Thursday, 31 August 2017

Daily Update On Current Affairs - August 31, 2017

Current Affairs
Here's your daily summary of Current Affairs.

Almost 99% of demonetised notes back in system: RBI report 

The Reserve Bank of India in its annual report says that almost 99 percent of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes that were demonetised last November have returned to the system. In the report for 2016-17, the RBI said that out of 632.6 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 currency notes in circulation, 8.9 crore have not been returned post the note ban last November. The government had on November 8, banned old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in an attempt to weed out black money in the country.

Rains claim 10 lives in Mumbai

In Mumbai, at least 10 people were killed due to drowning and wall collapse after the deluge on the 29th August that sank the city and its satellite towns. While nine persons were washed away in separate incidents in Mumbai and the two adjoining districts, another man lost his life in a wall-collapse incident in Ghatkopar. The city is now limping back to normal after torrential rain swamped large parts paralysing road, rail and air services. Water levels in most parts of the city have now subsided and rail and road traffic are slowly getting back to normal. There was a respite for Mumbaikars yesterday as the city did not witness much rainfall.

Government announces major reform initiative in the army

Government has decided to carry out a series of reform initiatives in the Indian Army, including the restructuring of around 57,000 posts of officers and other staff. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told media in New Delhi today that 65 out of 99 recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee pertaining to army have been accepted. "Government in consultation with Indian Army has been going through these recommendations and the first batch of 65 recommendations has been accepted by the government. The concerned order will be passed and these have to be all operationalised by the end of 2019. So, the operationalisation begins now." The panel was appointed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability of the armed forces.

Hajj Pilgrims converge in Mina

Millions of Muslims from across the world are converging on tent city of Mina in Saudi Arabia, as the five-day Haj pilgrimage began today. They will spend the night there and move towards plains of Arafat at dawn on the 31st August for the day's main ritual of Haj-reciting prayers. The pilgrims will spend the day there praying. Nearly 1,70,000 pilgrims from India are performing Haj this year.

US urges Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists

The US has said that it is necessary that Islamabad take decisive action against Pakistan based terror groups. A State Department spokesperson told PTI that US values its cooperation with Pakistan and wants to see it continue. However, it is vital to US interests that Pakistan prevent terrorist sanctuaries that are a threat to the region. The comments came as the National Assembly passed a resolution opposing US President Donald Trump's move to give more space to India in Afghanistan in his new strategy for the war-torn country.

U.S. conducts missile defence test off Hawaii

The U.S. Missile Defence Agency (MDA) and the Navy successfully conducted a missile defence test off the coast of Hawaii, the former said in a statement on August 30. The test, scheduled well in advance, was done from USS John Paul Jones and comes a day after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan. The test, using Standard Missile-6 guided missiles, intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target. 

Uttar Pradesh government to provide financial assistance

Uttar Pradesh government will provide financial assistance of 15,000 rupees per month and maximum 10 lakh rupees in a year to those who will begin startups. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said government will sign a MoU with SIDBI regarding this within a fortnight. Inaugurating the Startup Yatra programme in Lucknow, the Chief Minister said, the government will launch a mobile application and also start a call centre for startups. He also said, his government will implement one district, one product policy to create more employment opportunities.

BSNL takes new initiatives in Assam

In Assam, public sector telecom operator BSNL has taken initiatives to expand the network in rural areas. Chief General Manager of Assam sector MK Seth said, 1500 villages will be connected through optical fibre network within this year under Digital India programme. He said around 4000 kilometres optical fibre network has already been laid in the state by BSNL. Mr. Seth said, 100 wi-fi hot spot zones at rural areas will be established next month in the state. He said, the flood has created severe problems in the state this year, however, BSNL will go ahead with the proposed plans.

Cabinet approval for increase in Cess on Luxury Cars

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved promulgation of an Ordinance that would allow the GST Council to hike the maximum rate of compensation cess on large and luxury vehicles to 25 percent from the current cap of 15 percent. Briefing mediapersons after the Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said this was only an “enabling Ordinance” and the decision to increase the cess would be left to the GST Council. "There are 12 different categories of automobiles, of which two are affected by today's decision," he said. In an earlier meeting on August 5, the GST Council had approved raising cess on SUVs, mid-sized, large and luxury cars, which had become cheaper following implementation of GST from July 1.

Currency printing cost more than doubles to Rs 7,965 crore

The annual report of RBI also mentions that the central bank spent Rs 7,965 crore in 2016-17 (July-June) on printing notes. This was more than double the previous year’s expense on the printing account, which was just Rs 3,420 crore. The re-monetisation exercise undertaken by the government where it pumped money in the form of new Rs 2,000 notes and new 500 notes, as well as the logistical exercise of airlifting them to various centres, had caused this sharp increase in expenses.

Govt rules out cutting taxes on petrol, diesel

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today ruled out cutting taxes on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact of rising international oil prices that has led to petrol rates increasing by over 6 per litre since the beginning of July. State-owned oil companies in June dumped the 15-year old practice of revising rates on 1st and 16th of every month and instead adopted a dynamic daily price revision to instantly reflect changes in cost. Rates during the first fortnight dropped but have since July 3 been on the rise. While petrol prices have increased by 6.08 to reach Rs 69.12 a litre in Delhi, the highest since August 2014, diesel rates have risen by Rs 3.65 to Rs 57.01. That situation has not come where we should relook at tax structure, Mr. Pradhan said. 

ISRO all set to launch navigation satellite IRNSS-1H

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch its navigation satellite IRNSS-1H on the 31st August. The satellite will lift off at 7 PM from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhavan Space Centre at Sriharikotta, on board the rocket PSLV C39. The 29-hour countdown for the mission that began at 2 PM yesterday is progressing smoothly. The satellite IRNSS-1H is a part of the indigenous navigation system called ‘NavIC,’ that was initially planned to have a constellation of seven satellites. As the rubidium atomic clocks of the first satellite in the series called IRNSS-1A malfunctioned, the eighth one is being launched today to take up its mantle.

Bangladesh wins its first ever Test against Australia

Bangladesh spun their way to their first Test victory over Australia on Wednesday, with Shakib Al Hasan's second five-wicket haul of the match securing a memorable 20-run win inside four days at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Overnight batsman David Warner struck a belligerent 112 and added 130 runs with skipper Steve Smith but their efforts were in vain as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. Chasing 265 to win, Australia lost five wickets in an eventful morning session, and whatever hopes they had were snuffed out when Shakib bowled Glenn Maxwell with the first delivery after the lunch break.

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