Bullet Express Current Affairs, June, 2017
• India and Russia have inked 5 pacts after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Russia.
• The land version of the short range surface–to–surface ballistic missile Prithvi-II was successfully test-fired from a defence base off Odisha coast.
• Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has announced that the second Scorpene-class submarine is ready for surface sea trials.
• India has been ranked 137th in the Global Peace Index 2017, which ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness. In Last year’s index, India was ranked 141st.
• The Ministry of Rural Development has selected Vizianagaram as one among the 17 districts for MGNREGA annual award.
The Indian Army is expected to soon open up combat positions for women. This has been stated by Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat. The Indian Army has taken up this issue with the government.
• Habibganj railway station in the suburbs of Bhopal will become country’s first railway station to be redeveloped in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
• The 2017 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) titled ‘The Age of Focus‘ has placed India at the top position among 30 developing countries on ease of doing business in the retail sector. This is the 16th edition of the Global Retail Development Index (GRDI).
• The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has announced that it is working on a forecasting system that will give a 15-day warnings on the likelihood of a malaria or chikungunya outbreak across different regions of the country.
Kerala State government has come out with a green protocol to make the weddings in the state more nature-friendly.
• The National Board of Wildlife has approved Rutland Island in South Andaman to be the site for the country’s long-range missile test facility. DRDO has been seeking the approval for the test facility since 2012.
• The Uttar Pradesh state government has planned to replace textbooks meant for Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board with the ones published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) with an aim to bring the curriculum of UP Board at par with the CBSE.
• India has signed an agreement with Sri Lanka to provide USD 318 million as line of credit for developing Sri Lanka’s railway sector.
• The Union Ministry of Law and Justice has cleared the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill 2017, and thus legalising kambala. The bill will now be sent to the President for getting his assent.
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda has been conferred the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control.
• With an aim to curb antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revised the protocol for antibiotics. This revision is the biggest such revision of the antibiotics section in the 40-year history of the essential medicines list (EML).
• The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping has established a one million dollar fund for boosting media cooperation in the five-nation grouping.
• NITI Aayog has launched SATH-‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ with the State Governments for furthering the agenda of cooperative federalism.
• Sahithi Pingali, a twelfth grader from Bengaluru will get a minor planet in Milky Way named after her as a reward for developing an integrated mobile phone app and lake monitoring kit to monitor pollution in water bodies.
• The Supreme Court has upheld the government’s decision and ruled that it would be mandatory for all Aadhaar holders to link it with the permanent account number (PAN) for filing of income tax returns.
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has launched a mobile Application ‘Selfie with Daughter’ at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
• The Ministry of Law and Justice has launched the ‘Tele-Law’ initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to provide legal aid services to the marginalized communities and citizens living in rural areas through the Common Service Centres (CSC) at the panchayat level, spread across the country.
• EU and France will give a grant of 3.5 million euros to three Indian cities- Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad as part of the EU’s commitment under the Paris Climate agreement to curb emissions and promote sustainability in these cities.
• Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted an expert committee to examine the rules which allow free movement of people near Indo-Myanmar border.
CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC), Chennai, has come up with a cost-effective toilet.
• Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu has demand for a separate time zone for the northeastern states to improve work efficiency and save electricity in the region.
• ‘Project Jal Sanchay’, a water conservation model which is successfully adopted in Nalanda district of south-central Bihar, has been chosen for the national award for excellence in the Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee programme (MGNREGP) by the Ministry of Rural Development.
• According to a recently released CRY Report on child labour, more than 8 lakh children between the age group of 5 and 6 years in India are engaged in child labour.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired anti-tank ‘Nag’ missile in Rajasthan.
• Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has launched Mission Retro-Fitment to enhance the passenger experience by upgrading the existing fleet of coaches.
• The Union cabinet has approved the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) for farmers for the year 2017-18. The Government has allocated Rs. 20,339 crore for this scheme.
