Friday, 17 February 2017

Current Affairs-GK Update 17th February 2017

Current Affairs and GK Update 17th February 2017
1. India Ranked 143 in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom Index:
  • India has been ranked 143 out of 186 economies in the annual Index of Economic Freedom 2017 released by top US based Think Tank, The Heritage Foundation.The Index measures the degree of economic freedom in the countries of the world.
  • Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand are the top three nations in the Index respectively.
  • India has been placed in the category of “Mostly Unfree” Economies in which the points ranges from 50.0-59.9.
2. Shri Radha Mohan Singh Inaugurated 2017 Indian Seed Congress in Kolkata:
  • The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated the Indian Seed Congress 2017 in Kolkata.
  • The theme of Seed Congress is “Seed of Joy”.
  • The theme is in line with vision of PM Modi government to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of farmers by doubling their farm income by 2022.
3. Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare presented Kayakalp Awards 2016-17:
  • The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda presented the Kayakap Awards for 2016-17 in New Delhi.
  • The Kayakap Awards are conferred annually to encourage and incentivize Public Health Facilities (PHFs) about cleanliness and hygiene.
  • The winners are All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi (1st), North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong (2nd), and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh (3rd).
  • The Kayakalp Award Scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in May 2015 to improve hygiene in health institutions across India.
4. Indian-origin Shand Panesar Wins UK’s Bravery Award:
  • An Indian-origin Scotland Yard officer Shand Panesar along with his colleague Craig Nicholson was honored with the 2017 Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award in central London during a special award ceremony of the Total Excellence in Policing Awards.
5. Cabinet Approvals on 17 February 2017:
  • The Union Government chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved setting up of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha, Sehore in Madhya Pradesh for meeting the emerging food security challenges.
  • The Cabinet approved the signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Rwanda which will enable the airlines of the two countries to operate services in each others’ territory.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to award contract in 31 contract areas under Discovered Small Fields Policy 2016 undertaken last year.
  • The Union Cabinet approved the merger of the State Bank of India with its 5 subsidiary banks namely State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur; State Bank of Hyderabad; State Bank of Mysore; State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore.
6. Hindi Scholar and writer Surendra Verma selected for Vyas Samman 2016:
  • Surendra Verma, a well known Hindi scholar and writer, was selected for Vyas Samman 2016. He was chosen for the prestigious award for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha: Padma Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se.
  • The book, Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha, was published in 2010.
  • Vyas Samman was instituted in 1991 by the KK Birla Foundation and carries a cash award of Rs 3.50 lakh, a citation and a logo.
7. UNICEF Makes $110 Million Appeal for Sudan Children: 
  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched a $110 million appeal to help two million acutely malnourished children across Sudan including hundreds of thousands living in conflict areas. 
  • Sudan is home to around 13 percent of all children suffering from acute malnutrition across Africa. Two million children under five in Sudan are acutely malnourished.
8. Five new Supreme Court judges take oath, apex court now has 28 justices:
  • Five Supreme Court judges took oath of office with the swearing in of Justice Sanjay K Kaul, Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, Justice S A Nazeer, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Deepak Gupta, the total strength of the Supreme Court now stands at 28, three short of its sanctioned strength of 31.
  • Justice Kaul was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Justice Sinha was the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, Justice Shantanagouder was the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, Justice Gupta was the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court and Justice Nazeer was a judge in the Karnataka High Court.
9. Sunil Mehta appointed non-executive Chairman of PNB:
  • Punjab National Bank (PNB) has a new non-executive Chairman in Sunil Mehta.The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) for the appointment of Mehta as non-executive Chairman of PNB.
  • He has been appointed for a period of three years. The only condition is that he would be required to resign from the board of State Bank of India before joining the board of Punjab National Bank.
10. Neelam Damodaran, Bank of India new ED:
  • The Government has appointed Neelam Damodaran as Executive Director of Bank of India. His tenor is up to November 30, 2019.Prior to his elevation as ED, Damodaran was General Manager with Bank of Baroda. 
  • He took charge on February 16,2017 .With this appointment, Bank of India now has two EDs. R A Sankara Narayanan has been ED of the bank since May 15, 2015.
11. Citi Bank launches instant chat service for customers:
  • Mumbai based Citi Bank has launched instant chat services for customers named Citibank Online (CBOL) on February 16, 2017. With this India become the first country in Asia Pacific within the Citi network to have this kind of service.
  • CBOL will focuses on resolving queries instantly regarding cards,loans, domestic and non-resident accounts, and online transactions Citi Bank.
  • It will features a regular chat facility for generic query resolutions. It  does not require additional verification for the customer once logged in and authenticated.
12. RBI Doubles Gold Loan Limit for Regional Rural Banks to Rs. 2 lakhs:
  • The Reserve Bank of India increased the gold loan limit for RRBs (Regional Rural Banks) to Rs 2 lakh from the current Rs 1 lakh to help the farmers and artisans have access to credit who are willing to pledge gold as collateral.
  • The limit has been doubled for the loans not exceeding 12 months from the date of sanction. Besides, the facility will be available with bullet repayment scheme.
  • Under the scheme, while interest will be charged on a monthly basis on the total outstanding, it will become due for payment along with principal only at the end of 12 months from the date of sanction.However, RBI has also directed that the gold loans should not exceed 75% of the value of the gold pledged for taking the loan.
13. RBI will Reimburse Banks MDR Charges Effective January 1, 2017:
  • The Reserve Bank will start reimbursing MDR charges to banks for payments made since January 1 through debit cards by citizens, in line with the government's move to further digital solutions.
  • In December 2016, the government had decided to absorb the merchant discount rate (MDR) charges in respect of debit card transactions for making payments to it. 
  • The move was aimed to encourage people to use digital payments post demonetisation.
14. Tata Motors Signs Strategic Technological Agreement with Microsoft:
  • Tata Motors Ltd and Microsoft India entered into strategic agreement to collaborate on the technology front for making driving a more personalized experiences for the customers. As per the agreement, Microsoft will make use of its IoT (internet of things), AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning technologies to develop a highly personalized, smart vehicle for the customers.
  • The first vehicle showcasing such technological advancements will be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor show on March 7, 2017. 
  • The tie-up will act as a new revenue opportunity for the company as car buyers increasingly look for value-added services.
15. Vetiver Network launched in Tamil Nadu:
  • India Vetiver Network (INVN) has been launched at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. INVN is a not-for-profit scientific network to promote vetiver in India. 
  • Vetiver has worldwide application to tackle many environmental issues like soil erosion, mitigation of soil and water pollution.
  • The mission of INVN is environmental protection using vetiver. Promotion of research in vetiver identification of varieties, improved production technologies and distillation techniques.
16. BEL launches communication radio:
  • PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has unveiled a new communication radio for the Indian armed forces, called STARS-V Mk III, at the Aero India 2017 show. 
  • MV Gowtama, CMD of BEL stated that The radio is completely designed, developed and made in BEL. 
  • It is a multi brand, high data rate, software intensive IP radio with mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) functions supporting up to 64 notes, stated the firm in a statement.
17. Shah Rukh Khan to host Hindi version of Ted Talks:
  • Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan will soon host the Hindi version of popular international show TED Talks. 
  • Star India will air the Indian version TED Talks India Nayi Soch, a global first Hindi TV talk show created in partnership with TED, the non-profit devoted to ideas worth spreading .

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