Daily GK Update & Current Affairs: 24th August 2017
1. Climate Smart Snow Leopard Plan launched by Nepal:
- Nepal launched its first, ‘Climate Smart Snow Leopard Landscape Management Plan’, in order to safeguard this endangered species.
- This conservation plan was announced ahead of Nepal’s International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum.
2. Ashwani Lohani to take charge as the new Chairman of Railway Board:
- Following the resignation of A. K. Mittal, Air India CMD, Ashwani Lohani has now been named as the new chairman of Railway Board.
- Mittal had earlier resigned, owning moral responsibility for Utkal Express derailment.
- Lohani, who is the Current Chairman and Managing Director of Air India has a degree in mechanical engineering and has also served as Delhi’s Divisional Railway Manager.
3. Andhra Pradesh First to Implement Bharat QR Digital Payments:
- Andhra Pradesh’s Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (EPDCL) and the Southern Power Distribution Corporation of AP Ltd. (SPDCL) have become the first state-owned distribution companies in India to accept payments through Bharat QR.
- As part of the ‘Vizag less–cash city’ initiative underway between Visa and the Andhra Pradesh government, the state has witnessed a slew of initiatives aimed at increasing the rate of digital payment adoption across the masses.
4. Alibaba’s Jack Ma is Asia’s Richest Man: Forbes
- Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma is back on top as Asia’s richest man following gains in the company’s earnings and share price. Jack Ma is worth $37.4 billion, according to the Forbes real-time billionaires list.
- In the latest rankings, Chinese Internet billionaire- Tencent Chairman Ma Huateng, the latter has slipped to No. 2, with a fortune worth $36.7 billion. Jack Ma currently ranks as the world’s No. 18 richest man and is No. 1 in Asia.
5. Finance Ministry gives formal confirmation for printing Rs. 200/- notes:
- A formal announcement for the launch of Rs. 200 notes was made by the Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
- With this, RBI is expected to circulate the 200 rupees note shortly, in order to ease the shortage of currency in the country.
6. Supreme Court declares ‘Right to Privacy’, a fundamental right under the Constitution:
- Right to privacy has now been declared a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution by the Supreme Court.
- A 9 judge bench delivered this unanimous verdict. It comprised of Justices Khehar, J Chelameswar, R K Agrawal, Sanjay K Kaul, R F Nariman, S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, A M Sapre and S Abdul Nazeer.
7. Closure of Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company (BWEL) approved by CCEA:
- Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the closure of central public sector enterprise under Railway Ministry, BWEL, which has been running in loss for quite some time now.
- As per a statement released by CCEA, voluntary retirement scheme will be offered to the 626 employees of the organisation.
- The government will also provide a one time grant of Rs. 151.18 crores for the severance package and also to clear company’s current liabilities.
8. Rajnath Attends SCO Meet in Kyrgyz Republic:
- A two-day Meeting of Heads of Governments of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States begun at Choplon Ata in Kyrgyz Republic. The meeting focused on prevention and elimination of emergency situations.
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh lead the Indian delegation which includes senior officers from Home and External Affairs Ministries and National Disaster Management Authority. India had joined the SCO in June 2017 in Kazakhstan capital Astana.
9. Grid connected rooftop solar project launched by Odisha Government:
- The grid connected rooftop solar project was inaugurated by Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, in Bhubaneswar.
- The project aims to promote renewable energy among the public.
Under this project, small solar plants can be installed on the rooftops of consumer houses and the solar energy generated during the daytime can be consumed by them.
- ‘www.rtodisha.gov.in’ web platform was also launched by the CM on this occasion, in order to facilitate the stakeholders, vendors and distribution companies.
10. Nandan Nilekani to return to Infosys as a Non- Executive Chairman:
- Nilekani, who co-founded Infosys 36 years ago, is all set to return to the company as a Non- Executive Chairman.
- Aadhaar’s architect, Nilekani has also served as the CEO of Infosys between March 2002 and April 2007.
- The move comes after former MD & CEO of Infosys, Vishal Sikka resigned a few days ago.
11. Sushma Swaraj to Inaugurate First Videsh Bhavan in Mumbai:
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate the country’s first Videsh Bhavan, assimilating all Regional Passport Offices under one roof, at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).
- As a first pilot project, four offices of MEA – Regional Passport Office (RPO), Protector of Emigrants (PoE) office, Branch Secretariat and Regional Office of ICCR – have been assimilated and brought under one roof at the state-of-art office.
12. Cabinet Renames SAMPADA Scheme as PMKSY:
- CCEA has given the approval to rename SAMPADA scheme to Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.
- The new central food processing scheme aims to benefit approximately 20 lakh farmers and also generate 5.30 lakh jobs by 2020.
- SAMPADA stands for Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters.
13. India Nepal MoU, related to drug trafficking approved by the Cabinet:
- The Union cabinet has given its approval for MoU between India and Nepal, in order to resolve the problem of illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals.
- This pact aims for information exchange for drug related matters of operational, technical or general nature.
14. Government Announces Rajiv Bansal as New Air India CMD:
- Rajiv Bansal, additional secretary in the petroleum ministry, has been named the interim CMD of Air India.
- Bansal is an Indian Administrative Services officer from the 1988 batch. The government has appointed current Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani chairman of the Railway Board.
- Lohani’s appointment came a day after AK Mital resigned from the post of railways chairman.
15. Ajay Vipin Nanavati is New Syndicate Bank Chairman:
- Ajay Vipin Nanavati was appointed as the chairman of Syndicate Bank. The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved his appointment as non-official director/non-executive chairman of Syndicate Bank for three years.
- In 2015, the government had bifurcated the posts of chairman and managing directors in public sector banks. While the chairman became responsible for overall policy directions, the managing director and chief executive officer became the executive head, accountable for day-to-day functioning of the bank.
16. Microsoft Launches ‘Project Brainwave’ for Real-Time AI:
- Software giant Microsoft has announced its ‘Project Brainwave’ deep learning acceleration platform for real-time artificial intelligence (AI). With the help of ultra-low latency, the system processes requests as fast as it receives them.
- The ‘Project Brainwave’ uses the massive field-programmable gate array (FPGA) infrastructure that Microsoft has been deploying over the past few years.
17. England Striker, Wayne Rooney announced retirement:
- Rooney, the all time leading goal scorer of England has announced his retirement from international football.
- Wayne Rooney, who was also the former captain of Manchester United, but later returned to Everton, has played 119 international matches and scored 53 times.