Current Affairs 29th April 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Nagaland’s capital Kohima is now on its way to a greener, healthier future. On April 29, the city was declared smoke-free by Deputy Commissioner Rovilatuo Mor. A campaign was organised by school children from 22 educational institutes, to promote awareness about the ill effects of smoking. They got help from the District Tobacco Control Cell (DTCC) and Department of Health and Family Welfare. According to the Joint Director of Health & Family Welfare Department of Nagaland, Dr. Hotokhu Chishi, Nagaland has the second highest smoker population in the country, at 57%. “28% of school children are tobacco chewers, 14% are smokers and 41% of children buy tobacco products for their parents, relatives and elders.A tobacco product contains 4000 chemicals which destroy any part of the body and causes death to one million people in India every year. Other States : Many states and cities in India have been trying to reduce the consumption of tobacco. In 2007, Chandigarh was declared the first smoke-free city of India. The movement was spearheaded by an NGO, Burning Brain Society, which put pressure on the Punjab and Haryana governments, asking for a status on the 2003 legislation that bans smoking in public places. After this, Kottayam in Kerala and Shimla followed suit. In 2010, Sikkim was declared the first smoke-free state in India, and in 2014 Himachal Pradesh became the second.. According to the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI), about 11% of the world’s population lives in smoke-free or tobacco-free nations. The 739 million people in these countries are protected by comprehensive anti-tobacco national laws. Another 210 million people (about 3%) are protected on a city-level.

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has undertaken dynamic safety measures to come up to the expectations of the passengers which includes a shortcut security code-aided helpline Number 182, Operation Smile to rescue missing children, a security app on mobile phones and a whistle alert scheme in ladies’ coach.  These measures can alert the RPF resulting in swift and prompt action. “From round-the-clock accessible helplines, fine-tuning of measures of response to emergencies to installation of technology-enabled modes of multi-screening, surveillance and security systems, the Railway is increasingly adopting all-out measures to contain and mitigate crimes on its premises,” said a senior railway official. Stepping up of security measures for the travelling public is one of the high-priority areas of the Indian Railways. During the year 2015, RPF has dealt with more than 20 lakh cases relating to anti-social elements. It also claimed to rescue more than 7,000 lost or abandoned children from trains and stations premises across the country in 2015. Currently, RPF escorts about 1,600 trains to control crime and ensure security of passengers, especially women, children and the elderly. According to RPF data, more than 20 lakh cases relating to anti-social elements were dealt by the force in 2015. Training in soft and behavioural skills, human rights and gender sensitisation to RPF staff for better RPF-Passenger- Public interface is also in the process. Meanwhile, senior IPS officer SK Bhagat has been appointed as Director General of RPF.

The government plans to make it mandatory to set aside 1 per cent of total cost of any highway project for road safety, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari . If cost of construction is Rs 1,000 crore then one per cent comes to Rs 10 crore. We will use those Rs 10 crore for road safety issues that include fixing accidental spots, installing cameras and lights and on other such issues. The government is committed to reducing the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent in next two to three years. The new road safety bill could not be introduced in Parliament due to opposition from some states who said the proposed law encroached on their financial rights.  In order to address these concerns as also to bring in a stricter road safety regime, a meeting of state transport secretaries and stakeholders was held here on April 22 to provide inputs for the April 29 meeting. A final decision on the new safety bill will be taken in the meeting and based on that, consent from states will be sought as the issue falls under concurrent list.  As a signatory to Brasilia Declaration, India has expressed its commitment to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020.

Asian Games gold medalist Charles Borromeo on 28 April 2016 resigned from the post of head of the Tata Steel sports department. The resignation came after the vigilance department officials of the company questioned him in connection with alleged irregularities in tender process of 4.40 crore rupees worth synthetic track laying at the JRD Tata Sports complex. Charles Borromeo : Borromeo, won a gold medal of 800 m at the 1982 Asian Games held in Delhi and also a part of Indian Olympic contingent that took place at Los Angeles in 1984.He joined Tata Steel as sports assistant in 1979 and participated in a number of track and field meets.In 1982, he topped the six-nation Athletic Meet in Mumbai by winning the Inter-State Championship at Kozhikode and also won the gold at the Pakistan National Games at Peshawar.He won bronze medal at the Peking International Games in China and toured Germany representing the Indian athletic team.Tata honored him as the Best Sportsman in 1984. He also represented India at a number of track and field meets around the world, including Japan and China, where he again won gold medals.He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1982 and the Padma Shri in 1984.  

