Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs -13th and 14th January 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 13th and 14th January 2016

1) India’s first solar-powered boat ‘Aaditya’ has launched in Kerala.

  • Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal has launched the service in Vaikom-Cherthala-Thavanakadavu waterways. Kerala Government sought financial assistance from the Union Government to roll out this solar power boat. The government will soon launch ten more solar power boats with an aim to replace the existing fleet of diesel boats with solar-powered ones.
  • It is 20 metre long and seven metre wide and can travel at a speed of 14 km per hour.
    • Generally, the ordinary boats take 15 minutes time to reach Thavanakkadavu from Vaikom, however, the solar boat will take only half of that time.It has a seating capacity of 75 people.
  • The boat has two electric motors and a lithium battery. The boat was manufactured on the basis of studies conducted at the ship technology department of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat).
  • Kerala has a 590 km long coastal water way and around 1548 km of inland waterways. And in order to cover all this region for transportation, Kerala needs solar boats which are less expensive and do not cause pollution.

2) Alexander Rudensky, Shimon Sakaguchi and Fred Ramsdell has won the 2017 Crafoord Prize.

  • They won the honour for “their discoveries relating to regulatory T cells, which counteract harmful immune reactions in arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
  • Alexander Rudensky is an immunologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is known for his research on regulatory T cells and the transcription factor Foxp3.
  • Shimon Sakaguchi is an immunologist. He is best known for the discovery of regulatory T cells and to describe their role in the immune system.
  • The Crafoord Prize is an annual science prize. It was established by Holger Crafoord, a Swedish industrialist, and his wife Anna-Greta Crafoord, in 1980.
  • It is awarded in four categories: astronomy and mathematics, geosciences, biosciences, with particular emphasis on ecology, and polyarthritis.The prize money is 6 million Krona.
  • The first woman to be awarded with the prestigious prize was astronomer Andrea Ghez.

3) Smart City remains top in NDMC’s 2017-18 annual budget.

  • The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on 13 January 2017 presented its budget for the financial year 2017-18. The budget for the upcoming financial year was prepared with a focus on the making Lutyens’ Delhi a ‘smart city’.
  • The receipts of the budget estimate (BE) for 2017-18 is Rs 3627.08 crore against Rs 3404.51 crore provided in revised estimates (RE) 2016-17.
  • The budget talks about old projects like providing Wi-Fi connectivity to the residents as well as a smart parking management system.
  • The budget talks about the smart cities mission and informs that the NDMC was one of the first 20 cities that was selected under the Union Government’s Smart Cities Mission. To meet the expectations, the council had established a wholly owned Public Limited Company namely, New Delhi Municipal Council Smart City Limited (SPV).
  • To increase transparency and ensure good governance, the 2017-18 NDMC budget proposes to increase the equity, efficiency and effectiveness in a transparent manner through an intervention of technology.
  • NDMC in its latest 2017-18 budget calls for transforming all street light poles in NDMC area with Warm LED fittings under PPP model. Despite floating RFP two times, no positive response received from the industry.The budget talks about fixing three 20 X 10 feet multi-media LED screens, which will be used to disseminate real-time air quality monitoring data along with advertisement purpose for revenue generation. Installation of these screens will be completed in March 2017.

4) Ken-Betwa River linking project has received environmental, forest and tribal clearances. 

  • NDA government’s ambitious project aims at addressing the water needs of dry swathes in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.It will be linked with Betwa in Uttar Pradesh at an expense of Rs 9500 crore.
  • This linking of the two rivers will help in irrigating an area of 6.35 lakh hectares annually. Of these 6.35 lakh hectares, 3.69 lakh hectares will be in Madhya Pradesh and 2.65 lakh hectares of Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is estimated that the project will provide 49 million cubic metres of drinking water to a population of 13.42 lakh in Bundelkhand region in the two states. It will also generate 78 mega watts of power.
  • The project was envisaged first in 1980 to transfer surplus river water to dry and arid areas.
  • Apart from the Ken-Betwa linking project, the Union Government has a plan of creating 30 such river links, which includes Par-Tapi-Narmada Link and Damanganga-Pinjal link.
  • Par-Tapi-Narmada Link will help in transferring water from surplus regions of Western Ghats to the dry areas of Kutch and Saurashtra. The Damanganga-Pinjal link will provide water for the Greater Mumbai.

5) India has successfully test-fired the Guided Pinaka rocket from Integrated Test Range (ITR) launch pad at Chandipur in Odisha.

  • The Guided Pinaka, also known as Pinaka Rocket Mark-II, evolved from Pinaka Mark-I. It is equipped with a navigation, guidance and control kit.  The conversion considerably enhanced the range and accuracy of Pinaka.
  • The Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) Pune, the Research Centre Imarat (RCI) Hyderabad and the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) Hyderabad jointly developed the Guided Pinaka.
  • Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India.It is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army.
  • The system was used during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralising enemy positions on the mountain tops. Each Pinaka battery consists of six launcher vehicles (each with 12 rockets), six loader-replenishment vehicles, three replenishment vehicles, two Command Post vehicles with a Fire Control computer and the DIGICORA MET radar.

 

6) The board of the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has appointed Rajesh Gopinathan as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of the company.

  • The appointment came after the elevation of N. Chandrasekaran as Tata Sons Chairman.The appointment is effective from 21 February 2017.
  • On the other hand, TCS also named N Ganapathy Subramaniam, the current President, TCS Financial Solutions, as the President and Chief Operating Officer. He is also appointed as a Director on the board.
  • Tata Consultancy Services is an International multinational information technology service, consulting and business solutions company. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • It is one of the largest Indian companies by market capitalization. Also, it is placed among the Big 4 most valuable IT services brands all over the globe.
  • In 2015, it was ranked 64th overall in the Forbes World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking. With this, it became the highest-ranked IT services company as well as the first Indian company to be ranked in the listing. As of December 2015, TCS is ranked 10th on the Fortune India 500 list.

 

7) Delhi Police and budget carrier IndiGo has launched Aakhiri Ahuti, Free-of-cost service to ferry remains of NE people.

  • Under the initiative, the Gurugram (Gurgaon) based airline will ferry the bodies to their homes, without levying any charge. However, the service would be available only on the recommendation of the Delhi police.
  • The initiative was ideated by Robin Hibu, a joint commissioner of Delhi police and the nodal officer for Northeast people after he faced several incidents in which people from the North-eastern states were cremated or buried in Delhi in absence of their family or friends.
  • IndiGo President and Whole Time Director Aditya Ghosh said, “I personally believe that it is our honour to co-partner with Delhi Police to take the underprivileged domiciles of North-eastern states back on their final journey”. At present, Indigo flies to five airports in North-East India from Delhi and they are Dibrugarh Chabwa, Dimapur, Guwahati, Imphal Municipal airport and Agartala.

 

8) Portugal Government has conferred the Grande Oficial da Ordem do Infante da Henrique honour on Eduardo Faleiro.

  • The honour was bestowed on  Eduardo Faleiro  for his services in the expansion of Portuguese culture, history and values.The award was presented to Eduardo Faleiro  by Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa at the residence of the Portuguese Consul General in Panaji.
  • Antonio Costa is on a 3-day visit to Goa, which is a former Portuguese colony.During his tour, the Portuguese Prime Minister posthumously presented Cultural Merit Medal to Paulo Varela Gomes.
  • Gomes was a historian and former director of the Fundacao Oriente, an institution engaged in cultural activities in Goa.  The medal was received by Gomes’ wife Patricia Vieira.
  • Eduardo Faleiro is an Indian politician and former Union Minister of State for External Affairs during the UPA Government.
  • He is credited with the establishment of good diplomatic relations with Portugal during his tenure as the Union Minister. In 2007, he became the chairman of Universal Peace Federation of India. It is an non governmental organisation associated with United Nations.

9) Outgoing US President Barack Obama has awarded Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction.

  • The President honoured Biden with “an additional level of veneration.” With this, Biden became the fourth person in US history to receive the award, alongside Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Colin Powell.It was a surprise tribute at the White House.
  • Joe Biden is the 47th Vice President of the United States. He is also the first Roman Catholic and the first Delawarean to be Vice President of the United States.
  • He was first elected to the Senate in 1972. With this, he became the sixth youngest senator in the history of the United States of America.
  • The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States.The honour was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963.It is the highest civilian award of the United States.
  • This award can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

10) Tata Sons has appointed Natarajan Chandrasekaran as its Executive Chairman.

  • With this appointment, Chandrasekaran becomes the first non-Parsi person to head Tata group. He will take charge of the company on 21 February 2017.
  • The Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Chandrasekaran, will succeed Cyrus Mistry, who was removed as group Chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016. In absence of Cyrus Mistry, Ratan Tata was looking after the company as the interim chairman.
  • The 53-year-old old businessman is only the third non-Tata after Nowroji Saklatwala and Cyrus Mistry to be named as Tata Sons chairman. The Board of Directors of Tata Sons believes that Chandrasekaran will inspire the entire Tata group worth of the 103-billion US dollar.
  • Natarajan was the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services since 2009.He is one of the youngest CEOs of the Tata Group.Under him, TCS has generated consolidated revenues of US $16.5 billion in 2015-16.
  • He has been non-official director of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) since 5 March 2016. He is a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He is also an active member of Computer Society of India and British Computer Society.
  • In addition to his professional life, Chandrasekaran is a passionate long-distance runner and had completed marathons in Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Mumbai.

Daily Current Affairs – 4th January 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 4th January 2016

1) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced pan-India expansion of Maternity Benefit Programme.

  • The announcement was made by the Modi in his address to the nation on 31 December 2016. The expanded programme will come into force on 1 January 2017.
  • The programme was formulated by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development as per the provisions of Section 4(b) of National Food Security Act, 2013. The cash incentive of Rs 6000 is payable in three instalments for the first two live births.
  • The conditional cash transfer scheme provides cash incentives to pregnant and lactating women  For the wage loss so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery, To improve her health and nutrition during the period of pregnancy and lactation and to breastfeed the child during the first six months of the birth.
  • It is applicable to all pregnant women and lactating mothers (PW&LM), excluding the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are in regular employment with the Central Government or State Governments or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits from the government.

2) The United Nations has designated the year 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

  • The theme has been given to increase awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development, especially among the public and the decision makers of the public and private sector while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a channel for positive change.
  • The theme is perfectly in accordance with the 2030 Universal Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The announcement was made during the International body’s 70th General Assembly.
  • The International Year aims to bring a change in policies, consumer behaviour and business practices to create a more sustainable tourism sector.The year of 2016 was designated as the International Year of Pulses.
  • The responsibility of the execution of the International Year has been given to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialised Agency for Tourism. The International body will ensure the implementation of the same in collaboration with governments and relevant organisations of the United Nations as well as international and regional organisations and relevant stakeholders.

3) The Union government of India has launched a Swachh Bharat survey in 500 cities and towns across the country.

  • The Swachh Survekshan-2017, conducted by Quality Council of India (QCI), aims to improve sanitation standards in the country by instilling a sense of competition between the cities.
  • It assess levels of sanitation and the progress made towards achieving ‘Open Defecation Free’ status.
  • The citizens will be able to give their feedback by giving a missed call on the number-1969 and recording their response or they can also opt to fill up a feedback form available on the main website of Swachh Survekshan.
  • The QCI will judge the cities on the basis of the data provided to them by three different sources 1) Data provided by Municipal bodies, which will carry 900 marks, 2) Data collected through primary observation and independent assessment, which will carry 500 marks, 3) Data collected on the basis of citizen feedback, which will carry 600 marks, 4) Data collected through primary observation and independent assessment, which will carry 500 marks and 5) Data collected on the basis of citizen feedback, which will carry 600 marks.

4) The Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has launched a mobile app for Haj Pilgrimage.

  • The app will provide information and facilitate e-payments for the pilgrimage. The app can be downloaded easily from the Google Play store.
  • The main features of the app include applying for Haj, enquiry and information, news and updates and e-payment.
  • The application for five adults and two infants can be applied as a group directly on the app. After the registration, a PDF copy of the form will be sent to the applicant’s email.Thereafter, applicant needs to affix his or her photo on the form printout and send this form along with documents to the State Haj committees. Registration fees can also be paid through the app.
  • In December 2016, the Union Government also launched a website of Haj. The website was launched in Hindi, Urdu and English languages to provide all the necessary information regarding Haj. The website also lists Do’s and Don’ts for the Haj pilgrimage. It also showcases a film informing about various aspects of the pilgrimage.
  • In 2016, around 45843 people applied for Haj online. Altogether, 9257 online applications were received from Kerala; 5407 from Uttar Pradesh; 2983 from Telangana; 2426 from Jammu and Kashmir and 2425 online applications were received from Gujarat.  Out of the total applications applied by Indians online and offline, about 99903 people went to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Haj from 21 embarkation points across India.

5) Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar was sworn in as the 44th Chief Justice of India (CJI).

  • Justice Khehar succeeds T S Thakur who retired on 3 January 2017 after tenure of a year.He is the first Chief Justice of India from the Sikh community.
  • He will retire from his office on 27 August 2017.He has been serving as a judge of the Supreme Court of India since 13 September 2011.
  • He had led the five-judge constitution bench of the SC that annulled the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act for the appointment of judges.In January 2016, he also led the bench that set aside the imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Chief Justice of India is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India.The CJI is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches, which deal with important matters of law.
  • As per the Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the CJI allocates work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him/her in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.

6) Arthur Morris was inducted into International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Hall of Fame.

  • The Australian cricketer was given the honour posthumously during the first day of the third Test between Pakistan and Australia in Sydney. With this, Morris became the 82nd cricketer to be inducted into ICC Hall of Fame.
  • He is best known for his pivotal role in Don Bradman’s Invincibles side, which made an undefeated tour of England in 1948. Morris was the leading scorer in the Tests on the tour and scored three centuries.He is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest left-handed batsmen.
  • His career was interrupted by the Second World War, during which he served in the Australian Army.He resumed his career in cricket in 1946.He made his Test debut against England and quickly became a key member of the team.
  • The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame “recognises the achievements of the legends of the game from cricket’s long and illustrious history”. It was launched by the ICC on 2 January 2009 as part of the ICC’s centenary celebrations.
  • It was launched in association with the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA).There are six women in the Hall of Fame. Former England women’s cricket team captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint is the first woman in the Hall of Fame.

7) The table tennis Olympic champion, Li Xiaoxia has announced her retirement.

  • Li helped China win the team gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In the tournament, she also finished as the runner-up in the singles event.She announced her retirement through social media, Sina Weibo.
  • She is the 8th table tennis Grand Slam winner in history with singles crowns from the 2008 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, 2012 Olympics in London.• She also won the 2013 world championships in Paris.• She also has several doubles and teams world titles to her name.
  • In 2006 and 2008, she along with her team was able to win the team title at the World Championships. In 2007, 2009 and 20010, she was a part of the team that won the team title at World Team Cup.

8) John Berger, the Booker-prize-winning novelist has passed away in Paris, France recently.

  • Berger constantly and provocatively challenged traditional interpretations of art and society and the connections between the two. His book, Ways of Seeing, had a considerable effect on how visual art was appreciated.
  • His ideology was Marxist humanism and he held strongly-stated opinions on modern art.He titled an early collection of essays as Permanent Red.In 1958, he published his first novel titled A Painter of Our Time.
  • In 1972, he won the Booker Prize for his novel titled G., a picaresque romance set in Europe in 1898. In 2009, he won the Golden PEN Award for “a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature”.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 3rd January 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 3rd January 2016

1) President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent for the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016.

  • The ordinance makes the holding of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes after 31 March 2017 an offence, which will attract a fine of Rs 10000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.
  • It provides for amending the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 to provide legislative support for extinguishing the demonetised banknotes that are not returned. It also wants to provide a clarity and finality to the liability of the RBI and the Union Government for the Specified Bank Notes (SBNs).
  • Any false declaration will invite a fine of 50 thousand rupees or five times the amount of the face value of the Specified bank notes tendered, whichever is higher.
  • The aforementioned facility would be subject to the regulation of “Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015.Earlier, the ordinance was approved by the Union Cabinet on 28 December 2016.
  • The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016 is a follow-up exercise of the Union Government’s decision in which it on 8 November 2016 cancelled the legal tender character of existing series of banknotes of denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in circulation.

2) President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Professor David R Syiemlieh as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

  • Syiemlieh, who is serving as the Member of UPSC, will succeed Alka Sirohi, a former IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre.He will take over the position with effect from 4 January 2017 till completion of his term as member on 21 January 2018.
  • He also served as the Vice Chancellor of the Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh. He is credited with discovering the date of death and other details of the last days of Tirot Sing, the Khasi chief of Nongkhlaw.
  • On 5 October 2011, he was appointed the as Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University.
  • The Union Public Service Commission is India’s central agency authorised to conduct the Civil Services Examination, Combined Medical Services Examination, National Defence Academy Examination, etc.
  • Its charter is granted by the Constitution of India. Articles 315 to 323 of Part XIV of the constitution, titled as Services Under the Union and the States, provide for a Public Service Commission for the Union and for each state.It consists of a chairman and ten members.
  • The President of India appoints the Chairman and other members of the UPSC. Every member of the Commission holds office for a term of six years or until he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

3) National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is soon going to introduce trash skimmers to clean the surface of Ganga in six more Indian cities.

  • According to the statement, the new cities to get the trash skimmers include Rishikesh, Garh Mukhteshwar, Sahibganj, Haridwar, Navdweep and Kolkatta. Urban local bodies have been given the responsibility of monitoring the work.
  • The announcement was made through an official statement by the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • River Surface Cleaning (RSC) work was first introduced last year to clean the Ganga basin in cities including Allahabad, Kanpur, Mathura-Vrindavan and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Patna in Bihar. Trash skimmers were used to collect tonnes of floating waste, which was later disposed off in an organised manner.
  • This project was carried forward as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and produced extremely effective results. The exercise will be extended to other towns and cities as well in the coming days.
  • NMCG is the implementation wing of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). It implements the mandate dictated by the NGRBA. It is a registered body originally formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on 12 August 2011.
  • The programme was launched mainly to clean the Ganga river basin in states through which the river flows such as Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • The Secretary to the Government of India and Ministry of Water Resources is the current Chairman of NMCG’s Governing Council.

4) Apple, the American multinational technology company has started manufactured iPhones in the Indian city of Bengaluru.

  • The company is going to manufacture the iconic phones in the country in collaboration with Wistron, a Taiwanese original design manufacturer. The move is a part of the company’s efforts to cash in on India’s fast-growing smartphone market.
  • Wistron is planning to set up an iPhone manufacturing plant, especially for the Indian market in Bangalore’s Peenya Industrial Area.Local manufacturing of the iPhones is expected to help Apple price its products at a rate more suitable to the Indian market.
  • The company chose Bengaluru to set up the unit because it has the talent required to create high-quality technology products.This is not Apple’s first project in the city, as previously in May 2016, the company had announced the setting up of a design and development accelerator in the city in order to help grow the iOS developer community there. The announcement for the same was made during the company’s CEO Tim Cook’s visit to India.
  • Currently, Apple products attract 12.5% additional duty on imports. Wistron too has previously manufactured products, especially for the Indian market. The company in partnership with Optiemus Infracom Ltd had built a manufacturing unit in Noida, Delhi NCR to manufacture HTC phones.

 

5) Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has become the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

  • Guterres took over for a five-year term that can be renewed by member states for an additional five years. He succeeds Ban Ki-moon.In October 2016, the 193 member states of the UN General Assembly had adopted a resolution by acclamation, appointing Guterres as the ninth UN Secretary-General.
  •  Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres is a Portuguese politician. He also served as President of the Socialist International, which is a worldwide association of political parties.
  • The UN Secretary-General is the head of the United Nations Secretariat.He/She acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations. His/Her role is laid out by Chapter XV (Articles 97 to 101) of the United Nations Charter.
  • Article 97 under Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter states that “the Secretary-General shall be the chief administrative officer of the Organization, but does not dictate their specific obligations.”

 

6) The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) has named Lionel Messi as the World’s Best Playmaker for the year 2016.

  • Messi beat Andres Iniesta and Toni Kroos to win the prestigious honour for the second consecutive time in his career.The footballer won the award for his overall contribution to club and country.
  • Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer.
  • He is the only footballer in history to win five FIFA Ballons d’Or, four of which he won consecutively.He is also the first player to win three European Golden Shoes.
  • He holds the records for most goals scored in La Liga, a La Liga season (50 goals), and a football season (82 goals). He has scored over 500 senior career goals for club and country.
  • The International Federation of Football History & Statistics is an organization that documents the history and records of association football. It was founded on 27 March 1984 in Leipzig by Dr Alfredo Poge.
  • At present, the organisation has confined its publishing activities to its website.

7) The General Secretary of Samajwadi Party has declared Akhilesh Yadav as the party’s new national president.

 

  • The announcement was made amidst party members and leaders at an emergency party meeting, held at Lucknow’s Janeshwar Mishra Park. He replaced his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
  • Akhilesh Yadav was elected Samajwadi Party’s national president with a unanimous national executive vote. He will now reconstitute all of the party’s state bodies.
  • Shivpal Yadav, President of Samajwadi party’s Uttar Pradesh unit, was removed from his position. Naresh Uttam has been appointed in his stead.
  • Mulayam Singh Yadav was transferred to the position of supreme guide or margdarshak of the party, whose main job would be to advise the new leadership.
  • The current situation indicates a complete turnaround in the party feud and hints towards a possible party split. This comes just ahead of UP assembly elections, which is expected to be a tight contest between Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).

 

 

Daily Current Affairs – 1st and 2nd January 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 1st and 2nd January 2016

1) India and Pakistan exchanged the list of their nuclear installations and facilities under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations.

  • This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries after the first list was exchanged on 1 January 1992. This exchange is done every year on 1st of January between them to prevent them from attacking each other’s nuclear facilities.
  • It is bilateral agreement signed between India and Pakistan that bars them from carrying out any surprise attack (or to assist foreign power to attack) on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.It was signed on 31st December 1988 and entered into force on 27 January 1991. It was signed by then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Pakistani counterpart Benazir Bhutto.
  • Under it, both countries inform each other about their nuclear installations and facilities that need to be covered under the Agreement on 1 January every year.
  • Both countries also exchanged the lists of nationals (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country lodged in their respective jails as per provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access.

2) Prime minister Narendra Modi has announced a number of welfare sops on New year.

  • In his address, he announced a number of welfare sops to help the poor, the rural sector, small businesses and other citizens to lighten the burden of demonetization.
  • He announced two new housing schemes for the urban poor. Under Pradhan Mantri Aawaz Yojana (PMAY), the poor and middle class in cities will get 4% exemption on interest for home loans up to Rs 9 lakh and 3% exemption for home loans up to Rs 12 lakh.
  • Under PMAY, 33% more houses will be built in villages. Home loans up to Rs 2 lakh will get 3% exemptions for building a new house and also for renovation in villages.
  • To give boost to the small entrepreneurs credit guarantee for small businesses doubled to Rs 2 crore. Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit for small business to 25% from 20%. Banks also have been asked to increase working capital loans from 20% of turnover to 30% for enterprises that transact digitally.
  • 3 crore Kisan credit cards will be converted into RuPay cards in coming 3 months. Government will bear 60 days interest on select farm loans. Government will add Rs 20,000 crore more to fund created by NABARD of Rs 21000 crore for giving loans to cooperative banks and societies at low interest rate.
  • Pregnant women and lactating women in above 650 rural districts will get Rs 6,000 in bank accounts to meet medical expenses and reduce child, woman mortality.
  • Senior citizens will get guarantee of 8% interest rate on deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years.

3) General Bipin Rawat took charge as the new 27th Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) of India.

  • He had superseded two seniormost Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and PM Hariz. His appointment goes against the long-held convention of appointing the senior-most eligible officer to the topmost post.
  • He succeed General Dalbir Singh Suhag who retired from the service. He is an infantry officer from the 5/11 Gorkha Rifles. Prior to this appointment, he was the Vice Chief of the Army. He has held key appointments in the Army headquarters and with the UN peacekeeping force.
  • General Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, LAC (Line of Actual Control) with China and in the North-East.

4) Birender Singh Dhanoa took charge as the 22nd Chief of the Air Staff (CoAS) of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

  • He is the third person from Sikh community to head the IAF after Arjan Singh and Dilbag Singh. Prior to this appointment he was Vice-Chief of IAF. He succeeded Arup Raha who retires from the service.
  • He is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and National Defence Academy (NDA). He was commissioned into the fighter stream of IAF in June 1978. Earlier, he had served as Chief Instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington in Tamil Nadu, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters and Senior Air Staff Officer of two operational Commands.
  • He had commanded a fighter squadron and had flown numerous night-strike missions during the Kargil operations in the mountainous terrain. He is recipient of Presidential awards Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal and Vayusena Medal for his distinguished services.

 

5) Two new Hindi writers Shraddha and Ghyansham Kumar Devansh have been chosen for Bharatiya Jnanpith Navlekhan Award for the year 2016.

 

  • They were selected from the shortlisted from the list other writers work that included short stories ‘Amarbel Ki Udas Shakhein’ by Amiya Bindu and ‘Bohani’ by Bhumika Dwivedi, besides two works of poetry ‘Anantim Geet Ke Beech’ by Sujata and ‘Ek Atirikt’ by Reshmi Bharadwaj.
  • Shraddha was chosen for her short story ‘Hawa Mein Phadphadati Chitthi‘ and Devansh for his poem ‘Akash Mein Deh‘. They were unanimously chosen by a selection panel chaired by eminent poet Vishnu Nagar.
  • The award is given to young authors in Hindi for their first creations. It was instituted in 2006 by Bharatiya Jnanpith trust. It consists of a statue of Goddess Saraswati, a citation and a cash prize each. Besides Jnanpith publishing their works.

 

6) British-Indian Shankar Balasubramanian has received Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions on DNA Sequencing.

  • He was recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing (also known as Solexa sequencing), described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades.
  • He is recognised for his contributions in the field of nucleic acids. He is scientific founder of Solexa and Cambridge Epigenetix.
  • At present, he is Herchel Smith Professorof Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry the University of Cambridge. More recently, he has made major contributions to understanding the role of DNA-quadruplexes in cancer and invented a method for the sequencing of epigenetic modifications.
  • It is one of the highest honours bestowed upon an individual in the UK and it doesn’t carry any military obligations to the sovereign. Persons receiving it are entitled with title ‘Sir’ before their name. The knighthoods are conferred by the Queen or a member of the Royal Family acting on her behalf in Britain. Queen usually presents insignia at the ceremony.

7) The Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has delivered ICGS AYUSH, the 20th Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) to the Indian Coast Guard.

  • ICGS Ayush will be operated from the Coast Guard Station at Krishnapatanam. It is last in the series (CSL Yard No BY 520) and was delivered three months ahead of schedule. With this, CSL has completed construction of 20 FPVs for the Indian Coast Guard.
  • Cochin Shipyard Limited was awarded the contract of constructing 20 FPVs in October 2010.  CSL had delivered the first vessel in September 2013 and subsequently delivered vessels at about two months interval.
  • CSL started delivering vessels ahead of schedule from the 13th vessel onwards. These vessels are 50 metre length and 7.6 metre beam. They are small in size compared to the large vessels that CSL had been building.
  • The Fast Patrol Vessel (FPVs) will help to secure Indian waters by patrolling within Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), coastal patrol. They will be used to carry out anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, search and rescue operations and for fisheries protection and monitoring.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 31st December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 31st December 2016

1) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched an Aadhaar-based mobile app, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM).

  • The app BHIM will facilitate digital cash transactions with a thumbprint after the bank account is linked with Aadhaar gateway. It was launched at Digi Dhan Mela at Talkatora stadium in New Delhi. The app is named after the main architect of Constitution of India, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
  • Apart from this, the Prime Minister who on this occasion also felicitated winners of Lucky Grahak Yojana had urged citizens to adopt digital currency from the New Year that is January 2017.
  • The app that will allow people to go digital in terms of payment was the need of this hour, at least when the whole country is feeling the heat of demonetisation of India’s biggest banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. This Aadhaar-based mobile payment application will allow people to make digital payments directly from their bank accounts.

2) The 27th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council was held on 28 December 2016 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

  • The Southern Zonal Council consists of Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry (UT) and Andhra Pradesh. The meeting was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
  • The Council assessed the progress of implementation of various recommendations made in last meeting relating to Extension of High Speed Rail Corridor between Thiruvananthapuram up to Mangalore and Udupi. They also discussed on Peninsular Region Industrial Development Corridor, issues of fishermen, introduction of peninsular tourism trains in zone and Amendments to New Road Transport & Road Safety Bill.
  • Zonal Councils are advisory councils. They have been grouped into six zones to foster cooperation among them.Five Zonal Councils were set up under Part-III of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.
  • The North Eastern States’ special problems are addressed by another statutory body known as The North Eastern Council. It was created by the North Eastern Council Act, 1971.

3) Sorin Grindeanu was named as the Prime Minister of Romania. 

  • He will now face a confidence vote in the Romanian Parliament on his programme and cabinet nominees. Once his appointment is approved, he will be given 10 days to name the government ministers.
  • Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis signed the official decree naming Grindeanu as the new Prime Minister.
  • Grindeanu is a member of the Social Democratic Party that won the December 2016 elections. He is also the Chairman of the Timis county council.
  • Grindeanu is seen in Romania as a disciplined soldier within the Social Democratic Party ranks and had joined the party when he was very young to prove his leftist convictions.He also served as Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society in Victor Ponta’s cabinet.

4) Akhilesh Yadav, who is also the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has expelled from the party for six years.

  • This expulsion was announced by Mulayam Singh Yadav at a hurriedly called press conference in Lucknow.
    In addition to this, Ram Gopal Yadav, who is a cousin of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the general secretary of the party, was also expelled for six years by the party chief. He was also stripped of all posts in the party.
  • Prior to the expulsion, both, Akhilesh and Ram Gopal were served a show cause notice asking why a disciplinary action should not be taken against them. The notice was issued for releasing the list of candidates without Mulayam Yadav’s consent.
  • Besides, Mulayam termed this call of the meeting as sheer indiscipline and said that that Ram Gopal has no power to call such meeting without the consent of national president of the party.

5) The union government has constituted a High-Level Committee (HLC) to review institutionalisation of Arbitration Mechanism in India.

  • The committee constituted in the Ministry of Law and Justice will be chaired by Justice BN Srikrishna, Retired Judge of Supreme Court. In addition to this, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs will be the member secretary of the committee.It will have to submit its report within a period of 90-days.
  • The committee will evaluate information outreach and efficacy of the legal framework for arbitration that exists at present.It will also assess the skill gaps in ADR and allied institution for both international and national arbitration.
  • It will also suggest measures for the institutionalisation of arbitration mechanism, national and international, in India so as to make the country a hub of international commercial arbitration and encourage International Commercial Arbitration (ICA), it will identify the required amendments in other laws that are needed.
  • It will also suggest a road map for strengthening of R&D (research and development) that impacts the domain and formulate an action plan for implementation of the law to ensure speedier arbitrations.
  • It will enlist the steps that are required for augmenting skill sets and professional manpower buildup for the sector.
  • The committee was formed in line to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 that was passed by the Parliament in December 2016. The act envisages quick enforcement of contracts, reduce the pendency of cases in courts, easy recovery of monetary claims and hasten the process of dispute resolution through arbitration.

6) China has commenced operations of world’s longest bullet train line which is Shanghai-Kunming line.

  • The launch of the Shanghai-Kunming line signifies that China’s high-speed rail grid has taken shape and connects almost all provinces on the Chinese mainland.
  • The link joins the prosperous eastern coast to the less-developed southwestern part of the country.It  is a part of the China Railway High-speed’s system of high-speed rail corridors, beginning in Shanghai and ending in Kunming.
  • The Shanghai-Kunming line is 2252 km in length and the maximum speed of the train is 330 km per hour.It passes through five provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan.It cuts travel time from Shanghai to Kunming from 34 hours to 11 hours.
  • The China Railway High-speed (CRH) is the high-speed rail service operated by China Railway. It was implemented on 18 April 2007.
  • CRH1/2A/2B/2E/5 are expected to have a maximum speed of 250 km/h. CRH2C/3 have a maximum speed of 350 km/h. The new trainsets CRH380A have a maximum test speed of 416.6 km/h. CRH380BL, the fastest trainset, attained a maximum test speed of 487.3 km/h.

7) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) limit of Rs 20,000.

  • The limit has been extended till the completion of review of the PPI guidelines.the balance in such PPIs cannot exceed Rs 20,000 at any point of time and the merchants can transfer funds from such PPIs to their own linked bank accounts up to Rs 50,000 per month, without any limit per transaction.
  • PPIs are methods that facilitate purchase of goods and services against the value stored on such prepaid instruments. These instruments can be issued as online wallets, mobile accounts, mobile wallets, smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, internet accounts, paper vouchers and any such instruments used to access the prepaid amount.
  • The value stored on such instruments represents the value paid for by the holder, by debit, by cash to a bank account or by credit card.At present, 47 non-bank entities and 45 banks are operating payment systems for PPI.

8) The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the last date for availing the Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme.

  • It was extended to January 31, 2017 from the earlier deadline of December 31, 2016. This extension aims to give companies one more month to accept its offer to settle retro tax disputes with Government. It comes against the backdrop of tepid response from companies to the scheme.
  • The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the 2016-17 Budget and came into force on June 1, 2016. It provides for waiving interest and penalties if the principal amount involved in retrospective tax cases is paid. It aims at releasing about Rs. 5.16 lakh crore, which is locked in about 2.6 lakh pending direct tax cases.
  • It waives of the interest and penalty for retrospective tax cases only if the company in question withdraws all appeals against the government at all judicial forums. Under it, a disputed tax amount of up to Rs 10 lakh and the penalty will be forgone. However, in cases where the disputed tax amount is above Rs 10 lakh, a penalty of 25% will be levied.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 30th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 30th December 2016

1) The union government has launched Swachh Swasth Sarvatra in New Delhi.

  • The programme was launched to commemorate ‘Good Governance Day’. It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to achieve better health outcomes through improved sanitation and increased awareness and healthy lifestyles.
  • The Swachh Swasth Sarvatra is a part of the Union Government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission. The initiative is focused on the twin objectives of constructing toilets and enabling behavioural change along with achieving open defecation-free India by 2019.
  • Under the programme, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will provide a grant of Rs. 10 lakhs to the Community Health Centre to ensure that the facility achieves the quality benchmarks for sanitation, hygiene and infection control with a minimum score of 70 under the Kayakalp assessment.
  • J P Nadda and Prakash Javadekar also released the Operational Guidelines of Swachh Swasth Sarvatra along with the ‘Swasth Bacche Swasth Bharat’ booklet. The Swasth Bacche Swasth Bharat booklet is prepared by the Central Health Education Bureau (CHEB). It aims at educating the children and youth about healthy living habits and activities.

2) Beipanjiang Bridge is the world’s tallest bridge that is suspended over an 1854-foot gorge.

  • It connects the province of Guizhou and Yunnan in the remote mountainous part of China was opened to traffic on 29 December 2016. The bridge spans 1850 feet (564 meters) above a gorge over the Beipan River.
  • As per reports, the bridge surpassed the 1837-foot-tall Sidu River Bridge for its world record title.
  • It build at an expense of about USD 146.7 million dollars Beipanjiang Bridge will help in reducing the road travel time between Xuianwei to Liupanshui from five hours to two.
  • The bridge is a part of 2115 mile Hangrui Highway that will connect Hangzhou to the China-Myanmar border crossing in Ruili. The bridge is named after Beipan River over which it was developed.
  • China is a home of eight of the world’s 10 highest bridges. Maximum of these bridges is available in the rural region of the country. List of top ten bridges of the world are Beipanjiang Bridge of China, Sidu River Bridge (was world’s highest bridge since 2009 until opening of Beipanjiang bridge) of China, Puli Bridge of  China, Qingshui River Bridge of China, Hegigio Gorge Pipeline Bridge of Papua New Guinea (It was World’s highest bridge from 2005 to 2009 and at present; it is world’s highest pipeline bridge), Baluarte Bridge of Mexico (It is highest cable-stayed bridge in the world and also the highest bridge in the Americas), Baling River Bridge of China, Beipan River Guanxing Highway Bridge of China (it was world’s highest bridge from 2003 to 2005), Liuchong River Bridge of China, Dimuhe River Bridge of China and Aizhai Bridge of China (It is world’s highest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge.

3) The Union Government has approved an ordinance to term the possession of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

  • This ‘Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance’ will now be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for the approval. It will be then converted into a proper legislation by passing of a law by Parliament within months.
  • The ordinance also seeks to removes the liability of the government towards bearers of such notes.
  • The Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance makes holding of the cancelled notes beyond a limit after 31 March 2017 a criminal offence.This criminal offence will attract a monetary fine of Rs 10000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.
  • People can deposit the old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in banks up till 30 December 2016. They can deposit these demonetised notes in the Reserve Bank of India up to 31 March 2017.

4) The Odisha Government has named the Rs 7600 crore Mega Lift Irrigation Scheme after freedom fighter Parbati Giri.

  • The government approved tender for 13 Mega Lift Irrigation Schemes with a total command area of 19400 hectares in Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts of the state.
  • The State Cabinet took the decision to mark respect for Giri’s contribution to the freedom movement and service to the poor and needy.
  • The State Cabinet meeting approved the lowest bid of Rs. 517.77 crore by GVPR Engineers Limited for the schemes.
  • The Odisha Government has planned to take up 174 schemes in 15 clusters in 22 districts to create an additional irrigation potential of 214270 hectares.
  • Giri was nicknamed the Mother Teresa of Western Odisha. She was only year 16 when she was in the forefront of agitation following Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement. After independence, she opened an orphanage at Paikmal village.

 

5) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism affected areas.

  • This project will be implemented as a vertical under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). It aimed at improving the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts.
  • The construction or upgradation of 5411.81 km road and 126 bridges will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 11724.53 crore.
  • Union Ministry of Finance will allocate Rs 7034.72 crore to Ministry of Rural Development for this project during the period of implementation from 2016-17 to 2019-20. It will provide connectivity with necessary cross-drainage structures in 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts.
  • It will be implemented in LWE States including the 35 worst affected LWE districts which account for 90 percent of total LWE violence in the country.The likely duration of implementation of the project is four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.
  • The roads taken up under the scheme will include Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgradation of the existing Major District Roads (MDRs).
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme was launched on 25 December 2000 with the objective to provide all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas of the country.
  • It envisaged to connect all eligible unconnected habitations in Special Category States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, Tribal areas, the Desert Areas, Tribal and Backward Districts.

6) The Bihar Government has approved 50 per cent reservation in all judicial services.

  • The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting. The reservation will be applicable in both Superior Judicial Services and Subordinate Judicial Services.
  • It will be applicable to the candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes, Extremely Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • The Cabinet stated that the aspiring candidates belonging to EBC will get 21 per cent reservation and those belonging to OBC will get 12 per cent reservation. And candidates falling in the Scheduled Castes category will have 16 per cent reservation and those in the Scheduled Tribe category will get 1 per cent reservation in all judicial services under the state. Aside from this, 35 per cent ‘horizontal reservation’ will be provided to women and 1 per cent reservation to those who are differently abled.
  • Earlier, while subordinate services had 27 per cent reservation there was no quota in superior judicial services. Currently, there are around 1100 vacancies in both categories. Superior judicial services include additional and district judges and subordinate services include judicial magistrates and munsif magistrates.

7) Renowned Rajasthani litterateur Satya Narayan was chosen for the 26th Bihari Puraskar 2016.

  • He was chosen for his Hindi book titled Yeh Ek Dunia which was published in 2010. His novel Yeh Ek Dunia depicts the various circumstances of life in contemporary world.  He was chosen by K K Birla Foundation. This was the 26th year of the award.
  • The book attempts to enter the unseen aspects where human experiences and conscience are more important than life situations of contemporary time zone.
  • Narayan has received several awards like Acharya Niranjannath Samman by Sambodhan, Kankroli, Kanhaiyaa Laal Sahal Award from Rajasthan Sahitya Akademi and others.
  • Bihari Puraskar was instituted in 1991 by the K K Foundation. It is named after famous Hindi poet named Bihari. It carries the cash prize of Rs 2 lakhs, a citation and a plaque.
  • It recognises the outstanding work in Hindi or Rajasthani published during the last ten years by a Rajasthani writer. The 2015 Bihari Puraskar was awarded to writer Bhagwati Lal Vyas for his Rajasthani poetry collection titled Katha Sun Aawe Hai Sabad.

8) Dr Shesh Pal Vaid has appointed as new Director General of J& K Police.

  • He will succeed DGP K Rajendra, whose extended term of service will end on 31 December 2016. Kumar was appointed as DGP of J&K in May 2014 and later was given an extension of three months during the unrest that occurred in the valley after killing of a militant named Burhan Wani.
  • His appointment was approved at a cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. He is the second officer from Jammu to have risen to the post of Director General of Police. MM Khajuria was the first person from Jammu to hold the position. He held the position in 1985.
  • Vaid, the 1986 batch Indian Police Services (IPS) officer of J&K cadre, will hold the office until October 2019.
  • He was chosen for the post ahead of 1985-batch officer SK Mishra, his senior, because the ruling combine of PDP-BJP wanted to appoint a local officer for the post. Apart from Vaid, another IPS officer of 1987-batch SM Sahai’s name was under consideration for the post but recently he was transferred to Delhi.

9) The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved USD 235 million for the Bihar Rural Roads Project.

  • The project aims at improving and effectively managing Bihar’s rural road network. It will also suggest better contract management practices to avoid time and cost over-runs. The fund will support the construction of about 2500 km of rural roads under the Mukhiya Mantri Gram Sampark Yojana (MMGSY).
  • The roads under the project will be constructed using cost-effective designs and will also incorporate engineering measures that ensure road safety.
  • After the completion of the project, around 1.2 million people will be able to access all-weather road. A majority of these people belong to the poor and vulnerable sections of society.
  • Under the project, climate resilient and cost-effective engineering designs will be used. Local materials and industrial by-products will be used to construct the roads. It will also use the alluvial sand that gathers on large tracts of farmable land after floods. It is expected that the step will save more than 25% in construction costs for rural roads.
  • The Rural Works Department of Bihar will undertake a climate vulnerability assessment of the existing rural road network. The department will focus on floods and include suitable remedial measures in its road design, construction and maintenance program.
  • The Bihar Rural Roads Project will also carry out simple road safety audits during the design and construction stage. In addition, it will also consult local communities to identify their requirements for any road safety enhancements.

 

10) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has inaugurated Chashma-III nuclear power plant near Mianwali in Punjab Province.

  • The inauguration of the plant not only alleviates the load shedding problems in Punjab Province, but also helps Pakistan in achieving the commitments under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • The power project is a joint collaboration between the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China National Nuclear Corporation. It was executed by the PAEC under the guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that monitors diversion of nuclear energy material and technology for non-civilian uses.
  • It also called as the C-III nuclear power plant.It helps the government’s commitment to end loads shedding by 2018.
  • For the successful completion of the project, the China Atomic Energy Authority and the Export-Import Bank of China extended technical and financial support.
  • The 600 MW capacity plant is a part of the bigger Chashma Nuclear Project that consists of four nuclear power plants.While the Chashma-I and Chashma-II power projects are already operationalised, Chashma-IV plant will be operationalised in 2017.
  • The four plants will help the PAEC in achieving the overall target of 8000 MW nuclear energy capacity.

