28-31 July 2017 Current Affairs

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31 Jul, 2017

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1) A grand memorial of former Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam at Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 July 2017. Which entity has established this memorial? – DRDO

Explanation: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established a grand memorial of former Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. Kalam was born in Rameswaram and was also cremated here. The memorial was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on 27 July 2017, the second death anniversary of Kalam.

The memorial, build at a cost of Rs. 20 crores, blends Mughal and Indian architecture. Its main entrance resembles Delhi’s India gate. The dome reflects the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The main door is a replica of the entrance of the Brihadiswara Temple in Tanjavur.

The interiors of the memorial reflect the various facets of Dr. Kalam’s life, including the Pokhran nuclear test. There’s even a missile model celebrating his contribution to space science.

Dr. Kalam, popularly known as the “Missile Man”, was the 11th President of India between 2002 and 2007. He died of a cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015 in Shillong where he had gone to deliver a lecture.

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2) Which entity during July 2017 received the final clearance from the RBI to operate the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)? – National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

Explanation: National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organization for all retail payment systems in the country, during July 2017 received the final nod from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit and operate the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).

The clearance from RBI came almost a year after NPCI launched the BBPS pilot project to make payment of utility bills easier. The pilot started on 31 August 2016 with eight BBPS operating units that had received in-principle approval from RBI.

As per the framework, a customer will be able to pay several bills such as electricity, telephone, water, gas, and direct-to-home television at a single location – physical or electronic-and receive instant confirmation once the payment is made. At present the bulk of transactions on BBPS are towards payment of electricity bills.

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3) What is the name of India’s first unmanned tank developed by the DRDO that was rolled-out from Chennai on 29 July 2017? – Muntra

Explanation: “Muntra” stands for the term ‘Mission UNmanned TRAcked’ and is given to the India’s first unmanned tank developed by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) in Avadi (Chennai), an organisation under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Three versions of tank have been launched – S, M and N. Muntra-S has been developed for unmanned surveillance missions, whereas Muntra-M is built for detecting mines. Muntra-N will be deployed in areas where nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk is high.

Though the tank has been developed and tested for the army paramilitary forces have expressed interest to use them in Naxal-hit areas.

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4) Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan on 27 July 2017 launched India’s first Integrated Information Dissemination System (IIDS) to communicate with and help the coastal community. What is the name given to this system? – “Sagar Vani”

Explanation: “Sagar Vani” is the name of India’s first-of-its-kind Integrated Information Dissemination System (IIDS). This system primarily aims to communicate and help the coastal community, especially fishermen, with advisories and warnings related to the safety at sea.

This system can send information in regional languages through various platforms including radio, television, voice calling, text service, social media, mobile apps and e-mail. It aims at timely dissemination of ocean information and advisory services that includes Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories, Ocean State Forecast (OSF), High Wave Alerts and Tsunami early warnings.

The advanced system has been developed by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), under the Ministry, through its industry partner, Gaian Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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5) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stepped down after Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case on 28 July 2017. Who headed Pakistani Supreme Court’s implementation bench that gave this judgment? – Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan

Explanation: Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan was heading the apex court’s implementation bench following its order of 20 April 2017 on the Panama Papers case. Justice Khan on 28 July 2017 announced that the larger bench had unanimously deemed PM Sharif unfit for holding office and would also order an accountability court to open references against him and his family, and other respondents.

The judgment thus brought Sharif’s third term in power to an unceremonious end, roughly one year before the scheduled general elections. If this happened he would have seen him become the first Pakistani prime minister to complete a full five-year term.

On the other hand, Speaker of National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq assumed the responsibility of the interim prime minister.

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6) During July 2017 the Sri Lanka Government gave its clearance to $1.12bn agreement with a state-run Chinese firm to give it the rights to operate which southeast port? – Hambantota

Explanation: Under the agreement, Sri Lanka Ports Authority has agreed to sell a 70% stake in the Hambantota port to the state-run China Merchants Ports Holdings. The Chinese firm will run the workings of the newly constructed port over a 99-year lease.

The Sri Lankan Cabinet approved the agreement on 25 July 2017, almost six months after the framework deal was signed. However, thousands of Sri Lankans rallied against the loss of land and concerns that the port could be used by the Chinese military.

India has also voiced concerns that China could use the deep sea port in the Indian Ocean to dock military vessels.

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