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Current Affairs - 12 May 2017

General Affairs 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Hails Ex-PM Vajpayee On Pokhran Test Anniversary
  • On the 19th anniversary of the Pokhran nuclear tests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed the "courage" shown by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said it made the world recognise India as a power.
    Since 1999, May 11 is commemorated as the National Technology Day to mark India's scientific prowess and technological advancements.

    "Greetings to everyone, especially our industrious scientists and those passionate about technology, on National Technology Day," Mr Modi tweeted.

    "We remain grateful to our scientists & the then political leadership for the courage shown in Pokhran in 1998," he added.

    It was the same date in 1998 when India successfully conducted the first among the five nuclear tests in Pokhran under the leadership of Mr Vajpayee. The tests showcased India's might to the entire world.

    Later, in response to a tweet by a follower that "Pokhran test (had) made us proud as well as world recognizes us as world power", Mr Modi wrote, "Yes, you are right".

    In another tweet, PM Modi hailed the "stellar accomplishments and contribution" of former President APJ Abdul Kalam in the nuclear test.

    A post on PM Modi's website referred to an earlier speech delivere by him, wherein he had said, "Under Atalji's leadership, successful tests were carried out and the entire world was witness to India's might. The scientists made the nation proud."

    Recalling the nearly two-decade-old development, Mr Modi said, "After the first series of tests the world community placed sanctions on India. On 13th May 1998, Atalji again called for tests, thus showing that he was made of a different mettle. If we had had a weak PM, he or she would have got scared on the same day. But Atal ji was different. He did not get scared."

    Lauding the role the people of Pokhran played by keeping silent during the nuclear tests, Mr Modi said, "People of Pokhran must be lauded for maintaining silence during entire duration when the tests were planned and conducted. They placed interest of the nation above everything else."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Meets US Congressional Delegation
  • The India-US security cooperation and the terrorist threat were among the issues discussed when an American Congressional delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi today. The eight-member delegation was led by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. 
    "The Prime Minister welcomed the delegation to India. He appreciated the strong bipartisan support of the US Congress in deepening the partnership between India and the United States," a PMO statement said.

    Mr Modi exchanged views with the delegation members on the bilateral partnership and other issues of mutual interest.

    "He called for further enhancing exchanges with the US Congress," the statement added.

    Later, in a statement, Ms Pelosi said, "Our bipartisan delegation was pleased to meet with Prime Minister Modi, where we had a productive conversation on the importance of the US-India relationship and the shared values which bind our two countries."

    She said they "exchanged views on our security cooperation and the terrorist threat, India's leadership (in) addressing the climate crisis, and our mutual priority of respecting the human rights of all people in our countries."

    Yesterday, the delegation met Minister for Finance and Defense Arun Jaitley and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. The delegation also met civil society representatives and members of the India-US Business Council.

    "In our meetings with top government officials, our delegation expressed our gratitude to the government and people of India for hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, and for the support of Tibetans living in India," said Ms Pelosi.

    "We paid our respects and gratitude to India's inspiration to the world, Mahatma Gandhi, at his last home and expressed our gratitude for his leadership in non-violence which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also embraced," she added.

Sushma Swaraj Directs Safe Return Of Odia Labourers trapped In Saudi Arabia
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has directed the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia to facilitate the return of 24 workers from India, including 12 from Odisha, who have been allegedly held captive by a company there on salary-related issues.

    The action of the External Affairs ministry came after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought her intervention for the safe return of the Odia labourers.

    Sushma Swaraj asked the Indian embassy in Riyadh to inform the Chief Minister about the development in ensuring their repatriation.

    "Embassy cognizant of it, vigorously pursuing with the Company and agent towards their repatriation; hope to send them soon," the Indian embassy in Riyadh tweeted.

    Earlier, the Chief Minister had tweeted, "Deeply concerned about Odia workers held captive in Saudi Arabia; Request @SushmaSwaraj ji @PMOIndia to intervene for their safe return."

    At least 12 labourers from various blocks of Ganjam district had been to Saudi Arabia five months ago through an agent from Andhra Pradesh to work in Al Riyadh Construction Company.

    Of the remaining workers, eight are from Andhra Pradesh and four from Tamil Nadu. They were taken to Saudi Arabia to work as plumbers. However, their passports were seized after two months of payment and they were allegedly exploited and given life threats.

