Current Affairs 4th August 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed a committee to study the state of household finance in India to evaluate future demand for financial products. In a statement on its website on Thursday, RBI said the committee will be chaired by Tarun Ramadorai, a professor of financial economics from the University of Oxford, and will have representation from financial sector regulators, namely the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), apart from RBI. The committee will analyse household financial markets in India with other major world markets to identify areas of priority for growth and change. It will evaluate Indian household demand in formal financial market over the coming decade. It will also understand that how and why the financial allocation of Indian households deviate from desirable financial allocation and behaviour. The committee will also work on designing new systems and redesign of existing systems of incentives and regulations to encourage and enable better participation by Indian households in the formal financial markets.  

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of new Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Decision in this regard was taken in the union cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. ASA is the basic legal framework for any air operation between the two countries Under the agreement, the designated airlines of the two countries will have equal and fair opportunity to operate the agreed air services on specified routes.  The Agreement is expected to spur greater investment, trade, tourism and cultural exchange between two countries and also bring developments in the civil aviation sector. It will provide enabling environment for seamless and enhanced air connectivity by providing commercial opportunities to carriers of both sides ensuring greater safety and security.

The Union Cabinet has approved the rates for Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for various bands of spectrum for which auction are going to be conducted shortly. With this approval the path is clear for issuance of the Notice Inviting Application (NIV) for spectrum auction by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). SUC is the charge that telecom firms have to pay the government every year. The Union Government earns about Rs.7,000 crore annually from it. SUC in 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 & 2500 MHz band in the forthcoming auction will be charged at 3% rate of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).  It excludes the revenue from wire-line services. The weighted average will be derived by sum of product of spectrum holdings and applicable SUC rate divided by total spectrum holding. The Weighted Average Rate will be determined operator wise for each service area. It will be assigned to an operator in all access spectrum bands obtained in 2010 auction. The amount of SUC has been derived after taking into consideration the spectrum acquired in the coming auction. It has excluded the spectrum in 2300/2500 MHz band acquired prior to 2015-16. It will be treated as the floor amount of the SUC to be paid by the operators. This will facilitate to move to a transparent, simple and flat ad-valorem SUC regime in the telecom sector. It will be done in accordance with the law and avoid creative accounting to bypass the revenues. It is considered as step towards a uniform rate for all players.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for making suitable amendments in the Central List of OBCs (Other Backward Classes) applicable to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This decision has been taken as per the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). The suitable amendments in the Central List of OBCs will be done by inclusion/deletion of castes/communities applicable to Andhra Pradesh and newly formed State of Telangana. NCBC has recommended total of 35 changes in respect of Andhra Pradesh and also suggested 86 New Entries in respect of Telangana.  The changes will enable the persons belonging to these communities in both states to avail the benefits of reservation in Government services as well as in Central Educational Institutions. Besides, these communities will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. of the Union Government. The Section 9 (Functions of the Commission) of the NCBC Act, 1993 empowers NCBC to examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists. In this regard, NCBC hears complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tenders such advice to the Union Government.  The NCBC Act, 1993 also stipulates that the advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Union Government. So far based on recommendation of the NCBC a total of 2401 Entries for inclusion, including its synonyms, sub-castes, etc. in the Central List of OBCs have been notified in 24 States and 6 Union Territories.  

