Current Affairs Daily Updates: 10th and 11th February 2017

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Current Affairs Daily Updates: 10th and 11th February 2017

APPOINTMENTS
Hemant Bhargava appointed as LIC's MD:
  • Hemant Bhargava has appointed as Managing Director of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India. 
  • He is at present LIC's zonal manager, Delhi.
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved Bhargava's appointment to the post till his superannuation, ie, July 31, 2019, an order issued by Personnel Ministry said. 
  • The top LIC management consists of the chairman and three managing directors.
Senior IAS officer Ajay Tyagi appointed as SEBI Chairman
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior bureaucrat Ajay Tyagi (58) as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • Mr. Tyagi will have tenure of 5 years or till the age of 65 years or until further orders. He will succeed UK Sinha whose term ends on March 1, 2017.
  • His name was recommended by the search-cum-selection panel headed by the cabinet secretary along with some other candidates.
  • Ajay Tyagi Ajay Tyagi is 1984 batch IAS (Indian Administrative Services) officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre.
  • Prior to this appointment, he was Additional secretary (investment) in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, handling the capital market division.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
GMR Hyderabad Airport bags CAPA award:
  • GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL), has bagged the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation’s (CAPA) newly instituted award in the category, “Best Airport Environmental Performance of the Year”.
  • Airports Council International (ACI) has certified Hyderabad International Airport with Level 3+ Neutrality under its Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
Sudarsan Pattnaik creates Guinness World Record by creating 48.8 feet tall sand castle:
  • Sand artist ‘Sudarsan Pattnaik’ has created a ‘Guinness World Record’ by creating a 48.8 feet tall sand castle at Puri beach in Odisha in four days.
  • The previous record holder is an American who completed his art of 45.10 feet in seven days.
  • The sculpture was built with a message of world peace and featured sculptures of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautama Buddha and Nelson Mandela.
  • The castle will be exhibited on the Puri beach for two more days.
BANKING AFFAIRS
HDFC & Kotak Mahindra Bank Goes Live on Bharat Bill Payment System
  • The Private sector lenders HDFC Bank started operating its Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to ease the bill payment service for the customers. Along with HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank also went live with the BBPS service.
  • BBPS was introduced by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It is a centralized payment platform that offers speed and convenience to pay all types of bills.
  • A customer can pay multiple bills from a single platform without the need of visiting multiple websites or issuing individual cheques, or also registering billers with her bank for standard instructions for debit.
  • The BBPS offers integrated and interoperable bill payment service with security, certainty and reliability of transactions.
  • The service is available in multiple payment modes, online and through a network of agents. An instant confirmation is generated for the bill payments. The BBPS will transform the society from cash to electronic payment system, making it less dependent on cash.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Welspun India Ltd ties-up with Cotton Egypt Association
  • Welspun India Ltd (WIL) entered into a co-operation agreement with Cotton Egypt Association (CEA) to promote and market Egyptian cotton products across the world.
  • Welspun will help the Cotton Egypt Association in creating marketing programmes and execute them using its extensive global network.
  • The agreement will be aimed at boosting Welspun India's Egypt operations by setting up a manufacturing facility for Egyptian Cotton home textile products.
PNB Housing Finance limited & CREDAI-West Bengal inks pact
  • Addressing the need of pacing up constructions with skilled labour that would result in quicker delivery and hand overs, PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) has signed an MOU with CREDAI West Bengal to train 1000 construction workers in Kolkata and nearby villages.
  • CREDAI-Bengal would also be setting up permanent (off-site) skill development centres in Medinipur and Murshidabad - places with huge concentration of construction labour.
  • 50% of the training cost is to be borne by the West Bengal State Government and PNBHFL, while the remaining 50% while would be borne by the developer at the construction site from where workers would be trained.
Govt sells 2% in ITC held through SUUTI, raises Rs 6,700 cr
  • The government raised Rs 6,700 crore through sale of 2 per cent stake in tobacco-to-FMCG firm ITC, held through Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).
  • The transaction took place through block deals with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) picking up the entire chunk on offer at a price of Rs 275.85 a piece.
