30-31 August 2017 Current Affairs

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31 Aug, 2017

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1) The Union Government on 30 August 2017 announced first-of-its-kind significant reforms to the Indian Army to enhance its combat capability and also optimize expenditure. These historic reforms will be undertaken on the recommendation of which committee’s recommendations on this subject? – D.B. Shekatkar Committee

Explanation: The 11-member D.B. Shekatkar Committee, headed by Lt. General D.B. Shekatkar (Retd.), was constituted by the Union Government on 20 May 2016. It was mandated to come up with recommendations to enhance the combat potential of the armed forces and re-balancing defence expenditure.

The committee had submitted the final report to the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 21 December 2016. The committee had noted that if majority of its recommendations are implemented over the next five years, the government can save up to Rs 25,000 crore from its current expenditure.

The government has decided to implement 65 army reforms recommended by the committee to enhance Indian Army’s combat capability and optimize its expenditure.

The reforms involve the redeployment of 57,000 personnel, optimization of communication arms and the closure of 39 military farms. The reform measures also include optimization of supply, transport and ordnance infrastructure and the closure of several military postal departments in so-called peace locations.

This is the first time that any government has undertaken such a move, which most defence analysts agree should have happened long ago.

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2) According to RBI’s annual report released on 30 August 2017, what percentage of the Rs. 1000 notes and Rs. 500 notes demonetized currency notes had returned to it by June 2017? – 98.96%

Explanation: Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) annual report shows that 98.96% of Rs 1000 notes and Rs 500 notes that were banned after demonetisation had returned to it by the end of June 2017. The report released on 30 August 2017 estimates value of Rs. 1000, Rs. 500 notes returned was Rs. 15.28 trillion against Rs. 15.44 trillion that was in circulation before demonetization.

By rendering 500 and 1000 rupees illegal in one stroke on 8 November 2016 and imposing restrictions on how the money could be returned to lenders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been intending to make it difficult for hoarders of undeclared wealth, or black money, to exchange their undeclared cash for legal tender.

But the number released by the RBI could renew scrutiny about the effectiveness of demonetization as RBI got almost all of the banned currency notes.

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3) India’s longest hanging bridge was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 August 2017. This bridge is situated at which place? – Kota (Rajasthan)

Explanation: India’s longest hanging bridge in Kota (Rajasthan) was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 August 2017. He inaugurated this landmark bridge by pressing the remote button in Udaipur. The bridge is popularly known as “Kota Bypass Bridge” and it crosses the Chambal River just outside the city.

The bridge is cable-stayed with single plain suspension with the main span of 350 metre and lateral spans of 175 metre on either side of the bridge. The bridge is around 60-metre-high from the surface of the Chambal River. Cables of the bridge are aerodynamic giving them the ability to be neutral in stormy winds

The work on this 1.5 km long bridge started in 2007 but a deadly accident in 2009 and other reasons delayed it. 48 people died in that accident.

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4) What is the name of the deadly tropical storm that brought unprecedented and catastrophic flooding in southeastern Texas in the US during August 2017? – Hurricane Harvey

Explanation: Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005. It thus broke a record 12-year period with no hurricanes of Category 3 intensity or higher making landfall in the United States.

Harvey developed from a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles, reaching tropical storm status on 17 August 2017. It continued to gain intensity became a Category 4 hurricane late on 25 August. Hours later it made landfall near Rockport, Texas, at peak intensity.

At least 29 people died to flooding in Southeastern Texas and Greater Houston. Preliminary estimates of economic losses due to this storm range anywhere from $10 billion to $50 billion.

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5) The Union Government disinvested 5% of its stake through offer for sale (OFS) in which public sector entity on 29-30 August 2017 to garner around Rs. 7,000 crore? – NTPC

Explanation: The Union Government sold 5% of its holding (or 41.22 crore shares) in India’s biggest power producer NTPC on 29-30 August 2017. This disinvestment was done through offer-for-sale (OFS) mode.

Institutional investors had placed bids for 46.35 crore shares on the first day of OFS (29 August 2017) as against the total of 32.98 crore shares reserved for them. On second day bids were invited from retail investors, for whom 8.24 crore shares were reserved.

The government owns 69.74% stake in NTPC as on 30 June 2017. The government has targeted to raise Rs. 72,500 crore in 2017-18 through stake sale in PSUs. This includes Rs. 46,500 crore from minority stake sale, Rs. 15,000 crore from strategic disinvestment and Rs. 11,000 crore from a listing of PSU insurance companies.

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