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Gk and Current Affairs Today - February 2 2017

Gk and Current Affairs Today - February 2 2017

Dear Readers,

We bring you the Latest (GK)General Knowledge and Current Affairs news, General awareness Today  2nd February 2017 Section in FREE PDF (English & Hindi), a section which outlines the latest news, Events headlines which are hardly covered elsewhere. This will help you with the Latest General Knowledge and Current Affairs today asked in various competitive examinations of Banking & Government Sector examination.

NATIONAL NEWS


CBSE to alter Class X Assessment

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a remodelled assessment structure for Class X board exams, according to which students will be tested on the entire syllabus for the theory exams next year.
●    Last December, the CBSE had made an announcement that board exams would be made compulsory while doing away with the school-based exam option.
●    Now, the students will also have to score 33 per cent in both theory exams and internal assessment to pass.
●    As per the new structure, the theory exam will carry 80 marks and internal assessment 20 marks. Presently, there is a 60:40 division.
●    For theory exams, students will be tested on the entire syllabus. For internal assessment, schools will have to conduct three periodic written tests, instead of four assessments and the best two will be taken for final submission. 
●    The board has included discipline as a grade subject.

SPORTS


West Indian Cricketer Andre Russell Banned for a Year

West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell has been banned from all cricket for a year over a doping code violation.
●    The 28-year-old did not file his whereabouts on three occasions in 2015 as required, which constitutes a failed drugs test under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines.
●    His punishment was handed down by the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission on Tuesday.
●    Under WADA's whereabouts rules, elite athletes must supply details of where they will be for one hour each day to facilitate drug tests.
●    Russell played the first five games of the Big Bash League this year for Thunder before withdrawing due to injury and being replaced by international teammate Carlos Brathwaite.

DISCOVERY


'Lost Continent' discovered under Mauritius


Scientists have confirmed the existence of a “lost continent” under the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius that was left over by the breakup of the supercontinent, Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.
●    The piece of crust, which was subsequently covered by young lava during volcanic eruptions on the island, seems to be a tiny piece of ancient continent, which broke off from the island of Madagascar, when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up and formed the Indian Ocean.
●    By studying the mineral, zircon, found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions, Prof. Ashwal and his colleagues have found that remnants of this mineral were far too old to belong on the island of Mauritius.
●    Zircons are minerals that occur mainly in granites from the continents. 
●    They contain trace amounts of uranium, thorium and lead, and due to the fact that they survive geological process very well, they contain a rich record of geological processes and can be dated extremely accurately.
●    This is not the first time that zircons that are billions of years old have been found on the island. 

ENVIRONMENT


BNHS Proposes Thane Creek as Ramasar site


Thane Creek features as one of the two sites that the Bombay Natural History Society has recommended to the state government as potential Ramsar sites on February 1, a day before World Wetland Day.
●    Hatnur Dam in Jalgaon is the second recommendation that the body made.
●    Ramsar sites are wetlands considered to be of international importance. 
●    The Ramsar convention, an international body, forms the basis for identification of such wetlands. 
●    The international treaty came into effect in 1971 after identifying the first such wetland at the Ramsar city of Iran. 
●    The Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
●    In 2013, the state forest department had identified five prominent wetlands - Jaikwadi Bird Sanctuary (Aurangabad), Ujni Reservoir (Pune), Sewri Creek or Mahul-Sewri Mudflats (Mumbai), Nandur Madhmeshwar Bird Sanctuary (Nashik), and Lonar Lake Sanctuary (Buldhana) – as proposed Ramsar sites for the state government. 
●    The BNHS proposal adds an additional two sites to this list, taking the total to seven. However, Maharashtra does not have a Ramsar site yet. 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS


India and Italy Sign an MOU for Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector Especially on Safety Related Subjects

Ministry of Railways and Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane Group (FS Group) a Government Company of Italy managing the Italian railway sector have signed an MoU for technical cooperation in rail sector especially in the areas safety in train operations. On behalf of Ministry of Railways the agreement has been signed by Shri Vinod Kumar, Executive Director/Safety(coordination), Railway Board whereas it has been signed by Shri Renato Mazzoncini, CEO of FS Group, Italy.
●    The cooperation areas identified in this MoU includes safety audit of Indian Railways and measures required for enhancing safety in train operation, Assessment and certification of advanced technology based safety products and systems to Safety Integrity Level (SIL4), Training and competency development with focus of safety, Modern trends in Maintenance and diagnostic etc.
●    The MoU comes in the backdrop of emphasis given by Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu Minister of Railways, Govt. of India on safety in railway operation. He has directed Railway Board to collaborate with the international experts on this subject and identify the best practices in this field.
●    Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane Group (FS Group) is a fully owned company of the Italian Government working in the Railway Sector and is under Ministry of Treasure, Itlay. The Group, with its technical and managerial railway expertise, widely recognized at international level, is one of the most advanced worldwide player in many field, such as design and realization of High Speed and Conventional Lines, Safety Systems, Certification, Training and Operation and Maintenance.

