Current Affairs 31st August 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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India's first military heritage website, was launched by Glory Foundation at Chennai. A veteran of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, city based Captain D.P.Ramachandran who is also the executive trustee of the foundation declared the war heroes of South India held great significance to the history of India. The Foundation will conduct various awareness programs across the country, commencing with major metros, to educate the people about our military history and heritage. The programs will be in the nature of exhibitions, seminars and talks, film shows, sound-and-like shows and the like. The Foundation is also planning battle re-enactments or military tattoos, which used to take place in Madras (Chennai) before Independence. The British, for instance, arranged a military tattoo of the Siege of Madras in 1946. We want to bring those enactments back.

The Union Cabinet has apprised the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and CERT-UK. The MoU was signed between CERT-In and Ministry of Cabinet Office, UK (United Kingdom) represented by CERT-UK, a unit of the Cabinet Office on Cyber Security in May 2016. The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and UK for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents. It will facilitate both countries to exchange technical information on Cyber-attacks, response to cyber security incidents and find solutions to counter the cyber-attacks.  They can also exchange information on prevalent cyber security policies and best practices. This MoU helps to strengthen cyber space of both countries in terms of capacity building and improving relationship between them. Cyber Security was one of the agenda items for discussion during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to UK in November, 2015. Earlier CERT-In signed MoUs with similar organizations of seven countries viz. South Korea, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, Japan and Uzbekistan. Besides, Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has also signed MoU with Cyber Security as one of the areas of cooperation with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)  : CERT-In is nodal government agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing in India. It is nodal department under the aegis of Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Headquarters: New Delhi. Objective: (i) Protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities. (ii) Strengthen security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain. Issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention,procedures, response and reporting of cyber security incidents.

The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has  signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Amar Chitra Katha to publish and distribute a special edition of a comic book on 31 August 2016. The comic book will focus on Swachh Bharat Mission. The 32-page comic book will carry messages pertaining to sanitation and solid waste components of Swachh Bharat Mission. Highlights of the comic book : The book would comprise a series of inspirational stories from the mission, cleanliness rankings of cities, the public figures and ambassadors, environmental impact. It will also contain stories of individuals and organizations that can inspire children to the concept of Swachhata. There will be an interactive workbook of tips and tricks, which children can use to clean their own areas. It will also include a section about how to organize community cleanliness drives. Amar Chitra Katha will be developing and creating the special edition comic book in English. It will also be translated into Hindi. In order to ensure large scale dissemination of these stories, MoUD will distribute them through national school boards like CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Vidyalaya.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to proposal for dissolution of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited (CIWTC). CIWTC was incorporated in February 1967 as Public Sector Undertaking under the Companies Act 1956 by the Central Government. It was under the administrative control of Ministry of Shipping (MOS).  It had taken over the assets and liabilities of the erstwhile River Steam Navigation Company Limited (RSNCL) under a scheme approved by the Calcutta High Court. Since its inception CIWTC was incurring losses due to inherent limitation and infrastructure bottle necks and never could become viable company. Central Government is closing it in line with its decision to revitalize sick CPSUs wherever possible or to wind up irretrievable cases.  The dissolution of the CIWTC would be initiated after disposal of movable and immovable assets. This would free up the assets for better utilization and for the benefit of the people. A number of assets have been taken up by Inland Waterways Authority of India to provide services on National Waterway 4 on Brahmputra River.

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri on 29 August 2016 announced the appointment of Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush as UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India. Film director, classical dancer and writer, Aishwaryaa will help raise awareness of UN Women’s core messages of gender equality and women’s empowerment across India. The act will boost the organisation’s efforts to close the gender gap and achieve a more equal world – a Planet 50-50– by the year 2030. With this, Aishwaryaa joins the esteemed list of Farhan Akhtar, Sania Mirza, Emma Watson, Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway, who have teamed up with UN Women to work for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush : Aishwaryaa is a leading film director and a startup entrepreneur.She is the elder daughter of actor Rajinikanth.She made her feature film debut with 3 starring her husband Dhanush. In 2015, she launched Ten Entertainment, a digital medium to promote short film content and new digital ventures.She is currently working on a book, Standing On An Apple Box, which describes her life as a celebrity daughter, mother and wife.

