Current Affairs – September 7, 2017


NITI Aayog constitutes Expert Task Force

          NITI Aayog has constituted an Expert Task Force to provide a major thrust to job creation by enhancing India’s exports. It will be headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar.

Function of Task Force:

The panel will give recommendations on sector-specific policy interventions in key employment sectors and measures to enhance trade in services with high employment potential.

It will also propose a comprehensive plan of action to generate employment and alleviate under-employment in both goods and services sectors and low wages by boosting India’s exports in key labour-intensive industries.

Additional information on NITI Aayog:

The NITI Aayog comprises the following:

  1. The Prime Minister as the Chairperson.
  2. Governing Council composed of Chief Ministers of all the States and Union territories with Legislatures and lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar.
  3. Regional Councils composed of Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region.
  4. Full-time organizational framework composed of a Vice-Chairperson, three full-time members, two part-time members (from leading universities, research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity), four ex-officio members of the Union Council of Ministers, a Chief Executive Officer (with the rank of Secretary to the Government of India) who looks after administration, and a secretariat.
  5. Experts and specialists in various fields.

The NITI Aayog committee consists of

  • Chairperson: Narendra Modi
  • Vice Chairperson: Rajiv Kumar
  • Ex-Officio Members: Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu and Radha Mohan Singh
  • Special Invitees: Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Zubin Irani and Thawar Chand Gehlot
  • Full-time Members: Bibek Debroy (Economist), V K Saraswat  (former DRDO Chief), Ramesh Chand (Agriculture Expert) and Dr. Vinod Paul (Public Health expert)
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Amitabh Kant
  • Governing Council: All Chief Ministers of States (and Delhi and Puducherry) and Lieutenant Governors of remaining Union Territories.

Naidu launches Jalasiriki Harati in Andhra Pradesh:

          Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu would lay the foundation stone for the second phase of Chintalapudi lift irrigation works at Muddulaparva village in Krishna district, as part of Jalasiriki Harati programme.

The state government has been giving priority to irrigation projects as they would provide water to agricultural lands. The first phase of Chintalapudi lift irrigation scheme was taken up at a cost of Rs 1,701 crore. And for the second phase works costing Rs 3,208.80 crore to supply Godavari water to both West Godavari and Krishna districts.

Andhra Pradesh:

  • Capital: Amaravati
  • Chief Minister:  N. Chandrababu Naidu
  • Governor: E. S. L. Narasimhan


NHAI awards first international project in Myanmar to Punj Lloyd-Varaha:

The National Highway Authority of India has awarded its first international project in Myanmar to a joint venture of Punj Lloyd-Varaha. This is for the upgradations of the Yagyi–Kalewa section in Myanmar to two lanes with earthen shoulder in the engineering, procurement, and construction mode.

An official statement said the 120-km-long project was estimated to cost Rs. 1,177.02 crore and is to be completed within 36 months.

About National Highways Authority of India:

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous agency of the Government of India, responsible for management of a network of over 70,000 km of National Highways in India. It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. NHAI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Space Research Organisation for satellite mapping of highways.  Dr. Yogendra Narain was the first Chairman of NHAI.

The NHAI was created through the promulgation of the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. In February 1995, the Authority was formally made an autonomous body.

NHAI Headquarters: Dwarka, New Delhi

NHAI Chairman: Deepak Kumar, IAS

Note: The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network connecting many of the major industrial, agricultural and cultural centres of India. A quadrilateral of sorts is formed by connecting Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

India, Japan agrees to enhance defence ties:

          Deepening cooperation in defence and security, India and Japan have agreed to enhance exchanges between their forces which is likely to translate into more bilateral exercises, as well as more exchanges in the field of technology and equipment as India looks towards increasing its domestic defence production.

Former Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera, as part of the annual India-Japan Defence Ministerial Dialogue held in Tokyo, exchanged views on the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region.


  • Capital: Tokyo
  • Currency: Yen
  • Prime minister: Shinzo Abe

Additional information on India and Japan related Exercise:

          Exercise Malabar is a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan and India as permanent partners. Originally a bilateral exercise between India and the United States, Japan became a permanent partner in 2015.

