Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2017

हिंदी करंट अफेयर्स प्रश्नोत्तरी 2017 के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें.

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India and Russia Celebrates 10 Years of Partnership in Science and Technology

This year, India and Russia are celebrating 70 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between them. Joint cooperation in science and technology was one of the important pillars of the bilateral relationship between both the countries. Also, India’s Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi and Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Moscow are celebrating their 10th year of their partnership.

MoU

To expand the joint cooperation, India’s Department of Science and Technology and Russian scientists held discussions to enhance their cooperation in the fields of big data and cyber physical systems.

Subsequently, a MoU on the India-Russia unified technology assessment and accelerated commercialization programme, was concluded in Moscow between Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Russia’s Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE). The MoU is expected to improve closer interaction between scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the scientists of India. It was also agreed to work for start-up companies and entrepreneurs in order to establish Indo-Russian Bridge for Innovation.

The meeting also concluded with an Addendum to the Agreement between DST and Russian Science Foundation (RSF) on coordinated competition for conducting collaborating research. DST and RSF have agreed to support young achievers who are less than 39 years of age in a competitive mode for joint collaborative research. As of now, DST and RSF have jointly supported over 17 projects.

Background

With the closure of the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) between both the countries in 2007, the DST-RFBR has emerged as a robust platform for bilateral scientific cooperation in Basic Sciences. The first call under the DST-RFBR programme was awarded in 2008. In the last decade, DST and RFBR have jointly supported 254 research projects. Under the ambit of this programme, projects have been undertaken in the areas of basic sciences Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry & Material Sciences, Biology & Medical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering Sciences and Computer Sciences and Telecommunications.

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Saudi Arabia: King names Son as new Crown Prince

Saudi Arabia’s king has appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and heir to the throne replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef. This also means that Prince Mohammed bin Salman will become the kingdom’s deputy prime minister while continuing as defence minister.

Significance

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment as the first in line to the throne is seen by the younger generation as a sign that things are changing in the kingdom. Before his appointment, Prince Salman was responsible for leading Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

Prince Salman who is only 31 years old could lead Saudi Arabia for decades which means the kingdom will have a long period of internal stability. However, at the same time Mohammed bin Salman’s closeness to US President Donald Trump could increase pressure against Iran, which has the potential to raise tensions in the region.

Background-Saudi Arabia’s Royal Succession

The founder of Saudi Arabia is King Abdulaziz. He had dozens of sons and there exists as many as 15,000 princes and princesses in the royal family. In 2006, the royal kingdom proclaimed a decree under which a committee responsible for electing the king and crown prince was set up. This committee is made up of senior princes of the royal family and is known as the Allegiance Council.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment has received the approval of 31 out of 34 members of the council. In Saudi Arabia, those in power has the habit of promoting their sons to the roles which will improve their chances of being promoted.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most influential Arab country. It is the world’s leading oil producer and the Saudi Royal family is one of the richest ruling families in the world.

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Railways to launch Operation Swarn to revamp Rajdhani, Shatabdi Trains 

Concerned over the complaints received from the public over the premium trains of Indian Railways like Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express, Railways have decided to launch “Operation Swarn (‘gold’)“. The operation is aimed at improving the services in these premium trains. The Railways have decided to launch this operation after it received complaints from passengers regarding the sanitation, food quality and delay in train arrivals etc.

Salient Highlights

Under the operation, in the first phase, Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express will be upgraded. More trains will be identified for upgradation in a phased manner

Under the initiative, Indian Railways will work towards improving 10 aspects, namely, punctuality, cleanliness, linen, coach interiors, toilets, catering, staff behaviour, security, entertainment, housekeeping and regular feedback.Under the operation, a sum of Rs 50 lakh would be allotted to Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains on various routes for the purpose of revamping.

Under the operation, a sum of Rs 50 lakh would be allotted to Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains on various routes for the purpose of revamping.

Indian railways will constitute two committees to monitor the revamping work under ‘Operation Swarn’.

Indian railways will constitute two committees to monitor the revamping work under ‘Operation Swarn’.

The upgraded trains will also have improved coach interiors, better furnishing and new comfortable seats.

In future, these premium trains will also be upgraded with services like Wi-Fi, infotainment screens, coffee vending machines etc.

Premium Trains

Among the premium trains in India Rajdhani and Shatabdi are the well known. They are transporting people who were able to afford more fare for a somewhat luxurious travel. But after years of service, these trains have begun to lose their sheen.

In May 2017, first high-speed premium train Tejas Express between Mumbai and Karnali in Goa was launched. The train has a lot of facilities like LCD screen on every seat, improved interiors, coffee vending machines, automatic doors, fire repression system, bio-vacuum toilets, attendant call buttons, reading LED lights and free Wi-Fi connectivity.

The railways have also launched a new series of fully air-conditioned express trains like Humsafar, Mahamana and Gatimaan for overnight travel. The Humsafar Express has features like CCTV cameras, coffee vending machines, fire and smoke detection systems, new interiors with comfortable seats. The Mahamana Express has ladders for climbing to upper berths, snack tables for side berths, windows with powered Venetian blinds and roller blinds, LED lights as berth indicators, LED reading lights, fire extinguishers and electrically operated chimney in the pantry car, among others.

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