 

 

Daily Current Affairs – 29th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 29th December 2016

1) Anil Baijal has appointed as the 21st Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

  • Baijal will succeed Najeeb Jung, who resigned from the post of Delhi LG on 22 December 2016. Jung had resigned 18 months short of his tenure.The approval for his appointment was given on 28 December 2016 by President Pranab Mukherjee.
  • Anil Baijal is a 1969 batch IAS officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre. At present, he is associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation.
  • He is the former Vice-Chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA).He has also given his services as the Chief Secretary of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, MD of Indian Airlines, Development Commissioner of Goa, CEO of Prasar Bharati, additional Home Secretary in the Information and Broadcasting.
  • He has also served on the executive council of the Vivekananda International Foundation and also served on multiple corporate boards including IDFC bank.

2) The Union Health Ministry in collaboration with All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) will set up a National Death Registry.

  • The aim behind setting up of this registry is to have a nationwide database about the causes of deaths occurring in hospitals in various regions of India. It will help the policy makers in having a better understanding of disease outbreaks so as to optimise the resources and healthcare facilities in respective regions.
  • AIIMS already implemented the pilot version of the death registry with the unique feature of having a coding system called the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED) and will be the technical as well as the implementing partner of this programme.
  • The announcement was made on 27 December 2016. Presently, the entire death data cannot be transmitted to the central depository, which is creating hurdles for policymakers in framing health and disease related policies.
  • SNOMED is an international standard of providing codes, terms and synonyms and definitions. It covers anatomy, diseases, findings, procedures, microorganisms, etc.
  • It is the most comprehensive, clinically validated and multilingual clinical healthcare terminology used by physicians in Electronic Healthcare Records to capture and analyse clinical data.

3) The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has gave its clearance to the Ken-Betwa Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR) project.

 

  • The project will benefit two states, namely Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and help them in meeting the needs of drinking water, irrigation and electricity in six districts.
  • Now the project need clearances from environment and forest but the clearance from the wildlife board has ended the last hurdle for the project. Other clearances will be given soon.
  • The approval from the wildlife board was a must because the project requires diversion of forest land of Panna Tiger Reserve.
  • As per the proposal, the quantity of water that will be diverted from Ken basin after considering in basin demands and downstream commitments earmarked for providing irrigation in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is 1020 Mm3. This link cannel would provide water for irrigation in areas of upper Betwa basin of Madhya Pradesh by the way of substitution enroute Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Ken-Betwa Inter-Linking of Rivers project was stuck due to objects from wildlife conservationists and environmentalists. They were opposing the project by terming that the project will have an impact on wildlife sanctuaries as well as the tiger reserve.The project received clearance of Union Cabinet in July 2014. It is a of Rs 9000 crore project.

 

4) Meghalaya will host the 2022 National Games, which will coincide with the state’s 50 years of statehood.

  • With this, Meghalaya will become the third north-eastern state after Manipur and Assam to host the National Games.The state had pledged 5 crore rupees as the bid amount for the game.
  • The IOA accepted Meghalaya’s bid to host the 2022 National Games following the successful South Asian Games, which was co-hosted by Shillong and Guwahati earlier in 2016.The next Nation Games will be hosted by Goa in November 2017.
  • The news was announced on 27 December 2016 in the meeting of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) meeting held in Chennai. The IOA accepted Meghalaya’s bid to host the National Games overshadowing four other bidders, which were Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgargh and Uttarakhand.
  • The country’s first few Olympic Games, later christened as National Games, were held in Delhi, Lahore, Allahabad, Patiala, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay.The National Games comprises various sports disciplines in which sportsmen from the different states of India participate against each other.
  • The 2015 National Games were held from 31 January 2015 to 14 February 2015 in Kerala. It was the second time that Kerala hosted the National Games. It first hosted the games in 1987. Sachin Tendulkar was the goodwill ambassador for the games.

5) Former attorney general Soli J Sorabjee was re-elected as the President of the India International Centre (IIC),

  • The Board of Directors of IIC unanimously elected Sorabjee for a second consecutive term while recognising his services in achieving the objectives of IIC. He was appointed for a period of five years with effect from 1 January 2017.
  • Sorabjee has been working for IIC for two decades. He is known for surrendering the cases in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court to be able to devote time for IIC affairs.
  • He was honored with Padma Vibhushan in 2002 for his defense of the freedom of expression and the protection of human rights. Born in March 1930 in Bombay, he studied at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai and Government Law College, Mumbai.
  • The India International Centre was inaugurated in 1962 by the then Vice-President S Radhakrishnan. Its aim is to work towards promoting the understanding and amity between different communities of the world.

 

6) The Union Cabinet has approved ratification of ISA’s Framework Agreement of International Solar Alliance (ISA) by India.

  • The approval was given at a meeting of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was jointly launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and France President Francois Hollande in Paris on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties 21 (CoP21) of the United Nations climate change conference (UNFCCC).
  • It is an alliance of 121 nations that are primarily situated between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn launched on 30 November 2015. It is considered as first international and inter-governmental organization mooted by India.
  • It tries to improve living standards by facilitating greater access to energy.It also develops innovative financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital.
  • The ISA works with partner countries to formulate projects and programmes to accelerate development and deployment of existing clean solar energy technologies.
  • It facilitates capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and research and development activities among member countries and encourages multilateral bodies like the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and agencies of the United Nations to contribute towards enhanced use of solar energy.
  • The Assembly will provide guidance, direction and advice to the Secretariat for undertaking the activities.Its headquarters is located in Gurugram, Haryana.
  • The Framework Agreement was opened for signature on the sidelines of 22nd CoP of the UNFCCC meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco.The agreement invokes the Paris Declaration on ISA and encapsulates the vision of the prospective member nations.

7) Viral V Acharya was appointed as the Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

  • He will be joining the ranks of Vishwanathan, S S Mundra, R Gandhi as one of four Deputy Governors of RBI. He will be serving under RBI Governor Urjit Patel. He is a professor of economics at New York University.
  • Acharya’s research interests lie in the regulation of banks and financial institutions, credit risk and valuation of corporate debt, and asset pricing with a main focus on the effects of liquidity risk.He has significant experience in global finance specifically in theoretical risk assessment of the financial sector.
  • In 2015, Acharya co-authored a research paper that analysed the precarious condition of public sector banks in India. He has previously served on the International Advisory Board of Securities and Exchange Board of India.

 

8) Samit Gohel, the Ranji player from Gujarat has broken the 117-year-old record in first-class cricket.

  • He was able to create the world record with 45 boundaries and one six in 723 balls by scored 359 not out runs in Ranji Trophy quarterfinal in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
  • Samit remained not out in his team’s score of 641, which was the highest first-class score for team Gujarat. With this score, Gujarat was able to enter into the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy. It defeated the Ranji team of Odisha.
  • One of his teammates Priyank Panchal has been the top scorer in this season’s Ranji Trophy.While Hanif Mohammed’s score of 499 remains the highest score by an opener in first-class cricket.
  • In cricket, the term carries one’s bat or carrying the bat refers to an opening batsman who remains not out when the team innings is closed. The term is generally used in the case, where all the 10 wickets have fallen.

9) Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) in New Delhi.

  • The incorporation of Sagarmala Development Company is a part of the ambitious Sagarmala Programme of the Union Government.
  • The programme aims to harness India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.
  • The main objective of the company is to identify port-led development projects under the Sagarmala Programme. It would also aim to increase the scope of private sector participation in project development.
  • The implementation of the identified projects would be taken up by the relevant ports, state governments, maritime boards, central ministries, through private or public-private partnership mode.
  • The Company would act as the nodal agency for coordination and monitoring of all the currently identified projects under the Sagarmala Programme. It would also undertake the preparation of the detailed master plans for the Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) identified as part of the National Perspective Plan (NPP).
  • The union cabinet had approved the formation of the SDC under the administrative control of the Ministry of Shipping in July 2016.The Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013.The SDC has an initial authorised share capital of Rs 1,000 crore and a subscribed share capital of Rs. 90 crore.

10) The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe Seeks  reconciliation with US in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

  • The meeting of the two leaders at the memorial site was another move towards reconciliation.Both the leaders used the ceremony to encourage their citizens to reconcile and move forward. Though Abe did not apologise for the attack, he did offer his most sincere and everlasting condolences to the victims and stated that Japan had taken a solemn vow to never wage a war ever again.
  • Abe also visited the USS Arizona Memorial, which was built in 1962 in the memory of the American sailors and Marines who lay buried in the wreckage of the battleship, sunk by the Japanese during the attack.
  •  Both Abe and Obama sought to guide their citizens to embrace reconciliation and remembrance.Though Abe is not the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit the historic site, he is the first to do so with a US President and the first one to visit Arizona Memorial.
  • The meeting comes at a time when Abe prepares to lead Japan into a new yet uncertain era and Barack Obama prepares to move out of the office and let the Republican President-Elect Donald Trump take over. It could possibly be Obama’s last meet with a foreign leader as the president of the United States of America.

Daily Current Affairs – 28th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 28th December 2016

1) Virat Kohli was chosen as Cricket Australia’s ODI captain of the year.

  • Virat Kohli is India’s right-handed batsman and was ranked 8th in ESPN’s list of world’s most famous athletes in 2016.
  • Kohli is the only batsman in the world to average more than 50 across all formats of the game. He won the Man of the Tournament twice at the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2014 and 2016).
  • In 2013, he was honoured with the Arjuna Award in recognition of his achievements in international cricket.
  • Kohli played only 10 one-day matches in 2016; however, he underlined his status as one of the best in the 50-over format. He scored back-to-back centuries against Australia in January 2016 and then a 154 against New Zealand, which was more than half of his team’s total. At present, he averages an incredible 90.10 in 59 successful run chases for India.

2) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Char Dham Highway Development Project in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

  • The primary objective of the programme is to develop all-weather roads leading to Char Dham – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri in Uttarakhand.
  • Char Dham Highway Development Project is also called as the Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna. It is a part of the Union Government’s National Highway Connectivity Improvement Programme for Char Dham in Uttarakhand.
  • It is an ambitious initiative to improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas. Under the project, 900 km of national highways will be developed.
  • The project is expected to generate additional employment for the local population and will change the economy of the State as it will give a strong boost to connectivity and tourism.
  • Tourism is a major driver of economic growth and livelihood promotion in Uttarakhand. As per an estimate, tourism sector alone contributes to around 5% of the State Gross Domestic Product (SGDP).

3) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has appointed Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as its life presidents.

  • A life president of IOA is an honorary post with no voting rights or involvement in day-to-day functioning of the body. In its 89-year old history, IOA has had 12 presidents, including the current incumbent N Ramachandran.
  • The IOA unanimously appointed the Kalmadi and Chautala to the post during its Annual General Meeting in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • The Indian Olympic Association is the body responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Olympic Games, Asian Games and other international athletic meets. It acts as the Indian Commonwealth Games Association and is also responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Commonwealth Games.
  • In 1928, Maharaja Bhupindra Singh took over as the president of IOA.

 

4) Sunderlal Patwa, the former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh has passed away.

  • The veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and two-times chief minister of Madhya Pradesh is considered as a political mentor of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
  • He was appointed as Chief Minister of the state for a brief period of two months in 1980 (20 January to 17 February 1980) as a member of Janta Party and again from 5 March 1990 to 15 December 1992, as a leader of the BJP. His second tenure was curtailed by the imposition of the President’s rule in 1992.
  • In the general elections of 1999, Patwa won the Lok Sabha seat from Hoshangabad and became a Cabinet Minister in the then government led by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • His nephew Surendra Patwa is Minister for Culture and Tourism in the incumbent BJP-led state government.
  • The state government has announced a three-day state mourning after Patwa’s death.

5) India’s first Digi Dhan Mela was held on 26 December 2016 in Gurugram, Haryana.

  • The mela is a first of its exercise in the country and is meant to promote cashless transactions in the post-demonetisation period.
  • It educated the people on how to use mobile phones and AADHAR for making payments online. Dedicated counters were set up to issue AADHAR cards.
  • In the mela, 15000 winners of the Lucky Grahak Yojana daily reward were also drawn. The winners were being identified through a random draw of the eligible Transaction IDs which are generated automatically as soon as the transaction is completed by software developed by National Payments Corporation of India.
  • Lucky Grahak Yojana was launched by the Union Government on 15 December 2016.Under this scheme, the government will offer a daily reward of Rs 1000 that will be given to 15000 lucky consumers for a period of 100 days.
  • Consumers, who use the alternate modes of digital payments, will be awarded the weekly prizes of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10000 and Rs 5000. This will include all forms of transactions- UPI, USSD, AEPS and RuPay Cards but will exclude transactions through Private Credit Cards and Digital Wallets.
  • Along with Lucky Grahak Yojana, Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana (Merchants) was also launched by the government to promote cashless transactions at retail counters.Under this scheme, the government will award prizes to merchants for all digital transactions conducted at merchant establishments. They will be awarded the weekly prizes of Rs 50000, Rs 5000 and Rs 2500
  • Both the Lucky Grahak Yojana as well as the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana (Merchants) are implemented by the National Payments Corporation of India to attain the broader objectives set forth by the Digital India campaign.

6) The government of Haryana has connected 100 villages in the state with Wi-Fi services.

  • This decision was announced by the state’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar during the launch of 53 new IT services concerning six departments on the occasion of ‘Good Governance Day’, which is celebrated every year to mark the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • It also decided to rename all common service centres (CSC), which have been opened in urban and rural areas, and E-disha centres as ‘Atal Seva Kendras’ at district headquarters.
  • With the introduction of the new IT services, the residents of the villages would be able to access 170 e-services through the ‘Atal Seva Kendras’. All the CSCs in rural areas would be shifted to Gram Sachivalyas so that all facilities are made available to the people under one roof. With this, facilities available at CSCs will also be made available at E-disha centres.
  • Apart from this, the state’s Chief Minister also stated that from now on, students passing class 10 and 12 from Haryana School Education Board would be getting their certificates through digital locker.
  • Manohar Lal Khattar also launched a set up called ‘Knowledge Warehouse’ through video conference in Gurgaon. The warehouse, which is a result of joint efforts put in by Nasscom and Hartron, aims to serve as a platform that can help promote start-ups. Initially, only 40 start-ups would be able to avail its services but later the number will be increased to 80.

7) India and Bhutan has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for extending technical cooperation in infrastructure engineering.

  • The MoU was signed between the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) of India and Bhutan’s Department of Engineering Services in Thimpu.
  • Central Public Works Department (CPWD) came into existence in July 1854 when Lord Dalhousie established a central agency for execution of public works. The central agency was named as Ajmer Provincial Division. It was later renamed as the Central Public Works Department.
  • It has the professional expertise in disciplines including architecture, engineering, project management coupled with comprehensive experience in building construction and maintenance. In the last 162 years, the agency has executed priority of works in difficult and demanding geographical and climatic conditions.
  • The regions and sub-regions are headed by Special DGs and Additional DGs respectively, while the zones in all state capitals are headed by Chief Engineers. It has a pan-India presence and has the ability to undertake construction of complex projects even in difficult terrain and maintenance in post construction stage.
  • The CPWD successfully completed the construction of Afghanistan Parliament building in a hostile environment.The landmark project was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2015.
  • Besides, the CPWD also deploy engineering experts in Bhutan to achieve the above objectives.

8) The Department of Posts under the Union Ministry of Communications has released the special stamp on freedom fighter Gaya Prasad Katiyar.

  • The government also released a set of eight Commemorative Postage Stamps on ‘Personalities Series: Bihar’. The postal department also launched a Commemorative Postage Stamp on Hardayal Municipal Heritage Public Library to honor it as a one of the few oldest library of the country.
  • The Ministry released the postage stamps on these following eight personalities of Bihar:
    • Sachchidananda Sinha
    • Karpoori Thakur
    • Dashrath Manjhi
    • Vidyapati
    • Kailashpati Mishra
    • Kunwar Singh
    • Phanishwar Nath Renu
    • Krishna Sinha
  • Hardayal Municipal Public Library is situated in the heart of Chandni Chowk and is one of the very few oldest buildings that have been able to withstand the onslaught of modern times. The library was set up in 1862 and has a unique collection of more than 170000 books in Hindi, English, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit.
  • Gaya Prasad Katiyar was one of the most dedicated soldiers of India’s freedom struggle. He participated on Lahore Conspiracy Case and was arrested from Saharanpur in 1929. Later he was transported to Cellular jail in Andaman and again he participated on hunger strike there. He was repatriated in 1937 but again arrested and transported to cellular jail from where he was released in 1946.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 25th and 26th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 25th and 26th December 2016

1) Christians in Aleppo has celebrated Christmas for the first time ever in 5 years.

  • The Christian population in the city celebrated the holy festival under a giant Christmas tree. Many people described the Christmas celebrations as the return of peace in the city that came back under full government control in the third week of December 2016.
  • Aleppo is a city in Syria and also the most populous Syrian governorate.For many centuries, the city was the Syria’s largest city and the Ottoman Empire’s third-largest, after Constantinople and Cairo.
  • Aleppo was first mentioned in the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC in cuneiform tablets unearthed in Ebla and Mesopotamia.It was one of the largest cities in the Levant before the advent of the Syrian Civil War.
  • In July 2016, Syrian government troops blocked the rebels’ last supply line into Aleppo with the help of Russian airstrikes.In response, rebel forces launched futile counteroffensives in September 2016 and October 2016 that proved unsuccessful in breaking the siege.
  • In November 2016, government forces decided on a decisive campaign that resulted in the recapture of the entire city by December 2016.The fall of rebel-held east Aleppo was the biggest victory of Syria’s nearly 6-year-old civil war for supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

2) ICICI Bank has launched EazyPay mobile application for merchants as an all-in-one acceptance payment platform.

  • The app will consolidate all the digital wallets, QR code, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Debit Card and Credit Card.
  • It is a sustainable payment mode in comparison with other digital applications. It’s open architecture makes it different from other digital platforms that are actually closed-loop prepaid instruments.
  • Customers can make payments by using this app through any bank account using UPI, internet banking or by entering credit or debit card details on a link forwarded by the merchant.  There is no issue of hitting the limit with this app as the money flows directly into the bank account of merchant.
  • ICICI Bank will sell this app to all the merchants in 2300 towns and cities, where the bank has its branches.The app also has its in-built billing application for the merchants.
  • With this, ICICI Bank becomes the first bank to roll out all-in-one payments platform in the country.

 

3) Indian actor Anupam Kher’s 500th film ‘The Big Sick’ has been selected for world premier at the Sundance Film Festival.

  • The Big Sick, which is an upcoming American romantic comedy film, has been directed by Michael Showalter. Apart from Kher, it stars stand-up comedians Kumail Nanjiani and Ray Romano and American actresses Holly Hunter and Zoe Kazan.
  • The premier  has to be held in the United States from 19 January to 29 January 2017. The screenplay has been written by Nanjiani himself along with his wife Emily V Gordon and it is based largely on their own relationship. The film traces the challenges faced by a Pakistani-born man (Nanjiani) and his American girlfriend (Kazan).
  • The news of the film’s selection for world premiere was confirmed by Anupam Kher himself through a tweet on his official twitter account. Along with congratulating the film’s producers for this feat, the veteran actor also praised his co-stars and expressed his joy in being a part of such a wonderful project.
  • The event, organised by the Sundance Institute, is an annual American festival that takes place in Park City, Utah. It is the largest independent film festival, organised in the United States of America.
  • It will serve as a platform for American and foreign independent filmmakers to showcase their new work. It will feature competitive sections for feature films, short films as well as documentary films.

 

4) The registration fees for Hindus and other minority community people as Indian citizens have been reduced from Rs 15000 to Rs 100.

 

  • The new rules will be applicable to minority communities from three neighbouring countries Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh living in India on long term visa. These minority communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
  • For minority community people from countries other than Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the fees will be Rs 10000 for registration in India and Rs 15000 if they are registered elsewhere and the minority members from the neighbouring countries will be required to take oath of allegiance as an Indian citizen in front of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, in case if the Collector, Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate are absent.
  • The power of citizenship has been delegated to the district collectors in Chhattisgarh, Gujrat, MP, UP, Maharashtra, West & South Delhi and Rajasthan also.

 

5) National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has launched a Performance on Health Outcomes’ index.

 

  • The Health Outcomes’ index developed by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was launched to rank states on the basis of their performance on measurable health indicators.
  • The Aayog in a press release said, “The index is meant to capture the annual incremental improvements by States, rather than focusing on historical achievements”.
  • The index includes indicators in the domains of health outcomes governance and information as well as key inputs and processes. It also includes the monitorable indicators, which is a part of the Sustainable Development Goal in Health.
  • It will be used to take actions in the states that are required to improve the health outcomes and improve data collection systems.
  • Besides, the guidebook of the first exercise of the regional workshops, which will be conducted across India in series until February 2017, was jointly released by CK Mishra, Secretary-Health and Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog.

 

6) Union Government has announced Lucky Grahak Yojana awards for consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana awards for merchants. 

  • The awards were announced at the Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. with an aim to promote digital transaction among Indians.
  • In the first draw of the Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojana awards, names of 15000 winners were announced. These names were announced in the presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
  • Citizens can check if they have received the reward by logging on www.digidhanlucky.mygov.in.
  • The winners were selected under 4 broad categories namely UPI, SUUA, RuPay and AEPS from 8 crore digital transactions that took place between 9 November to 21 December 2016. Each winner will get Rs 1000 and the amount will be transferred to their bank accounts.
  • The two Yojanas, Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants, were launched with an aim to encourage people to move towards digital transactions. The yojanas were launched by NITI Aayog, along with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which is an implementation partner of the yojanas.

7) Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri has won the title of the $10000 ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures.

  • Bhambri won 75% of his first service points and broke serve three times to lock victory in one hour and 54 minutes.With the win, the world number 534 takes away $1440 in prize money along with 18 ATP ranking points.
  • The third seed from India defeated the tournament’s number two Shintaro Imai of Japan 6-4, 7-5.On the other hand, Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Taipei and Pak Long Yeung from Hong Kong defeated Hong Kong’s Karan Rastogi and Jack Wong to win the doubles title 5-7, 6-3, 10-4.
  • Yuki Bhambri is an Indian professional tennis player and former Junior No. 1. He was the winner of the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championship. He is the first Indian to seal victory in the junior Australian Open title. He is also the fourth Indian ever to capture a junior singles Grand Slam championship title.
  • The ITF Men’s Circuit is a series of professional tennis tournaments held around the world. These tournaments are organized by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
  • The 2016 ITF Men’s Circuit is the 2016 edition of the second tier tour for men’s professional tennis. The ITF Men’s Circuit includes tournaments with prize money ranging from $10000 up to $25000.

8) Pankaj Advani has bagged the National title in 6-red Snooker in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • Advani defeated Ishpreet Chadha in the final 7-4 to grab the title. Advani first won the title during the inaugural edition in Bangalore in 2010. With this win, Advani has emerged as the strongest contender to represent India in the Asian and World Championships in 6-red Snooker in 2017.
  • The Indian player is the only player in the world to win all the titles, National, Continental and World, in 6-red Snooker.
  • Advani received training in snooker from former national Snooker champion Arvind Savur. He has achieved a hat-trick of hat-tricks in English billiards. He holds the World, Asian, and Indian National Championship titles simultaneously, in three different years, i.e., 2005, 2008 and 2012.
  • In August 2014, he, along with Rupesh Shan, Devendra Joshi and Ashok Shandilya, won the first ever World Team Billiards Championship held in Glasgow, Scotland.

9) Good Governance Day is being observed across India on 25 December 2016.

  • The day is observed to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. To mark the occasion, a Good Governance campaign will be undertaken for 100 days. During this campaign, ministers and members of Parliament will travel across India and attend programmes that highlight the key initiatives of the government.
  • Besides, six major initiatives will be launched by the  Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. The initiatives include Immovable Property Return through Property Related Information System (PRISM), Recruitment Rules Formation, Amendment Monitoring System (RRFAMS),Announcement of E-Service Book, Mandatory online filing of APAR by all All India Services and Central Group A Service Officers, Launching of redesigned website of Department of Personnel and Training.
  • The endeavour of the government is to improve delivery systems, to promote digital transformation and take forward the connectivity revolution in all sectors.
  • The Good Governance Day was established in 2014 with an aim to honour former PM Vajpayee by fostering awareness among Indians about the accountability of governance. The concept of the day encompasses two fundamental elements accountability and transparency.

Daily Current Affairs – 27th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 27th December 2016

1) Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated Sagarmala Development Company’s (SDC) office in New Delhi.

  • The SDC has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013. The Union Cabinet in July 2016 had approved formation of the SDC under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Shipping.
  • The main objective SDC is to identify port-led development projects under the ambitious Sagarmala programme. It will provide equity support for project Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) set up by the Ports, State, Central Ministries and funding window.
  • It will mainly help in structuring activities, bidding out projects for private sector participation, identifying suitable risk management measures for strategic projects across multiple States, regions and obtaining requisite approvals and clearances and it will implement only those residual projects which cannot be funded by any other means mode.

2) Assam government has launched health insurance scheme ‘Atal-Amrit Abhiyan’.

  • Atal-Amrit Abhiyan aims to make quality health care affordable to every individual member of a family in the state.It provide coverage against several critical illnesses.
  • This scheme is claimed to be the biggest health care initiative undertaken by any State Government in the country. It has financial outlay of the scheme is around Rs 200 crore.
  • Both Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) families with annual income below Rs 5 lakh are eligible to avail benefit.
  • The six categories are cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, cancer, neo-natal diseases, neurological conditions and burns.
  • Cashless cards will be provided to eligible individuals to avail treatment for as many as 437 diseases under six categories at most major hospitals across the country.

3) China has successfully tested the latest version of its fifth-generation stealth fighter jet J-31 (now renamed the FC-31 Gyrfalcon).

  • The newest FC-31 has better stealth capabilities, improved electronic equipment and a larger payload capacity than the previous version which debuted in October 2012 It is manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC).
  • FC-31 has a maximum take-off weight of 28 metric tons, flight radius of 1,250 km, and top speed of Mach 1.8 (i.e. 1.8 times the speed of sound). It can easily carry 8 tons of weapons, hold six missiles in its internal weapons bay, plus another six under its wings.
  • The newest version of twin-engine FC-31 took to the air for the first time recently. It is considered as China’s answer to the US F-35, the world’s most technically advanced fighter.
  • It also has been equipped with an electro-optical targeting system and helmet-mounted display. Some analysts say the FC-31 bears a close resemblance to the US’s F-35.
  • China by introducing this fighter jet is trying to end the West’s monopoly on the world’s most advanced warplanes especially 5th generation fighter jet.

4) India has successfully test-fired its home-grown long range intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5.

  • The state-of-the-art surface-to-surface missile was test fired successfully from the launch complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. It was the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the missile.
  • Agni 5 is three-stage solid propellant ICBM indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).It is the most advanced having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.
  • It carries Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads at different targets. It is also incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.

5) US-based scientists have developed a bacteria-powered battery (bio-battery) on a single sheet of paper.

  • The paper-based bacteria-powered battery design is part of a new field of research called papertronics, which is a fusion of paper and electronics.
  • In this battery researchers had laid ribbon of silver nitrate on a piece of chromatography paper. On top of this, they had placed thin layer of wax to create a cathode (positive electrode). On the other side of the paper, reservoir out of a conductive polymer was made which acts an anode (negative electrode) filled with a few drops of the bacteria-containing wastewater liquid.
  • When the paper is folded so that the cathode and anode come into contact, it is powered by the bacterial metabolism. This process is also known as cellular respiration.
  • This bio-battery is cheap and can be easily manufactured as power source for medical sensors in remote and developing areas.The simple components are needed to make these kinds of paper-based batteries. This makes them a reliable backup in places where grid electricity or conventional batteries aren’t available.

6) The Union Government has launched ‘Smart Consumer’ mobile App to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances. 

  • The government also launched a microsite based on the theme ‘Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign’ to help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.
  • Besides, the government also launched an Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC) and a helpline number 14404 for redressal of consumer related grievances. These initiatives will benefit the consumers in the digital world.
  • The OCMC was launched in association with Bengaluru based National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances. It will encourage consumers and companies to go for pre-litigation and will also provide them with an option to settle disputes harmoniously.
  • Initially, the OCMC will only deal with cases related to e-commerce companies. It will also facilitate online and physical mediation between consumers and companies.
  • Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign will be launched in January 2017 by Google India in partnership with the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs. It will reach out to over 1200 consumer organisations as well as consumer affairs department of every state across the country.
  • This year-long campaign will be focussed on building capacities of consumer organisations and counsellors on internet safety and related issues.This campaign will add to Google’s existing campaigns guiding users to navigate the web and manage their digital lives safely.
  • Google will also work towards advocating digital security and privacy needs through workshops training about 500 people.

7) The Odisha Government has recently decided to launch a new malaria control programme, DAMAN, in remote tribal-dominated areas.

  • The annual expenditure for the programme will be Rs 24 crore from the state budget. The drive aims at supplementing the routine malaria control activities and fill the gaps in case finding and treatment among the high risk population of inaccessible villages of high endemic areas.
  • Odisha has 62 types of tribes including 13 primitive tribes that constitute 22.3 per cent of the state’s population. The population is under the high risk of malaria infection.
  • DAMAN stands for Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (Malaria Control in Inaccessible Areas).It will be implemented in 8000 villages of all 79 blocks of eight high malaria endemic southern districts. These districts are Koraput, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Rayagada, Nabarangapur, Nuapada, Kandhamal and Gajapati.
  • The drive will continue for five years with a total expenditure of Rs 120 crore. The State Government has already sanctioned Rs 10 crore to start the programme.
  • The programme incorporates mass screening for malaria with treatment of positive cases along with intensified supervision, mosquito control measures and regular health education activities throughout the year.

Daily Current Affairs – 24th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 24th December 2016

1) India has won the Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title.

  • India defeated hosts Sri Lanka by 34 runs. in the final played at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • India Under-19 team posted a competitive score of 273 runs for a loss of eight wickets in their 50 overs. In reply to it, the Sri Lankan side was bowled out for a score of 239 in 48.4 overs.
  • The 2016 Under-19 Asia Cup was an international cricket tournament that was held in Sri Lanka from 15 to 23 December 2016. It formed part of the qualification process for the 2018 Under-19 World Cup.
  • The tournament saw the participation of eight teams of which six Asian teams that were part of the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. The other two teams were from the 2016 Asia Division Two event.
  • Abhishek Sharma (India Under-19) has become the man of the match and HJ Rana (India Under-19) has become the player of the series.

2) Actor Sunny Leone is become PETA’s Person of the Year.

  • Leone will receive the award for her commitment for promoting the rescue of homeless dogs and cats, as well as her compassion for abused animals. Earlier in 2016, Leone featured in PETA’s ad campaign, which encouraged people to “be an angel” and adopt a homeless dog.
  • Past recipient of the award include Shashi Tharoor, KS Panicker Radhakrishnan, Hema Malini, R Madhavan, Jacqueline Fernandez among others.
  • In 2015, Kapil Sharma was chosen for the PETA’s Person of the Year award.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization.It was founded in March 1980.It has more than 3 million members and supporters. It is the largest animal rights group in the world.
  • Its slogan is “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”
  • Each year, the organisation selects a Person of the Year, who has helped promote the cause of animal rights. Previous PETA persons of the year include Bill Clinton, Russell Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, and others.

3) The Government of Andhra Pradesh has allotted land for the construction of nuclear power plant at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.

  • The nuclear power plant will be set up at Kovvada in Ranasthalam block of the coastal district of Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. In 2009, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the Union Government gave an in-principle approval to the project.
  • The 6600 MW project will be executed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Russia is expected to join the NPCIL in design and implementation of the project. The project constitutes setting up of nuclear power plants, establishing a township and rehabilitating the displaced families.
  • The GO facilitates the NPCIL to take possession of 1473 acres of government land and pay for it as per the value fixed by the Revenue Department.The 5 villages located in the Project Affected Zone are Ramachandrapuram, Gudem, Kotapalem, Tekkali and Jeeru Kovvada.
  • The ambitious project will be executed at an estimated cost of Rs 60000 crore.The 5 villages located in the Project Affected Zone are Ramachandrapuram, Gudem, Kotapalem, Tekkali and Jeeru Kovvada.
  • The rehabilitation of people in the project affected zone is a complex issue before the government as the people who would be displaced are dependent on agriculture and fishing.
  • At present, there are 21 operational nuclear reactors in India with an installed capacity of 6780 MW.India will achieve this target with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance.

4) Actor Salman Khan has topped the 2016 Forbes India Celebrity 100 List.

  • Salman Khan’s total earnings constituted 9.84 percent of the total wealth of all the top 100 celebrities for the year.He retained the top spot due to the commercial success of his two big releases – Sultan and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo.
  • While the top 100 celebrities cumulatively earned Rs 2745 crore, Salman earned Rs 270.33 crore in one year period.
  • The rankings are based on two parameters – Estimates of entertainment-related earnings of celebrities and estimates of their fame.The period under consideration for both was between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.
  • A celebrity’s fame was calculated based on media visibility of celebrities across print, television and social media reach such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • A celebrity’s earnings were calculated on the basis of independent earnings from multiple sources such as industry insiders, talent management agencies, film and TV production companies, publishers, etc.

5) Amul, the popular Indian dairy cooperative is planning to invest Rs 200 Cr in a Centralised Milk Processing Plant in West Bengal.

  • The plant is located at Kandua Food Park in Howrah district’s Sankrail town. The work on the plant is expected to start in 2017 and be completed by the end of 2018. The proposed plant will process milk and other products such as UHT milk, ghee and yoghurt.
  • Kandua Food Park  has been developed by WBIDC to cater to the needs of producers and manufacturers of food and agricultural products.It comprises 25 plots with all facilities, including a fire station. The sizes of the plots vary from 0.5 acres to 4.45 acres.
  • Amul formed in 1946, the brand is owned by Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers (KDCMPUL), the first Cooperative Milk Producers Union in Gujarat. It is managed today by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), which was created by KDCMPUL in 1973.
  • The brand recently ventured into the overseas online market through a partnership with one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies-Amazon. It is currently known as the country’s largest food brand.
  • The brand’s success is largely credited to Verghese Kurien, who is the founder and chairman of the GCMMF.

6) The White House has permanently banned all new oil and gas drilling in the US-owned waters of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.

  • This ban is being termed as a final effort to lock in environmental protections before current President Barack Obama hands over his office to president-elect Donald Trump.
  • The ban was jointly announced by Obama and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister.To implement the ban on the two Oceans, an area that is roughly equal to the size of Thailand or Spain on Arctic and 31 sea canyons in the Arctic, Obama used a law of 1953 under which a president can block the mining and sale of new offshore drilling rights. The law makes it difficult for his/her successors to reverse the decision.
  • This decision of Obama will act as a blockade for Trump and his dream of exploiting the fossil fuels of these two oceans. For revocation of the ban, Trump will have to challenge the action in the court.

7) Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology has recommended a national policy on managing and curbing forest fires.

  • This move has come following the committee’s latest report on ‘forest fires and its effect on the environment, forests, biodiversity and wildlife’, which revealed that there has been about 55 per cent rise in forest fires.
  • The report has mainly focuses on the prevention of fires, especially in the Himalayan forests that stretch across the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • The number of forest fires has touched 24817 in 2016, in comparison to 15937 in 2015. A total of around 17502 acres of land has been destroyed this year due to the spread of the forest fire.
  • Out of these, Madhya Pradesh alone has seen almost a 10-fold increase in forest fires, from 194 in 2015 to 2600 in 2016.
  • The committee was formed following a series of destructive forest fires, of which one destroyed almost 4000 hectares of forest land, stretching across 13 districts of Uttarakhand.
  • The committee recommended the framing of a national policy to manage forest fires. It also suggested clearing the forests of Chir pine needles, as according to the report the inflammable needles play a huge role in the spread of forest fires.

Daily Current Affairs – 23rd December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 23rd December 2016

1) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a complete ban on burning of waste in open places across the country.

  • The green panel’s judgement was given on the petition seeking directions to local bodies in states and Centre for improving solid waste management methods.
  • For each such incident, violators will pay environmental compensation of Rs. 5,000 in case of simple burning and Rs. 25,000 in case of bulk waste burning, They imposed complete prohibition on open burning of waste on lands, including at landfill sites.
  • Union Environment Ministry and all States must pass appropriate directions in relation to the ban on short-life Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and chlorinated plastics within a period of six months.States and UTs to enforce and implement Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 in a time-bound manner.
  • Non-biodegradable waste and non-recyclable plastic should be segregated from the landfill sites. It must be used for construction of roads and embankments in all road projects all over country.
  • NGT is a statutory body established by a Government Notification using the powers of Section 3 of the NGT Act 2010. It is a special fast-track court to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It has been established to assure the right to a healthy environment to the citizens of India as enshrined in Article 21 of Constitution.

2) The Union Ministry of Coal has launched Coal Mitra, a web portal for allowing flexibility in utilization of domestic Coal.

  • The Coal Mitra Web Portal aims at optimum utilisation by private as well as public power companies of the coal. It facilitates transfer of the coal reserves to more cost efficient State/Centre owned or Private sector generating stations.
  • It was launched by Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal in New Delhi.It will host data on Quantity and source of supply coal to the power plant, Operational and Financial parameters of each coal based station and Distance of Power plant form the Coal mine.
  • The portal allows coal swapping between PSUs and the Private Sector in transparent manner and also helps to reduce operational and logistic costs, bringing power tariffs down for the consumers. It facilitates state/Central Gencos to display information about normative fixed and variable charges of electricity for the previous month.

3) Recently released Global Wage Report 2016-17 released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has found that India suffers from huge gender pay gap.

  • It shows that India has among the worst levels of gender wage disparity (men earning more than women in similar jobs) with the gap exceeding 30%.
  • In India, women formed 60% of the lowest paid wage labour, but only 15% of the highest wage-earners. It means that women are not only poorly represented in the top bracket of wage-earners but also gender pay gap at the bottom is also very wide in India. In other words, not only were women paid less, there were fewer women in highly paid occupations.
  • Women’s educational choices produced occupational segregation. Care work mostly undertaken by women is undervalued because it may be seen as a natural female attribute rather than a skill to be acquired. Thus, there is higher representation of women in sectors where their work is undervalued results in a gender pay gap.
  • The share of women among wage earners was among the lowest in South Asia. Compared to a global average of 40%, and an Asia-Pacific average of 38%, in South Asia (whose dominant economy is India), only 20% of wage earners were women.
  • The report also highlighted income inequality. In India, the top 1% earns 33 times what the bottom 10% did. The top 10% also earned 43% of all wages. Since 2006, average wages rose by 60% in India, while they more than doubled in China.
  • The ILO is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all. It was established in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

4) The union minister Venkaiah Naidu has launched ‘Google Toilet Locator’ mobile application.

  • It was launched as part of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ as well as ‘Digital India Mission’. It help people to locate the nearest toilet.
  • The app integrates location of all public toilets even those in private buildings with Google maps. Initially the app will have details on location of all toilets in Delhi-NCR and Madhya Pradesh and later it will be followed by other states soon.
  • Toilets listing in 7 cities–Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Indore and Bhopal have been put on the app. 6,200 plus public toilets have been covered in 7 cities through the app.
  • The app will have additional features such as cleanliness ratings, whether the toilet is of western or Indian style, or if it is free or paid.
  • NDMC area of Delhi is also open defection free. NDMC area is the first city to become ODF in NCT of Delhi.

5) India’s Arjun Bhati has secured the first position in Kids Golf World Championship 2016 held in Malaysia.

  • Arjun has been playing golf for about three and half years and so far he has played a total of 82 tournaments. He defeating South Africa’s Methu Denish.
  • In this event 21 countries had participated. Out of the 21 counties that participated in the tournament, Arjun secured the first position scoring 2 extra shots. He scored a total of 234 points followed by South Africa and Malayasia at 2nd and 3rd position with 236 and 239 points respectively.
  • Kids Golf World Championship is a special opportunity for boys and girls aged between 5 to 18 years to play in a world competition organized by US Kids Golf Foundation.
  • The competition, which was held for the 4th consecutive year in Malaysia, is the international version of US Kids Golf tournament and provides good opportunity for young people to compete and earn world amateur ranking points.

6) The Bank of Baroda has became the first Indian company to sign up as a national supporter of the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

  • It will be hosted by India in October 2017. While FIFA already has international sponsors for all events, including Coca-Cola, Wanda, and Adidas BOB is the first Indian supporter.
  • By joining in at this early stage, Bank of Baroda will have the added advantage of ten months of exposure in the build up to the FIFA U‑17 World Cup.
  • Over recent years, increasing awareness of and participation in sports has become a key focus for the state-owned banking and financial services company with its headquarters in Vadodara in Gujarat.
  • The 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup will see participation from 24 countries and matches will be played at six different venues.

7) Ravichandran Ashwin was named the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2016 and the ICC Test cricketer of the Year 2016.

  • Ashwin has been ranked Number one bowler and all-rounder in Test cricket. This year, he picked up 72 wickets in 12 matches at an outstanding average of 23.90 and scored 612 runs at an average of 43.17. He is the only Indian in ICC’s Test Team of the Year.
  • With this, he became the second Indian player after Rahul Dravid to bag the two coveted prizes in the same year.
  • Besides, Virat Kohli was named captain of the ICC ODI Team of the Year. While Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma also featured in the ODI Team of the Year.

Daily Current Affairs – 22nd December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 22nd December 2016

1) China successfully has launched TanSat satellite to monitor global carbon emissions.

  • It was launched on board of Long March-2D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China’s Gobi Desert.  It was the 243rd mission of the Long March series rockets.
  • TanSat will thoroughly examine global CO2 levels every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 ppm (parts per million). It weighs 620-kg and will be located in sun synchronous orbit about 700 kms above the earth. It has three-year mission life.
  • The satellite will help understanding of climate change and provide China’s policy makers with independent emissions data in first-hand and share it with researchers worldwide.
  • It will give China a louder voice on climate change, carbon reduction negotiation and bigger say on carbon trading.It will thoroughly monitor the concentration, distribution and flow of CO2 levels every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 ppm (parts per million) in the atmosphere.
  • With this, China became third country after Japan and United States to have its own satellite to monitor greenhouse gases (GHGs).

2) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet has approved 5.13 trillion yen ($43.6 billion) defence budget.

  • Under the new budget, Japan aims to beef up its ballistic missile defences, allocating funds for a new interceptor missile under joint development with the United States. It also earmarks funds to dispatch extra personnel to the Philippines and Vietnam to increase gathering and sharing of information.
  • It is Japan’s highest annual defence budget announced so far. It is up by 1.4% from the initial budget for the current fiscal year. Now it will be sent to Parliament (Diet) for debate and approval.
  • The funds have been increased monitoring operations and to maintain mastery of air and sea to counter attacks against “island areas” which are disputed territory. Separately, Japanese Coast Guard will increase security around the islands by allocating a record 210 billion yen, which includes two new patrol ships and the hiring of 200 more personnel.
  • It marks the fifth straight annual increase in annual defence budget in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and a territorial row with China. Japan is on constant alert against neighbouring North Korea, a rouge nuclear state which has conducted two underground nuclear tests and more than 20 missile launches in the year 2016.

3) The National Mathematics Day is observed every year on 22nd December.

