1st April 2017, Important Daily Current Affairs

Important Current affairs dated 01st April 2017 for Competitive Exams in India.
Hello Readers, We bring you another issue of current affairs that covers the important news in Current Affairs Today Section.
Current Affairs help in your preparing yourself for the various Competitive Exams in India. UPSCSuccess.com wishes all the readers best of luck. These Current Affairs coverage will help you to Score Good Marks in Competitive Exams such as UPSC, and other PSCs.

Indian Affairs

Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launches BS-IV grade fuels nationwide 

Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launches BS-IV grade fuels nationwide
Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launches BS-IV grade fuels nationwide
  • Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan formally launched BS-IV grade transportation fuels across the country from Bhubaneswar today.
  • The event coincided with Utkal Divas (formation day of the State) being celebrated in Odisha.
  • The Hon’ble Minister symbolically commenced sale of the eco-friendly and low-emission fuels from 12 different locations across the country through live video links – Varanasi, Vijayawada, Durgapur, Gorakhpur, Imphal, Bhopal, Ranchi, Madurai, Nagpur, Patna, Guwahati and Shillong.
  • The next step is to usher in BS-VI fuels by 1st April, 2020, to be at par with global standards
  • BS-IV will benefit all citizens of our country by substantially reducing pollution levels everywhere.

Barmer Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes – New Green Corridors in India

Barmer Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes – New Green Corridors in India
Barmer Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes – New Green Corridors in India
  • The North Western Railway has declared the Barmer-Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes in Rajasthan as Green Corridors.
  • With this total number of green corridors has increased to five. The 114-km-long Manamadurai– Rameswaram stretch of Southern Railway was India’s first ‘Green corridor’. Okha-Kanalus and Porbandar-Wasjaliya railway sections of Gujarat also have been declared green corridors.

About green corridor.
The Green Corridor ensures zero toilet discharge on rail tracks as part of its commitment to clean environment under the ‘Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ initiative. Trains in the section have been equipped with bio-toilets to ensure zero discharge of human waste on the rail tracks and preventing corrosion of the tracks.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana Launched in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh

  • Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu distributed 3052 Aids and Assisted Living Devices distributed to 1843 Senior Citizens during National Launch of “RASHTRIYA VAYOSHRI YOJANA”.
  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana”, a ‘Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category’ will be launched in District Nellore, Andhra Pradesh on 1st April, 2017.
  • Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment said that the Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens will be distributed in Camp mode and the Scheme will be implemented through the sole implementing agency, ‘Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)’, (a PSU under M/o SJ&E), which will undertake one year free maintenance of the aids & assisted living devices.
  • The devices will help the Senior Citizens to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on care givers or other members of the family.
  • The ambitious Scheme, first of its kind in the country is expected to benefit 5,20,000 Senior Citizens over a period of the 3 years.
  • As per the Census figures of 2011, the population of senior citizens in India is 10.38 crore.  More than 70% of the population of senior citizens live in rural areas of the country.
  • A sizeable percentage (5.2%) of the senior citizens suffers from some sort of disabilities related to old age. Projections indicate that the number of elderly population will increase to around 173 million by 2026.
  • The proposal for formulation of a Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-Living Devices for Senior Citizens belonging to BPL Category was announced in the Budget 2015-16. Pursuant to this, the “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana” has been formulated.

The Scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.
Under the Scheme, the following Aids and Assisted-Living Devices will be provided to eligible elderly beneficiary senior citizens, depending upon their physical impairment :-

  1. Walking sticks
  2. Elbow crutches
  3. Walkers / Crutches
  4. Tripods / Quadpods
  5. Hearing Aids
  6. Wheelchair
  7. Artificial Dentures
  8. Spectacles

Salient features of the Scheme are as under:-

  • Free of cost distribution of the devices, commensurate with the extent of disability/infirmity that is manifested among the eligible senior citizens.
  • In case of multiple disabilities/infirmities manifested in the same person, the assistive devices will be given in respect of each disability/impairment.
  • The devices will help the Senior Citizens to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on care givers or other members of the family.
  • The Scheme will be implemented through the sole implementing agency, ‘Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)’, (a PSU under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment).
  • ALIMCO will undertake one year free maintenance of the aids & assisted living devices.
  • Beneficiaries in each district will be identified by the State Governments/UT Administrations through a Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector.
  • As far as possible, 30% of the beneficiaries in each district shall be women.
  • The State Government/UT Administration/District Level Committee can also utilize the data of BPL beneficiaries receiving Old Age Pension under the NSAP or any other Scheme of the State/UT for identification of senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
  • The devices will be distributed in Camp mode.
  • The expected financial outlay over the next three years (i.e. upto 2019-20) is Rs. 483.6 Crores.

