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  • Current Affairs 15th May 2017

    Updated : 15-May-2017
    Current Affairs 15th May 2017

    Current Affairs 15th May 2017 - Important Points

    • Former Puducherry CM Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy passed away on - 15th May 2017
    • Indian Coir Sector’s export revenue touched all time high in fiscal year - 2016-17
    • Busiest airport with 1 flight every 65 seconds - Mumbai airport
    • Signs of water on a distant Neptune-sized planet detected by - NASA
    • Union Government revises Base Year of WPI to 2011-2012 from 2004-05 on - 12th May 2017

    Current Affairs 15th May 2017 - Details

    Former Puducherry CM Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy passed away on - 15th May 2017

    Former Puducherry Chief Minister Subrahmanyan Ramaswamy passed away on 15th May 2017 in Puducherry due to a brief illness.

     Key Highlights

    • Ramaswamy started his political career in Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) during student days. 
    • He was Home Minister in DMK-CPI coalition ministry from 1969 to 1973.
    • He shifted his allegiance to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in 1973. 
    • He was also the Chief Minister in the AIADMK government in 1977, which lasted in office for a little more than one year. 
    • He successfully contested as an Independent candidate from Karaikal in 1985 and 1999 and then joined congress in 1992. 
    • He joined Congress in 1992.

    Indian Coir Sector’s export revenue touched all time high in fiscal year - 2016-17

    The Indian Coir sector’s revenue from exports touched an all time high of Rs 2282 Cr by value and 9.57 Metric Tonnes in quantity in the financial year 2016-17. Union Minister for Micro Small and Micro Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh revealed the figures on 13th May 2017 during a press conference in Kochi.

    Important Details

    • The minister stated in his speech that these figures represent a 27 percent hike in value and 20 per cent increase in quantity during the 16-17 fiscal year.
    • The coir sector has received export revenue of Rs 1630 Cr in the financial year 2015-16 against Rs 1,476 Cr achieved in fiscal year 2014-15.
    • The minister further added that the Indian coir sector has tremendous potential to grow and provide employment to a large number of people.
    •  He added by saying that industry modernisation, achievement of higher raw material utilisation and productivity would be accorded top priority in the development agenda of the Central government for this sector.
    • The Minister also stated that by responding to the repeated demands from the industry the Coir Board is going ahead with a project to fabricate a versatile spinning machine capable of producing yarn with uniform thickness in large quantity.
    • Government is considering to introduce a scheme that would extend financial support upto Rs 2.50 Cr to the sector in order to promote larger investments by entrepreneurs.

    Busiest airport with 1 flight every 65 seconds - Mumbai airport

    The Mumbai airport, Chhatrapati Shivaji International, has become the world’s busiest single-runway airport with 837 flights a day or one flight in 65 seconds on an average in 2016-17. The airport has even overtaken London's Gatwick airport that had 757 flights a day. The city also tops in terms of the number of passengers with almost 45.2 million people flying in and out in 2017 as against 44 million at Gatwick airport.

    Important Details

    • In the world, no other large city in the world is served by one airport that too with a single-runway.
    • All the leading cities in the world including London, Dubai, New York, and Singapore have more than one airport with multiple runways.
    • The New Delhi airport also has three parallel runways at any given time.
    • Mumbai works with just a single runway for both passenger and cargo aircraft and when it is shut for repairs, it uses the secondary runway.
    • The scarcity of land doesn’t restrict the flight network of the city, as it operates to about 95 domestic and international destinations.
    • The air traffic controller has to manage two arrivals every 130 seconds and one departure in between these two arrivals so, there is one take-off or touch-down every 65 seconds from the main runway.
    • The airport also witnesses days when the total number of flight operations crossing 900.
    • The city has proposed for a second airport in Navi Mumbai, which is yet to come.
    • The Gatwick airport, the second-busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the United Kingdom after London Heathrow, had held the position of being  the busiest airport with single-runway operations until March 2017 when it was overtaken by the Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. 

    Signs of water on a distant Neptune-sized planet detected by - NASA

    NASA scientists have discovered “a strong water signature” in the atmosphere of a distant Neptune-sized planet called HAT-P-26b. NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the study is conducted to show that the distant planet has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Although the planet is not a water world, its atmosphere which is relatively clear of clouds has a strong water signature.