China developed a new electronic paper, which has been heralded as "the world's first graphene electronic paper. It was in news in the last of April 2016.It will be a huge breakthrough that will catapult the material to a new level. It was developed  by The Guangzhou OED Technologies in partnership with a company in Chongqing. Compared with traditional e-papers, graphene e-paper is more pliable and has more intensity and its high-light transmittance means optical displays will be much brighter.E-papers have been produced on a commercial scale since 2014. Compared with liquid crystal displays, e-papers are thinner, bendable and energy efficient, meaning products are more portable. Graphene : Graphene is the world's strongest and lightest known material; a single layer of graphene is only 0.335 nanometers thick, and it can conduct heat and electricity.The material can be used to create hard or flexible graphene displays, used in electronic products such as e-readers and wearable smart devices.In addition, graphene is derived from carbon, meaning production costs will be much lower than for traditional e-papers, which use the rare, expensive metal indium.

Comcast, the parent company of Universal Pictures has announced that it is going to buy the DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion in cash. The deal will put Comcast in direct competition with Disney. The Dream Works Animation is best known for animated movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar etc andafter take over the company would operate under Comcast’s NBC Universal. The Comcast Corporation is an American multinational mass media company, which is also the largest broadcasting as well as largest cable company in the world by revenue. The company also produce animation movies like Despicable Me and Minions etc. Comcast  : Comcast Corporation, formerly registered as Comcast Holdings, is an American multinational mass media company and is the largest broadcasting and largest cable company in the world by revenue. It is the second largest pay-TV company after the AT&T-DirecTV acquisition, largest cable TV company and largest home Internet service provider in the United States,and the nation's third largest home telephone service provider. Comcast services U.S. residential and commercial customers in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The company's headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

The Gujarat government has announced a 10% quota for the economically backward class from all non-reserved castes in the state in both jobs and education. A special Ordinance will be promulgated earmarking the 10% reservation on Gujarat Foundation Day, May 1.  As per the move, upper class families whose annual income is up to Rs 600,000 will have the benefits of this new move taken by the Gujarat government. The quota benefits will be available to the members of all the upper class communities, including Patidars, Brahmins, Kshtriyas and Lohana among others. The government intends to implement this 10% quota from the upcoming academic year. Recruitment to be covered post implementation. Gujarat government followed the footsteps of two other BJP-ruled states Rajasthan and Haryana, who had announced special quotas for Gujjars and Jats respectively.   

New Zealand ace batsman Kane Williamson was confirmed as 29th test cricket captain of New Zealand cricket Team on 28 April 2016. He will succeed Brendon McCullum as captain in all three formats. McCullum retired from test cricket in February 2016.Prior to this confirmation, Williamson has already captained New Zealand in 36 limited over International Cricket matches. Under his captaincy, New Zealand reached Semi-finals in ICC T-20 World Cup 2016. He is respected by his peers and the wider cricket community for his professional approach both on and off the field, and has a superb cricket brain. Williamson became the third-youngest man to captain New Zealand in Test cricket, behind Stephen Fleming and John Parker.

Senior IPS officer Surender Kumar Bhagat was on 28 April 2016 appointed as the Director General (DG) of Railways Protection Force (RPF). His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). As a DG of Railways Protection Force , Bhagat is entrusted with responsibility of protecting railway property and passengers. He will serve the Railway Board till the date of his superannuation that is on 30 June 2017.  He is presently working as Special Director General in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Western Sector, Jammu & Kashmir.He is a 1982 batch IPS officer of Uttarakhand cadre.  

