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Daily GK Updates 19th May 2017, Current Affairs May 2017:
1. India’s Healthcare Ranks Below Bangladesh And Sri Lanka: Study
- Despite making giant leaps in medicine, India continues to be at the bottom in the ranking of countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare.
- According to the new Global Burden of Disease study published in the Lancet, while South Korea, Turkey, Peru, China and the Maldives have seen some of the greatest improvements in healthcare access and quality since the 1990s, India has failed to achieve most of the healthcare goals.
- India ranked at 154 with an score of 44.8 in the list of 195 countries.
- China is far ahead of India ranking at 82 with a score of 74 on the index. Sri Lanka has scored 73 on the index, whereas Brazil and Bangladesh have score 65 and 52, respectively.
- Andorra scored the highest score (94.6) while Central African Republic had the lowest (28.6).
2. Simbex-17 Commences Between Indian & Republic Of Singapore Navy
- As part of “SIMBEX-17’, the ongoing Bilateral Naval Exercise between Navies of the Republic of Singapore and India, lndian Naval Ships Shivalik, Sahyadri, Jyoti and Kamorta and one P8-I Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft are participating.
- SIMBEX is an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises”.
- Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994.
- This year’s edition of SIMBEX-17 being held in the South China Sea would be the 24th in the series and is aimed to increase interoperability between the RSN and IN as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
3. Indian Army gets M777 howitzers 30 years after Bofors scandal
- After a 30-year wait for new artillery guns since the Bofors scandal, the Indian Army has received the first two ultra light howitzers from the US as part of an order for 145 long-range guns which will be mostly deployed along the border with China.
- The M-777 A-2 ultra-light howitzers (ULH), having a maximum range of 30 km and manufactured by the BAE Systems, were being taken to Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan for test firing.
- India had struck a government-to-government deal with the US in November last year for supply of the 145 howitzers at a cost of nearly Rs 5,000 crore.
4. GST rates announced; milk, cereals to be exempted
- The meeting of the 14th GST Council was held in Srinagar marking participation of Union Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, Finance Ministers of all the states, Finance Secretaries and other taxation officials from the states and union territories.
- The Goods and Services (GST) Council has agreed on the fitment of almost all commodities in the various tax slabs under the new indirect regime to be rolled out on July 1.
- Milk, cereals (unpackaged and unbranded), and jaggery will be exempt from any GST, while sugar, tea, coffee (except instant), and edible oil will be taxed at 5%.
- Common use items such as soap, toothpaste, and hair oil, which currently attract a tax rate of 22-24%, will be taxed at 18%. Coal, which is currently taxed at 11.7%, will attract a GST rate of 5%.
- Consumer durables will come under the 28% tax bracket, down from the current 30-32% rate.
- Capital goods and industrial intermediaries will be taxed at 18%.
- Small petrol and diesel cars will be taxed at 28% with small petrol cars attracting a cess of 1% and small diesel cars 3%.
- Luxury cars will attract a 15% cess in addition to 28% GST.
- 350 cc bikes will attract a cess of 3%.
5. 25% of new bank branches to be opened in rural areas: RBI
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated that 25 per cent of the total number of ‘banking outlets’ opened during a financial year should be located in unbanked rural centres.
- The RBI mandated this in its notification “Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- Revision of Guidelines”.
- “Domestic scheduled commercial banks (other than RRBs) are permitted to open, unless otherwise specifically restricted, banking outlets in tier 1 to tier 6 centres without having the need to take permission from RBI in each case,” the central bank said in the notification.
- According to the revised policy, RBI has defined “a banking outlet” for a scheduled commercial, a payments bank or a small finance bank as a fixed point service delivery unit, manned by either the bank’s staff or its business correspondent, where services of acceptance of deposits, encashment of cheques, cash withdrawal or lending of money are provided for a minimum of 4 hours per day for at least five days a week”.
- Those outlets which do not meet this criteria will be called “part-time banking outlet.”
6. Tata most valuable brand, Airtel at number 2
- Tata Group has retained its position as India’s leading brand with a brand value of $13.1 billion in valuation firm Brand Finance’s annual study of the country’s top 100 names.
- Among the other brands in the top 10 list for 2017 are Airtel at number two with a brand value of $7.7 billion.
7. Minister of Science Harsh Vardhan Gets Additional Charge of Environment
- Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, has been given additional charge of the Environment Ministry, following the demise of Anil Dave.
- Anil Madhav Dave, the incumbent minister of Environment, passed away on May 18.
- Dr Harsh Vardhan was appointed as the health minister when the Narendra Modi government came into power in 2014, a post he held for 5 months.
8. Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni wins Dan David Prize
- Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni has won the prestigious Dan David prize for his contribution in the field of astronomy.
- He is a professor of astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
- The $1 million prize is a joint international enterprise endowed by the Dan David Foundation headquartered at Tel Aviv University.
9. David Letterman Wins Mark Twain Prize
- David Letterman was named 2017 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the award granted annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
- He will officially receive the prize in a ceremony that will be held on October 22.
- Previous winners of the Mark Twain Prize include Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, Carol Burnett and Ellen DeGeneres.
10. Prestigious Whitley Award for Sanjay Gubbi and Purnima Barman
- Sanjay Gubbi of Karnataka and Purnima Barman of Assam have won the prestigious Whitley Award, popularly known as Green Oscars, for their efforts in wildlife conservation.
- The awards are instituted by the U.K.-registered charity Whitley Fund for Nature, which supports nature conservationists in their endeavour to conserve wildlife and nature.
- While Mr. Gubbi has been awarded for his work to protect tiger corridors in Karnataka, Ms. Barman has won the award for her work in conservation of Assam’s Greater Adjutant Stork and its habitat.
11. Prez receives first copy of Prof Mukhpadhyay’s book
- President Pranab Mukherjee has received the first copy of a book, titled ‘Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’, from its author Prof Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay.
- The function was held at the Raj Bhavan, where Prof Mukhopadhyay, former principal of the then Presidency College, now Presidency University, handed over the copy of his book to the President.