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  • Current Affairs 31st August 2017

    Updated : 31-Aug-2017
    Current Affairs 31st August 2017

    Current Affairs 31st August 2017 - Important Points

    • 99 percent of demonetised notes returned stated by - RBI Report
    • IAS officer Rajiv Gauba takes charge as Union Home Secretary on - 31st August 2017
    • Union Cabinet approves equivalence of posts in PSUs, Banks, Insurance companies on - 30th August 2017
    •  Joint Proposal in WTO on Aggregate Measurement of Support by India and - China
    • National level awards to Anganwadi workers conferred by - WCD Minister
    •  MoU between India and Brazil for Zebu Cattle Genomics apprised by - Union Cabinet
    •  Biggest X-ray laser gun on earth opening in - September 2017
    •  China’s TCL to launch waterproof BlackBerry phone in - October 2017
    • ISRO all set to launch India’s 8th navigational satellite on - 31st August 2017

    Current Affairs 31st August 2017 - Details

    99 percent of demonetised notes returned stated by - RBI Report

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the Status of the Return of SBNs- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Annual Report 2016-17 on 30th August 2017. The report states that around 99 percent of the demonetised notes that is Rs 15.28 lakh crore have been returned to the bank.

    The Union Government banned the high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in November 2016 as a means to combat black money, counterfeiting, and the financing of terrorist activities. RBI was under intense scrutiny since January 2017 after the window to deposit the withdrawn Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes was closed.

    Highlights of the report

    • RBI received demonetised notes either directly or from bank branches or from post offices through the currency chest mechanism until 30th June 2017.
    • Some of those notes are still in the currency chests.
    • The value of the SBNs (Specified Bank Notes) received by the currency chests was credited to the banks’ account and after an estimation,  it was found that Rs 15.28 trillion value of SBNs have been returned.
    • The currency in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination in circulation was at Rs 15.44 lakh crore before November 2016.
    • An estimated Rs 16000 crore worth of demonetised notes havn't come back to the RBI so far.
      The report has shown that only 89 million pieces of Rs 1000 notes were not deposited.
    • More than 762000 pieces of counterfeit notes were detected in the banking system, of which 95.7 percent were detected by commercial banks during 2016-17.
    • Detection of counterfeit notes was 20.4 percent higher than the previous year.
    • The data has proved that introduction of Rs 2000 banknotes share in the total currency value in circulation was 50.2 percent at the end of March 2017.

    IAS officer Rajiv Gauba takes charge as Union Home Secretary on - 31st August 2017

    Senior IAS officer Rajiv Gauba took charge as the new Union Home Secretary on 31st August 2017.
    The 1982 batch officer of Jharkhand cadre will be serving at the position for a fixed term of two years.
    He succeeded Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer who retired from the service on 30th August.

    More about Rajiv Gauba

    • Rajiv Gauba joined the Ministry of Home Affairs on 27th June as an Officer OSD (on Special Duty) after his appointment as the new Home Secretary.
    • The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared Gauba's appointment as the new Union Home Secretary on 21st June.
    • The 58-year-old was serving as Secretary in the Urban Development Ministry before this.
    • This is Gauba’s second stint in the Home Ministry, as he has served as the Additional Secretary earlier when he had looked after the Left Wing Extremism division of the Ministry.
    • He was appointed as Chief Secretary of Jharkhand for 15 months later on.
    • Gauba has also served at the Center in the Ministries of Environment, Defence and Forests and Department of Electronics and Information Technology in different positions.
    • He was also the part of district magistrate of Gaya, Nalanda and Muzzaffarpur districts before Jharkhand was taken out of Bihar.
    • He also represented India for four years on the board of the International Monetary Fund.

    Union Cabinet approves equivalence of posts in PSUs, Banks, Insurance companies on - 30th August 2017

    The Union Cabinet approved the norms for establishing equivalence of posts in Government, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Banks, Insurance Institutions for claiming benefit of OBC reservations on 30th August 2017. This approval came approximately after 24 years. This will be ensuring that the children of those serving in lower categories in PSUs and other institutions can get the benefit of OBC reservations.

    It will be preventing treatment of children of OBC category individuals in senior positions as non Creamy Layer by virtue of wrong interpretation of income standards. The cabinet also approved the increase in the Creamy Layer ceiling of OBCs from Rs 6 lakh annually to Rs 8 lakh annually. This spike came with the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

    The above measures form a part of the Union Government's efforts to ensure greater social justice and inclusion for members of the Other Backward Classes.  These measures are expected to ensure higher representation of OBCs in jobs and educational institutions.

     Joint Proposal in WTO on Aggregate Measurement of Support by India and - China

    India and China have jointly submitted a proposal to the WTO (World Trade Organisation) calling to eliminate most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies, called AMS (Aggregate Measurement of Support) as a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.
    The proposal is very important in view of the ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, that is scheduled to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.