Delhi High Court held that Lt. Governor is the administrative head of the National Capital Territory on 4 August 2016. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath dismissed AAP Government's plea challenging the Union Government’s 21 May 2015 notification giving absolute powers to LG in appointing bureaucrats in the national capital. Major highlights of the Verdict : The court said AAP government's contention that LG is bound to act on advice of Council of Ministers is without any substance and cannot be accepted.AAP Government had contended that the notification barring Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) from proceeding against Central Government employees is neither illegal nor unsustainable. Ruling that the Service matters were outside the jurisdiction of Delhi Legislative Assembly, the court said that LG exercising the powers is not unconstitutional. The court also held as illegal AAP government’s order appointing Commission of Inquiry in the CNG fitness scam and DDCA scam since the same was issued without concurrence of LG. While delivering its judgment, the court referred the Constitutional Provisions mentioned under Article 239 and Article 239AA together with the provisions of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and the Transaction of Business of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993. In consonance with the above, the Bench held that Article 239 of the Constitution “continues to be applicable to NCT of Delhi and insertion of Article 239AA by the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 has not diluted the application of Article 239 in any manner.” Besides, the court also dismissed a bunch of nine petitions centered on common issues relation to the exercise of legislative power and executive control in the administration of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD). Article 239 & 239A : Article 239 provides for appointment of an administrator by the President for administering a Union Territory.  On the other hand, Article 239AA provided for making Union territory of Delhi as the National Capital Territory (NCT) and a Legislative Assembly for the NCT for which seats shall be filled by members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the NCT. Delhi Governments Stand  After the verdict, the AAP government in a statement said it will challenge High Court order holding that the Lieutenant Governor is the administrative head of the National Capital Territory as it undermined the powers of the council of ministers given by the Constitution. They will challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court.  

Shubha Mudgal to be awarded Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award The advisory committee of the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award on 30 July 2016 decided that the 23rd Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award will be given to Shubha Mudgal. Mudgal will be honoured for her outstanding contribution towards the promotion of communal harmony, peace and goodwill. The singer will be presented with the Award on 20 August 2016 at Jawahar Bhawan Auditorium. Shubha Mudgal : Shubha Mudgal is a well-known Indian singer of Hindustani classical music, Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, and Indian pop music. In 1996, she was awarded the 1996 National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film Music Direction for Amrit Beej.  At the 34th Chicago International Film Festival, she was awarded the 1998 Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music for her music in the film Dance of the Wind.In 2000, she was honoured with the Padma Shri. Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award : Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award is an Indian award given for outstanding contribution towards promotion of communal harmony, national integration and peace.The award was instituted by All India Congress Committee of the Indian National Congress Party in 1992.It was instituted to commemorate the lasting contribution made by the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.The award carries a citation and a cash award of 10 lakh rupees.It is given on 20 August, the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, which is celebrated as Sadbhavna Diwas. In 2014, the award was given to filmmaker Muzaffar Ali.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 3 August 2016 approved upgradation of 13 existing Government Medical Colleges/Institutes (GMCIs) under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).The upgradation of medical colleges under PMSSY broadly involves strengthening of the existing departments as well as building Super Speciality Blocks / Trauma Centres or other necessary facilities as Centres of Excellence etc.   Highlights of the Project :  The upgradation will be done at a cost of 200 crore rupees for each GMCI with Central share of 120 crore rupees and State Share of 80 crore rupees.  Accordingly, the total upgradation cost shall be 2600 crore rupees out of which Central Share will be 1560 crore rupees and that of State will be 1040 crore rupees.  It will be completed in time period of 36 months.  Upgradation of existing GMCIs will create tertiary care facilities that will serve as composite centres for continued professional education, treatment, patient care and multi skilling of health workers. The facilities to be augmented during upgradation will be decided after proper gap analysis involving all stakeholders. List of GMCIs to be upgraded :  PMCH, Patna  (Bihar)      GMC Bhagalpur   (Bihar)              GMC Gaya    (Bihar) GMC Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) GMC, Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) UCMS-GTB Hospital  (Delhi) GMC, Surat    (Gujarat) GMC, Bhavnagar (Gujarat) GMC, Indore   (Madhya Pradesh) GMC, Cuttack    (Odisha) GMC, Jaipur  (Rajasthan) GMC Agra ( Uttar Pradesh) GMC Kanpur ( Uttar Pradesh) Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) : The Central Scheme PMSSY was announced in August 2003 with the primary objective of correcting the imbalances in availability of affordable tertiary level healthcare in the country in general. This scheme had two components (a) establishment of new AIIMS and (b) Upgradation of existing government medical colleges.Under PMSSY, 58 Government Medical Colleges have been approved for upgradation.  Of these, work has been completed in 16 colleges while it is in progress at other places.

