Daily GK Updates - 17th February 2015 Current Affairs

1. AAP to launch 'Jai Kisan Abhiyan' in Haryana
i. senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday declared that a “Jai Kisan Abhiyan” would be launched across the State from February 21.
ii. The AAP national spokesperson said the four things which have impacted the farmers of Haryana are shortage of urea, their not getting the promised minimum support price for their produce, changes brought about in the Land Acquisition Bill through an ordinance and the Haryana Government’s lowering of the acquisition rates through a notification issued on November 4.
2. Government exempts oilseeds, raw cotton, 36 other products from CTT 
i. The government has added 38 more products to the list of commodities exempt from commodity transaction tax (CTT).
ii. Twenty three commodities like oilseeds, raw cotton, spices, etc, were exempt from CTT, introduced in July 2013. 
iii. The government has exempted 38 more commodities from the levy. Many of these, onion, seedlac, ginger, gram dal, gram husk, masur, methi, safflower, rice, paddy, sesamum, moth, small millets, etc.
3. Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan: Government builds 7.1 lakh toilets in January 
i. Construction of toilets under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, has gained momentum with 7.1 lakh individual household toilets being built in January.
ii. According to data, a total of 31.83 lakh toilets have been built between April 2014 and January 2015, which is 25.4% of the target for 2014-15.

iii. The programme entails an investment of nearly Rs 2 lakh crore over the next five years to construct 12 crore toilets in India. 
iv. In the 12th Five-Year Plan, an outlay of Rs 37,159 crore was set aside for rural sanitation under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, launched by the previous UPA government. 
4. NTPC to invest USD 10 bn for building renewable projects
i. Country’s largest power producer NTPC will invest close to USD 10 billion for executing green energy projects in the next five years as part of government’s plans to provide thrust to clean electricity generation.
ii. The public sector company has committed to set up renewable power projects of 10,000 MW capacity in the country over the next five years.
iii.  NTPC signed a term loan agreement of Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 2,000 crore with state-run SBI and Bank of Baroda, respectively, for partially funding its capital expenditure.

5. Spectrum auction: Eight telcos apply, SSTL opts out
i. Reliance Jio announced its participation in the auction together with four other operators, whose licences are up for renewal are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications.

ii. Crisil estimates that operators will shell out over Rs 90,000 crore to win spectrum, pointing out that nearly half the Rs 1,20,000 crore of annual revenues is at stake for the large operators.
iii. Although the earnest money deposited by the company was not known, it appears Reliance will bid for all bands of spectrum — 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz, focusing more on the 800 MHz band.

6. Union Government imposes Anti-dumping duty on graphite electrodes imports
i. Union Ministry of Finance has imposed an anti-dumping duty on imports of graphite electrodes used in steel plants for five years. The imposed duty ranges between $278.19 and $922.03 per tonne.
ii. The decision was taken following the recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty (DGAD).
Anti-Dumping Duty

  • It is duty imposed by government on imported products which have prices less than their normal values or domestic price.
  • Usually countries initiate anti-dumping probes to check if domestic industry has been hurt because of a surge in below-cost imports.
  • Anti-Dumping Duty is imposed under the multilateral WTO regime and vary from product to product and from country to country.
  • In India, anti-dumping duty is recommended by the Union Ministry of Commerce, while the Union Finance Ministry imposes it.
7. Indian-origin scientist Professor Srikanth Jagabathula received CAREER Award
i. Indian-origin scientist Professor Srikanth Jagabathula received Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) given by the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States (US).
ii. He received the award for developing data-driven modelling and learning techniques to improve the accuracy of operational decision making.
iii. As part of this prestigious award, he will receive a total of 500000 US dollar over the next five years to further his research in developing data-driven modelling and learning techniques with the goal of improving the accuracy of operational decision making.


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