29 April: Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare 2016 was observed on 29 April 2016 by the United Nations (UN).This commemoration will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons. The Third Review Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Convention held in April 2013 in the Hague, the Netherlands, adopted a political declaration that confirms the unequivocal commitment of the States Parties to the global chemical weapons ban. The United Nations' Conference of the States Parties at its Tenth Session on 11 November 2005 decided that a memorial Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare would be observed on 29 April, the day on which the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. Today, 188 States have joined the Chemical Weapons Convention to form the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and forever renounce chemical weapons.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated 100 piped water supply projects for rural areas  on 28 April 2016. The CM also pledged to make piped water provision in all gram panchayats by 2017. The project was inaugurated on the occasion of Utkal Gaurab Madhusudan Das’ anniversary.  Das was the first graduate and advocate of Odisha.Earlier on 20 April 2016, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had dedicated 100 urban drinking water supply projects in the state. In early April 2016, the state government also announced that it will sink a tubewell in each of the 27711 areas spending around 195 crore rupees. In rural areas all gram panchayats have been asked to spend 30 per cent of the panchayat funds towards piped water supply. Highlights of 100 piped water supply projects : The 100 projects will benefit 172000 people residing in 107 villages across the state.The project is made at an estimated cost of 72 crore rupees. Water crisis in Odisha : In 2016, Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) township is experiencing a massive drinking water crisis. It is due to the drying up of the River Koel, which provides water to the city.Against a demand of 15.5 million gallons per day, RSP is able to supply less than half to its employees. In Keonjhar, two kids allegedly died after drinking contaminated water.Several tribal settlements around Byree area of Jajpur district are being provided with water tankers by private donors.In 2015, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that drinking water in adequate quantity was not supplied to people in 95 out of 106 urban areas of the state.  

Union government on 27 April 2016 issued a notification banning the import of dogs for commercial breeding. The imports are allowed only for research or defence purposes.The ban came after many animal rights organisations raised concerns over foreign breed dogs suffering due to unsuitable climatic conditions.Humane Society International (HSI) and People for Animals along with other groups had urged the government to ban the import on dogs for breeding as it was resulting in the overpopulation of street dogs in the country. They were of the view that a large number of dogs that are not suitable for the country’s tropical climate such as St Bernards, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and others are being imported by breeders in India.Many imported breed dogs are being abandoned by the owners as they have poor understanding of the breed’s requirement.Animal rights groups also urged the government to enact the pet shop and breeder regulations as recommended by the Law Commission of India. In 2015, the commission published a report on titled Need to Regulate Pet Shops and Dog Breeding and Aquarium Fish Breeding which recommended the Union Government to take cognizance of the issue.

Experian, the global information services company, in the last week of April 2016 launched a fraud detection mechanism named the Hunter Fraud Score.The new scoring mechanism measures the probability of fraud in a credit application across banking and insurance industries.Experian had launched the Hunter Fraud Management Services for the life insurance sector in India in March 2016. Highlights of Hunter Fraud Score : As per Experian, the new score will help retail finance providers and insurance companies in India significantly increase their efficiency in fraud detection. Businesses will be able to identify applications that should be screened for potential fraud, and prioritise those that have a high probability of being fraudulent.This will enable the businesses to potentially lower their fraud losses and focus on approving applications from genuine customers.Hunter prevents application fraud by matching credit application data against multiple data sources, including the shared fraud data. It comprises several rules that work towards identifying inconsistencies in credit applications.The suspicious applications are moved into the investigation tool for further analysis and action. Experian : Experian is a global information services group with operations in 40 countries.The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.Experian is a partner in the UK government's Verify ID system.

The former South Africa fast bowler, Allan Donald, will join Australia as their bowling coach for their tour of Sri Lanka, Cricket Australia has confirmed. The appointment was not permanent. Former bowling coach Craig McDermott stepped down after the World Twenty20 tournament in India.  West Australia bowling coach Adam Griffith is joining the Australian team for their triangular limited overs series in West Indies in June. The 49-year-old played 72 Tests for South Africa, taking 330 wickets and was considered one of the best fast bowlers of his generation. He has also spent time as bowling coach for New Zealand and then for his native South Africa from 2011-15. He is currently bowling coach for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. Allan Anthony Donald  : Allan Anthony Donald (born 20 October 1966) is a former South African cricketer and one of their most successful pace bowlers. he was one of the best fast bowlers ever seen in Test cricket, reaching the top of the ICC Test rankings in 1998 and peaked with a top ICC ranking of 895 points the next year, the 25th best ranking ever. In ODIs, he reached 794 points in 1998, second place to his teammate Shaun Pollock, the 28th best ranking ever. In the early 1990s, he was arguably the only world-class bowler in the South African team, until the emergence of Pollock, with whom he made a healthy new-ball partnership from the 1996/1997 tour of India until his retirement in 2002.