Gujarat has become the first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme. The state achieved the milestone in only 96 days. Over 42 lakh households have benefitted from the scheme. The distribution of 2 crore LED bulbs has led to an annual energy savings of 259 crore kWh, which is equivalent to lighting up 5 lakh Indian homes for an entire year. Besides, Gujarat has also benefitted from daily CO2 emission reduction of 5000 tonnes. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India, is distributing approximately 2 lakh bulbs daily in Gujarat. Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All : UJALA was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 May 2015.The scheme replaced the Bachat Lamp Yojana.Within 1 year of its launch, 9 crore LED bulbs were sold in the country, reducing their electricity bills by 55 billion rupees. The scheme was announced as Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) on 5 January 2015. The scheme urged the people to use LED bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs, tube lights and CFL bulbs as they are more efficient, long lasting and economical in their life cycle duration. With this scheme, the government's target is to replace 77 crore incandescent bulbs in India with LEDs by 2019. It will lead to an expected reduction in installed load of 20000 MW with an annual estimated savings of over 100 million kwh and an annual reduction of 400 billion rupees in electricity bills.

The Goa government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Google India to promote digital literacy and drive the digital transformation in the state. The Goa government will launch internet safety education for students in association with Google India.It will be a part of curriculum for classes 9th to 12th in the government schools.  Google has created a curriculum in consultation with experts. Google Indiahas initiated teacher trainings and it will soon expand to cover 460 schools, teaching over 80,000 students how to stay safe online. The scope of this tie-up with Google will be expanded to launch a digital literacy drive for women and introduce programmes to help the small and medium businesses and a mobile app development skilling programme for start-ups. Google : Google is an American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software.Most of its profits are derived from AdWords, an online advertising service that places advertising near the list of search results.

India’s 100-year-old athlete, Man Kaur, on 30 August 2016 won Gold medal at the American Masters Games in the 100-meter dash. She took a minute-and-a-half to cross the finish line in Vancouver. Kaur from Chandigarh was the only female competitor in her age category at the competition for older athletes. Earlier, she won gold medals in the javelin and shot put. Kaur has now won more than 20 medals in Masters Games across the globe. The World Masters Games is an international multi-sport event that takes place every four years, with regional games in between. The average age of the athletes is 49, and there's one man who is even older than Kaur 101-year-old Nihal Gill of Richmond, British Columbia.

Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt's bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympics was upgraded to silver on 30 August 2016. The medal was upgraded after second-place finisher late Besik Kudukhov of Russia was stripped off his medal for failing a dope test. As per Russian agency,, Kudukhov, who had died in a car crash in 2013 in southern Russia, was found to have used a banned substance in a test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). As a result, Yogeshwar, who had bagged a bronze medal in men's 60kg freestyle category in the London Games, has now joined Sushil Kumar as the other silver medallist wrestler from the 2012 Olympics. Besides, Kudukhov, another legendary wrestler, Artur Taymazov (120kg) of Uzbekistan was stripped off from his 2008 gold medal for taking performance enhancing drugs.

Bhutan is set to become the fourth Asian country to host a tournament on the Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) next month, which will be country's first ever international tennis tournament.  India, Thailand and Iran have already hosted a series of tournaments, both men and women, on ATT and Bhutan is scheduled to host its maiden event from September 16 to 18. For a country which has no player ranked even on the junior circuit, ATT will help the players from the region find a footing in the highly challenging sport. More than 30 ATT tournaments are scheduled to be held from September to December this year in different Asian cities.

The State Bank of Travancore appoints Ashok Kumar Pradhan has taken over as its Chief General Manager. He succeeds S Adikesavan, whose transfer to Hyderabad had kicked up a controversy recently. Pradhan, who is from Cuttack in Orissa, started his banking career in 1985 as a Probationary Officer in State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur. He has handled various key assignments as Controller and Zonal Head and has functioned Zonal Head and also Deputy General Manager (Credit) at State Bank of Hyderabad. At State bank of Mysore, he has served as General Manager (P&SB) and also General Manager, Network, Delhi. State Bank of Travancore : State Bank of Travancore (SBT), is a subsidiary of the State Bank Group, but also has private share-holders. It is the premier bank of Kerala, where it handles the majority of its business. Overall, SBT as of March 31, 2015 has a network of 1,157 branches and 1,602 ATMs, covering 18 states and three union territories.