• The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to introduce a Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017 which will provide a comprehensive resolution framework for financial sector entities to deal with bankruptcy situation in banks, insurance companies, and other entities.
• India and South Korea has signed an agreement for $10 billion assistance for infrastructure development projects in India, including smart cities.
• India has won its re-election to the UN’s principal organ on economic, social and environmental issues for another three-year term. India was one among the 18 nations to win election to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The government has made Aadhaar mandatory for opening bank accounts as well as for carrying out financial transactions above of Rs 50,000.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated Kochi Metro, which will be Kerala’s first metro line.
• India and Afghanistan are set to operationalize their first air-freight corridor in the coming days.
• External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has inaugurated Know India Programme (KIP) for NRI and PIO youth with a view to provide them with an exposure to the country of their origin so that they can understand India better and more closely.
• ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) completes 1000 earth days in orbit. The orbiter has outlived its lifespan which is more than 5 times the number of days the orbiter was designated to last in orbit.
• Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harshvardhan has launched a Mobile App “Celebrating Yoga”.
• India has been ranked 75th out of 102 countries in a list that ranks the countries in terms of the human impact on environment per person.
• India has become the 71st nation to join the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention.
Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines has launched the Energy Conservation Building Code 2017 (ECBC 2017).
• Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel has acquired an ‘image trademark‘ under the Trademark Act of 1999, making it is the first building in the country to acquire intellectual property rights protection for its architectural design.
• Larsen & Toubro has launched the first indigenously built Floating Dock (FDN-2) to repair Indian Navy ships at its Shipyard at Kattupalli, north of Chennai.
• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series weighing 712 kg and 30 nano-satellites using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
• 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’)“.
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.
• Under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), rural Uttarakhand and rural Haryana have been declared as the 4th and 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) States of India. Already, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, have been declared ODF.
• 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.
• NITI-Aayog has chosen the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad for hosting the ₹10-crore Atal Incubation Centre for biotechnology start-ups.
Union Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal has launched Weather Portal for Power Sector & Web Portal ‘MERIT’ (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency).
• West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has received the highest prize in United Nations Public Service Award for the state government’s Kanyashree Prakalpa (Girl Child) scheme in The Hague, Netherlands. Kanyashree Prakalpa scheme of West Bengal came first among the 552 project nominations received by the UN from 62 countries.
• Union Minister for Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, M. Venkaiah Naidu has announced a new batch of 30 smart cities under Smart City Mission, which was launched on June 25, 2015.
• ISRO’s satellite-based chips are set to alert people at unmanned rail crossings.
• The HRD ministry has constituted a new nine-member panel headed by space scientist K Kasturirangan to frame a new National Education Policy (NEP).
• India and the Netherlands have signed three MOUs after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte in Hague the Netherlands.
• Odisha is set to become the first state in the country to open a blood bank for cattle.
The Election Commission of India has joined hands with Facebook to launch nationwide voter registration reminder aimed at reminding eligible Indian voters to register themselves on the electoral rolls.
• ISRO has successfully launched GSAT-17 communication Satellite onboard the Ariane-5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center at French Guiana on June 28.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the centenary celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.
• US has decided to sell one C-17 transport aircraft to India. US and India have built a close defence relationship in recent years. The US along with Russia and Israel has emerged as a top three arms supplier to India.
• President Donald Trump has announced that the United States is set to withdraw from the historic 2015 Paris Accord as the accord was hurting his country and economy very badly.
India and Pakistan’s admission to the China-backed Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be formalised at the SCO’s summit to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Astana Summit will be held on 8-9 June.
• The UN security council has unanimously passed a resolution expanding targeted sanctions against North Korea after the latter launched its ninth ballistic missile test of the year.
• Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and UAE have suspended their diplomatic ties with Qatar.
• Nepal has struck a major deal with China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) for developing a 1,200 MW Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project, which will be the biggest hydro project in Nepal having the potential to resolve its perennial power crisis.