  • SUUTI, which was created to take over part of the assets and liabilities of the now-defunct Unit Trust of India, held 11.17 per cent stake in ITC.
DEATHS
Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield passes away
  • Renowned physicist and Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield passed away on 8 February 2017 in London, England. He was 83.
  • Mansfield, along with Paul Lauterbur, had won the 2003 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
IMPORTANT DAYS OBSERVED
National Deworming Day 2017 observed in India
  • The National Deworming Day was observed on 10 February 2017 in India with an aim to tackle worm infections in children.
  • This year, the National Deworming Day initiative was aimed at reaching approximately 34 crore children in the age group of 1-19 years in government-aided schools, anganwadis, and private schools in 34 states of the country.
  • The day is generally marked by events and awareness programmes that are conducted by Department of School Education and Literacy under Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science observed
  • International Day of Women and Girls in Science was observed across the globe on 11 February 2017.
  • The day comes as an opportunity for all to take a stand for girls and women in science.
  • Science and gender equality are vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • In 2016, the UNESCO launched a Manifesto ‘For Women in Science’ with the L’OrĂ©al Foundation.
  • The manifesto aims at engaging Governments and stakeholders in promoting the full participation of girls and women in science.
  • It looks forward to inspire girls and young women by offering mentoring opportunities to young women scientists to assist in their career development.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Shawna Pandya To Become Third Indian-Origin Woman To Fly In Space:
  • An Indian-origin neurosurgeon Dr Shawna Pandya (32) has been shortlisted by NASA for its 2018 space mission under the Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) programme
  • She was shortlisted after securing top score in the CSA programme. If everything goes as per plan, she may join the league of Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.  
  • She was born in Canada. She is general physician with the Alberta University Hospital. She has her roots in Mumbai, where her grandmother currently lives.
MoU signed between India and France in science and technology
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was apprised of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of cooperation between Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and Bpifrance- which is a Public Investment Bank in France.
  • The agreement will foster exchange of desirable practices and setting up of coordinated measures to further developmental exchange in the field of science, technology and innovation
  • The MoU aims at carrying out activities related to exchange of best practices in the field of science and technology through TDP and Bpifrance.
India and UK sign MoU to ease restrictions on number of scheduled flights
  • India and United Kingdom (UK) have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries.
  • The MoU was formally signed by Union Minister of Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju on behalf of India and Lord Tariq Ahmad of UK during his visit to India.
  • Limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata have been scrapped, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers while providing a boost to trade and tourism for the UK and India.
Pakistan’s naval exercise Aman 2017 begins in Karachi:
  • The Pakistan Navy has kicked of its biannually-held multinationalAMAN 2017 naval exercise in Karachi, Pakistan. 37 countriesare participating in the international event. 
  • Aman-17 is the fifth edition such exercise which Pakistan has been holding biannually since 2007. Previous exercises were held in 2007, 2009, 20011, and 2013, and 2016 respectively. 
  • The theme of AMAN 2017 is “together for peace”. It is intended to devise procedures and techniques against conventional and non-conventional threats.
India Proposes Global Services Accord Pact to WTO Chief Azevedo
  • India presented the proposed Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo and India Inc. in an event organized by Confederation of Indian Industry in New Delhi.
  • The global pact proposed by India to boost services trade at the WTO-level aims to ease norms including those relating to movement of foreign skilled workers and professionals across borders for short-term work.
NATIONAL AFFAIRS
Gujarat becomes first state to establish cashless system for PDS: 
  • Gujarat has become the first state in the country for establishing the cashless system in its public distribution system (PDS) of food grains. 
  • The beneficiaries who are eligible for subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) will now need to carry only Aadhaar cards for getting their food grains in Gujarat.
  • According to the Food ministry, there are over 81 crore beneficiaries under NSAI in the country. 
National Women's Parliament begins in Andhra Pradesh
  • India’s first National Women’s Parliament (NWP) began on 10 February 2017 in Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The three-day conference, which is the first of its kind, is being organised by the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
  • The theme of the conference is 'Empowering Women - Strengthening Democracy'.
