National Current Affairs February 2017
PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates 104th Indian Science Congress in Tirupati
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 104th Indian Science Congress at Tarakarama Stadium of Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh on January 3, 2017.
- ‘Science and Technology for National Development’ is the focal theme of the Indian Science Congress.
- It is the second time that Tirupati is hosting the Indian Science Congress, the first being in 1983 when the 70th Science Congress was held. The Prime Minister addressed the gathering of eminent scientists including Nobel laureates on the occasion.
- The Prime Minister also felicitated Nobel laureates at the conclave with gold medals. Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated ‘Pride of India’ exhibition coinciding the event.
President Approved Promulgation of Specified Bank Notes Ordinance, 2016
- President Pranab Mukheijee gave his assent for the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016 on December 31, 2016.
- It provides for making holding of old Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes after March 31 next year a offence that will attract a fine of Rs 10000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.
- The ordinance also provides for amending the Reserve Bank of India Act to provide legislative support for extinguishing the demonetised banknotes that are not returned.
- Other objective includes providing an opportunity to those persons who were unable to deposit the specified bank notes within time provided.
Government Formed Committee to Study Arbitration Mechanism to Settle Commercial Disputes
- To make arbitration a preferred mode for settlement of commercial disputes, the government decided to constitute a high-level Committee in the Ministry of Law and Justice on December 30, 2016.
- The Committee comprised of retired Supreme Court Judges: Justice(s) BN Srikrishna and RV Raveendran. Besides, the Committee includes retired Delhi High Court Judge ‘S. Ravindra Bhatt and eminent senior lawyer KK Venugopal.
- Some of the terms of reference for the committee are ‘to analyse 6- review effectiveness of present arbitration mechanism’. Other references include ‘to assess skill gaps in ADR and allied institutions for both national and international arbitration’. The Committee has been asked to identify amendments in other laws that are needed to encourage international commercial arbitration.
UPI-based Mobile Payment App ‘BHIM’ Launched
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a mobile app for the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). The application, which will be common across all banks and financial institutions, is called BHIM (Bharat Interface for Mobile) on December 30, 2016.
- The BHIM app will empower the poorest of the poor. It is for the small merchant, farmers in far-flung areas, tribals. That’s why its name has been borrowed from the man who sacrificed his life for the downtrodden.
- BHIM app doesn’t even require an Internet connection since it can also work on simple feature phones. The central banking system was bom out of a thesis written by Dr. Ambedkar and the federal structural of independent India, the economic structure between States’and the Centre and idea of the finance commission were all a result of Ambedkar’s imagination.