• Sher Bahadur Deuba,70, has been elected as Nepal’s Prime Minister for the fourth time.
Sachin Tendulkar will join other global celebrities like Dravid, Beckham, Novak Djokovic, Academy Award winning American actor Mahershala Ali, British Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton and Australian actor Hugh Jackman for UNICEF’s ‘Super Dads’ campaign that highlights the critical role played by fathers in children’s early development.
• India and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation have launched a partnership fund to promote sustainable development projects across the developing world.
• In a first Preet Kaur Gill has become the first Sikh to be elected to the British Parliament’s House of Commons.
• Government has awarded a Rs 1,600-crore contract for constructing 109-km road connecting Paletwa river terminal to Zorinpui in Mizoram border as a part of the $484-million Kaladan multi-modal transport (KMTT) projects in Myanmar which will offer connectivity to Mizoram.
• India has moved the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the US as it has not yet complied with the rulings of the WTO pertaining to imposition of high import duty on certain Indian steel products.
• The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2018 has been released. In the list, three Indian universities have featured among the top 200 universities.
• Panama has established formal diplomatic ties with China and broke all of its relationship with Taiwan in a move that is seen as a victory for China in its drive to isolate Taiwan from the rest of the world. China claims Taiwan as its own territory.
India has ratified two key global conventions for combating child labour as a step towards creating full respect for fundamental rights at work.
• Telecom giant Verizon has acquired Yahoo’s core business for $4.48bn (£3.51m), thus ending Yahoo’s two-decade long run as an independent company. Verizon is the No.1 wireless operator in the US.
• SEBI has allowed options trading on futures contract of commodities. However, the capital market regulator has allowed the commodity derivatives exchanges to initially launch options on futures of only one commodity.
• RBI’s Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) has identified 12 bank accounts constituting nearly 25% of the gross bad loans for immediate referral and resolution under the bankruptcy law.
• The Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies, Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum has have signed the joint venture agreement to jointly set up the world’s largest refinery and petrochemical complex in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.
China has launched its first X-ray space telescope to study black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts.
• The United Nations General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new United Nations office of counter-terrorism to help Member States implement UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy.
• The World’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney has entered into Guinness World Book of Records.
• China has unveiled world’s first train that runs on a virtual track making use of sensor technology instead of metal rails.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ammunition which is a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure has entered into a strategic partnership with Serbia’s state-run Yugoimport to manufacture ammunition in India.
• India and Portugal have signed a protocol of cooperation in the field of archives.
• China has launched a research project aimed at compiling historical data obtained during earlier expeditions conducted by its teams to the disputed South China Sea since the late 1950s.
• According to the World population Prospectus: The Revision released by the United Nations, India with 1.3 billion inhabitants would surpass China’s population of 1.4 billion by 2024, to become the World’s populous country.
• UNESCO has named Sharjah as the World Book Capital for 2019. Sharjah was chosen for its efforts to make books accessible to its entire population.
Business and Economy
• As per the data released by the Ministry of Statistics, India registered 7.1% growth in the financial year 2016-17, which is slower than the 8% registered in 2015-16.
Telangana has launched a digital wallet named T-Wallet for people to make public and private financial transactions.
• Bharti Airtel has stated that it has got approvals from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) for the proposed scheme of merger with Telenor (India) Communications Private Ltd.
• Samsung India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for setting up two new Samsung Technical Schools in Bengaluru and Jamshedpur as well as to renew the partnership for 10 existing schools being run across the country.
• Market Regulator SEBI has formed a Committee on Corporate Governance under the chairmanship of Uday Kotak, the executive vice chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank.
• Vijaya Bank has stated that it plans to develop as many as 100 digital villages in various States across the country as part of its initiative to promote digital banking among the rural population.
Government will retrofit 10 lakh conventional street lights with LED lights in Gram Panchayats of 7 districts in Andhra Pradesh. The project will be carried out by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) functioning under the Ministry of Power.
