Current Affairs Daily Digest: February 2, 2017

National Current Affairs

Government proposes Payments Regulatory Board in RBI

The Union Government in Budget 2017-18 has proposed creation of a six-member Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as part of bringing about structural reforms in the payment eco-system. It designates RBI as the nodal authority for the regulation and supervision of payment systems. It will replace the existing Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems. For the purpose, necessary amendments are proposed in the Finance Bill 2017 to amend the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. Composition: BI Governor will be ex officio Chairperson, Deputy Governor who is in—charge of the Payment and Settlement Systems will be member, and one officer of RBI will be nominated by its Central Board will be its members.

Government to launch TIES to fund export infrastructure

The Union Budget 2017-18 has announced that Union Government will launch Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) to create infrastructure for exports. It aims to reduce transaction costs for traders by creating modern infrastructure like last mile connectivity to ports, testing labs and certification centres etc. At present, Indian exporters face huge challenges in terms of infrastructure, particularly in states. Inadequate infrastructure pushes their transactions costs which further impacts competitiveness of Indian goods in the global markets.

Government to set up dairy development fund with corpus of Rs 8,000 cr

The Union Budget 2017-18 has proposed setting-up of a Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 8,000 crores over three years to augment income of farmers. It will be set up in NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development). It will be used to enable expansion of milk processing capacity in the country.

Cabinet approves introduction of The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Parliament. The amendment Bill has provision for the inclusion of Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM), Kurnool along with the other IITs in the Principal Act. With this, IIITDM Kurnool will become fifth Member as a Centrally Funded IIIT. Read more

Highlights Budget 2017-18

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2017. It was fourth annual budget presented by Arun Jaitley as Finance Minister. This was also first time no separate Railway Budget was presented. Read more

Government of create five special tourism zones to boost tourism: Budget 2017-18

The Union Budget 2017-18 has announced that Government will set up five Special Tourism Zones in partnership with States. These five special zones will be anchored as Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that will be set up in partnership with the States. Read more

Science and Technology Current Affairs

Toxins in litchi fruit may kill children

Scientists from US and India have found that consumption of litchi fruit on an empty stomach can result in very low blood glucose level and acute encephalopathy leading to seizures and coma, and causes death in Children in many cases. Litchi fruit contains the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropyl-glycine (MCPG). Its consumption and skipping evening meals causes very low blood glucose level (less than normal 70 mg/dL) and acute encephalopathy in children. Read more

Scientists confirm existence of lost continent lies under Indian Ocean

Scientists have confirmed the existence of a “lost continent” under the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. It is left over by the break-up of the super-continent Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago. The discovery was based on study of Zircon, a mineral found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions which is too old to belong to Mauritius. Read more

New TB-resistant cows developed in China

Chinese scientists from Northwest A&F University have produced world’s first live cows with increased resistance to bovine tuberculosis (TB). This development shows that genetic modification technology can be better suited to producing transgenic livestock with purposefully manipulated genetic. Read more

Researchers create world’s first Heat-Driven Transistor

Researchers from Sweden have developed world’s first heat-driven transistor, controlled by a heat signal instead of an electrical signal. This transistor has high sensitivity to heat i.e. single-degree temperature rise is sufficient to cause a detectable current variation. Its temperature sensitivity is 100 times greater than traditional thermoelectric materials. It can be used in heat cameras and medical dressings where healing process can be monitored. A transistor is a semiconductor device primarily used to switch or amplify electrical power in circuits.

Tesla unveils world’s largest battery storage plant in California

Elon Musk-led electric car maker Tesla has unveiled the world’s largest battery storage plant in California. The plant consists of 396 Tesla powerpacks that can store 80 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power over 2,500 households for a day or 15,000 households for four hours. It was installed in just 94 days. This facility will allow Tesla to draw more on clean energies like solar and wind power.

2020 Tokyo Olympic Games medals to be made from recycled mobile phones

Organisers of 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games have planned to make medals from recycled mobile phones to promote sustainability and reduce costs. For this Japanese public will be asked to donate old phones and small appliances to gather two tonnes of gold, silver and bronze required for making 5,000 medals. Olympic host cities have traditionally obtained the metal from mining firms. But Japan, which lacks its own mineral resources, is keen to take the theme of a sustainable future a step further. Recycled materials have been used in previous 2016 Rio Olympics Games to make medals, with 30% of the silver and bronze medals were made from recycled materials.

International Current Affairs

SAARC programming committee meeting held in Kathmandu

The two-day meeting of SAARC Programming Committee was held in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. All eight members participated in the meeting. This was the first senior level meeting of Association since postponement of 19th SAARC Summit in November 2016. Read more

Rex Tillerson sworn-in as US secretary of state

Former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Rex Tillerson (64) was sworn in as Secretary of State of the United States. His appointment was cleared by full Senate approval in a 56-43 vote. Mr Tillerson does not have any political experience, but has vast experience in business diplomacy by making deals with foreign countries. He has faced intense scrutiny over his ties to Russia. Exxon Mobil Corporation is the fifth largest company in terms of market capitalization.

India to be Guest Country at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

India has been invited as a Guest Country at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to be held in Russia from 1st to 3rd June, 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the Forum as a Guest of Honour. The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is a unique international event in the world of economics and business. It is held annually with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation.

Miscellaneous

Anushka Sharma appointed ambassador of Swachh Bharat campaign

The Union Ministry of Urban Development has appointed Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma as the new ambassador of the Swachh Bharat Campaign. In her new role as the female ambassador of the campaign, she will highlight the women-centric aspects of open defecation in rural and semi-rural area. She will join the campaign with megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is also the brand ambassador of this campaign.

Rajasthan, Telangana bag eGov awards

Rajasthan and Telangana have emerged Winners of Excellence in 2017 CSI -Nihilent eGovernance Awards. The Award of Recognition went to Odisha and Nagaland. The eGovernance Awards have been instituted by the Computer Society of India’s (CSI) Special Interest Group with sponsorship from Nihilent Technologies. These awards help to recognise the efforts of eGovernance practitioners from across central and state departments, projects and in district administrative units as well.

Lucideus wins Best IT Startup of India award

IT risk assessment and digital security services provider Lucideus bagged the government’s ‘Best IT Startup of India’ award. It won the award in the IT and ITES (IT-Enabled Services) category at the National Entrepreneurship Award 2016 organised by the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Lucideus is behind the security for BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app, an Aadhaar-based mobile payment platform. Lucideus has been cofounded by its CEO Saket Modi and was incubated out of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay.

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