  • It is observed to celebrate birth anniversary of great Indian autodidact Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. This year, it is 129th birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • Ramanujan was considered as doyen of number theory, infinite series, mathematical analysis, and making formulas and equations without any formal training in pure mathematics.He in the same league as great mathematicians such as Euler and Gauss. He was deeply religious person and had credited his mathematical capacities to divinity. He had once said, An equation for me has no meaning, unless it expresses a thought of God.
  • His Ramanujan Prime and Ramanujan theta discoveries have inspired further research on this mathematical subject. Along with British Mathematician Godfrey Harold Hardy, Ramanujan had discovered the smallest number represented as sum of two cubes 1729 which is known as Hardy-Ramanujan number.
  • The National Mathematics Day was instituted in 2011 by the Union Government to celebrate Ramanujan’s 125th birth anniversary. Besides, the year 2012 was also declared National Mathematics Year.

4) The Sahitya Academy has announced the names of 24 poets and authors who will be conferred the prestigious 2016 Sahitya Akademi Award.

  • This award has recognised premier works in 24 Indian languages that includes 8 books of poetry, 7 books of short stories, 5 books of novels, 2 books of criticism and 1 book each of essays and play.
  • All 24 awardees were chosen by a distinguished jury representing 24 Indian languages. The final approval was given by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi chaired by its President Dr. Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari.
  • They will be presented with awards at a special function to be held on 22 February 2016 during the Festival of Letters – the annual function of the Akademi.
  • Sahitya Akademi Award is conferred annually on writers of outstanding works in one of the twenty-four major Indian languages (22 Scheduled Languages+ English and Rajasthani).
  • The award consists of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of 1 Lakh rupees.

5) Hong Kong, a China-administered special territory has decided to withdraw visa-free facility for Indians from January 23, 2017.

  • Under the new rules, Indian travellers will have to complete a pre-arrival registration. Such pre-registration would not be necessary for those transiting through the Hong Kong airport without leaving the airport transit area.
  • This decision was taken on the ground to prevent illegal immigration as number of Indian asylum seekers was on the rise. Over half a million Indians visit Hong Kong for business, trade and holidays.
  • Earlier, Hong Kong used to be part of a block of countries that gave Indians unconditional visa-free entry. Indians were permitted to enter Hong Kong with a valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa. However in recent times, it was found that Indian nationals were overstaying in Hong Kong by violating visa norms.
  • Hong Kong’s unilateral decision came a year after its government had sent a delegation headed by the Assistant Director of Immigration from the Immigration Department and Hong Kong Police in December 2015 to India. It had informed concerns about “illegal employment” and “human trafficking” involving Indians in Hong Kong to India’s External Affairs Ministry.

6) The Union Cabinet has approved a draft ordinance to pay salaried by cheques.

  • The draft ordinance proposes changes to the Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 to encourage cashless transactions. It will need the President’s assent to become law as per article 123 of the Constitution.
  • It will allow industries to pay wages to workers earning up to Rs. 18,000/ month, without taking their explicit consent as required under present Act. However, wage payment through the banking system will only be optional, until State governments or Union Government come up with a notification for specific industries since Labour is in the concurrent list.
  • The present law (1936 Act) states that all payment of wages should be in cash. Under it has mandatory provision asking employers to obtain written permission of the worker to pay either by cheque or by crediting wages to his or her bank account.
  • The payment of wages through cheque or DBT of employed persons has twin motives  i.e. it will reduce complaints regarding non-payment or less payment of minimum wages and serve purpose of digital and less cash economy.
  • The move is significant in view of the Union Government is promoting cashless transactions after its decision to scrap the old high value Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.

7) Kaisa Matomaki and Maksym Radziwill have been jointly won the 2016 SASTRA-Ramanujan award.

  • They has won the award for mathematics for their ‘revolutionary’ collaborative work on short intervals in number theory.
  • Their mathematical work dwells on properties of numbers in “short intervals.” The two mathematicians worked with Fields medallist Terence Tao in making a breakthrough on the Chowla conjecture.
  • Kaisa Matomaki from Finland’s University of Turku is first woman to receive this prize since it was instituted in 2005.  Maksym Radziwill is Assistant professor at McGill University, Canada.
  • SASTRA-Ramanujan award is an annual award bestowed on young mathematicians for his outstanding contributions to areas of mathematics influenced by the Srinivasa Ramanujan. It was established in 2005 by Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) University. It is named after great Indian Mathematician autodidact Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • The age limit for the prize is 32 because Ramanujan had achieved so much in his brief life of 32 years. The prize is given annually to recipient at Kumbakonam which is Ramanujan’s hometown.

8) The government to soon set up helpline number 10588 for pregnant women.

  • The toll free number will be functional at Mother and Child Tracking Facilitation Centre (MCTFC) in New Delhi. The caller can give a missed call at this number and the operator will call back within 90 seconds to address their queries.
  • The Mother and Child Tracking Facilitation Centre contacts the service providers and recipients of mother and child care services to get their feedback on various mother and child care services, programmes and initiatives. More than 37 lakh beneficiaries have been contacted through this centre for data validation, promotion and facilitation in availing maternal and child health services.
  • MCTFS was set up at National Institute of Health and Family Welfare in 2014 and it is a centralized web-based application which captures the name based data of pregnant women and children.

Daily Current Affairs – 21st December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 21st December 2016

1) India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)/ Agreements in various fields.

  • These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi.
  • The Signed Agreements are MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism, MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange, MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development, MoU on exchange of information on training programmes of diplomats, Agreement on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry, MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audiovisual programmes.
  • Besides, both countries initiated talks to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in order to augment investments flowing between the two countries as it will protect the interest of investors. India considers Kyrgyzstan as a valuable partner in common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.

2) The Union Government is planning to launch toll-free number ‘1955’ for taking feedback on call drops from telecom subscribers.

  • The IVRS system will have to present a pre-defined CLI (caller line identification) to the subscribers, through short code ‘1955’.
  • Provisioning of this number will be mandatory for telecom operators and should be accessible for local and STD calling.
  • State-run telecom firm MTNL has been directed to configure this short code. Telecom operators have been directed not to charge any integration, maintenance, operational fee from MTNL.

3) The first issue of bilingual newspaper Saanjhi Saanjh has dedicated to senior citizen.

  • This newspaper has 8 pages which will be published by Harikrit publishers from Delhi. It will carry important and useful news pertaining to elderly persons besides inspirational stories.
  • It will also serve as a bridge between old and new generations. This Newspaper is edited by Ms. J.V Manisha Bajaj, Secretary, Harikrit, an NGO for elderly people.
  • This newspaper will carry important and useful news pertaining to elderly persons besides inspirational stories.

4) The Union Government has launched portal providing information on Haj pilgrimage.

  • The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched a website www.haj.gov.in related to Haj Matters in New Delhi. The website is available in Hindi, Urdu and English languages.
  • It will provide all necessary information relating to Haj management. It will also facilitate making online application for Haj pilgrimage.
  • It will also give the information about Ministry of Minority Affairs, Haj Department, rules and regulations on Haj, Haj Pilgrimage, Haj Committee of India and private tour operators. It also has Do’s and Don’ts during Haj and also a film informing about various aspects of the pilgrimage.

5) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has dedicated country’s first cashless bazaar in state capital Raipur to people.

  • Chhattisgarh is currently leading in the nation in training its people in digital transactions. The cashless bazaar or smart bazaar has over 900 shops that provide customers the facilities of cashless payments using POS, UPI and other digital systems.
  • In the Digital Financial Literacy Programme organised in Chhattisgarh, more than 4 lakh 70 thousand people have been provided training in cashless transactions in last 10 days.
  • Central Government has launched website portal www.digitaljagriti.in/contents/counters/beneficiaries/state for monitoring the target achievement of all the states of nation.
  • So far it has trained over 5 lac 33 thousand people in cashless payments way ahead of second placed Uttar Pradesh that has trained 1.75 lac people in digital financial literacy.

 

6) Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued new Rs 500 note with inset letter in new series.

  • They will shortly issue 500 rupee banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi New series with the inset letter E having star mark in the number panel. This will be for the first time star banknotes in 500 rupees denomination will be issued.
  • It will bear the signature of RBI Governor Dr Urjit R. Patel, Swachh Bahrat Logo and year of printing 2016.  Star banknotes in the denomination of 10, 20, 50 and 100 are already in circulation.
  • It will shortly issue Rs 50 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005, with inset letter ‘R’ and ‘L’ in both the number panels.
  • These banknotes (Rs 50 notes with insert letter L and R) have the ascending size of numerals in the number panels; the banknotes are similar to the banknotes of Rs 50 issued earlier in Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005.

7) The Union Government has revised North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIP), 2007.

  • The revision of policy has revised by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP). It stipulates mandatory disbursal of subsidies payable to all industrial units in northeast through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism by Chief Controller of Accounts (Industry).

8) India has won five-match test series against England.

  • India’s first innings total was its highest score in Tests and was the most runs made against England by any team. With this victory, India became no.1 Test team in 2016. Australia second placed in rankings..
  • India has won after England wrapped up the second innings at 207 in 88 overs in the fifth and final test match played at M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
  • England were all out for 207 in their second innings, Keaton Jennings top-scoring with 54, after India had declared theirs on 759 for seven, their highest test total.
  • Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the Indian bowlers, claiming a career-best 7-48. And Australia second placed in rankings.

9) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid foundation stone of the country’s first Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

  • It has aimed at making India the Skill Capital of the World, The institute is being opened by the Skill Development Ministry in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore.
  • The Ministry has decided to have six such institutes.Beside this, Prime Minister also inaugurated the Kaushal Pradarshini (Skill Exhibition) for the youth of Uttar Pradesh.
  • They will also address a Parivartan rally in Kanpur. Earlier, he addressed rallies at Ghazipur, Agra, Kushinagar, Moradabad and Behraich.

Daily Current Affairs – 16th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 16th December 2016

1) Assam government has launched ‘Sustainable Action for Climate Resilient Development in Majuli’.

  • The project has been initiated by Assam’s department of Environment and Forest to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It presents a vision and roadap for a carbon netural Majuli.
  • SACReD, Majuli project is part of the French Development Agency assisted Assam Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation (APFBC).Under it, mitigation through forestry activities and biodiversity conservation will be the starting points for carbon neutral agenda followed by other interventions over the next three years.
  • The project will be designed and implemented in partnership with other departments of island district for which a district level committee under chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner has been constituted.

2) The Supreme Court has ordered that Indian Airforce (IAF) personnel cannot keep beard.

  • The court had pronounced the judgment on an appeal by Mohammed Zubair, who was recruited as Airman in the IAF and was sacked for growing beard even after being denied permission. It held that Central Government’s decision to ban beards in the IAF does not infringe upon fundamental rights.
  • The appellant had claimed that keeping beard is his fundamental right to freedom of religion. However, IAF had countered it saying that keeping a beard was not an essential practice of their faith unlike in the Sikh religion.
  • The Armed Forces Regulation, 1964 allows growing hair or to retain a beard is where there is a religious command which prohibits either the hair being cut or a beard being shaved.
  • Defence Ministry’s 2003 notification allows only those Muslim personnel who sported a beard along with moustache at time of commissioning (prior to January 1, 2002) to retain it.These regulations are meant for uniformity and discipline and have nothing to do with religious rights.

3) The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has officially added word ‘Brexit’.

  • The OED has defined word ‘Brexit’ as “the (proposed) withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and the political process associated with it”. It is among 1,500 new words added to the OED.
  • Another popular new coinage is the word ‘YouTubers’ was also added in OED. It has been defined as “frequent user of the video-sharing website YouTube, especially someone who produces and appears in videos on the site.”
  • The word Brexit has been developed from “Grexit” which describs a similar process in which Greece might leave the Eurozone. Grexit was added in OED, calling politics “a fruitful area for new words”.
  • The word Brexit was used first after then Prime Minister David Cameron announced in 2013 that UK will hold a referendum on its EU membership. But it entered common parlance as campaigning Brexit intensified before citizen of Britain vote to leave EU in June 2016.

4) Haryana has become the first state in the country to launch Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV) initiative.

  • It was launched by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for safety of women. Mahila Police Volunteer is a joint initiative of Union Ministry of Women & Child Development and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • MPV initiative is a voluntary service under which Mahila Police Volunteers (Gram Sakhi) will be inducted. It aims to bridge gap between Police and Civil society for safety of women.These MPVs will be selected through a laid out procedure from among the empowered, responsible, socially aware women who will facilitate police outreach on gender concerns.
  • Under it, one MPV is envisaged per Gram Panchayat across the country to provide a link between police and community and facilitate women in distress. The volunteers will be trained by the respective state police authorities on their role and responsibilities. They will be appointed by state government.

5) The UN cultural body UNESCO has accorded world heritage status to Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

  • Rio de Janeiro has been accorded this status in recognition of its extraordinary fusion of man-made and natural beauty, soaring granite cliffs, urban rainforest and beaches. It also had hosted 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • The UNESCO status to Rio de Janeiro was announced in 2012. It became official after the Brazilian authorities were given four years to report on their plans for protecting Sugarloaf Mountain, Flamengo Park,  Corcovado, Copacabana beach, Botanical Garden and Tijuca forest.
  • The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are sites having special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The committee comprises of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  • Each World Heritage Site included in the list remains part of the legal territory of the state where it is located. But inclusion of sites in the list by UNESCO is in the interest of the international community to preserve each site. Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.

6) The fifth edition of the India-Arab Partnership Conference was held in Muscat, Oman.

  • The theme of the conference was ‘Partnership towards innovation and cooperation in IT’. It was held in Muscat from December 14 to 15, 2016.
  • It was organised by the Oman Foreign Ministry, Arab League Secretariat in association with the Union Ministry of External Affairs of India.
  • The aim of the conferences was to enhance flow of investments from both sides, accelerate the investment projects of prioritized sectors, provide conducive environment for export promotion. It discussed several important topics in fields of technology, innovation, health, pharma sector, clean technology, renewable energy, food security, education, skills development and tourism sector.
  • Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Oman Chamber of Commerce were the coordinating agencies. Besides, nine other chambers from the Arab States also participated.
  • Around 500 representatives including from the Arab League and Indian government officials, businessmen, investors and academicians participated in the conference. Other collaboration partners of the conference included Federation of Arab Businessmen (FAB) and the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture (GUCCIA).

7) The Supreme Court has ordered a ban on all liquor shops on national as well as state highways.

  • The three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur gave its order on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO called ‘Arrive Safe’. The petitioner had mentioned that easy availability of liquor from stores on highways was a major reason for drunk driving. This results into around 1.42 lakh death annually in road accidents, many of which are caused by drunk driving.
  • Licenses of existing Liquor shops will not be renewed after March 31, 2017. All ads indicating presence of liquor vends must be prohibited on national and state highways. Liquor Shops must be at least 500 metres away from the outer edge of the highways or service lanes.
  • This ban will also extend to stretches of such highways that fall within limits of municipal corporations, city towns and local authorities.

8) Sunil Arora has been appointed as the Director General and CEO of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA).

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Sunil Arora as Director General & Chief Executive Officer of IICA.
  • He has been appointed in the “apex scale of Rs 80,000/- for a period of five years or till attaining 65 years of age or until further orders, whichever is the earliest.
  • He had retired as I&B Secretary earlier this year and was also serving as an advisor at Prasar Bharati.
  • IICA focuses on matters impacting functioning of corporates and work towards capacity building with various stakeholders including regulators and professionals, among other activities.

9) The ACC has appointed VK Sharma as Chairman of Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC).

  • Sharma is the managing director of LIC, was acting as chairman since September 16 when the then chairman S K Roy was relieved of his duties.He was appointed as chairman of LIC for five years.
  • Sharma joined the body as a direct recruit officer in 1981, served as the chief executive of its mortgage subsidiary LIC Housing Finance and zonal manager in charge of the south zone.
  • The Ministry of Finance had recently completed the interviews for the post of two managing directors of Life Insurance Corporation and three top posts of public sector general insurance companies — United India Insurance, Oriental Insurance and Agriculture Insurance Company.
  • LIC is the largest financial institution in the country with assets of over Rs 22 lakh crore.

10) An Indian physics teacher Kavita Sanghvi has nominated for Global Teacher prize 2017 in UK.

  • She was shortlisted from over 20,000 nominations and applications from across 179 countries for the $1-million prize for her experiential method of teaching physics.
  • At present, she is Principal of Mumbai’s MET Rishikul Vidyalaya. She helped her students grasp the application of textbook concepts in real life situations.
  • The Global Teacher Prize, now in its third year, was set up by Indian-origin entrepreneur Sunny Varkey to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
  • She has made it to the list of top 50 contenders for The Global Teacher Prize 2017 by Varkey Foundation.Ten candidates will be chosen from the top 50 by February 2017 and the winner will then be picked from the final 10 by a Global Teacher Prize Academy.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 15th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 15th December 2016

1) The seventh edition of India, Maldives bilateral EKUVERIN Exercise 2016 has begun at Kadhdhoo, Laamu Atoll, Maldives.

  • In this edition of exercise, Indian contingent is represented by BIHAR Regiment and a similar contingent strength of the Maldivian National Defence Force. It will cover varied military training activities in order to enhance interoperability between the two defence forces. It will conclude with tactical exercises.
  • The aim of 14 day platoon level joint military exercise is to conduct military training between armies of both countries with emphasis on amphibious & counter insurgency, counter terrorism operations.
  • The sixth edition of the exercise was held in India at Pangode Military Station in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala.

2) The Union Cabinet has approved MoU signed between ISRO and United States Geological Survey (USGS).

  • This MoU signed in July 2016 will enable ISRO to receive USGS’s Landsat-7 and 8 in India. It will also allow USGS to receive ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 (AWiFS and LISS III) data of US region. It was signed for Cooperation in t exchange and use of US Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data.
  • ISRO is actively pursuing civilian space cooperation with many US organisations including National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Geological Survey (USGS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its interest.
  • Recently in February 2013, USGS has launched Landsat -8 satellite. ISRO expressed interest in direct reception of Landsat-8 data in India, while USGS expressed interest in obtaining data from ISRO’s RESOURCESAT-2 satellite.

3) The Union Cabinet has approved the draft Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016 to give autonomy to 12 major ports.

  • The Bill is more compact in comparison to Major Port Trusts Act, 1963. It has reduced number of sections to 65 from 134 by eliminating obsolete and overlapping Sections of previous Act. The bill aims to empower 12 major ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision-making.
  • Board of Port Authority has been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff. However, these powers have exception in case of national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. Empowers the Board to make its own Master Plan in respect of area within port limits and construct within port limits Pipelines, Communication towers, Telephones, electricity supply or transmission equipment.
  • It is empowered to lease land for Port related use for upto 40 years and for any purpose other than purposes specified in section 22. The approval above 20 years leasing will also require approval of the Central Government.
  • It will include representatives of respective state governments, Defence Ministry, Railways Ministry and Department of Revenue along with a member representing employees of Major Ports Authority.The Size of the Board of Port Authority has been reduced from 17-19 to 11 members.
  • The Board of the Port Authority has been allowed to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land. It has been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP project.
  • 12 major ports are Kandla (Gujarat), Mumbai (Maharashtra), JNPT (Maharashtra), Marmugao (Goa), New Managlore (Karnataka), Cochin (Kerala), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ennore (Tamil Nadu),  V.O. Chidambarnar (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam (Adhra Pradesh), Paradip (Odisha) and Kolkata (including Haldia, West Bengal).

4) Pakistan Army has successfully test fired an enhanced version of an indigenously-designed Babur cruise missile.

  • The missile has been named after the first Moghal emperor. It is a low flying, terrain hugging cruise missile. It is part of Babur Weapon System version-2 which is an important force multiplier for Pakistan’s strategic defence.
  • The missile incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy.It is an enhanced version of earlier missile. It carries certain stealth features and is capable of carrying various types of warheads.
  • It is equipped with state-of-the-art navigational technologies of Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all time Digital Scene Matching & Area Co-relation (DSMAC). It enables the missile to engage various types of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation.
  • It can hit targets located at 700 km with all kinds of warheads. Thus, it brings many Indian cities within its range.

5) Rajya Sabha has passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014.

  • The bill comprehensively covers a whole spectrum of problems from physical disabilities to mental illness and multiple disabilities under it.  It complies with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India became a signatory in 2007.
  • The bill repeals Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995. It has defined to include 19 conditions as disable. It also defines Persons with benchmark disabilities as those with at least 40% of any of the above specified disabilities.
  • It provides for the access to inclusive education, self-employment and vocational training to disabled persons. At least 5% seats in all government institutions of higher education and those getting aid from the government are required to reserve seats for persons with benchmark disabilities.
  • The Union and State governments will ensure that at least 5% of the vacancies in identified establishments are filled by persons or class of persons with at least 40% of any of the disabilities. The reservation must be computed on the basis of total number of vacancies in the strength of a cadre. Government can exempt any establishment from this provision of reservation.
  • Persons with disabilities shall have the right to equality. Rights include protection from inhuman treatment and equal protection and safety in situations of risk, humanitarian emergencies, natural disasters and armed conflict.
  • Disabled persons have the equal right to own and inherit movable and immovable property, as well as control their financial affairs in par with others. And the district court may order guardianship to the disable person if found a mentally ill person and not capable of taking care of himself or of taking legally binding decisions.

6) The sixth edition of Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) has begun in New Delhi.

  • The three days conference seeks to address issues ranging from crowded city centres to peripheral expansion, metropolitan based urban population growth, megacities and urban corridors etc. It was inaugurated by Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
  • In this conference ministers and senior officials from 68 countries in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to deliberate on challenges of urban planning and management. It will adopt Delhi Declaration and implementation plan for aligning urban development strategies of member countries with New Urban Agenda adopted at Quito, Eucador.
  • During the conference, five working groups will deliberate on different sub-themes like Integrated Planning, Management and Governance Structures. They will also be ensuring sustainable and natural disaster resilient urban development including climate change.
  • New Urban Agenda was adopted at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (also known as “Habitat III” conference) held in Quito, Ecuador. It sets the global vision of sustainable urbanization for the next 20 years. It is a set of 175 commitments that countries need to adhere to tackle challenges of urbanization.
  • APMCHUD is an intergovernmental mechanism for collaboration and cooperation in the field of housing and development among Asia Pacific countries. It was established under the aegis and support of UN-Habitat. It is consultative mechanism on the promotion of sustainable development of housing and urban development in Asia-Pacific region.

7) Sushma Swaraj has named 2016 Global Thinker for ‘Novel Twitter Diplomacy’ magazine.

  • Foreign Affairs magazine has named external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj one of 15 ‘Global Thinkers’ of the year. The Washington Post had called EAM Swaraj ‘Supermom of the State’.
  • Swaraj has worked tirelessly to help people in difficult situations. She has been lauded by one and all for responding quickly to people’s appeal for help.
  • She has helped both Indians and non-Indians. Some months ago she commiserated with a British couple who were having trouble getting their daughter – born of surrogacy – a British passport.
  • She was instrumental in coming to the rescue of 10,000 migrant workers who were going hungry in the Gulf after either being laid off or because their salaries were withheld.

8) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an interim nationwide ban on use of glass-coated ‘manja’ for flying kites.

  • A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar passed the order after noting that ‘manja’, string coated with glass and metal powder and used for flying kites, poses a threat to the environment.
  • To increase the chances of being able to cut as many kites as possible, kite strings are made deliberately sharp with churned glass, metals and other materials in order to make them razor sharp to cut through other persons’ kite strings. The matter was listed for next hearing on February 1, 2017.
  • PETA had said that minor children were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of ‘manja’ which caused respiratory problems as they inhaled harmful substances which were extremely detrimental to their health.

9) Paytm has partnered with major National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for digital payments at toll plazas.

  • Paytm has partnered with major National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) toll concessionaries to enable cashless payments at all state, national and city toll plazas. This partnership will facilitate commuters across the country pay their toll charges instantly using Paytm mobile application by scanning the QR code placed at toll payment counters.
  • Under the tie-up with the NHAI, commuters can now use Paytm FASTags to zip past toll plazas while the service automatically deducts charges from their digital wallets.
  • The service has been awarded the deal for 40 out of 350 highways as part of the government’s plans to allow digital wallet companies manage its electronic toll service. The e-tolling service is aimed at reducing congestion and helping commuters save on time.
  • The NHAI launched its e-tolling service in April at over 300 toll plazas across the country, including NH 8, NH 24, and NH 44. NHAI is also offering 10 percent discounts on payment through digital modes. Various branches of SBI, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank are selling the FASTags for use on e-tolls. The banks issuing the tags will in turn receive 1.5 percent of the electronic toll revenue every time a vehicle pays using the tag.
  • FASTag is a rechargeable tag that is fixed on the windscreen of vehicles and allows automatic deduction of toll charges with the help of radio-frequency identification technology (RFID). The tag is then linked to a prepaid account from which the amount is deducted every time the vehicle passes through the plaza. With a one-time fee of Rs 200, the FASTag requires a minimum recharge amount of Rs 100 and allows recharge up to Rs 1 lakh for commercial vehicles.

10) Cyrus Mistry was removed as the director of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

  • The company has been poorly managed for the last four years and it has to now bring in professionals and stem the losses.
  • He was removed by 93% of the votes of TCS shareholders. Earlier, he was also removed earlier as chairman of Tata Teleservices by its board in extra ordinary general meeting.
  • The ouster of Mistry from the board at the EGM, which witnessed high drama, was a foregone conclusion as Tata Sons, the principal shareholders, has a 73.26 per cent stake in the firm. A majority of shareholders were all praise for Tata Sons and Ratan Tata and blamed Mistry for what they claimed was washing of dirty linen in public.

Daily Current Affairs – 14th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 14th December 2016

1) The ninth edition of exercise INDRA NAVY, between Indian Navy and Russian Navy has begun in the Bay of Bengal.

  • The primary aim of exercise INDRA NAVY-16 is to increase inter-operability amongst the two navies and develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
  • The exercise will be held in two phases viz. Harbour Phase (14 to 18 December 2016) at Visakhapatnam and tSea Phase (19 to 21 December 2016) off Visakhapatnam. The Harbour Phase will encompass table-top exercises, planning conferences, and professional interactions prior progressing to sea.
  • The scope of the exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions in harbor phase and a diverse canvas of operational activities across a spectrum of maritime operations at sea. The thrust of exercises at sea will be on Air Defence Drills, ASW, Surface Firings, visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Tactical procedures.
  • Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvir a guided missile destroyer, INS Satpura an indigenous frigate and INS Kamorta an indigenous Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvette.Russian Navy (RuFN) will be represented by Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhalov, Deputi Chief of Flotilla, Pacific Fleet and ships from the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok. RuFN ships Admiral Tributus (cruiser) and Boris Butoma (fleet tanker) are part of the fleet.
  • INDRA NAVY is a bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian and Russian navies was initiated in 2003. It epitomizes the strategic relationship between the two countries.
  • Exercise INDRA NAVY 16 will help to further strengthen mutual confidence and inter-operability, and also enable sharing of best practices between both navies.

2) According to the 2016 IHS Jane’s Defence Budgets report, India has become the world’s fourth largest defence spender.

  • United States, China, and the UK remain the top three defence spender in the world. In 2016, the total global defence spending increased to $1.57 trillion.
  • In this edition of report published by US research firm IHS Inc, India has surpassed Russia, France, Japan and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s fourth largest defence spender. US tops with mammoth defence spending of $622 billion. China is second with defence spending of $191.75 billion.
  • India had spent $50.6 billion in 2016 on defence sector, up from $46.6 billion the year 2015. Thus, India spends some 1.8% of its GDP on defence. Of this, up to 36% is spent on capital acquisition. India needs to spend some $130 billion to modernise its military over the next seven years.
  • Over the next few years, India will re-emerge as a key growth market for defence suppliers to fulfill its military focused modernisation. India will surpass the UK in defence spending by 2018.
  • India also has been looking at increasing share of domestic manufacturing in defence goods. The foreign direct investment (FDI) limit for the defence sector in India also has been raised to 49%. India’s defence and aerospace market is among the most attractive globally. Government is keen to leverage this advantage to promote investments in the sector.

3) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is building a robotic spacecraft dubbed as ‘Restore-L Spacecraft’ to refuel, repair satellites currently in orbit.

  • In this regard, NASA has awarded a $127 million contract to California-based satellite company Space Systems/Loral to build Restore-L Spacecraft.
  • The robotic spacecraft (Restore-L Spacecraft) will be outfitted with the latest tools and technologies to repair, refuel or service satellites currently in orbit. It will help in extending life of existing satellites and reduce operation costs. It can also be used for cleaning space debris or testing asteroid platforms.
  • Space Systems/Loral will provide NASA with spacecraft bus, critical hardware and services for the Restore-L mission. This mission will be launched in 2020 to perform in-orbit satellite servicing in low-Earth orbit.
  • The Restore-L Project is managed within NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division located Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

4) The Indian Air Force (IAF) had organised seminar to increase awareness about organ donation.

  • It was organised at the Air Force auditorium in New Delhi yesterday. In this seminar, around 500 air warriors and their families joined hands to strengthen the organ donation movement in the country.
  • Directorate General Medical Services (Air) emphasised the need to increase awareness on organ donation and laid out the blueprint to carry forward the movement.
  • Organ transplantation is a viable treatment option for a number of otherwise fatal diseases. It gives a second-life to a terminally ill individual. Every year thousands of peoples die, waiting for a transplant due to lack of organs.
  • The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command was the chief guest for the event. The august gathering was welcomed by the DGMS (Air).
  • Indian Air Force has taken the lead in promoting organ donation in the country. A small but significant step towards this noble cause was taken by Air Force on 12 Dec 2016.

5) Customers making digital payment for purchase of petrol and diesel will get a discount of 0.75% on the sale price of fuel.

  • The amount of discount will be credited to customers account by way of cash back within maximum three working days of the transaction. The 0.75 percent discount on payments will be available on using credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets or Prepaid Loyalty Cards.
  • Last week various measures has announced by union finance minister which includes discounts on on-line payments for insurance policies, rail tickets and highway toll charges as the government looked to promote digital cash post demonetisation.

6) The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has approved the recommendations of the seventh pay commission.

  • As per new salary structure, entry salary that is of the lowest rung will be around Rs 18,000 and pay for highest office of Chief second will be around Rs 2.25 lakh. The pay hike almost 10 to 15% in the pay of employees will be implemented from January 17, 2017.
  • Decision in this regard was taken based on recommendation committee constituted by state government for the implementation of seventh pay commission.This move will benefit almost 25 lakhs employees and pensioners in state.
  • The central government set up a high-powered panel headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to process the recommendations.
  • The state government will incur an additional burden of Rs 26,573 crore annually in the first year of implementation while in the second year, the expenditure would come down to Rs 22,778 crore annually. Presently, the state government spends around Rs 95,000 crore annually on salary and perks for state employees.
  • The seventh pay commission’s recommendations will have bearing on the remuneration of nearly 50 lakh central government employees and 58 lakh pensioners.

7) India has been ranked as the fourth most vacation deprived country globally.

  • After Spain (68 per cent), UAE (68 per cent), Malaysia (67 per cent) and South Korea (64 per cent), India is ranked as the fourth most vacation deprived country globally according to Expedia ‘Vacation Deprivation report 2016.
  • The report was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm online from September 12-29, 2016, across North America, Europe, South America, and Asia Pacific.
  • It was conducted among 9,424 employed adults aged 18 years of age and older across 28 countries.
  • According to the report, 40 per cent Indians don’t use all vacation days as work schedule does not allow for vacation or don’t have enough staff to cover and 32 per cent are not able to take vacation days due to personal schedule.

8) Indian Actress Priyanka Chopra was appointed as UNICEF’s Global Goodwill Ambassador.

  • It was announced by soccer player David Beckham and British actress Millie Bobby Brown on the eve of UNICEF’s 70th anniversary in New York.
  • Earlier in 2016, she was appointed as UNICEF’s National Ambassador in India with responsibility of working on social issues related to children’s rights and adolescence. She also has been associated with other causes such as women’s rights, environment, health, education and gender equality.

Daily Current Affairs – 13th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 13th December 2016

1) Punjab Government has launched country’s first amphibious bus project at the Harike wetland near Amritsar.

  • The first of its kind amphibious bus in India was imported from Swedish automobile company Scania. It will be run by the Punjab Tourism department. The project has cost the state government over Rs 11 crore.
  • The amphibious bus named as “Harike Cruise” travels on land and as well as in water. It was launched by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. It has a seating capacity of 34 people and is equipped with life-jackets for everyone. The route of bus includes a 13 km ride from Amritsar to Harike wetlands. It will then traverse 4km on water. It covers the distance in 45 minutes.
  • Harike Wetland is largest wetland in northern India. It borders of Tarn Taran Sahib and Ferozepur district of Punjab.The wetland and the Harike lake were formed by constructing the headworks (dams) across the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers in 1953. It supports rich biodiversity which plays a vital role in maintaining the precious hydrological balance in the catchment area. It was designated Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in March 1990. It has provides ecological support to migratory fauna and number of globally threatened species such as Indus dolphins and Gharials.

2) India and Indonesia have signed three agreements in various areas to enhance strategic partnership.

  • These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Indonesia Joko Widodo in New Delhi.
  • Besides, both countries decided to strengthen their defence and maritime security relations and resolved to effectively address the issue of terrorism. The signed agreements are: MoU on Youth and Sports Cooperation, MoU on Standardization Cooperation and Joint Communiqué on Voluntary International Cooperation to Combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) Fishing and to promote Sustainable Fisheries Governance.
  • They agreed to build a strong economic and development partnership to strengthen the flow of trade, capital and people between them and also agreed for an early implementation of India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in Services and investment, and finalization of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

3) Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was sworn in as the 9th UN Secretary-General.

  • He was administered the Oath of Office by Peter Thomson, President of UN General Assembly at special plenary meeting. He succeeds Ban Ki-moon and shall have five-year term beginning January 1, 2017.
  • Antonio Guterres is Portuguese politician and diplomat. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. He was unanimously appointed by the UN General Assembly after the 15-nation UN Security Council had approved him in October 2016.
  • He led the UNHCR through during one of the world’s worst present refugee crises, including those in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.The UN Secretary-General is the head of the United Nations Secretariat. He is de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN. The role Secretary-General has been mentioned in Chapter XV (Articles 97 to 101) of UN Charter. The post lasts for five years and is limited to a maximum of two terms.
  • The post of Secretary-General of United Nations is not as powerful, but he serves as the UN’s top diplomat and chief administrative officer. He has to run an unwieldy bureaucracy and manage the competing demands of the world’s big powers. His role is to step in both publicly and privately to prevent escalation of international disputes.

4) Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal has won the prestigious 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or Award.

  • He has earned this title of world’s best football player for fourth time. Earlier he had won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013 and 2014. In this year’s competition, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (Argentina) finished second and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann (France) third in the vote.
  • FIFA Ballon d’Or Award is annual football association award given by FIFA to the male player who has performed the best in previous calendar year. It was instituted in 2010 after France Football’s Ballon d’Or and the men’s FIFA World Player of the Year award were merged.
  • It is awarded to male player, based upon highest votes secured by him from national team coaches and captains, as well as journalists from around world.

5) Prime Minister has inaugurates India’s largest cheese plant in Banaskantha district of Gujarat.

  • It is a programme organized by the Banaskantha Cooperative Milk Producers Union (Banas Dairy) at Deesa in Gujarat. The event marked the launch of the celebration of the Golden Jubilee year of Banas Dairy (part of AMUL brand).
  • The Prime Minister has also unveiled a plaque to mark the inauguration of a cheese plant and whey drying plant at Palanpur by remote control.
  • The Union Government is working tirelessly for welfare of the poor. He encouraged people to use e-banking and e-wallets.

6) The Union government is planning to provide 90% subsidy for starting community radio stations in the northeastern states.

    li>I&B ministry gives a subsidy of 50 per cent up to a limit of Rs 7.5 lakh, for starting community radio stations. They also provide 75 % subsidy to other states.

  • Besides, Government is also planning to start new dedicated Doordarshan channel for the northeastern states from January 2017. This channel will show the richness, variety and diversity of the local culture and seamlessly integrate these states with the rest of the country.
  • There is a collaboration between states and Centre is the “bedrock for good governance” and there is a need to “move forward together as Team India” in scripting the development of the nation.
  • Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu made this announcement at a conference of state ministers, organised by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry after a gap of around seven years.
  • They also announced that those states which promote cinema will get Rs one crore as reward after assessment.

7) Madhya Pradesh had organised country’s biggest and first ever crop insurance claim distribution programme.

  • It is organised under Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme in Ujjain district. In this programme, insurance claims worth Rs 4,416 crore were distributed to 20.4 lakh farmers of the state. Farmers who had lost kharif crop in 2015 due to natural calamities are benefited under PM Crop Insurance Scheme.
  • Under the Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme, claim amount of over Rs 300 crore will be distributed to the farmers of Ujjain district. Moreover, the CM will present a roadmap to the farmers to double the agriculture income during the programme at Ujjain.
  • Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country where such a big crop insurance claim will be distributed among the farmers.

8) Naveed Mukhtar was appointed as new chief of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

  • He will replace Lt Gen. Rizwan Akhtar. Lt Gen. Naveed Mukhtar possesses a vast experience in the field of intelligence and has headed the counter-terrorism wing of ISI.
  • Akhtar possesses a vast experience in the field of intelligence and has headed the counter-terrorism wing of the spy agency in Islamabad. He was commissioned in the Armoured Corps regiment in 1983.
  • Rehman has been appointed Inspector-General Training and Evaluation at General Headquarters. Newly-promoted Lt Gen Hamayun Aziz has been appointed Inspector General Communications and IT at GHQ, while Lt Gen Qazi Ikram has been appointed Chief of Logistic Staff.
  • Lt Gen Sher Afgun has been posted as 31 Corps Commander which is based in Bahawalpur near the Indian border, while newly-promoted Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal will continue as DG FWO and Lt Gen Naeem Ashraf has been appointed Chairman Heavy Industries Taxila.

9) Viola Desmond has created history by becoming the first Canadian woman to appear on the face of a banknote.

  • She will replace Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A Macdonald from the $10 bill. Desmond is a successful businesswoman and a well-known black civil rights leader who fought against racism in Canada in the 1940s. Desmond died in 1965.
  • In 1946, Viola Desmond’s stand at a segregated Nova Scotia movie theatre made her into a civil-rights icon for black Canadians. Viola Desmond’s own story reminds that big change can start with moment of dignity and bravery.She represents courage, strength and determination qualities.
  • A statue of the Famous Five, a group of Canadian women who campaigned for equalrights, was shown on the back of the C$50 bill issued in 2004.

10) Pulkit Trivedi was appointed as industry director of Facebook.

  • He was appointed as industry director of Facebook’s-commerce, retail, travel and financial services verticals.He will be responsible for building and maintaining strategic relationships with clients in the country.
  • He has 18 years of industry experience covering sales, business development and partnerships for Indian and multinational technology companies such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, IBM and HCL
  • Previously, he was working for Google India as Head of Industry, eCommerce since April 2012. He has rich experience of 18 years and has worked with Microsoft, IBM and HCL in past.
  • Trivedi is an MBA from BITS Mesra. He was featured in the ‘Hottest Young Business Leaders under 40′ in India list by Business Today in 2015.

Daily Current Affairs – 12th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 12th December 2016

1) The famed Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) has started regular commercial rail service in Switzerland.

  • The twin-bore GBT is world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel with length of 57-kilometer. It had overtaken Japan’s Seikan tunnel (53.9 kilometers) as the longest rail tunnel in world after it was opened in June 2016 for its maiden ride.
  • GBT is the first flat low-level route through the Alps Mountain. It is situated 2.3 km deep under these mountains and57-kilometer long. It connects northern and southern Europe and also shortens travel time for many rail routes.
  • The first regular train to use GBT ferried passenger from Zurich to Lugano.It consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun (Graubünden).
  • The main purpose of the GBT is to increase total transport capacity across the Alps, especially for freight. It was built in 17 years’ time frame starting in 1992 as a part of AlpTransit project, also known as New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA).

2) Bill English has elected as New Zealand’s new prime minister.

  • He has become 39th prime minister of the New Zealand. He will be succeeding John Key who announced his surprise resignation.
  • English’s name was confirmed for the role during a national party meeting. He was formerly serving the nation as the Deputy Prime minister & Minister of Finance.
  • In his new role, English will get to decide the date of Next year’s general election. He was first appointed as the Finance minister in 1999 but he could not complete even a year in office, as his party got defeated in the elections held in the same year.
  • Under his leadership, the country saw a commendable growth in its annual GDP and a fall in the unemployment rate.

3) Madhya Pradesh Government has launched five months long Narmada Seva Yatra to turn the Narmada river pollution free.

  • The Narmada Sewa Yatra aims to create awareness about the conservation of the river. It is one of the biggest public campaign of the world to conserve river and environment. It was launched by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at Amarkantak.
  • All the villages along the river will have Narmada Sewa Samiti. These samitis will take follow up action on measures to be undertaken for its preservation. Trees will be planted along the banks of the Narmada. Participation of public and society will be ensured in it. It will cover more than 1,900 kilometres in 16 districts.
  • The yatra holds religious, social and scientific importance of the river to create awareness about its conservation.Districts and villages along the banks of river will have facility to treate sewage water before it discharged into the river.

4) India has offered tsunami early warning-system to South China Sea (SCS) countries.

  • India already provides earthquake and tsunami-warning alerts to several countries in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood, as do Japan and Australia.
  • The South China Sea (SCS) countries are Vietnam, Malaysia and Philippines as part of soft-diplomacy. This system has developed by scientists at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). It warns concerned authorities of any large earthquake in the Ocean and threat it poses.
  • It uses mathematical model to estimate if an earthquake in India’s oceanic neighbourhood can result in a tsunami. It sends out a series of graded warnings to warn officials of danger based on data received form sensors lodged on the ocean floor.These sensors can measure actual earthquake signals and based on it generates warnings.
  • The South China Sea (SCS) is a controversial region on which China exerting territorial rights over its large part. Some of these territorial claims have been challenged by Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

5) Virat Kohli has becomes first Indian captain to hit three double centuries in a calender year.

  • He scored his third double century in the first innings of the third test match against England. He amassed his third double ton in the fourth Test against England in Mumbai.
  • His first double ton was scored against west indies, while the second came in Indore against New Zealand.His third double test-centuary also made him the first batsman to score a double-century in three successive series in a year. His score of 235 also become the highest score for an Indian captain in test cricket.
  • Beside this, Kohli is the only player to have an average of 50+ in all formats of the game. He is also the third captain to score three double centuries in a year. The other two are Clarke McCullum.
  • At present, India is leading the five match test series 2-0 against England. The third test match is being played at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

6) The Union Government will soon launch nationwide toll-free helpline number ‘14444’ to promote digital payments.

  • It will be launched to educate people and provide support related to cashless mode of transactions. The service is expected to be operational within a week.
  • It is to help people at the first level to zero in on the option most suitable for them that depends on person whether he has feature phone or not, Aadhaar number or not, bank account so many combination need to be seen.
  • The ministry of electronics and IT has launched free-to-air channel DigiShala which will be available on Doordarshan’s DTH platform and “CashlessIndia” website to educate people about digital transactions.

7) Pranab Mukherjee has launched Kailash Satyarthi’s 100 million for 100 million campaign.

  • The ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign aims to mobilise 100 million youth and children for 100 million underprivileged children across the world, to end child labour, child slavery, violence against children and promote the right of every child to be safe, free, and educated, over the next 5 years.
  • Earlier, the President inaugurated twin tower apartments for staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan; Navachara-II, a hall for permanent exhibition of grassroots innovations at Rashtrapati Bhavan and a museum of vintage carpets & tapestries of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • This campaign begins from India, which has one of the largest populations of youth in the world. This is the global effort to mobilize 100 million youth for shaping a better future of 100 million children who are less privileged is the beginning of a change which was long overdue.
  • The president has urged all children and young people from India and abroad to join this campaign and be the torchbearers for a vibrant, compassionate and happy world where every child is free from want, fear and exploitation.