    Important Highlights

    • The proposal has revealed that developed countries including the US, the EU and Canada have been consistently provide trade-distorting subsidies to their farmers at much higher levels than the ceiling applicable to the developing countries.
    • Developed countries have more than 90 percent of the global AMS entitlements amounting to nearly US$ 160 billion.
    • Most of the developing countries including China and India do not have AMS entitlements.
    • While listing out the most heavily and frequently subsidised products by the developed nations since 1995, the proposal calls to eliminate such subsidies.
    • The subsidies for many items provided by the developed world have been revealed to be over 50 percent and some even more than 100 percent of the production value of the product concerned.
    • On the other hand,the developed countries are forced to contain subsidies within 10 percent of the production value.
    • Hence, while developed Members have access to big amount of AMS beyond their de minimis, most of the developing Members have access only to de minimis resulting in a major difference in agricultural trade rules.

    National level awards to Anganwadi workers conferred by - WCD Minister

    The Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has given National Level Awards to Anganwadi workers at New Delhi on 31st August 2017. The annual awards are aiming to recognize the exemplary service by the Anganwadi workers in the field of child development and related areas under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.
    Important Highlights

    • This scheme for awarding Anganwadi workers at the National and State levels was formulated in 2000-2001.
    • The National Level award comprises a cash prize worth Rs 25000 and a citation, while the State Level award comprises a cash prize of Rs 5000 along with a citation.
    • The awards for the years 2011-12 onwards were conferred during the last two years only.
    • The latest awards function has included awards for the year 2016-17.

     MoU between India and Brazil for Zebu Cattle Genomics apprised by - Union Cabinet

    The Union Cabinet was apprised of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies on 30th August 2017.

    Key Highlights of the MoU

    • It will promote development of ARTs (Genomics and Assistant Reproductive Technologies) in Cattle through joint activities between both the nations.
    • It calls for the formation of an implementation committee with equal number of representatives from both the sides to determine regularly the activities and developing work plans.
    • Both the countries will be undertaking joint projects in the fields of Productivity Improvement of cattle and buffaloes for broadening the existing knowledge base on sustainable dairy development.
    • In addition to thaat, the MoU will be promoting and facilitating scientific cooperation and setting up of genomic selection programme in Zebu Cattle through:
    1.  Application of genomic in Zebu buffaloes and Cattle
    2.  Building capacity in genomic and assisted reproductive technology
    3. Related research and development in Genomics and ART in accordance to the respective laws and as covered under Rule 7 (d) (i) of the Second Schedule of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961.

     Biggest X-ray laser gun on earth opening in - September 2017

    The biggest X-ray laser gun on earth named, European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL), will be beginning to operate in September 2017. The European XFEL will be shooting twenty seven thousand laser pulses per second and which is approximately 200 times more per second than the next highest-performing gun in California.
    The 1.5 billion-euro laser has replaced its predecessor, FLASH, in Germany.

    More about European X-ray Free Electron Laser

    • It is an X-ray research laser facility currently in commissioning and located in the German federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.
    • In May 2017, the first laser pulses were produced.
    • The international project has 11 participating countries viz. Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
    • High-intensity electromagnetic radiation by a free-electron laser by accelerating electrons to relativistic speeds and directing them through special magnetic structures.
    • The European XFEL is constructed such that the electrons produce x-ray light in synchronisation, as a result high-intensity x-ray pulses are generated with the properties of laser light and at intensities much brighter than those produced by conventional synchrotron light sources.
    • The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research granted permission to make the facility on 5th June 2007 at a cost of 850 million Euro, under the provision that it should be financed as an European project.
    • Civil construction of the facility started on 8th January 2009.

     China’s TCL to launch waterproof BlackBerry phone in - October 2017

    TCL Corporation, the Chinese electronics company is going to launch a fully touchscreen, waterproof Smartphone under the BlackBerry name in October 2017. The launch will be happening a month after Apple launches its new flagship iPhone 8 and a refresh of its iPhone 7 devices.
    Important Features of the New Phone:

    • Other than having a full touchscreen, the phone would be dust and water proof.
    • It would also be maintaining BlackBerry's biggest selling points of longevity and durability.
    • Further, its battery is estimated to last over 26 hours of mixed use.
    • The device is expected to cost lesser than other flagships.

    ISRO all set to launch India’s 8th navigational satellite on - 31st August 2017

    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch IRNSS-1H, India’s eighth navigation satellite, on board rocket PSLV C39 on 31st August 2017. The satellite was lifted off at 7 pm from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The 29-hour countdown for the mission started at 2pm on 30th August.
    Important Highlights

    • The satellite IRNSS-1H is a part of the indigenous navigation system also called ‘NavIC’. It was initially planned to have a constellation of seven satellites.
    • It will be launched as a backup navigation satellite for IRNSS-1A, first of the seven satellites in the constellation, as three of its rubidium atomic clocks on board, which are meant to give accurate location data, had stopped functioning anymore.
    • The new satellite boasts of a much-improved version of atomic clocks which will be ensuring correctness of time and improve synchronization of equipment on Earth.
    • Similar to its IRNSS predecessors, IRNSS-1H also carries two types of payloads such as ranging payload and navigation payload:
      - The navigation payload of IRNSS-1H will be transmitting navigation service signals to the users. This payload will be operating in S-band and L5-band.
      - The ranging payload of IRNSS-1H has a C-band transponder helping it to determine accurately the range of the satellites.
    • IRNSS-1H also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors to range laser.

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