Current Affairs 27th April 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Japan's Olympic organisers unveiled the new official logos of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games on 25 April 2016. The emblems,designed by Asao Tokolo, feature an indigo-coloured check in the design.The Olympic logo features a circular Japanese traditional checkered pattern. Below the design are the words Tokyo 2020 and under them the five interlocking Olympic rings. The design is meant to express a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.The logos used traditional Japanese colours and patterns to represent the intercultural themes of the games. The logos incorporate the message of unity in diversity, and the idea that the Games seek to promote diversity as a platform to connect the world. Controversy related to Olympic emblems : The initial design for the official emblems of the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled on 24 July 2015. The logo resembled a stylized T, a red circle in the top-right corner represented a beating heart, the flag of Japan, and an inclusive world in which everyone accepts each other, and a black column in the centre represented diversity.However, shortly after the unveiling, Belgian graphics designer Olivier Debie accused the organizing committee of plagiarizing a logo that he had designed for the Théâtre de Liège. Debie’s design, aside from the circle, consisted of nearly identical shapes.The emblem's designer, Kenjiro Sano, defended the design, stating that he had never seen the Liège logo. However, Sano was found to have had a history of plagiarism.On 1 September 2015, following an emergency meeting of Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), Governor of Tokyo Yoichi Masuzoe announced that they had decided to scrap Sano's two logos.On 24 November 2015, an Emblems Selection Committee was established to organize an open call for design proposals.On 8 April 2016, a new shortlist of four pairs of designs for the Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled by the Emblems Selection Committee. 2020 Summer Olympics : The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, is a major international multi-sport event.The games are planned to be held from 24 July 2020 to 9 August 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.Tokyo was announced as the host city at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 7 September 2013.Tokyo previously hosted the 1964 Summer Olympic Games, and in 2020 will become the fifth city to host the Summer Olympic Games more than once.The city will also be hosting the 2020 Summer Paralympics.  

In a sign of the success Amazon has had in India, its country managing director Amit Agarwal has been inducted into founder & CEO Jeff Bezos's S-team, a set of senior (the S stands for senior) leaders who have a direct line to Bezos and play a crucial role in important decisions that the $107-billion e-commerce behemoth makes. Under Agarwal's leadership, Amazon has captured a significant market share of India's e-commerce market in less than three years of commencing operations.  The claim was backed with data from ComScore that showed Amazon had seen 30 million unique visitors in October, ahead of rivals Flipkart (around 27 million), Jabong (around 21 million), and Snapdeal (around 18 million). The US online retail giant has also made significant strides on the mobile app, though it remains well behind Flipkart-Myntra on that platform. Agarwal has been instrumental in introducing local innovations like Amazon Now (formerly called Kirana Now) that brings local small stores online through its platform.  India is Amazon's second biggest investment market, after the US, and the company has said it expects India to overtake Japan, Germany and the UK to become its largest overseas market in the next few years. In 2014, Bezos had pledged a $2 billion investment in India. 

South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar has been sworn in as vice-president. His appointment is seen as a step towards ending a conflict that has killed tens of thousands. He was welcomed by President Salva Kiir ahead of forming a unity government.  About 2.3 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes since war erupted in December 2013, plunging the country into a humanitarian crisis.Now the unity government will have to prepare roadmap for repairing it's economy that is near the point of collapse.  

TVS Racing has signed Shreya Sunder Iyer as it's first woman rider  for the upcoming two-wheeler Indian National Rally championship. Shreya will begin her career with K1000, which is the first round. There will be five more rounds after this.  KP Aravind, R Natraj and AW Tanveer will be Shreya's teammates and these three were the national champions in 2015. Shreya will break the stereotype as motorsport has always been considered a male-dominated sport. Shreya, 24, began riding at the age of 17 and rode extensively across India including the isolated Suru valley in the Himalayas and also completed a rigorous Southern India biking expedition of 2,000 kilometers in just 6 days.  