• The finance Ministry has asked all those ministries tasked with clearing foreign direct investment proposals in the 12 sectors that require government’s nod to take a decision on such proposals within 60 days.
• The Reserve Bank of India has kept repo rate unchanged at 6.25% in its second bi-monthly monetary policy review. Reverse Repo rate has been kept unchanged at 6%.
• According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2017, India continues to remain as a favourite destination for FDI even though tax related concerns remain as a deterrent for the foreign investors.
According to BMI Research, a Fitch group company, India is among the top five consumer markets in Asia offering retailers the strongest consumer spending growth of an average of 6.1% over the next five years.
• Health Secretary C K Mishra has inaugurated the ‘Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh’, a National Human Milk Bank and Lactation Counselling Centre at the Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) in New Delhi.
• SEBI has granted conditional approval for the appointment of Vikram Limaye as the MD and CEO of the NSE.
• State-run oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) will revise the prices of petrol and diesel daily from June 16 throughout the country.
• Reserve Bank of India has said that it will release new batch of Rs 500 currency notes whose design will be similar in all respects to the Rs 500 rupee banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series which were released post demonetisation.
• SEBI has come up with comprehensive guidelines asking the Commodity derivatives exchanges to compulsorily set up investor protection and service funds.
China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved $150 million equity investment loan to the India Infrastructure Fund.
• According to the ‘One Family at a Time’ study conducted by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Indians working across the world had sent home USD 62.7 billion in 2016 making India the top remittance-receiving country surpassing China.
• According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s current account deficit (CAD) narrowed during 2016-17 fiscal owing to a contraction in the country’s trade deficit.
• In the Global Innovation Index 2017, co-authored by Cornell University, INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), India has moved up 6 places to reach 60th place among 130 countries emerging as the top-ranked economy in Central and South Asia. This is the 10th edition of the Global Innovation Index 2017 (GII).
• Switzerland has ratified automatic exchange of financial account information with India and 40 other countries. This will facilitate Switzerland to share information about suspected black money with India and other 40 nations.
• Lockheed Martin and India’s Tata Advanced Systems have signed a pact to produce F-16 fighter planes in India. The two companies have announced their agreement at the Paris Airshow.
• The GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley comprising of state finance ministers as members have decided to set up a five-member anti-profiteering authority to decide on levying the penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under GST regime. The GST Council has also approved the anti-profiteering rules.
• Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu has launched India’s largest municipal bond programme.
The United States has cleared the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India.
• The World Bank has cleared a USD 250-million loan to aid the Skill India mission. The loan amount would be used for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling.
• The government has notified the roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1st.
Science and Technoogy
• NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be launched in the summer of 2018 to explore the sun’s atmosphere.
• Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has developed a wireless technology called ‘AmbuSens‘ for remote monitoring of condition of those patients who are ferried in ambulances.
• NASA is all set to launch the world’s first ever mission devoted for studying neutron stars.
• NASA will launch the Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket into the space that will release blue-green and red artificial clouds. The launch is expected to support space studies.
• According to the Animal Discoveries 2016, New Species and Records, brought out by the Zoological Survey of India and Plant Discoveries 2016, by the Botanical Survey of India, 499 new species have been discovered from various parts of the country last year.
• The world’s first hybrid ‘aeroboat’ which has been built by an Indo-Russian joint venture has been unveiled at a start-ups event organized by Russia’s state-run Skolkovo Foundation.
• NASA has selected 12 new astronauts including an Indian-American, Lt Col Raja “Grinder” Chari, from 18000 applications, Lt Col Raja Grinder Chari, 39, is a commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron as well as the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
• Scientists have discovered the hottest known exoplanet, designated KELT-9b which is warmer than most stars in the universe. The study has been published in the journal Nature.
• According to NASA, May 2017 was the second hottest month in a span of 137 years when modern record-keeping of average global temperatures had commenced.
• Mission officials for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have announced the initial science targets for the James Webb Space Telescope.
