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Indian Polity

Madhya Pradesh has tied up with IIT Kharagpur for development of Happiness Index for the state. India has been ranked 122 out of 155 countries in UN World Happiness Index. IIT Kharagpur, recognised as Institute of National Importance, was established in 1951 and was the first IIT to be established in the country.
Harsh Malhotra Committee: A seven-member High-Level Committee on Scouts and Guides has submitted its Final Report to Minister for State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports, Vijay Goel with various recommendations. The committee was headed by Harsh Malhotra. The committee was set up in background of increased complaints from Bharat Scouts and Guides and Hindustan Scouts and Guides which are two organisations recognised by the Sports Ministry for conducting scouting and guiding activities across the country.
Committee on De-silting Ganga: The Union Ministry on Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation had constituted a committee to prepare guidelines for de-siltation of Ganga. The four member committee is headed by Madhav Chitale. The committee has recently submitted its recommendations which includes creation of sand registry, technical institute, institute for flood routing studies among others.

International Affairs

Nauru ratifies the ISA: Nauru, small island nation in the Pacific Islands, has become the sixth country to ratify the International Solar Alliance. Nauru is the world’s smallest republic located in Micronesia. The other countries that have committed to ink the ISA framework pact in the ongoing African Development Bank’s ongoing annual meeting are: Somalia, Ghana, Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire and Comoros.
African Development Bank Annual Meeting: For the first time AfDB or African Development Bank’s annual meeting has been organised in New Delhi. India joned the AfDB in 1983. India is the fifth largest investor in Africa. Indo-African trade had doubled to reach USD 72 billion in the five year time period that ended in 2014-15. In 2015-16, it felled sharply to USD 56 billion. However, the presence of Indian private sector in Africa is noteworthy and amounts to USD 35 billion made in the sectors like automobile, drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, IT services, water treatment, petroleum refining etc. As opposed to China, India is more oriented to improve local capacities in China. For instance, India’s EXIM Bank has helped incubate similar institutions in five African countries.
International Solar Alliance: On the first day of the COP-21 summit, the International Solar Alliance was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande as a union of countries with abundant sunlight. Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics {i.e. between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn} have been invited to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity. Most of these countries fall within Asia, Africa and South America.There are three objectives behind the International Solar Alliance. First is to force down prices by driving demand; second is to bring standardization in solar technologies and third is to foster research and development.
South China Sea Code of Conduct: China and the 10 members of ASEAN grouping have agreed ot a framework of a legally binding code of conduct aimed at preventing disputes in the South China Sea. South China sea is part of Pacific Ocean with 8 littoral countries: China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam.
SIMBEX-17: India and Singapore Navy commences the SIMBEX-17 bilateral exercise in South China Sea. The major thrust of the exercise will be Anti-Submarine Operations, integrated operations with Surface, Air and Sub-Surface Forces, Air Defence and Surface Encounter Exercise. It was first held in 1994. SIMBEX-16 was held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam.

Economic Affairs

Paytm Launches Payments Bank: Paytm has become the third payments bank in the country following Airtel Payments Bank and India Post Payments Bank. It shall be the first bank in the country to provide for cashbacks on deposits. As a Payments Bank, Paytm will be able to accept deposits upto Rs 1 lakh per customer in wallet and savings/current accounts. Further it can also offer other services like Debit Cards, Online Banking and Mobile Banking. It will not be allowed to lend to customers. However, it will be able to offer financial products like loans, insurance, mutual funds, pension funds etc by partnering with other financial institutions and banks.
GST council has finalised 4-slab Service Tax Structure: The four slabs are at the rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent against a single rate of 15%. The GST regime will be rolled out on July 1. Luxury Hotels, gambling, race club betting and cinema services will attract a tax rate of 28%. Education, healthcare and non-AC rail travel have been kept exempted. States, to compensate themselves, may resort to imposing additional taxes on Cinema. Telecom and financial services will be taxed at a rate of 18%. Advertisements published in Newspapers will be taxed at 5% as against previously where they were exempted.
India to build 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors which will have capacity of 700MW. They will use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as both moderator and coolant. India’s first pressurised heavy water reactor was constructed at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan with help from Canada. PHWR are in operation at Rawatbhata, Kaiga, Kakrapara, Kalpakkam and Narora.
New Coal Linkage Policy: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given approval to a new Coal Linkage Policy to ensure adequate supply of fuel to power plants. Coal linkage policy is a policy designated by the union government for the allocation of coal among thermal power plants. Inadequate availability of domestic coal coupled with high price for imported coal requires the government to allocate the available coal rationally among the power plants. This is especially necessary as the coal producing firms are public sector companies. Also, the pricing of coal is an another important issue. In this context, the government designates coal linkage policies to allocate coal among different thermal power plants.

