01 July 2017 Current Affairs

Two Indian-Americans to be honoured with Great Immigrants award

Two Indian-Americans, Adobe Chief Shantanu Narayen and former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy are among 38 immigrants to be honoured this year for their role in helping advance the country’s society, culture and economy. Narayen and Murthy will be honoured with the prestigious ‘Great Immigrants’ annual award on US’s Independence day. Murthy, born in the UK and a Harvard and Yale alumnus, was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014, becoming the first-ever Indian-American to occupy the post and also the youngest ever surgeon general of the country. Narayen, a native of Hyderabad has an undergraduate degree in electronics engineering, a master’s degree in computer science, and an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Eight core sectors growth slips to 3.6% in May

The growth of eight core sectors slowed to 3.6 per cent in May due to fall in output of coal and fertilisers. The growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors— coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — was 5.2 percent in May last year (2016). Coal and fertiliser productions recorded negative growth of 3.3 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively. Steel sector growth dipped to 3.7 percent last month as against 13.4 per cent in May 2016. Slow growth in key sectors would also have implications on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) number as these segments account for about 41 percent to the total factory output. However, growth in refinery products and electricity output grew by 5.4 per cent and 6.4 per cent in May as against 3.3 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively in the same period last year. Natural gas production too grew by 4.5 percent in May as against a negative growth rate of 6.5 percent a year earlier. In April, these eight sectors had recorded a growth rate of 2.8 percent.

Election Commission launches special drive to enroll left out voters

Election Commission (EC) has launched the nationwide month-long special drive from 01st July 2017 for maximisation of registration of eligible electors with the focus on left out eligible young citizens in the age group of 18-19. During the drive, the EC will remove names of registered dead electors, if any, from electoral rolls. During the month of June, the election officials have completed preparatory work like identification of critical gaps in existing electoral rolls, strengthening of infrastructure and sensitization of ground level electoral machine. The EC has also sent the communication to all recognised political parties seeking their cooperation for the success of the Special Drive.

BHEL signs pact with Japanese firm for manufacturing coaches

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has entered into a technology collaboration agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (KHI) of Japan for manufacturing of stainless steel coaches and bogies for metros. The agreement covers establishing design, engineering and manufacturing facilities at BHEL using Japanese technology. It will also entitle BHEL for all technological advances and upgrades. BHEL supplies electric as well as diesel locomotives, EMUs, and propulsion systems for Indian Railways.

Trump appoints Indian-American as US Ambassador to Peru

US President Donald Trump has appointed Indian-American Krishna R. Urs as the new US Ambassador to Peru. The appointment of Urs, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, would have to be approved by the Senate. He is currently Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Madrid. Urs took over after James Costos, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, resigned. Urs, a 30-year veteran of the foreign service was earlier the Deputy Chief of Mission in Spain. During his three decades of State Department service, Mr. Urs has specialised in economic issues and developed extensive policy experience in the Andean region of South America.

India contributes Rs. 3 Crores to UN Peacebuilding Fund

India has contributed $500,000 (Rs. 3 Crores) to the UN Peacebuilding Fund, expressing hope that more funding by nations will boost efforts by the world body to build and sustain peace. India has been a member of the Peacebuilding Commission since its inception in December 2005 and has so far contributed $5 million to the Peacebuilding Fund. The fund was launched to support activities, actions, programmes and organisations that seek to build a lasting peace in countries emerging from conflict.

Govt slashes small savings interest rate by 0.1 % on small saving schemes for July-Sep quarter

The government has lowered interest rate on small saving schemes by 0.1 per cent for the July- September quarter. The move will prompt banks to lower deposit rates. The rates of small saving schemes like PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra and Sukanya Samriddhi have been lowered across the board compared to the April-June quarter. Since April last year, interest rates of all small saving schemes have been recalibrated on a quarterly basis. According to finance ministry notification, investments in the public provident fund (PPF) scheme will fetch lower annual rate of 7.8 percent. Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) investments will yield 7.5 per cent and mature in 115 months. The one for girl child savings, Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, will offer 8.3 percent annually, from 8.4 per cent at present. The investment on 5-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme will yield 8.3 per cent.

GST Council cuts tax rate on fertiliser to 5%

Just a couple of hours before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll out, the all-powerful GST Council has reduced the tax rate on fertiliser to 5 percent from previously decided 12 per cent. The decision to reduce the tax rate on fertiliser was taken because of apprehensions that price of the crop nutrient may go up. The GST Council, in another move to give relief to farmers, also cut the tax rate on exclusive parts of tractors from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

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