08th Aug 2017 – Current Affairs Today


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National Current Affairs

Govt merges NCRB with BPRD

  • Government has taken this decision with an aim to improve administrative efficiency and optimal utilisation of resources.
  • The BPRD Director General (DG) will be the head of the merged new entity, where the NCRB Director, an Additional DG rank post will report to the former.

GST council approves hike in luxury car cess

  • Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and luxury cars, which became cheaper after the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1, 2017, may now cost more as the GST Council, has decided to raise cess on them from 15% now to up to 25%.
  • After GST was introduced, the total tax incidence on motor vehicles comprising the GST rate and the cess came down compared to the total tax incidence in pre-GST regime.
  • The proposal to raise the ceiling of cess covers large motor vehicles with capacity for 10-13 persons, mid segment and large cars, sports utility vehicles, mid segment hybrid cars and other hybrid vehicles, all of which at present attract 15% cess.

Business & Economy

Mastercard, PayPal expand partnership into Asia Pacific

  • Mastercard and PayPal have announced an extension of their partnership into Asia Pacific for making Mastercard a clear payment option within PayPal.
  • PayPal will add Mastercard as a payment method to their e-wallet and consumers can make it their default payment option.
  • Card Company will provide tokenization services and will enable mobile payments using PayPal’s digital wallet at more than 6.5 million contactless-enabled merchant locations across the globe.
  • The partnership will also add Master pass as a payment option for merchants that process payments via Braintree.
  • The partnership will allow consumers and small businesses across Asia Pacific to cash out funds held in their PayPal e-wallet to a Mastercard debit card.

PNB customers to pay higher charges for non-credit services

  • PNB customers will have to pay charges for depositing cash above Rs 5,000 in a non-base branch even if it is located in the same city.
  • Currently, the customers of Punjab National Bank (PNB) are levied charges only for depositing cash over Rs 25,000 at a non-base branch within the same city.
  • customer will have to pay Re 1 per Rs 1,000 for above Rs 5,000 cash deposit or part thereof with a minimum of Rs 25 per transaction.
  • It has been decided to revise the non-credit related charges exclusive of GST with effect from 1stof September 2017 for cash deposit above Rs 5,000 at other than base branch within the same city.
  • The bank has also revised upwards the cheque returning charges for a payment of above Rs 1 crore to Rs 2,000 for first cheque and Rs 2,500 for subsequent bounces.
  • Currently, for a cheque returns of above Rs 1 crore, the charges are Rs 1,000 for first cheque and Rs 1,500 for subsequent instances.
  • At an outstation branchcash deposit up to Rs 5,000 will be free of cost from 1stof September, which at present is limited for Rs 25,000.
  • For above Rs 5,000 cash deposit at outstation branch, the bank will levy Rs 2 per Rs 1,000or part thereof with a minimum of Rs 25 per transaction.
  • The locker rent is being raised by 25% for small, medium, large and extra-large sizes to Rs 1,500, Rs 3,500, Rs 5,500 and Rs 10,000respectively, for metro branches.
  • PNB will levy a premium of 25% of the locker rent in 22 identified branches, 19 of which are in Delhi, one in Gurgaon and two in Faridabad.

Government forms action plan for easy execution of trade facilitation agreement

  • Indian government has formulated National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (2017-20), a detailed action plan with timelines for smooth implementation of WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Recommendations made by four working groups on legislative changes, time release study, outreach program and  infrastructure augmentationhave been included in this plan.
  • Implementation of the plan, which also includes suggestions of the private sector, has been divided into short term (0-6 months), medium term (6-18 months) and long term (18-36 months).
  • The short term action plan includes augmentation of storage infrastructure for perishable goods and clearance of such goods within 12 hours of landing for import and 8 hours for export

FMCG Britannia to set up largest plant in Maharashtra

  • The park would have the largest biscuits manufacturing plant with six lines, along with cake and rusk (rpt) rusk.
  • The proposed JV plant with Greek company Chipita would also be located there and it would on stream from June 2018.
  • The company was also planning to set up a diary project at the food park with acapacity of seven lakh litres per day.
  • Chipita would also be introduced to a new variety of croissants for Indian consumers.
  • The main focusof the company would be investments on new products and cost reduction.

