03 August 2017 Current Affairs

Rajya Sabha passes RTE amendments

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that amends Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The Bill extends the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment by 4 years. The teachers can get the prescribed qualification using the Swayam portal. They will also be provided practical experience by the respective states.

SEBI approves Dhirendra Swarup as BSE chairman

SEBI has approved the appointment of Dhirendra Swarup as the chairman of the board of directors of the BSE. Dhirendra Swarup, who was a public interest director at the BSE, replaces incumbent Sudhakar Rao. Swarup, former Chairman of the Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), has more than four decades of experience across finance, budgeting, public debt management, public policy and pension reforms. Besides, he was the chairman of the Cash and Debt Management Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 2000 to 2003. He was the government nominee director on the board of Sebi for three years and on a public sector bank for five years.

Justice Srikrishna to head expert group on Data Protection Framework

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has appointed an expert panel committee that would study various issues relating to data protection in the country and will suggest a draft data protection Bill. It is a 10 member panel and it is headed by former Supreme court Judge Justice B N Srikrishna. The committee will design a broader framework which will cover all other kinds of data and ensure that the deliberations on the issue start as soon as possible. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom, Ajay Bhushan CEO, Unique Identification Authority of India, Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator and Arghya Sengupta, Research Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy are other members of the committee.

Indian Army develops Humraaz app for soldiers to track promotions, postings

The Indian Army has developed a mobile application named Humraaz. The app will allow serving soldiers to track details like postings and promotions. Report suggest that an army official has that through the app ‘Humraaz’, soldiers can also view their monthly slips and the Form 16 and also download them. The mobile app has been developed in-house by the Army and will be launched in the second week of August 2017. The app will allow prompt communication of information to junior commissioned officers and other personnel. For security reasons, the installation of the application has been linked to verification of Aadhaar details.

Historic discovery, Sun’s Core rotates four times faster than its surface

A team of researchers have recently made a historic discovery of solar seismic waves which reveals that Sun’s core is rotating four times faster than its surface. The researchers made the calculations using 16 years of observations from an instrument called GOLF (Global Oscillations at Low Frequency) on a spacecraft called Solar and Heliospheric bservatory (SOHO). SOHO is a joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. The method was developed by a team of researchers led by astronomer Eric Fossat.

Cabinet approves India-BRICS MoU for Agriculture Research Platform

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among India and various BRICS countries for establishment of the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform (BRICS-ARP). During the 7th BRICS Summit held in July 2015 at Ufa in Russia, PM Modi proposed to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world. The Centre will promote sustainable agricultural development and poverty alleviation through strategic cooperation in agriculture to provide food security in the BRICS member countries which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. BRICS-ARP will be the natural global platform for science-led agriculture-based sustainable development for addressing the issues of world hunger, under-nutrition, poverty and inequality, particularly between farmers’ and non-farmers’ income, and enhancing agricultural trade, bio-security and climate resilient agriculture.

Punjab Govt to appoint cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur as DSP

The Punjab State government has initiated the process of appointing Indian all-rounder cricketer, Harmanpreet Kaur to the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in the state police. The Young star, whose astounding knock of 171 against Australia in the semi-finals steered India into the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 final, said that it was her childhood dream to work with the state police. Kaur met Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who directed the State Director General f Police (DGP) Suresh Arora to complete the necessary formalities for her appointment. Kaur had scored 171 not out from 115 balls in the semi-final against Australia, one of her best innings till date.

Cabinet scraps no-detention policy for kids of Class 5 and 8

The Union Cabinet approved the scrapping of the no-detention policy in schools till Class 8th. It also gave its nod to the Human Resource Development Ministry’s plan of creating 20 world-class institutions in the country. An enabling provision will be made in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Amendment Bill which will allow states to detain students in class 5 and class 8. However, students will be given a second chance to improve via an examination before they are detained. The bill will now be placed in Parliament for approval.

India can go ahead with Kishanganga, Ratle projects under IWT

World Bank allowed India to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India in Jammu and Kashmir. The IWT was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.

Union Cabinet clears proposal to extend proxy voting for NRIs

The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians by amending electoral laws. This was informed by a senior government functionary. For overseas Indians, the representation of the People Act needs to be amended to include proxy voting as other means to cast their votes. While NRIs and overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies where they are registered, according to the proposal, they will also be allowed to use the option of proxy, which as of now is only available to service personnel.

