The Current Affairs Daily Digest for February 22, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs
National Current Affairs
Government launches Bharat QR code
The Union Government has launched Bharat QR code, a quick response (QR) code to enable digital payments without card swiping machines. It is world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution launched by Indian Government to move towards less-cash economy. Read more
Government launches Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi for Botnet cleaning and Malware analysis. It was launched by Union Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad as part of Union Government’s ambitious digital India initiative to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections. Read more
CCEA approves investment proposal for Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved an investment proposal for generation component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal. The project is implemented by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited, a Central Public Sector Enterprises of Government of India. It will generate 900 Megawatt of hydro power at an estimated cost of 5723.72 crore rupees. The decision demonstrates government’s commitment to promote clean and green energy in India and the sub-continent.
Cabinet approves capacity hike for solar parks & projects
The Union Cabinet has decided to enhance solar power capacity from 20,000 Mega Watt (MW) to 40,000MW for development of solar parks and ultra-mega solar power projects. The enhanced capacity will ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500MW and above in various parts of country. This will help in long term energy security of country and also lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle. It will also contribute to long-term energy security of the country and generate large direct and indirect employment.
Government notifies protocol amending tax treaty with Israel
The Revenue Department has notified the protocol amending the India-Israel tax treaty to provide for exchange of information on tax matters including bank details to check flow of black money. The amended treaty provides that information in respect of an Indian resident received from Israel can be shared with other law enforcement agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate. It also provides for levy of capital gains tax in India on sale of shares or interest in a trust, partnership or other entity. It also provides ‘Limitation of Benefits’ Article as an anti-abuse provision in order to enable enforcement of domestic law in case of misuse of the treaty.
India, Japan ink pact on rail safety
India signed Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Japan for enhancing railway safety in the Indian Railways with focus on railway track and rolling stock safety. Under this agreement, the areas of cooperation include rail inspection, rail wielding, automatic railway track safety inspection, maintenance of rolling stock. Besides, it will also cover any other relevant railway safety matters jointly determined by both sides with the aim to prevent major rail accidents.
Environment, Science and Technology Current Affairs
Scientists discover four new miniature frog species in Western Ghats
Scientists have discovered four new species of miniature night frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail in Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot. These species were discovered among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and Kerala Forest Department. Read more
Scientists discover 60,000-year-old microbes in mine
Scientists from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute have discovered living microorganisms (most of them bacteria) trapped inside crystals for as long as 60,000 years in a Naica mine in Mexico. These ancient microbes have evolved so they can survive on a diet of sulfite, manganese and copper oxide. The discovery has caused concern for astrobiologists about bringing back samples collected on space missions in the solar system as dangerous extraterrestrial organisms could accidentally enter into Earth on a returning spaceship. Besides there is also risk that Earth organisms could contaminate other planets in the course of missions.
States Current Affairs
Punjab Government prohibits sale of processed, flavoured tobacco & nicotine products for 1 year
Punjab Government has banned the manufacture, sale, storage or distribution of gutkha, pan masala, flavoured/ processed/processed/scented chewing tobacco and any other food products containing nicotine or tobacco for one year. The ban has been imposed in view of the orders of the Supreme Court and shall continue on packaged or unpackaged or sold as one or separate products throughout the state.
International Current Affairs
South Africa’s decision to leave ICC ruled invalid
South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been ruled invalid and unconstitutional by the High Court. The court ordered the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal. In October 2016, South Africa had notified the UN of its intention to leave ICC, accusing it for undermining its sovereignty. The decision to pull out came after a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashar’s visit to the country in 2015 for attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg. South African authorities had refused to arrest Mr Bashir despite facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.
Persons in News
Shurhozelie Liezitsu sworn-in as Chief Minister of Nagaland
Shurhozelie Liezitsu (81) was sworn-in as the 17th Chief Minister of Nagaland. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor PB Acharya at a ceremony in the state capital Kohima. He succeeded TR Zeliang, who had resigned as the Chief Minister following widespread protests over reservation to women in local body elections. Besides CM, 10 other members of the Council also took oath. Read more
Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre appointed Chairman of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal
The Union Government has appointed Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre of the Supreme Court as Shairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. He was nominated by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar. In December 2016, Union Cabinet had cleared a proposal to set up a single, permanent Water Disputes Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-state river water disputes subsuming existing tribunals. It also had proposed to float some Benches to look into disputes to speed up water sharing disputes among States.
Days, Events and Observances
National Biodiversity Congress 2017 held in Kerala
The National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 was held in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. The event is hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. NBC is one of the significant biodiversity mega events of the country. It aims to identify practical, evidence-based case studies at the regional level to support the plan of action. Read more
February 21: International Mother Language Day
The International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was observed across the world on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic, multilingualism and cultural diversity. This year it is the 17th anniversary of IMLD. The observance of this day signifies importance of mother language as the greatest weapon to express one’s feeling. Mother Language of one country is the sign of independence of that country. 2017 Theme: “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. Read more
Sports Current Affairs
India beat South Africa in final of ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017
India has defeated South Africa by one wicket in the final match of ICC Women World Cup Qualifier 2017 held at Colombo, Sri Lanka. India achieved the target of 245 runs on the last ball of the 50th over. Deepti Sharma of Indian was the highest scorer with 71 runs followed by Mona Meshram who made 59 runs. Harmanpreet Kaur remained unbeaten at 41. Earlier, India’s Rajeshwari Gayakwad had claimed three wickets, while Shikha Pandey took two wickets to bowl out South African team at 244 runs in 49.4 overs. Both women teams already have booked their berths in 2017 ICC World Cup. India was only unbeaten team in the tournament.