Union Cabinet gave its approval to Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The amendment seeks to improve road safety in the country on 3 August 2016. The bill proposes to increase penalties against traffic violations to as deterrent measure. Highlights of the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 It aims to amend 68 sections of the existing Motor Vehicle Act that carries 223 sections.It seeks to delete chapter 10 of the existing act.It seeks to replace Chapter 11 with new provisions to simplify third party insurance claims and settlement process. It proposes insertion of 28 new sections. It increases compensation for Hit & Run cases to 2 lakh rupees from 25000 rupees.It also has provision for payment of compensation up to 10 lakh rupees in road accidents fatalities.  Role of the States : It proposes to improve the transport scenario in the country by permitting states to grant exemptions in stage carriage and contract permits for promoting rural transport, public transport, and last mile connectivity and for passenger convenience and road safety.It proposes that the state government can specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than ten, to be applied to each fine under this Act and such modified fine.It proposes that the state government can regulate the activities in a public place of pedestrians and such means of transport. E-Governance : One of its major focuses includes improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-governance. These services include enabling online learning licenses, increase of validity period for driving licenses, and others. It proposes that guardian or owner will be deemed to be guilty in cases of offences by the Juveniles.Juvenile to be tried under Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act, 2015.Registration of Motor Vehicle to be cancelled. Road safety : It proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations. Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc.Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. To help the road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill.  “Vahan” & “Sarathi” platforms :  It proposes to create National Register for Driving Licence and National Register for Vehicle registration through “Vahan” & “Sarathi” platforms. This would help on brining uniformity in registration and licensing process across the country. Other features  : To improve the registration process for new vehicles, registration at the end of the dealer is being enabledRestrictions have been imposed on temporary registration. The Bill also proposes to mandate the automated fitness testing for the transport vehicles with effect from 1 October 2018. This would reduce corruption in the Transport Department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle. he penalties are also proposed for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers.The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively. The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act. The driving training process has been strengthened enabling faster issuance of transport licenses. This will help in reducing the shortage of commercial drivers in the country. To facilitate transport solutions for Divyang, the bottlenecks have been removed in respect of grant of driving licenses as well as alterations in the vehicles to make it fit for use of Divyang. The approved Bill is based on the recommendations of Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) headed by Yoonus Khan, the Transport Minister of Rajasthan. Earlier, the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways constituted a GoM to address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments. A total of 18 Transport Ministers from different political parties participated in three meetings and submitted three interim reports.

Sudhanshu Mani was appointed as the General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) on 3 August 2016. Prior to this, Mani worked as Chief Mechanical Engineer, Rail Wheel Factory, Yelahanka, Bengaluru. Sudhanshu Mani : Sudhanshu Mani belongs to 1979 batch of Indian Railways Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME). He holds over 36 years of experience in Indian Railways.He has worked in areas like workshop management, railway operations, project management, planning and Research and Development.He has also worked as Advisor (Minister), Berlin, at Embassy of India, Germany Integral Coach Factory : Integral Coach Factory is the only manufacturer of rail coaches located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.It was established in 1952.It started production on 2 October 1955.It is owned and operated by the Indian Railways.The coach factory primarily manufactures cars for Indian Railways but also exports railway coaches to other countries. The first items produced by the factory were third class shells for Southern Railway.The Integral Coach Factory consists of two main divisions: shell division and furnishing division.

D K Gayen has assumed charge of new General Manager of East Central Railway (ECR) with headquarters at Hajipur in Bihar.  Earlier, Rajeev Mishra, GM of Eastern Railways, was holding additional charge of ECR. Gayen was earlier working as Chief Mechanical Engineer of South Eastern Railway at Kolkata. A 1979 batch officer of Indian Railway Service for Mechanical Engineers (IRSME), he has worked on several important posts.  ECR comprises of five divisions  : Danapur, Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Samastipur and Sonepur.  