The Income Tax (I-T) department will now add interest amount to a delayed refund made on excess tax deducted at source (TDS) cut  and will also not litigate with the deductor on this issue in the future.Central Board of Direct Taxes has issued a directive in this regard to the assessing officers of the IT department. The decision is based on a 2014 Supreme Court order where the apex court had made it clear that the taxman is bound to pay interest on refund made under the TDS category.TDS is primarily deducted by the employer from the salary paid to an employee.In view of the judgment of the apex court, it is settled that if a resident deductor is entitled for the refund of tax deposited under Section 195 (other sums) of the Act (Income Tax Act), then it has to be refunded with interest under section 244A  from the date of payment of such tax,” the CBDT communication issued on April 26,2016. The government, there being no express statutory provisions for payment of interest on the refund of excess amount/tax collected by the Revenue cannot shrug of its apparent obligation to reimburse the deductors lawful monies with the accrued interest for the period of undue retention of such monies.The state having received the money without right and having retained and used it, is bound to make the party good, just as an individual would be under like circumstances. The obligation to refund money received and retained without right implies and carried with it the right to interest," the apex court had said in the 2014 order.

South Africa sports minister Fikile Mbalula on 25 April 2016 imposed the sanctions on Cricket South Africa (CSA) along with other three federations, which disallow them to host or bid for any major international tournaments.Along with Cricket South Africa (CSA), the same punishment was meted out to the rugby, athletics and netball federations, and the decision will be reviewed in 2017.The sanction effectively means CSA cannot lobby or express interest in any other tournaments until Mbalula clears them.The sanctions were imposed after receiving the annual transformation report from a ministerially appointed independent committee of eminent persons group (EPG). The report stated that these sports bodies failed to meet the transformation guidelines. Transformation guidelines : Cricket is one of the five South African sporting federations that signed a memorandum of understanding with the sports ministry in May 2015 underlining a five-year strategic plan and commitment to change. The major ones are:Each federation was given a target of achieving a general 60 percent players-of-colour target across national representative men's teams. It was also demanded for both a moral and strategic need to increase black African representation.All the sports federations in South Africa were asked to have transformation committees. Earlier only CSA and South Africa Rugby Union were having these committees.Federations who fail to meet the transformation targets can face sanctions that also include suspension of government funding, withdrawing government recognition of the federation as a national federation and withdrawing political support for endorsements and sponsorships. Report stated : While in CSA 55% percent of the team is made up of players of colour as against 45 percent white players.Further, as against 84 percent of the country's under-18 population being black African, CSA only had 9% black African representation in the national team.The report also covered coaching structures and administrative positions and found that across all platforms, the rate of transformation in South African sport remained too slow.The report praised the CSA for being one of the forerunners of transformation data collection along with rugby. They have assigned dedicated resources to transformations data while many other codes are doing it on a part-time basis.The process of reviewing transformation started in 2013 and it is now in its third year. It will continue to be undertaken until South African teams are considered adequately representative.

International Cricket Council (ICC) in its board meeting on 26 April 2016 suspended the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) in view of government interference in the board.The suspension would stay in place until such time as the CAN becomes free of government interference and is properly structured to begin exploiting the tremendous cricket talent and opportunities that exist in Nepal.It will only cut off ICC funding for the CAN but Nepal national teams can continue to feature in ICC events.ICC management will also work with the Nepalese cricket community, and other stakeholders, in order to assist with the development of a sustainable governance and administration structure for cricket in Nepal. Nepal's National Sports Council (NSC) formed an ad-hoc committee to run the CAN in December 2015. This happened soon after Chatur Bahadur Chand was elected the CAN's president in controversial annual general meeting without the NSC's permission and also without the attendance its then president Tanka Angbuhan.The Chand-led CAN faction then filed a court case, which is still pending, challenging the NSC's decision.In light of the ongoing court case involving the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and the Ad hoc Committee established by the Nepalese National Sports Council (NSC). It led to a vacuum of cricket leadership in Nepal, the Board suspended the Membership of CAN for breach of Article 2.9 of the ICC's Articles of Association, which prohibits government interference and requires free and fair elections.

The Southern Command of the Indian Navy has inaugurated a naval detachment at Androth Island of the Lakshadweep archipelago. The naval detachment seeks to strengthen maritime security in and around Arabian Sea and enhance surveillance of crucial shipping lanes. Details : The facility will function as an observance and reporting organisation. It will provide connectivity with mainland. Enable sea lanes of communication (SLOC) monitoring. It will also facilitate radar surveillance. Enhance the Navy’s reach and contribute significantly to strengthen maritime security. Lakshadweep archipelago comprising of Kavaratti, Minicoy, Agatti and Androth islands occupy a strategic location in the Arabian Sea. A number of shipping lanes pass close to these islands as they provide the sea link between Asia and Europe.  