    Finding no help in the foreign land, the labourers sent WhatsApp videos narrating their ordeal to their family members. They sought the help of the government for their safe return to India.

    In the meantime, the Ganjam district administration has launched a probe to gather information on the trapped labourers.

    "We have collected information on 12 persons. As per reports, four are from Rangeilunda, three from Beguniapara and one each from Khallikote, Chhatrapur, Patrapur, Chikiti and Hinjilikatu," said Shiv Narayan Sahu, District Labour Officer.

Maharashtra BJP Chief's Angry Comment On Farmers Sparks Protests
  • Maharashtra BJP chief Raosaheb Danve has been attacked by rivals for appearing to lose his temper and using slang for farmers in response to a question in a party meeting.

    At a meeting in Jalna, Mr Danve had been asked by a worker how to tackle the questions of farmers protesting over the low prices of Tur Dal.

    "Our party workers should now not cry but fight. Just the day before yesterday, we've asked officials to procure one lakh tonne tur daal.  Yet these people saale (referring to farmers) are crying. Are you reading too many newspapers? Don't read!"

    The Shiv Sena today held a protest against the BJP president and burnt his effigies.

    The Congress' Sanjay Nirupam said, "It's a very shameful incident. Using this type language is very harsh and cannot be tolerated."

    The Centre had last year had taken up a massive project to increase the production of Tur in Maharashtra. The state saw record production of the cereal due to good monsoon. But a glut has brought down prices sharply, affecting farmers.

    Mr Danve said, "The state government not only purchased 4 lakh tonne tur but also increased its quota by additional procurement of one lakh tonne... still some complain. One must stop complaining and start spreading the good work done by the BJP government."

    BJP Spokesperson Shaina NC did not comment on the criticism of her party leader but said, "We are working on one fact and that is farmers get full support. We have done many things through the government of Devendra Fadnavis. Shiv Sena has not seen the issue in a long term manner. It's high time for people to realise that this is the government which shows long term solution."

NASA's Mars Plans May Include Year-Long Mission To Moon
  • NASA is planning a year-long manned mission to orbit the Moon in 2027 as a part of its preparations to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.

    The US space agency is building a "deep-space gateway" around the Moon to test for operations and technology required for NASA's journey to the red planet.

    Eventually, the lunar presence would also serve as a launching point for the spacecraft that will carry humans to Mars, said Greg Williams, deputy associate administrator for policy and plans at NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

    Williams provided a detailed look at the first two phases of NASA's current plan to send humans to Mars at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington DC.

    The year-long lunar mission will be preceded by at least five missions - four of them crewed - which will deliver hardware such as a crew habitat, Williams said.

    The last piece of delivered hardware would be the Deep Space Transport vehicle that would later be used to carry a crew to Mars, he said.

    "If we could conduct a yearlong crewed mission on this Deep Space Transport in cislunar space, we believe we will know enough that we could then send this thing, crewed, on a 1,000-day mission to the Mars system and back," Williams was quoted as saying by the ''.

    Currently, the lunar stages of the plan to get humans to Mars rely heavily on NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to send the necessary payloads and crews to cislunar space - the region between Earth and the Moon.

Business Affairs 

SBI to allow ATM withdrawals through e-wallet
  • The largest lender State Bank of India will be introducing a new facility that would enable withdrawal of cash through ATMs using the bank's mobile wallet.
    However, the bank will charge Rs 25 on every cash withdrawal from the mobile wallet via ATMs.
    Meanwhile, the SBI has denied media reports that it has increased service charges to Rs 25 on regular ATM transactions.
    "The service charge on cash withdrawal from ATMs has not been changed for normal savings accounts," SBI MD (national banking) Rajnish Kumar said.
    "If a customer has money in SBI Buddy, our mobile wallet, he can now withdraw that money through ATMs. Also, now customer can deposit cash or withdraw cash through business correspondent (BC) from or into our mobile wallet. These facilities were not available earlier," Kumar added.
    For cash deposit of up to Rs 1,000 into its mobile wallet through business correspondents, the bank will levy a service charge of 0.25 per cent (minimum Rs 2 and maximum Rs 8) plus service tax.
    For cash withdrawal of up to Rs 2,000 from SBI Buddy through business correspondents, the service charges will be 2.50 per cent of the transaction value (minimum of Rs 6) in addition to service tax.
    The service charges will be effective from June 1, 2017, Kumar said.
    The bank levies a service charge of 3 per cent plus service tax using immediate payment service (IMPS) for fund transfer through SBI Buddy to bank account.
    On the media reports about the bank hiking ATM charges to Rs 25, Kumar clarified that cash withdrawals from ATMs has not been changed for normal savings accounts and that there was some errors in the circular earlier.