Infosys to buy London’s Brilliant Basics for Rs 63 crore

  • The acquisition of the firm that specializes in customer experience and product design and it would also help in expanding design-based technology services in Europe and West Asia.
  • The acquisition cost included earn-out and employee retention amounts.
  • It has also addedBrilliant Basics’ design and customer experience capabilities and has already proven to be invaluable.
  • Brilliant Basics will help to drive digital transformation solutions, which connect our clients’ systems of record to new systems of engagement.

People in News

Aparna appointed as Executive Director of World Bank

  • Senior bureaucrat S Aparna, presently Principal Secretary to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, has been appointed as an Executive Director in the World Bank in the US.
  • As the Executive Director at World Bank, Ms. Aparna will represent the constituency of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
  • Aparna has been appointed in place of S C Garg, who has recently taken over as Secretary, Department


Indian Philanthropist Firoz Merchant honoured by UAE Government

  • Firoz Merchant, an Indian businessman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who has spent over USD 4 million to help free prisoners languishing in jails due to non-payment of debts, has been honored with UAE’s prestigious Community Service Medal.
  • The award, which is given in the form of a medal, was given to Merchant in recognition of his efforts to serve the community in the country and beyond.

Science & Technology

IISc researchers developed low-cost sensitive carbon monoxide sensor

  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc) researchers from Bengaluru have developed a highly sensitive, low cost nanometre-scale carbon monoxide (CO) sensor with possible applications in environmental pollution monitoring.
  • The sensor was developed using novel fabrication technique. It also does not involve costly and time consuming lithography technology.
  • The nanometer-sized sensor was made using zinc-oxide (ZnO) nanostructure on a silicon wafer substrate. Tiny polystyrene beads were also used on the wafer.
  • These beads were first added on the oxidised silicon wafer arrange themselves into and called a hexagonal close-packed structure.

NASA’s Hubble detects Exoplanet with glowing water atmosphere

  • The discovery shows that a common trait of most of the atmospheres in solar system, which is a warm stratosphere, can also be found in the atmospheres of exoplanets WASP-121b with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
  • The program has been awarded 800 hours to study and compare 20 different exoplanets, representing one of the largest time allocations for a single program in the entire 27 year history of Hubble.
  • This new research is the smoking gun evidence scientists have been searching for when studying hot exoplanets.
  • The discovery was made by an International team of researchers led by the University of Exeter by observing glowing water molecules in WASP-121b’s atmosphere.
  • About WASP-121b
    • It is located approximately 900 light years from Earth, the exoplanet is a gas giant commonly referred to as a ‘hot Jupiter’.
    • It has 2 times greater mass and 1.9 times greater radius than Jupiter
    • It orbits around its host star every 1.3 days in very close proximity.

Sports Current Affairs

 ONGC beats Bengaluru Hockey 4-2, wins MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has beaten Bengaluru Hockey Association (BHA) by 4-2 in the final in 91st All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament
  • The ONGC team received Rs 5, 00,000 prize money while BHA got Rs 2.5 lakh.

Ankur Mittal Wins Gold Medal in Asian Shotgun Championship

  • Indian shooter Ankur Mittal has won the individual as well as the team gold medal in Men’s double trap at the 7th Asian Shotgun Championship
  • India managed to bag the top prize in the team event with scores of SangramDahiya (43) and Mohammad Asab (34) added to Mittal’s final total.
  • Mittal, a World Cup gold medallist, shot 137 in the qualification and was behind topper Dahiya (140) as well as Asab (138).
  • Mittal had won a gold medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico in 2016.
  • He had also won silver in seasons inaugural World Cup in New Delhi.

BCCI ordered to lift lifetime ban on cricketer Sreesanth by Kerela HC

  • Kerala High Court ordered Board of Control for Cricketin India (BCCI) to lift the life ban imposed on Cricketer Sreesanth in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
  • In 2013, Sreesanth faced allegations on spot-fixing issues in the Indian Premier League and was hence charged with the same alongside fellow cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.
  • He soon received a suspension form BCCI.
  • Delhi Court had cleared his case in 2015 and acquitted him from spot-fixing charges.
  • In March 2017, Sreesanth had filed a petition to challenge BCCI’s decision to remove off the ban even after Delhi court has cleared his case.
  • According to Sreesanth, not lifting the ban implied going against the constitutional rights of a citizen.