The Tibetan government-in-exile has re-elected Lobsang Sangey (48) as the Prime Minister for a second consecutive term. The election result was announced by the Tibetan election officials in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala which is the headquarters of the government-in-exile. Sangey secured about 58 percent of the 58,740 votes cast. He defeated his only rival Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament by 9,012 votes. The 2016 general election was the second election since the Dalai Lama had stepped down as head of the government-in-exile in 2011 to focus on his role as the Tibetans’ spiritual leader. Tibetans living in exile in 40 countries had casted their votes for this election. Sangey was born in Darjeeling, West Bengal. He had completed his studies in Delhi, before going for higher education in the US. He was a senior Fellow at the Harvard Law School. Tibet Issue  : China says Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century and was governed the Communist Party since 1951. Tibetans say that they were effectively independent for most of their history, and the Chinese government wants to exploit their resource-rich region and crush their cultural identity. China had taken whole control of Tibet in 1959 and after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule Dalai Lama and his followers have been living in exile in Dharmsala. Currently China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile.

A six-metre statue of former South African president Nelson Mandela has been unveiled in Palestine, the first such sculpture of the anti-apartheid icon outside the country. The statue was unveiled by Parks Tau, the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, which sponsored it as part of a twin city arrangement signed two years ago. April 26 South Africa celebrates the annual public holiday of Freedom Day on April 27 to mark Mandela's installation in 1994 as the first democratically-elected president of the country after decades of white minority apartheid rule. Palestine also declared April 26 a national day as large crowds gathered at a square in Ramallah named after Mandela, who had repeatedly compared the struggle against apartheid in South Africa to that of the Palestinian fight against oppression by Israel.  In 1997, Mandela declared: "Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians". The statue produced in South Africa and recently shipped to the Palestinian shores is a donation from Johannesburg to Ramallah as a symbol of solidarity with the people of Palestine amidst their ongoing struggles.But the project was not without controversy as Israeli customs authority allegedly delayed its delivery for several weeks, demanding huge customs duties before intervention by high-level government officials led to its release, according to informed sources who wished to remain anonymous.  Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela : Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.  

Patanjali Ayurved, the FMCG venture promoted by yoga guru Ramdev, will invest over Rs 1,150 crore in the current fiscal to set up six processing units and one R&D center as it chases a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore this year.  The company is looking at doubling its turnover to Rs.10,000 crore in the current fiscal and these units will come up in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.We are looking at setting up units in drought-hit areas such as Vidharbh in Maharashtra and Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. At least four of these units will become operational by the end of this fiscal .The company is also working towards increasing its exports and enhance online presence.Haridwar-based firm has created four verticals - Home Care, Natural Cosmetics and Health Care, Natural Food and Beverages and Health Drink - as a strategy to expand and consolidate distribution network.  It has a network of over 4,000 distributors, 10,000 stores and 100 Patanjali mega marts pan India.He further added Patanjali would spend around Rs 500 crore on cow protection and research center and setting up world class universities for vaidik education. 

The Japanese financial services firm, Nomura in the last week of April 2016 announced that India may surpass China in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2016, in terms of percentage of its GDP, as the gap in inflows between the two has been narrowing. The firm also mentioned that the gap is narrowing due to ongoing reforms in India.According to Nomura, the trend of rising inflows to India and moderating inflows to China began in 2013 and FDI inflows to India can surpass those into China in 2016. It is because India already has large investment commitments from MNCs in sectors like electronics, solar energy, auto, defence and railways. Highlights of Nomura's research report : FDI inflows to India raised from 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2014 to 2.1 per cent in 2015. China had 2.3 per cent of GDP in 2015.These trends of rising inflows to India and moderating inflows to China are likely driven by a mix of pull and push factors, such as divergent growth outlooks, ongoing FDI liberalisation or economic reforms in India and rising labour costs in China. FDI inflows not only provide a stable source of financing the Current Account Deficit (CAD), but also bring in technical know-how, which can boost India's productivity growth in the near future. Nomura Group : Nomura is an Asia-based financial services group with an integrated global network spanning over 30 countries.In October 2008, Nomura Holdings, Inc. acquired Lehman Brothers Holdings's investment banking and equities unit in Asia and Europe and kept on most of its employees.