8) The governement has simplify the rule of Passport issuance services.

  • They made changes in the existing rules.The Process of applying for changes in date of birth in existing passports has been made easy. It has also allowed digitally signed marriage and birth certificates as valid proofs of marriage and birth respectively.
  • As per the revised guidelines, passport issuing authorities have been authorised to consider request of each applicant seeking change in date of birth irrespective of the period that would have lapsed after the issue of the passport.
  • Now the government has introduced a new feature called “Prior Intimation” letter. The passport applicant can send this letter to the Controlling Authority before the submission of their application. This helps speed up the process and makes passport issuance less complicated.
  • For the application of passports, Government servants and employees of PSUs or Statutory bodies can submit the following documents which are as follow: Copy of the Prior Intimation to the controlling authority or administrative authority, No objection Certificate from the controlling authority or administrative authority and Identity Certificate from the controlling authority or administrative authority.

Daily Current Affairs – 11th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 11th December 2016

1) Ravishankar Prasad has launched Digishala TV Channel to promote Cashless India.

  • The channel was launched with an aim to encourage people for digital payment in their everyday life. It will be airing shows targeted at the rural and suburban population to inform them of various aspects of going digital like UPI, e-wallet, AADHAAR, USSD and usage of cards through talk shows and demonstrations.
  • Digishala TV is a free-to-air channel which will educate people about digital payment and is available on DD free DTH service.Apart from Digishala TV Channel, the minister also launched Digi Dhan Abhiyan.
  • The Abhiyan seeks to enable every citizen, small traders and merchants to adopt digital payments in their everyday financial transactions. During the campaign, the citizens will be informed about various modes of digital payments. People will be educated to download, install and transact digital payments via their mobile.

2) The Union Government has waived the import duty on wheat to zero from 10 per cent for an indefinite period.

  • The duty was waived because of uncertainty over the wheat output this year. Despite a rise in area sown, questions are raised over condition of the wheat crop, low fertiliser and pesticide use due to and fears of a warm winter.
  • This move aims to improve domestic availability in the wake of rising prices and concerns about the wheat crop in 2016-17.The waiving of import duty will make wheat imports (especially from Australia and Ukrainian) considerably cheaper. This will fuel imports to over 6 million tonnes in 2016-17. This will be the highest wheat imports in the 10 years.
  • The wheat production in the country will be around 93.50 million tonnes in 2016-17 as per the government estimates. However, many experts have pegged the figures around 90 million tonnes due to year-on-year droughts in 2014 and 2015. Moreover, Union Government’s own wheat stocks are at an all-time low due to less procurement.

3) The India-UK Conference on Ease of Doing Business has concluded on 10 December 2016 in New Delhi. 

  • The two-day conference was jointly inaugurated by Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Dominic Asquith, the British High Commissioner.This conference would act as an opportunity to enhance the strategic bilateral partnership between the two nations to the next level.
  • This partnership on Ease of Doing Business of the two nations is important because it will play a role that the business environment plays in encouraging trade, investment, innovation and economic growth.
  • The conference was arranged in the backdrop of commitments made by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2016. The two committed to provide a forum for experts from both countries to share best practices, which will lead to further collaborations in the future.

 

4) India and Vietnam have signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

  • The MoU in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy was signed by Sekhar Basu, Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy and Pham Cong Tac, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Science and Technology in New Delhi. With this, Vietnam became 14th country with which India has signed the civil nuclear deal.
  • The two countries also signed three other agreements in the fields of energy, aviation and government cooperation. These agreements will enhance aviation links, cooperation in the area of energy efficiency and promotion of parliamentary cooperation between both countries.
  • Vietnam also extended invitation to India to explore energy in South China Sea (SCS). It has urged India to intensify economic engagement with Southeast Asia, highlighting India’s importance as a regional power. It also supported India’s multilateral membership plans including UNSC.

5) China has launched a new cargo service which connecting Tibet and Nepal.

  • Dozens of trucks carrying goods worth 2.8 million dollars left the Tibetan border port of Gyirong en route to Kathmandu. The trucks are responsible for the remaining 870 kilometre of the journey, carrying goods to Gyirong and then to the final stop in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.
  • Besides, a train carrying several products like clothes, shoes, furniture, hats, appliances, electronics’ and building materials travelled the 5200-kilometer distance between Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, and Xigaze in Tibet.
  • This was the first consignment that was sent to Nepal by China after the Prachanda government took over the charge from former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
  • It was launched with the objective to enhance trade with the South Asian neighbour in line with China’s Belt and Road (Silk Road) initiative.
  • During the signing ceremony of the agreement, China agreed to Oli’s request of building a strategic railway link between the two nations from Gyirong and Nepal. Gyirong is the last Tibetan county, which chares its border with Nepal.

6) Japan’s space agency (JAXA) has successfully launched a Kounotori 6 (HTV-6) spacecraft, a space junk collector technology into orbit.

  • The spacecraft was launched on board of H-IIB rocket from Tanegashima Space Center.  It was also carrying essential supplies for International Space Station (ISS). It is an experimental space scavenger that aims to study possibility of getting rid of space junk (debris) left into orbit by earlier space exploration missions.
  • The space junk collector (electromagnetic tether) will perform Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiments (KITE) in order to test out new technology.It has been designed by JAXA engineers in collaboration with Nitto Seimo Co., a Japanese fishing net company.
  • The space scavenger is large magnetic tether made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium. It is designed to redirect space junk towards Earth’s atmosphere.
  • There are estimated to be more than 100 million pieces are circling our planet in the lower orbit, posing a growing threat to future space exploration. These pieces of debris travel at high speeds. A relatively small piece of orbital debris can inflict a great deal of damage on satellites or spacecrafts orbiting in the space. This phenomenon is Kessler Syndrome which describes a self-sustaining cascading collision of space debris in low earth Orbit.

7) The Rajasthan High Court has scrapped 5% quota to five communities, including Gujjars in jobs and education.

  • The verdict was given on bunch of writ petitions challenging the 2015 Act on grounds of violation of Supreme Court mandated limit of 50% on reservation. In this case, Rajasthan High Court had used Supreme Court verdict pronounced in Indra Sahwney case (Mandal Commission) which had set ceiling of 50% in quotas.
  • State government had given the reservation illegally to five communities and declared SBC Reservation Act, 2015 and its notification unconstitutional. It has failed to consider Article 16(4B) of the Constitution, which forbids reservation exceeding 50%.
  • In September 2015, Rajasthan State Assembly had SBC reservation bill along with a separate Bill for giving 14% reservation to Economically Backward Classes (EBC). Both bills had received assent of Governor Kalyan Singh. The SBC Reservation Act had given 5% reservation to Gujjars, Banjara, Gadia Lohar, Raika and Gadariya communities in jobs and education.

8) The Ratan P. Watal Committee on Digital Payments has submitted its final report to the Union Finance Ministry.

  • It was 11-member committee notified in August 2016 by the Finance Ministry. It was tasked to review existing payment systems in the country and recommend appropriate measures for encouraging Digital Payments.
  • The Committee has recommended medium term strategy for accelerating growth of Digital Payments in India. The strategy must be backed with regulatory regime which is conducive to bridging the Digital divide by promoting competition, interoperability and open access in payments.
  • It was having representatives from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), tax department and various industry bodies in the payments space.
  • It also recommends inclusion of financially and socially excluded groups and assimilation of emerging technologies in the market and a framework to reward innovations for leading efforts in enabling digital payments.
  • It has suggested inter-operability of payments system between banks and non-banks, up-gradation of digital payment infrastructure and institutions.

Daily Current Affairs – 10th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 10th December 2016

1) India and Vietnam has signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement recently.

  • The agreement was signed in New Delhi in presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and visiting President of Vietnam’s National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. Ngan is the first woman to head the National Assembly of Vietnam.
  • This is the second nuclear pact signed by India within a month. Earlier in November 2016, India signed a similar civil nuclear agreement with Japan.Vietnam is the 14th country with which India signed the civil nuclear deal.
  • Besides, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. During the meeting, Modi welcomed increased Parliamentary interactions between the two countries and called for instituting an exchange programme for young parliamentarians.
  • The bilateral agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of Atomic Energy will strengthen the Comprehensive STartegic Partnership between the two nations, namely India and Vietnam.

2) India was ranked 7th according to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) .

  • The fourth edition of the index was released by Sydney-based think-tank Institute for Economics & Peace. India is one of six Asian countries ranked in the top 10 nations most impacted by terrorism.
  • According to GTI 2016, Iraq was the worst hit by terror in 2015 followed by Afghanistan and Nigeria. Pakistan and Syria were ranked fourth and fifth respectively. Deaths from terror attacks globally declined 10%from the highest recorded level of 32,765 in 2014 to 29,376 in 2015.
  • ISIS has overtaken its African affiliate Boko Haram as the world’s deadliest terrorist group in 2015. It expanded to 11 countries in 2015 from six in 2014. Since 2014, the loss has declined from a 16-year high of $106 billion to the second-highest level of $90 billion, at constant 2015 prices.
  • OECD countries, the world’s most developed saw 650% rise in terror-related deaths from 77 in 2014 to 577 in 2015. Turkey (OECD member) witnessed 337 deaths in 2015, highest among OECD countries. These attacks were carried by the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and ISIS.
  • In India, as many as 797 terrorist attacks were recorded in 2015 up by 4% since 2014. Besides, 289 terrorism-related deaths were recorded in India, a 45% decline over 2014. However, number of Indian Army and paramilitary soldiers killed this year is at an eight-year high. 2015 attacks were the highest since 2000, 80% were non-lethal.
  • India experienced 7% of all terrorist attacks around the world, the fourth highest after Iraq (20%), Afghanistan (14%) and Pakistan (8%). In 2015, India suffered fewer terror attacks (797) than only Iraq (2,415), Afghanistan (1,715) and Pakistan (1,008). India suffered twice as many attacks as Syria (384).
  • The GTI systematically rank the nations of the world according to terrorist activity. It scores a country is calculated based on weightage assigned to four indicators. They are total number of terrorist incidents, injuries, fatalities and property damage sustained in the year in question.

3) President Pranab Mukherjee has presented the Shilp Guru Awards and National Awards to master craftspersons for the year 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

  • The awards are given in recognition of excellent craftsmanship and the major role played by them in continuing craft as a vital part of the traditional heritage.The recipient of the award included nine Shilp Gurus and 19 National Awardees.
  • The Shilp Guru Award consists of a gold coin and two lakh rupees, a Tamrapatra, an Angavastram and a certificate. On the other hand, the National Awards consist of one lakh rupees, a Tamrapatra, an Angavastram and a certificate.
  • The Shilp Guru Awards, National Awards and National Merit Certificate are awarded to a craftsperson only once in a lifetime. They are awarded to encourage master crafts persons to maintain excellence in craftsmanship and keep alive our old tradition.
  • The Shilp Guru Awards were instituted to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the resurgence of Handicrafts in India on 15 November 2002. On that occasion, the then President Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam honoured 10 masters of living traditions, responsible for the maintenance of the living cultural heritage of India.

4) The Indian Army has launched a “Veterans Outreach App” in a bid to reach out to its ex-servicemen.

  • The app was designed by the Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV), which also runs a web portal specifically meant for veterans and Veer Naris It has specific features like “Ask a question” and “Locator Services” for locating Ex-Serviceman Cells, ECHS Polyclinics, Station Canteens and Sainik Aram Garhs all across the country.
  • The app was launched by the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh Suhag. It is dedicated to Army Veterans and Veer Naris. The app also facilitates route guidance on a google map to any chosen service facility.
  • To enable veteran to check their pension entitlements, the app provides link to a “Pension Calculator” on the PCDA (P) web site called ‘Suvigyai’. It also facilitates “Findings Coursemates” from amongst veterans who are registered on the Indian Army Veterans Portal.

5) The Human Rights Day 2016 was observed on 10 December across the world.

  • The day aims at promoting and raising awareness of the two Covenants of Human Rights Day. They are: International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
  • Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
  • UNGA in December 1993 created the mandate of High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights. The first Human Rights Day was celebrated in 1950.
  • For the year 2016, the day calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights. To commemorate the day, a campaign “Stand up for someone’s rights today” was launched to encourage, support and amplify what one does in one’s everyday life to defend human rights.

6) The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items.

  • This is first time in recent years FSSAI has issued new rule related to packaging of food items. So far, it had focused on setting standards for packaged food.
  • In this regard, FSSAI has issued an advisory all states and Union territories and asked commissioners of food safety to restrict the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing of food items.
  • FSSAI is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through the regulation and supervision of food safety. It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. It functions under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • In India, use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items is a common practice followed by small corner shops and street vendors. However, it can cause serious health concerns due contaminate food items by newspaper ink.
  • Printing ink used for printing newspapers may contain bioactive materials, harmful pigments, colours, additives, binders, preservatives, chemical contaminants and even pathogenic microorganisms that may pose potential risk to human health. Even newspaper or cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with mineral oils, metallic contaminants and harmful chemicals like phthalates which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity.
  • Older people, teenagers, children and people with compromised vital organs and immune systems are at a greater risk of acquiring cancer-related health complications after they are exposed to food items packed in such materials.

7) The International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) is observed on December 9 annually.

  • The Theme of this day in 2016 is “United against corruption for development, peace and security”. It raise public awareness of corruption and what people can do to fight it.
  • It aims to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively. It also highlights the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it.
  • The UN General Assembly (UNGA) had designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day by passing resolution 58/4 of October 31, 2003. It was adopted to raise people’s awareness of corruption and role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in combating and preventing it.
  • The UNCAC is the first legally binding, international anti-corruption instrument that provides a chance to mount a global response to corruption.

8) The state government has imposed a blanket ban on the sale and consumption of liquor in three districts of the state.

  • The PIL was heard by a division bench comprising Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh who ordered a complete ban on liquor in Rudraprayag, Chamoli, and Uttarkashi districts, effective from next fiscal year.
  • The ruling came in response to a writ petition filed by Udit Narayan Tiwari, seeking a ban on a bar serving liquor in Haridwar, stating that it violated the government order passed in February 2002.The order had prohibited the sale and consumption of liquor in Haridwar given its religious prominence.
  • The court was of the opinion that no one should create a nuisance or become violent after being drunk in both public places as well as inside private homes. It also stated there should no liquor shop within a kilometre of an educational institution or religious place of worship, starting next fiscal year.
  • The state government also ban the sale of tobacco in areas that fall within the five-kilometre radius from Gurdwara Nanakmatta, Gurdwara Meetha Reetha Sahib, and Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib.

Daily Current Affairs – 9th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 9th December 2016

1) India was formally designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the United States.

  • Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had invited US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to India. It marked the seventh interaction between the two leaders. It was announced in the India-US joint statement on US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s visit to New Delhi.
  • The designation is a status unique to India and institutionalizes the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level at par with that of the United States’ closest allies and partners.
  • The two sides, in the joint statement, did not specify details of the benefits that will accrue to India under the designation.
  • Under the India Amendment in the NDAA 2017, the USA will inform the review of requests to export defence articles, defence services or related technology to India under the Arms Export Control Act. It will also inform any regulatory and policy adjustments that may be appropriate.
  • Also, an American official will be designated to ensure the success of the Framework for the United States-India Defense Relationship, which was signed in 205. The designated associate will approve and facilitate the transfer of advanced technology, and will also strengthen the effectiveness of the US-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative and the stability of the India Rapid Reaction Cell in Pentagon.
  • The United States had recognised India as a Major Defense Partner during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Washington in June 2016. The joint statement issued then had acknowledged the US-India defence relationship as a possible “anchor of stability.”

2) The Union Government has announced package of incentives and measures for promotion of digital and cashless economy in the country.

  • Petroleum companies will offer a discount of 0.75% on diesel and petrol to consumers who pay through digital means. 5% discount will be given to people who will buy monthly seasonal tickets in the Suburban railway networks through digital payment mode.
  • It was announced to supplement the surge in the digital transactions aftermath demonetisation of old Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes for promotion of digital cashless economy and cutting out cash transactions.
  • Payments through digital mode for railways catering, accommodation, retiring room will also attract 5% discount. People will be get 10% discount on General Insurance and 8% discount on new life Insurance policies of PSUs purchased online.Discount of 10% will be available to users for payment of toll at Toll Plazas on National Highways using RFID card and Fast Tags.
  • NABARD will extend financial support to eligible banks for deployment of two Point of Sale (PoS) devices each in 1 Lakh villages with population of less than 10,000. NABARD will also support Rural Regional Banks (RRBs) and Cooperative Banks to issue Rupay Kisan Cards to over 4 crore 32 lakh Kisan Credit Card (KCC) holders to enable them to make digital transactions at ATMs and POS machines.

3) The 2016 India International Science festival (IISF) has started at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Campus in New Delhi.

  • It was inaugurated by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The theme of the science festival is “Science for the masses”.IISF-2016 has been organised by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA).
  • The main aim is to promote the science and technology developed by the Indian research labs and to inculcate the scientific temper among masses.It will showcase recent developments and contributions of India in science and technology involving all our scientific departments.
  • It also aims to encourage and develop scientific temper and attitude, promote exchange of knowledge and ideas among young minds.It will also showcase India’s S&T prowess, technological developments, history of Indian Science and science education involving more than 10000 young researchers, academicians and top level Indian scientists.
  • The IISF as a major science event was conceptualized in 2016 and was organized for first time IISF at IIT, Delhi in December, 2015. It was visited by more than 4 lakh people and was a great success. It had won the distinction of Guinness Book of World Record for successful conduct of Largest Practical Science Lesson by 2000 school students.

4) Kerala Government has launched Haritha Keralam Mission for creating new sustainable development perspectives in the state.

  • It was launched by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Singer K.J. Yesudas and actor Manju Warrier are the mission ambassador.
  • The Haritha Keralam Mission is multidimensional development project focuses on water conservation, sanitation, environmental protection, and paddy cultivation.It is a comprehensive program for creating new sustainable development perspectives in the state by maximum utilization of opportunities through waste management, water resources and agricultural development using organic farming.
  • It aims to clear and remove waste from all water bodies in the state, ensure disposal of solid waste and removal of waste water and increase the area of land under cultivation. This is the first of the four mega missions planned by the LDF government. The health, housing and education missions will be launched subsequently.

5) A team of researchers from University of Illinois has discovered the existence of hot atomic hydrogen atoms in an upper layer of Earth’s atmosphere.

  • The discovery significantly changes current understanding of the distribution of hot atomic hydrogen and its interaction with other atmospheric constituents. This upper layer of Earth’s atmosphere has known as the thermosphere.
  • The finding was recently published in the report titled Nature Communications. The discovery was enabled by the development of new numerical techniques and their application to years’ worth of remote sensing measurements acquired by NASA’s Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite.
  • The researchers, under support from the National Science Foundation and NASA, developed a model of the radiative transfer of the scattered emission. This was done along with a new analysis technique that incorporated a transition region between the lower and upper extents of the H distribution.
  • It was also found that the presence of such hot H atoms in the thermosphere significantly affects the distribution of the H atoms throughout the entire atmosphere.

6) Former US aviator, astronaut John Glenn has passed away in Columbus, Ohio, US.

  • His achievement marked the moment in US space history as during that time it was caught up with the Soviet Union in manned space exploration. He was first American to orbit Earth and had circled three times earth in 1962 aboard Friendship 7 space capsule.
  • He had joined Mercury 7, America’s first class of astronauts after setting the transcontinental flight speed record as a test pilot. On February 20, 1962, he flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space.
  • After returning to Earth, he was elected in 1974 as a Democrat to the US Senate, where he served for 24 years i.e. till 1999. In 1984, he failed to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 1998 – 36 years after his historic flight he became the oldest man to travel to space, at age 77.
  • The Awards and Honours has inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990. He was awarded NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Congressional Space Medal of Honor and Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012).

7) According to the 2016 World Power Language Index (PLI), English has been ranked first in the top 10 most powerful languages in the world.

  • The index was published by World Economic Forum (WEF). Indian language Hindi was ranked 10th in the 2016 PLI. According to the index there are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world. Of these 2,000 count fewer than 1,000 speakers. Moreover, just 15 languages account for half of the languages spoken in the world.
  • The top six languages are official languages of the United Nations. The remaining 4 in the top 10 include two other BRIC languages (Portuguese and Hindi) and 2 of the economic heavyweights (Germany and Japan). Hindi is most primarily language spoken in India with a share of 41%. It is also the official language of Indian government.
  • The World Power Language Index (PLI) compares or ranks languages on their efficacy in the various domains. It uses 20 indicators to measure the influence on language. It measures the usefulness of a language to a representative human being.
  • It is not meant to apply to any particular person with their own set of conditions, preferences and geography. It does not measure of the beauty or merit of a language or its associated cultures.
  • Top 10 Languages in 2016 PLI are English (1st), Mandarin (2nd), French (3rd), Spanish (4th), Arabic (5th), Russian (6th), German (7th), Japanese (8th), Portuguese (9th) and Hindi (10th).

8) The Kerala High Court put a hold on the order relaxing dress norms at the state’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

  • The ruling comes just days after the temple’s CEO K N Sateesh allowed women to enter the temple wearing salwar suits. The move, which was taken in response to a petition lodged at the high court by a woman advocate Riya Raje, hadn’t gone down well with the Temple’s senior priest, Nedumpilli Tharanalloor Parameshwaran Namboodiripad.
  • It comes as a huge blow to women, as like before they will be expected to wear only saris or cover their salwar and churidar with a dhoti while entering the temple.
  • In July 2007, another prominent place of worship in Kerala- the Guruvayoor Shri Krishna temple had amended its strict dress code for women devotees, allowing them to enter wearing salwar kameez and traditional long skirts. The rule still continues to stand.

Daily Current Affairs – 8th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 8th December 2016

1) The Reserve bank of India (RBI) in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy review for year 2016-17 has kept key rates unchanged.

  • This decision was taken by RBI’s six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by Governor Urjit Patel. This decision was taken on the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation.
  • The policy repo rate where kept unchanged citing global and domestic uncertainties that posed upside risks to inflation. The MPC also has cut Gross Value Added (GVA) growth estimates for the economy in the fiscal year ending March 2017 to 7.1% from 7.6% earlier.
  • Thus, RBI has retained its “accommodative” monetary policy stance with the objective of achieving consumer price index (CPI) inflation at 5% by Q4 of 2016-17 and the medium-term target of 4% within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth.
  • Repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has Unchanged at 6.25 percent and Reverse repo rate under the LAF has Unchanged at 5.75 per cent.
  • Marginal standing facility (MSF) and Bank Rate has Unchanged at 6.75 per cent, Reserve Ratios Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks has Unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liability (NDTL) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) has Unchanged 20.75 per cent.

2) The Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) is scheduled to be held from 16 December to 23 December 2016 in Goa.

  • The festival will see a stellar line-up of 33 global artists, who will display their work at the eight-day inspiration-packed festival. More than 40 exciting projects and exhibitions featuring famous artists, like Kabi Raj Lama, Bandu Manamperi, Escif, Billy Chang, SP Pushpakanthan, Lisa Stertz and Paquito Gonzalees, will be a part of the festival.
  • The Serendipity Arts Festival will be held on the banks of River Mandovi in Goa.It is envisioned as a space, which brings together the visual, performing and culinary arts.
  • The festival is a long-term cultural project that hopes to affect positive change in the arts in India on a large scale. It is a cultural experiment that hopes to affect the way Indians interact with art on a daily basis by addressing issues such as arts education, interdisciplinary discourse, accessibility of the arts and patronage culture.

3) The Union Cabinet has approved the development of Phase – 1 of the Pune Metro Rail Corridor Project.

  • It will be covering a length of 31.254 km comprising with two corridors Corridor-1 (Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to Swargate) and Corriodor-2 (Vanaz to Ramwadi). Corridor-1 will be covering length of 16.589 km of which h11.57 km elevated and 5.019 km underground. Corriodor-2 will be covering 14.665 km and will be fully elevated.
  • The Project will be implemented by Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MAHA-METRO). The total completion cost of the metro rail corridor will be Rs.11,420 crore. It is scheduled to be completed in five years from the date of start of work as per the Detailed Project Report (DPR).
  • MAHA-METRO will be a 50:50 jointly owned company of Union Government and Maharashtra Government. The project will be covered under the legal framework of the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002; the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978; and the Railways Act, 1989.

4) In the PETROTECH-2016, 11 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were signed among various companies.

  • Among these 11 MoUs, a consortium agreement was signed between IOCL, BPCL and HPCL to set up India’s biggest oil refinery cum petrochemical complex with around 60 MMTPA capacity along the western Coast of India in Maharashtra.
  • PETROTECH meet was held in the month of December 2016. The MoU which were signed are IOCL, BPCL and HPCL, ONGC and IIT Mumbai,Oil India Limited and Technology Incubation Centre, IIT Guwahati,ONGC and Halliburton,IOCL and Praj Industries Ltd,ONGC and Schlumberger,IOCL and Praj Industries Ltd,BPCL and Institute of Chemical Technology,BPCL and Praj Industries Ltd,HPCL and Institute of Chemical Technology and HPCL and Department of Investment Promotion, Govt. of Punjab.

5) The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Vietnam on Cooperation in the field of Information Technology.

  • The MoU will be implemented by establishing a Joint Working Group on IT having representatives from both the countries. It will remain in force for a period of 5 years and will be renewable by mutual written consent between India and Vietnam.
  • The MoU aims to develop sustainable and a long-term cooperation between both countries on the basis of equality and mutual interest in the areas of IT.
  • Its implementation will result in institutional and capacity-building in the field of IT and Human Resource Development, mutually benefiting IT sector of both countries.

6) Veteran journalist Cho S Ramaswamy has passed away recently.

  • He was founder and editor of Thuglak, a Tamil political magazine known for its withering satire and fearless criticism of political figures. He was also a lawyer, actor, journalist, commentator and a political interlocutor.
  • He has acted in 180 movies, scripted 14 and directed four. He had acted in movies along with MG Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa, Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth and others. He also has directed several movies and over 20 Tamil plays. He was also a screen play writer. His work in the popular theatre was laced with political and social criticism.
  • Ramaswamy’s other writings covered a wide variety of subjects. He was well-versed in the Indian epics, Vedas and Puranas, he wrote copiously on religion and culture. He was awarded with B.D. Goenka award for excellence in journalism. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by then NDA government and served as an MP from 1999 to 2005.

7) Arunachal Pradesh State Co-operative Apex Bank has launched Mobile Banking Service named SIMsePaY. 

  • The SIMsePaY service was launched by the State Industries and Cooperation Minister Tamiya Taga is aimed at helping bank customers’ in their cash crunch problem.This mobile service operates on simple phone handset on SMS without the internet. It would be very helpful for rural areas where there is no internet network.
  • While launching the service, the minister also appealed its 1.75 lakh customers to use the mobile banking service for payments of their utility bills, transfer of funds and other services for hassle-free cashless business. He asked the bank management to adopt the technology and provide efficient and effective services to its customers.
  • Besides, he also asked the bank to survey more areas in remote locations for opening new branches. He advised the bank to offer small loans to self-employed people and launch the vigorous drive for loan recovery.
  • Arunachal Pradesh State Co-operative Apex Bank is CBS enabled and extends various services like DBT, ATM, NFF and RuPay Debit cards to its customers.
  • Yes Bank also announced earlier that it has plans to launch digital banking services in various states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and Goa. It was supposed to launch the same facility in association with the Taisys Technologies that started its India operation a year ago. Taisys has indigenously developed the banking solution in cooperation with Yes Bank. The SIMsePAY service was launched in Dehradun on 30 November 2016.

8) Indian field hockey player PR Sreejesh has took over as goalkeeping mentor of the India Under-21 team.

  • The decision was taken when the home team is all set to compete in the Junior World Cup title after a prolonged 15-year wait.
  • Sreejesh, who is the captain of the senior national men’s team, will take charge of the role from South African Dave Staniforth.Staniforth was roped in by Hockey India to work with the junior goalkeepers for a short three-week period keeping in mind the World Cup. He is set to leave for his home nation tomorrow.
  • He plays as a goalkeeper in the Indian national team and is its current captain.He plays for Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League.After India’s victory at the 2008 Junior Asia Cup, he was awarded the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
  • His second Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament award came at the 2013 Asia Cup, in which India finished second in the tournament.

Daily Current Affairs – 7th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 7th December 2016

1) Andhra Pradesh Government has launched AP Purse mobile application to promote digital transactions.

  • The application features 13 mobile banking and 10 mobile wallet options. Using this application people can pay their bills and carry out their cashless transactions.Engineering students will be encouraged to train people in mobile banking transactions using several wallets. This would help the students to earn while learn.
  • State government introduced cashless transactions at fair price shops and completed 70% of transactions using Aadhaar linkage to provide relief to people suffering from shortage of small currency.
  • It was launched by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in Vijayawada to solve the cash crunch problem in the state following demonitisaton of high value old currency notes.
  • Besides, Government will rope agents named ‘Marpu Nestam’ to improve digital financial literacy among people. They will be provided with incentives.

2) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed the norms for Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA) for online card transactions of up to Rs 2000.

  • Only authorised card networks will provide such payment authentication solutions for online CNP (Card Not Present) transactions. Customers opting for this facility will go through a one-time registration process by entering the card details and additional factor authentication by the issuing bank. Thereafter, the registered customers will not be required to re-enter the card details for every transaction at merchant websites or apps.
  • Banks and card networks are free to facilitate their customers to set lower per transaction limits. If the transaction limit goes beyond Rs 2000, then the card not present transaction will be processed as per the extant instructions with mandatory AFA; this goes same for the transaction value of below this limit.
  • Banks and card networks will decide the number of such small value transactions in a day, week or month.There will be no change in the existing chargeback process.
  • This move will surely boost the digital transactions at this crucial time of demonetisation. This will certainly encourage more users to switch to online payments. Moreover, it will enhance consumer convenience so that they can use cards more often.

 

3) The BRICS countries have agreed  to  share tax information automatically to eliminate tax evasion.

  • They have reaffirmed their commitment to prevent of base erosion and shifting of profits (BEPS), exchange of tax information and capacity building of developing countries. To eliminate BEPS all member countries agreed to tax profits in those jurisdictions where the activities deriving those profits are performed and where value is created.
  • BRICS members will exchange tax information, both on request and on automatic basis, and to adopt global standards on tax transparency They also reiterated their endorsement for global Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) on a reciprocal basis to prevent cross-border tax evasion.
  • This decision was taken at the meeting of Heads of Revenue of BRICS Countries in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Expressed “deep concern” with the process of erosion of the tax base by aggressive tax practices including incomplete disclosure of information by MNCs.

4) Indian Railways has made Aadhaar Card Mandatory for availing Senior citizen benefits.

  • The reservation of rail tickets for senior citizens will be directly linked to Aadhaar or Unique Identification (UID) cards from 1 April 2017 onwards on a mandatory basis for availing concessions at both counter and e-tickets.
  • It is seen as a valuable measure designed to restructure the reservation process for people in ‘Senior Citizen’ category. It will stop unauthorised agents from booking tickets in fake names and then selling these at a higher price.There will be no change in procedure with regard to concession to senior citizens in unreserved ticketing.
  • This Aadhaar-based ticketing system for senior citizens will be implemented in a two-phased manner. Accordingly, from 1 January to 31 March 2017, requirement of Aadhaar verification for getting concessional tickets for senior citizens will be optional.
  • The first and foremost task is to log-in using User ID and password on the IRCTC ticketing website.Then, you need to click on ‘Master List’ under ‘My Profile’ Menu.While adding new senior citizen passenger in the Master List, one needs to provide correct and complete details like name, date of birth and gender as mentioned in the Aadhaar Card.Thereafter, you need to select Senior Citizen Concession Option as Yes/No, ID card type and provide Aadhaar number.Hence,  passenger will be then added in the Master List by just clicking on the ‘Add Passenger’ button.

5) The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has launched Winter Fog Experiment (WIFEX 2016-17).

  • It is an intensive ground-based measurement to understand different physical and chemical features of Fog will be conducted at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi.
  • WIFEX aims to achieve better understanding of fog life cycle and ultimately improve capability in fog prediction. It will help to develop better now-casting (next 6 hours) and forecasting of winter fog system on various time and spatial scales. It will also develop mechanism to reduce adverse impact of Fog on aviation, transportation and economy, and loss of human life due to accidents.
  • It will help to study physical and chemical characteristics of fog, meteorological factors responsible for its genesis, intensity and dissipation which are poorly understood Similarly, it will also add light to the meteorological conditions like humidity, wind and synoptic conditions which are also not well studied.
  • Fog is a visible mass consisting of cloud water droplets suspended in the air at or near the Earth’s surface.  In India, presence of heavy and extended period fog in the northern region (world’s most densely populated region) is one of the major weather hazards, impacting road, aviation transportation, economy and public life. Maximum fog occurrence is seen over the Northwest region.

6) Banks will have to bear the full liability in the event of any security breach.

  • Banks issuing the cards will offer the ‘payment authentication solutions’ of the respective card networks on an optional basis to their customers.
  • Only authorised card networks will offer such payment authentication solutions with participation of card issuing and acquiring banks. For this purpose customer’s consent must be taken while making this solution available to them.
  • The card details already registered will be the first factor while the credentials used to login to the solution would be the additional factor of authentication.
  • Customers opting for this facility will go through a one-time registration process. They are required to enter card details and additional factor authentication by issuing bank. Thereafter, registered customers will not be required to re-enter card details for every transaction at merchant locations that offer this solution, thus save time and effort.
  • Besides, RBI also has relaxed additional factor authentication (AFA) norms for online transactions up to Rs. 2,000. This decision was taken in a move to save time for customers amid the government’s push for digitization of payments.

7) A Joint Communique was issued at the conclusion of the two-day BRICS meeting of Revenue heads and Tax experts at Mumbai, India.

  • The meeting was held from 5-6 December 2016 with the primary objective of discussing potential areas of cooperation in tax matters and to initiate an exchange of ideas, opinions, relevant knowledge and experience regarding the same. It was attended by the Revenue heads of all BRICS countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • The leaders expressed extra concern on the process of erosion of the tax base due to aggressive tax practices including incomplete disclosure of information and committed to eliminate the concern by working in solidarity with each other.They also acknowledged that profits should be taxed in those regions where activities, which are leading to their origin in the first place, are being performed.
  •  They reaffirmed their commitment towards exchanging ideas and sharing best practices that would help in preventing base erosion and profit shifting.
  • They reaffirmed their support for the global Common Reporting Standard for automatic exchange of information and set 2018 as the deadline for its implementation. They also acknowledged the importance of the exchange of information between authorities in order to prevent cross-border tax evasion.

8) Veteran journalist, political analyst and comedian Cho S Ramaswamy has passed away recently.

  • He was the first to propose Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate. He was also known to be very close to Late J Jayalalitha, CM of Tamil Nadu who died earlier this week, and also mentored her during her film career and continued to do the same even after she entered the politics.
  • Ramaswamy was a law graduate, a play writer and a stage actor and also directed several movies and was also a screen play writer.He was a member of the BRC cricket club which played in the II division of Madras Cricket Association (now Tamil Nadu Cricket Association) in the 1950’s.He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha under the previous NDA government in 1999.
  • He also acted in 180 movies, scripted 14 and directed four.He founded and edited the political magazine Thuglak magazine.

Daily Current Affairs – 6th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 6th December 2016

1) AirAsia has announced the appointment of Amar Abrol as its Managing Director.

  • Abrol holds over two decades of experience in different markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and Malaysia. He was appointed as CEO of the airline in April 2016.
  • AirAsia India is an Indian low cost carrier. It is headquartered in Chennai. It is the first foreign airline to set up a subsidiary in India.It marked Tata’s return to the aviation industry after 60 years, having ceded Air India in 1946.
  • As of February 2016, AirAsia India is the fourth largest low cost carrier in India, after IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet.

2) AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

  • He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao at a solemn ceremony held in the Raj Bhavan, Chennai.
  • This is for third time he has sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Earlier he had served CM for two brief periods from 2001-02 and 2014-15 after Jayalalithaa was unseated from the post by the courts on various grounds.
  • Previously in Jayalalithaa’s government he had served as Minister of Revenue Department (March 2002 to December 2002), Minister for Public Works (December 2002 to May 2006) and Finance Minister (May 2011 to September 2014).
  • Panneerselvam has been a trusted aide of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa. After her death, he was elected the leader of the Legislature Party. He will have remaining four years term of the Jayalalithaa Government. In Jayalalithaa’s government he was Minister for Finance and Public Works Departments since May 2016.

3) B.S. Bhullar was appointed as the Chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

  • The post of the Chief of DGCA was lying vacant for over four months after M Sathiyavathy, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the union territories cadre, was named as new Union Labour Secretary in July 2016. She was the first woman chief of the aviation regulator.
  • At present, Bhullar, a 1986-batch IAS officer, is working as an Additional Secretary in Civil Aviation Ministry. He was also holding the additional charge of the DGCA.
  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the Indian governmental regulatory body for civil aviation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It is headquartered in New Delhi. It investigates aviation accidents and incidents.

4) India has agreed to train Vietnam’s Sukhoi-30 fighter pilots.

  • This agreement was signed during bilateral discussions between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Vietnamese counterpart, General Ngo Xuan Lich in New Delhi.
  • It covers a cross-section of activities, including training of pilots and exchange of experts. Under it, Vietnamese pilots will be trained in India. The two Air Forces are working out the numbers, scope and the cost of training.
  • India already is training Vietnamese sailors in operating Kilo class submarines. Vietnam has been inducting Russian made Kilo class submarines since January 2014.Both India and Vietnam operate Russian Su-30 fighter jets. However the models of fighter jets operated by both countries differ slightly in their configuration.
  • Besides, both countries also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on peacekeeping as well as exchange of delegations.

5) Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa has passed away on 5 December 2016. 

  • She is the second female chief minister of Tamil Nadu after Janaki Ramachandran. She was put on heart assist device following the attack and her condition was stated to be critical by senior doctors at the Apollo hospital.
  • She is called Amma (Mother) and Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) by her followers.
  • ECMO is an advance life support system that helps provide oxygen to the body when the patient’s lungs or heart are unable to do so. It is generally put to use when the patient becomes unresponsive to conventional CPR or Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • A patient can be on the device for several days or even weeks. However the longer the patient stays on the device, the less chances the person has of recovering fully.
  • The neighbouring union territory of Puducherry has also announced a holiday for all government offices and educational institutions on 6 December 2016 as a mark of respect to Jayalalithaa.

6) Amazon has launched its global startup program ‘Launchpad’ in India.

  • Amazon India has tied up with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)’s Start Up India and NASSCOM. Amazon also has partnered with NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups and Indian Angel Network (IAN) along with NITI Aayog, Governments of Maharashtra, Telangana and TiE to help roll in startups.
  • The Amazon Launchpad was started in 2015. It aims to help startups to sell, market, and deliver their products to gain more visibility. Through this programme Amazon partners with startups and sells their products on its e-commerce platform.
  • Now it is available in seven regions and features over 400 products from different startups including 25 Indian startups. The program will enable Indian startups to sell their products overseas.
  • Amazon Launchpad will provide an exceptional opportunity for Indian Startups to get access to big consumer markets nationally and internationally. Through this program small entrepreneurs and innovators can leverage Amazon’s online platform to increase scale of their businesses and get easy access to global markets.

7) Srinidhi Shetty was crowned Miss Supranational 2016 in the first week of December 2016.

  • She was crowned at a ceremony held in Krynica Zdroj, Poland. With this, India became the first country to win Miss Supranational twice in three years.
  • She also received the prize amount of $30,000. In addition, she also won the title of Miss Asia-Oceania.
  • Shetty is the second Indian to win the title after Asha Bhatt. Bhatt clinched the title three years ago.
  • he question that helped Shetty to claim the crown was asked by Valeria Vespoli, the Venezuelan contestant. Vespoli’s question to Shetty was “what was her biggest take away from the event”. Shetty’s Replied“Being a part of an arena of women from different countries and religions, where all are competing for the same goal being happy under one roof, was an enriching experience”.

8) India has received over US $300 billion US Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) milestone.

  • The cumulative FDI inflows during the period amounted to US $310.26 billion. With this, India firmly established its credentials as a safe investment destination in the world.
  • 33% of the FDI came through the Mauritius route. India received US $101.76 billion dollar from Mauritius between April 2000 and September 2016.
  • India’s services sector received maximum 18% of the cumulative equity FDI inflows. It was followed by construction development, computer software & hardware, telecommunication and automobile.
  • Liberalisation of the FDI policy framework supplemented by major national development programmes such as Make in India, Skill India and Digital India besides increasing competitiveness, have made India the preferred choice for investors globally.
  • Mauritius route is preferred by investors because they wanted to take advantage of India’s double taxation avoidance treaty (DTAA) with the island nation. Besides Mauritius, other big investors have been from Singapore, US, UK and the Netherlands.

9) Bharti Airtel Limited has appointed Sunil Taldar as the Chief Executive Officer and Director for its DTH business.

  • Taldar will be a member of the Airtel Management Board and will report to Gopal Vittal, Chief Executive Officer at Bharti Airtel (India and South Asia).
  • He will take over from Shashi Arora who moved as Managing Director and CEO of Airtel Payments Bank. Previously, Taldar worked with Cadbury as India Sales Director. He had also worked with Mondelez (Indonesia) as Country Head.
  • Airtel digital TV is an Indian direct-broadcast satellite service provider. It is owned and operated by Bharti Airtel which was launched in 2008.
  • Its satellite service transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in India. At the end of the September 2016 quarter, Airtel digital TV had 12.4 million customers and recorded revenue growth of 21 per cent.

10) The sixth edition of ‘Heart of Asia- Istanbul Process of Aghanistan‘ conference was held in Amritsar, Punjab (India).

  • It was inaugurated jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. It concluded with adaptation of Amritsar Declaration with its prime focus on terrorism.
  • The theme of this edition of the conference was “Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity”. The delegates from nearly 40 countries and leading groupings like EU participated in conference. Indian delegation was led by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • The three big issues of the conference were (i) countering terrorism to create stability in Afghanistan, (ii) Providing Afghanistan connectivity to strengthen economic activities and (iii) the development which is essential for its progress.
  • Terrorism is the biggest threat to peace and security. It needs to be ended in all forms of terrorism and all support financial and safe havens providing sanctuary to it. Expressed concern over violence caused in Afghanistan and region by terrorists groups like Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Daesh (ISIS) and Jaish-e-Mohammed. It also mentions Haqqani Network.
  • HoA conference is a part of the Istanbul Process established 2011 which provides a platform to discuss an agenda of regional cooperation with Afghanistan at its centre. It was seeks to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbours.
  • Its three main elements are (i) Political Consultation involving Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours. (ii) Achieving sustained incremental approach to implementation of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document. (iii) Seeks to contribute and bring greater coherence to work of various regional processes and organisations, particularly as they relate to Afghanistan.

Daily Current Affairs – 5th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 5th December 2016

1) Usain Bolt from Jamaica and Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia has been awarded the 2016 IAAF World Athlete of the Year award.