Mizoram Assembly has ratified the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment bill by adopting an official resolution, becoming 13th state to have approved the legislation. The state legislature unanimously adopted the official resolution moved by Finance and Taxation Minister . GST is a tax levied when a consumer buys a good or service. It is meant to be a single, comprehensive tax that will subsume all the other smaller indirect taxes on consumption like service tax, excise duty etc. This is how it is done in most developed countries. It will be a comprehensive nationwide indirect tax on the manufacture, sale, and consumption of goods and services. The aim is to have one indirect tax for the whole nation, which will make India a unified common market.

Country’s largest paramilitary force CRPF has decided to appoint Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu as it’s brand ambassador and bestow the honorary rank of Commandant on the ace badminton player. Central Reserve Police Force : The Central Reserve Police Force is the largest of India's Central Armed Police Forces. It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India. It came into existence as the Crown Representative's Police on 27 July 1939. After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949. The CRPF is considered India's largest paramilitary force and has a sanctioned strength of 308,862 personnel. The Central Reserve Police Force also has the credit of raising the first all-women battalion in a central paramilitary or a police force way back in 1987 and at present has four such contingents, with three in active duties.

The world famous Velankanni our lady of health basilica 11 day long annual feast started last night with the hoisting of flag in Tamil Nadu. Lakhs of devotees are expected to throng the shrine for the ten day long festival. Pilgrims from various parts of the country witnessed the flag hoisting ceremony. Rev.Fr.A.M.Prabakar, Rector, and other priests of the shrine were present. The illuminated and colourful car procession carrying the idol of Our Lady of Health would be held on September 7 and the lowering of Our Lady’s flag on September 8.  

Ecommerce portal Amazon.In has announced the launch of a dedicated online Telugu book store with a widerange of over 10,000 Telugu titles.  The assortment of Telugu books offers a wide selection ranging from classics, literature, fiction, biographies, business and finance, self-help, cook books and children's books all at great prices clubbed with the convenience of getting them delivered at the customer's doorstep. It also boasts of having an enviable selection of bestselling books by acclaimed authors like B V Pattabhi Ram, Ranganayakamma, Yaddanapoodi Sulochana Rani, Malladi Venkata Krishnamurthy, Yendamuri Veerendranath amongst others from leading publishers.  Currently Amazon caters to Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Gujarati and Bengali languages.

Canara Bank has launched  Bank launched Unified Payment Interface (UPI) App named ‘empower’.  This App works on customer-centric digital initiative which enables ‘any Bank customers to link and operate their various Bank accounts using a single app’.  Unified Payment Interface (UPI) App : The app facilitates the bank customers to create a virtual payment address to Pay and Collect Money from anyone without disclosing their account related information, link their bank accounts across banks in a single app, transfer funds using mobile number, account number and IFSC and Adhaar number, know their account balance, register for mobile banking on-the-fly within the app itself, generate MPIN, view recent transactions, etc. Non-Canara Bank customers can also use this application to link accounts held in other banks and use it for a host of financial and non-financial services.

Telangana Legislature (Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council) has ratified the Constitutional amendment Bill for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on  31 august 2016. Telangana has become the tenth State to ratify the Bill. GST is a tax levied when a consumer buys a good or service. It is meant to be a single, comprehensive tax that will subsume all the other smaller indirect taxes on consumption like service tax, excise duty etc. This is how it is done in most developed countries. It will be a comprehensive nationwide indirect tax on the manufacture, sale, and consumption of goods and services. The aim is to have one indirect tax for the whole nation, which will make India a unified common market.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned a loan of Rs 204.67 crore for Haryana under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund for projects including a 10 mw solar plant at Panipat thermal power station.  Out of the total loan, Rs 147.18 crore has been sanctioned to the state government under the 22nd tranche of the fund for 2016-17 for construction of three rural bridges, construction and upgradation of 26 rural roads in 10 districts ,the construction and upgradation of 26 rural roads in 10 districts namely Ambala, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Hisar, Jind, Karnal, Mahendergarh, Panchkula, Rewari and Yamunanagar and Rs 57.49 crore for the solar plant.  The cumulative assistance to the state under this fund has reached Rs 5,613.65 crore involving 4,263 projects under various sectors .

