Daily Current Affairs - 23rd Apr 2017

1st India Indonesia Energy Forum held in Jakarta

  • Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal and H.E. Mr. Ignasius Jonan, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Republic of Indonesia met on 20th April, 2017 for the 1st India Indonesia Energy Forum, held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia on cooperation in the field of Oil and Gas was signed on the occasion.
  • India is third largest importer of coal from Indonesia. India’s imports of coal from Indonesia amounted to US$ 3.5 billion in 2016.

China’s first cargo spacecraft docks with orbiting space lab Tiangong-2

  • China’s first cargo spacecraft docked successfully with the Tiangong-2 space lab marking a major step towards Beijing’s goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022.
  • President Xi Jinping has prioritised advancing China’s space programme to strengthen national security.
  • The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft made the automated docking process with the orbiting space lab after it had taken off
  • The cargo spacecraft mission provides an “important technological basis” to build a Chinese space station.It can reportedly carry 6 tonnes of goods, 2 tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months.

Earth Day : April 22nd

  • Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
  • Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.
  • Earth Day 2017’s Campaign is Environmental & Climate Literacy

Forex reserves increase by $889.4 mn to $369.887 bn

  • India's foreign exchange reserves rose by USD 889.4 million to USD 369.887 billion during the week ended April 14, helped by increase in foreign currency assets, the Reserve Bank said.
  • They had declined by USD 956.4 million to USD 368.998 billion in the previous reporting week. The reserves had touched a life-time high of USD 371.99 billion in the week to September 30, 2016.
  • Expressed in US dollar terms, FCAs include the effects of appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and the yen, held in the reserves.
  • Gold reserves remained unchanged at USD 19.869 billion.

Govt extends date for filing tax declarations under PMGKY till May 10

  • The government has extended the date of declarations about tax payment and deposits under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) till 10th of next month.
  • This has come within days of extending the date for making deposits as part of the tax amnesty scheme till 30th of this month. An official release said, the declarations can be filed in cases where tax, surcharge and penalty under PMGKY has been paid on or before the 31st March and deposit under the Deposit Scheme has been made on or before 30th of this month.
  • The PMGKY, which opened on 17th of December last year provided the last chance to holders of undisclosed income to come clean by paying tax and penalty. The scheme closed on 31st of last month.

India becoming hub of international arbitration, Chief Justice J S Khehar says

  • Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said India is becoming a hub of international arbitration and the government's initiative to work towards zero interference in the process will promote confidence among foreign traders.
  • Justice Khehar said that potential for international arbitration is increasing due to foreign investment.
  • Speaking at a two-day seminar 'Engaging Asia Arbitration Summit', the CJI said government's 'Make in India' scheme will make the country a favoured market among the emerging ones.

India strongly condemns terrorist attack at Mazar-e-sharif in Afghanistan

  • India has condemned in the strongest terms the deplorable terrorist attack in Mazar-e-Sharif which took place on April 21st resulting in loss of lives, including the brave personnel of the Afghan National Defence Forces.
  • It said, the terrorist attack is a stark reminder of the need to immediately dismantle the safe havens and sanctuaries that support and sustain terrorism in Afghanistan from outside its borders.
  • It said, India remains steadfast in its support to Afghanistan in fighting all forms of terrorism and bringing perpetrators of terrorist violence to justice, wherever they may be.

ISRO set to add another feather to its cap with Venus mission

  • As per reports, the mission – similar to the one on Mars – is likely to be launched after 2020. ISRO made the announcement official by inviting proposals from scientists for experiments to be carried out on the Venus mission.
  • The planned mission will carry scientific instruments weighing around 175 kg which is 10 times more than the scientific payload carried by the MOM. Mars orbiter’s payload weighed only 15 kg.
  • Venus is very similar to the Earth in size, mass, density, bulk composition and gravity. It is the second planet to the sun and therefore, has a higher solar flux.
  • The exploration of Venus began in the early 1960s with Soviet Union’s Venera missions. Since then Venus has been explored by flyby, orbiter, a few lander missions and atmospheric probes by various countries.

Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft sets up Saturn ‘grand finale’

  • The US space agency (Nasa) is calling an end to 12 years of exploration and discovery at Saturn because the probe's propellant tanks are all but empty.
  • Cassini swings past Saturn’s mega moon Titan early Saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.The project manager Earl Maize calls it, will push Cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before — into the gap between Saturn and its rings.
  • Launched in 1997, Cassini reached Saturn in 2004 and has been exploring it from orbit ever since.

Petrol, diesel home delivery: Soon, fuel at your doorstep on online booking

  • Oil marketing companies like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation will soon go the e-commerce way as the government plans home delivery of petrol and diesel.
  • The move is aimed at increasing digital transactions in the sector.
  • The ministry has also launched MoPNG e-Seva — a dedicated social media grievance redressal platform for oil- and gas-related complaints, besides Swachh Petrol Pump app.

Service charge 'totally voluntary, not mandatory', government says

  • The government approved new guidelines giving consumers the right to decide service charge they wish to voluntarily pay on a hotel or restaurant bill.
  • The guidelines, which have made service charge "totally voluntary and not mandatory", will be sent to states for necessary action.
  • A number of complaints from consumers have been received that hotels and restaurants were asking for 'service charge' in the range of 5-20%, in lieu of tips.

Telcos Added 5.68 Million Subscribers in March: COAI

  • The Indian telecom industry added 5.68 million mobile subscribers in the telephony market in March 2017, the industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) said in its monthly mobile subscribers report.
  • The number of mobile phone subscribers by the end of March 2017 has reached 895.25 million. This includes subscribers of Reliance Jio Infocomm as of December 2016, the report said.
  • Amongst the telecom companies, Bharti Airtel held the top position, adding another 3 million subscribers during March to take its total subscriber base to 273.65 million subscribers.