Parliamentary Standing Committee’s report on the Consumer Protection Bill 2015 was tabled in Parliament on 26 April 2016.The committee headed by Telugu Desam Party MP J C Divakar Reddy in its report recommended holding celebrities accountable for misleading advertisements and stringent provisions including jail term up to five years and penalty up to 50 lakh rupees. Highlights  : It suggested legal teeth to Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to curb misleading ads besides proposing severe penalties, jail and cancellation of license of those involved in food adulteration.Advocates empowering Department of Consumer Affairs to make laws to regulate e-commerce, direct selling and multi-level marketing where consumer complaints are on the rise.For first time offence, the offender may be penalised with either a fine of 10 lakh rupees or imprisonment up to two years or both.For second time offence, it recommends a fine of 50 lakh rupees and imprisonment of five years.For subsequent offences, the penalties may be increased proportionately based on the value of sales volumes of such products or services.Government should clearly and comprehensively define the word 'endorsement' in the bill so that there is no room for any misinterpretation or ambiguity.Government should insert suitable provisions in the bill to make it mandatory for the Law Enforcement Agency to take immediate action in cases where a consumer makes complaint of adulteration of products for human consumption by registering an FIR and arrest the accused.If for any reason, the FIR is not registered by the agency then it should be deemed to have been registered after lapse of 21 days from the date of complaint.The liability provisions should be extended to any or all parties involved in the chain, right from the manufacturer to retailer for any damage caused by that product. At present, the bill provides for liability only to manufacturer.The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) should function independently and proposed suitable provision in the bill to ensure that the chief commissioner and commissioners and officials of the CCPA are provided protection for action taken in good faith.The Union Government introduced the Consumer Protection Bill 2015 in the Lok Sabha in August 2015 to repeal the 30-year old Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The panel's report will be studied before final passage of the bill.  

The Government of India has started the disinvestment process of the current fiscal as the GOI has planned to sell its 11.36% equity shares in the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) at rs.21.75. This disinvestment is likely to raise about rs. 2,700 crore. The issue price of share is at a discount of 5.6% to NHPC's closing price of Rs 23.05 on BSE. Presently, the Government holds 85.96 % in NHPC and selling over 125 crore shares (11.36%) which would help it comply with the minimum public shareholding norms. In this disinvestment a minimum of 20% shares have been reserved for retail investors and around 25% shares have been reserved for the mutual fund and insurance companies.  This disinvestment came across because of newly-renamed Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is races to meet the budgeted disinvestment target of Rs.56,500 crore. The NHPC would be the first PSU stake sale on the block. However, the government has already lined up over a dozen PSUs for stake sale in the current fiscal.

Missed call service will be a convenience to the commuters as they will be aware of the running status of local trains and will be useful, in particular, during unusual occurrences or disruptions. WR has tied up with a firm in order to facilitate this novel concept to its esteemed passengers and with this commuters can check the running status of our suburban trains by giving a missed call.  The information regarding running of services shall be communicated to the firm by the Railways at a stipulated schedule time, which in turn will be conveyed to the passengers accordingly," Bhakar said adding that the best part of this service is that the system can be used by any kind of mobile phones be it smartphone or high end mobile or basic mobile phone. Even commuters would not need to have internet connection and the service is totally free of cost and commuters can also alternately register themselves for daily periodic updates at scheduled times. Passengers' representatives and commuters have, however, hailed this initiative with a cautionary note. 

Taxi operator Uber has partnered with Election Commission in Tamil Nadu to spread awareness on voting among the electorate for the May 16 assembly polls. Uber held discussions with officials on the importance of voting and encouraging people to cast their vote and would collaborate with EC's Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation programme Drivers of Uber cabs would be educating public on the importance of voting and encourage riders to vote on May 16. We are thrilled to partner with the Election Commission and support the #TN100percent initiative, Uber India, General Manager. Uber : Uber Technologies Inc. is an American multinational online transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars. As of April 12, 2016, the service was available in over 60 countries and 404 cities worldwide.Since Uber's launch, several other companies have copied its business model, a trend that has come to be referred to as Uberification.

