14 July 2017 Current Affairs

China’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies at 61

China’s Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has died at the age of 61 while still in custody following a battle with cancer, after officials ignored international pleas to let him spend his final days free and abroad. Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Chinese intellectual and activist is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, the 1935 recipient, who died under surveillance after years confined to Nazi concentration camps.

DIPP signs MoU with PSCST to set up India’s first TISC

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry has signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology in New Delhi to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program. The objective of the TISC is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, thereby promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of TISCs in India.

Indian Railways launches RailCloud, NIVARAN & CTSE Scheme

Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has launched RailCloud project, NIVARAN-Grievance Portal (First IT Application on Rail Cloud), Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE) Scheme and Handing over of 1st CTSE Card.

  • RailCloud: Indian Railway has started a strategic IT initiative, christened IR-OneICT, for enterprise wide digital single platform with an aim to improve customer satisfaction, improve revenue and effective, efficient and safe operations. To achieve the goal of single digital platform for IR a few foundational projects need to be implemented first, establishment of RailCloud is one such project.
  • NIVARAN-Grievance Portal First IT application on RailCloud: ‘NIVARAN-Grievance Portal’ is the first IT application to be launched on the RailCloud. It is the platform for resolution of service related grievances of serving and former railway employees. The existing application was hosted on a conventional server; it has been made cloud-ready and being migrated as the first cloud application of Indian Railways. It will save significant revenue and at the same time user experience will also improve.
  • Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE): Railway provides Comprehensive Health Care Facilities to its beneficiaries through in-house health Institutions, supplementing with referrals to recognized hospitals whenever necessary. The beneficiaries include retired employees and their dependent family members. Large no. of retired beneficiaries lives in the newly developed suburbs of various cities. These parts of the city are often far away from the established Railway Health Institutions. In this scenario the RELHS beneficiaries coming to Railway Health Institutions in routine is acceptable, however in emergency situations, precious time (Golden Hour) is lost in travel.

National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2017-22 launched by Nadda

J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has launched the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22). The Strategic Plan gives year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years. This plan focuses on the states such as Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years.

Maharashtra passes law against social boycott

Maharashtra has become the first state to make social boycott a crime after President Pranab Mukherjee cleared the legislation. The Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention Prohibition and Redressal) Act prescribes a maximum punishment of three years in jail and a fine of Rs1 lakh. It aims to prevent atrocities carried out by extra-judicial courts and caste panchayats. The Act also provides for compensation to victims. The fines imposed on violators will be used to compensate them. The Act also has a provision to withdraw cases with the consent of victims and permission from a court. In case of a withdrawal, the accused will have to perform community service.

Indian scientists discover ‘Saraswati’, a supercluster of galaxies

Indian scientists have discovered Saraswati, a large supercluster of galaxies located in the direction of the constellation Pisces, and at a distance of 4,000 million (400 crore) light years away from Earth. A team of astronomers from the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and members of two other Indian universities, have discovered this supercluster of galaxies. Supercluster is a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies. This newly-discovered Saraswati supercluster, extends over a scale of 600 million light years and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.

22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) held in Istanbul

The 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) International Conference was held recently in Istanbul, Turkey. Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan visited Istanbul to represent India at the Conference. The theme for 22nd World Petroleum Congress was ‘Bridges To Our Energy Future’. WPC was first organized in year 1993. Currently, it is being held at the interval of three years. “This time – Istanbul!” was the motto for the Turkish delegation as they faced the USA with Houston, Kazakhstan with Astana and Denmark with Copenhagen in the election to host the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in 2017. In a tightly run competition, Istanbul won the right to host the prestigious Congress with 55% of the votes in the third round against its strongest rival Houston with 45%.

SBI to cut NEFT, RTGS charges by up to 75%

To encourage more customers to transact digitally, State Bank of India will slash charges for National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) transactions by up to 75 per cent with effect from July 15. The reduced charges will be applicable on the transactions done through the internet banking (INB) and mobile banking (MB). Additionally, the bank has also waived off charges for fund transfer of up to Rs. 1,000 done through Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) effective July 1, 2017.

BRPL, TERI sign pact to explore opportunities in solar rooftops, e-vehicles

BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have entered into a partnership to explore collaboration opportunities for solar rooftop, electric vehicles, energy storage systems, energy efficiency and smart grid technologies. The collaboration will foster path breaking research and explore newer collaboration opportunities in the domain of emerging technologies. This will also provide impetus in rooftop PV sector in NCT of Delhi by mitigating challenges faced by discoms. The MoU has been signed for two years. The collaboration will help in research and explore newer collaboration opportunities in the domain of emerging technologies.

India tops OECD list of countries that trust their governments the most

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) has released the Governement at a Glance 2017 report. The report presents an index of countries that trust their governmants the most. The topmost rank in the global index is secured by India as around 73 per cent people have faith in Narendra modi government. With 73 per cent India is ranked firmly at the top, followed by Canada in second position as Justin Trudeau’s government earned the confidence of 62 per cent of its people. the other three players on the top 5 are Turkey, russia and Germany. The lowest on the list is Greece, which has over the past few years struggled a lot with its finances and global loan defaults, and has had to be bailed out by the European Union.

Aarthi Subramanian appointed as Chief Digital Officer of Tata Sons

Tata Sons, the holding company of salt-to-software Tata Group, has appointed Aarthi Subramanian as the group’s Chief Digital Officer. Subramanian, currently the Executive Director at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), will join Tata Sons in august. She will, however, continue with TCS in a non-executive capacity. Subramanian is the second TCSer whom Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran has picked up to be a part of his core team after Suprakash Mukhopadhyay.

YES Bank gets $150 mn from OPIC to fund SME lending

Private sector YES Bank has received $150 million funding from the US government and Wells Fargo to increase lending to support women entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in India. This is the third round of funding to the bank as part of arrangement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) -the US government development finance institution and Wells Fargo. Under the agreement, OPIC will provide $ 75 million in financing and up to $ 75 million in syndicated financing jointly arranged by Wells Fargo Bank to Yes Bank. $ 50 million of the financing would be used to expand support to women-owned businesses, while another equal amount will be used for financing SME business in low-income states.

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