    Important Highlights

    • The planet, also known as ‘warm Neptune’ is located about 437 light-years away and orbits a star roughly twice as old as our Sun.
    • This is one of the most detailed studies to date conducted on a planet that is roughly the same size as Neptune and close to its star.
    • Researchers come up with the chemical composition of the atmosphere by studying how the signature of the starlight changes.
    • The water measured in the planet is one of the best water measurement to date found on an exoplanet of this size.
    • Journal Science published this study.
    • The study would help in understanding more about the birth and development of planet systems.
    • The data obtained will also come handy in estimating the HAT-P-26b’s metal portion, which is an indication of the composition of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium.
    • The planet’s metallicity was found to be about 4.8 times than that of the Sun.

    Union Government revises Base Year of WPI to 2011-2012 from 2004-05 on - 12th May 2017

    The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 12th May 2017 revised the base year of All-India Wholesale Price Index (WPI) from  2004-05 to  2011-12.

    The base year of WPI was revised in order to align it with the base year of other macroeconomic indicators  like the Gross Domestic Product and Index of Industrial Production.

    Highlights -

    • In the revised series, WPI will continue to constitute three Major Groups namely  Primary  Articles, Manufactured Products and Fuel  &  Power.  
    • Raise in number of items from 676 to 697.  In all, 199 new items have been added and 146 old items have been dropped.
    • The new series is  more representative with increase in number of quotations from 5482 to 8331, an increase by 2849 quotations which is almost 52 percent.
    • Prices used for compilation do not include indirect taxes in  order  to  remove  impact  of the fiscal policy. 
    • This will going to make  the  new  WPI conceptually closer to ‘Producer Price Index’.
    • A new “WPI Food Index” will be compiled to capture the inflation rate in food items.
    • Fruits and vegetables seasonality has been updated to account for more months as these are now available for longer duration.
    • Item level aggregates for new WPI are compiled using Geometric Mean following international best practice and as is currently used for compilation of All India CPI.
    • A high level Technical Review Committee has been set up for the first time to carry out dynamic review process in order to keep pace with the changing structure of the economy.

    Major differences between WPI in 2004-05 with WPI in 2011-12

    • The item basket has been revised by including new items and excluding old ones.
    • Commodities basket has been selected afresh  in  order  to  capture  the  structural  changes that  have occurred in the economy. 
    • The number of 2 digit groups in Manufactured products hav been increased from 12 to 22 in keeping with NIC- 2008.
    • Item level prices won't include indirect taxes.
    • Item level indices are compiled using geometric mean (GM) while, in the 2004-05 series, arithmetic mean (AM) was used.
    • The electricity sector is now a single item group that includes data relating to average rate of sale of power by generating stations to distributors. 
    • In contrast, in WPI (2004-05), retail level tariffs applicable to  different sectors  were used to compile WPI for electricity.

    India boycotts China's - B&R meet

    Taking its protest over the China’s controversial China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that is traversing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), India  boycotted China's high-profile Belt and Road (B&R) Forum on 14th May 2017. The boycott of the two-day forum came even after Beijing proposed to ensure India’s participation in this project.

    Key Highlights

    • India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which passes through PoK.
    • No Indian official of any level was present at the elaborate opening ceremony attended by 29 heads of state and government along with top officials of the world bodies like the UN, the World Bank and the IMF. 
    • However, the event was attended by couple of Indian scholars representing think tanks, who also took part in the group discussions.
    • Chinese President Xi Jinping inaugerated the meeting. 
    • The US sent a delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the President and senior director of Asia at the National Security Council.
    • Xi said that the Belt and Road initiative is "a project of the century" that will benefit people across the world.
    • In the run-up to the forum, China had sought to allay India's concerns over the CPEC, saying that the project has no bearing on its 
    • stand on the Kashmir issue which should be resolved between India and Pakistan.
    • The conference concluded on 15th May 2017 with a joint declaration.

    Belt and Road initiative

    The Belt and Road initiative includes a maze of roads and port projects. While CPEC is highlighted as "flagship project", the B&R includes the Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, and 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

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