The Haryana government has announced free laptops to 500 meritorious students who secure a minimum of 95 per cent marks in Class X Board examination this year. State Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu said the laptops will be provided under State Merit Scholarship scheme. A scholarship of Rs 150 per student used to be given annually under the scheme. The state government would bear an additional expenditure of about Rs 2.50 crore on account of this facility.  Schemes Offered : One 100 laptops would be provided to top 100 students in the merit list of the Board irrespective of their caste, sex or economic status, an equal number of laptops would be given to top girl students belonging to general category. Laptops would also be provided to top one hundred boys and an equal number of girls belonging to Scheduled Castes, and the remaining one hundred laptops to students belonging to Below Poverty Line families, in the merit list of the Board.  

Amanullah Khan, one of the founders of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front that led a violent campaign for independent Kashmir, including the killing of an Indian diplomat in the UK in the mid-80s and hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Lahore, died in Pakistan. Amanullah Khan : A prominent Kashmiri leader Born in Gilgit on August 24, 1934.He was based in London before being deported to Pakistan in 1986, Amanullah Khan was believed to have been the mastermind in the killing of Ravindra Mhatre, the number two in the Indian Consulate in Birmingham in 1984.Mr Mhatre was abducted and killed in an attempt to secure the release from prison of the group's founder Maqbool Bhat who was hanged to death in 1984 in Tihar jail.In 1971, Maqbool Bhat was accused of masterminding the hijacking of a passenger Airline to Lahore and the hijackers declared affiliation with JKLF under his leadership. After his arrest and release in Pakistan, Maqbool Bhat sneaked into India where he was soon captured.Though Amanullah Khan had set up JKLF in 1977, he was relegated to the background after terrorist groups established their dominance in Kashmir with a bloody campaign that began in the late 80s.Amanullah Khan was born in Astore area of Kashmir's Gilgit region, currently known as Gilgit-Baltistan.Khan is the father-in-law of Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone.  

Badminton ace Nandu Natekar in April 2016 became the first non-Cricketer to be inducted into the Legends Club founded by the late Cricket Club of India (CCI) president Raj Singh Dungarpur. Natekar was inducted into the club along with 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, who became the sixth cricketer to be inducted in the club.The two, Nandu and Kapil were inducted into the Club’s legend group after consultation with the Cricket Club of India (CCI) president, Kekoo Nicholson.With this inclusion, the birthdays of Nandu Natekar (12 May) and Kapil Dev (6 January) will also be celebrated along with birthdays of Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare, Vinoo Mankad, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. Besides, CCI president Kekoo Nicholson said that the main gate of the club will be named after late Rajsingh Dungarpur. Legends Club :  It was founded in 2003 by late Raj Singh Dungarpur, the former CCI president. It honours the cricketers and sports person by celebrating their birthdays and talking on certain topic of the game.Madhav Apte, a former Test opening batsman, is the president of the Legends Club.It was formed along the lines of England's Master's Club started by famous cricket commentator John Arlott in memory of Jack Hobbs Cricket Club of India (CCI) : The Cricket Club of India (CCI) is a private club incorporated on 8 November, 1933.It was established with an objective to promote cricket and other sports in the country.The idea of setting up this institution was given by Grant Govan, a British businessman from Delhi who sought to establish this on reclaimed land of 90000 sq yards abutting the Arabian Sea, granted by Lord Brabourne, the then Governor of Bombay.The stadium constructed on that land is named as Brabourne Stadium and was officially inaugurated on 7 December 1937 by hosting a cricket match between Lord Tennyson’s XI and CCI.  

A Burundian activist credited with saving thousands of children's lives during a 12-year ethnically charged civil war is the first recipient of a new humanitarian prize presented by Hollywood actor and campaigner George Clooney.Marguerite Barankitse, a former teacher, founded the Maison Shalom (the house of peace) orphanage in eastern Burundi in 1993 to house a growing number of children orphaned during the conflict that devastated the country until 2005.The award was presented as the small central African country faces its worst crisis since the civil war ended with hundreds killed and thousands forced to flee abroad. Marguerite Barankitse : A former teacher, founded the Maison Shalom (the house of peace) orphanage in eastern Burundi in 1993 to help number of children orphaned during 2005 while country was in conflicts.She is the first recipient of a new humanitarian prize.The award was presented as Burundi faces its worst crisis since the civil war ended with hundreds killed and thousands were forced to flee from the country.After receiving the award Barankitse expressed that Our values are human values. Barankitse works : Burundi’s civil war eroded by Tutsi-led army against Hutu rebel groups.Barankitse who is Tutsi, started to care for orphans and refugees following to hide dozens of her Hutu neighbours and went vain. They were discovered and stripped and tied to a chair, was forced to watch them hacked to deathBut she continued her work and helped more than 20,000 orphans and other children and in 2008 opened a hospital where treatment was given to 80,000 patients.She will receive a $100,000 and decides to donate an extra $1 million award to organisations that help children.