The second 1,000 MW capacity reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) was successfully synchronised to the southern power grid.  This marks the generation of electricity and its supply to the grid by the second reactor of KKNPP. The plant had attained criticality in July 2016. Besides with this synchronisation, the total atomic power generation capacity of Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) crossed 5,000 MW. The KKNPP is located in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from Chennai. It is built under India-Russian Nuclear agreement of 1988.  KKNPP is India’s first nuclear power plant to use imported pressurised water reactor (PWR) technology for generation of electricity. It has VVER (Water-Water Energetic Reactor) type light water reactors.  The reactors were built by the NPCIL and Russia’s Atomstroyexport Company, a subsidiary of Rosatom. The first unit of KKNPP had attained criticality after it began the fission process in July 2013. Subsequently it was connected to the southern grid in October 2013.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the first phase of SAUNI (Saurastra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojana at Sanodara of Jamnagar district of Gujarat. SAUNI Yojana is multipurpose project that aims to solve the water problems of a parched Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Technically, SAUNI is a ‘linking’ project where the water will be filled in irrigation dams that are already equipped with canal network.  Under this project, 115 dams in the Saurashtra region will be filled with excess water from the Sardar Sarovar dam. In the first phase, around 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi districts will be filled with water from Narmada River for irrigation and drinking purposes.  SAUNI project involves making pipe canals instead of the conventional open canals which has led to no acquisition of land for the project. This network of canals will comprise 1,125-km network of pipelines that will help to channel water into farms. Saruashtra region of Gujarat comprises 11 districts. These districts faces drought like situation often and has been reeling under severe water scarcity due to scanty rainfall. The SAUNI Yojana was announced in 2012 when PM Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Dogri Poetess and novelist Padma Sachdev was awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year 2015 for her autobiography 'Chitt-Chete' written in Dogri language. She was felicitated by Delhi's Lt Governor Najeeb Jung in New Delhi on 29 August 2016. The 76-year-old poet and novelist's autobiography, published in 2007, was shortlisted from 22 works written in as many languages published between 2005 and 2014. Padma Sachdev : Born in Jammu, Padma Sachdev is first modern woman poet of Dogri language.She has published her several poetry collection including Meri Kavita Mere Geet that has won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1971. She has also received the Padma Shri, the Indian fourth highest civilian award in 2001, and the Kabir Samman for poetry for the year 2007-2008, given by Government of Madhya Pradesh.She has 60 books to her credit and recited poems in several regional languages, including Gujarati and Punjabi. Saraswati Samman : The award is given every year for an outstanding literary work written by an Indian citizen in any of the 22 Indian languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India, published during the last 10 years.The award carries a sum of 15 lakh rupees besides a citation and a plaque. It is named after Goddess Saraswati, Indian goddess of learning. It is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India.The award was instituted in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation. The inaugural award was given to Harivanshrai 'Bachchan' for his four volume autobiography, Kya Bhooloon Kya Yaad Karoon, Needa Ka Nirman Phir, Basere Se Door and Dashdwar se Sopan Tak.  

The Madhukar Gupta Committee on border protection has submitted its report to the Union Ministry Home Affairs (MHA).  The Committee was constituted to suggest recommendations for strengthening border protection and addressing the issue of gaps and vulnerability in border fencing along India-Pakistan Border. It was headed by former Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta. The committee has examined security mechanisms of all four Indian states sharing border with Pakistan keeping in mind challenges of different climate and topography. It has given separate recommendations for four states as each of them has different topography and problems.  It has flagged gaps and vulnerabilities in border fencing and suggested use of technology and heightened vigil on riverine frontiers. It has expressed displeasure over not installing laser walls in many infiltration-prone areas due to treacherous and marshy terrain. The MHA had constituted this committee in April 2016 to suggest ways to address the issue of gaps and vulnerability in border fencing. It was constituted three months after the terror attack on Pathankot IAF base in January 2016 by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists from Pakistan.  These terroritst had infiltrated into India by beaching the India-Pakistan border (through porous border) in Punjab especially from the riverine stretch.

India and the United States has signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) on 29 August 2016. The logistics agreement will enable the forces of the two nations to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. The agreement was signed in Pentagon during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to the US. The two leaders had agreed on the memorandum in principle when they last met in India in April 2016. Highlights :  It makes joint operations easier and more efficient. It does not allow each nation to set up bases on the other, but to use bases and equipment only for operating together when they choose to. On arrival at the Pentagon, Parrikar was given an enhanced honour cordon. The enhanced honour is reserved for valued guests and visitors during which national anthems are played. After the ceremonial welcome, Parrikar laid wreath at the 9/11 Memorial, following which the two leaders headed for talks. The talks between the two defence leaders at Pentagon, the sixth meeting between the two defense chiefs, comes ahead of key annual exercises in India between US and Indian forces. The joint drills of the two forces named Yudh Abhyas will take place in the mountain of the northern India on September 2016.

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