7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers held in Shanghai

The 7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers was held in Shanghai, China. A six-member delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman. Mr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce from China, presided over the meetings. The other delegations were represented by Mr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry (South Africa), Mr. Marcelo Maia Tavares de Araujo, Secretary of Commerce and Services of Ministry of Industry (Brazil) and Mr Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development (Russia). Sitharaman discussed with her Chinese counterpart, Zhong Shan, the trade deficit in India-China bilateral trade which stands at $51 billion for 2016-17 from the $71.48 billion bilateral trade between the two countries.
The Ministers adopted the following documents at the conclusion of the meeting:

  • 7th BRICS Trade Ministers’ Joint Statement
  • BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap
  • BRICS E-Commerce Cooperation Initiative
  • BRICS IPR Cooperation Guidelines
  • Framework on strengthening the Economic and Technical Cooperation of BRICS Countries
  • Terms of Reference (ToR) of BRICS Model E-Port Network
  • Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation.

SEBI forms committee on fair market conduct

Regulator SEBI has set up a committee on ‘fair market conduct’ which will suggest measures for improving surveillance of the markets and strengthen rules for trades. The panel, under the chairmanship of former law secretary T K Viswanathan, would suggest measures for improvement in PIT (Prohibition of Insider Trading) norms, PFTUP (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) regulations and mainly related to ‘trading plans’ and handling of ‘unpublished price sensitive information’ during takeovers. It would be responsible for recommending steps to align insider trading regulations with Companies Act provisions.

NOTA will remain applicable in Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls

The Election Commission has rejected the demands of the political parties to remove the None of the Above (NOTA) option in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat. The Commission said that the NOTA option will be applicable in the Rajya Sabha Elections in Gujarat. The electoral body made this announcement in the wake of protests by the opposition against the insertion of the option.

Human Embryos edited to stop disease

For the first time, an international team of scientists have discovered a way to successfully edit/ free embryos of a piece of faulty DNA that causes deadly heart disease in families. The process named as CRISPR, was completed without introducing any harmful mutations, which was a problem in previous attempts. In short, CRISPR is a gene-editing technique which allows scientists to insert, remove and correct DNA within a cell with pinpoint precision.

UNSC adopts resolution to prevent terrorists access to weapons

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted a resolution to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons. The resolution came after the UN body witnessed that there is a continuous flow of weapons, unmanned aircraft systems and improvised explosive device (IED) components between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaida, their affiliates and associated groups. The accumulation and misuse of these weapons continue to pose threats to international peace & security and cause significant loss of life.

Lok Sabha passes Bill to replace NPA Ordinance

The Lok Sabha gave its nod for a Bill to replace the NPA Ordinance promulgated in May 2017. The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2017 sought to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, for this purpose. The NPA Ordinance had conferred powers on the Centre for authorising the Reserve Bank of India to issue directions to banks to initiate the insolvency resolution process in respect of a default, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016. It had also conferred powers upon the RBI to issue directions to banking companies for resolution of stressed assets and allow it to specify one or more committees to advise banking companies on resolution of stressed assets.

Hassan Rouhani sworn in as Iran’s President for 2nd term

Hassan Rouhani was officially sworn in as the President of Iarn for a second term. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei gave his official approval for Rouhani’s appointment by giving him a decree to assign him his duties. Rouhani will administer the oath before the parliament on 5 August 2017 and before that, he has to present his cabinet before the parliament for a vote of confidence. As per Iran’s Election Law, a president-elect is required to get the Leader’s approval before being sworn-in before the Parliament. Rouhani won the re-election in May 2017, after securing 57 per cent of the votes and defeating his main contender Ebrahim Raeisi.

FB Acquires AI Asst Startup Ozlo to Make Messenger Smarter

To build out a more elaborate personal assistant for the Messenger users, Facebook has acquired an artificial intelligence (AI) startup Ozlo that specialises in understanding text-based conversations. Ozlo claims that its virtual assistants can understand and provide answers to questions which do not have simple “yes” or “no” answers. Ozlo has raised $14 million from a number of investors, including Greylock. The start-up has 30 employees, majority of which will be joining Messenger in Facebook’s offices in either Menlo Park, California or Seattle, Washington.

Payback announces Gautam Kaushik as new CEO

Payback India has appointed Gautam Kaushik as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Gautam Kaushik will spearhead the India operations and lead all the critical business areas including Strategic Business Planning and Development, Partner Management & Acquisitions and Customer Engagement. Prior to joining PAYBACK, Gautam was working with American Express (AMEX) as Vice President (VP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Leave a Reply

Free E-mail Job Alerts
Enter your email address:
Don't Forget To "Activate" Subscription Link Sent to Your Email