Past non-permanent participants are Australia and Singapore. The annual Malabar series began in 1992 and includes diverse activities, ranging from fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers through Maritime Interdiction Operations Exercises.

The 2017 Malabar exercise was the 21st edition of the exercise and conducted from 10 to 17 July 2017. This edition involved navies from India, USA and Japan. The exercise included a harbor phase at Chennai from 10 to 13 July 2017 and a sea phase from 14 to 17 July 2017 in the Bay of Bengal.

This edition focused on Aircraft Carrier operations, Air defense, Anti-submarine warfare (ASW), Surface warfare, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Search and Rescue (SAR), joint and tactical procedures.

There was also joint training between the naval special forces of the Indian and US Navies at INS Karna, Visakhapatnam. A total of 16 ships, 2 submarines and 95 aircraft participated in this exercise. It was the first exercise between the three countries which involved three aircraft carriers.

Modi-Suu Kyi ink 11 pacts:

          India and Myanmar signed 11 agreements in a range of sectors, including one on maritime security cooperation, to further strengthen their multifaceted partnership.

The Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The two sides also signed an agreement for sharing white shipping information to improve data sharing on non-classified merchant navy ships or cargo ships.

The 11 MoUs also include one between the Election Commission and Union Election of Myanmar, the national level electoral commission of Myanmar. An MoU was also signed to organise cultural exchange programme for the period 2017-2020, according to a statement issued by Ministry of External Affairs.

The two countries also signed agreements on cooperation between Myanmar Press Council and Press Council of India, extension of agreement on the establishment of India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT skill.

They also signed agreements to cooperate in ‘Medical Products Regulation’ and in the field of health and medicine.

They also signed an MoU on enhancing the cooperation on upgradation of the women’s police training centre at Yamethin in Myanmar.

About Myanmar:

Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of north eastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.


  • Currency: Burmese kyat

Capital: Naypyidaw

Additional information on India and Myanmar:

Cooperation between India and Myanmar in the regional/Sub-regional Context ASEAN: Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Myanmar became a member of ASEAN in July 1997. As the only ASEAN country which shares a land border with India, Myanmar is a bridge between India and ASEAN. A few proposals for cooperation have been implemented and some are under discussions with Myanmar within the framework of ASEAN’s IAI programme.

BIMSTEC: Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

Myanmar became a member of BIMSTEC in December 1997. Myanmar is a signatory to the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement. Myanmar is the lead country for the energy sector. Myanmar trades mostly with Thailand and India in the BIMSTEC region.

Myanmar’s major exports to India are agricultural products like beans, pulses and maize and forest products such as teak and hardwoods. Its imports from India include chemical products, pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances and transport equipment. The 13th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting was held in Myanmar in January 2011.

Mekong Ganga Cooperation:

Myanmar is a member of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) since its inception in November 2000. MGC is an initiative by six countriesIndia and five ASEAN countries namely, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – for cooperation in the fields of tourism, education, culture, transport and communication. The chairmanship of MGC is assumed by member countries in alphabetical order.


GDP may grow at 6.7% in FY 18, says Morgan Stanley:

          Economic activity in the country lost some pace amid GST related disruptions but underlying growth momentum remains strong and the country may clock 6.7% growth this fiscal, says a Morgan Stanley report.

India’s economic growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7% in April-June, underscoring the disruptions caused by uncertainty related to the GST rollout amid slowdown in manufacturing activities.

Additional information on GDP:

          Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period (quarterly or yearly) of time. Nominal GDP estimates are commonly used to determine the economic performance of a whole country or region, and to make international comparisons.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines GDP as an aggregate measure of production equal to the sum of the gross values added of all resident and institutional units engaged in production (plus any taxes, and minus any subsidies, on products not included in the value of their outputs).

Total GDP can also be broken down into the contribution of each industry or sector of the economy.  The ratio of GDP to the total population of the region is the per capita GDP and the same is called Mean Standard of Living.