The Shyam Benegal headed committee constituted by the Union Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has submitted its report to Union I&B minister Arun Jaitley. The committee was tasked to look holistically into the functioning of the censor board and revamp the film certification nuances by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Recommendations  : CBFC should only be a film certification body and its scope should be restricted to categorizing the suitability of the film to audience groups on the basis of age and maturity. The board can refuse certification when a film contains contravenes the provisions of Cinematograph Act. It can also refuse certification when content in a film crosses the ceiling laid down in the highest category of certification. The applicant for certificate must specify the category of certification being sought and the target audience. The Committee was constituted in January 2016 to take a relook at the functioning of the board. It was asked to take note of the best practices in other parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression. The panel also includes filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, actor-filmmaker Kamal Hassan, adman Piyush Pandey and film journalist Bhawana Somayaa among others.

The Union Railway Ministry has decided to create a 1 lakh crore rupees safety fund named Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh to strengthen safety measures on the rail network to prevent accidents. It was announced by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on Demands for Grants for Railways for 2016-17. In this regard Union Railway Ministry has forwarded a proposal to the Union Finance Ministry for approval. The Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be a non-lapsable fund which will be utilised for safety measures. The fund will help Indian Railways to accomplish its zero-accident mission by strengthening the safety measures on the rail network in a comprehensive way. Under this fund, envisaged works like track renewal and upgradation, bridge rehabilitation, elimination of level-crossings, construction of road over bridges/road under bridges will be under taken. It will be also used for replacement and improvement of signalling system, improvement and upgradation of rolling stock, replacement of electrical assets and human resource development.

K Ashok Kumar, a research scholar from IIT Kharagpur (KGP), won the prestigious International Plant Nutrition Scholar Award.Kumar, a research scholar at the department of agricultural and food engineering at the Bengal-based IIT, was recently awarded by the US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). The award carries a cash prize of 2000 US dollar and a recognition certificate.Ashok is pursuing his PhD on 'Comparative Assessment of Direct and Residual Effects of Organic and Inorganic Nutrient Management on Rice-Chickpea Production System in Lateritic Soil.' The objective of this research is to study the soil nutrient dynamics under organic and inorganic nutrient management to improve the crop yield and quality of rice-chickpea cropping system in lateritic soil.The research will help application of organic fertilizers such as vermicompost in right amount and at the right time to the rice crop. It will increase the yield of the rice-chickpea cropping system by 10% as compared to the use of conventional synthetic fertilizers. Further, the organic fertilizer application will improve the nutritional and cooking quality of rice grain and chemical and biological properties of the acid lateritic soil. International Plant Nutrition Scholar Award : The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Board of Directors offers two awards of interest to graduate students and scientists working in plant nutrition and management of crop nutrients and they are International Plant Nutrition Scholar Awards and IPNI Science Award.The International Plant Nutrition Scholar Awards are open to applicants who are graduate students and attending a degree-granting institution located in any country with an IPNI program. Priority is given to the relevance of the proposed research in support of IPNI's mission.Students in the disciplines of soil and plant sciences including agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology, and other areas related to plant nutrition are encouraged to apply for the award.  

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in the last week of April 2016 sanctioned a loan of 1000 crore rupees to Haryana State Warehousing Corporation (HSWC).The loan is sanctioned for purchase of wheat during the ongoing rabi marketing season.Haryana is one of the major contributors to the country's central pool of foodgrains. During the 2015-16 kharif season, NABARD had disbursed an amount of 500 crore rupees to the corporation for paddy procurement. HSWC : The loan will help the HSWC for payment of wheat purchased from farmers in various mandis/outlets in Haryana, in line with the government's resolve to pay the farmers' dues at the earliest.The objective of food grain procurement by the government agencies is to ensure that farmers get remunerative price for their produce and do not have to resort to distress sale and build buffer stocks.The Haryana Government has authorised five agencies, namely Food and Supplies Department, HAFED, Haryana Agro Industries Corporation, Food Corporation of India and HSWC to procure wheat at minimum support price during the 2016-17 marketing season.The Haryana Food and Supplies Department expects around 75 lakh metric tonnes of wheat in the current season.