  • The inaugural session was attended by imminent personalities and leaders from across India and beyond including the spiritual Buddhist leader Dalai Lama and Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu.
Government approves revenue insurance scheme for plantation crops
  • The commerce ministry has approved the pilot Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops for protecting the growers from the risks such as yield loss, pest attacks and income decline caused by fall in prices.
  • The Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) Scheme, 2003 was closed on September 30, 2013 and Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops (RISPC) is an improved form of the PSF
  • Department of Commerce has recently approved the pilot RISPC for protecting growers of plantation crops from the twin risks of yield loss due to adverse weather parameters, pest attacks etc and income loss caused by fall in international/domestic prices.
HRD ministry forms sub-panel of CABE to boost girls' education
  • The Union HRD Ministry has constituted a sub-committee of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) under Chairmanship of Telangana's Deputy Chief Minister to look into issues of girl's education.
  • The terms of reference of the sub-committee would be to examine the reasons for low participation of girls in education, including the socio-economic factors with resultant gender bias, and suggest ways to reduce gender disparity so as to achieve better gender parity index, an official release said.
  • The sub-committee, to be chaired by Telangana's Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Kadiyam Srihari, would also assess the current status of girls' enrolment across the country at primary, upper primary, secondary education and senior secondary levels. 
World’s first Braille Atlas for visually impaired persons released in New Delhi:
  • The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille in New Delhi.
  • This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of S&T. 
  • It is world’s first braille atlas for the visually impaired persons.
  • NATMO is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of S&T, Union Ministry of Science & Technology.
Lok Sabha passes Wages Amendment Bill
  • The Lok Sabha passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which allows for digital payment of salaries or through cheque. The bill will now go to Rajya Sabha and following its passage in the upper House, the amendments will be notified.
  • The move will enable employers to pay wages of less than Rs 18,000 a month by cheque or digitally to bank accounts, besides in cash, by doing away with the requirement of employees' written consent for the same.
  • At present, wages can be given through cheque or transferred to a bank account only after a written authorisation from an employee.
  • The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 15, but it could not be taken up for discussion amid din over demonetisation.
Kerala’s Nilambur teak to get GI tag
  • Kerala’s Nilambur teak known internationally for its superior timber quality and elegant appearance will be added to the list of Kerala produces with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • In this regard, IPR Cell of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) with the support of the Nilambur Teak Heritage Society, the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) and the Department of Forests have applied for GI tag
Piyush Goyal Launches TAMRA Portal and Mobile Application for Transparency in Statutory Clearances for Mining Operations: 
  • The Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal launched the TAMRA (Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation) portal and Mobile Application in New Delhi.
  • TAMRA Portal and Mobile Application aims to enhance the transparency and  Piyush Goyalaccountability in the mining sector as a part of the Ease of Doing Business.
  • The initiative will speed up mining activity in India and enable all the stakeholders to track the status of the statutory clearances associated with mining blocks for getting mines to reach till operationalization for the same.
Andhra Pradesh Government constitutes 33 member committee for Sagarmala Project
  • A 33 member committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu for the speedy implementation of the Sagarmala Project in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Sagarmala project aims to improve the state’s coastline and inland waterways.
  • The committee will be responsible for overseeing the entire project and will bring together all the concerned departments and review their work on a daily basis for timely completion of the project.
  • A nodal officer has also been appointed from every department who would represent the department.
Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das launches UJALA scheme
  • Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das launched energy efficient fans and LED tube lights under the ‘Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All’ (UJALA) scheme in the state.
  • The UJALA scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a JV under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India.
  • In Jharkhand, EESL plans to distribute more than 25 lakh LED tube lights and one lakh energy efficient fans to people on upfront payment. It is estimated that over 5.5 lakh consumers will benefit from the scheme.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurates 2nd edition of 'Hunar Haat' in New Delhi:
  • The union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has inaugurated the second edition of 'Hunar Haat' in New Delhi.
  • The ‘Haat’ will encourage, promote and provide national and international market to master artisans and craftsmen belonging to minority communities.