  • Sprint king Bolt has awarded for sixth time. Earlier he had won it in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was rewarded for his blistering performance in 2016 season in which he won three gold medals (100m, 200m and 4x100m relay) at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Bolt had won three gold medals, each in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100 meters at the Rio Olympics, repeating his feats of the 2012 London Games and in Beijing in 2008.
  • Almaz Ayana was presented with the award for her world-record run to win Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 meters. She is the third Ethiopian woman to win this award following Genzebe Dibaba (2015) and Meseret Defar (2007).
  • The IAAF awards are presented annually by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The winners are chosen by athletics officials, athletes, journalists and an online public poll.

2) The 7th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) was held at Science City in Kolkata, West Bengal.

  • The focus theme of the Ayurveda Congress was “Strengthening the Ayurveda Ecosystem“. The major components of the congress were public outreach session, Ayurveda Clinics for the general public and Public Lectures.
  • It was held from December 2 to 4, 2016 and organised by the World Ayurveda Foundation with the support of the Union Ministry of AYUSH to facilitate development and growth of AYUSH system of medicine comprising Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.
  • During the 7th WAC, 5 plenary sessions, 25 parallel sessions and a large number of paper presentations were also held. On behest of PHARMEXCIL and Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, buyer seller meet was also held to boost the export potential of the Ayurvedic Industry.
  • Besides, to facilitate development and growth of AYUSH system of medicine the AYUSH ministry also had organised AROGYA Expo. It was inaugurated by Union Minister for AYUSH Shripad Naik.

3) The Indian Navy Day is observed on 4 December annually every year.

  • The observance of the day commemorates the launch of Operation Trident by the Indian Navy against Pakistan on 4th December, 1971. During the 1971 India-Pakistan war, the Indian Navy had played a significant role in the bombing of the Karachi harbour, the stronghold of the Pakistani Navy.
  • In this operation, three missile boats of the Indian Navy, INS Nirghat, INS Nipat and INS Veer had played a pivotal role.Operation Trident had also resulted in first use of anti-ship missiles in the Arabian Sea region.
  • Indian Navy is one of most potent maritime forces in the world and the most lethal in Indian Ocean. On the occasion of 45th Navy Day, President Pranab Mukherjee extended greetings to all members of the Indian Navy and their families.

4) The Reserve Bank of India is going to issue new currency notes of Twenty and Fifty rupees denomination in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005.

  • The 50 rupees note will be without inset letter in both the number panels. The 20 rupees note will be with inset letter ‘L’ in both the number panels. Both notes will bear signature of incumbent RBI Governor Dr. Urjit R Patel. The year 2016 will be printed on the reverse of both the notes.
  • All old the previous currency notes of old Rs. 20 and Rs. 50 denomination issued by the Bank will continue to be legal tender. Earlier in November 2016, the Union Government had decided to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination bank notes, in a move to curb black money. Subsequently a new Rs 500 banknote and Rs 2000 with advance security features were also issued. However, Rs 1000 notes have not been issued yet.

 

5) Hailakandi district of Assam has become the first district to pay cashless transactions wages.

  • It completed this task before the December 15, 2016 deadline set by the state government for cashless transactions of salary payments to the plantation workers.
  • The payment was made through five Banking Correspondents (CSPs) of Assam Gramin Vikash Bank. Such payments were possible due to the effort bankers, tea garden managements and mobile service providers. At least 504 workers of Burnie Braes tea estate received their wages through bank accounts.
  • Assam government had set December 15, 2016 as the deadline for cashless transactions to tea plantation workers.

6) ‘Stanpan Suraksha’ mobile application has launched to promote breastfeeding.

  • The mobile application has been developed by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI). It keep a tab on “inappropriate” promotion of baby food items.
  • Stanpan Suraksha is first-of-its-kind app developed for promoting breastfeeding and baby food promotion reporting mechanism. Using it any person can click a photograph of inappropriate baby food promotion around them and related equipment and send it to BPNI.
  • It has sign up option for mothers who wish to become a breastfeeding counsellor, pledging for petition and donation. The app also has a city-wise database of trained breastfeeding counsellor to educate and provide assistance to mothers during antenatal and postnatal period.
  • It aims to become instrumental in gathering incremental evidence to report on promotion of baby foods from remote locations.
  • 79% of the babies are delivered in institutions, out of which only 45% given breastmilk in the first hour. To address this problem Union Government had launched MAA (Mothers Absolute Affection) programme.

7) The premier cyber security agency CERT-In has cautioned bankers, customers and traders against skimming and malware attacks on micro ATMs and Point of Sale (POS) terminals.

  • In this regard, CERT-In has issued two specific advisories for micro-Automated Teller Machines and POS terminals. The move comes as usage of POS and micro-ATMs counters have witnessed a sharp surge post demonetisation. It has asked to adopt high-end encryption to plug possible breaches.
  • Skimming is the theft of classified credit/debit card data. Using this method, a hacker (thief) can obtain the victim’s card number using a small electronic device near the card acceptance slot and store hundreds of card details at a time and Social engineering attack can be engineered at these banking and POS facilities, by gaining trust of the card owner as the fraudster poses as a member of staff.
  • Point to Point Encryption (P2PE) should be used to minimise this risk as it will encrypt the card data and keep it encrypted to the maximum extent throughout its life. Banks and micro ATM operators must use some counter-measures to thwart cyberattacks.
  • Operators must keep all micro ATM software, application, anti-virus regularly updated and educate the customer about basic functionalities and security best practises. Customers must render due diligence of securing their PIN and not sharing vital details with strangers.
  • CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is the nodal agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. It is government organisation under Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It aims to strengthen security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain.
  • Micro ATM work with minimal power and connect to central banking servers through a GPRS network. It enables the un-banked rural population to access banking services in their villages or towns. It offers facilities of deposit, withdrawal, balance enquiry, issuance of mini-statement and funds transfer.

Daily Current Affairs – 4th December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 4th December 2016

1) Kehkashan Basu, a UAE-based Indian teenager has won the International Children’s Peace Prize.

  • The award was conferred to her by Bangladesh’s Nobel peace prize winner Mohammad Yunus at a ceremony held in The Hague. This award has awarded for her work towards climate justice and combating environmental degradation.
  • The teen in her award-winning speech stressed on the importance of continuing the fight against climate change and focusing on creating a more sustainable future.
  • Green Hope organisation has Founded by Basu which started as a small initiative has grown into a fully-established International organisation.It is run by children, who often consume their pocket money to fund their environmental activities. Within just four years of its founding, the organisation completed several successful environmental projects, some of which included planting 5,000 trees in Columbia, France, Mexico, Nepal, Oman and the United States.
  • Aside from planting trees, Green Hope also indulges in other activities such as cleaning up mangrove swamps around UAE, which is very significant, especially since their deforestation rates are almost five times higher than average global forest loss.
  • Basu was selected for the award from a total of 120 nominees from 49 countries. Some of the previous winners of the prize include Liberian child rights activist Abraham M Keita, American Neha Gupta for her NGO-Empower Orphans and Pakistani activist/ survivor Malala Yousafzai who is also the youngest recipient of Nobel Peace Prize for her work towards female education.

2) The Public Financial Management System (PFMS) will help Union Government to save a significant amount on interest costs.

  • It will allow the government to monitor and access the more than Rs.1 lakh crore of idle funds lying with it under various heads. Once government access these funds through PFMS, it need does not need to borrow that amount. Government is planning to roll out this platform from next financial year i.e. April 2017 along with Goods and Services Tax (GST). It will be integrated with IT network of the GST.
  • PFMS is an electronic fund tracking mechanism compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information regarding all government schemes.
  • Beside this, it will significantly provide government real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes. In addition it allow government expenditure to adopt a Just-in- Time (JIT) approach, with payments made only when they are needed.

3) The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) 2016 was observed across the world on 3 December 2016.

  • The theme for the day was ‘Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want’. In 2016, the goal of the IDPD is assessing the current status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and SDGs. The day also looks forward for laying the foundation for a future of greater inclusion for persons with disabilities.
  • The observance of the 2016 International Day of Persons with Disabilities coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD. The CRPD is one of the most quickly and widely ratified international treaties put forth by the United Nations till now.
  • The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992.The Day also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
  • The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of specially-abled persons.

4) Nico Rosberg has announced his retirement from Formula One on 2 December 2016.

  • This is the first time that a reigning world champion has decided to quit the sport. Last time something similar happened was in 1993 when Alain Prost announced his retirement after winning his fourth driver’s title.
  • He announced his retirement five days after he grabbed his first-ever F1 World Champion title in the season’s final race at Abu Dhabi.
  • He is the son of former F1 world champion, Keke Rosberg, who won the title in 1982.He is also the fourth driver in the history of Formula one to win the Monaco Grand Prix thrice in a row and to have 7 consecutive Grand Prix wins.He has also won the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy in 2011, FIA Pole Trophy in 2014 and DHL Fastest Lap.
  • The popular names that cropped up were Sebastian Vettel, Pascal Wehrlein, and Fernando Alonso. However, Vettel and Alonso are already to their tied to their respective teams for another season.

5) India and Qatar have signed five agreements including in the field of visas, cyberspace and investments.

  • These agreements were signed after bilateral talks held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani in New Delhi.
  • The signed agreements are Protocol on Technical Cooperation in cyber space and combating cybercrime, Letter of Intent on an Agreement on grant of e-Visa for businessmen and tourists MoU on greater collaboration and exchange in the field of national ports management, Agreement on exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic, special and official passports, MoU between Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • It is the largest supplier of LNG to India, accounting for 66% of the total imports in 2015-16. Indians form the largest expatriate community (around 630,000) in Qatar. They have provided positive contribution in the progress and development of Qatar.
  • Qatar is one of the most important trading partner of India in the Gulf region and important contributor to India’s energy security. India enjoys close and friendly relations with Qatar.

6) India women’s cricket team has defeated Pakistan to win the 2016 Asia Cup T20 at Bangkok, Thailand.

  • The Women’s Asia Cup is an international One Day International and Twenty20 International cricket tournament. It is contested by women’s cricket teams from Asia.In 2012, Indian had defeated Pakistan by 19 runs in the final of T20 in Guangzhou, China.
  • India defeated Pakistan in the final of the regional tournament by 17 runs. The win is India’s sixth Asia Cup crown.In the final, India, who remained undefeated during the tournament, batted first and scored 121/5.
  • Mithali Raj (India) has become player of the series and most run scored by mithali Raj is 220.

7) The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch 83 satellites into space in one go, aboard a single rocket in January 2017.

  • The launch of these foreign satellites by India is a part of a commercial agreement signed between these countries and Antric Corporation Ltd, which is the commercial arm and Public sector undertaking of ISRO.
  • The three Indian satellites that are going to be launched include:
    1. Cartosat – 2 series, weighing 730 kg as primary payload
    2. INS-IA
    3. INS-1B
  • Amoung the 83 satellites, 3 belong to India while the other 80, weighing 500 kg belong to five foreign nations including Israel, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and the United States of America.
  • Going by the size of the project, this mission would be the first of its kind in ISRO’s space history. The last mission that comes just close to this event is when ISRO launched 20 satellites with the PSLC-C34 launch. Similarly, then also the launch included foreign satellites from countries such as Canada, Germany, Indonesia and the United States of America.

Daily Current Affairs – 3rd December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 3rd December 2016

1) Thailand named its crown prince Maha Vajiralongkorn as its new king.

  • The Prince became Rama X, the 10th king of the Thailand’s Chakri dynasty. The dynasty was established in 1782.His official title will be – King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.
  • The responsibility of handling the throne matters for the time went to the head of the privv council, 96-year-old Prem Tinsulanonda. The ceremony was attended by several senior officials like the chief of NLA, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the head of the privv council, Prem Tinsulanonda.
  • Dressed in white, prince Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne and accepted his new responsibilities at the invitation of the National Legislative Assembly’s (NLA) President in his Bangkok Palace amidst the whole of Thai media.

2) The National Pollution Control Day 2016 was observed on 2 December in India every year.

  • This day is observed every year to give honour to thousands of human beings who lost their lives in 1984 due to the Bhopal gas tragedy and who were left severely affected due to leakage of poisonous gas from Union Carbide plant in Bhopal.
  • This catastrophe was the worst in the world’s industrial history and people there still continue to witness physical and mental disabilities. This day has an aim to make aware the people and industries about the need of Pollution Control Acts.
  • Bhopal gas tragedy happened in the night of 2 December to 3 December 1984 due to the discharge of the poisonous chemical Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) and other chemicals that released from Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Due to leakage, more than 500000 people were exposed to the poisonous gas of MIC and around 2259 died immediately. Toxic waste lying in the obsolete plant of Union Carbide has still not been disposed off.
  • National Pollution Control Board (NPCB) is the main governing body that conducts checks on industries to know whether they are following environmental regulations or not. Recently in November 2016, the Paris agreement on climate change entered into force marking the first time that governments have agreed to control global temperature rises.

3) The second Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Ideologist Award for the year 2016 was awarded to Prof. Yu Long Yu of China.

  • He is Professor and Director at the Centre for Indian Studies, Shenzhen University. He has studied Indology for half a century and is the pioneer for Indology in South China. He has set up the Centre for Indian Studies and Tan Yunshan Sino-Indian Friendship Museum in Shenzhen University.
  • He was presented with this award by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
  • The Ideologist award is an annual award instituted by ICCR. It carries prize amount of US$ 20000. It is bestowed upon eminent Indologists working abroad who have made outstanding contribution to the study/research/teaching of India’s history, philosophy, thought, art, culture, literature, languages, civilization, society etc.

4) The Border Security Force (BSF), the biggest border guarding force in the world has celebrated its 51st Anniversary of Raising Day.

  • On this occasion, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh presented prestigious “Maharana Pratap Trophy- 2016” on the BSF Punjab Frontier. Various cultural programmes were organised for BSF veterans and personnel during the Raising Day celebrations.
  • BSF is the sentinels of Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It came into existence on 1st December, 1965. It was created by merging various State Armed Police Battalions for achieving a better coordinated synergy between the border guarding functions in peace time and fighting the war during the eventuality on both Western and Eastern fronts.
  • BSF is deployed on Indo-Pakistan International Border, Indo-Bangladesh International Border, Line of Control (LoC) along with Indian Army and in Anti-Naxal Operations.

5) The Hornbill Festival has began in the Naga Heritage village of Kisama.

  • It is tourism promotional extravaganza to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage. It is also called as the ‘Festival of Festivals‘.The festival coincides with the Statehood Day of Nagaland which is observed on December 1.
  • The festival is a tribute to Hornbill, the most admired and revered bird for the Nagas for its qualities of alertness and grandeur. The majestic bird is closely identified with the social and cultural life of the Nagas as reflected in tribal folklore, dances and songs.
  • The Hornbill Festival provides a colourful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. It exposes both the culture and tradition of tribal peoples, and reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a unique state in India’s federal union.
  • It is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments. It is also supported by the Union Government. It was established on 1st December 1963 and was inaugurated by the then President Dr. S Radhakrishnan. Over the years festival has become a unique platform for tourists to witness cultural diversity not only of the Nagas and other seven sister states of the northeastern region.

6) Rakesh Asthana has taken additional charge of the post of Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

  • Rakesh Asthana is 1984 batch IPS officer of Gujarat Cadre. Prior to this appointment he was serving as additional director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).He had headed the special investigation team (SIT), which probed the Godhra train arson of February 2002.
  • He took charge following retirement of Anil Sinha. He was given this charge after government failed to find any full-time Director for CBI. This is the first time in last 10 years and only the second time in the CBI’s history that no new Director has been named to succeed an incumbent.
  • CBI is the foremost investigative police agency in India. It derives power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 It was established in 1941 in New Delhi as the Special Police Establishment. It was renamed to present nomenclature in 1963.
  • The CBI Director is selected by a collegium comprising Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition or leader of the largest party in opposition in Lok Sabha.

7) The Supreme Court has approved Central Government’s Graded Response Action Plan to tackle different levels of pollution in Delhi-NCR.

  • The apex court also has asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to upgrade its existing infrastructure and set up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR.
  • The action plan proposes common pollution code for Delhi-NCR to provide graded response to health emergencies caused by noxious air due to pollution. The code categorises the severity of the pollutants present in the air into four categories- moderate to poor, very poor, severe, very Severe or emergency depending upon the level of pollutants in air.
  • The enforcement of action plan will be under orders of Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority (EPCA). t has enumerated a number of measures which include closing brick kilns, stone crushers, hot mix plants, intensifying public transport services besides increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water on roads to tackle problem of pollution.
  • After air pollution reaches such alarming proportions, immediate steps will be taken. It includes ban on construction activities and implementation of road space rationing schemes.
  • China’s capital city Beijing also has a similar pollution code where regular colour-coded alerts are issued based on the levels of toxic particles in the air.

8) Scientists from Russia have developed a new unique, low-cost method for producing high-quality nuclear fuel using electricity.

  • The main type of fuel for nuclear power reactors is the uranium oxide pellet composition. It is produced from a powder by granulation, pressing, and sintering (coalescing into a solid or porous mass by heating) with the subsequent control of the quality and size of the pellets.It is alternative novel method that forms the basis of powder metallurgy and involves electric pulse sintering under pressure.
  •  In the new method, the mould is heated by passing electric current with the uranium oxide pellet powder placed in. The uranium oxide fuel is simultaneously influenced by the powerful pulse discharge and mechanical pressure.

Daily Current Affairs – 2nd December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 2nd December 2016

1) TeamIndus will launched India’s first private moon mission in 2017.

  • It will be launched onboard of ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). TeamIndus is a private aerospace starup company is planning to send a spacecraft to the moon aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket on December 28, 2017.
  • This mission’s aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon. It will also travel at least 500 metres and beam high- definition images, video and data back to the earth.For launching purpose TeamIndus has signed an agreement Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.
  • If the mission goes successful, it would likely pip ISRO’s proposed moon-lander mission — Chandrayaan 2. It launch date is not yet formally announced.
  • ISRO’s workhorse PSLV will launch the TeamIndus’s spacecraft in a three-day window centred on December 28, 2017. After completing a rotation around the earth, the spacecraft will land in 21 days at Mare Imbrium, a region in the North-Western hemisphere of the Moon.
  • TeamIndus is one of the four international teams and the only one from India that are running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition.Other three international teams include two US based companies, Moon Express and Synergy Moon and one Israeli company SPACE 1 L. So far, all of them have announced agreements with space-launch-vehicle companies such as SpaceX.

2) The Union Government has approved inclusion of 15 new castes and modification of 13 others in the Central Other Backward Castes (OBC) list.

  • The amendments were approved by the Union Cabinet in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This move follows the proposal put forward by the National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC).
  • The proposal suggested 28 changes with respect to 8 states including Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand. In the 28 changes, 15 were new additions, 9 were synonyms or sub-castes of the already existing castes and 4 were corrections.
  • These amendments will enable people belonging to these newly added castes to avail the benefits of reservation in both Government services and Central Educational Institutions.These people will also be entitled to enjoy the benefits of various welfare schemes launched by the Union Government.
  • The commission comprises five members including a Chairperson (Judge of SC or HC), a social scientist, two people with expert knowledge on matters related to backward classes and a Member Secretary who has served as a Secretary to the Government of India.The term of all five members is three years.

 

3) Scientists from Israel have created the world’s first ‘water-wave laser’.

  • The study conducted by team of researchers from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology led by Professor Tal Carmon. In this, researchers had created a device in which an optical fibre delivers light into a tiny droplet of octane and water. The energy is emitted by the droplet when light waves and water waves pass through each other many times (about one million times) inside the droplet.
  • The interaction between the fibre optic light and the miniscule vibrations on surface of the droplet creates an echo i.e. interaction of sound waves causing it to emit radiation. Event when minute pressure is applied by light it can cause droplet deformation that is a million times greater than in a typical optomechanical device. It may offer greater control of the laser’s emissions. In order to increase this echo effect in the device, highly transparent, runny liquids was used to encourage light and droplet interactions.
  • The ‘water-wave laser’ may be used in ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices to study cell biology and test new drug therapies. It can be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves. It also offers scientists a playground for studying the interaction of light and fluid at a scale smaller than the width of a human hair.

4) Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen of Norway has won the 2016 World Chess Championship.

  • Magnus Carlsen is a Norwegian chess grandmaster. He is No. 1 ranked player in the world and reigning World Chess Champion in classical, rapid, and blitz. He became Grandmaster in 2004.
  • On 1st January 2010, at the age of 19 years, 32 days, he was the youngest chess player in history to be ranked world No. 1. In November 2013, he became World Champion by defeating Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship.
  • In 2013, he was named in the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.
  • He became world champion for the third consecutive time. He retained the title after defeating Sergey Karjakin of Russia. Karjakin had tied against Carlsen in 12 regular rounds but was beaten in the final phase of four quickfire games.

5) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has formally inscribed Yoga in its representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

  • The declaration describes Yoga, an ancient Indian practice as a Human Treasure. It was unanimously supported by all the 24 members of inter-governmental Committee. Other new inscriptions added in the list are Rumba dance (Cuba), Belgian beer (Belgium), Almezmar (Saudi Arabia), Kuresi  (Kazakhstan) and Khidr Elias feast (Iraq), Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals (Japan), Momoeria, New Year’s celebration (Greece), practice of organizing shared interests in cooperatives (Germany),Making and sharing flatbread (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan), Culture of Jeju Haenyeo (South Korea), Gada system (Ethiopia),Tahteeb, stick game (Egypt), Music and dance of the merengue (Dominican Republic), Valencia Fallas festivity (Spain), Solar Term(China), Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh(Bangladesh).
  • Decision in this regard was taken by the Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.The proposal for inclusion of Yoga in this list was forwarded by the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) immediately after the first International Yoga Day was on 21st June 2016.
  • The UNESCO’s list was established in 2008 after Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2003 came into effect. It compiles two lists which are Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. Now, the list includes 814 cultural sites, 203 natural and 35 with both cultural and natural qualities.

6) The Supreme Court has ordered cinema halls to mandatory play the national anthem before every screening.

  • According to SC such practice, will instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism. It should be seen as an opportunity for the public to express their love for the motherland. All those present in cinema halls have to “stand up to show respect.”
  • The SC order was given by bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy on a writ petition by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in October 2016. SC took note of Article 51(A) and held that national anthem is a symbol of the constitutional patriotism and national quality. It held that cinemas should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played and never play any abridged version of anthem.

7) India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has accelerated to 7.3 percent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2016-17.

  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) also increased to 7.1 percent. While GDP growth accelerated in the second quarter from the 7.1 percent seen in the April-June quarter, GVA growth slowed from the 7.3 percent registered in that period.
  • The agriculture sector maintained the overall growth by registering a 3.3 percent GVA growth rate in Q2 of this financial year in comparison with 2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
    • The manufacturing sector saw a significant slowdown as it registered a GVA growth of 7.1 per cent in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 9.2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.There was a drop in outputs across all sectors except for agriculture, construction and public administration.
  • Government final consumption expenditure was 13 percent of GDP in the second quarter of this financial year compared with 12.1 percent in the previous year.Union Government’s Capital Expenditure (Plan and non-Plan) declined 12.81 percent to Rs 124959 crore in the quarter against Rs 143329 crore in the year-ago period.

8) The Union Minister for Human Resource Development has launched ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’. 

  • The programme was launched in line to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to youth in Mann Ki Baat, where Prime Minister called for making people aware about digital economy and cashless modes of transactions. It aims at making people aware about the cashless economic system.
  • HRD Minister also launched a webpage where students can register themselves. They can also provide their feedback and suggestions on the initiative as well as upload the progress of their work.
  • At present, India is undergoing transformational shift towards digital economy and youth can be an agent of change in this process of transformation. Beside  this, the HRD Minister also appealed to higher education institutes to receive nothing in cash (fee/fines/deposits) and pay nothing in cash (wages/salaries/vendor payments). He asked these institutions to develop a cashless campus (canteens/covering shops/services).

9) World Aids day is observed on 1st December every year across the world.

  • The theme of this year’s event is ‘Hands up for HIV Prevention’. The campaign looks at ways to improve prevention strategies, identifying key areas among specific groups of people who are vulnerable to transmission – adolescent girls and young women in particular.
  • World Aids Day has been held on 1 December every year since 1988. It is dedicated to raising awareness of the disease caused by the spread of HIV.
  • The aim of this day is to bringing together the world’s experts to advance knowledge about HIV, present new research findings, and promote and enhance scientific and community collaborations around the world.
  • It Promoting activism and community mobilization that holds leaders, industry, and governments accountable and increases their commitment to an evidence-based, human-rights-affirming HIV and AIDS response.

Daily Current Affairs – 1st December 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 1st December 2016

1) Raj Bhawan of Himachal Pradesh has adopted the cashless system for all kind of payments.

  • As per the reports, the payments of Raj Bhawan would be made online, through cheques or another mode of e-payments. Governor Acharya Devvrat has directed Raj Bhawan’s official in Shimla to use a cashless system or cheque in all kind of payments.The direction was issued after the Prime Minister’s appeal in this regard.
  • Himachal Rajbhawan is the first in the country to adopt these cashless techniques so promptly.Governor Devvrat has also appealed students, teachers and NGO are to make common people aware about the cashless system.
  • Besides, Andhra Pradesh is also planning to launch a mobile wallet with the name ‘AP Purse’ to help the public in the adoption of cashless payments. The plan was announced by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. He said that his government would be the first state in India to switch to digital transactions.

2) The United Nations Department of Field Support (DFS) has launched a new strategy to maximize its peace operations’ efficiency in the use of natural resources.

  • The step was taken to highlight the significance of environmental protection and management in the work of peacekeeping missions.
  • The strategy’s aim is to reduce overall demand through increased efficiency, increase the proportion of energy from renewable sources such as solar arrays and reduce the level of pollution.Also, the scheme aims at conserving water and reducing the level of risk to personnel, local communities and ecosystems from wastewater management practices.
  • The first phase of the strategy will be implemented through July 2020. It will focus on improving environmental analytics to effectively monitor progress. The five pillars of the strategy will then be reviewed. Thereafter, specific targets will be set for the second phase of strategy implementation to conclude in June 2023.
  • The United Nations Department of Field Support is dedicated to the support of peacekeeping field missions and political field missions. The aim of the DFS is “Protecting and nurturing a fragile peace is a critical role of the United Nations”.
  • It identifies challenges and objectives based on five pillars. These pillars are energy, water and wastewater, solid waste, wider impact and environmental management systems. It also includes key performance indicators for these areas.

 

3) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reduced the cash withdrawal limit from the  Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts to Rs 10000 a month only with an aim to protect farmers and rural Jan Dhan account holders from money launderers.

  • PMJDY account holders, who want to withdraw more than Rs 10000 a month, will have to furnish appropriate documents to prove why they need the money. The branch managers can allow further withdrawals beyond Rs 10000 only after ascertaining the genuineness of such withdrawals and duly documenting the details on bank’s record.
  • These limits have been applied with a view to protect the innocent farmers and rural account holders of PMJDY from activities of money launders and the legal consequences under the Benami Property Transaction & Money Laundering laws.
  • Limited or Non-KYC compliant PMJDY account holders will be allowed to withdraw Rs 5000 per month from the amount deposited in new currency notes after 9 November 2016. These account holders can withdraw up to Rs 10000.

4) India has singed deal with the United States (US) to buy 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers worth $750 million.

  • This is the first defence deal signed by India for purchasing artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s. It was recently cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was signed at the two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) held in New Delhi.
  • M777 howitzers manufacturer BAE Systems will conclude an offset agreement estimated at about $200 million. 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition. Remaining 120 guns will be assembled at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility for the weapon system in India.
  • It is a bilateral forum established to progress Defence Cooperation between HQ Integrated Defence Staff (India) and US Pacific Command at strategic and operational levels.
  • M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers artillery guns induction will give Indian defence forces a much needed operational advantage and an access to state of art technology. These guns will be deployed in high-altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China.

5) The Union Cabinet has given approval to the India negotiating position at the recent 28th Meeting of Parties (MoP) in Kigali, Rwanda.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved baseline and freeze years proposal of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest (MoEFCC) over the issue of phasing down the climate-damaging refrigerants hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as negotiated in Kigali meet.
  • The negotiations at Kigali meet held in October 2016 were aimed at including HFCs in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol.
  • In the Kigali meet, India had successfully negotiated the baseline years within a range of 2024 to 2030 and freeze year in subsequent years for phasing down the use of HFCs. It had two set of baselines years were agreed for developing countries. India along with nine other countries will have baseline years of 2024, 2025, 2026.
  • The freeze year for India will be 2028 and it will be with a condition that there will be a technology review in 2024/2025. India’s position was mainly aimed at allowing sufficient room for growth of its domestic sectors using refrigerants.
  • India will completely phase down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 85% in 2047 It also gives additional HCFC allowance of 65% that will be added to the Indian baseline consumption and production.
  • At Kigali, it was decide to include HFCs in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol in order to regulate their production, consumption and phasing them out with time. It also added mechanism to provide financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund created under the Montreal Protocol.
  • HFCs are not ODS but potent global warming substances and controlling them can contribute substantially to limit global temperature and advance actions for addressing climate change.

6) The Union Cabinet has approved the rehabilitation package of Rs 2000 crore for around 36384 displaced families from Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir (POJK).

  • Under the package of Rs 2000 crore, Rs 5.5 lakh cash benefit will be disbursed to each displaced families to enable them to earn an income and subsist their livelihood. The amount will be initially released to the State Government of Jammu & Kashmir to be disbursed to eligible families through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
  • The refugees from West Pakistan, mostly from PoK, are settled in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts. However, they are not permanent residents of the state in terms of Jammu & Kashmir constitution.
  • In January 2015, the Modi government approved certain concessions for the refugees from West Pakistan settled in Jammu & Kashmir after considering the problems being faced by them. The concessions included special recruitment drives for induction into paramilitary forces, equal employment opportunities in the state, admission for the children of refugees in Kendriya Vidyalayas, among others.

7) The Union Cabinet has approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) Phase-III.

  • The project is expected to be completed in the next 5 years during 13th Plan period. The estimated cost of project is Rs 8679 crore with completion cost of Rs 10947 crore.
  • Western Railway is running suburban services on the existing busy double line between Virar-Dahanu Road which is a part of main line Mumbai–Ahmedabad or Mumbai–Delhi route. Construction of additional double line between Virar-Dahanu Road will address the demand of commuters in this region. This will provide extension of suburban services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road.
  • Presently, passengers commuting from Kalyan to Panvel or in reverse direction, have to get down at Thane and take Trans Harbour link. This results in congestion at Thane. Airoli-Kalwa corridor will reduce congestion at Thane station and will also save time as these passengers can travel bypassing Thane.
  • The areas covered by this project are Thane, Palghar, Raigad and Mumbai districts of Maharashtra. The Mumbai suburban railway network on Central and Western Railways has 376 route Kms. There are five corridors, two on Western Railway, two on Central Railway and one on Harbour Line of Central Railway.
  • To meet the demands of commuter traffic, new suburban corridor between Panvel-Karjat (28 Route km), new elevated corridor between Airoli-Kalwa (3 Route km), quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu Road (63 Route km), procurement of 565 new coaches have been included in Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)- Phase III.

8) The Union Cabinet has given its approval for liberalization, simplification and rationalization of the existing visa regime in India.

  • It has approved incremental changes in the visa policy as decided by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs with approval of Home Minister and in consultation with various stakeholders.
  • This is expected to increase earnings from export of services like tourism, travel on account of business, medical value travel.It will also help to make ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’ and other such flagship initiatives of the Government successful.
  • The approval will stimulate economic growth and ease travel for foreigners. It will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes.

9) The Competition Commission (CCI) has approved the merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd (BMBL) with the State Bank of India (SBI).

  • The combination is in the form of amalgamation whereby the business of BMBL, including its assets and liabilities, will be acquired by SBI. While SBI has global presence, including offices in 37 countries, BMBL is a nascent bank set up in November 2013.
  • Post merger of the six entities, including BMBL, the consolidated entity will add Rs. 8 lakh crore to SBI’s assets. In the case of BMBL, 44231510 shares of SBI would be swapped for every 100 crore shares of face value of Rs. 10 each.
  • SBI first merged associate State Bank of Saurashtra with itself in 2008. Two years later, in 2010, State Bank of Indore was merged. The board of SBI had cleared the merger of BMBL and that of five associate lenders with itself in August 2016.
  • On 17 May 2016, the SBI had informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it is seeking in-principle sanction of the Union Government to enter into negotiation with its 5 subsidiaries and Bharatiya Mahila Bank for acquisition.

10) NITI Aayog, under the banner of the Union Government has constituted a 13-member committee to promote cashless economy.

  • The committee will be formed by Chief Ministers of various states representing different political parties to examine and promote the use of digital payment systems across the country. It will be headed by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu.
  • The Committee will identify the best global practices for implementing an economy primarily based on digital payment.It will also identify and outline measures for rapid expansion and adoption of the system of digital payments like cards (Debit, Credit and pre-paid), Digital-wallets, internet banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), banking apps, etc.
  • It will examine and address any other associated issues which are not specifically mentioned and will devise its own procedures for conducting business, meetings or even constitution of sub-groups.
  • It will develop an action plan to reach out to the public at large with the objective to create awareness and help them understand the benefits of switching over to digital economy. It will prepare a roadmap for the administrative machineries in the States to facilitate adoption of digital modes of financial transactions.

Daily Current Affairs – 30th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 30th November 2016

1) M. M. Kutty was appointed as the Chief Secretary of Delhi.

  • Previously, Kutty was working as the Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The IAS officer had also served as the Principal Secretary to the former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit. He has also been the Finance Secretary in the present AAP Government.
  • He replaced K. K. Sharma, who was transferred to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development as Officer on Special Duty (OSD).
  • The Chief Secretary is the head of the state administrative machinery.The Chief Secretary serves as Chief of all government staff in the state and is the Secretary of the State Cabinet of Ministers. The Chief Secretary of a state is the leader of the state’s administrative machinery, the Cabinet Secretary, the chief of the state’s public service commission as well as the principal Public Relation Officer of the state’s government.
  • In view of the importance of the post, the post of the Chief Secretary has been kept out of the tenure system.

2) Asia’s first and longest cycle highway was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The 207-km-long cycle highway runs between Etawah and Agra. It was inaugurated by state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. It is the India’s first cycle highway.
  • The cycle highway has been constructed by the UP public works department. It runs parallel to the main highway. It is about 7-feet-wide and is separated by a divider from main highway which ensures the safety of cyclists.
  • On its way it has tourist destinations like Naugava ka Quila, Raja Bhoj ki Haveli, and Bateshwarnath Temple. The track begins from the lion safari in Etawah. Along its path it dots 92 villages across the two districts. It criss-crosses the natural beauty of the Chambal and Yamuna rivers.

3) Bangladesh will honour the families of 1668 martyrs of the Indian Army who fought in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

  • According to the Liberation War Affairs Minister A K M Mozammel Huq, families of all the martyred soldiers will receive Rs 5 lakh as a mark of respect. The amount would be handed over by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Delhi between 18- 20 December 2016.
  • The soldiers’ families will also be receiving a letter of gratitude from the Prime Minister in Bengali, English and Hindi and a plaque. A book on the contribution of the martyrs will also be published and the amount in question would be given in Indian currency.
  • Besides this, Bangladesh will also be constructing a war memorial in the district of Brahmanbaria to pay homage to all the Indian soldiers who gave up their lives for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence.

4) Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the Public sector banks (PSBs) have touched around 66 lakh 40 thousand from July to September 2016.

  • As on September 30, 2016 gross NPAs of the PSBs in the country rose to  Rs. 6,30,323 crore as against Rs. 5,50,346 crore by end of June 2016. It shows increase of Rs. 79,977 crore NPAs on quarter on quarter basis during this period.
  • NPAs are loans made by a bank or finance company on which repayments or interest payments are not being made on time. Thus, NPAs are any asset of a bank which is not producing any income and are also called non-performing loans.
  • In case of Agriculture/Farm Loans, the NPA varies for of Short duration crop loan (interest not paid for 2 crop seasons), Long Duration Crops (interest not paid for 1 Crop season).
  • The incidence of NPAs is high in sectors like infrastructure, power, road textiles, steel etc. So, the Union Government has taken sector specific measures to tackle the menace of NPAs. It aim at improving resolution or recovery of bank loans.
  • They are enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, 2016 followed by amendment of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (SARFAESI) and Recovery of Debt due to Banks and Financial Institutions (RDDBFI), Act. In addition, six new Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) have been established.

5) Lt-General A K Bhatt has appointed as the new director-general of military operations (DGMO).

  • Lt-General A K Bhatt will be in charge of all army operations including on the LoC which has seen heightened tension.
  • He will succeed Lt-General Ranbir Singh who has been promoted and will take over 1 Corps (headquarters at Mathura), command of a strike corps on the Western border.
  • Prior to this appointment he was posted as the additional director general of the complaints and advisory board at the Army HQ. Earlier he had commanded the 21 Division in Assam.
  • Earlier he had served in the military operations directorate as a brigadier and he belongs to the Gorkha Rifles.
  • 1 Corps of Indian Army is one of the three assault forces of the army — which is mandated to cross into Pakistan in a short notice. Other two are 2 Corps (Ambala) and 21 Corps (Bhopal). In all, the Army has 14 Corps under six operational or regional commands. The fourth is the new 17 Mountain Corps being raised as a deterrent against China.

6) The Union Government has decided to introduce Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system for fertilizer subsidy payments.

  • The DBT in fertilizer sector being implemented is slightly different from the normal DBT implemented in LPG subsidy. Under it, the subsidy will be released to the fertilizer companies instead of the beneficiaries, after the sale is made by the retailers to the beneficiaries.
  • Under the proposed system, 100% subsidy on various fertilizer grades will be released to the manufacturers and importers on basis of actual sales made by the retailer to the beneficiaries. The subsidy will be released on submission of claims generated in the web-based online Integrated Fertilizer Monitoring System (iFMS) by fertilizer companies.
  • Initially, the modified subsidy procedure under DBT system will be introduced on pilot basis in 16 select districts. In the second phase, the new payment system will be rolled out in all states only after its due stabilization in first phase. The proposed DBT will address the issues relating to diversion and smuggling of urea.
  • The fertilizers will be available to all on ‘no denial’ basis and release fertilizer subsidy to fertilizer companies has no direct relation with landholding of the farmers.

7) The worst mass coral bleaching event has recorded on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

  • This is the worst die-off ever recorded in Great Barrier Reef and also the largest ever recorded anywhere. However, the central and southern sections of the reef are fared far better, with only 6% and 1% of the coral dead, respectively.
  • It is estimated nearly two-thirds of 2,300-kilometre long reef or 700 km stretch of coral in the Great Barrier Reef’s northern part have died in the past nine months.
  • Over centuries, shells (mostly made up of Calcium Carbonate) of these corals combine to form the exotic shapes of coral reefs. Tiny differences in the anatomy of each polyp species mainly affect the shape of their shells and produce the exotic shapes of each reef.
  • Coral bleaching causes corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour. It calcifies the corals to  turn into white.When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. They can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to re-colonise them.
  • It is the biggest coral reef system in the world composed of over 2,900 individual reefs. It was recorded as a World Heritage site in 1981. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, north east of Australia and covers an area of approximately 348,000 sq km. It is credited as the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms and is visible from the outer space.

Daily Current Affairs – 29th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 29th November 2016

1) Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat has earned the coveted tag of becoming India’s first digital village in India.

  • The project was launched in January 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochar to mark 60-year-celebration of the ICICI group’s existence. This village was adopted by ICICI Bank under its Digital Village Project in 2015 and made cashless by adopting digital technology.
  • All households in village have savings account in local ICICI Bank branch. The bank has provided training to villagers to embrace digital technology to reduce dependence on cash. The villagers’ most important transactions selling agri-produce at the local market or mandi or selling milk at the co-operative society have been made cashless.
  • The village has almost 100% financial rate and all mobile banking is done in Hindi, English and Gujarati languages. It also has its own official website.It has primary, secondary and higher secondary schools equipped with smart boards, computers and tablets.
  •  The village with a total population of 1,191 people and 250 households uses a various cashless system for payments of goods and services. All transactions in the village are carried out through digital modes like SMS, net-banking or debit cards.

2) Iranian film “Daughter” has won the coveted Golden Peacock award at the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

  • It has been directed by Reza Mirkarimi. It is a family drama set in southern Iran. It brings out intergenerational conflict between a strict father and a young daughter.Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore conferred these awards during the concluding ceremony of IFFI held in Goa.
  • Special jury award is given to the Throne (South Korea) and CFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Prize is given to Turkish director Mustafa Kara for his film “Cold of Kalandar”.
  • Special Jury mention award is given to Tiffany Hsuig for the Korean movie “The Apology”.
  • Best Actor Female award is given to Elina Vaska (Latvia) for Mellow Mud and Best Actor Male award is given to Farhad Aslani (Iran) for Daughter.

3) The Union Government has introduced the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 (‘the Bill’) in the Parliament.

  • The bill amends existing tax laws to impose a higher rate of tax and penalty in respect of undisclosed incomes. It proposes, Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY), an anti-poverty scheme.
  • Mandatory for black money declarants to deposit 25% of amount disclosed in Pradhan Mantri Garibi Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) 2016 for a 4 year lock-in period without interest. Those who choose to declare their ill-gotten wealth stashed till now in banned Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 currency notes under the PMGKY scheme will have to pay a tax at the rate of 30% of the undisclosed income.
  • It seeks to attract more people to disclose their unaccounted cash and also to put in a framework in place to use that for the welfare of the people especially in the rural areas.
  • Additionally, 10% penalty will be levied on the undisclosed income and PMGK Cess (surcharge) at the rate of 33% of tax (33% of 30%). The money from PMGK will be used for projects in irrigation, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, housing, toilets and livelihood so that there is justice and equality.
  • Besides, if the assessing officer can charge a 10% penalty in addition to the 75% tax. The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to remove existing redundant provisions of the IT Act, 1961 which can possibly be used for concealing black money.  It also ensures that defaulting assessees are subjected to tax at a higher rate and stringent penalty provision.

4) Amazon is going to sell popular Indian dairy brand Amul’s products online in the United States.

  • The alliance is a part of Amazon’s Global Selling Programme, which was launched in India in May 2015. It will bring the brand’s products within reach of American consumers.The program is aimed at making it easy for Indian sellers to sell their ‘Make in India’ products to consumers across the world.
  • Amazon will only be putting up Amul Ghee and Gulab Jamun for sale but more would be following suit. Amul Ghee according to the website is one of the top stock units in its ‘butter and margarine’ category.
  • It offers an end-to-end solution to each seller such as assisting them with imaging, logistics, tax advisory and remittance. It covers all sellers, including small and medium-sized enterprises, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and large brands.
  • This would mark the dairy brand’s first official entry into the online space in the US. Though it is already selling its products there through traditional retail channels for the past 20 years, this move would expand its reach to a larger audience.
  • After the launch of the program, there has been a 70 percent increase in online sellers in comparison to last year. A total of almost 18000 Indian sellers have started selling globally across the e-tailer’s 9 global marketplace.

5) Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu to head CM’s committee on demonetisation.

    li>As a long-term measure, Andhra Pradesh government has roped over 90 lakh members from co-operative sector in villages and towns to undertake statewide campaigns on online transactions.  Under it, as many as 5,000 women are being trained as master trainers to train 90 lakh women.

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has called up Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Karnataka CM Siddharamaiah, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis to be part of the committee.
  • he state government is also designing a mechanism that makes ordinary phones do money transactions. The government will distribute such phones to families which do not have one.

6) Lt-General A K Bhatt was appointed as the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO).

