Daily Current Affairs 17th August, 2017

Daily Current Affairs 17th August, 2017


Cabinet approves MoU between India and Sweden on IPRs

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Sweden on cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property (IPRs).
  • The MoU establishes a wide ranging and flexible mechanism through which both countries can exchange best practices and work together on training programs and technical exchanges to raise awareness on IPRs and better protect intellectual property rights.
  • Significance of this MoU: The MoU will enable India to exchange experiences in the innovation and IP ecosystems that will substantially benefit entrepreneurs, investors and businesses on both sides.
  • The exchange of best practices between the two countries will lead to improved protection and awareness about India’s range of Intellectual creations which are as diverse as its-people.
  • It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global Innovation and will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016.
  • As per the MoU, a Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) with members from both sides will be formed to decide cooperation activities to be taken in following areas:
  • Exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP awareness among the public, businesses and educational institutions of both countries.
  • Collaboration in training programmes, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities.
  • Exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP with the industry, universities, R & D organisations and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through participation in programs and events in the matter, organized singly or jointly by the Parties.
  • Exchange of information and best practices for disposal of applications for patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyrights and Geographical Indications, as also the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights.
  • Cooperation in the development of automation and implementation of modernization projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP.
  • Cooperation to understand how Traditional Knowledge is protected; and the exchange of best practices, including traditional knowledge related databases and awareness raising of existing IP systems.
  • Exchange of information and best practices regarding Intellectual Property law infringements in the digital environment, especially regarding Copyright issues.
  • Other cooperation activities as may he decided by the Parties with mutual understanding.


New Metro Rail Policy

The Union Cabinet has approved a new Metro Rail Policy that seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail aspirations of a large number of cities but in a responsible manner.

Highlights of the new policy:- Boost to private investments: The policy opens a big window for private investments across a range of metro operations making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects. This has been done to meet the huge resource demand for capital intensive high capacity metro projects.

Last mile connectivity: In view of inadequate availability and even absence of last mile connectivity at present, the new policy seeks to ensure it focusing on a catchment area of five kms. on either side of metro stations requiring States to commit in project reports to provide necessary last mile connectivity through feeder services, Non-Motorised Transport infrastructure like walking and cycling pathways and introduction of para-transport facilities. States, proposing new metro projects will be required to indicate in project report the proposals and investments that would be made for such services.

Alternatives: Seeking to ensure that least cost mass transit mode is selected for public transport, the new policy mandates Alternate Analysis, requiring evaluation of other modes of mass transit like BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System), Light Rail Transit, Tramways, Metro Rail and Regional Rail in terms of demand, capacity, cost and ease of implementation.

UMTA: Setting up of Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) has been made mandatory which is to prepare Comprehensive Mobility Plans for cities for ensuring complete multi-modal integration for optimal utilization of capacities.

Corpus fund for Secondary and Higher education

  • The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval for creation of a non-lapsable pool in the Public Account for secondary and higher, education known as “Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh” (MUSK) into which all proceeds of “Secondary and Higher Education Cess” will be credited.

Key facts:

  • Administration and maintenance of the above pool will be done by Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • The MUSK would be maintained as a Reserve Fund in the non-interest bearing section of the Public Accounts of India.
  • The funds arising from the MUSK would be utilized for schemes in the education sector which would be available for the benefit of students of secondary and higher education, all over the country.


The purpose of levying cess for secondary and higher education is to provide adequate resources for secondary and higher education. During the 10th Plan, an education cess of 2{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} on all central taxes was imposed to make available additional resources for basic education/elementary education to augment the existing budgetary resources. A need was felt to give a similar fillip to the effort of the Central Government in universalizing access to secondary education and expanding the reach of the higher education sector.  Therefore, the Finance Minister, in his budget speech of 2007 proposed an additional cess of 1{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} on central taxes for secondary and higher education.



Long Term Irrigation Fund

Cabinet has approved raising Extra Budgetary Resources upto Rs. 9020 crore for Long Term Irrigation Fund during the year 2017-18.


About LTIF:

To cater to the large fund requirement and ensure completion of the projects, the Union Finance Minister, during his Budget speech 2016-17, announced creation of dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in NABARD with an initial corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore for funding of Central and State share for the identified ongoing projects under PMKSY (AIBP and CAD).

Corpus would be raised by way of budgetary resources and market borrowings to fund fast tracking of implementation of incomplete major & medium irrigation projects.

About PMKSY:

  • PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).
  • The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.
  • The major objective of PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water and enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).


RBI Makes Aadhaar Linkage Mandatory for Farmers

  • To ensure hassle-free benefits to farmers under Interest Subvention Scheme, the Reserve Bank of India has advised banks to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for availing short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh in 2017-18.
  • In order to provide short-term crop loans to farmers at an interest rate of 7 percent during the year 2017-18, the RBI said it has been decided to offer interest subvention of 2 percent to lending institutions, public sector banks, private sector commercial banks on use of their own resources.

CCEA Approves Proposal of DIPAM for Strategic Disinvestment

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the proposal of Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) for the strategic disinvestment. The approval will help in speedy completion of strategic disinvestment transactions.
  • The department will set up an alternative mechanism comprising of the Finance Minister, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Minister of Administrative Department, to decide on the matters relating to terms and conditions of the sale from the stage of inviting of Express of Interests till inviting of financial bid.


Karnataka Bank on Social Media

  • Karnataka Bank Ltd has ventured into social media by opening its official pages in social networking sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • Mahabaleshwara MS, MD and CEO of the bank, unveiled the official social handles of the bank in Mangaluru. The official social handle of the bank is @karnatakabank for Twitter and Facebook, and @officialkarnatakabank for Instagram.