Union Tourism Ministry has launched National Monuments Authority Web Portal called NOC Online Application and Processing System (NOAPS). The web portal will provide single window clearance for applicants to get no-objection certificates (NoC) within six working days for construction-related works near the 3,686 protected monuments in the country. Under the present rules, hundred meters area around the monument is a prohibited zone.  While the area between 100 to 300 metres is regulated zone for which no-objection certificate is needed for construction-related works. The time limit for availing NoC was 90 days. Other Details : The portal uses the technology of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for mapping-related service. Using it the applicant needs to fill up a single form which will be sent to the concerned agencies by the local body from whom no objection certificate is required. T In the initial phase, the web portal integrates NMA’s portal with the online portal of local bodies of Delhi and Mumbai. Government also has developed user friendly Mobile App which can be downloaded free of cost by an applicant. The application can use the app to upload the geo coordinates of his plot which falls within the prohibited and regulated area of the monument. However, large projects involving construction of building beyond 2000 square metres have been kept out of the purview of this single window clearance system, keeping in view their possible impact on the Monument or the site.

The Cabinet of Saudi Arabia kingdom on 25 April 2016 approved the Vision 2030, a broad-based economic reform plan. The Vision charts out the roadmap for diversifying the Saudi economy in next 14 years and to ensure that Saudi Arabia can live without oil by 2020.Vision 2030 envisages forming public investment fund, boosting affordable housing and giving expats long-term residence among others. Three pillars of Vision 2030 Saudi Arabia’s status as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds  Determination to become a global investment powerhouse Transforming unique strategic location into a global hub connecting three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa Elements of Vision 2030 : It is built around three themes: A vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation.It envisions building a Public Investment Fund to become a major player in the global market.Shares worth less than 5 percent of Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia and valued at 2.5 trillion dollars, will be soldSome of the proceeds from Aramco will go towards Sovereign Wealth Fund worth 2 trillion dollars.The fund will surpass Norway’s 865 billion dollar fund as the world’s biggest and will potentially make Riyadh one of the single most important global investor.The fund will also include current Saudi fiscal assets of around 600 billion dollars as well as returns from real estate and industrial areas estimated to be worth 1 trillion dollars.A new visa system called “green card” system will be created to allow expatriate Muslims and Arabs to work long-term in Saudi Arabia and giving them more rights to invest in the country.Steps will be taken to diversify the economy, including investment in mineral mining and expanding military production.To increase participation of women in the workforce and to provide affordable housing Why less reliance on Oil : Since 70 percent of Saudi’s national income is composed of revenue from Oil. But with the fall in prices of oil from 100 dollars per barrel in 2014 to 40 dollars a barrel at present has increased the economic worries of Saudi Kingdom.As a result, the budget has been projected to see a shortfall of 87 billion dollars in 2016 leading to increasing of prices of retail fuel by 80 percent in December 2015 and cutting down of subsidies on electricity, water and other services.In 2015, due to fall in oil prices even the fiscal reserves dropped to a four-year low from 732 billion dollars to 611.9 billion dollars.

Riyad Mahrez on 24 April 2016 became the first African footballer to win the Professional Footballers Association’s (PFA) Player of the Year award for the 2015–16 season. The footballer received the award at the Professional Footballers’ Association awards ceremony organised in London.With the award, Mahrez also became the second non-European, after Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, to grab the award.On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli was named Young Player of the Year. Riyad Mahrez : Riyad Mahrez is a professional footballer who plays for English club Leicester City and the Algerian national team as a winger. He began his career as a youth player for French club AAS Sarcelles. He turned professional in 2009.He made his international debut for Algeria in 2014 and represented them at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. PFA Player of the Year : The Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year is an annual award given to the player who is adjudged to have been the best of the year in English football.The award has been presented since the 1973–74 season and the winner is chosen by a vote amongst the members of the players' trade union, the Professional Footballers' Association.The first winner of the award was Leeds United defender Norman Hunter.Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was the PFA Player of the Year for the 2014-2015 season.

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