project Brainwave’ for Real-Time AI:-

  • Software giant Microsoft has announced its Project Brainwave deep learning acceleration platform for real-time artificial intelligence (AI). With the help of ultra-low latency, the system processes requests as fast as it receives them.
  • The Project Brainwave system is built with three main layers:
  • High-performance distributed system architecture;
  • A hardware DNN engine synthesized onto FPGAs; and
  • A compiler and runtime for low-friction deployment of trained models.

Economic news:-

1.5% GST applicable on selling of space for advertisement in print media: Centre:-

  • Government has clarified that five percent GST is applicable on selling of space for advertisement in print media if an agency buys space from the newspaper and sells the same to clients on its own account.
  • However, the GST rate will be 18 percent of the sale commission, if the agency works as an agent of the newspaper on commission basis. The Finance Ministry said, 18 percent GST will be liable, if the advertisement agency supplies any service other than selling of space for advertisement and such supply is not a part of any composite supply.
  • The Ministry in case, such supplies are part of any composite supply, the rate applicable will be 5 percent.

2.RBI issues new Rs 200, Rs 50 notes:-

  • The Reserve Bank today issued new Rs 200 and Rs 50 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series, bearing signature of RBI Governor Urjit Patel.
    Initially, the new Rs 200 notes will be circulated by select RBI offices, and some banks.
  • The new Rs. 200 denomination has motif of Sanchi Stupa on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage.
  • The base colour of the note is bright yellow. The note has other designs, geometric patterns aligning with the overall colour scheme, both at the obverse and reverse.

3.Two RRBs Record Over Rs 150-cr Profit in FY17: RBI:-

  • Out of the 56 regional rural banks (RRBs) in the country, two notched up net profit of over ₹150 crore each during 2016-17. These are among the 49 RRBs that recorded a profit in 2016-17. Seven RRBs suffered losses during the period.
  • According to the Reserve Bank of India’s ‘Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India’, 45 of the 56 RRBs earned profits without carrying any accumulated losses during 2015-16.
  • In fact, Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank and Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank recorded net profit of more than Rs.150 crore during 2016-17.
  • At the end-March 2017, RRBs had 21,398 branches spread across 676 districts and 28 States.

4.TRAI Signs Deal With Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission:-

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) signed a letter of intent (LoI) with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to jointly conduct capacity building exercises in the fields of broadcasting and telecommunications regulation.
  • The agreement would help both regulators to work closely in enhancing mutual cooperation and bilateral relations.
  • The agreement will facilitate exchange of information and regulatory best practices in the fields of broadcasting and telecommunications, including new and emerging areas.