Current Affairs Update – 23 May, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs update of 23 May, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, Dena Bank PGDBF, NICL AO Mains and other exams in 2017 July and August.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 23 May, 2017

  1. The Union Finance Ministry on 23
    May 2017 announced that the taxation on
    entertainment, cable and DTH services will come down under the Goods and
    Services Tax (GST) regime
    . The Entertainment Services like events or
    cinematography films in cinema theatres will attract 28 per cent GST with
    effect from 1 July 2017. Cable TV and Direct-To-Home (DTH) services will
    attract 18 per cent GST.
  2. Digital payment wallet service Paytm on 23 May 2017 launched its Payments Bank operations by launching
    its first physical branch in Noida
    .  Paytm
    Payments Bank will be the first bank in the country to offer cashbacks on
    deposits. The bank will now be expanded to 31 branches and 3000 customer service
    points in the first year. Renu Satti is the CEO of Paytm Payments bank.
  3. The Haryana government today signed five agreements with Singapore-based companies to attract Rs 18,000 crore investment in development projects in infrastructure
    and industrial sectors.
  4. State Bank of India (SBI) has
    launched a cashless drive through toll plaza product for its customers. The
    product, christened SBI Fastag, is a card that works on Radio
    Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Money can be loaded on the card.
  5. As per the data released by the
    International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) in May 2017, India overtook Japan to become the second-largest steel producer in the
    world in 2016
    . The data was released by the International Stainless Steel
    Forum at a annual conference in Tokyo, Japan. As per the data, the top producer
    of the steel of the world in the year 2016 is China.
  6. The two-day ‘Start up India Summit’ began in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates
    (UAE) on 23 May 2017.
  7. Union Minister of State for
    Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on 23 May 2017 launched
    mobile app Saral Eindhan Vitaran App
    (SEVA
    ) for quick tracking of coal dispatch.
  8. Modi called for the creation of
    this corridor while inaugurating the 52nd
    Annual Meeting of African Development Bank (AfDB) at Mahatma Mandir in
    Gandhinagar, Gujarat
    . The core theme of the Annual Meeting is ‘Transforming
    Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa’.
  9. The Indian Space Research
    Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    (NASA) have collaborated to make a satellite called NISAR. The satellite will help scientists monitor the Earth like
    never before.
  10. Tata Group Chairman N
    Chandrasekaran announced a key recruitment at holding company Tata Sons on
    Monday — of veteran investment banker Saurabh
    Agrawal as group chief financial officer
    .
  11. Rohan Chakravarty,
    Indian wildlife and environment cartoonist, in May 2017 won 2017 WWF
    International President’s Award.

Banking & Financial News
Entertainment, cable, DTH to attract lower taxes under GST
  • The Union Finance Ministry on 23
    May 2017 announced that the taxation on entertainment, cable and DTH services
    will come down under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
  • Under GST, the Entertainment Tax
    has been subsumed and hence only the taxes levied by a Panchayat or
    Municipality on entertainments and amusements will continue.
  • The Entertainment Services like
    events or cinematography films in cinema theatres will attract 28 per cent GST
    with effect from 1 July 2017.
  • Cable TV and Direct-To-Home (DTH)
    services will attract 18 per cent GST.
  • With regard to circus, theatre,
    Indian classical dance including folk dance and drama, the GST rate is 18 per
    cent.
  • Further, the GST Council also
    approved an exemption up to a consideration for admission of Rs 250 per person.
Paytm launches Payments Bank

  • Digital payment wallet service
    Paytm on 23 May 2017 launched its Payments Bank operations by launching its first
    physical branch in Noida.
  • Paytm Payments Bank will be the
    first bank in the country to offer cashbacks on deposits. The bank will now be
    expanded to 31 branches and 3000 customer service points in the first year.
  • With this launch, there are now
    three payments bank operational in the country, the other two being Airtel
    Payments Bank Ltd and India Post Payments Bank Ltd.
  • As a Payments Bank, Paytm will be
    able to accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh per customer in savings or current accounts.
  • Customers will also be offered
    zero charges on all online transactions and no minimum balance requirement.
  • For Savings Accounts, it will
    offer an interest of 4 per cent per annum in line with the interest rates of
    all leading commercial banks. It will also offer current accounts to its
    millions of merchants.
  • It will offer Rs 250 cashback to
    customers depositing Rs 25000 to Payments Bank account.
  • Renu Satti is the CEO of Paytm
    Payments bank.
Haryana govt signs five MoUs worth Rs 18,000
crore in Singapore

  • The Haryana government today
    signed five agreements with Singapore-based companies to attract Rs 18,000
    crore investment in development projects in infrastructure and industrial
    sectors.
  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar
    Lal Khattar said here the companies will study various aspects of undertaking
    projects in the state.
  • “These five MoUs are worth
    Rs 18,000 crore of investment in the state,” he said, after attending the
    signing ceremony and addressing nearly 100 Singaporean businessmen at the
    venue.
  • The five MoUs were signed with
    Meinhardt Group, YCH Logistics for Logistics projects, Ascendas Singbridge for
    Townships/Logistics parks development, Adonis for Wellness projects and equity
    investor Equis Energy which makes investments in a wide range of projects,
    including transmission and power distribution among others.
  • The MoUs were signed by Haryana
    State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corp Ltd’s Managing Director
    Raja Sekhar Vundru with representatives of the five companies.
SBI introduces cashless drive “SBI Fastag” through toll
plazas