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has expanded his 16-day-old ministry by inducting ten Cabinet ministers. Governor Tathagata Roy administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly appointed ministers during the swearing-in-ceremony organised at the Raj Bhavan. The newly inducted ministers are Tanga Byaling, Rajesh Tacho, Nabam Rebia, Honchun Ngandam, Wangki Lowang, Kamlung Mossang, Tapang Taloh, Kumar Waii, Takam Pario and Jomde Kena. Khandu was sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of the state along with Chowna Mein as the deputy chief minister after months of political instability in the state. The swearing in of the Cabinet ministers could not be conducted immediately as the Governor, who is also in charge of Tripura, was out of the state. In a dramatic turnaround in the land-locked state on July 16 , Congress had replaced Nabam Tuki who was reinstated as Arunacahal Pradesh chief minister after the Supreme Court judgement of July 13 last. Khaliko Pul, rebel-turned chief minister, who was unseated by the Supreme Court, returned to the party fold with 30 dissident MLAs. Tuki proposed the name of Khandu while Chowna Mein seconded it, which was unanimously accepted by 44 MLAs who were present. In the 60-member House with an effective strength of 58, Congress now claims the support of 47 MLAs, including two Independents.

An eminent Indian-American digital media expert has been named by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as the city’s new Chief Digital Officer to focus on promoting access to local government through technology and support its tech ecosystem. Sree Sreenivasan : Sree Sreenivasan has previously served as the renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art’s first Chief Digital Officer as well as at Columbia University. He has also been a mayoral appointee on the Commission on Public Information and Communication (COPIC) since October 2015, where he assisted the public in obtaining access to city information and helped develop strategies for the use of new communications technologies to improve access to, and distribution of city data. Sreenivasan will work to increase access to city-led technology initiatives, focus on outreach to the tech community and direct citywide digital policy. Sreenivasan, who is currently on a social media speaking tour across India, said there are many opportunities to extend the Mayor’s Digital Playbook. Before that he spent 20 years as a member of faculty of the Columbia Journalism School and a year as Columbia University’s first Chief Digital Officer. An immigrant from India, Sreenivasan was born in Japan and received a Bachelor’s degree in History from St Stephen’s College in Delhi. 

L&T-MHPS Boilers Private Limited (LMB), a joint venture between Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) and Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), has secured an order of Rs 3,860 crore from Neyveli Uttar Pradesh Power Limited (NUPPL). The LMB contract includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of 3 x 660 MW Ghatampur Thermal Power Project - steam generator and auxiliaries package for NUPPL at Ghatampur Tehsil, Uttar Pradesh. This is a prestigious order from NUPPL for supercritical steam generators, with state-of-the-art equipment meeting new emission norms.  LMB will meet the project schedule with best endeavours and resources conforming to international quality standards. L&T-MHPS Boilers is currently executing nine units of steam generator packages for similar large capacity steam generators (660 MW) in India totalling 5,940 MW.  LMB is also executing nine export orders for the supply of pulverisers and pressure parts for various MHPS projects in Japan and Indonesia. It has already executed eight export orders for Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems with the supply of pressure parts, pulverisers and engineeringservices to Middle East. While L&T owns 51 percent stake in L&T-MHPS Boilers Private Limited (formerly known as L&T-MHI Boilers Private Limited), Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems holds the remaining equity. Incorporated in October 2006, LMB has its production facility at Hazira (Gujarat) for manufacturing pressure parts and coal pulverisers for supercritical steam generators.