  • The theme for the event is 'Crafts Aur Cuisine Ka Sangam' and remains open till 26th of this month.
  • The Hunar Haat is unique in the sense that it is show cassing crafts and traditional cuisines brought from different parts of the country.
  • 100 artisans and 30 culinary experts from about 24 states and UTs are participating at about 130 stalls in it.
Ananth Kumar inaugurates Orientation Programme for launching of 1000 PMBJKs:
  • The union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Ananth Kumar has inaugurated orientation programme for launching of one thousand Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras in New Delhi.
  • The workshop was targeted to educate and channelize youth to synergize their efforts for taking ahead the mission to open three thousand kendras by March 2017.
  • Representatives from 24 States and 106 districts from across the country attended the programme.
  • These Janaushadhi Kendras will provide affordable quality medicine to all citizens.
Government constitutes inter-departmental task force to crack down on benami firms
  • The Union Government has constituted inter-departmental task force comprising members of various regulatory Ministries and enforcement agencies to crack down on benami firms.
  • It is first major post-demonetisation move undertaken by Government for unearthing black money from shell companies used for large-scale money laundering and tax evasion.
  • The task force will be headed by Revenue Secretary and Corporate Affairs Secretary to monitor the actions taken by various agencies.
  • The involved agencies will invoke the stringent Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 against the shell companies and freeze their accounts and strike off the names of dormant companies.
  • It will also initiate disciplinary action against professionals abetting the companies and entry operators, who are used to launder unaccounted-for incomes into the banking system for projecting them as white money.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AFFAIRS
ISRO develops Telemetry and Telecommand Processor
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indigenously developed Telemetry & Telecommand Processor (TTCP) and its productionisation will be initiated with the help of Indian industry.
  • The processor development was undertaken up by ISRO as part of ‘Make in India’ campaign to replace the expensive imported equipment necessary for uplinking and downlinking to satellites.
  • TTCP has been developed by Bengaluru based of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC). Besides, Spacecraft Checkout Group of ISAC is responsible for testing it.
  • It will be used by ISRO in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft.
AAD interceptor missile successfully test-fired
  • Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile dubbed as Ashwin was successfully test-fired from launching complex-IV of Dhamara Abdul Kalam defence base off Odisha coast.
  •  The test assed missile’s killing capability by intercepting a target, mimicking an incoming enemy missile in mid-air.
  • The success of test has boosted India’s position in the exclusive club of AAD countries United States, Russia and Israel.
SPORTS AFFAIRS
Official mascot of FIFA U-17 World Cup 'Kheleao' unveiled:
  • The official mascot of  FIFA Under-17 World Cup India 2017 'Kheleao' was unveiled at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on 10th February 2017. 
  • A clouded leopard called Kheleao was introduced to hundreds of football fans in a ceremony attended by Sports Minister Vijay Goel and All India Football Federation President Praful Patel. 
  • The clouded leopard is an endangered wild cat whose habitat extends from the Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia. 
Kohli record for most Test 150s by an Indian captain:
  • Virat Kohli recorded his sixth Test 150, against Bangladesh at Hyderabad on 10th February 2017, to set the record for most 150-plus scores by an Indian captain in Tests. 
  • Kohli went past Sunil Gavaskar and Mohammad Azharuddin, who both have five 150-plus Test scores each as captain. Notably, all of Kohli's last five Test centuries have been of 150+ runs.
I&B Team win inter-ministry Hockey tournament 2016-17:
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Hockey Team has won the inter-ministry Hockey tournament 2016-17 at the Central Secretariat Ground Vinay Marg, New Delhi.
  • I&B Team Defeated Ministry of Health by three goals.
  • All the Ministry teams participated in the race for the cup.
  • Most entertaining player Chandan Singh was declared “Player of the match”. 
Sports Ministry Launches Mission XI Million in New Delhi:
  • The Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goyal launched the Mission XI Million, the biggest school sport outreach programme, in New Delhi.
  • The programme has been launched with an aim to make football a sport of choice in India and encourage children to play the football games on regular basis.