Daily Current Affairs - 29th Jun 2017

Aadhaar-PAN linkage must from July 1

  • The Income Tax Department issued a notification making it mandatory for all those eligible for an Aadhaar card to link it to their Permanent Account Number (PAN) from July 1, 2017. The notification also said that the Aadhaar numbers must be submitted to the Principal Director General of Income Tax (Systems) or the Director General of Income Tax (Systems).
  • According to the government sources about 2.07 crore taxpayers have already linked their Aadhaar with PAN. There are currently about 25 crore PAN card holders in the country and 115 crore Aadhaar holders.

Air pollutants on solar panels cut power generation by 17%

  • Particulate matter which includes- dust, black carbon and organic carbon from biomass burning and fossil fuel — deposited on solar panels and present in the ambient air is responsible for about 17% reduction in solar power generation in India.
  • The field study was carried out from the samples that were collected from multiple solar panels located at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar.
  • Dust and non-dust particulate matter deposited on solar panels and present in the air prevent shortwave solar radiation from reaching the panels, thereby reducing energy production.
  • This translates to the reduction of about 2 Gigawatts (GW) in solar power production for about 12 GW installed solar power capacity.
  • The Union government has set an ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022.

Centre unveils new hydrocarbon policy

  • Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan introduced a new oil and gas block licensing policy that is expected to open up 2.8 million square kilometres of sedimentary basins to exploration and production activities.
  • The Open Acreage Licensing Policy(OALP), a part of the government’s Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), gives exploration companies the option to select the exploration blocks on their own, without having to wait for the formal bid round from the government.
  • The company then submits an application to the government, which puts that block up for bid. Initially the applications and related bids for the blocks would be held twice a year —in January and July.
  • The lack of seismic sedimentary basin data had been hampering the oil and gas exploration and production sector, the minister said.

China commissions biggest new generation destroyer ship

  • China’s Navy launched its biggest new generation destroyer weighing 10,000 tonnes as part of it's giant’s ambitious plans to become a global naval power. The new destroyer, domestically designed and built, was launched in Shanghai.
  • It is equipped with new air defence, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.

China's SAIC enters India, to produce cars by 2019

  • SAIC Motor Corporation, China’s largest automobile company with annual revenue of $100 billion, has announced plans to enter the Indian market, which is projected to be among the top three automobile markets in the world by 2020.
  • The company also announced the formation of MG Motors India, a 100% subsidiary, for commencing its Indian operations. Production is slated in 2019.
  • The Maharashtra government is negotiating with SAIC to start a greenfield plant at Aurangabad. SAIC was likely to introduce electric cars in India which would compete with Mahindra & Mahindra.
  • The entry of SAIC Motors into India will intensify competition and existing players will have to defend their turf by reworking their strategy.

Chinese Taipei GP Gold badminton tournament: Siril Verma and Sri Krishna Priya advance

  • Siril Verma and K. Sri Krishna Priya reached the pre-quarterfinals of the $200,000 Chinese Taipei GP Gold badminton tournament. Among others, it was curtains for Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka, 15th seed Abhishek Yelegar, Mumbai’s Harsheel Dani and men’s doubles pair of Nikhar Garg and Ankur Sangpang Rai.
  • Men: Siril Verma bt Chia Hao Lee (Tpe) 16-21, 21-17, 21-17
  • Women: K. Sri Krishna Priya bt Chiang Mei Hui (Tpe) 21-17, 20-22, 21-9

French new government kicks off controversial labor reform

  • French President Emmanuel Macron’s government is launching an effort to redesign French labour rules, one of the most important and divisive promises of his presidency. A draft labour law is being presented at a Cabinet meeting with the hopes to tackle unemployment.

Gay marriage push divides Merkel's coalition

  • Germany is set to legalize same-sex marriage after a heated coalition spat sealed an election-year divorce between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and her centre-left governing partners.
  • The reform would grant full marital rights, including child adoption, to gay and lesbian couples, who in Germany are now only able to enter so-called civil unions.
  • Granting all couples marriage equality would put Germany in line with a host of other democracies, including the United States, Canada and many EU member nations.
  • President: Frank-Walter Steinmeier
  • Capital: Berlin; Currency: Euro

InFocus aims $10 mn spend on India market

  • InFocus, which has a brand licensing deal with contract handset maker Foxconn, said it would invest $10 million in the Indian market as it aims to be among the top five handset players in three years.
  • It has set a target to sell six million phones in its first year of operations, eyeing 60% of its sales volumes from feature phones
  • InFocus is working with partners like Dixon (for smartphones) and MCM (for feature phones) to make devices in India.

Junior World Shooting Championship: Yashaswini, Anmol strike gold

  • Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Anmol provided a memorable finish to the Indian campaign by clinching the mixed team gold in air pistol in the Junior World Shooting Championship. Yashaswini and Anmol beat Russia 7-4. India was placed third with 478 points, one point behind the leaders, Latvia and Korea, while France was fourth with 477.
  • Earlier, Yashaswini had clinched the junior women’s gold earlier with a World record.

Jute accessories like bags to be sold online

  • Supported by the National Jute Board, an e-commerce platform for promoting and marketing diversified jute goods has been unveiled. The venture aims to showcase and source various non-traditional jute products directly from the artisans and jute craftsmen.
  • Jutekart.in will offer a range of products that includes bags, folders, files. The offer includes best deals, timely delivery and return policies.
  • Brand Next, a website, software and app development outfit is offering the platform with marketing and promotional support from the National Jute Board. The payment gateway is being provided by HDFC Bank.
  • The global market for jute shopping bags has been estimated at 500 billion pieces.