  • He will succeed Lt-General Ranbir Singh, who declared at a press briefing that Army Special Forces had conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on 29 September 2016.
  • He is currently posted as the Additional Director General of the Complaints and Advisory Board at the Army Headquarters after he commanded the 21 Division in Assam.
  • While, Lt-Gen Ranbir Singh will now head the 1 Corps (headquarters at Mathura), which is one of four strike corps among the 14 corps of the 1.3 million strong Army. He will replace Lt-Gen Shokin Chauhan, who in turn has been appointed as the director-general of Assam Rifles.
  • General Dalbir Singh Suhag and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will retire from their posts on 31 December 2016.

7) The Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister has launched e-Pashuhaat portal to connect breeders and farmers.

  • It is for the first time in the world that a portal has been specifically developed for connecting breeders and farmers regarding availability of bovine germplasm.
  • The portal will also facilitate the farmers about the availability of quality disease free bovine germplasm with different agencies in the country. The portal will lead to propagation of high genetic merit germplasm.
  • Through the portal breeders and farmers can sell and purchase breeding stock, can garner information on all forms of germplasm including semen, embryos and live animals with all the agencies and stake holders in the country that has been uploaded on the portal.
  • The objective of this portal is to Connecting farmers with breeders – Central, State, Co-operative, Milk Federations, and private agencies and also gives Real time authentic certified information on availability of germplasm.
  • India has the largest bovine population in the world. It has 14% of the world cattle population with a population of 199 million cattle. With 105 million buffaloes, it has 53% of the world buffalo population.
  • The portal will help in establishing links between ‘farmer to farmer’ and ‘farmer to institutes’. Therefore, it will minimise the involvement of middlemen and will create a comparative Farm Network that will facilitate farmers to exchange local knowledge and resources.

8) Goa has become the first state to operate cashless in the country from 31 December 2016.

  • All vendors would be given Mobile Money Identifier (MMI) codes when they register at the bank. Customers would be able to make the transaction by dialing *99# and following the instructions that appear on the screen.
  • There will be no minimum limit on the cashless transfer of money and these transactions will also be immune from any sort of fees.A drive to educate people on the working of the same system has already been initiated in Mapusa and Panaji.
  • This announcement was made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also the former Chief Minister of the state, during a rally at Sankhali on 25 November 2016. The plan includes making even small vendors selling perishable goods accustomed to mobile payment.
  • The state has an added advantage due to its small size. With a population of 15 lakh, it already has around 17 lakh registered mobile connections and 22 lakh bank accounts.

9) The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was inaugurated by noted filmmaker Ramesh Sippy in Goa, India. 

  • The inauguration of the event was also attended by the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting – M Venkaiah Naidu and South Korea’s Ambassador to India- Hyun Cho. The focus country this time was the Republic of Korea.
  • While Poland’s official entry to the 89th Academy Awards, ‘Afterimage’ by Andrzej Wajda opened the festival, South Korea’s official entry ‘The Age of Shadows’ by Kim Jee-Woon brought the curtains down.
  • Legendary Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-Taek was honoured with ‘The Lifetime Achievement Award’. He has a lot of acclaimed pieces of work to his name including films like Chunhyang, Chihwaseon, and Mandala. Iranian drama film ‘Daughter’ directed by Reza Mirkarimi beat 21 others to claim the Golden Peacock award for ‘Best film’. Along with the trophy, the film also won a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh.
  • Silver Peacock for best director went to Soner Caner and Baris Kaya, co-directors of Turkish film- Rauf. They also won a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh. Lee Joon-ik, South Korean director of film – ‘The Throne’ won the special jury award. He was honoured with the Silver Peacock and a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh.
  • Besides this, another main highlight of the festival was the premiere of ‘Bahubali: The Conclusion’ by national award winning director S S Rajamouli, who was also the chief guest of the closing ceremony.

Daily Current Affairs – 28th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 28th November 2016

1) Indian golfer Aditi Ashok has won the inaugural Qatar Ladies Open in Doha.

  • Ashok shot a final round of three-under 69 to card a total of 15-under. She finished three strokes ahead of Lydia Hall and Caroline Hedwall. With this, she recorded her second straight victory on the Ladies European Tour.
  • Nanna Koerstz Madsen ended in fourth place on 11-under-par. Annabel Dimmock ended in fifth and Nicole Garcia in sixth. Georgia Hall and Becky Morgan were joint seventh.
  • Aditi Ashok is an Indian professional golfer. She became the first Indian woman to win a Ladies European Tour title by clinching the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
  • She is the first and the only Indian golfer who played the Asian Youth Games in 2013, Youth Olympic Games in 2014, Asian Games in 2014 and Rio Olympics in 2016.
  • She made history by being the youngest and first Indian to win the Lalla Aicha Tour School and therefore secured her Ladies European Tour card for the 2016 season. This victory also made her the youngest winner of a Q School for an international tour.

2) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced an incremental Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of 100% to manage excess liquidity in the banking system.

  • CRR is the proportion of deposits that banks have to keep as cash with the RBI (or the central bank). Banks do not earn any interest on CRR balances kept with the RBI.
  • Banks have to maintain 100% CRR for incremental deposits they received between September 16, 2016 and November 11, 2016. The incremental CRR requirement will be temporary measure and it is within RBI’s ‘liquidity management framework’. However, overall CRR requirement will stay at 4%. The incremental CRR will be reviewed on December 9, 2016 or even earlier.
  • It will only have a marginal impact on bank’s cost of funds since it was a temporary measure. It leaves adequate liquidity with banks to meet the credit needs of the productive sectors of the economy.
  • After Union Government announced demonization of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes on November 8, 2016, banks started depositing and exchanging those notes. The deposits in banks had swelled by Rs.3.24 lakh crore between September 16 and November 11, 2016.  The last fortnight of September 2016 saw deposit mobilisation jump by Rs.3.5 lakh crore.

3) Sachin Singh has became the third Indian boxer to bag gold medal at the AIBA Youth World Championships.

  • Sachin defeated his rival 5-0 to record a rare Indian triumph over a Cuban boxer. 16-year-old Sachin has joined Thokchom Nanao Singh (2008) and Vikas Krishan (2010) in the Indian youth world championships gold club.
  • In the summit clash at St Petersburg, Russia, he recorded a stunning unanimous victory over Cuban national champion Jorge Grinan in the 49kg weight class.
  • With this, India finished the tournament with one gold and a bronze. Naman had settled for a bronze Tanwar in the 91 kg after losing in the semifinal. In 2014 edition, India was able to secure just a bronze medal.
  • After this win, the newly-formed Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced a cash prize for the two medalists. It announced Rs one lakh for Sachin and Rs 25000 for Naman. Besides, the BFI also promise to suitably reward the coaches who travelled with them.

4) The 51st Annual Conference of Directors-General of Police of States was held in Hyderabad, Telangana.

  • It was held at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) Hyderabad. The Conference focused on cross-border terrorism, infiltration and radicalisation of youth into Middle East terrorist groups like ISIS.
  •  The three day (from November 25-27, 2016) conference was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. It was attended by around 100 DGPs of states, Director Generals of Central paramilitary forces and their Inspectors General.
  • It concluded with presentations made by the delegates on Challenges posed by Communication Technology, Technology Deficit in Policing and the threat of Radicalization. Besides, it also discussed issues related to reforms in police forces, filling up of vacant posts in various police forces, menace of narcotics smuggling and human trafficking.
  • Prime Minister Narendra addressed the conference on second day and took part in the ‘Yoga session’ at . He also launched a mobile app Indian Police at Your Call. Beside this, Presidents Police Medals and Police Medals were also presented to the officers of the Intelligence Bureau during the conference.
  • This was for the third time since Independence that the annual DGPs conference was held outside New Delhi. The idea of holding the meeting of DGPs and IGPs outside New Delhi was mooted by Prime Minister Modi after he assumed power in 2014.

5) Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed Pakistan’s new army chief.

  • The post of Army chief is the most powerful in Pakistan. The Pakistani army is world’s sixth-largest army by troop numbers. The army has played a prominent role in Pakistan’s politics since its independence in 1947 and so far has staged three coups.
  • He will succeed Gen. Raheel Sharif who has formally retired from service. He was elevated to the rank of four-star general by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
  • Gen. Bajwa has extensive experience of handling affairs in Pakistan-ocupied Kashmir and the northern areas of Pakistan. He belongs to infantry’s Baloch Regiment. He has commanded the 10 Corps, Pakistani army’s largest corp responsible for the area along the Line of Control (LoC).
  • Prior to this elevation to the top post, Lt. Gen. Bajwa was serving as Inspector General of the Training and Evaluation.
  • Under the constitution of Pakistan, the prime minister is the head of the country’s executive. But the army controls domestic-security issues, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the spy agency and the nation’s defence and foreign policies.

6) The Chancellor of Nalanda University, George Yeo has resigned recently.

  • George Yeo is a former Singaporean politician.He also served as the member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP).
  • He was a Brigadier-General in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and also the Director of Joint Operations and Planning at the Ministry of Defence from 1986 to 1988.
  • He said that when he was invited to take charge he was “repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. This appears not to be the case now”. Yeo also stated that the dissolution of the Governing Board of the university and creation of a new one came as a complete surprise to him. He stated that he was neither involved nor consulted before the decision was taken.

7) The Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR .

  • The licences of the existing firecrackers sellers in Delhi-NCR will be suspended. Government will not issue new licences to any seller in this region. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) must study the harmful effects of the materials used in firecrackers and submit its report in three months.
  • The Supreme Court ruling also sends a clear message that religious and wedding celebrations take second place to the basic fundamental right to breathe clean air under Article 21.
  • New Delhi ranks among the most polluted cities in the world. The air quality usually in New Delhi usually worsens during Diwali, when smoke from firecrackers and crops residue burnt in neighbouring states envelops the capital city. This year Diwali fire crackers had pushed pollution level in Delhi to a dangerous level, worst in past three years. On Diwali night, Particulate Matter (PM) 10 in Delhi ranged from 448 (micrograms per cubic metre) g/m3 to 939 g/m3 as against the national safe standard of 100 g/m3.

8) The ‘transgender as the third gender’ have included  in the gender option along with male and female in the railway ticket reservation and cancellation forms.

  • The court had directed the Union and State Governments to recognise transgender as the third gender and to grant them with all the benefits provided to the socially and economically backward classes.
  • The decision stands for both offline and online booking. It was taken in accordance with the judgment passed by the Supreme Court of India in the NALSA vs Union of India case on 15 April 2014.
  • A Delhi-based advocate Jamshed Ansari has demanded that there should be special coaches and reserved seats for the transgender community in all trains, for their protection and care.
  • The Railways finally acting on his representation have included the option in the tickets.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 27th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 27th November 2016

1) Mariamma Koshy has took charge of Hockey India as its president with immediate effect.

  • She succeeds Narinder Dhruv Batra, who in recent past was elected as the first ever non-European chief of the sport’s governing body International Hockey Federation (FIH).
  • Earlier in November 2016, Batra made history by becoming the first Indian and fifteenth president of FIH. Batra served Hockey India as its secretary general from 2010 to 2014. He was serving the organsiation as its President since 2014.
  • The two decisions will require ratification in the Hockey India Congress. The decisions of these two changes came in the light after Batra stepped down from his position due to his election in the FIH. As per rules, Batra cannot hold both the posts. Apart from this, he also resigned from his post as chairman of the Hockey India League incepted in 2013. The league was the brainchild of Batra.
  • Narinder Dhruv Batra also resigned from his role as the Chairman of Coal India Hockey India League, his branchild which was incepted in 2013.
  • In addition, Secretary General of Hockey India, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad took over as the chairman of the Hockey India League Governing Board.

2) Ruskin Bond has authored a brand new collection of stories titled ‘Death under the Deodars’.

  • The book consisting of 8 fresh thriller stories is set in the popular holiday destination, Mussoorie, in the bygone era of 1960-70. Through the stories, the writer narrates a murder mystery featuring an elderly woman- Miss Ripley-Bean and her friends.
  • Like any other Ruskin Bond book, these stories too are replete with humour and unique characters. The suspense is such that it can hook the attention of both children and adults alike. It is ‘The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean’.
  • Bond wrote his first novel, ‘The Room on the Roof’ at the age of 17 in London. The book, which was semi-autobiographical, was based on an Anglo-Indian boy called Rusty. He was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for the same in 1957.
  • He has published several pieces of work since then including non-fiction stories, supernatural fiction, short stories, autobiographies, poems, essays and children’s books.
  • Some of his best works include ‘The Blue Umbrella’, ‘The Eyes are not Here’, ‘A Face in the Dark and other Hauntings’, ‘Funny Side up, ‘A Flight of Pigeons’ and ‘The Lamp is Lit’.

3) Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro has passed away recently.

  • He was born as Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz on August 13, 1926 in Birán, Holguin Province, Cuba.He was sworn in as prime minister and was in office from 1959 to 1976.
  • His greatest legacy is free healthcare and education, which have given Cuba some of the region’s best human development statistics.Under his leadership, Cuba became a one-party communist state, industry and business were nationalized and state socialist reforms implemented throughout society.
  • In 2008, he stepped down as President of Cuba due to health issues. He was in office from 1976 to 2008. He world’s third longest-serving head of state, after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and the King of Thailand.
  • He was commander in chief of the 1959 Cuban revolution 1959  and had successfully built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States during Cold War. He had ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century (from 1976 to 2008) before handing over the powers to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 due to ill health.

4) Rajasthan Government has decided to start Annapurna Rasoi Programme to provide quality meal at cheap and affordable price.

  • The main beneficiary of the scheme will be rickshaw pullers, labourers, auto drivers, students, working women, elders and other weaker section.
  • In the first phase the scheme will be started in 12 districts. They are Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Bikaner, Bharatpur, Pratapgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Baran and Jhalawar. The food will be distributed by 80 mobile vans at locations decided by local self-help agencies in districts. The remaining 21 districts of state will be covered in second phase.
  • The food under this programme will be provided at subsidized rates, breakfast at Rs 5 per plate and lunch/dinner at Rs 8 per plate.

5) The National Milk Day (NMD) was observed on 26 November annually.

  • This year it was 95th birth anniversary of Dr.Verghese Kurien and third edition of observance of the day since it was established in 2014. This day is observed to mark birth anniversary Dr.Verghese Kurien, father of the White Revolution in India.
  • To mark this event, all dairy cooperatives across the country had conducted a mega activation in all markets across the country.The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets the Amul brand of milk and dairy products printed 150 million milk pouches with the National Milk Day logo featuring Dr. Kurien’s picture with the National Milk Day logo on it.
  • Kurien was a social entrepreneur who had started billion-litre idea-Operation Flood which was the world’s largest agricultural development programme.
  • He was pioneer in starting co-operatives movement in dairy sector. He had founded around 30 cooperative institutions of excellence (like AMUL, GCMMF, IRMA, NDDB) which are owned, managed by farmers and run by professionals. Under his chairmanship, Amul achieved key invention of milk powder processed from buffalo milk.
  • The idea of observing National Milk Day was first mooted by Indian Dairy Association (IDA) in 2014 on the lines of World Milk Day (observed every year on June 1) under the aegis of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The first NMD was observed on 26 November 2014 by all Indian diary sector majors including National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), IDA along with around 22 state level milk federations.
  • He had received various awards like Ramon Magsaysay Award (1963), World Food Prize (1989), Padma Shri (1965), Padma Bhushan (1966), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Economic Times award for Corporate Excellence (2001) etc.

6) Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has launched the mobile app ‘AirSewa’.

  • With this app, Fliers can register their complaints regarding various services. It is launched to offer people a convenient and hassle-free air travel experience.
  • The portal will include a mechanism for grievance redressal, back-office operations for grievance handling, flight status/schedule information, airport Information and FAQs.
  • It was a major challenge to get the various players who are a part of the civil aviation ecosystem on to a common platform, this has been achieved through the newly launched service.
  • The grievance redressal portal offers passengers options to upload their voice or video along with an elaborate description of their issues. They will be given a unique reference number for each of their reported grievances which would also be communicated through an email as well as an SMS.
  • The users can track the status and response to these grievances through the mobile application as well as the web application based on the reference number provided. Once the grievance is closed, the user has an option to provide his feedback and rate the overall experience and satisfaction.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 26th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 26th November 2016

1) The Constitution Day of India is being observed on 26th November to spread awareness of Indian Constitution.

  • On this occasion Prime Minister Narendra has released two books on Constitution ‘Making of Constitution’ and ‘New Version of Constitution of India‘.
  • On this day in 1949, constitution of India was adopted and came into force on January 26, 1950 marking the beginning of a new era in the history of free India. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) is the nodal Ministry for the celebration of Constitution Day. This year it is second edition of the Constitution Day.
  • The Indian Constitution is a core legal document which has nearly 448 articles or provisions in 25 parts, 12 schedules. It is living fundamental document which makes the government system work effectively.
  • The Indian Constitution drafters had borrowed concepts and ideas from the Constitutions of UK, US, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Japan.
  • In October 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared 26 November as Constitution Day as part of year-long nationwide celebrations of 125th birth Anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly.

2) MC Mary Kom, the Olympic bronze-medal winning boxer from India, will receive the ‘Legends Award’ on 20 December 2016.

  • At present, the Olympian and a five-time world champion is a Rajya Sabha MP. President Pranab Mukherjee nominated her as a member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament in April 2016.
  • She will receive the award from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) on its 70th anniversary. She is also a multiple-time Asian champion and was named an AIBA brand ambassador during the 2016 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.
  • She is the only woman boxer to have won a medal in almost each one of the six world championships. She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion.
  • She is also the first woman boxer from India to get a Gold medal in the Asian Games in 2014. The 2014 Asian Games were held in Incheon, South Korea.

 

3) Indian Navy’s seventh landing craft utility (LCU) L-57 was launched by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata, West Bengal.

  • LCU L-57 is fully designed in-house by GRSE. It is designed for a maximum speed of 15 knots with an endurance of more than 1,500 nautical miles. It has a capability to transport two tanks or four special vehicles and 160 Army troops for landing in remote area.
  • It will be extremely useful for joint operations carried out by the Indian Navy and Indian Army for ensuring maritime security and protection of remote islands. It is best suited for protection of India’s island territories of Lakshadweep islands in the Arabian Sea as well as Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal.
  • LCU L-57 is the largest ship of this kind built anywhere in the world. It is the seventh vessel in the series of eight LCU Ships being designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy.

4) The Union Government has constituted a new committee to push the process of transforming India into a cashless economy.

  • The committee has identify and operationalise in the earliest possible time frame user-friendly digital payment options in all sectors of the economy and also identify various digital payment systems appropriate to different sectors of the economy and coordinate efforts to make them accessible.
  • The committee will be headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. It has been tasked with identifying various bottlenecks affecting access of digital payments.
  • It estimate costs involved in various digital payments options and oversee implementation of measures to make such transactions between citizens and government cheaper than cash transactions and also implement an action plan on advocacy, awareness and hand-holding efforts among public-, micro-enterprises and other stakeholders.
  • he committee was set up following a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to back up the demonetisation move. The Union Government is working towards moving all government transactions to the cashless mode, through a new single window e-payment system that businesses or individuals can use to make payments to any central or state department.

 

5) Indian Railways will soon introduce Tri-Netra system on its trains to reduce train accidents.

  • Tri-Netra is an advance system is made up of a high-resolution optical video camera, high-sensitivity infrared video camera and a radar-based terrain mapping system. These three components will act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.
  • This system uses infrared and radar technology to collect signals up to a distance of 2-3 km and displays the information on a screen fitted inside the locomotive.It will be very useful during fog, heavy rain and nights, when drivers have to constantly look outside the locomotive to judge the condition.
  • The requirement for this advance system gained more pace after 14 bogies of the Patna-bound Indore-Rajendra Nagar Express went off the tracks near Kanpur Dehat on 20 November 2016.  It was one of the worst railway accidents in recent times in which over 146 passengers and 200 people were injured.
  • In case of any physical obstruction on railway tracks ahead it will alert the drivers and thus give ample time for the driver to apply the brakes to prevent train accidents.
  • The system provides a locomotive pilot a clear view of up to one kilometre on a straight track, even during inclement weather. This will also help in maintaining high speed in poor visibility and avoid delay in arrivals. The new technology has been used on a trial basis and has shown good results.

6) The 2016 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was observed on 25 November 2016 across the world.

  • The theme for the day is “Orange the World – raise funds to end violence against women”. The colour orange in the theme symbolizes a better future without the pervasive human rights violation that affects 1 in 3 women and girls all over the globe.
  • The United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women through a resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999.Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981.
  • The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is observed to raise awareness about violence against women and discuss solutions that would work for women community.

 

7) Upma Chowdhary was appointed as new Director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoorie.

  • Upma Chowdhary is a 1983 batch IAS officer of Himachal cadre. Currently, she is posted as Additional Chief Secretary in Himachal Pradesh. During her 33 years’ service as an IAS officer, she had served in several positions in the state and at the centre.
  • She will be the 23rd director and first woman director of LBSNAA. She will replace Rajeev Kapoor.
  • LBSNAA is India’s premier institution dedicated to training Officers of the country’s higher civil services. It was established in 1959 in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand as the National Academy of Administration by merging the IAS Training School, Delhi and IAS Staff College, Shimla.

 

8) Eminent Journalist Dileep Padgaonkar has passed away in Pune, Maharashtra.

  • Mr. Padgaonkar along with Prof. Radha Kumar and Information Commissioner Prof. M M Ansari were part of the three-member interlocutors team chosen by the Union Government in 2010 to design a road map for peace in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.
  • He was honoured with the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest civilian distinction in April 2002 for his services to journalism.
  • He joined Times of India as its Paris correspondent. Since then had served paper in various capacities before he was appointed its Editor in 1988. He held the post for six years. He also served with the UNESCO in Paris and Bangkok from 1978 to 1986.
  • In 2010, he was part of a three member team of interlocutors selected by Union Government to design a road map for peace in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.

9) The Union Government has slapped safeguard duty on import of certain steel products.

  • As per Revenue Department notification, the effective duty rate will be calculated after deducting the value of the goods. The anti-dumping duty will become payable when the import price is below USD 504 per tonnes on CIF (cost insurance freight) basis.
  • Steel products on which the safeguard duty was slapped include hot-rolled flat sheets and plates (excluding hot-rolled flat products in coil form) of alloy or non-alloy steel.
  • Ad-Valorem tax is a tax whose amount is based on the value of a transaction or of property. This tax is imposed at the time of the transaction in form of sales tax or value-added tax (VAT). Safeguard Duty is a duty that is imposed on any product that is imported into the country in increased quantities if it injuries the domestic industry. It is a temporary measure and is imposed after conducting an enquiry.

Daily Current Affairs – 25th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 25th November 2016

1) Yudhvir Singh Malik was appointed as the new Chairman of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

  • Malik  had joined NITI Aayog as its Additional Secretary in September 2015. Before joining the NITI Aayog, he worked as the CEO of FSSAI from 20 October 2014 to 23 September 2015. It was during his tenure that Maggi noodle was banned.
  • Malik, who worked as the Special Secretary with NITI Aayog, will replace Raghav Chandra.After Malik’s appointed, Chandra has been shifted to National Commission for Schedule Tribes.
  • The National Highways Authority of India is an autonomous agency of the Government of India. It was created through the promulgation of the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. It looks after the management of a network of over 92851.05 km of National Highways in the country.
  • It has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for satellite mapping of highways. Yogendra Narain was the first Chairman of NHAI.

2) India has been ranked 138th in the 2016 ICT Development Index.

  • The index was released as part of the annual Measuring the Information Society Report for 2016 of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The ICT Development Index (IDI) rankings compare the state of ICT development across countries. It is published annually by the UN ITU. The IDI is based on 11 ICT indicators, grouped in three sub-indices: access, use and skills.
  • In 2015, India ranked 135th position. It is standard tool that governments, operators, researchers, development agencies and others can use to measure the digital divide and compare ICT performance within and across countries.
  • In the Asia Pacific region, India is ranked at 26 out of the 34 countries. 9 countries in region remained least concerned. Africa was named as the worst performing region.
  • Besides, there is lack of mobile ownership seen in lower income category, and among those who are not educated. People in rural regions are more likely to not own a mobile phone. Fixed line telephone subscriptions have gone down in India, and now only two people in a hundred have a landline.
  • For improving the IDI, India needs to improve internet access to the underserved to reduce digital divide. There is also a need to change the definition of the minimum broadband speed. The FUP (fair usage policy) levels must be relaxed which are among the most restrictive in the world. Efforts should be taken to promote the use of mobile phones in rural areas. Besides more efforts must be taken to increase access of mobile phones to more women.

3) The Palampur Assembly Constituency of Kangra district has became the first e-assembly constituency of the country.

  • The system was inaugurated by State Assembly speaker Brij Behari Lal Butail at a function held in Palampur on 22 November 2016. It will help the residents of the constituency to know about the development works going on by one click on the computer. In addition, the residents would also send their requirements about funds for different schemes in their respective areas online.
  • This conversion of the Palampur into an e-constituency is Himachal Pradesh government’s commitment to Union Government’s Digital India mission.
  • This system would be introduced in other 67 constituencies of the state in next six months.It is necessary to mention that the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly was the first assembly of India to adopt the e-Vidhan system, making it paperless. This e-Vidhan system helped the state in automating the day to day functioning of assembly.

4) Indian journalist Malini Subramaniam has won the International Press Freedom Award.

  • Along with Subramaniam, three other journalists won the prestigious award.  They are Mahmoud Abou Zeid from Egypt, Can Dündar from Turkey and Oscar Martinezfrom El Salvador. The CPJ chose these four journalists as “they have risked their freedom – and their lives – to report to their societies and the global community about critical news events.”
  • These Awards are given by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
  • Subramaniam reports on buses by police and security forces, sexual violence against women, the jailing of minors, shutdown of schools, extrajudicial killings, and threats against journalists in the Bastar region in Chhattisgarh.
  • The CPJ International Press Freedom Awards honours journalists or their publications around the world who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats or imprisonment. The award was established in 1991.
  • The CPJ seeks to focus local and international media coverage on countries where violations of press freedom are particularly serious.

5) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has liberalised norms for angel investors to invest in early-stage entities.

  • This decision was taken based on the recommendations received from the NR Narayana Murthy Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee. SEBI in its meeting decided to amend the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012.
  • Increased the upper limit for number of angel investors in a scheme from 49 to 200. Angel Funds will also be allowed to invest in start-ups incorporated within 5 years instead of the earlier norm of 3 years.
  • The requirement of minimum investment amount by an angel fund in any venture capital undertaking has been reduced to Rs. 25 lakh from earlier Rs. 50 lakh. Such funds also have been allowed to invest in overseas venture capital undertakings. It will be up to 25% of their investible corpus in line with other Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs).
  • It will benefit start-ups looking for raising venture funding not just for the money but for the other value addition. It will help start-ups raising money from a venture capital firm brings such as direction and mentorship from seasoned investors.

6) UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has released the 2016 edition of the Measuring the Information Society Report.

  • The report was launched on 22 November 2016 during the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS). WTIS was held in Botswana, South Africa from 21 November to 23 November 2016.
  • India was placed at 138th rank with IDI score of 2.69. In 2015, it stood at 135th position with IDI score of 2.50.
  • The ITU index prepared after surveying 175 economies of the world was topped by the Republic of Korea with IDI of 8.84. The Sub-Saharan Africa’s Niger with an IDI of 1.07 ranked lowest. The report highlights that the average global ICT Development Index (IDI) saw an improvement from 4.74 in 2015 to 4.94 in 2016.
  • It reveals that cost of the mobile-phone handset is one of the main barriers in owning a mobile phone. ITU cautioned that since many people have multiple subscriptions or devices, other metrics need to be produced to accurately assess mobile uptakes, such as the number of mobile phone users or mobile phone owners.

7) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered environment audit of all the government buildings in Delhi to control pollution.

  • The order was issued by the NGT bench, which was conducting a hearing in the petition filed by Vardhaman Kaushik over toxic air of the National Capital.The bench directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to issue guidelines in this regard within two weeks.
  • The purpose behind the move is to make every government building to take necessary precautions to control pollution so that no hazardous result follows in relation to public health.
  • The bench passed the directions while observing that “right to clean environment is a fundamental right and every citizen, wherever he goes, has a right to receive decent environment”.The term ‘Green Audit’ signifies the assessment of a business in terms of its impact on the environment. It is also widely known as Environmental Audit.

8) The 24th edition of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit was concluded in Lima, Peru.

  • The theme of the 24th APEC Summit was “Quality Growth and Human Development”. The architecture of Caral, an ancient city of Peru, served as the inspiration for the official logo of the APEC summit.
  • The summit also closed with a joint pledge to work toward a new free trade agreement that would include all 21 members as a path to “sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.”The summit ended with adoption of the 2016 Leaders Declaration.
  • The 2016 Leaders Declaration highlights are Quality Growth and Human Development, Challenges and opportunities for free trade and investment in the current global context, Food security, climate change and access to water, Towards real and functional connectivity in the region.

9) The Union Cabinet has approved introduction of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016 in the Parliament.

  • The bill is a revamped version of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. It seeks to repeal Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 as well the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838. It allows substantially-owned vessels and vessels on Bare Boat-cum-Demise (BBCD) to be registered as Indian flag vessels.
  • It is mandatory for vessels owners to compulsorily take insurance of crew engaged on vessels including fishing, sailing and whose net tonnage is less than 15. The crew members now don’t need to sign of articles of agreement before the Shipping Master.
  • Incorporates all International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions/Protocols in Indian laws up-to-date by inserting provisions relating to 7 different conventions.
    These 7 different conventions are Intervention Convention 1969, Search and Rescue Convention 1979, Protocol for Prevention of Pollution from Ships, Convention for Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments 2004, Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention 2007, Salvage Convention 1989 and International Convention for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001.
  • The new bill has provisions which have been meticulously shortened to 280 sections. It also simplifies the law governing the merchant shipping in India. The Coasting Vessels Act, 1838 was also an archaic legislation of the British era. It provided limited jurisdiction for registration of non-mechanically propelled vessels to Saurashtra and Kutch. The proposed bill allows registration of all vessels for the whole of India.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 24th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 24th November 2016

1) The 13th World Robot Olympiad will be held in India for the first time ever.

  • The theme for the 13th World Robot Olympiad is ‘Rap the Scrap’. The theme is in line with ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ of the Indian government. The theme suggests students to Rap (talk) about waste – an important social issue. The students are expected to come up with innovative ideas using robotics technology to ‘Rap the Scrap’ i.e. to reduce, manage and recycle waste.
  • It will be organised jointly by NCSM under the aegis of Ministry of Culture and India STEM Foundation (ISF) from 25 November to 27 November 2016 at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida.
  • The World Robot Olympiad is a global robotics competition for young people which was first held in 2004 in Singapore. It uses Lego Mindstorms manufactured by LEGO Education. 
  • It consists of 4 different categories, Regular, College, Open and Soccer.China, Japan, Singapore and Korea are considered the founding countries of the competition.For the Regular and Open categories, it consists of three different age groups: Elementary, Junior High and Senior High. Participants below the age of 13 are considered as Elementary, participants from ages 13 until 16 years old are considered Junior High and participants between 17 and 19 are considered Senior High.
  • The 12th World Robot Olympiad was held in Doha, Qatar in November 2015. The theme for the year was ‘Robot Explorers’.
  • More than 2000 students from 54 countries will participate in the event to find innovative ways, using robotic technology, to reduce, manage and recycle waste. In 2017, the World Robot Olympiad will be held in Costa Rica.

2) Donald Trump has named South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

  • With this, Haley becomes the first non-white female cabinet-level official to be appointed within the Trump administration.She will be serving Carolina as its Governor until her nomination is not confirmed by the Senate.
  • Haley has served America as the 116th Governor of South Carolina since 2011.She is also the first woman and first minority governor of South Carolina.
  • She was the prominent leader, who pushed for the removal of the Charleston battle flag from the South Carolina State House after the deadly church shooting in Charleston in June 2015. She is the second Indian-American, after Bobby Jindal, to serve as governor in the US.
  • Besides Nikki Haley, President-elect Trump also named Betsy DeVos as education secretary of the country. DeVos is a billionaire education philanthropist and activist. Both, Haley and DeVos, opposed Trump during the campaign. De Vos spent much of the year raising money for other Republicans’ for the election.

3) The Reserve bank of India (RBI) has increased the per month limit of Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) to Rs. 20,000 from Rs. 10,000.

  • This decision was taken due to sudden increase in demand for digital wallets (especially mobile wallets) after Government announced demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes.
  • The prepaid PPIs could be also issued to merchants if they provided a self-declaration in respect of their status and bank account and also to be kept on record by the issuer. For merchant bank rs. 50,000 has been decided.
  • This decision will boost mobile wallet transactions following the withdrawal of high-value notes. The measures will be applicable till December 30, 2016.
  • PPIs are methods that facilitate purchase of goods and services against the value stored on such instruments. The value stored on such instruments represents the value paid for by the holder, by debit, by cash to a bank account or by credit card. These prepaid instruments can be issued as online wallets, mobile accounts, mobile wallets, smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, internet accounts, paper vouchers and any such instruments used to access the prepaid amount.

4) China has agreed to import rice, non-basmati and basmati varieties from 17 registered mills in India.

    li>China’s apprehensions included the possibility of the cabinet beetle (or Khapra beetle) pest getting transported along with Indian non-basmati rice consignments to China.They had not granted market access to India’s non-basmati rice claiming that it failed to meet Chinese norms on quality, safety and health standards.

  • It is considered as a major breakthrough in India’s efforts to ensure market access for Indian products (especially rice) in China as it is the world’s largest rice importer. In India, China’s objection to Indian non-basmati export was seen more political in nature than anything else as it imports non-basmati rice from its all weather friend Pakistan.
  • After numerous requests from Indian side, Chinese officials had visited India in September to inspect 19 rice mills registered with National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO). NPPO had assisted its Chinese counterpart AQSIQ during inspection for plant quarantine purposes and pest-risk analysis to ensure that non-basmati consignments from India will be pest-free, of good quality and safe.
  • Besides, India also had earlier sent the information sought by AQSIQ regarding the quality protocol and standard operating procedures. India’s goods trade deficit with China has ballooned to $52.7 billion in 2015-16 from $1.1 billion in 2003-04.
  • NPPO is the nodal government agency for inspecting mills and granting certificates on plant health for export purposes. It is mandatory for Indian rice exporters to get registered with NPPO.

5) Turkey will chair the Energy Club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2017.

  • Ankara’s proposal for non-SCO member countries to host the term presidency of the Energy Club was accepted in a meeting on 22 November 2016. The nomination came after officials from Russia and China gave green signal to Ankara after the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed to the SCO as Turkey’s alternative to the European Union.
  • With this, it became the first non full member country to be the chairman of a club in the organisation. The need for the club was restated by Moscow at an SCO summit in November 2007. However, other SCO members have not committed themselves to the idea.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is also known as Shanghai Pact. It is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation.  It was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of the China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Iran and Afghanistan are observers of the SCO. On the other hand, Belarus and Turkey is a dialogue partner.
  • On 30 November 2006, at The SCO: Results and Perspectives, an international conference held in Almaty, the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia is developing plans for an SCO “Energy Club”. The need for the club was restated by Moscow at an SCO summit in November 2007. However, other SCO members have not committed themselves to the idea.

6) US President Barack Obama has presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to various artists.

  • It is the nation’s highest civilian honour which was awarded to 21 artists, sports figures, scientists and philanthropists. Among the honourees were Robert Redford, Bill and Melinda Gates, Tom Hanks and Diana Ross.
  • The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States.It was established in 1963 by President John Kennedy.
  • The award is not limited to U.S. citizens. Although it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform. Three people, Ellsworth Bunker, John Kenneth Galbraith and Colin Powell, are two-time recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

7) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved opening of one Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) in each of the 62 uncovered districts.

  • The expenditure for this purpose during the 12th Plan will be 109.53 crore rupees with a spill over amount of 2,761.56 crore rupees from 2017-18 to 2024-25. All JNVs are residential and co-educational in nature. It is compulsory for all the staff and students to reside in the Vidyalaya campus.
  • These JNVs will provide good quality modern education to the talented children prominently from rural areas. Nearly 35,000 students will be benefitted from these JNVs. It will also create large opportunity for local service providers such as tailor cobbler, barber, manpower for housekeeping and security services etc.
  • There are 598 sanctioned JNVs in 576 districts spread across 35 States/UTs as on date.  Out of these, 591 are functional. Each JNV has classes from VI to XII with a sanctioned strength of 80 students per class and total strength of 560 students. One third of the total seats are reserved for girls.
  • The reservation of seats in favour of children belonging to SC/ST is provided in proportion to their population in the concerned district. However this reservation is subject to the condition that it is not less than the national reservation percentage (15% for SC and 7.5% for ST).

8) The upgraded Jaguar DARIN III twin-seat aircraft has received Initial Operation Clearance (IOC).

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has upgraded 3 DARIN I Standard Jaguars to DARIN III Standard. The aircraft is now equipped with world class avionics system. HAL’s Mission and Combat System Research and Design Centre (MCSRDC) had carried out total design and development of aircraft and modification was done at Overhaul Division.
  • The satisfactory completion of IOC was announced by Deputy Chief of IAF, Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria who had flown the aircraft at HAL airport in Bengaluru.
  • The upgraded aircraft incorporates new state-of-the-art avionics architecture including the Open System Architecture Mission Computer (OSAMC), Fire Control Radar. It also has Solid State Digital Video Recording System (SSDVRS), Autopilot with Alt Select & HNAV and Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) and more.
  • Besides HAL, certification agencies, trial team of ASTE and other agencies were also involved in the upgrade programme. DARIN I Standard Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet attack aircraft. It was originally used by the French Air Force and British Royal Air Force in the close air support and nuclear strike role. It is still in service with the Indian Air Force and its fleet is based at the Ambala air force station.

9) China has successfully launched its fourth data satellite named Tianlian I-04.

  • Tianlian I-04 has been developed by the China Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The satellite seeks to achieve global network operation that will provide data relay, measurement and control services for its manned spacecraft.
  • The satellite was launched on board of Long March-3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest Sichuan province. The network will also offer data relay services for the country’s medium- and low-Earth orbiting resources satellites, control support and measurement for spacecraft launches.
  • Tianlian I and CTDRS-1 is a Chinese data tracking and relay communications satellite series. Functionally, it is similar to US Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. China had launched its first data relay satellite the Tianlian I-01, in April 2008.The second and third relay satellite was launched in July 2011 and July 2012 respectively.

10) The Union Government has allowed National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to disburse Rs 21,000 crore to help cash-starved farmers to sow Rabi crops.

  • The money will be disbursed by NABARD to District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) which will enable them to pass on grant funds to the primary agriculture cooperatives.
  • The farm cooperatives will further pass it to farmers for meeting crop loan requirements in Rabi season. Besides, banks also have been asked to ensure regional rural banks (RRBs) and district cooperative banks have required cash available to satisfy the sowing needs of farmers.
  • NABARD is an apex development bank in India. It has headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) holds the majority stake in it. It is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
  • The Union Government’s demonetisation move which has swept away 86% of currency in circulation, has badly hit farmers leaving them without cash just ahead of the Rabi sowing season.
  • It is estimated that more than 40% of small and marginal farmers take crop loans from cooperative institutions. District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) receive their cash from currency chests of banks and state cooperatives. Thus, disbursement of funds from NABARD will help in the smooth flow of credit for farmers to enable them to undertake Rabi requirements.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 23rd November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 23rd November 2016

1) Gaganjeet Bhullar has won the US $ 300,000 BANK BRI-JCB Indonesia Open.

  • Earlier, Bhullar has also won the event in 2013. With this year victory, he has sealed his seventh Asian Tour victory. It was his second title 2016 season with a 16-under-par 272 total at the Pondok Indah Golf Course in Jakarta.
  • He won the title for the second time in his career after closing with a four-under-par 68.With this win, Bhullar became the fifth player after Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), Frank Nobilo (New Zealand), Frankie Minoza (Philippines) and Lu Hsi-chuen (Chinese Taipei) to win the event twice.

2) The Union Finance Ministry has constituted a committee to access the status of implementation of demonetisation drive.

  • The committee was formed after the Union Government took decision to scrap 500 and 1000 rupees currency notes on 9th November 2016. Under this, each of the officers will visit different areas of the State and UTs separately with special focus on the rural areas.
  • This committee visit the States and union territories and submit its report by 25th November 2016 and submit a report on the general outlook and challenges arising out of implementation of the scheme.
  • It check facilities at bank branches and post offices for deposit, withdrawal and exchange of currency and also check the impact of the demonetization on various segments including households, wage earners, agriculturists, traders, transportation, industries, informal sectors and small business.

3) India and Switzerland has signed bank information sharing deal recently.

  • With this, India had joined a list of select countries with which Switzerland will exchange all financial information automatically. It will be done on a reciprocal basis for tax purposes.
  • They have signed a joint Declaration for implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) between the two countries. The declaration was signed in respect to accounts of Indians held abroad and vice versa.
  • It was inked on 22 November 2016 in New Delhi by Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes Sushil Chandra and Deputy Chief of Mission of Swiss Embassy in India, Gilles Roduit.
  • It will make possible for India to receive the financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years, on an automatic basis.The exchange will begin from September 2019.
  • This deal, if approved by the Swiss parliament, will help the Union Government in its fight against the menace of black money that is stashed in offshore accounts. The Swiss Federal Department of Finance said that the automatic exchange of information with India will be done on the basis of the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA). This MCAA is based on the international standard for the exchange of information that was developed by OECD.
  • The Swiss Cabinet has authorised the Federal Department of Finance to initiate a consultation process on the inclusion of India and other countries in the AEOI partnership. After this consultation, the corresponding federal decrees will be submitted to the parliament for approval.

4) Pankaj Patel was elected as the President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for the year 2017.

  • At present Pankaj Patel is Chief Managing Director of Zydus Cadila. He is actively involved in various educational institutions and is on advisory committees and academic councils of several educational institutions such as IISER (Kolkata), IIM Ahmedabad etc.
  • He will take over after incumbent Ambuja Neotia Group Chairman Harshavardhan Neotia completes his term in December 2016. He is also the Vice President, Executive Chairman and Trustee of the Gujarat Cancer Society and Chairman of the Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute, one of the largest of its kind regional Cancer Centre in India.
  • FICCI is the largest and oldest apex business organization in India. It is a non-governmental and non-profit organization. It was establish in 1927 and it has headquarters in New Delhi.
  • The mission of FICCI has to enhance efficiency and global competitiveness of Indian industry and to expand business opportunities both in domestic and foreign markets through a range of specialized services and global linkages.

5) Legendary vocalist, playback singer and composer Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna has passed away recently.

  • Mangalampalli had innovated the whole Carnatic music system by keeping its rich tradition untouched. The ragas like Ganapathi, Sarvashri, Mahati, Lavangi etc. were credited to him. He also had composed over 400 compositions in various languages including in his native tongu, Telugu and in Kannada, Tamil, Sanskrit, Malayalam, Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi.
  • He was considered as doyen of classical music. During his long musical career he had excelled as a prominent Carnatic vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, playback singer, composer and actor. His compositions range from Devotional to Varnams, Krithis, Javalis and Thillans, in all the fundamental 72 melakartha ragas to film music.
  • He had won Padma Vibhusan (1991), Mahatma Gandhi Silver Medal from UNESCO (1995), France’s Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is also a recipient of Filmfare awards and National Film Awards for best music direction and playback singing.

6) Nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile was successfully test-fired from a test range off Odisha coast.

  • Agni-I is intermediate range nuclear capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile. It is first missile of the Agni series launched in 1983. It was developed by a premier missile development laboratory of DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.
  • It was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island). The last trial of Agni-I was conducted successfully in March 2016 this year from the same base.
  • It can hit a target 700 km away. Its strike range can be extended by reducing the payload. It can be fired from road and rail mobile launchers.It weighs 12 tonnes and is 15-metre-long. It is designed to carry a payload of more than one tonne. It is single stage missile powered by solid propellants.
  • The missile already has been inducted into armed forces. Since its induction it has proved its excellent performance in terms of range, accuracy and lethality.

7)  António Costa will be the chief guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention.

  • After Portugal’s 2015 general election, he was appointed as Prime Minister after he had put together a coalition of left parties that is currently in power in Portugal. In 2004, he was elected as one of the 14 Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament and also had served on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. He was Mayor of Lisbon City from 2007 to 2015. He was elected as Secretary-General of the Socialist Party in September 2014.
  • The PBD Convention is scheduled to be held from January 7 to 9, 2017 in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Mr. Costa will participate in the inaugural session of the PBD Convention on January 8 and address the delegates.
  • The PBD is celebrated every year on January 9 to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. It is celebrated every year since 2003. It provides a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities.
  • January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa.This event marks the importance of arrival of India’s greatest Pravasi who led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.
  • Besides, Surinam Vice president Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin will be the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held in Bengaluru on January 7, 2017.

8) Renowned physicist MGK Menon has passed away on 22 November 2016. 

  • Menon had a major role in the development of science and technology in India over 50 years. One of his most important contributions was nurturing the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.He was keenly involved in setting up balloon flight experiments, as well as deep underground experiments with cosmic ray neutrinos in the mines at Kolar Gold Fields.
  • Between 1966 and 1975, he served as the President of the Indian Statistical Institute, President of the National Academy of Sciences, Director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Chairman Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Chairman Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad.
  • In 2008, the asteroid 7564 Gokumenon was named in his honour.

9) INS Chennai, a Kolkata-class stealth Guided missile destroyer ship was commissioned into Indian Navy’s in Mumbai.

  • It is the largest-ever warship to be built in India. It is third and last Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers built under Project 15A. Thus, its induction also marks the end of the Project 15A.
  • INS Chennai has been named after the iconic port city of Chennai. It is 164 metres long with a displacement of over 7,500 tonnes. It has been built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in Mumbai under the strategic Project 15A.
  • It can sail at a top speed of over 30 knots (around 55 kms) per hour and is propelled by four powerful Gas Turbines, in a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration. The ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) and uses radar transparent materials on exposed decks.
  • The ship is truly classified as a ‘Network of Networks’ as it is equipped with sophisticated digital networks, such as ATM based Integrated Ship Data Network (AISDN), Automatic Power Management System (APMS), Auxiliary Control System (ACS) and Combat Management System (CMS).
  • It will be placed under the operational and administrative control of the Western Naval Command based in Mumbai. It has a complement of about 45 officers and 395 personnel.
  • Under this project Kolkata class of stealth guided missile destroyers have been built for Indian Navy. The class comprises of three ships and are the largest destroyers to be operated by the Indian Navy.
  • The first ship of this class named INS Kolkata was commissioned in August 2014 followed by INS Kochi commissioned in September 2015. These destroyers are follow-on of the legendary Project 15 ‘Delhi’ class destroyers which had entered service in the late 1990s.

10) M Venkaiah Naidu has inaugurated a multimedia exhibition with the theme ‘Aazadi 70 Saal, Yaad Karo Kurbani’ at the 47th International Film Festival of India in Panaji.

  • The exhibition was organised by National Film Archives of India (NFAI) to celebrate 70 years of India’s Independence and its depiction through films. It covers patriotic films that give importance to the role played by Indian soldiers and freedom fighters in helping India gain Independence.
  • It includes screening of films honouring martyrs and leaders like Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
  • Film adaptations of historic movements like Swadeshi movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Salt Satyagraha and Dandi march, the boycott of Simon Commission and Quit India movement are also included in the line-up.
  • Films based on discriminative issues like untouchability, women empowerment, caste system have also made it into the esteemed list.
  • Besides this, the Union Minister also inaugurated the newly recreated website of NFAI, NFAI New Year Calendar which goes by the theme ‘Dance in Indian Cinema’ and an Exhibition on Virtual Reality. The virtual reality exhibition is truly one of its kind, as it gives a full virtual tour of NFAI premises and exhibition.

 

 

Daily Current Affairs – 22nd November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 22nd November 2016

1) India’s longest expressway connecting Agra and Lucknow was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh.

  • It has been built by the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) in a record time of 23 months.
  • The Agra-Lucknow Expressway is six-lane greenfield expressway having total length of 302-km. It has a design speed of up to 120 kms per hour. It starts from Agra and passes through Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya, Kannauj, Hardoi, Unnao, Kanpur to reach Lucknow. The expressway will help cut down the time between Agra and Lucknow to just 3.5 hours, from the current 7 hours.
  • The entire Expressway is lined with metal beam crash barrier on both sides and wire fencing for safe & secure transit.It has State-of-the-art Advance Traffic management System for safe & secure transit and reducing road accidents and helping even at the time of fog.
  • During the inauguration ceremony, six fighter jets (Three Mirage 2000s and three Sukhois) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) touched down on a stretch of the expressway in simulated landings. This was the first time that IAF fighterjets took part in the inauguration of an expressway as part of Union Government’s plan to increasingly use highways as landing and take-off strips. In May 2015 an IAF Mirage 2000 had landed on the Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh making it India’s first road runway.

2) India was placed at the 20th rank among the 58 countries on the 2017 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).

  • The CCPI is an instrument designed to enhance transparency in international climate politics. It is list of countries doing the most to combat climate change. It aims to put social and political pressure on those countries which have, up until now, failed to take ambitious action on climate protection.
  • The index was released by Germanwatch, an independent German NGO and Climate Action Network Europe.The index evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 58 countries on the basis of standardised criteria. These 58 countries together are responsible for about 90% of global energy-related CO2 emissions.
  • The index underlines that countries like India are making “great efforts” in the fields of renewables and energy efficiency. It emphasised that developing countries should choose a “cleverer and cleaner” development path and not ape industrialised nations.
  • The 2015 Paris Agreement has helped in encouraging the trends in switching towards the renewable energy, but the revolution in switching is very slow at the global level. Emerging economies of G20 like India (20), Argentina (36) and Brazil (40) have improved their ranking. India’s scores have improved slightly interms of renewables and energy efficiency.

3) Senior journalist Akshaya Mukul has won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2016.

  • He has won this prize for his book ‘Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India’. He had also won the best non-fiction book prize for Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India at the Ramnath Goenka awards. However, he boycotted the event.
  • The judges, authors Samanth Subramanian, Mahesh Rao and Janice Pariat, chose Mukul’s book for its “eye-opening and captivating exploration into a parallel literary culture that can often feel at a great remove from English-speaking metropolitan India”.
  • The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize was set up in 2008 to encourage authors from the sub-continent.
  • The book talks about Jaydayal Goyandka and Hanuman Prasad Poddar, two Marwari businessmen-turned-spiritualists, who set up the Gita Press and Kalyan magazine. It explain how Gita Press created an empire that spoke in a militant Hindu nationalist voice; and how ideas articulated by Gita Press played a critical role in the formation of a Hindu political consciousness.

4) The twin trial of surface-to-surface nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile was successfully conducted by the Indian Army.

  • Prithvi-II is the first missile to be indigenously developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. Range: It is surface-to-surface medium range ballistic missile with strike range of 350 km.
  • During the test, two Prithvi-II missiles in salvo mode were successfully test-fired in quick succession from mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR). It is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of conventional as well as nuclear warheads.
  • It is single-stage liquid-fuelled. It uses advanced inertial guidance system along with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target precisely. It already has been inducted into India’s armed forces in 2003.
  • Earlier, similar twin trial was conducted by Indian Army in October 2009 from the same base where both tests were successful.

5) Haryana Government has made the fitting of auto-dippers mandatory in four-wheel transport vehicles as a road safety measure.

  • All registered four-wheeled transport vehicles would be fitted with the auto-dipper compatible with the head lamp. The auto-dipper to be fitted should be approved by the Transport Department on the basis of the technology under license from the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).
  •  This has made mandatory in accordance with the terms of Rule 106 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. While submitting the application for approval of the auto-dipper by the Transport Department (Regulatory Wing), the manufacturer will have to declare that Functioning of the auto dipper is compatible with headlamps working as per AIS: 034 and there should not be any tampering with the original wiring/electric circuits of the vehicles.
  • The authorised dealer will also have to submit one sample of the auto-dipper with the application. This would help in inspecting and verify the quality of the dipper.The authorised distributor of the manufacturer will also have to attach the documents regarding Vat number, sale tax, patent certificate and hologram, details of manufacturing unit, registered office address, dealer network and service network in the State.

6) India has been elected as the vice chair for 2018 and chair for 2019 of the Kimberly Process Certificate Scheme (KPCS).

  • KPCS is a joint initiative of the governments, industry and civil societies to prevent the entry of conflict diamonds from the mainstream rough diamond market. It was established in 2003 through a United Nations General Assembly Resolution. India is founder member of the scheme.
  • The decision in the regard was taken at the recently held KP Plenary meeting in Dubai. It was announced by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). In India, the scheme is administered through the Department of Commerce under the aegis of the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry.
  • Conflict diamonds or blood diamonds are the rough diamonds used by rebel movements in the third world countries especially in Africa to finance (civil) wars with an aim to topple legitimate governments.
  • GJEPC is an organisation for the promotion of gem and jewellery industry in India. It has been established by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

7) The Infosys Science Foundation has declared the names of six individuals as the winners of Infosys Prize 2016.

  • The winners were selected from 6 categories including the field of Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
  • The prize, which is given to recognize and celebrate the talent and contribution of some of the best researchers and scientists today, is running into its eighth consecutive year. The prize for each category included a winning amount of 65 Lakh Rupees, a 22 karat gold medallion and a citation certificate.
  • Six people were chosen from a total of 250 nominations by an esteemed jury panel including renowned scientists and professors such as Prof. Pradeep K Khosla, Prof. Amartya Sen, Prof Shrinivas Kulkarni, Dr. Inder Verma, Prof Srinivasa S R Varadhan and Prof Kaushik Basu.
  • The winners of the prize are Prof. V. Kumaran for Engineering and Computer Science, Dr. Gagandeep Kang for Life Sciences, Prof. Sunit Amrith for Humanities, Prof. Akshay Venkatesh for Mathematical Sciences, Prof. Kaivan Munshi for Social Sciences and Dr. Anil Bhardwaj for Physical Sciences.

8) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana (PMAY-G)  in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

  • PMAY-G is part Union Government’s flagship ‘Housing for All’ scheme and has replaced previous rural housing scheme Indira Awas Yojana. Under PMAY-G Government aims to provide affordable, environmentally safe and secure pucca house to every rural household living below the poverty line by 2022.
  • It uses ICT and space technology to further confirm correct selection of beneficiaries and progress of work.The beneficiaries for this scheme will be selected through a completely transparent process using the Socio Economic Census 2011 data and validating it through the Gram Sabha.
  • Under it, financial assistance will be provided for construction of dwelling units and upgradations of existing unserviceable kutcha houses. The entire payments will be done through transparent IT/DBT mode with Aadhaar linked Bank accounts with consent, to ensure complete transparency and accountability.
  • The scheme allows over 200 different housing designs across country based on a detailed study of housing typologies, households’ requirements and environmental hazards.The unit cost for houses has been increased with convergence of a minimum support of nearly Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 1.6 lakh to a household is available. If the beneficiary desires, then there is also a provision of Bank loan upto Rs. 70,000.
  • PMAY-G will be also serve as a major step forward in bringing together Skill India, Make In India, IT/DBT Aadhaar platform, Digital India and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. It will provide skilling for 5 lakh Rural Masons by 2019 and envisages large scale use of local materials.
  • Houses built under the scheme will have cooking space, electricity provision, LPG, toilet and bathing area, drinking water etc through convergence.

9) Captain Radhika Menon was bestowed with the 2016 International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award.

  • Menon was honoured with the prestigious award for her role in the rescue of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in the Bay of Bengal in June 2015. She had received this award at Sea at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom.
  • Radhika Menon is the Master of the oil products tanker Sampurna Swarajya. She is the first woman captain in the Indian Merchant Navy.
  • With this, Captain Menon became the first female to receive the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.
  • The annual bravery Award was established by International Maritime Organisation to provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery, displaying outstanding courage in attempting to save life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment.
  • The recipient of the Award is invited to a special ceremony at IMO to receive a medal and a certificate citing the act of exceptional bravery performed. In 2015, the Award was given to United States’ Christopher Leon.

10) Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was presented with the first ‘World Sanskrit Award’.

  • She is noted educator and scholar of Sanskrit and Pali. She has been awarded with several awards and Honorary Doctorates including Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature (Sanskrit) from Delhi University in 1987.
  • She was also the Royal Patron of the 16th World Sanskrit Conference which was held in Bangkok in 2015. She also won Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development Award from the Union Government in 2004; and Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1991.
  • Besides, American linguist and Indologist Prof. George Cardona was also presented with this award for the year 2016. They were bestowed with the award by Vice President Hamid Ansari at a function held in New Delhi.
  • The award was instituted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). It was announced by the Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her inaugural address in the 16th World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok in June 2015.

Daily Current Affairs – 21st November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 21st November 2016

1) China has launched world’s longest super-secure quantum communication line.

  • The super-secure quantum communication line is 712-km in length. It boasts of ultra-high security making it impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through them.
  • The 712-km line is part of a 2,000-km Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication. It has 11 stations and it took three years of construction. In one of its first test communication, it had transmitted a secure video conference between the two cities.
  • The Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication line is expected to be completed at the end of the year 2016. It will be backbone highly secured communication network to be used in the fields of finance, electronics and government affairs.
  • Quantum communication uses subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points. These subatomic particles are mainly quantum entanglement of photons. It ensures that nobody taps into the line as a photon can be neither separated nor duplicated. Thus tapping the network will inevitably corrupt the signal.
  • Earlier in August 2016, China had successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite. It was nicknamed as Micius after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher and scientist. It will enable the space-to-Earth highly secure hack-proof quantum communication network.

2) PV Sindhu has won the China Open badminton tournament.

  • This was the first Super Series Premier title for the Indian Olympic silver medallist and two-time bronze medallist at World Championship.
  • She also became the third non-Chinese woman to win the title. The previous two winners were Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo (2007) and India’s own Saina Nehwal (2014).
  • In the summit clash that lasted for an hour and nine minutes, Sindhu defeated Sun Yu of China 21-11, 17-21, 21-11. The final was played at Fuzhou, China.
  • The China Open is badminton tournament that is annually held in China. In 2007, it became a part of the BWF Super Series tournaments in 2007.
  • Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark won the men’s singles title.Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Indonesia) and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia) won the men’s doubles title while Chang Ye-Na (South Korea) and Lee So-hee (South Korea) won the women’s doubles title of the super-series.

 

3) Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was awarded with the prestigious Mother Teresa International Award.

  • Abdullah was conferred with the award for his contribution in promoting peace and stability in the West Asia. He is responsible for establishing institutions that protect youth from being radicalised and indoctrination from terrorist groups and people who look forward to propagating violence against innocent people.
  • The 2016 Mother Teresa Awards were conferred recipients on 20 November 2016 at JW Marriott, Mumbai. Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, a Bangladeshi hostage who was killed in the terrorist attack on the Dhaka’s Holey Café on 1 July 2016, was the another recipient of the award.
  • This international award was introduced in 2005 in the memory of late Mother Teresa. Key recipients of the award are Malala Yousufzai (Nobel laureate of Pakistan), Dalai Lama (Nobel laureate and Tibetan leader), Medecins Sans Frontieres (an international humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization (NGO) and it is also known as Doctors Without Borders), Dr Mahathir Mohammed (former Prime Minister of Malaysia), and Baroness Caroline Cox (the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords) among others.

4) Smriti Irani has launched a scheme of ‘Pehchan’ identity cards to artisans in Ahmedabad.

  • The upgraded ‘pehchan’ cards were distributed to artisans from five clusters of Gujarat namely Jamnagar, Naroda, Surendranagar, Amreli and Kalol. It is a new upgraded ID card for artisans that will be linked with their Aadhar numbers and bank accounts so that they can receive direct cash transfer benefit.
  • Beside this, minister also announced that to give tool kits and safety equipment women and BPL artisans for metal craft for free of cost in a bid to encourage women. She also inaugurated thematic handicrafts exhibition.

5) Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has won the men’s race in Delhi Half Marathon.

  • It was ninth edition of Delhi Half Marathon. Over 34 thousand participants from across the world had participated in it. 13 Rio Olympians took part in the elite race category.The marathon also had featured some of the biggest track and field and distance runners, with a total of 25 men and 18 women athletes from country.
  • Eliud Kipchoge won the race by clocking 59 minutes and 44 seconds to cover the 21.097km distance. Ethiopia’s Yigrem Demelash came second and Kenya’s Augustine Choge was third.
  • Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa won the women’s title. She won the women’s title by clocking one hour, seven minutes and 42 seconds. Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh came second and Helah Kiprop of Kenya was third.
  • Lakshmanan has won in the Indian elite men’s category by clocking his Personal Best of 1 hour 04 minutes and 37 seconds. M D Yunus came second and Man Singh third while Monika Athare has won in the Indian womens category by clocking her Personal Best of 1 hour 15 minutes and 34 seconds. Sanjeevani Jadhav came second and Swati Athare third.

6) The NASA has successfully launched highly advanced geostationary weather satellite Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R).

  • GOES-R is the first of four new advanced weather satellites of the GOES-R program managed by US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It will become operational within a year after undergoing a testing and validation of its six new instruments, including the first operational lightning mapper in geostationary orbit.
  • It was launched on board of Atlas 5 rocket which had lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It is also first satellite to carry a lightning mapper instrument to geostationary orbit. It will photograph lightning activity throughout Western Hemisphere about 200 times every second.
  • The satellite will boost the US’s weather observation capabilities, leading to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings. It’s primary instrument Advanced Baseline Imager, will provide images of Earth’s weather, oceans and environment with 16 different spectral bands.
  • In all, data from GOES-R will result in 34 new or improved meteorological, solar and space weather products. It also will be part of the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System, an international satellite-based search and rescue network operated by NOAA.

 

7) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put forward a proposal to open an ‘Islamic window’ in conventional banks. 

  • The RBI and the Union Government have been exploring the possibility of  introducing the Sharia-based foundation since quite long in order to include even those sections of the society that remain outside the banking circuit due to religious reasons.
  • The information was revealed when a copy of the letter was sent to Press Trust of India, in response to an RTI filed by it. The move is a stepping stone to its consideration of introducing Islamic banking in the country.
  • Islamic banking may be introduced in the country in a gradual manner, considering the inexperience of Indian banks in the sphere and complexities of Islamic finance. The full-fledged introduction of Islamic banking will be considered at a later stage, based on the experience gained during the time.

8) Scientists have developed Zika replicon system to develop vaccines.

  • The Zika replicon system is considered as an advance novel tool that may pave the way for development vaccine to fight Zika virus.
  • Recent Zika virus outbreak has highlighted the urgent need to establish genetic tools for studying how the virus multiplies and causes disease in order to develop countermeasures.It has also become important to deal with Zika virus which is spreading rapidly and behaves differently than other viruses as it can be transmitted sexually and is associated with microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).
  • The Zika replicon system deleted some of the genes that give the Zika virus its structure. The system was engineered by attaching genes that allow researchers to tag certain parts of the Zika virus for making it a powerful tool for vaccine development. The system has made Zika virus no longer infectious and also lowered the safety risk involved in working with it.
  • Replicons are basically segments of viral genome that can replicate on their own, independent of the cellular chromosome. They can be used to locate portions of the viral molecule that block or halt viral replication.

Daily Current Affairs – 20th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 20th November 2016

1) The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was observed on 20 November 2016 globally.

  • The Day is observed on every third Sunday of November by an increasing number of countries on every continent around the world. It is observed to remember millions who were killed or injured in road crashes.It has also become an important means to reduce road casualties.
  • The theme of this day is Vital post-crash actions: Medical Care, Investigation, Justice!
  • The United Nations General Assembly on 26 October 2005 decided to observe every third Sunday of November as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims  through UN Resolution 60/5.
  • In 2008, remembrance services and other related events were held in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda and the United States, and almost every country in Europe.
  •  A dedicated website was also launched to make the Day more widely known and to link countries through sharing common objectives.

2) The Income Tax department is planning to implement the first phase of ‘Project Insight’ from May 2017.

  • This project has been initiated for data mining, collection, collation and processing of such information for effective risk management with a view to widening and deepening tax base.
  • Project Insight’ is an integrated platform that will utilize vast amount of information easily available on social media to conduct raids online rather than traditional way of conducting random searches, known as tax raids. It will use data mining, big data and analytics to scoop out tax evaders from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • The ‘Project Insight’ will be implemented in phased manner during the period 2016-2018. For its implementation, the IT department has signed a contract with L&T Infotech Ltd.
  • This will enhance the department’s ability to monitor the flow of funds and will provide an audit trail of high value transactions and curb circulation of black money.It will also be leveraged for implementation of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Inter Governmental Agreement (FATCA IGA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

3) Pandit Hari Prasad Chourasia was conferred 2016 Sumitra Charat Ram Award for lifetime achievement in the field of Indian classical music.

  • The prestigious award bestowed upon him by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung at a function held in New Delhi. This award has been named after Sumitra Charat Ram who had played a key role in revival of the performing arts traditions, specially kathak and Hindustani music in north India.
  • The award carries a purse, citation, shawl and a silver plaque. The past recipients include Pt Birju Maharaj (kathak), Kishori Amonkar (Hindustani vocal), Mayadhar Raut (Odissi), Pt Jasraj (Hindustani vocal) and Kumudini Lakhia (kathak).
  • Chaurasia had started learning vocal music at the tender age of 15 from his neighbour Pandit Rajaram. He joined the All India Radio (AIR), Cuttack, Odisha in 1957 and worked as a composer and performer.
  • He had received Sangeet Natak Academy (1984), Padma Bhushan (1992), Yash Bharati Sanman (1994), Padma Vibhushan (2000), Dinanath Mangeshkar Award (2000) etc.
  • Sumitra Charat Ram was also the founder of Shiram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, one of the country’s premier institutions of performing arts.

4) Universal Children’s Day was observed on 20 November 2016 across the globe.

    li>20 November is the day when UNGA adopted the declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. On 14 December 1954, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recommended all countries should institute a Universal Children’s Day, which will be observed as a day of the worldwide fraternity to understand children. 20 November also marks the day on which, in 1989, the UNGA adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • These children rights include the right to life, to education, to health, to play, the right to family life as well as to be protected from violence, and not to be discriminated, and to have their views heard.
  • The day is observed with an aim to promote the ideals and objectives of the United Nation’s Charter and the welfare of the children of the world.

5) Michael Flynn has selected as the National Security Adviser by the US President Donald Trump.

  • Trump has also nominate U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Jeff Sessions has served as both the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and Alabama Attorney General prior to his service in the U.S. Senate. He has been one of President-elect Trump’s trusted advisors on the campaign and will now continue his service as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
  • Michael Flynn is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He served as President-elect Trump’s top military advisor during the campaign and will now continue providing expert advice and support to the President-elect as his National Security Advisor.

6) Ami Bera has been re-elected to the US House of Representatives for a third consecutive term.

  • Bera would be joined by three first-time Indian-American lawmakers in the US House of Representatives — Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois, Pramila Jayapal from Washington State and Ro Khanna from California.
  • This is the first time that the House would have four Indian-American members. Another Indian-American Kamala Harris has been elected to the US Senate.
  • He defeated Republican Sacramento County sheriff Scott Jones. With this, he ties the record for the most consecutive terms served by an Indian-American in Congress, held by Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, who served three terms from 1957-1963.

7) The first ‘World Punjabi Literature’ conference has started in Punjab.

  • This Festival has held for the first time in Punjab at Ghuman, Pune. The city is gearing up to host its first World Punjabi Literary Festival, which will be organised by city-based organisation Sarhad in November this year. Sarhad had also organised the event in Ghuman in April last year.
  • After organising the Marathi Literary Festival in Ghuman they decided to host World Punjabi Literary Festival in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • More than 4,000 representatives of countries such as Canada, US and Britain are participating in it.

8)  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has inaugurated his ambitious project ‘UP 100 service.

  • Yadav will go to Varanasi, Agra, Ghaziabad and Jhansi districts to flagoff the project.
  • All efforts has rolled out to ensure that the police reached the crime scene in minimum time in line with the ‘108’ and ‘102’ ambulance services, which were already operational.This was also necessary to ensure proper and good behaviour with people and to ensure that police teams reach the crime scene in time.
  • under the project, 3200 four-wheelers would be active in which 700 would be Innova’s and 2500 Bolero cars. All vehicles would be painted in black. At present, the project’s headquarter at the Shaheed Path, Lucknow.

9) The IMF has approved a loan of USD 162 million to Sri Lanka.

  • Sri Lanka was approved a three-year extended arrangement by the IMF in June valued about USD 1.45 billion subjected to the government’s reform programme, supported by the IMF which aims to reduce the fiscal deficit, rebuild foreign exchange reserves, and introduce a simpler, more equitable tax system to restore macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth.
  • The authorities intend to continue building up reserves through outright purchases while allowing for greater exchange rate flexibility.

Daily Current Affairs – 19th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 19th November 2016

1) The 2016 World Internet Conference has concluded in Wuzhen, China.

  • The theme of the 3rd World Internet Conference, which commenced on 16 November 2016, was Innovation-driven Internet Development for the Benefit of All – Building a Community of Common Future in Cyberspace.
  • On the other hand, the World Internet Conference Internet Culture Forum was held in the Wuzhen Internet International Conference and Exhibition Center on 17 November 2016. The theme of the Forum was Mutual-learning among Civilizations and Development of the Internet Culture.
  • The forum consisted of three parts with an opening at the beginning. Two panel discussions titled Enhancing People-to-People Exchanges, Promoting Mutual Learning Among Civilizations and Pushing for Better Cyberculture were conducted subsequently.
  • The World Internet Conference is an annual event organized by government agencies in China.It was first held in 2014.

2) World Toilet Day was observed on 19 November 2016.

  • The theme for 2016 World Toilet Day is ‘toilets and jobs’. It focuses on how sanitation or the lack of it can impact livelihoods of people. The day also calls for action to help about 2.4 billion people who live without a toilet.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals, which was launched in 2015, also includes a target to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030. Sanitation is a global development priority.
  • WAS-Hwatch 2016 says that diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water annually kills 315000 children.International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003 report says poor sanitation and hygiene practices helps in transmitting disease at work. This transmission causes 17 percent of all workplace deaths.
  • Availability of toilets, play an important role in improving health as well as in protecting people’s safety and dignity, particularly women’s and girls’. It also helps in creating string economy.
  • UN General Assembly in July 2013 adopted the “Sanitation for All’ Resolution (A/RES/67/291), designating 19 November as World Toilet Day. The Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders.

3) The Indian Navy has inducted four types of indigenously developed SONAR systems.

  • The systems have been designed and developed by Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), a Kochi based laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The four sensors were handed over to the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The sonar systems are capable of boosting the Navy’s underwater surveillance capabilities.
  • ABHAY is an advanced Active-cum-Passive integrated SONAR system. It is designed and developed for the smaller platforms such as shallow water crafts and coastal surveillance/patrol vessels.
  • NACS determines the in-situ performance of the SONAR systems, which are used to find the frequency-dependent 3-D transmission and reception characteristics of the SONAR. It is also used to measure the magnitude and phase characteristics of the SONAR transmission and reception electronics and the transducers.
  • HUMSA-UG is designed for upgrading the existing HUMSA SONAR system of the Indian Naval platforms. This system is proposed to be installed on seven ships of three different classes of ships.
  • AIDSS system stands for Near-field Acoustic Characterisation System. It is a distress SONAR. It is an Emergency Sound Signalling Device, which is used to indicate that a submarine is in distress and enable quick rescue and salvage.

4) Jagdish Singh Khehar has appointed as the new Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

  • NALSA provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society. It has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Its aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.
  • It provides services of free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal.
  • It also organises Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes. It works in close coordination with various State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities and other agencies.
  • He succeeds Anil R. Dave who retired as Judge of Supreme Court after completing tenure of over six years.

5) The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed three Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with the Competent Authority of United Kingdom (UK) to reduce tax litigation.

  • Earlier both countries had exchanged mutual agreements amongst them under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) Article of the India-UK Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).
  • These three APAs cover international transactions in the nature of payment of intra-group service charges and pertain to the telecom industry. They also have a roll-back provision.
  • The APA Programme was introduced by Finance Act, 2012 with a view to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce litigation in Indian transfer pricing arena. Rollback of APAs was announced in the Budget in July 2014.It seeks to introduce certainty in tax law by reducing compliance costs and make tax regime investment friendly. It provides certainty to taxpayers regarding transfer pricing that aim to avoid disputes between taxpayer and tax regulator.
  • It provide alternative path to the investors with rollback provision to reduce litigation and strengthen Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.

6) Nearly 200 nations attending the COP22 to the UNFCC have adopted Marrakech Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development.

  • The COP22 to the UNFCC, 12th session of COP of Parties to Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), and first session of COP of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) were held in Marrakech, Morocco.
  • The 11-day meeting concluded with all participating member nations collectively reaffirming their commitment to climate action under Paris Agreement adopted in November 2015.
  • It is urgent duty of countries to respond global warming which is warming the climate at an alarming and unprecedented rate. It is necessary for rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement with its ambitious goals, its inclusive nature and its reflection of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
  • It highlighted the need to support efforts aimed at enhancing their adaptive capacity, to strengthen resilience and to reduce vulnerability of most vulnerable countries.
  • The nations, who are parties to Kyoto Protocol (which does not include the US) should ratify of the Doha Amendment, with its focus on pre-2020 action. Strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and to take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.
  • India has welcomed Marrakesh Action Proclamation as most of its demands including the issue of providing finance to developing nations to tackle climate change has been incorporated.
  • The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 had initially assigned GHGs emission cut targets to the developed countries only till 2012.

7)  The Qaumi Ekta Week (National Integration Week) will be observed all over the country from 19th to 25th November, 2016.

  • The week long programmes under it with a view to foster and reinforce the spirit of Communal Harmony, National Integration and pride in vibrant, composite culture and nationhood.
  • It highlight the inherent strength and resilience of the India and to withstand actual and potential threats to the eclectic and secular fabric of our country and also provide an opportunity to reaffirm age old traditions and faith in the values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.
  • November 19 will be observed as National Integration Day, November 20 will be observed as Welfare of Minorities Day, November 21 will be observed as Linguistic Harmony Day, November 22 will be observed as Weaker Sections Day, November 23 will be observed as Cultural Unity Day, November 24 will be observed as Women’s Day, November 25 will be observed as Conservation Day.

8) Tamilnadu get world’s first salt-tolerant plants garden.

  • It was world’s first Genetic Garden of Halophytes which was inaugurated by Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib Fakim through video-conferencing at the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.
  • The garden has been set up by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) founded by eminent agriculture scientist Prof M S Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution. It will have over 1,600 species belonging to 550 genera and 117 families of Halophytes plants.
  • Halophytes are salt-tolerant or salt-resistant plants. They can thrive and complete their life cycles in soils or waters containing high salt concentrations. They constitute two per cent of terrestrial plant species.
  • In recent times, alarming rise in the sea level has prompted agriculture scientists to call for the cultivation of saline-tolerant crops in light danger of sea intrusion.

9) India and Cyprus have inked a revised Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal evasion (DTAA).

  • It will replace the existing DTAA that was signed by two countries in June 1994. The provisions of new DTAA will enter into force after completion of necessary internal procedures in both countries.
  • It Provides for Assistance between the two countries for collection of taxes. Updates the provisions related to Exchange of Information to accepted international standards and also provides source based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares, instead of residence based taxation provided under the existing DTAA.
  • It expands the scope of ‘permanent establishment’ and reduces the tax rate on royalty in the country from which payments are made to 10% from the existing rate of 15%and updates the text of other provisions in accordance with the international standards and consistent policy of India in respect of tax treaties.

10) The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) has announced six winners of the Infosys Prize 2016 in the six different categories of the award.

  • They will be bestowed with this award at the awards ceremony scheduled to be held in Bengaluru on 7 January 2017.
  • Infosys Prize is an annual award bestowed upon researchers, scientists, social scientists and engineers in India by the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF). The Prize is given to six categories Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences and Humanities.
  • Each category prize carries a 22-carat gold medallion, a citation certificate and prize money of 65 Lakh rupees.
  • V. Kumaran is the winner of Engineering and Computer Science category, Sunil Amrith is the winner of Humanities, Gagandeep Kang is the winner of Life Sciences, Akshay Venkatesh is the winner of Mathematical Sciences, Anil Bhardwaj is winner of Physical Sciences and Kaivan Munshi is the winner of Social Sciences.

Daily Current Affairs – 18th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 18th November 2016

1) China’s ‘Sumway Taihulight’ has won the fastest supercomputer title in the recently released 48th edition of Top500 list of supercomputers.

  • In this list, the number of systems installed in China had increased to 171 from 168 on last list released in June 2016. United States also now has 171 systems up from 165 in previous list.
  • With this, Chinese supercomputer has retained the top spot in the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers for the eighth consecutive year.
  • TaihuLight is built entirely using processors designed and made in China. It had made its first public appearance in June 2016. It was developed by the China’s National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC).
  • TaihuLight is intended for use in research and engineering including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics.It can perform 93 quadrillions calculations per second (petaflop/s) almost three times as fast as Tianhe-2.
  • Top500 list is considered one of the most authoritative rankings of the world’s supercomputers. It is compiled on the basis of the supercomputers’ performance on the Linpack benchmark by experts from the United States and Germany.

2) The Union Government has announced another set of measures to ease the impact of demonetisation policy on the people. 

  • Farmers will be permitted to draw up to 25000 rupees per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts only. These cash withdrawals will be subjected to the normal loan limits and conditions. This facility will also apply to the Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).
  • Traders registered with APMC markets/mandis will be permitted to draw up to 50000 rupees per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts. This will enable them to pay wages and facilitate easy loading, unloading and other activities at the mandis.
  • The government has now decided to permit families celebrating weddings to draw maximum of 250000 rupees in cash from their own bank accounts that are KYC compliant. The amounts can be drawn only by either of the parents or the person getting married. The government also extended the last date for payment of Crop Insurance Premium by 15 days.
  • The government has decided to reduce the limit of exchange of old 500 and 1000 rupees notes from 4500 rupees to 2000 rupees.
  • The public sector oil marketing companies, in association with State Bank of India, will now dispense cash up to 2000 rupees per day per person. This facility will be initially available at 2500 petrol pumps across the country.Only petrol pumps of Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum will offer such facility.
  • Central Government employees of Group C including equivalent levels in the defence and para military Forces, railways and central public sector enterprises will be allowed to draw salary advance of 10000 rupees in cash.

 

3) Mehbooba Mufti has launched the World Bank-funded Jhelum-Tawi flood recovery project in Srinagar.

  • In January 2016, the Government of Indian and the World Bank had signed a 250 million US dollar credit agreement under the Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project. The project is funded by credit from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.
  • It will focus on the 20 flood-affected districts in the state. They are Anantnag, Baramula, Budgam, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Srinagar, Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch, Rajauri and Udhampur.
  • The project aims at reconstructing and recovering support in flood-affected areas in which public infrastructure and livelihoods were impacted severely.It also focuses on restoring critical infrastructure disrupted by the floods using international best practice.
  • The project seeks reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure post-2014 floods in the state.The infrastructure will be designed to improve resilience to future flooding and landslide, as well as seismic risk.

4) Ministry of Steel is planning to set up Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI).

  • The conceptualization of SRTMI was done by a high level task force set up by the Union Ministry of Steel.It will be governed and administered by a Governing Body comprising the CEOs of steel companies, domain experts and a representative from Union Ministry of Steel.
  • SRTMI has been setup as a Registered Society wherein the Union Ministry of Steel is a facilitator. It is an industry driven institutional initiative.
  • The Director of SRTMI will carry out the executive functioning who will be assisted by appropriate supporting structure. Initial corpus for setting up of SRTMI is. 200 crore rupees. Union Ministry of Steel will provide 50% of corpus and the balance will be provided by participating steel companies.
  • The SRTMI is likely to enhance the R&D investments in the iron and steel industry to the international levels.Some of the steel companies also have formulated R&D masterplans to increase their expenditure in R&D to 1% of their turnover to meet international levels.

5) Haryana sprinter Dharambir Singh was handed an eight-year ban by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

  • Singh had returned positive for an anabolic steroid on 11 July 2016 in an in-competition test conducted by the NADA during the Indian Grand Prix meet. He had breached the 200m Olympics entry standard of 20.50 seconds by clocking 20.45 seconds.
  • As it was Singh’s second dope-related offence, the NADA Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel slapped him a lengthier ban of eight years.
  • Dharambir Singh is an Indian male sprinter.In July 2016, he set a new national record for India when he won the 200 metres race at the Indian Grand Prix in Bengaluru.

6) President Pranab Mukherjee has launched the National Student Startup Policy (NSSP) to promote technology-driven student start-ups.

  • The NSSP has been formulated by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).It was launched during the second Visitor’s Conference held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
  • It aims to create 1 lakh technology based student start-ups and a million employment opportunities within the next 10 years.It also aims to propel Indian youth to contribute to the nation’s socio-economic progress through promotion of technology-driven student start-ups.
  • NSSP seeks to develop an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem by lending crucial soft skills like decision-making in the students. It also seeks to promote strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions.
  • It is a conference of Vice Chancellors/Directors/Director Generals of Institutions of higher learning for which the President is a visitor. This is the second time President has convened such a conference which has brought together all heads of higher education institutions in one forum. Earlier, separate conferences were held for Vice Chancellors of Central Universities, Directors of IITs, IISERs, NITs and IISC.

7) The Supreme Court (SC) has held that a child adopted by a Hindu widow will not have any rights on the property of the woman’s deceased husband. 

  • The court also ruled that the adoption of a child will not disturb or take away the rights of other family members to which they were entitled before the adoption.
  • The ruling was passed by a bench of Justices A R Dave and L Nageswara Rao with reference to the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.The child can claim only over the property inherited by his mother.
  • The ruling of the Supreme Court came on the plea of an adopted son claiming his right over the entire property of his family. In this case, wife’s husband Sharnappa died leaving behind his wife and three daughters as the surviving memers of his family. His entire property was to be equally divided among the remaining four members. But Sharnappa’s wife adopted a son 14 years after she lost her husband leading to a legal fight among the family members after Sharnappa’s daughters and their legal heirs sought their share in the property. The trial court ruled against the adopted son. However, the order was challenged in Karnataka high court, which set aside the lower court verdict. After proper examination, SC held that the HC order was wrong and restored the trial court verdict.

8) The Union Government has constituted the inter-ministerial committee to look into concern tourists and NRIs.

  • This committee will be headed at the level of an additional secretary. A senior joint secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs is also a member of the committee.
  • This committee has constituted to look into the areas of concern expressed by NRIs and tourists from abroad and foreign missions over demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupees notes.
  • The committee was formed after people from foreign missions sought the intervention of Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate smooth collection of consular and visa fee. They have also asked for access to more funds and  money exchange associations.
  • The second set of issues was related to NRIs having cash, or those holding Indian currency abroad. The third set of issues was expressed by the money changer associations abroad. Their concern was- what they would do with the stacks they have. How will they convert those?

9) Rustom-II, India’s indigenously developed long-endurance combat-capable drone has successfully completed its maiden-flight.

  • The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, 250 km from Bangalore, which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft.
  • The DRDO successfully carried out the maiden-flight of TAPAS 201 (RUSTOM–II), a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. It has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based lab of DRDO with HAL-BEL as the production partners.
  • It has an endurance of 24 hours and can conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the country’s armed forces. The UAV can also be used as an unmanned armed combat vehicle on the lines of the US’s Predator drone.
  • It is also the first R&D prototype UAV which has undergone certification and qualification for the first flight from the Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).

10) India’s IT major Tata Consultancy Services has been awarded ‘Digital Innovator of the Year’ in the Ecosystem Excellence category at GE’s Minds + Machines event.

  • The award recognizes TCS’ innovation and excellence in developing the TCS Digital StoreTM, an expanding suite of ready-to-use digital solutions that deliver superior customer experience, real time data analytics and organizational agility across multiple industry segments. The event was held in San Francisco, California.
  • TCS continues to build innovative Industrial IoT applications on GE’s Predix platform with an emphasis on transforming the value chain across multiple industries.
  • Tata Consultancy Services is an IT servicesconsulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of ITBPS,infrastructureengineering and assurance servicesThis is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model™, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 17th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 17th November 2016

1) Doctors from Netherlands have performed the first-ever brain implant in history.

  • This implant has performed on 58-year-old woman paralysed by Lou Gehrig’s disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-ALS).With this, she became the first patient to use a brain-computer interface.
  • Doctors in first-ever brain implant directly installed a device called an electrocorticograph (ECoG) on the women’s brain. The device has electrodes fitted in the brain. Using these electrodes in brain, the patient can control the computer using brain signals, spell out messages at two letters per minute.
  • The implant has enabled paralysed women to communicate in day-to-day life via a speech computer.These implanted electrodes detect brain activity that results when she moves fingers in her mind, and coverts it into a mouse click.
  • Each letter on screen lights up one at a time, and by using her brain to click the mouse at the right time, she can compose words one letter at a time. These words then are vocalized by a speech computer. The entire process is done wirelessly.

2) The word Post Truth was named as word of the year 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries on 16 November 2016.

  • The Word of the Year of Oxford Dictionary is an expression or word that is chosen to reflect the passing year in language. These words are chosen by the Oxford after reviewing and debating on the merits of the words, ethos, mood or preoccupations of that particular year.
  • The word post-truth has been in existence for more than a decade but its usage saw a spike some events of recent past.
  • Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
  • As per Oxford Dictionaries, the word post-truth was first used in a 1992 essay of the Nation Magazine. The essay was written by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich.
  • Certain words which were shortlisted to be the Word of the Year reflect the social, economic, political, cultural and technological trends and events that have been a part of 2016. These words were either coined in 2016 or are the older ones.

3) India has developed long-endurance combat-capable drone, Rustom-II (TAPAS 201) successfully completed its maiden-flight.

  • The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka, which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft.
  • RUSTOM–II is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The UAV weighs two tonnes. It has an endurance of 24 hours. It is multi-mission UAV which can conduct Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the armed forces. It can also be used as an unmanned armed combat.
  • It can also carry Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) to perform missions during day and night. It has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based lab of DRDO. HAL and BEL are the production partners.
  • Rustom-II (TAPAS 201) is also first R&D prototype UAV which has undergone certification and qualification for the first flight from Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).

