Current Affairs Pocket : 17th Feb. 2017

Science Express Climate Action Special to be flagged off

  • Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS II) will be flagged off today (17 February, 2017) from Safdarjung Railway station in Delhi.
  • The train will be open for public viewing at Delhi Cantonment Railway Station tomorrow (18 February 2017) and the day after (19 February 2017). The train will later embark upon its journey across the country.
  • The SECAS II will run till 8th September and culminate its journey at Gandhinagar.During its journey, the Science Express will cover over 19,000 kilometres, and will be exhibited at 68 stations across 20 states. SECAS will roll into Tripura for the first time.

Government appoints 5 new judges to Supreme Court

  • Five new judges are appointed to the Supreme Court by the President Pranab Mukherjee. Now the total number of judges in the Supreme Court raised to 28 from 23.
    New Judges are :
  • Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul
  • Rajasthan HC Chief Justice Naveen Sinha
  • Kerala HC Chief Justice Mohan M Shantanagouder
  • Chhattisgarh HC Chief Justice Dipak Gupta
  • Karnataka HC judge S Abdul Nazeer.

Edappadi K Palaniswami Appointed as the New Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

  • The Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao appointed Edappadi K Palaniswami as 13th chief minister of the state on February 16, 2017.
  • His appointment is in acceptance of the letter submitted by Palaniswami on February 14, 2017 that he was elected as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party at a meeting of the party MLAs.
  • The Governor has invited him to form the ministry at the earliest as well as requested him to seek the vote confidence of the assembly within 15 days.

India Ranked 143 in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom Index

  • India has been ranked 143 out of 186 economies in the annual Index of Economic Freedom 2017 released by top US based Think Tank, The Heritage Foundation.The Index measures the degree of economic freedom in the countries of the world.
  • Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand are the top three nations in the Index respectively.
  • India has been placed in the category of “Mostly Unfree” Economies in which the points ranges from 50.0-59.9.
  • Among South Asian countries, only Afghanistan (163) and Maldives (157) were ranked below India. Nepal (125), Sri Lanka (112), Pakistan (141), Bhutan (107), and Bangladesh (128) surpassed India in economic freedom.

RBI will Reimburse Banks MDR Charges Effective January 1, 2017

  • The Reserve Bank of India has decided to reimburse banks Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on debit cards used by citizens for payment with effect from January 1, 2017.
  • In December 2016, the government had decided to absorb the merchant discount rate (MDR) charges in respect of debit card transactions for making payments to it to encourage people to use digital payments post demonetisation.
  • RBI has directed the banks to forward their claim for reimbursement of MDR along with statutory auditor’s certificate to RBI’s Nagpur office on a quarterly basis.
  • For the quarter ending March 2017, the banks have been asked to file claim by April 30. Also, the banks will have to certify that MDR charges for transaction amounts up to Rs 1 lakh have not been collected from the payer.

RBI Doubles Gold Loan Limit for Regional Rural Banks to Rs. 2 lakhs

  • The Reserve Bank of India increased the gold loan limit for RRBs (Regional Rural Banks) to Rs 2 lakh from the current Rs 1 lakh on February 16, 2017 to help the farmers and artisans have access to credit who are willing to pledge gold as collateral.
  • The limit has been doubled for the loans not exceeding 12 months from the date of sanction.
  • Besides, the facility will be available with bullet repayment scheme. Under the scheme, while interest will be charged on a monthly basis on the total outstanding, it will become due for payment along with principal only at the end of 12 months from the date of sanction.
  • However, RBI has also directed that the gold loans should not exceed 75% of the value of the gold pledged for taking the loan.

AIIMS, New Delhi Wins First Prize for Sanitation & Hygiene under Kayakalp Awards

  • India’s premier health institute the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi was awarded the first prize of the Government’s Kayakalp Award under the Central Government Hospitals category on February 15, 2017 in New Delhi for maintaining high standards of sanitation and hygiene.
  • The award was presented by the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Shri J P Nadda and the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi received a cash prize of Rs. 5 crore.
  • The second prize was received by North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong, which got a cash prize of Rs 3 crore.
  • Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, received the third prize of Rs 1 crore.
  • Besides, commendation awards of Rs 50 lakh each were given to AIIMS, Raipur, AIIMS, Jodhpur and National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases (NITRD), Delhi.

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