Environment

World Turtle Day: May 23 every year is recognised as World Turtle Day to create awareness about the World’s Oldest Living Reptile i.e. turtle. The observance of the day was started in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue.
World Biodiversity Day: May 22 every year is recognised as World Biodiversity Day on initiation of UN General Assembly. It is celebrated to recognise the adoption of Agreed Text of the Convention on Biodiversity at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi. Earlier December 29 was designated as International Biodiversity Day. The theme for World Biodiversity Day 2017 is ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism’.
 

Science & Tech

Light Utility Helicopter: Light Utility Helicopter or LUH is being developed by the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited as a reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft for military and civil use. It will replace the obsolete fleet of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters that have been in use for more than 3 decades. The other two indigenous helicopters developed by HAL are Dhruva and LCH – Light Combat Helicopter.
Solibacillus kalamii: It is the name given to a new species of bacteria found in the filters of International Space Station. The name has been given to honour Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Dr Kalam had his initial training at NASA before setting up India’s first rocket launching facility at Thumba in Kerala.
M777: It is India’s first artillery gun after 30 years from induction of Bofors Howitzers. It is purchased from BAE Systems. It will be used for compilation of firing tables.

Person in News

Roger Moore: Roger Moore, a British Actor, has passed away recently. He is much famous for his role of secret agent James Bond. He was in role of James Bond for 12 years and acted as the agent in 7 films. He was appointed as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was “Knighted” for his service to charity by Queen Elizabeth II and French Government bestowed on him “Commander of the Order Des Arts et des Letters”.
Hassan Rouhani: Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected as the President of Iran. He was elected as the President for his term in 2013. Rouhani held many important defence portfolios during 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, as a secretary to Supreme National Security Council among others.
MS Swaminathan: Recently, the father of Indian Green Revolution – MS Swaminathan was in news for release of a series of books written by him titled as, “MS Swaminathan – The Quest for a World Without Hunger”.

Awards

Dan David Prize: Indian Scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni has won the famous Dan David Prize for his contributions made in the field of astronomy. The prize is given by Dan David Foundation established in 2000 by the late Dan David, an international businessman and philanthropist. Three Dan David prizes of $1 million each are awarded each year in the categories of “Past,” “Present” and “Future” to people who have made exemplary contributions to humanity in the field of sciences, humanities, or for their work in civil society. The recipients in the “Past” category are chosen from the field of history, archaeology, paleontology, biography, etc;. The recipients in the “Present” category are chosen from arts, media, policy, economics, etc. The recipients in the “Future” category are chosen from one of the exact or natural sciences. The prize mandates the laureates to donate 10% of their prize money to provide scholarships for graduate or post-graduate researchers in their respective fields

Sports

World Cup Archery: India’s Men’s Team has won Compound Gold after defeating Columbia in stage 1 of the Championship. The championship is being organised in Shanghai in China.
 

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Khandagale Dhammapal Rank-1020 Year-2017 (IAS)
Dear Sir thank you for your warm wishes. I always had conviction in my abilities and the constant support and guidance from teachers and mentors like you helped me a lot in this strenuous journey , I would also like to thank you from the bottom of the heart for taking pains of providing questions on my DAF for personality test and sending me interview preparation book from Delhi to remote location of Latur in Maharastra. Once again thank you for helping me realize my dream.
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