4) Hunar Haat (Skill Haat) exhibition has held at India International Trade Fair (2016) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

  • National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has organised the exhibition Hunar Haat under scheme USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) of Ministry of Minority Affairs. India International Trade Fair (IITF) that began on 14 November will conclude on 27 November 2016.
  • The exhibition aims at supporting and promoting artisans from minority communities and providing them domestic as well as international market to display and sell their products.
  • It is a platform where Indian artisans can display the traditional Indian art and handicrafts at an ease. It saw the participation of about 184 master artisans from 26 states and Union Territories of the country. The participants are displaying their traditional art and skills at about 100 stalls.
  • USTTAD scheme was launched on 14 May 2015 in Varanasi. It has aim to preserve rich heritage of traditional arts and crafts of the Minority communities.
  • It also seeks to provide employment opportunities to traditional artisans and craftsmen by establishing the linkages their arts/crafts with the national and international market.

5) The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for the first time has deployed a team of women commandos in anti-Naxal operations in Jharkhand.

  • The women commandos are currently undertaking operations under the close supervision of CRPF’s 133 battalion in Naxal-infested forests on the outskirts of Ranchi near Khoonti area. They will be equally capable of neutralising Naxals in par with men commandos. They are experts in carrying out all types of anti-Naxal operations and shall play important role in tackling women Naxals.
  • The 135 women commandos belonging to the 232 battalion’s Delta company have started carrying out anti-Naxal operations.They have been trained in several case studies and carry out their operation in a perfect manner. They are also equipped with modern weapons and software to assist them in executing their plan.
  • CRPF is the largest central armed police force or paramilitary force in India. It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).It was established in 1939, under Crown Representative’s Police but after independence it was made statutory after enactment of the CRPF Act, 1949.
  • At present, CRPF is the world’s largest paramilitary force with 228 battalions and over three lakh personnel.Its primary role is to assist States/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and contain insurgency.

6) Pakistan has conducted Raad ul Barq (Strike of Thunder) military exercise in a strategically located area in Punjab province, bordering India.

  • It was the comprehensive joint exercise carried out jointly by Pakistan Army and Air Force to reflect the preparedness of our armed forces to respond to any threat to its national security.
  • During the military exercise, JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, helicopter gunships and Al-Khalid tanks hit designated targets on the ground. It also demonstrated Pakistan’s indigenously developed surface-to-air missiles, multi-barrel rocket launchers, sky radars for target detection and rocket propelled target system.
  • The exercise showcased the combat readiness of the country’s defence line with live firepower demonstration using heavy artillery fighter jets and air defence weapons.

 

7) The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has launched a revamped version of its toll-free helpline number 1947. 

  • The helpline number was launched to help residents get quick access to information about Aadhaar.The free of cost helpline 1947 will be available 24×7 throughout the year on IVRS mode. On the other hand, call-centre agents will be available from 7 am to 11 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, the agents will answer calls from 8 am to 5 pm.
  • It will be especially beneficial in these times when the Aadhaar number is being increasingly used in the banking sector to identify individuals. It will also enable residents to locate an Aadhaar Enrolment Centre, know generation status of an Aadhaar number and help retrieve Aadhaar details of any person who has lost his/her Aadhaar or has not received it through post.

8) The International Day for Tolerance is observed globally on 16 November to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.

  • The observance of the day seeks to educate masses about the need for tolerance in society and help them understand the negative effects of intolerance.Besides, the 2016 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence was bestowed upon Russia’s Federal Research and Methodological Centre for Tolerance Psychology and Education (Tolerance Centre).
  • The International Day for Tolerance was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution 51/95 in 1996. The day was officially designated in the wake of the United Nations Year for Tolerance 1995 proclaimed by the UNGA in 1993.
  • The UNESCO had instituted Madanjeet Singh Prize in 1995 to mark the day and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence. The prize rewards persons in the fields of scientific, artistic, cultural or communication aimed at the promotion of a spirit of tolerance and non-violence.

9) The Union Cabinet has gave its approval for creation of a ‘special committee’ in accordance to an order passed by the Supreme Court in 2012 for inter-linking of Indian rivers.

  • The approval was given in a Cabinet council session headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 November 2016. According to the government, this move will help in monitoring the projects that are to be carried out under its National Perspective Plan, 1980.
  • The Apex Court ordered the union government to create a ‘special committee’ immediately for inter-linking of rivers’ project.
  • It is a proposed project that aims to link all Indian rivers by the creation of a network of canals and reservoirs in order to reduce the problem of continuous floods in some parts of India and water shortages in others.
  • India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under Ministry of Water Resources has been given the responsibility of managing the project. The project was proposed by NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

10) Lewis Hamilton has won Brazilian Grand Prix 2016 in Interlagos circuit, Sao Paulo.

  • Hamilton finished first, followed by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in second position and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in third position. Safety car was deployed five times and the race was red flagged twice.
  • The race restarted after 35 minutes of stoppage time. It was however stopped for the second time on the 29th lap when Whiting saw reports of heavy rain and then was restarted after a delay of 27 minutes. Two-time Brazilian Grand Prix winner and home hero Felipe Massa’s final race ended when he crashed near the pit entry on lap 47. In a teary moment, he received a standing ovation from the crowd.
  • With the win, Hamilton now has nine wins, same as Nico Rosberg. This was Hamilton’s third straight win this year and the first at the venue after 10 previous attempts.
  • Hamilton would have to win the next grand prix and hope for Rosberg to finish fourth or even lower in order to claim the world title.

Daily Current Affairs – 16th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 16th November 2016

1) The Board of Tata Global Beverages has removed Cyrus Mistry as the Chairman of the company.

  • This is the second time that Mistry is shown the doors out from a Tata entity. Earlier, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) had replaced him with Ishaat Hussain as the Interim Chairman.
  • Harish Bhat has appointed as the Chairman of the company. Bhat is the Non-Executive Director on the board of the company.
  • Bhat had joined the Tata Group in 1987 under Tata Administrative Services (TAS). He earlier worked as the Chief Operating Officer of Titan. He is also the author of a book titled Tata Log: Eight Modern Stories From A Timeless Institution.
  • Tata Global Beverages Limited is an Indian multinational non-alcoholic beverages company. It was formerly known as Tata Tea Limited.It is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is the world’s second-largest manufacturer and distributor of tea.
  • Tata Tea is the biggest-selling tea brand in India, whereas Tetley is the biggest-selling tea brand in Canada. JEMCA is the biggest-selling tea brand in the Czech Republic. Tata Global Beverages ventured into the Indian cafe market with a 50/50 joint venture with Starbucks Coffee Company.

2) India and Israel has inked two agreements in the field of water resources management and agriculture.

  • Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is on an eight-day visit to India (from 14 November to 21 November 2016). This was his first ever visit to India and first by any Israeli President in past two decades. The last and first President of Israel to visit India was Ezer Weizman in 1997.
  • The agreements were inked on 15 November 2016 after the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in New Delhi.
  • Besides, the two nations also agreed to enhance their cooperation against the growing threat of terrorism and radicalization. The two leaders, who recognised terrorism as a global challenge that knows no boundaries, agreed that its time when the international community must act with determination against terror networks and states that harbour them.
  • Earlier, President Reuven Rivlin was given a ceremonial welcome in the forecourts of Rashtrapati Bhawan. Prior to that, Rivlin paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
  • In 2017, the two countries will celebrate 25years of the establishment of full diplomatic relations. They established the diplomatic relations in 1992.

3) Maharashtra has became the first state in the country to adopt the Fly Ash Utilization Policy.

  • The policy seeks 100% use of fly ash generated from thermal power plants and biogas plants for construction activities. Facilitates use of fly ash to make bricks, blocks, tiles, wall panels, cement and other construction materials.
  • The policy paves way for prosperity by generating wealth from waste and environment protection. It was approved by state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
  • It will help in environment protection and save soil excavation. It also will make available raw material for construction at low cost to help ‘Housing for All’ projects. It will also help create new employment opportunities in the power plant sector and pave way for prosperity by generating Wealth from Waste.
  • Fly ash is a fine, glass powder by-product recovered from gases of burning coal in thermal power plants during production of electricity. They are micron sized earth elements primarily consisting silica, alumina and iron.It can be used as a replacement for some of the Portland cement contents of concrete. It can be used in the production of bricks for building construction.

4) Total 20 countries have signed the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

  • The framework agreement of ISA was opened for signatures on the sidelines of CoP22 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Marrakech, in Morocco.
  • The signing of the framework agreement has to be followed by ratifications by countries.  The agreement will become operational after at least 15 countries have ratified it.
  • ISA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande at CoP21 in Paris in November 2015.It is India’s first international and inter-governmental organization comprising 121 Countries.
  • ISA is an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich tropical countries lying fully or partially between two tropics and who are also UN members.Its members will take coordinated actions through programmes and activities that will aggregate demands for solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, R&D and capacity building.
  • The objectives of ISA is Boost global demands which will result in further reduction in prices of solar energy deployment, Boost R&D, particularly in areas of efficient storage system and also promote standardisation in the use of equipments and processes for generating electricity.

5) The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India has signed a 500 million US dollar loan to build a 9.8 km long road bridge across the Ganges River.

  • Along with ADB’s loan and 900000 US dollar in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management, the Bihar Government will provide support equivalent to 215 million US dollar.The project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2020.
  • The proposed bridge will improve transport connectivity between North and South Bihar. It will also improve the link between Patna and the surrounding areas. It will cover both channels of the Ganges River and will also serve as an alternate route to the existing Ganga Bridge.
  • The bridge will use state-of-the-art engineering techniques and will be the first of its kind in India.The height and length of the bridge have been designed to minimize impacts on the river itself. It will also ensure that the bridge is able to withstand climate-related stresses such as a rise in the water level.
  • The project will also build viaducts, embankments, and toll and service facilities. It will link to national highway networks.

6) The Union Cabinet has approved constitution of ‘special committee for inter-linking of rivers’ in compliance with a 2012 Supreme Court order.

  • The constitution of committee will help in monitoring precious projects to be carried out under its National Perspective Plan, 1980. The special committee will submit status-cum-progress report bi-annually to Union Cabinet to facilitate faster and appropriate decisions in the interest of the country.
  • Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. It includes making water available for irrigating land, enabling full use of existing irrigation projects; generating power, flood control etc.
  • Besides, it had mandated the committee ensure the completion of projects so that the benefits accrue within reasonable time and cost. The project is in the pipeline since 1980. It has been touted by the Central Government as one solution to a number of problems.

7) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has hiked the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat and pulses.

  • The MSP of wheat was hiked by 100 rupees per quintal for the 2016-17 rabi crop. The procurement cost of wheat will be 1,625 rupees per quintal against 1,525 rupees per quintal last year. The support price on Barley has been increased to 1,325 rupees from 1,225 rupees per quintal.
  • Masur has been raised to 3,950 rupees per quintal from 3,400 rupees. Mustard and safflower: MSP have been hiked to 3,700 rupees per quintal each. Gram has been raised to 4,000 rupees per quintal including bonus, from 3,500 rupees per quintal.
  • MSP is a form of agricultural market intervention undertaken by the Union Government in order to insure agricultural producers are protected against any sharp fall in farm prices. It is announced for certain crops by the Union Government prior to the sowing season. The prices are decided by CCEA on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

8) Ujjivan Financial Services has received the final licence from Reserve Bank of India to start small finance bank.

  • It is the fourth entity to receive the final licence after Capital Small Finance Bank, Equitas Small Finance Bank and Suryoday Microfinance Pvt. Ltd. Ujjivan plans to start operations in the first quarter of the next calendar year.
  • All small finance bank licence holders need to start operations by March next year before the in-principle approval lapses.
  • Ujjivan will now provide the full range of services to the un-banked and under-banked in 24 states. It was in the process of executing the final building blocks for the small finance bank and that technology, operations and mobility solutions created specifically for the bank are currently being tested.
  • Last year, the Reserve Bank of India gave an in-principle licence to 10 entities to establish niche banks. These banks have been mooted to improve financial inclusion and their main target segments will be unserved and underserved sections, including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.

9) Yes Bank has appointed Amresh Acharya as the Group President and Head of Global Indian Banking.

  • Acharya will play a vital role in capturing market share on a global scale and build stable CASA/deposits, and fee income through distribution of banking and investment products.
  • He will be responsible for driving Global Indian Banking business to generate significant mindshare for Yes Bank in identified International and Domestic NRI geographies including the Yes First and Yes Private Segments
  • Yes Bank offers a comprehensive product suite, technology enabled remote channels, a wide distribution network in India and partnerships with banks in various overseas markets including USA, Canada, Europe, South East Asia, UK , Australia and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries.

10) Reliance Group has become partner with Cisco Jasper for the launch of its new venture ‘UNLIMIT’ to provide Internet of Things (IoT) services to enterprise customers across India.

  • The outlook for IoT services in India is virtually UNLIMITed, with the number of connected devices projected to rise from 200 million today to around 3 billion by 2020, and revenues set to increase from USD 5.6 billion today to USD 15 billion in 2020.
  • The combination of Reliance’s mobile networks and cloud services along with Cisco Jasper IoT connectivity management platform will offer wide-ranging solutions for smart city initiatives across India.India could embrace 5G technology through Internet of Things.
  • As Cisco Jasper partners with over 30 mobile operator groups representing over 120 mobile networks worldwide, it will be simple for businesses in India to expand their IoT services to new countries.
  • Cisco is actively hiring IoT engineering talent in India to join the Cisco Jasper team in the Bengaluru development center.
  • The Tata Group also announced it has joined hands with General Electric Ventures, Microsoft Ventures and others to set up IoT incubator in Israel.

 

Daily Current Affairs – 15th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 15th November 2016

1) Narinder Batra, chief of Hockey India was elected as the new president of International Hockey Federation (FIH).

  • With this, Batra became the 12th president of FIH and the first non-European to take over the post in the International body’s 92-year-old history. He has elected at the 45th FIH Congress held in Dubai.
  • His competitors-Ken Read from Australia and David Balbirnie from Ireland received 30 and 29 vote and he has won an overwhelming majority with 68 votes.
  • In his new position, Batra succeeds Leandro Negre from Spain, who served as the president of FIH since 2008.
  • He became the president of Hockey India in 2014. He was the main brain behind the successful Hockey India League (HIL), which brings together hockey stars from across the world. During his tenure, he has also ensured that India hosts at least one major International tournament every year.
  • With this appointment, Batra joins the league of other acclaimed Indians who rose to lead notable International sport organizations like Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sharad Pawar, both of whom served as president of International Cricket Council (ICC), N Ramachandran who was President of World Squash Federation and Janardhan Singh Gehlot, who served as the President of International Kabaddi Federation.
  • He will be expected to work closely with FIH’s outgoing CEO Kelly Fairweather and then with interim CEO David Luckes, FIH Director of Sport until newly appointed CEO, Jason McCracken takes over on 1 February 2017.

2) Facebook’s Connectivity Lab has set a world record of transmitting nearly 20 Gbps for 13.2 kilometers using Milli Meter Wave (MMW) technology.

  • With this Facebook broke the previous record set in May 2016 by German scientists of 6 Gbps data transmission over 37 km using MMW technology.  Earlier in February 2016, a team of Japanese researchers had hit 100 Gbps by batching multiple 10 Gbps signals but not in the MMW spectrum.
  • The Connectivity Lab achieved a data rate of nearly 20 Gbps in a point-to-point land-based test from a mountaintop in Malibu, California to a building rooftop in Woodland Hills in United States. The line-of-sight distance for the point-to-point test was of 13.2 km.
  • Millimeter waves (MMW) is electromagnetic waves with the wavelength from 1 to 10 millimeters. It is generally used for point-to-point transmission technology. Basically the band of radio spectrum between 30 Ghz and 300 Ghz of MMW is used for this purpose. It is mainly used for connecting internet service to distribution points.

 

3) The Reserve Bank of India has formed Special Task Force to speed up the process of recalibration of automated teller machines (ATM) to dispense the new denomination notes.

  • The Special Task Force will be headed by S.S Mundra, Deputy Governor, RBI. Representatives from the Union Finance and Home ministries, RBI, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will be its members.
  • Besides, representative from each of ATM original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), cash in transit (CIT) companies and white label ATM (WLA) operators will be invited to the Task Force’s deliberation.
  • Draw up an action plan and ensure its implementation for quick recalibration of the ATMs to enable them to dispense the new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes.
  • It has become necessary to recalibrate all ATMs/cash handling machines to dispense the new design notes. However, the recalibration process will take up to 3 weeks for all the 2 lakh ATMs to operate normally.

4) The Supermoon was observed after the moon was closest to the Earth at 356,509 km.

  • This is for the first time moon came closest to Earth since 1948. Last time, the moon came closer to earth on 26 January 1948. Next time the supermoon will be observed on 25 November 2034.
  • Supermoon or perigee full moon is a phenomenon that occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon being the closest to the Earth on its orbit. During this time, the natural satellite appears roughly 30% larger in area and 30% brighter than the smallest full moons. In terms of diameter, the width of the moon is about 14% wider than the smallest full moons.
  • The moon’s orbit around Earth is ellipse (a kind of squashed circle) and not in a circle.  When an orbit is elliptical, Earth in the middle sits at one of two foci of ellipse. The moon is inevitably closer to the Earth when it passes one side of the ellipse and further away as it passes the other side. When it is at the closest side (called “perigee”) it is a full moon. If this distance is to closer to earth then it is called a supermoon.

5) Jackie Chan was awarded with the honorary Academy (Oscar) Award recently.

  • With this, Chan became the first Chinese actor in history to receive the prestigious honour. He was awarded for his extraordinary achievements in the movies.
  • In September 2016, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science voted to present the award to Jackie Chan, Anne V Coates, Lynn Stalmaster and Frederick Wiseman.  Coates is a British editor; Stalmaster is a Casting Director and Wiseman is a Documentary Maker.
  • The Academy Honorary Award was initiated in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards. The award was previously referred to as the Special Award.
  • Prior winners of competitive Academy Awards are not excluded from receiving the Honorary Award.The Honorary Award is presented at the Annual Governors Awards.

6) India and Israel have inked two agreements in the field of water resources management and agriculture.

  • India had formally recognised Israel in September 1950. Embassies were opened in 1992 after full diplomatic relations were established. Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture have been the main pillars of bilateral engagement.
  • The future vision of the cooperation is of a strong hi-tech partnership as both countries leading knowledge economies. Both countries have friendly political ties.
  • These agreements were signed following the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in New Delhi.
  • Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is in India on a six-day official state visit. He is the first Israeli head of state to visit India in nearly 20 years.
  • The bilateral trade from $200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in diamonds) has reached $5.19 billion in 2011. Since then it has stagnated around $4.5 billion. The diamonds constitutes close to 50% of bilateral trade between both countries. In recent times trade has diversified into several sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, IT and telecom and homeland security.
  • Major imports by India from Israel include precious stones and metals, chemicals (mainly potash) and mineral products, base metals and machinery and transport equipment. And Major exports from India to Israel include precious stones and metals, textiles and textile articles, chemical products, plants and vegetable products, and mineral products.

7) According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2016 was the warmest year on record globally.

  • Global temperatures for January to September 2016 were 1.2oC above pre-industrial levels and 0.88°C above the average for the 1961-1990 reference period (baseline). In future, the world is likely to cross 1.2 oC of global warming above pre-industrial levels in 2016.
  • The temperatures had spiked in the early months of the year 2016 because of the powerful El Niño event of 2015-16. The excess ocean heat by the El Niño event had contributed to coral reef bleaching, and above-average sea-level rise. However, the extra heat from the powerful El Nino event has disappeared, the heat from global warming will continue.
  • It was mentioned in the WMO’s preliminary assessment provided in its ‘Status of the Global Climate in 2016’ report. WMO is the United Nations’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water.
  • Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones. Besides, wildfires and major droughts affected several parts of the world.
  • The Paris Agreement in 2015 had adopted 2oC as the absolute threshold for staying within safe global warming levels. However, 1.5 oC was set as an ambitious target, especially bearing in mind the fate of small island countries that are threatened with submergence due to sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

8) As many as 272 products have been registered as geographical indications according to data of Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks.

  • During this fiscal (2016-17), 11 products  have been registered so far as GI from states across India. 26 items had received GI status in the 2015-16 fiscal .
  • These 11 GI Products are: Sangli Raisins (Maharashtra), Parmigiano Reggiano (Italy), Banaras Metal Repouse Craft (Uttar Pradesh), Beed Custard Apple (Maharashtra), Jalna Sweet Orange (Maharashtra), Uttarakhand Tejpat (Uttarakhand), Waigaon Turmeric (Maharashtra), Purandar Fig (Maharashtra), Jalgaon Brinjal (Maharashtra), Solapur Pomegranate (Maharashtra) and Kashmiri Hand Knotted Carpet (Jammu & Kashmir).
  • The GI registration confers: (i) Legal protection to the products (ii) Prevents unauthorised use of a GI tag products by others (iii) Helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits (iv) Promotes economic prosperity of producers of GI tag goods by enhancing their demand in national and international markets.
  • Geographical Indication is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.

 

9)  India has launched two financial projects worth 95 million US dollars for Clean Energy Projects.

  • It aims at bringing more energy-efficient appliances to rural sector of the country. The process, known as the US-India Clean Energy Finance program (USICEF), will address a key financing gap in the Indian distributed solar market by funding early-stage project preparatory work.
  • the US has committed 75 million dollars in Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) financing for renewable energy projects in India. The 75 million US dollar OPIC, sponsored by ReNew Power Projects, is for a utility-scale PV project in Telangana. Rest 20 million dollars will be used to launch a partnership with the philanthropic sector to bring more efficient appliances to Indian villages. It is a part of 250 million facilities committed by the United States to support India’s 400 MW new solar power projects in different states of India.
  • A strategy will be developed to reduce energy costs for some of the poorest people residing in India. As believed, deployment of the LEAP programme will reduce energy consumption by at least 50 percent of rural households.

Daily Current Affairs – 14th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 14th November 2016

1) The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the International Conference and Exhibition on Sugarcane Value Chain – Vision 2025 Sugar in Pune, Maharashtra.

  • The 3 days conference has been organised by Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) at Manjari near Pune. Around 1,500 delegates are expected to participate in this conference from across the globe.
  • In this conference, eminent international and national speakers will deliver lectures on significantly different important aspects of sugarcane value chain. It will also have live demonstrations of sugarcane crop showing various advance technologies and practices in cultivation.
  • Besides, there will be an exhibition showcasing various technological developments in sugar industry. VSI is an autonomous body established in 1975 by sugarcane growers of co-operative sugar mills in Maharashtra with support of Central and State government. Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vasantdada Patil was founder of the institute.

2) The tenth edition of India-Nepal Joint Military Training exercise was conducted at Army Battle School (NABS), Saljhandi in Nepal.

  • The bilateral Military Training exercise had played important role in boosting defence ties between India and Nepal. It will be held from 31 October to 13 November 2016.
  • In this exercise, Indian Army is being represented by elite Kumaon Regiment, while Nepal Army is being represented by Jabar Jung Battalion. It provided an ideal platform for troops of the two countries to share their experiences on Counter Terrorists Operations and Disaster Management.
  • During training other activities conducted included basic familiarisation with each other’s weapons & equipment and concepts while operating in Counter Terrorism environment.
  • The Surya Kiran series of military exercises between India and Nepal are being conducted annually. It is the largest bilateral military exercise in terms of troop’s participation in series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries.

3) The World Pneumonia Day is observed every year on November 12 globally.

  • The 2016 Theme is “Keep the Promise, Stop Pneumonia Now”. The day aims to highlight the severity of pneumonia and bring together the people from all over the world to promote the prevention and treatment of the disease.
  • Pneumonia is caused by inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs. It is most commonly due to an infection. It is a leading cause of death for children under the age of five years around the world. It may be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. The most common bacterial type that causes pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
  • Vaccinations are available against several common organisms that are known to cause pneumonia. Besides, antibiotics can also treat pneumonia by controlling the bacterial or fungal infection.
  • The World Pneumonia Day was first observed in 2009 after more than 100 organisations joined together form the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia. At present, the global coalition comprises of over 140 NGOs, academic institutions, government agencies and foundations.
  • India tops with a total of 2,96,279 deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea in 2015 compared to last year’s figure of 2,97,114 deaths. Five countries among those with the highest pneumonia burden are India, Indonesia, Chad, China and Somalia. These countries are still not using pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in their routine immunisation programmes which were introduced in 2000.

4) The 36th edition of India International Trade Fair (IITF) has started at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

  • The fair was inaugurated by the President Pranab Mukherjee. The theme of 2016 IITF is Digital India. 150 companies from 27 countries are taking part in the fair.
  • The 2016 IITF has been organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), under aegis of Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This year’s theme highlights country’s persistent efforts to alleviate poverty through meaningful convergence of digital technologies and e-governance.
  • This year’s partner country is South Korea and focus country is Belarus. Besides, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand are partner states and Haryana is focus state.
  • The fair will provide a glimpse with updated information on various missions, schemes and initiatives launched by the Central Government. It will also manifest a multi-pronged strategy of Indian economy driven by ‘Make in India’ initiative and reforms to transform trade and industry into an engine of socio-economic growth.

5) Aditi Ashok has became the first Indian woman to win a Ladies European Tour title.

  • Indian Open held at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram, Haryana. She won a prize purse of 60,000 dollar.
  • Aditi Ashok is the first and the only Indian golfer who had played the Asian Youth Games (2013), Youth Olympic Games (2014), Asian Games (2014) and Rio Olympics (2016).
  • She won the tournament with a score of 3-under-par 213. Her round included birdies on the par-four second and 10th holes and bogeys on the seventh, 13th and 17th.

6) Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has launched ‘Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhi’ medical facilities for its beneficiaries of Delhi. 

  • Kahin Bhi means any dispensary/Hospital and Kabhi Bhi means anytime. It was launched by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment, Bandaru Dattatreya. With this initiative, all the network of dispensaries of Delhi has been made accessible to insured persons and their family members all the time. The initiative aims at saving time of the beneficiaries as well as the effort that he/she makes to avail the services.
  • Besides, Bandaru Dattatreya also inaugurated the ‘06 bedded Day Care Unit’ of ESI Dispensary in Sector-7, Dwarka in Delhi. With this, the ESIC Dispensary Dwarka turned up to be a complete unit in itself with several medical facilities. The facilities available in Dwarka dispensary includes General OPD Care, Family Welfare Services, full time Laboratory and X-Ray and Diagnostic care.
  • ESIC has decided to develop Day Care Centres in three more ESIC Dispensaries in Delhi having high OPD attendance in Nandnagari, Mangolpuri and Jwalapuri.
  • It has also decided to open six bed Day Care Centres in various ESI Dispensaries, all over the country. These Centres will become a complete unit in it with medical facilities.

 

7) The World Diabetes Day 2016 was observed on 14 November across the world.

  • The theme of this day is ‘Eyes on Diabetes’. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2007 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225.
  • Many activities were conducted with the main focus on promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications.
  • World Diabetes Day is an annual campaign, led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and its member associations.It is celebrated every year on 14 November and engages millions of people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness.
  • The Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to concern over the escalating incidence of diabetes around the world.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.

8) Tejaswin Shankar has smashed the 12-year-old national senior record of high jump.

  • With this, he managed to win the gold in the Under-18 category on the opening day of the 32nd National Junior Athletics Championships in Coimbatore. He made an effort of 2.26 meter.
  • Tejaswin achieved the rare feat of a junior athlete breaking the national senior record. He broke 2.25 meter record of Harishankar Roy of West Bengal, who broke Chandrapaul Ratni’s previous mark of 2.17 metres at the Asian All Star Athletics Meet in Singapore.

9) Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif has inaugurated the operational activities of the revamped strategic Gwadar port in the south-western Balochistan Province.

  • With the operationalisation of the deep sea port, the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking western China to the Arabian Sea became a reality. The CPEC is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • The ship was carrying Chinese goods which were ferried by major trade convoy that started from Kashgar in western China on 30 October 2016 reached Gwadar on 12 November 2016.
  • It was considered as watershed moment in the history of Pakistan and symbol of Pakistan’s commitment to China’s ‘One Belt-One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, of which CPEC is a key port.
  • China’s OBOR initiative integrates with Pakistan’s Vision 2025 which seeks to transform the country into a hub of trade and commerce. The CPEC would ultimately integrate South Asia, China and Central Asia.

 

 

Daily Current Affairs – 13th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 13th November 2016

1) India’s first banking robot named Lakshmi was launched by the Kumbakonam-based City Union Bank (CUB) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

  • CUB has readied only one version of huamanoid banker and but is planning to deploy 25-30 robots at key branches by end of year if Lakshmi proves a hit with customers.
  • Lakshmi is artificial intelligence powered robot. It can speak English, gesture and engage in a life-like manner in conversations.It will be first on-site huamanoid (robot) in India.
  • It will not voice the sensitive financial information like account details rather display it discreetly on its screen. The robot can interact with customers on more than 125 subjects including account balance and interest rates on loans.
  • Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. In contrast to normal hardware and software, artificial intelligence enables a machine to perceive and respond to its changing environment. The artificial intelligence machines learn automatically like humans during their processing by assimilating large volumes of information.

2) The union government has unveiled a slew of measures in an attempt to strengthen cyber security in India.

  • It was announced by the Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad at the Economic Editors’ Conference-2016. The conference was organised by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Finance in New Delhi.
  • CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-mandated nodal agency for information technology (IT) security established in 2004. It is nodal department under the aegis of the Indian Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Electronics and IT.
  • The Purpose of CERT-In are: Protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities, Respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country, Issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention, procedures, response and reporting of cyber security incidents.
  • Central Government is taking measure to strengthen Cert-IN (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team), the governments’ cyber security arm. It will also launch Botnet Center shortly.
  •  State Certs are being planned by Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Jharkhand. Three sectoral Certs in power sector viz. generation, transmission and distribution also have been set up in addition to the existing banking sector one.
  • The Phase 1 of NCCC is expected to be operational by March 2017. National cyber coordination centre (NCCC) is being set up to provide near real time situational awareness and rapid response. This project will be completed in 5 years at a cost of Rs 985 crore. The Phase 1 of NCCC is expected to be operational by March 2017.

3) The tennis star Maria Sharapova will become once again United Nation (UN) goodwill ambassador.

  • She will be re-appointed as UN Goodwill ambassador after her doping ban expires in April 2017 and she returns to international tennis competition.
  • Maria Sharapova was suspended as the goodwill ambassador on 15 March 2016 after she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at 2016 Australian Open. Her suspension ended her nine-year-long partnership with the UN development programme.
  • Earlier in October 2016, the Russian star’s 24-month ban for testing positive for meldonium was cut to 15 months by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. Sharapova had admitted using meldonium for 10 years to help treat illnesses, a heart issue and a magnesium deficiency.

4) The High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka to Counter Drug Trafficking.

  • The delegates from 18 littoral states of the IOR have resolved to work towards making the region a “Drug Free Zone”. Indian delegation was led by the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir. It had adopted Colombo declaration.
  • The high-level meeting was attended by 18 littoral states of the IOR which included seven Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Home Affairs. It was also attended by seven international organizations and UN agencies engaged in counter-narcotics initiatives in the region.
  • Narcotic drug trafficking in the IOR poses a threat to peace and security in the region and its possible link to organized crime and funding of terrorism. It stresses upon need for coastal states to cooperate more closely on enforcing maritime law, providing mutual legal assistance and sharing information in narcotic drug trafficking.
  • These states must assess and report on the drug trafficking threat in the IOR and develop a coordinated approach to counter such threats.It called on the littoral states of the IOR to meet on an annual basis within the framework of the Southern Route Partnership (SRP) of Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime (IOFMC).

5) Indian Navy Sailing Vessel (INSV) Mhadei with an all-women crew was flagged off from Goa to Cape Town, South Africa.

  • The vessel that will reach Cape Town on 15 December 2016 will be participating in the “Cape to Rio Race” (Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro). The race will start from Cape Town on 26 December 2016.
  • The vessel was flagged-off at the Boat Pool of INS Mandovi on 9 November 2016 by Rear Admiral Monty Khanna, Commandant Naval War College. INSV Mhadei is expected to return in May 2017.
  • The women officers have already sailed to Mauritius during peak monsoons and so have the experience of handling the long journey till Cape Town. It consists four legs:- Goa-Cape Town, Cape Town- Rio de Janeiro (the actual race), Rio de Janeiro – Goa.
  • The present leg of sailing up to Cape Town is being undertaken by an all-woman crew. The captain of the vessel is Lt. Cdr Vartika Joshi. The ‘Cape Town to Rio race’ will be undertaken by a mixed crew of men and women headed by Capt. Atool Sinha, the officer-in-charge of the recently established Ocean Sailing Node of the Navy.
  • The Cape Town to Rio race will be the longest continent to continent yacht race in the Southern hemisphere with a total length of 6500kms across the South Atlantic Ocean. A fleet of at least 50 yachts are expected to participate in it.

6) Gujarat government has decided to start Deendayal generic medicine stores to sell generic medicines. 

  • These stores will remain open 24 hours and sell around 1000 generic drugs to the poor patients at 40 to 80 percent lower rates.
  • In the second phase, the number of drugs will be increased to 2000. These stores will also be opened at tehsil level. It will also operate on a franchise model.Generic, branded generic, over-the-counter medicines and surgical implants will be available at stores.
  • As per the decision announced on 10 November 2016, in the first phase, 52 stores will be opened in cities and towns. In a statement, Minister of State for Health, Shankar Chaudhary said, trained staff will operate these computerised stores.
  • Besides, the state health minister Shankar Chaudhary also launched a Mobile application named ‘G-Dava’. The app will act as a search engine for information on branded and generic medicines, price difference, chemical composition, availability, and others.

Daily Current Affairs – 12th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 12th November 2016

1) India and Japan have signed a bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement recently.

  • The talks for Civil Nuclear Agreement between the two countries had started when a joint statement in 2006 with joint statement by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
  • With this, India has become the first non-NPT country with which Japan has signed a Civil Nuclear Agreement.
  • Till now, India has also signed civil nuclear deal with 10 other countries viz. United States, Russia, South Korea, Mongolia, France, Namibia, Argentina, Canada, Kazakhstan, and Australia.

2) China has successfully launched experimental X-ray pulsar navigation satellite XPNAV-1.

  • It was launched on board of Long March 11 solid-fuelled rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China’s northwest. It was 239th flight mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.
  • It is the world’s first pulsar navigation satellite or spacecraft.It will operate in a Sun-synchronous orbit (500 kilometers) inclined 97 degrees.The satellite weighs more than 200 kilogrammes and carries two detectors.
  • X-ray pulsar navigation is an innovative navigation technology in which periodic X-ray signals emitted from pulsars are used to determine location of a spacecraft in deep space.
  • It will conduct in-orbit experiments of autonomous spacecraft navigation using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies. It will also test its detectors’ functions in responding to the background noise of the universe, outline pulsar contours, and create a database for pulsar navigation.

3) Adam Bain Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) has planned to leave the company.

  • In August 2016, Bain had celebrated his six-year anniversary at Twitter. Over his time at the company, he helped build Twitter’s ad efforts from the ground up. He was once considered a top candidate to be the chief executive of the company before Jack Dorsey got the job.
  • Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and read short 140-character messages called tweets.
  • It was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams. However, the site was officially launched in July 2006.
  • After Bain’s decision, Twitter’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Anthony Noto will be promoted to the position of COO.

4) The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has won the prestigious 2016 Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Governance.

  • SAIL was bestowed with this award on account of its exemplary performance in the field of corporate governance i.e. for balancing the interests of all the stakeholders of the company management, customers, shareholders, suppliers, financiers, government and the community.
  • The award was received by Ashwini Kumar, CEO of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) on behalf of SAIL during the 16th London Global Convention on Corporate Governance and Sustainability in London, UK.
  • SAIL is one of the largest state-owned steel in India and one of the top steel makers in world. SAIL is the 24th largest steel producer in the world. It was founded in 1954 and incorporated in 1973 which has headquarters in New Delhi.
  • It operates and owns 5 integrated steel plants at Bhilai, Durgapur, Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur and 3 special steel plants at Salem, Durgapur and Bhadravathi.

5) The renowned theatre personality Prof Raj Bisaria for the prestigious ‘Kalidas Samman’ national award for 2015-16.

  • He will be bestowed with the prestigious award for achievement in theatre in a ceremony to be held in Ujjain.
  • He is best known for blending artistic concepts of the East and the West and the traditional and the modern. The Press Trust of India (PTI) describes him as the father of the modern theatre in North India.
  • He had founded Theatre Arts Workshop in 1966 and Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1975. He also owns repertory company of Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts founded in 1980.
  • It is an annual award constituted by Madhya Pradesh in 1980. It is bestowed upon personalities in the four fields of classical music, classical dance, theatre and arts. Some of the previous recipients are Pandit Ravi Shankar, MF Husain, Pandit Jasraj, Shambhu Mitra, Habib Tanvir, Ebrahim Alkazi etc.

6) India and Japan have signed ten agreements to boost the bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

  • The agreements were signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Japan.
  • The Agreements signed are: Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy,Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on the Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Program,MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Outer Space, MoC in the Field of Agriculture and Food Related Industry, MoU for Transport and Urban Development, MoU in the Field of Textiles, MoC on Cooperation in Sports, MOC in the Field of Cultural Exchange, MOU between Gujarat and Hyogo Prefectural Government.

7) Meng Hongwei was elected as the president of the International Crime fighting and police cooperation organization (Interpol).

  • With this appointment, Meng Hongwei becomes the first official from China to take the post. He has previously served as the head of Interpol China. At the time of this appointment, he was holding the position of China’s Vice Minister for public security.
  • Meng has almost 40 years’ experience in criminal justice and policing. He also served as Vice Chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission, Member of the Chinese Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure and Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office. He also serves as Director-General of the China Coast Guard.
  • Interpol was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in Lyon, France.It is the second largest international organisation after the United Nations with 190 members.
  • Meng Hongwei took over from France’s Mireille Ballestrazzi. His tenure will be for 4 years. His primary duty will include chairing meetings of the Interpol’s Executive Committee and ensuring the implementation of decisions made at the General Assembly.Interpol with its many human rights abuse cases looks to be an ideal tool for political enforcement of a one party system.

Daily Current Affairs – 11th November 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 11th November 2016

1) The regional news Unit of Radio Kashmir Jammu has started morning news bulletin in Gojri language.

  • Gojri is one of the most widely spoken languages of the state and over 20 percent chunk of the population in the state consists of Gojri speaking people.
  • The radio news bulletin was formally launched and inaugurated at Abhinav Theater, Jammu by Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh. After inaugurating the bulletin, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the bulletin will help in a big way in disseminating important information to people of the State in general and Gujjar Bakerwal community including nomadic tribes in particular.
  • Gojri also known as Gujari is a variety of Indo-Aryan spoken language. It is also known as Gujjar Bhakha, Gojari or Gujar Apabhramsha. The five minutes Gojri news bulletin will be aired at 10:15am daily from the transmitters of Radio Kashmir Jammu.
  • In India the language is mainly spoken in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Murree, Nathiagalli, and few other places.

2) Mumbai’s Western Railways women’s team has won the 33rd Indian Oil Servo Surjit Hockey Tournament.

  • In the 14th minute of the game, Western Railways’s Anupa Barla netted the ball after dodging goalkeeper Shewata of Haryana. She struck again in the 34th minute to make it 2-0.
  • In the second half, Haryana girls scored two goals in 40th and 50th minutes of the game to reduce the margin. Jaspreet Kaur and Neha scored goals for the team. Western Railways Mayengbam Lily Chanu and Manjit Kaur then struck to complete the score sheet.
  • The team defeated Haryana XI 4-2 in the title clash played at the Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium in Jalandhar. The winners were presented a cash award of 1 lakh rupee and trophy and runners-up got 75000 rupees and Trophy.
  • Randhawa was a member of World XI, Asia Stars XI and he participated in number of International events i.e. Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asian Games, besides many other International Tournaments.

3) The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was selected as the host the 2018 International Competition Network (ICN) in New Delhi.

  • The 2017 ICN Annual Conference will be held in Portugal and will be hosted by Portuguese Competition Authority.The 2018 International Competition Network (ICN) was held in March–April 2018.
  • CCI has also been inducted as an ex-officio member of the steering group member of the ICN for a period of 3 years.
  • ICN is an informal international body consists of 132 members from 120 competition jurisdictions. It was established in 2001. CCI is a member of the ICN since 2003. It is exclusively devoted to international competition enforcement and facilitate cooperation between competition law authorities globally.
  • Its members are national competition authorities and Non-governmental Advisers (NGA) which include reputed law firms, eminent persons, and think tanks of international repute.
  • ICN provides competition authorities with a specialised platform (informal) for addressing practical competition concerns, sharing experiences and adopting international best practices. Besides, it holds an Annual Conference which is hosted by a member competition agency.

4) The 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum’s Leaders Summit will be held in Lima, Peru.

  • The theme of the summit is “Quality Growth and Human Development” and the official logo is the architecture of the ancient city of Caral. It will be held from November 19 to 20, 2016.
  • It will be the second time Peru hosting to the APEC Summit, previously it had hosted the event in 2008. The 2016 summit will gather leaders from the world’s 21 most important member economies, as well as over 1,500 investors and entrepreneurs.
  • APEC is regional economic forum of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. These 21 member countries collectively account for nearly 50% of the world’s trade and about 57% of GDP.
  • It was established in 1989 in order to leverage the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific region’s economies and promote free trade in the region. India is observer of APEC since 2011 and has applied for membership.
  • Four priority areas were laid out as topics to be discussed. These are Human Capital Development, Regional Food Market, Upgrading SMEs and Regional Economic Integration Agenda.

5) The World Science Day for Peace and Development 2016 was observed on 10 November 2016 across the world.

  • To mark the day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted several discussions, special campaigns, visits to science museums for school children, etc to raise awareness of benefits of science worldwide.
  • The theme for 2016 is ‘Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums’.This theme is chosen to highlight the importance of science centres and museums for capacity building, for advocacy and to send strong messages about the importance of science for sustainable development.
  • Science centres and museums plays key roles in nurturing the curiosity of women and men, as living laboratories of creativity, catalysing research and solutions to help societies meet challenges. They provide excellent ways to encourage children to pursue careers in science.
  • The World Science Day for Peace and Development was created as follow-up to the World Conference on Science, organized jointly by UNESCO and the International Council for Science in Budapest (Hungary) in 1999.The theme for 2015 World Science Day for Peace and Development was Science for a Sustainable Future.

6) Guy Ryder from United Kingdom has been re-elected Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

  • Ryder is the 10th DG of ILO and was elected for the first time in May 2012. He has some 35 years of experience in the world of work. He was elected by the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and received 54 of the 56 votes.
  • The ILO is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all. It was established in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations following World War I. After World war II it was continued as an agency of UN. Its headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • In 1969, ILO was awarded Nobel Peace Prize for pursuing decent work and justice for workers, improving peace among classes and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.
  • The ILO has 187 member states. It includes 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands.

7) Marta Jakimowicz was selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 by the Karnataka Lalithakala Academy.

  • She began writing art reviews in the 1980s for various publications in Bengaluru. She initially wrote in Polish on traditional Indian culture, mythology and art and took up Sanskrit translations into English.
  • Presently, she is settled in Bengaluru. Other than her, portrait artist Baburao V Nadoni from Belagavi, and KK Makali from Bellary were also selected for the award.
  • While, Baburao V Nadoni from Belagavi is a national award-winner in portrait art  and has also held several senior positions in various government art institutions.All the winners will be honoured with the cash prize of 50000 rupees.
  • On the other hand, KK Makali, born in Bagalkot district, has designed hundreds of Kannada book covers of the university publications. He has also been the judge in important art showcases in Mysuru and Hampi.