Daily Current Affairs 27th July, 2017
CAC adopts Codex standards for three spices
- The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has adopted three Codex standards for black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme.
- It is for first time pepper, cumin and thyme, spices will have such universal standards. These standards were adopted at 40th session of CAC held in Geneva.
- The adoption of Codex standards paves the way for universal agreement on identifying quality spices in various countries.
- It also set reference points and benchmarks for member-nations to align their national standards for spices with Codex.
Amidst internal Rifts, Nitish Kumar takes oath as Chief Minister for the 6th time
- Less than a day after resigning as Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar took oath at 10 am today at Raj Bhawan in Patna as the head of the government that would include BJP and its allies. Prior to this, the party of Nitish Kumar, JD-(U) was supported by Mahagathbandhan allies with Lalu Yadav led RJD.
- Kumar met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi yesterday with NDA leaders and staked claim to form a new government with the support of 132 MLAs. He has been asked by the governor to prove his majority in the Assembly within two days of taking the oath. Nitish Kumar took oath as chief minister of Bihar. Sushil Kumar Modi took oath as deputy chief minister.
Madras High Court makes Vande Mataram mandatory in Schools, Govt. and Private Offices
- The Madras High Court ruled that Vande Mataram should be sung in all schools and colleges across the state “at least once a week”, and in government and private offices “at least once a month”.
- Issuing the order, Justice M V Muralidharan stated, Considering the larger public interest and to instil a sense of patriotism in each and every citizen of the state, the national song ‘Vande Mataram’ shall be played and sung in all schools/ colleges/ universities and other educational institutions at least once a week (preferably on Monday or Friday).
PM Modi inaugurates APJ Abdul Kalam’s memorial in Rameswaram
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the former President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s memorial at Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu on the second death anniversary of the former President. Mr. Modi unveils a statue of Dr. Kalam and hoisted the National flag at the memorial.
- Modi will flag off Kalam Sandesh Vahini, an exhibition bus which will travel across the country and reach Rashtrapati Bhavan on 15th of October, which marks the birth anniversary of the former President.
Cabinet approves new wage code bill to ensure minimum wage across all sectors
- The Union Cabinet has approved the Labour Code on Wages Bill which will ensure a minimum wage across all sectors by integrating existing labour related laws. The Labour Code on Wages Bill consolidates the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
- At present, laws on wages do not cover workers getting monthly wage of more than Rs 18,000. Moreover, these laws are only applicable for scheduled industries or establishments. Even there are about half a dozen definitions of wages in various acts across the Centre and states, which employers have to grapple with.
- The Second National Commission on Labour has recommended that the existing labour laws should be broadly grouped into four or five labour codes on Wages; Industrial Relations; Social Security & Welfare and Safety and Working Conditions on functional basis.
ECONOMY,BANKING AND FINANCE
Microsoft launches ‘Made for India’ Kaizala app
- Technology giant Microsoft has officially launched ‘Kaizala’, a productivity app that has been designed to enhance the collaboration and communication experience for Indian enterprises.
- The ‘Made for India’ app is designed for large group communications and work management and works even on 2G networks. The product will make it possible for organizations to interact with people within the organization as well as outside like partners and vendors in a seamless manner.
Axis Bank acquires FreeCharge for Rs. 385 crore
- Axis Bank announced the acquisition of Snapdeal-owned mobile payments provider Freecharge in an all-cash deal worth Rs385 crore. The deal is subject to regulatory approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the indicative time-frame to complete the acquisition is two months, the private sector lender said in an exchange filing.
- With this buyout, Axis Bank will get over 50 million customers of Freecharge along with its niche and patented technology and human resources.
- Founded in 2010 by Mumbai based entrepreneur Kunal Shah, FreeCharge started as a recharge deal coupons platform before turning into a full-scale mobile wallet.
Cabinet approves revision of guidelines of Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for revision of guidelines of Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) Scheme with a view to achieve its intended objectives.
- Specific changes have been made in the attributes of the scheme to make it more attractive, mobilize finances as per the target and reduce the economic strains caused by imports of gold and reduce the Current Account Deficit (CAD).
- Flexibility has been given to Ministry of Finance to design and introduce variants of SGBs with different interest rates and risk protection/pay-offs that would offer investment alternatives to different category of investors. Ministry of Finance (the issuer) has been delegated this power to amend/add to the features of the Scheme with the approval of the Finance Minister to reduce the time lag between finalizing the attributes of a particular tranche and its notification.
Following specific changes in the scheme have been approved:
- The investment limit per fiscal year has been increased to 4 kg for individuals, 4 Kg for Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and 20 Kg for Trusts and similar entities notified by the Government from time to time.
- The ceiling will be counted on Financial year basis and will include the SGBs purchased during the trading in the secondary market.
- The ceiling on investment will not include the holdings as collateral by Banks and Financial institutions.
- SGBs will be available ‘on tap’. Based on the consultation with NSE, BSE, Banks, and Department of Post, features of the product to emulate ‘On Tap’ sale would be finalized by Ministry of Finance.
ENVIRONMENT,SCIENCE AND TECH
NASA jets for first time will chase solar eclipse
- Scientists from NASA for first time are planning to chase the shadow of the moon using two of NASA’s WB-57F research jets during the upcoming total solar eclipse in US. The purpose of the chase is to capture the clearest ever images of the Sun’s outer atmosphere.
- The research jets (planes) will have twin telescopes mounted on the noses of the planes to capture clearest images of Sun’s corona to date.
- They will also undertake first-ever thermal images of Mercury to reveal how temperature varies across the planet’s surface. Need for research The corona of sun (gaseous envelope surrounding sun) is heated to millions of degrees, but the lower atmospheric layers like the photosphere are only heated to a few thousand degrees.
- So far, scientists are not sure how this inversion happens. One theory proposes micro explosions, termed nanoflares (too small and frequent to detect individually) with a large collective effect might be releasing enarmous heat into the corona.
Uttarakhand records second highest tiger count in India
- The count of tigers in Uttarakhand shot up to 242 with an increase of 63 big cats in the year 2017. The news was announced by Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.
- In addition, 11 cubs were also found in the two tiger reserves, the Corbett Tiger Reserve and the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, in the state. Uttarakhand is the second state in terms of tiger count behind Karnataka, which has 400 big cats.
- According to the latest statistics, at least 208 tigers have been identified in Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, up from last year’s 163. Also, six cubs were identified there.
Scientists discover glow-in-the-dark shark in Pacific
- Scientists have discovered new species of glow-in-the-dark shark living 1,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the northwestern Hawaiian islands.
- It has been named Etmopterus lailae and belongs to lanternshark family.
- It has an unusually large nose, weighs a little less than a kilo and measures less than a foot. This unique features and characteristics make it different form other lanternsharks.
Subhash Chandra Garg appointed as India’s Alternate Governor on the Board of Governors of ADB
- Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has been appointed as Indias Alternate Governor on the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Finance Ministry announced recently.
- Garg has been appointed in place of former DEA Secretary Shaktikanta Das.
- The appointment came into effect from July 12.
Dharam Singh, former Karnataka CM passes away
- Dharam Singh, former Chief Minister of Karnataka, passed away following a heart attack. He was 80. He was the 17th Chief Minister of the state. He headed the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government from May 2004 to February 2006.
- Dharam Singh represented the Karnataka Legislative Assembly seven times without a defeat and was a member of the Lok Sabha from Bidar constituency once (2009).