Bharti Airtel eyes large market share with $2.5 billion investment in 2017-18
  • Despite a dramatic drop in quarterly profit, India's largest telecom company Bharti Airtel Ltd hopes to retain its leading position the Indian market with the firm planning to invest $2.5 billion in 2017-18.
    The company has said that the money would go to building the 4G capacity in the country, while an additional $500 million would be invested in Airtel's businesses in Africa.
    In an investor call on Wednesday, a top executive at the firm suggested that Airtel's  average revenue per user (ARPU) could go down in the short term but the company's strategy would be to aim for a larger market share in the long run.
    "In the short-term, we are seeing ARPU compression. In a world of data, what happens is, when a customer gets habituated to data, then moving pricing at a time when there is equilibrium in the market will actually lead to all of that pricing coming back in the form of revenue," the Livemint quoted Gopal Vittal, the chief executive of Bharti Airtel, as saying.
    Vittal added: "So, in the short term, one of the major metrics that we are tracking is... we are going relentlessly after market share".
    The entry of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio has triggered an unprecedented competition in the telecom sector in India. Airtel reported a 72 per cent decline in net profit for the March quarter. The third-largest operator Idea Cellular is slated to announce its results on May 13. Vodafone, the country's second largest operator, is not listed in India but is expected to share its financials later this month.
    But in in the third quarter of 2016/17, Idea reported a loss of Rs 383 crore, its first-ever quarterly loss since listing, while Vodafone, which has hardly registered a net profit since its entry into India, recently took a five-billion-euro write-off on account of its India business.
    Industry players do not expect things to change for the better anytime soon. Till about last year, the lowest call tariff was 45 paise per minute (data at four paise per 10 kilobyte), a sharp drop from Rs 6-8 per minute in 2002. Now, Jio is charging nothing for voice calls and nearly 1 paisa per megabyte for data. This has forced other players to reduce tariffs to keep their subscriber base intact.
    In the process, the average realisation per minute has fallen. Ratings agency India Ratings says voice realisation is expected to drop to 25-28 paise per minute in 2017/18 from 30-35 paise at present. "A 20-30 per cent decline in data tariffs will pull down the average revenue per user despite higher volumes from data usage," it said.

India's homemade Saras aircraft may take off in June
  • If you thought India doesn't have a 'Made in India' civil aircraft, you may soon have to brush up on your knowledge.
    India's homegrown 14-seater aircraft Saras which has been re-engined and modified is expected to take off for the first time in the first week of June.
    According to a report in TOI, Bengaluru-based National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) has handed over the aircraft to Indian Air Force's (IAF) Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) for test flights amid the government's push to promote regional connectivity.
    Although the plane was conceived as a civil aircraft, NAL has been pushing Saras for military certification. Saras will now boast of multi-role capabilities like feeder line aircraft, air ambulance, executive aircraft, troop transport, reconnaissance, aerial survey and light cargo transport, the report said.
    "The engine tests have already begun. The low-speed taxi and high-speed taxi trials are expected to be completed by the end of this month. After that, the ASTE will do the first flight most probably in the first week of June," TOI quoted NAL Director Jitendra J Jadhav, as saying.
    According to NAL, manufacturing of two Limited Series Prototypes of Saras will require Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore. "The final product will be taken care of by the IAF, but we will need this amount for the prototypes," Jadhav had said.