India on 28 April 2016 extended a Line of Credit (LoC) of 1 billion US dollars to Mongolia. The LoC was extended after delegation-level bilateral talks between the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh and Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren in New Delhi.Besides, the two countries also agreed to exchange sentenced persons. Lundeg Purevsuren was on a three-day state visit to India from 27 April to 29 April 2016. This visit was a part of the intensified bilateral exchanges following the upgrade of bilateral relations during Modi's visit. The extended LoC is the part of announcement made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Mongolia in May 2015. He announced the LoC for economic expansion and infrastructure development. During that visit, the two nations also signed 13 agreements. This was the first prime ministerial visit from India to Mongolia.Earlier on 28 April 2016, Purevsuren conferred Mongolia's highest civilian award, the Order of North Star, on Lokesh Chandra, President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), and Mansura Haider, former academic adviser of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).India and Mongolia are marking 60 years of diplomatic relations in 2016 with a series of events.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to address a joint meeting of the United States (US) Congress on June 8, 2016 during his visit to the US. He was invited by President Barack Obama for a bilateral visit during the fourth nuclear summit. It was announced by the Speaker of the US House of Representative Paul Ryan. PM Narendra Modi will be the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of Congress, and the first since 2005. Earlier, Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi (July 13, 1985), P V Narasimha Rao (May 18, 1994), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (September 14, 2000) and Manmohan Singh (July 19, 2005) had addressed the joint meeting of the US Congress.  It should be noted that the tradition of foreign leaders and dignitaries addressing US Congress began with the Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer. He had addressed the House Chamber on December 10, 1824.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched an innovative mobile application titled e-voter with comprehensive details about the forthcoming 2016 Assembly polls in Kerala. The app is envisaged for voters’ facilitation for search in electoral roll, information regarding candidates, location of polling station, affidavit filed by them, filing of complaint and so on. e-voter  App :  The e-voter app was developed by the state IT Mission. It aims at ensuring great transparency and conduct of free and fair elections. The app has ‘know your candidate’ option that would provide constituency wise details of candidates. It has ‘constituency list’ option that would give segment wise details of voters (total number of voters, number of male voters and female voters) and total polling stations. The app will also provide information about previous elections results and names of Chief Ministers. The e-voter app can be downloaded from the Google Play store and can be installed on any android phone

The Parliament has passed the Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015. The Bill amends the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951. It was first was passed in Lok Sabha in December 2015 and later in Rajya Sabha in April 2016. Now it will go for Presidential assent as per Article 111 of the Indian Constitution. The bill seeks to bring industries engaged in the manufacture of potable alcohol under the exclusive control of States in all respects. It amends 1st schedule of the parent Act to bring required changes for regulating industries manufacturing potable alcohol. However, Union Government will continue to be responsible for formulating policy and regulating foreign collaboration for all products of fermentation industries, including industrial and potable alcohol. Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 : It provides for development and regulation of certain industries including telecommunications, transportation, metallurgical, fermentation (which includes production of alcohol) among others. The 1st schedule of the Act includes all industries that are regulated under the Act In the Bihar Distillery versus Union of India case (1997), Supreme Court had demarcated the regulation of production of alcohol between centre and states. The apex court had ruled that Union Government should regulate the production of alcohol for industrial use and states should regulate the production of alcohol for potable purpose (domestic consumption). It also had held that where the removal or clearance is for industrial purposes, the levy of excise duty and all other control should be with the Union Government. The Bill conforms to the Supreme Court’s decision.