Govt lowers interest rates on small saving schemes like PPE, KVP and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana by 0.1 percent for April-June quarter

  • The government has lowered interest rates on small saving schemes like PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra and Sukanya Samriddhi scheme by 0.1 per cent for the April-June quarter, a move that would prompt banks to cut their deposit rates.
  • For April-June, these have been lowered by 0.1 percent across the board compared to January-March. However, interest on savings deposits has been retained at 4 per cent annually.
  • Since April last year, interest rates of all small saving schemes have been recalibrated on a quarterly basis.
  • A finance ministry notification said investments in the public provident fund (PPF) scheme will fetch lower annual rate of 7.9 percent, the same as 5-year National Savings Certificate. The existing rate for these two schemes is 8 per cent.
  • Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) investments will yield 7.6 per cent and mature in 112 months.
  • The one for girl child savings, Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, will offer 8.4 percent annually, from 8.5 percent at present, while it will be the same at 8.4 percent for the 5-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme. The interest rate on the senior citizen’s scheme is paid quarterly.
  • Term deposits of 1-5 years will fetch a lower 6.9-7.7 percent that will be paid quarterly while the 5-year recurring deposit has been pegged lower at 7.2 per cent.

Government Awards 128 air routes under Regional Connectivity Scheme

In a bid to make the ‘Regional Connectivity Scheme’ operational; Civil Aviation Ministry has selected 27 proposals from 5 airlines to operate 128 routes across the country, connecting 31 unconnected airports. It added that first regional flight under UDAN scheme will start operating from April 2017.
The five selected airlines are:
Of the above five airlines, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and TruJet will have to apply to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for Airline Operator Permit (AOP) under scheduled commuter category. However since TruJet already has Regional Operator Licence, it will get AOP much sooner than other two.
About UDAN Scheme:

  • Civil Aviation Ministry launched Regional Connectivity Scheme ‘UDAN’ in October 2016.
  • Abbreviation UDAN stands for – ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’.
  • It is aimed towards making flying a reality for common people residing in Tier-II and Tier-III towns, and thereby developing the regional aviation market.
  • Under UDAN, any interested airline operator has to select the un-connected regional route on which it intends to provide the flight service. For this route it has to allocate 9 – 40 seats on fixed wing aircraft or 5-13 seats on helicopter for UDAN scheme, which will be available for passengers at the proportionate rate of Rs. 2500 for 500 kms (for aircraft) and Rs. 2500 for 30 minutes (for helicopter).
  • Thereafter it has to bid for Viability Gap Funding, VGF (financial assistance) per seat. The airline operator bidding the lowest value will get exclusive rights to operate on that route along with VGF for three years. The VGF will comprise of subsidy as well as tax concessions from central and state Govt.
  • The UDAN scheme will be in operation for 10 years.

Cabinet approves changes to New Urea Policy

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved amendments to the New Urea Policy–2015. The said amendments will protect the production beyond re-assessed capacity by the urea units and are expected to boost indigenous production.
  • After the amendment, the ceiling imposed on production beyond RAC during2016-17, has been raised so as to enable all urea units to produce additional production which otherwise were not able to do so due to low import parity price.

The existing gas based units will be classified into three groups

Group I includes the units having pre-set energy norms between 0 G Cal/MT to 6.0 G Cal/MT. Under this category there are 13 units.

Group I includes the units having pre-set energy norms between 0 G Cal/MT to 7.0 G Cal/MT. Under this category there are 4 units.

Group I includes the units having pre-set energy norms more 0 G Cal/MT. Under this category there are 8 units.

Union Textiles Minister launches PowerTex India

The Government has launched PowerTex India, a comprehensive scheme for powerloom sector development, simultaneously at over 45 locations in the country. Launching the scheme in Bhiwandi, Thane district, Maharashtra, the Union Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani said that Bhiwandi will be known for
Launching the scheme in Bhiwandi, Thane district, Maharashtra, the Union Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani said that Bhiwandi will be known for resurgence in Powerloom sector. Recalling that the powerloom sector alone employs over 44 lakh people, the Minister said that the scheme will especially benefit small powerloom weavers.
The comprehensive scheme has the following components:
In-situ Upgradation of Plain Powerlooms
Group Workshed Scheme (GWS)
Yarn Bank Scheme
– Common Facility Centre (CFC)
– Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for Powerloom Weavers
– Solar Energy Scheme for Powerlooms
– Facilitation, IT, Awareness, Market Development and Publicity for Powerloom Schemes
– Tex Venture Capital Fund
– Grant-in-Aid and Modernisation & Upgradation of Powerloom Service Centres (PSCs)