    Income Tax dept launches new facility to link Aadhaar with PAN
    • The Income Tax department has launched a new e-facility to link a persons Aadhaar with the Permanent Account Number (PAN), a mandatory procedure for filing IT returns now.
      The departments e-filing website-- has created a new link on its homepage making it "easy" to link the two unique identities of an individual.
      The link requires a person to punch in his PAN number, Aadhaar number and the "exact name as given in the Aadhaar card".
      "After verification from the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), the linking will be confirmed. In case of any minor mismatch in Aadhaar name provided, Aadhaar OTP (one time password) will be required," the department said in its advisory to taxpayers and individuals.
      The OTP will be sent on the registered mobile number and email of the individual.
      It urged them to ensure that the date of birth and gender in PAN and Aadhaar are exactly the same, to ensure linking without failure.
      "There is no need to login or be registered on e-filing website (of the I-T department). This facility can be used by anyone to link their Aadhaar with PAN," it said.
      The government, under the Finance Act 2017, has made it mandatory for taxpayers to quote Aadhaar or enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of income tax returns (ITR).
      Also, Aadhaar has been made mandatory for applying for permanent account number with effect from July 1, 2017.
      The department, till now, has linked over 1.18 crore Aadhaar with its PAN database.
      While Aadhaar is issued by the UIDAI to a resident of India, PAN is a ten-digit alphanumeric number issued in the form of a laminated card by the IT department to any person, firm or entity.

    Markets end at all-time high today: Sensex ends 314 pts higher at 30,248 Nifty breaches 9,400-mark; Gains led by Airtel
    • 3.30 pm:
      Sensex closed at 30,256.65, surging 323.40 points (1.08%)
      Nifty50 closed at 9,409.85, 93.00 points higher (1.00%)
      Major movers today were fertilizer and FMCG stocks on the back of news of a good monsoon.
      Airtel added 7.96 per cent to the BSE.
      Hindustan Unilever gained as much as 4.32 per cent.
      3.10 pm:
      Indian benchmark indices held on to their gains throughout the day hit new highs including the Nifty touching the 9,400-mark for the first time.
      Market rally can be credited to IMD's new monsoon forecast raised prospects of higher agricultural and economic growth, cheering the investors.
      India is likely to receive higher monsoon rainfall than previously forecast as concern over the El Nino weather condition has eased, the chief of the weather office said on Tuesday.

      Sentiment was also lifter by Asian stocks, which edged higher for a third consecutive day, as investors focused on strong corporate earnings and the dollar gave back some of its recent gains.

      Even the Nifty Midcap index was trading at its lifetime high today.
      Bank Nifty was 30 points away from its record high.
      Leading the gains on the bourses were HUL and Airtel on both, NSE and BSE. 
      3.03 pm:
      Benchmark indices gained over 1 per cent in trade today.
      Sensex was trading at 30,236.60, surging 303.35 points (1.01%)
      Nifty50 was trading at 9,404.35, up 87.50 points (0.94%)
      10.21 am:
      Leading the market rally was HUL suring over 4.47 per cent followed by Bharti Airtel surging 3.14 per cent on the BSE. 
      On the NSE index too, the two scrips were leading gainers.
      10.19 am:
      Sensex zooms over 250 points touching a lifetime high of 30,197. 
      Nifty is seen inching towards 9,400, currently trading at 9,385.60, up 68.75 points (0.74%)
      9.22 am:
      Indian benchmark indices opened on a positive note with the Sensex hitting 30,000 at the strike of the opening bell.
      Sensex was trading at 30,019.49, up 86.24 points (0.29%) while the Nifty ws trading at 9,350.05, up 33.20 points (0.36%).
      BSE Bank Index and Nifty Bank opened in the green as well with a positive bias.
      Currency market will remain shut on the account of Buddha Purnima.
      Among the top gainers were heavyweights Hindustan Unilever, M&M, Maruti and Reliance on the BSE 30.
      On the NSE Nifty Grasim, Bharti Airtel and Aurobindo Pharma were adding over 1 per cent to the index.
      Cadila Health hit a new high today while Biocon was trading over 4 per cent higher.
      Large Cap FMCG stocks are making a rally with Nestle gaining over 2.5 per cent.
      After a poor Q4 result, Airtel dipped 0.43 per cent on the BSE.