Indian Naval Ships (INS) Veer and Nipat were decommissioned at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The decommissioning ceremony of these ships was held in the presence of Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command. Veer and Nipat : Both the ships belonged to the 1241 RE class missile vessels. They had served under 22nd Killer Squadron and have completed 29 and 28 years of commissioned service respectively. The ships had played a significant role as the guardian of International Maritime Borderline off west coast of India. These ships are also the first of Veer Class of ships to be decommissioned from the Indian Navy. In their service, they have participated in numerous operations and successfully completed many deployments. They were extensively deployed during the Operations Vijay (1961) and Parakram (2001–2002) of the Indian Navy.  

Russia has successfully launched the first rocket from its newly built Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur Oblast, in Russian Far East region bordering China. The unmanned Soyuz-2.1a rocket is carrying three satellites as payloads namely Mikhailo Lomonosov (scientific satellite), SamSat-218 (an experimental nanosatellite) and Aist-2D (a civilian distance viewing satellite). Vostochny Cosmodrome is a Russian spaceport for civilian launches under construction after it was launched in 2012. On completion in 2018, it will reduce Russia’s dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Presently, Russia has the large military launch facilities but it relies primarily on the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the civilian launches.

Lightweights in the competitive arena but India continued to rule the roost as far as doping was concerned, placed once again in the top three in a WADA report based on the information supplied by various national bodies. India had the third highest Anti-Doping Rule Violations(ADRVs) in 2014, with 96 cases, behind  Russia (148)  Italy (123).  Belgium (91),  France (91),  Turkey (73),  Australia (49),  China (49),  Brazil (46)  South Korea (43)  followed India in the top 10, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report released. ADRV is a doping case in which a decision is rendered against an athlete following a full disciplinary process. The sanction is either a reprimand or a period of ineligibility.Out of the 96 ADRVs recorded by India, four are non analytical (2 each in athletics and wrestling) cases like failure to submit to appear for a test, possession, use or trafficking of a prohibited substance following an investigation.Out of these 96 dope violations, 79 (56 men and 23 women) failed in-competition tests while 13 (9 men and 4 women) were caught out-of-competition. India, whose medal count in the Olympics has been a mere 24 since 1920, has one of the highest number dope offenders in the last few years.Among the sports which contributed most dope cheats in the country, athletics continued to maintain the top spot with 29 cases, followed by powerlifitng (23) and weightlifting (22) as the trend of the last few years continued. Other sports whose athletes were caught for dope violations were basketball (3), judo (3), taekwondo (3), wrestling (3), wushu (3), boxing (2), canoe/kayak (1), shooting (1) and soft-tennis (1). There was a case of one dope violation each in para-athletics and para-judo as well. In worldwide dope violations in athletics, India -- with 29 such cases -- stood second behind Russia (39). Italy (15), France (14), China (13) and Kenya (12) are the other countries in top list of dope violations in athletics.Top Indian athletics officials have been saying that. A total of 217,762 samples were tested and analysed in 2014 worldwide by WADA-accredited laboratories. 2287 samples were reported as Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs), out of which 1647 are ADRVs (1462 analytical and 185 non-analytical).

Indian academician Radha Kumar was on 28 April 2016 appointed to the United Nations' University Council to formulate its principles and policies, consider and approve biennial budget and work programme. Kumar is among 12 people who are appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the council. These 12 appointees will take office with effect from May 2016 and will serve for terms of either three or six years.Some of the other members appointed to the UN University Council are Simon Chesterman, Lecturer at Harvard and MIT, Isabel Guerrero Pulgar of Chile, Bassma Kodmani of Syria and Lan Xue, Dean of School of Public Policy and Management at China's Tsinghua University. Radha Kumar : Radha Kumar is the Director General of New Delhi-based think tank Delhi Policy Group. She is a specialist in ethnic conflicts, peacemaking and peace-building. Formerly Director of the Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Kumar has also been a Senior Fellow in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in the city.She had also served as one of the three-member Group of Interlocutors appointed by the Union Government for Jammu and Kashmir. United Nations' University Council : The main function of the UN University Council is to formulate the principles and policies of the University and govern its operations. It also considers and approves its biennial budget and work programme.Appointed members of the Council serve in their individual capacity and not as representatives of their country's government. The members are selected with the aim of achieving a geographic and gender balance, with due regard for major academic, scientific, educational and cultural trends.

