Current Affairs Daily Digest: February 1, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for February 1, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

India, Russia holds high-level consultations on counter-terrorism

India and Russia have held high-level consultations on counter-terrorism issues in New Delhi. Both sides shared views and assessment on the threats posed by increasing terrorist activities including India’s concern on state-sponsored, cross-border terrorism. Read more

Government clarifies Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has no provision for cash transfer component

The Union Ministry of Women & Child Development has clarified that Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (B3P) Scheme has no provision for individual cash transfer component. It has warned the unauthorised websites/organisations, NGOs, individuals that are distributing forms in the name of cash incentives under B3P Scheme. Read more

Economic Survey backs Universal Basic Income

The Economic Survey 2016-17 tabled in Parliament has advocated for the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to the various social welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty. It suggests that a more efficient way to help the poor will be to provide them resources directly, through a UBI. It will be an efficient substitute for a plethora of existing welfare schemes and subsidies. Read more

Union Cabinet gives nod to modify Scheduled Castes list in Odisha

The Union Cabinet had approved the amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 to modify the list of SC in Odisha. It also approved amending the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964 to change the name of the Union territory to Puducherry from Pondicherry. Read more

Labour migration rose to 90 lakh over last 5 years: Economic Survey

According to Economic Survey 2016-17, the inter-state migration of workers in India has increased substantially to 90 lakh annually between 2011-16 period compared to the previous years. The estimate of labour migration in India was based analysis of census data of 2011 and railway passenger traffic in the unreserved category and new methodologies including the Cohort-based Migration Metric (CMM). Read more

Science and Technology

Researchers Discover Oldest Human Ancestor

Researchers have discovered microscopic sea animal Saccorhytus, the earliest known ancestor of humans along with a vast range of other species. The exquisitely well preserved fossilised traces of this 540-million-year-old creature were discovered. This balloon-like sea is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and eventually to humans. Read more

Banking, Business & Economy

Fiscal deficit reaches 94% of the budget estimate

According to data released by the Controller General of Accounts, fiscal deficit in the first nine months (April-December 2016) of financial year 2016-17 touched 93.9% of the Budget estimate. In earlier year during same period, the fiscal deficit had stood at 87.9%. The tax revenue was 71.4% of the full-year budget estimate. Total expenditure, Plan and Non-Plan, was 74.3% of the government’s full-year estimate. The revenue deficit stood at 100.1% of the budget estimate. Fiscal Deficit occurs when a government’s total expenditures exceed the revenue that it generates, excluding money from borrowings. It takes place either due to revenue deficit or a major hike in capital expenditure. Capital expenditure is incurred to create long-term assets.

Eight core industries grow 5.6% in December 2016

According to data released by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the eight core industries registered a growth of 5.6% in December 2016 on the back of healthy output recorded by refinery products and steel. The growth rate of these eight sectors was 2.9% in December 2015 and stood at 4.9% in November 2016. Refinery products and steel production jumped 6.4% and 14.9%, respectively. However, crude oil, fertiliser, natural gas and cement output reported contraction. Coal output declined to 4.4% in December 2016 from 5.3% in November 2016. Similarly, electricity generation, too declined to 6% as compared with 8.8% in December 2015. The eight core industries comprise close to 37.9% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The electricity has the maximum weight (of 10.32%) among the eight sectors followed by Steel (6.68%), Petroleum Refinery (5.94%), Crude Oil production (5.22 %), Coal production (4.38 %), Cement (2.41%), Natural Gas production (1.71 %) and Fertilizer production (1.25%).

Persons in News

Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat named AU Commission Chairperson

Chad’s Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat (56) was elected as the new Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission. He was elected after seven rounds of voting and defeated Amina Mohamed of Kenya and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily. Moussa Faki Mahamat succeeds South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the AU Commission, who did not seek a second term in office after completing a four-year term. The African Union (AU) is a continental block consisting of 54 countries on the African continent. It was established in 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was launched in July 2002 in South Africa. African Union Commission is The AU’s secretariat based in Addis Ababa.

Former Union Minister E Ahmad passes away

Former Union Minister E Ahamed has passed away after suffering from heart attack in the Central Hall of Parliament during the President’s address. He was 78. He had represented the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency from Kerala. He had served as the Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, MoS for Railways and MoS for Human Resource Development in the previous Manmohan Singh Government. He was also the President of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). During his tenure in Parliament, he had served as member of several Parliamentary committees including External Affairs, Civil Aviation and Tourism, Railways, Public Undertakings, Science and Technology, Environment and Forests. He also had served as also the Chairman of the Government Assurance Committee. He has authored 3 books in English and Malayalam. He was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly five times and served as Cabinet Minister for Industries in the state.

Alok Verma takes charge as new CBI Director

Former Delhi Police Commissioner and senior IPS officer Alok Verma took charge as the new Director of Central Board of Investigation (CBI). He will have tenure of two years. He was selected by a three-member committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice J S Khehar and Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge mandated by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, 2003. Read more

International Current Affairs

UNICEF launches appeal for $3.3 billion to aid millions of children

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched an appeal for $3.3 billion to help 48 million children caught up in crises worldwide amid fears of a funding cut from top donor the United States. This year’s appeal represents 18% increase from the initial request for funding in 2016. According to UNICEF, Almost one in four of the world’s children now lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster. Donors contribute to the UNICEF’s appeals on a voluntary basis. United States is by far the top donor to UNICEF, followed by Germany, Britain and the European Commission. UNICEF provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. It is one of the members of the United Nations Development Group and its executive committee.

Ireland became world’s first country to stop investing in fossil fuels

Ireland has become the world’s first country to completely divest from fossil fuels. In this regard, Irish Parliament passed legislation that will drop coal, oil, and gas (fossil fuel) investments from its $8.56 billion Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Once enacted, the bill will force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell its investment in fossil fuel industries over the next five years. Earlier in 2015, Norway’s sovereign pension fund had divested from some fossil fuel companies, but not fully.

Israel sanctions to build 3000 new settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sanctioned proposal for building of 3,000 new settlements in the territory of the West Bank in addition to the recently approved 2,500 units. Earlier in January 2017, Israeli authorities had approved the construction of 2,500 housing units in the occupied West Bank despite December 2016 UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling on Israel to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. UN considers these settlements as illegal, and according to International Court of Justice, the West Bank territory is occupied territory. The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Events

Meghalayas first ever Apparel and Garment Centre inaugurated at Ampati

Meghalayas first ever apparel and garment making centre was inaugurated near Ampati in South West Garo Hills. It was inaugurated by Union Minister for textiles Smriti Zubin Irani. The centre covers an area of 45,000 square feet. It has been set up under the North East Region Textiles Promotion Scheme (NERTPS).

31st Surajkund International Crafts Mela

The 31st edition of Surajkund International Crafts Mela was held in Haryana. It is organized by the Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs Ministry. The 15-day festival will be showcasing the richness and diversity of handicrafts, handlooms and cultural heritage of the country. This year Egypt is partner country and Jharkhand is the theme state. More than 21 countries are participating this year. Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Tunisia, Mongolia and South Africa are the first timer. This year’s fair is also will be ‘Cashless Mela’ because all stakeholders have been provided option to opt for cashless transactions if they desire so. Surajkund Crafts Mela is annual cultural festival hosted since 1987. The Mela showcases some of the most exquisite handlooms and handicrafts of India and culture.

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