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has
    launched a cashless drive through toll plaza product for its customers here.
  • The product, christened SBI
    Fastag, is a card that works on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.
    Money can be loaded on the card. It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle
    and enables it to drive through toll plazas without stopping for cash
    transactions by allowing auto debit of toll amount from the card balance.
  • While formally launching Fastag,
    Neeraj Vyas, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, SBI, said
    the facility is currently operational in about 350 toll plazas across the
    national highways.
  • SBI Hyderabad circle has so far
    issued 6,300 Fastags. The system is interoperable and the same Fastag can be
    used across all toll plazas under the national Electronic Toll Collection
    programme, according to Hardyal Prasad, Chief General Manager, SBI, Telangana
    Circle.
India becomes second largest steel producer in the world

  • As per the data released by the
    International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) in May 2017, India overtook Japan to
    become the second-largest steel producer in the world in 2016.
  • The data was released by the
    International Stainless Steel Forum at a annual conference in Tokyo, Japan.
  • India’s stainless steel
    production rose to 3.32 million tons for 2016. The data showed a growth of
    about 9 per cent over 3.0 million tons achieved in 2015.
  • As per the data, the top producer
    of the steel of the world in the year 2016 is China.
  • During 2014 and 2015, India was
    the third largest producer of raw steel and the largest producer of sponge iron
    in the world.
  • The industry produced 91.46
    million tons of total finished steel and 9.7 million tons of pig iron.
  • Most iron and steel in India is
    produced from iron ore.
  • Most of the public sector
    undertakings market their steel through the Steel Authority of India (SAIL).
  • The iron and steel industry in
    India is organised into three categories: main producers, other major producers
    and secondary producers.
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Modi’s two-day flagship, ‘Start up India Summit’ begins in UAE

  • The two-day ‘Start up India
    Summit’ began in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 23
    May 2017.
  • The summit is the first of its
    kind to be held in the UAE. It is being organised by the Consul General of
    India (CGI) in Dubai and the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi in partnership with
    iSPIRIT, a non-profit think tank and supported by TiE, Dubai, a non-profit
    association dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship.
  • The main aim of the summit is to
    provide a common platform for the Start up eco system in both India and UAE in
    order to encourage greater collaboration, exchange of ideas and interaction
    with academia, investors and industry.
  • The summit also aims to provide
    the start ups with access to the funding from venture capitalists in the UAE.
  • The participants from India
    include 17 start-up companies in the space of Artificial Intelligence,
    Financial Technology, Digi Medicine, Health care Technology, Innovative Technology
    and Software.
Union Government launches SEVA mobile app for quick tracking of coal
dispatch

  • Union Minister of State for
    Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on 23 May 2017 launched
    mobile app Saral Eindhan Vitaran App (SEVA) for quick tracking of coal
    dispatch.
  • This unique monitoring app was a
    joint initiative of the Union Ministry of Power, Coal and New and Renewable
    Energy and Coal India Limited (CIL).
  • The app will provide complete
    information of departmental functioning and transparency to the public.
  • It will track coal dispatch to
    118 power plants through fuel supply agreement (FSA) of around 500 MT.
  • In addition, the dispatch through
    Special Forward E-Auction and Bridge Linkage from more than 200 dispatch points
    spread over eight states of the country will also be monitored.
PM Narendra Modi calls for creation of Asia-Africa growth corridor for
development of Africa

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on
    23 May 2017 called for the creation of an Asia-Africa growth corridor for the development
    of Africa.
  • Modi called for the creation of
    this corridor while inaugurating the 52nd Annual Meeting of African Development
    Bank (AfDB) at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The core theme of the
    Annual Meeting is ‘Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa’.
  • The meeting of African
    Development Bank is a five-day event that will witness about 3,000 delegates
    from 81 member countries.
  • While inaugurating the Annual
    General Meeting of the African Development Bank, he said that India is the
    fifth largest investor in Africa and in the last 20 years it has invested $54
    billion. He said India is working with the United Nations and Japan to support
    development in Africa.
  • The main focus of the meeting
    will be on achieving sustainable growth with High 5s- strategy- which includes
    agriculture, energy, industrialisation, and regional connectivity as well as
    improved quality of life.
  • This is the first time that
    African Development Bank is holding its annual meetings in India with a view to
    bolstering ties.
PM Modi inaugurates series of projects in Gujarat