Karur Vysya Bank Opens its First Aadhaar Enrollment Centre

  • Karur Vysya Bank rolled out an Aadhaar Enrollment Centre at its Nelson Manickam Road Branch in Chennai.
  • The facility was inaugurated by D M Gajare, assistant director general, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Regional Office, Bengaluru. KVB is the first private sector bank to provide this service in India.

RCom’s Merger with Aircel Gets NCLT Nod

  • The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted proposals for the merger between Aircel and Reliance Communications wireless business, as well as the latter’s sale of its tower business to Canada’s Brookfield.
  • The telecom department had also asked NCLT to direct RCom and Aircel to get permission from the Supreme Court before filing their merger plea. The Merged entities will be called as ‘Aircom’ and both will have 50{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} equity stake.

 Government Slaps USD264 Million Penalty on RIL

  • The government has imposed a new penalty of USD 264 million (about Rs 1,700 crore) on Reliance Industries Ltd and its partners for producing less than the targeted natural gas from eastern offshore KG-D6 fields in 2015-16.
  • The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) allows RIL and its partners BP Plc of the UK and Canada’s Niko Resources to deduct all capital and operating expenses from the sale of gas before sharing profit with the government.


US, Japan conduct military drills

  • The US and Japan conducted live-fire artillery and air drills in the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the East China Sea.
  • This comes amid tensions between the US and N Korea.

Reliance Defence is Now Reliance Naval and Engineering

  • Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure-controlled Reliance Defence and Engineering is changing its name to Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd (RNEL). According to the Company, change of name is in line with company’s focus on building capabilities for the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.
  • The company is set to seek shareholders’ approval for the name change in its AGM on August 22. After the Reliance Group acquired a controlling stake in Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering in 2016, it changed the name of the company to Reliance Defence and Engineering.


Italy to Host G-7 Interior Ministers’ Summit on Security

  • Italy will host a summit of G-7 interior ministers centered on security issues in the fall. According to Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti, the meeting is being organized at the request of Italy’s G-7 partners: Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States.
  • Italy currently holds the rotating helm of the Group of Seven industrialized nations. The summit is expected to be held in October 2017.


Scientists discover new tectonic plate

  • Researchers have discovered a new tectonic plate off the coast of Ecuador. There were 56 plates; now, there are 57 — and researchers think there could be one more to find.
  • Scientists discovered the microplate — which they’ve dubbed “Malpelo” — while analyzing the movements of what they believed to be the convergence of a trio of plates. Researchers were studying the coming together of a major tectonic plate and two smaller plates. The edges of the Pacific lithospheric plate roughly form the Ring of Fire, a region of volcanic activity. Filling in the gaps between larger plates are smaller plates. Just west of the Galapagos Islands, the Pacific plate is met by Cocos and Nazca.
  • Evidence for the Malpelo plate came with the researchers’ identification of a diffuse plate boundary that runs from the Panama Transform Fault eastward to where the diffuse plate boundary intersects a deep oceanic trench just offshore of Ecuador and Colombia.
  • Note-A diffuse boundary is best described as a series of many small, hard-to-spot faults rather than a ridge or transform fault that sharply defines the boundary of two plates.


India signs Global Environment Facility (GEF) Grant Agreement

A Grant Agreement from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank of USD 24.64 million for “Ecosystem Service Improvement Project” was recently signed between India and the World Bank. The size of Project is USD 24.64 million which entirely will be financed by the World Bank out of its GEF Trust Fund.

About Ecosystem Service Improvement Project:

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) will implement the Project in the States of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh through Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education under the National Mission for Green India.
  • The objective of the Project is to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Departments of Forestry and Community Organisations to enhance forest ecosystem services and improve the livelihoods of forest dependent communities in Central Indian Highlands.


 NABARD Awards for Corporation Bank

  • Corporation Bank has bagged the best performance awards for SHG-bank linkage program for Karnataka for 2015-16 and 2016-17 from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard).
  • The bank was given the award for its overall performance under SHG-bank linkage program for 2015-16 and 2016-17 among commercial banks operating in Karnataka. The bank has formed more than 1.32 lakh self-help groups (SHGs).


Karur Vysya Bank Appoints P R Seshadri as MD and CEO

Karur Vysya Bank Ltd has informed BSE that the Reserve Bank of India has accorded their approval for the appointment of Shri P R Seshadri as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of the Bank for a period of three years from the date of his taking charge.

He has replaced K Venkataraman.


Melbourne named ‘World’s Most Liveable City’ by Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index.

  • Melbourne has been named ‘The World’s Most Liveable City’ for the seventh consecutive year .
  • The EIU’s Liveability Ranking assesses living conditions in 140 cities across the globe by assigning a rating across five broad categories.
  • The rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in any given location, and allows for direct comparison between locations.
  • Every city is assigned a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories – stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Top five most liveable cities:

  • Melbourne
  • Vienna
  • Vancouver
  • Toronto
  • Adelaide, Calgary.


IAAF World Championships 2017

  • The 16th edition of IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships 2017 was held in London. The championships were held in the London Stadium in Stratford. ‘Hero-the Hedgehog’ was a Mascot of 2017 IAAF World Championships and ‘Whizbee-the Bee’ was the Mascot for the Para Athletics.
  • The USA topped the tally of Medals with 30 medals.


Real Madrid Beats Barcelona to Win 2017 Spanish Super Cup

Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in the second leg of the 2017 Spanish Super Cup to seal the win at the Bernabeu, Spain.


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