ECONOMY


India Signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for US$ 201.50 Million for TEQIP III

 A Financing Agreement for IDA credit of US$201.50 million (equivalent) for the “Third Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP III)” was signed with the World Bank here yesterday. 
●    The Financing Agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar (Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs) on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
●    The objective of the Program is to enhance quality and equity in participating Engineering Education Institutes and improve the efficiency of the Engineering Education System in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, 8 North Eastern States and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. 
●    The Project has two main components, (i) Improving quality and equity in engineering institutes in those states; and (ii) System-level initiatives to strengthen sector governance and performance. The project has been designed as a disbursement linked one, that is, the World Bank loan will be disbursed on achievement of specific outcomes.


NATIONAL NEWS

Health Ministry Notifies Medical Devices Rules, 2017

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified Medical Devices Rules, 2017 on 31.01.2017. The new Rules have been framed in conformity with Global Harmonisation Task Force (GHTF) framework and conform to best international practices.  Only 15 categories of medical devices are, at present, regulated as drugs and to that extent, the current regulatory practices in India were not fully geared to meet the requirements of medical devices sector in the country.  The new Rules seek to remove regulatory bottlenecks to make in India, facilitate ease of doing business while ensuring availability of better medical devices for patient care and safety.
●    Medical devices will, under the new Rules, be classified as per GHTF practice, based on associated risks, into Class A (low risk), Class B (low moderate risk), Class C (moderate high risk) and Class D (high risk). The manufacturers of medical devices will be required to meet risk proportionate regulatory requirements that have been specified in the Rules and are based on best international practices. 
●    The new rules have many other unique features. It will be for the first time that there will be no requirement of periodic renewal of licences. Accordingly, manufacturing and import licences will remain valid till these are suspended or cancelled or surrendered.  
●    Further, the entire process starting from submission of application to grant of permission/licence will be processed through online electronic platform. Timelines have been defined for most activities at the regulators end. 
●    The issuance of licences for Class A medical devices on the basis of self-certification coupled with a system of checks and balances for ensuring compliance is a departure from the inspection based regulatory regime. Risk based audit of manufacturing units will be carried out to assess conformance with standards and quality parameters. These Rules envisage creation of a robust eco-system for all stakeholders including innovators, manufacturers, providers, consumers, buyers and regulators.


NATIONAL NEWS


Shares of Railway PSEs - IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON to be listed 


While presenting the General Budget 2017-18 in Lok Sabha here today, the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley has said that the shares of Railway Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) like IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON will be listed in stock exchanges. The Government will encourage strengthening the CPSEs through consolidation, mergers and acquisitions and soon create an integrated public sector ‘oil major’, he added.
●    Stating that the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) has proved an overwhelming success in extending funds for the deprived sections, Shri Jaitley doubled the budget target under the scheme to Rs. 2.44 lakh crores.
●    Easing the stressed legacy accounts of banks, Shri Jaitley earmarked Rs. 10,000 crores for recapitalisation of Banks in 2017-18 and assured need based additional allocation.
●    Stating that the disinvestment policy announced in the last budget will continue, Shri Jaitley further said that the Government will put in place a revised mechanism and procedure to ensure time bound listing of identified CPSEs on stock exchanges. This will foster greater public accountability and unlock the true value of these companies, he added.
●    Shri Jaitley said the CPSEs will be integrated across the value chain of an industry through consolidation, mergers and acquisitions. By these methods it will give them capacity to bear higher risks, avail economies of scale, take higher investment decisions and create more value for the stakeholders, he added. Possibilities of such restructuring are visible in the oil and gas sector. The Government proposes to create an integrated public sector ‘oil major’ which will be able to match the performance of international and domestic private sector oil and gas companies.
●    Shri Jaitley said that the focus on resolution of stressed legacy accounts of Banks will continue and the legal framework has been strengthened to facilitate resolution, through the enactment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the amendments to the SARFAESI and Debt Recovery Tribunal Acts. In line with the ‘Indradhanush’ roadmap, an amount of Rs. 10,000 crore is provided for recapitalisation of Banks in 2017-18 and additional allocation will be provided, as may be required, he added.
●    Shri Jaitley said that the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has contributed significantly to funding the unfunded and the underfunded. He further said that the last year target of Rs.1.22 lakh crores was exceeded and for 2017-18, he proposes to double the lending target of 2015-16 and set it at Rs. 2.44 lakh crores. Priority will be given to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes, Minorities and Women, he added.

●    Shri Jaitley said that the Stand Up India scheme was launched by the Government in April 2016 to support Dalit, Tribal and Women entrepreneurs to set up green field enterprises and become job creators. Over 16,000 new enterprises have come up through this scheme in activities, as diverse as food processing, garments, diagnostic centres, etc, he added. 

On This Day

On 2 February 1933, Adolf Hitler 2 days after becoming the Chancellor of Germany dissolved the Reichstag (Parliament). Also on this day Communist Meetings/Demonstrations were banned from this day. In 1923, Hitler had attempted a coup in Munich to seize power. The coup failed and he was imprisoned. After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-Semitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. By 1933 the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, which led to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933.


 

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