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on
    22 May 2017 inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various projects of
    the Kandla Port in Kutch district of Gujarat.
  • The projects include construction
    of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Convention Center, 14th and 16th Cargo berths, Railway
    Bridge at Sal junction, Mechanised fertiliser handling facility and purchase of
    two mobile harbour crane.
  • Addressing the gathering on this
    occasion, the Prime Minister said that infrastructure, efficiency and
    transparency are the vital pillars of economic growth. He said good ports are
    essential for the progress of India and Kandla has emerged as one of the finest
    ports in Asia. Modi thanked the people of Kandla for the memorable welcome.
News related to India and states
ISRO and NASA collaborate to build Earth-imaging satellite NISAR

  • The Indian Space Research
    Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    (NASA) have collaborated to make a satellite called NISAR. The satellite will
    help scientists monitor the Earth like never before.
  • The expanded form of NISAR is
    NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar. It is scheduled to be launched in 2021.
  • The estimated cost of the radar
    is over 1.5 billion dollars and it could possibly be the world’s most expensive
    Earth imaging satellite.
  • In a meeting in Toronto, Charles
    Bolden, NASA Administrator, and K Radhakrishnan, Chairman ISRO, signed two
    documents to launch the NASA-ISRO satellite mission. The aim of the mission is
    to observe Earth and establish a pathway for future joint missions for Mars
    exploration.
MP Government has banned Sand Mining in Narmada River

  • The Chief Minister of Madhya
    Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, ordered an indefinite ban on sand mining in
    Narmada River on 22 May 2017.
  • The Minister made the
    announcement while addressing a press conference in the state’s capital,
    Bhopal. He stated that the ban on sand mining in river Narmada will hold till a
    government-appointed committee of experts submits its report on scientific
    mining in the river.
  • The government-appointed
    committee would be led by Rajendra Shukla, the state’s Minister for Mineral
    Resources, Commerce and Industry.
  • It would be working along with
    experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Kharagpur) in developing a
    blueprint for scientific ways of mining in the river.
  • Its report would determine how
    much sand can be safely mined from the river without causing any damage to it.
World News
Seventieth World Health Assembly kicks off in Geneva

  • The 70th World Health Assembly
    (WHA) opened on 22 May 2017 at Geneva-based UN headquarters in Switzerland.
  • The World Health Assembly is the
    main decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The Member States of the WHA will
    elect a new Director-General, who will take office for a five-year term on 1
    July 2017.
  • The three nominees for the
    position are Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, Dr David Nabarro of the
    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Dr Sania Nishtar of
    Pakistan. They will each address the Health Assembly for 15 minutes on 23 May
    2017.
  • The election will take place by
    secret ballot and its result will be communicated once the process has been
    completed.
  • The delegates will also approve the
    WHO’s programme budget for 2018-19 and discuss a wide range of health-related
    issues.
UN releases the First draft of Nuclear Ban Treaty

  • The United Nations on 22 May 2017
    released the first draft of the nuclear ban treaty that would legally prohibit
    the possession of nuclear weapons, in the face of strong opposition from all
    the nuclear-armed states including the United States.
  • The draft was released in Geneva
    by Costa Rican UN ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, who is leading the UN
    conference negotiating the ban. It condemns the use of nuclear weapons, terming
    it as a violation of the international humanitarian law.
  • The draft requires all the
    nations to make every effort to prevent the future use of nuclear weapons.
  • It would also require the states
    to make a pledge to never use the weapons and also to never develop, produce,
    acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer or test them.
  • The states possessing the weapons
    would be obliged to destroy them under the treaty.
Appointments
Saurabh Agrawal appointed Tata Group CFO

  • Tata Group Chairman N
    Chandrasekaran announced a key recruitment at holding company Tata Sons on
    Monday — of veteran investment banker Saurabh Agrawal as group chief financial
    officer.
  • Agrawal, who will join from July,
    is currently the head of strategy with the Aditya Birla Group. 
  • As group CFO at Tata Sons, he
    will have to focus on bringing back some of the loss-making businesses on
    track. Agrawal was instrumental in handling the Idea-Vodafone merger deal, as
    well as the Grasim-Aditya Birla Nuvo merger for the Birla entity.
  • It will be the second big
    appointment by Chandrasekaran, after that of Ankur Verma, former managing
    director of investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who joined
    Tata Group in March.
Awards & Honors
India’s Rohan Chakravarty wins WWF International President’s Award
  • Rohan Chakravarty, Indian
    wildlife and environment cartoonist, in May 2017 won 2017 WWF International
    President’s Award.
  • Chakravarty has been honoured for
    his efforts to inspire change and attitudes towards nature.
  • Chakravarty, under the banner of
    Green Humour, runs a series of cartoons on nature conservation issues. It is
    possibly one of the largest cartoon collections in the genre in India today.
  • Green Humour is published across
    several wildlife and environment magazines and newspapers.
  • It is also the first Indian comic
    strip to be distributed internationally.
  • The wildlife and environment
    cartoonist was announced as one of the two winners of the award, alongside
    Indonesian environmental youth champion, Adeline Tiffanie Suwana.
  • The 2017 WWF International
    President’s Award was presented in Manado, Indonesia.

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