    General Awareness


    • 1. Every year National Maritime Day is observed in India on:
      a) 5th February
      b) 5th March
      c) 5th April
      d) 5th October

      2. Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved closure of which of the following?
      a) Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY)
      b) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
      c) National Literacy Mission Programme
      d) National Social Assistance Scheme

      3. Recently the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park has proposed to introduce ecotourism in the mangrove forest area of the park. The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park was established in which year?
      a) 1995
      b) 1980
      c) 1990
      d) 1985

      4. As per a doping violation report published by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015, India ranks:
      a) First
      b) Second
      c) Third
      d) Fifth

      5. Babri Masjid demolition case recently has been in the news, in which of the following years Babri Mosque was demolished?
      a) 1992
      b) 1993
      c) 1999
      d) 1996

      6. The Union Government cleared the decks for setting up an independent rail regulator that will be responsible for recommending which of the following?
      a) Passenger fares
      b) Setting performance standards for rail operations
      c) Creating level playing policy for private sector participation
      d) All of the above

      7. Who is the current Secretary General of Amnesty International?
      a) Salil Shetty
      b) Irene Zubaida Khan
      c) Jackie Kay
      d) Aruna Shetty

      8. 'Khan Shaykhun' town is in the news for chemical attack on it. This town is located in which of the following countries?
      a) Libya
      b) Nigeria
      c) Syria
      d) Pakistan

      9. With which of the following countries, India has announced a joint fund namely a Green Growth Equity Fund in April 2017?
       a) United Kingdom
      b) USA
      c) Russia
      d) Japan

      10. Which of the following companies rolled out the beta version of its new 'YouTube Go' application for India?
      a) Microsoft
      b) Apple
      c) Google
      d) Dell

      11. Who has been named as Wisden's "Leading Cricketer in the World" for 2016?
      a) SPD Smith
      b) M.S.Dhoni
      c) Virat Kohli
      d) Joe Root

      12. India has taken over full operational control of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). This Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is located in which of the following states of India?
      a) Tamil Nadu
      b) Karnataka
      c) Andhra Pradesh
      d) Gujarat

      13. Recently, Twitter rolled out a "data friendly" version of the platform called ...... in India.
      a) Twitter Lite
      b) Twitter Saga
      c) Twitter Devak
      d) Twitter on Demand

      14. Which leading company has announced $8.4 million (Rs.54.42 crore) in grants over the next two years to four Indian NGOs: Learning Equality, Million Sparks Foundation, Pratham Books - Story Weaver and Pratham Education Foundation?
      a) Microsoft

      15. Recently the Park Street of New Delhi renamed with which of the following countries founder?
      a) Nepal
      b) Bhutan
      c) Bangladesh
      d) USA

      16. Who among the following has been appointed as the Chairman of the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)?
      a) Gagan Madhesiya
      b) Samar Singh Bist
      c) Shiva Kirti Singh
      d) Ram Avtaar Gill

      17. Which of the following countries military is developing a division of "super SEALs" using brain-stimulation technology to create warriors of the future who would be faster, smarter and more deadly?
      a) Russia
      b) USA
      c) North Korea
      d) China

      18. What is the present rank of India in Global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, prepared by World Economic Forum?
      a) 12th
      b) 19th
      c) 28th
      d) 40th

      19. Teesta water sharing pact is between which of the following two countries?
      a) India and Pakistan
      b) India and China
      c) India and Bangladesh
      d) India and Nepal

      20. Who was the winner of the Best Actor National Film Award 2017?
      a) Akshay Kumar
      b) Salman Khan
      c) Amir Khan
      d) Shah Rukh Khan

      21. Astronomers have, for the first time, detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet known as:
      a) GJ 1132b
      b) SJ 1132a
      c) EL 1132b
      d) AE 1132b

      22. Recently, the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017 in:
      a) Vadodara
      b) Udaipur
      c) New Delhi
      d) Kolkata

      23. Recently, the Government of India and ....... signed a $175 million loan agreement to support construction of high voltage transmission systems to evacuate power generated from new mega solar parks to the interstate grid, and improve reliability of the national grid system.
      a) Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
      b) Asian Development Bank (ADB)
      c) World Bank
      d) IMF

      24. Which movies have been awarded as Best Feature Film and as Best Popular Film providing Wholesome Entertainment in 64th National Film Awards respectively?
      a) Rustom and Sathamanam Bhavathi
      b) Kasaav and Sathamanam Bhavathi
      c) Dangal and Rustom
      d) Sathamanam Bhavathi and Neerja

      1) c 2) a 3) b 4) c 5) a 6) d 7) a 8) c 9) a 10) c
      11) c 12) a 13) a 14) b 15) c 16) c 17) b 18) d 19) c 20) a
      21) a 22) c 23) b 24) b 

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