Nepal holds crucial polls

  • Millions of Nepalis voted in the country’s first local elections for two decades, a key step in its post-war transformation from feudal monarchy to federal democracy. The local elections are supposed to be the final step in the peace deal that ended a 10-year civil war in 2006. Since then the country has suffered persistent instability, cycling through nine governments.
  • The elections began last month in other parts of the nation but were repeatedly delayed in the southern plains, which were shaken two years ago by deadly ethnic protests.
  • The government had repeatedly postponed the polls in the south due to objections from the local Madhesi ethnic minority, who say federal boundaries laid out in a new national constitution will leave them under-represented in Parliament.

New satellite GSAT-17 to boost ISRO capacity

  • GSAT-17, the country's newest communication satellite set to be launched on Thursday morning, is set to add capacity to the current fleet of 17 Indian communication satellites that are already serving from space.
  • The 3,477-kg spacecraft is to be launched on June 29 from the European space port of Kourou in French Guiana. An Ariane-5 ECA rocket is putting it in orbit along with a heavier co-passenger, Hellas Sat 3 - Inmarsat S EAN.
  • GSAT-17 is designed to provide continuity of services of operational satellites in C, extended C and S bands. Built mainly for broadcasting and telephone services, GSAT-17 is similar to the 48-transponder GSAT-18 - launched by Arianespace last October.
  • The spacecraft carries equipment to aid meteorology and search and rescue operations primarily over the Indian sub-continent.
  • ISRO's upcoming 5,000-kg-plus heavy satellite, GSAT-11, will also be launched by Arianespace.

Niti Aayog moots new regulator for coal, gas

  • The Central government policy think tank Niti Aayog has suggested creation of regulators for coal as well as oil and gas. It said in its draft National Energy Policy that Coal and upstream petroleum sectors have lacked independent, statutory regulators.
  • With increased private activity, the time is appropriate, for a single regulator to govern the energy market. The regulators need to devote considerable attention to development of supply.

Not much impact of ransomware attack on India, says govt.

  • With the Petya global ransomware spreading to India, the Centre said it is closely monitoring the situation while maintaining that there has been no large-scale impact on India yet.
  • The Petya ransomware not only encrypts files, it locks the entire disk, making it basically unusable until the infection is removed. It shuts down the system and asks for a ransom of $300 in bitcoins on rebooting.
  • The Petya/Notpetya ransomware is the second major global ransomware since WannaCry hit over 3,00,000 computers across 200 countries in May. Petya uses the Eternal Blue exploit as one of the means to propagate itself.

Odisha develops flood forecasting model

  • The Odisha government has developed a real time flood forecasting model for the entire Mahanadi river basin for better flood control. The model is supported by the State Climate Change Innovation Programme. Odisha was the first State in the country to implement the Climate Change Action Plan.
  • The flood forecasting model will help in accomplishing better flood control and management through early warning systems in the Mahanadi basin.
  • Odisha state was prone to heavy floods, tropical-cyclone-forced rainfall and storm surges. The State has 11 river basins, with the Mahanadi basin being the largest inter-State river basin.

Painless patch could replace flu jab: Study

  • According to researchers, vaccines delivered via a disposable patch could one day eliminate the need for needle-and-syringe flu injections after completing a preliminary trial. Bandage-strip sized patch of dissolvable needles can transform how we get vaccinated in future.
  • Equipped with micro-needles, the patches vaccinated against influenza just as effectively as a standard flu jab. The new technology can be self-administered and stored without refrigeration, making it significantly cheaper than traditional vaccines.
  • A hundred tiny needles just long enough to penetrate the skin embedded in each patch dissolve within minutes when exposed to moisture from the body.

Presidential Election: 95 aspirants for top job

  • The process of filing nominations for the July 17 presidential election ended with a total of 95 people filed their nominations. Barring two nominees-Opposition nominee Meira Kumar and NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind- the rest have either already been invalidated or are almost certainly going to be rejected during scrutiny.
  • For every nomination has to be signed by 50 members of the electoral college and endorsed by another 50. According to sources, 108 nominations were filed by the 95 candidates, with some having filed multiple papers. A candidate can file a maximum of four nominations for the presidential election.

Sri Lanka, India to set up solar unit soon

  • Sri Lanka will soon kick-start the process of setting up a solar power plant in eastern port town Trincomalee after discussions with India, which is partnering the government in the initiative.
  • In April this year, the governments of Sri Lanka and India signed a MoU, for cooperation in a host of development projects including the setting up of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in suburban Colombo and a solar power plant in Sampur, Trincomalee.

Venezuela crisis: Helicopter launches attack on Supreme Court

  • Venezuela’s army has been put on alert after four grenades were hurled at the Supreme Court from a helicopter. The helicopter assault comes a day after President Mr. Maduro announced the arrests of five opponents he accused of plotting against him to clear the way for a U.S. invasion.
  • Mr. Maduro repeated claims of a U.S.-backed coup attempt and warned President Donald Trump that Venezuela would fight back against such a move.
  • Opposition leader urged people to take part in anti-government rallies-the latest in nearly three months of daily streets protests that have left 76 people dead.
  • Capital: Caracus ; Currency: Venezuelan bolívar

Weber to coach Indian men’s basketball team

  • Distinguished coach Phil Weber is set to become the coach of the Indian men’s basketball team. Weber has made a name for himself as a successful NBA assistant coach. From 1999 to 2007, he worked as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns.
  • He has worked closely with an impressive list of world-class players like Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash, Anthony Davis and Tyson Chandler.