GDP can be determined in three ways, all of which should, in principle, give the same result. They are the production (or output or value added) approach, the income approach, or the expenditure approach.

Production approach:

  1. Estimate the gross value of domestic output out of the many various economic activities;
  2. Determine the intermediate consumption, i.e., the cost of material, supplies and services used to produce final goods or services.
  3. Deduct intermediate consumption from gross value to obtain the gross value added.

Gross value added = gross value of output – value of intermediate consumption.

Income approach:

          The second way of estimating GDP is to use “the sum of primary incomes distributed by resident producer units”  .

Total factor income = employee compensation + corporate profits + proprietor’s income + rental income + net interest

Expenditure approach:

The third way to estimate GDP is to calculate the sum of the final uses of goods and services (all uses except intermediate consumption) measured in purchasers’ prices.

          GDP (Y) is the sum of consumption (C), investment (I), government spending (G) and net exports (X – M).

Y = C + I + G + (X − M)

Morgan Stanley: 

          Morgan Stanley is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. It is headquartered at Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Morgan Stanley, formed by J.P. Morgan & Co. partners Henry Sturgis Morgan (grandson of J.P. Morgan), Harold Stanley and came into existence on September 16, 1935, in response to the Glass–Steagall Act that required the splitting of commercial and investment banking businesses.

Chairman& CEO: James Gorman 


N Baijendra Kumar to take charge as National Mineral Development Corporation CMD:

          N Baijendra Kumar, the IAS officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre, will take charge as CMD of the state-run National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). Kumar was additional chief secretary to the Chhattisgarh chief minister and held the charge of power, commerce & industries.

IIT-M UNESCO joins hand for Myanmar heritage work:

Working with UNESCO to restore monuments in Myanmar IIT-Madras is also officially collaborating with UNESCO and providing structural inputs as part of a pilot project in Bagan in Myanmar.

The National Centre for Safety of Heritage Structures (NCSHS) in IIT-Madras is working on an important assignment. Its engineers have been roped in to investigate the cause of ‘structural distress’ encountered by the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan, official residence of President Ram Nath Kovind.

Additional information on UNESCO:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.

Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.

UNESCO Head: Irina Bokova

UNESCO Headquarters: Paris, France

UNESCO Formation: 16 November 1945


India to host 2019 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships:

          India will host the 2019 edition of the Commonwealth (Youth, Junior and Senior) Weightlifting Championships.

The Executive Board of Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation met at Gold Coast, Australia and decided to allot the 2019 edition of the competitions to India.

The current edition of the tournament is being held at the Gold Coast. India’s Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and K Sanjita Chanu bagged a gold medal each at their respective weight categories to book berths at next year’s Commonwealth Games to be held at the same Australian city.

Additional information on Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation:

The Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation (CWF) was established 63 years ago in 1947. It is one of the oldest sporting federations of the Commonwealth and is unique in that it encompasses Commonwealth nations from the five continents and recognised by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). The CWF secretariat is located in Noumea, New Caledonia together with the Oceania Weightlifting Federation.

The 2017 Commonwealth and Oceania Championships:

In all 403 lifters from 35 countries have entered in 2017 Commonwealth and Oceania Championships, and over 150 officials and Technical officials accredited.

The event is also a Commonwealth Junior & Youth Championships as well as Oceania Junior & Youth Championships.

Commonwealth Games qualification:

Everyone associated to our sport in the Commonwealth, is now fully aware that in order to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, a lifter must qualify. There will be only 15 lifters per category, eligible to compete. With the exception of the women 90kg category and above 90kg category where only eight lifters will compete. (in each group) It will be the first Commonwealth Games with no ‘B’ sessions. There will be only one final per category. Also one lifter per country eligible for qualification per category.


Journalist Gauri Lankesh died:

          Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh shot died in Bengaluru. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) would be constituted to probe the murder, which he described as an “organised crime”. Inspector-general B K Singh will head the SIT and Bengaluru DCP (West) M N Anucheth, who will also be the lead investigator, will assist him.

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