International Affairs

Infrastructure projects in India – Japan commits 371 billion Yen assistance

  • Japan has committed an official development assistance of 371.345 billion yen (about Rs 21,590 crore) under 2016-2017 for various infrastructure projects, including the dedicated freight corridor, in India.
  • The notes in this regard were exchanged here today between S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; and Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India.
  • Total commitment of JICA ODA during two financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17 is 761.40 billion yen, which is 43.50 per cent of the total target for five years.
  • For FY 2016-17, the ODA loan assistance has been committed to several projects including Mumbai Trans Harbour Link Project (JPY 144.795 billion), Dedicated Freight Corridor Project (Procurement of Electric Locomotives) (JPY 108.456 billion) and Eastern Peripheral Expressway Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Installation Project (JPY 6.87 billion).
  • The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a State Government entity, has been allowed to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project.
  • The estimated project cost for Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) is Rs.17,854 crore, out of which JICA loan portion is expected to be Rs 15,109 crore.

Israel approves settlement within West Bank for first time in 2 decades

Israel approves settlement within West Bank for first time in 2 decades
Israel approves settlement within West Bank for first time in 2 decades
  • Israel’s move to approve a new settlement deep in the West Bank brought international condemnation Friday, even as the government was bending to pressure from the Trump administration to limit the footprint of future settlement building.
  • The decisions drew a furious reaction from Palestinians, who said the move could destroy any chance for peace in the region.
  • The Israeli security cabinet approved the new settlement, following up on a promise to residents of the illegal hilltop outpost of Amona before they were evacuated in February under an order from the Supreme Court. The cabinet also advanced construction tenders from 2,000 new homes and declared 250 acres of the West Bank as state land.
  • The cabinet also advanced construction tenders from 2,000 new homes and declared 250 acres of the West Bank as state land.

Awards and Recognition

Andhra Pradesh CM selected for US India Business Council Award 

  •  N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has been selected for the US India Business Council (USIBC) award. The award is to be presented at the 2nd Annual West Coast Summit to be held in Menlo Park, California on May 8, 2017.
  •  The award is to be presented under the category, ‘Transformative Chief Minister’ of India by USIBC. Aruna Sundararajan would also receive ‘Transformative Leadership’ Award at the Summit.

Banking and Finance

82nd Establishment Day Of RBI, 1st April 2017

82nd Establishment Day Of RBI, 1st April 2017
82nd Establishment Day Of RBI, 1st April 2017
  • The Reserve Bank of India is the central bank of the country.
  • The Reserve Bank of India was set up on the basis of the recommendations of the Hilton Young Commission.
  • The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (II of 1934) provides the statutory basis for the functioning of the Bank, which commenced operations on April 1, 1935.

 
 
 

Co-branded Credit Card launched by Karnataka Bank and SBI Card

Co-branded Credit Card launched by Karnataka Bank and SBI Card
Co-branded Credit Card launched by Karnataka Bank and SBI Card
  • Karnataka Bank and SBI Card have launched co-branded credit cards for the customers of Karnataka Bank.
  • Through this alliance Karnataka Bank and SBI Card will launch two variants of the co-branded credit card – ‘Karnataka Bank Platinum SBI Card’ and ‘Karnataka Bank Simply SAVE SBI’ Card.
  • Karnataka Bank Platinum SBI Card’, which has been designed keeping in mind the premium customers, offers features in line with their lifestyle and spending patterns.
  • ‘Karnataka Bank Simply SAVE SBI Card’ is aimed at value-conscious consumers and offers rewards and features that enable customers to maximise their savings on their regular spends.

Business

Operation of Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant 2nd unit started successfully

On March 31, 2017, 1,000 MW Atomic Power Reactor has begun its 1 year period of warranty operation at Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu.
This was the 2nd unit to be successfully launched for commercial operation out of 4 units. The information was announced by the Russian builders.
As per the statement given by state-run nuclear energy corporation ASE Group, the Unit 2 of the KNPP is under the warranty of its general designer and the suppliers of equipment from Russia.
Background

  •  The unit 2 started its nuclear fission, on July 10, 2016, and was connected to the southern grid on August 29, 2016.
  •  After operating for 2 days, the unit was disconnected for testing the parameters. Thereafter, power generation was gradually increased at several stages.
  •  Unit 1 was synchronized with the southern power grid on October 22, 2013 and is generating electricity to its warranted limit of 1000 MW.

About Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP)

  • Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is the single largest nuclear power station in India, situated in Kundankulam in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • The construction began on March 31, 2002 and commissioned on October 22, 2013.

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