South Korea on 27 April 2016 announced that its Olympic athletes will wear uniforms that have been infused with insect repellent to keep mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus at bay.The South Korean team's uniforms were unveiled in Seoul, marking 100 days until the opening ceremony in Brazil.These formal long-sleeved shirts and trousers containing mosquito repellent will be worn by the South Korean athletes during ceremonies and at the athletes' village at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.The uniforms are meant to ward off mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus.Athletes cannot wear the protective clothing while competing, but they will be allowed to use mosquito repellent. The decision to use mosquito repellent uniform during the Rio games was taken out of concern over the spread of the Zika virus. The virus is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes.Earlier in April 2016, representatives of the South Korean Olympic organisation and the government visited Rio to inspect venues, athletes' facilities and local hospitals. Brazil has reported about 1.5 million Zika infections out of a worldwide total of about 2 million. The disease has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation. It can causes babies of infected mothers to be born with microcephaly and other severe brain problems. The Brazilian government has warned pregnant women to stay away from the Games.

Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM-C) has been awarded the EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) Accreditation by EFMD, the globally recognized international organization for management development, with over 800 members from academia, business, public service and consultancy in 81 countries. The EQUIS Accreditation Board voted to confer EQUIS Accreditation on IIM Calcutta on April 12, 2016. IIM Calcutta has already been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Association of MBA's (AMBA) in 2014. With EQUIS accreditation, IIM Calcutta has become the first Indian business school to achieve the 'Triple Crown' in accreditation, i.e. accredited by all the three major accreditation agencies in the world for management education. Only 5 other business schools in Asia and 73 business schools around the world are currently 'Triple Accredited. This is a significant achievement for us. Each of the three accrediting agencies insists that accredited schools meet stringent quality requirements in various parameters of management education. A 'Triple Crown' signifies that the Institute meets very high quality standards, be it in the area of institutional strategy, assurance of learning, research impact, or producing competent and ethical managers for the corporates as a few examples. This is where the strength of Triple Crown Accreditation lies The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is based in Tampa, Florida in the United States; AMBA, The Association of MBAs, is based in London, United Kingdom; and EFMD which awards EQUIS Accreditation is based in Brussels, Belgium.

Mongolia has conferred its highest civilian award “North Star” on two noted Indian scholars – Lokesh Chandra and Mansura Haider for their contribution to Mongolian studies. Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren conferred the award on Lokesh Chandra, president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), and Mansura Haider, former academic adviser at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), at ceremony at the Mongolian embassy here which was also attended by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju.This year being the 60th Anniversary of Indo-Mongolian diplomatic relations, the award has been presented to two Indian scholars for their outstanding “contributions to the development of friendly relations between India and Mongolia and promotion of Mongolian studies”. Mansura Haider, who was a professor and former dean of the faculty of arts in Aligarh Muslim University’s history department, said was the first to give the Mongols an identity was misrepresented in history. To reassess the contribution of Genghis Khan, ICCR is going to organize an International conference in Mongolia on “Genghis Khan, his legacy and Indian culture” concurrently with “International Mongolian Congress” in Ulaanbaatar in August.

Parliament passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to include certain communities in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) from 4 states. The bill seeks to amend Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 to include certain communities from Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala and West Bengal in the list. It also has provisions for exclusion of certain communities from Odisha and removal of area restriction in respect of certain communities. The bill was introduced in the Parliament by Union Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot as per the provisions of Article 341 of the Constitution. Chhattisgarh: Inclusion of Sais, Sahis, Sarathi, Soot-Sarathi, Thanwar communities in the list.  Haryana : Inclusion of (i) Aheria, Aheri, Hari, Heri, Thori, Turi and (ii) Rai Sikh communities in the list.  Kerala : Inclusion of Peruvannan community in the list and Modification in the area of specification of Malayan community.  West Bengal : Removal of area restriction of Chain community.  Odisha : Exclusion of Bariki and Kummari communities in the list. Article 341 : It empowers Parliament to include or exclude castes from the list of Scheduled Castes in the notification. It also empowers the President to specify castes which will be deemed as Scheduled Castes through a notification.  

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