• China is planning to send mini-ecosystems comprising of potato seeds and silkworm eggs to the Moon by next year. The move is aimed at studying how the organisms develop in Moon.
• NASA is testing the effectiveness of a flexible solar array, the Roll-Out Solar Array, or ROSA, on space station for the very first time.
• NASA’s Kepler Telescope has identified 10 Earth-like planets outside the solar system that are expected to host life due to their right size and temperature. This finding is a boost in the hope for life elsewhere.
NASA has launched world’s lightest satellite weighing only 64 grams designed by 18-year-old boy Rifath Sharook from Tamil Nadu.
• Department of Science and Technology has launched VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research) Faculty scheme that enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India.
• NASA has reached a major milestone in developing a quieter supersonic passenger jet that is capable of safely travelling over land.
• India’s Manika Batra and Mouma Das has created history by becoming the first Indian pair to reach the quarterfinals of the World Table Tennis Championships.
• Ace Indian Shuttler B Sai Praneeth has clinched Thailand Grand Prix Gold title by defeating Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie 17-21, 21-18, 21-19 in Bangkok.
• Rohan Bopanna has won his maiden Grand Slam title along with his Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski by winning the French Open mixed doubles trophy. This is Bopanna’s maiden Grand Slam title at French Open.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal has defeated Swiss third-seeded Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 to win his record 10th French Open title.
• The International Olympic Committee has approved a number of new events for the 2020 Tokyo Games at the IOC’s Executive Board meeting held at Lausanne, Switzerland.
• Lewis Hamilton has won Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada.
• Shashi Shekar Vempati has been appointed as the CEO of Prasar Bharati based on the recommendation of the three-member committee headed by Vice President.
• Hoshiar Singh, a 1994 batch officer of the Indian Telecom Service has been appointed as Registrar of Copyrights for a period of five years as per the recent order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
Law expert Neeru Chadha has been elected to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas (ITLOS) .
• The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov to head the newly established UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), despite growing tensions between the US and Russia.
• The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed Imran Khawaja as its deputy chairman. Imran Khawaja is Chairman of Associates counties and a veteran administrator from Singapore.
• Israeli author David Grossman has won the Man Booker International Prize for his novel "A Horse Walks Into a Bar".
• The Bhupen Hazarika National Award, 2017 has been conferred upon the noted writer Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi. This is the fifth edition of the award which was first conferred in 2012.
• Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune has become the first recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for outstanding contribution to promotion and development of Yoga.
Nisha Dutt, Chief Executive Officer of Intellecap has become the first Indian woman leader to have been honoured with the “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” award at The 7th Asian Awards in London.
• U.S. President Donald Trump has appointed an Indian-American named Krishna R Urs as the new US Ambassador to Peru.
• Renowned Telugu poet and writer Cingireddi Narayana Reddy has passed away. In 1992, Reddy was awarded the country’s third-highest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan.
• Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who is hailed as the father of German unification has passed away.
• Former Chief Justice of India Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati who is considered as a pioneer of Judicial Activism has passed away. Justice Bhagwati was 95 years old.
• Every year World Environment Day (WED) is observed on 5 June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth.
• The World Day Against Child Labour is being observed annually across world on 12 June to bring awareness against child labour.
• The World Blood Donor Day is being observed across the world on 14 June to raise the public awareness about the need for safe blood donation.
• Every year June 20 is observed as World Refugee Day to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.
Every year 21 June is being observed as International Day of Yoga (अंतर्राष्ट्रीय योग दिवस) across the globe to spread awareness about practicing yoga.
• World Hydrography Day (WHD) is being observed annually on 21 June to publicise the work of hydrographers and the importance of hydrography.
• Every year 23 June is being observed as the United Nations Public Service Day by the United Nations (UN).
• The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed every year on June 26 to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs.
• The Day of the Seafarer is being observed on 25 June every year as an expression of thanks to the seafarers for their contribution to the economy and civil society of the world.