SBI has launched cheaper home loan schemes for defence and other government employees with installment tenure extending up to 75 years of age.  It will offer two new home loan products ‘SBI Privilege Home Loan’ for government employees and ‘SBI Shaurya Home Loan’ for defence personnel without any processing fee. Under the new schemes, employees of central/state governments, defense forces, public sector banks, public sector enterprises of central government and other individuals with pensionable service will be offered home loans tailored to their specific needs. The bank said the tailor-made products will help customers purchase a spacious or luxurious home without stretching their post-retirement finances. The new product includes extending the repayment term till the borrower turns 75 years from the existing 70 years, and also a full waiver of processing fees, it said. There will be a lower EMI burden post retirement and 0.05 per cent concession over the home loan interest. Benefit of lower interest rate as a concession of 5 bps (0.05 per cent) over the home loan card interest rate is available wherever check-off facility is extended by the government under tie-up arrangement with the bank. Among others, customers of other banks or financial institutions will have an option to switch over their home loan outstanding balance to SBI. The launch of ‘SBI Privilege Home Loan’ and ‘SBI Shaurya Home Loan’ products is timed with the notification of 7th Pay Commission recommendations. Surplus income can thus be utilised by government employees and defense personnel towards purchase of new/better house.

The BCCI appointed former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju as the head of a four-member legal panel to help the Board understand the implications of the Justice Lodha Committee reforms, which have been made mandatory by the apex court. The BCCI decided to make Katju the "single point interface" for the Board to interact with the Justice Lodha Committee as well advise and guide. Apart from Katju, another legal luminary in the panel will be Abhinav Mukherjee. Justice Katju has been a judge in the Supreme Court from 2006 to 2011 apart from being the chairman of Press Council of India. He was also a former chief justice of Delhi High Court, Madras High Court and acting chief justice of Allahabad High Court. The BCCI wanted a legal luminary who could help us in understanding the implications also put forward our viewpoint in legal language to the esteemed panel. That is the reason, BCCI requested Justice Katju to head the panel. Lodha Committee reforms have been made binding and the committee is expected to help BCCI in implementing the reforms in the next six months. This panel will be a single point interface for the BCCI to interact with the Justice Lodha Committee as well advise and guide the BCCI. The legal committee is expected to meet for the first time on August 4 and apprise the senior BCCI officials on the issue after which the Special General Meeting will be held on August 5 in New Delhi.

State-run BHEL has commissioned the second 500 MW thermal unit at Marwa Thermal Power Station in Chhattisgarh.  Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has successfully commissioned the second 500 MW (megawatt) thermal unit at Marwa Thermal Power Station in Chhattisgarh . Located in Janjgir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh, Marwa TPS has been set up by Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company (CSPGCL). The first unit of Marwa TPS was also commissioned earlier by BHEL . BHEL has been associated with power projects of CSPGCL, (the erstwhile Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board), from the time when the 120 MW Korba TPS extention-1 was commissioned in March 1976.  BHEL has a share of 94 per cent in the installed capacity of CSPGCL and has so far commissioned 11 thermal sets and three hydro sets for the state utility.  In Chhattisgarh, BHEL has contributed a total of 12,500 MW to the state's installed power generation, including central and private sector utilities . BHEL further said its scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of steam turbines, generators and boilers, along with associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides, state of the art controls & instrumentation and electrostatic precipitators.  Shares of the company were trading 2.41 per cent down at Rs 135.40 apiece .

Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana (PMJAY), the central government will open 3,000 Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS) pan India by the end of this fiscal to make quality drugs available at affordable prices. In order to open JAS proposed within government hospital premises, a one-time financial assistance is provided to the extent of Rs 2.50 lakh and the margin available for the retailers is 20 per cent so as to ensure a reasonable level of profitability for them. In addition to the retailers' margin up to 20 per cent, an 15 percent incentive on monthly sales subject to a ceiling of Rs 10,000 a month is also given for stores opened outside the government hospitals. For stores opened in northeastern states and Maoist-affected and tribal areas, the rate of incentive is 15 percent of monthly sales subject to a ceiling of Rs. 15,000 per month. State governments, local bodies, individuals entrepreneurs, pharmacists, doctors, registered medical practitioners, NGOs, trusts, social and charitable institutions, private hospitals and self help groups or those with B.Pharma degree or D.Pharma diploma are eligible for opening of the stores.Applicant should have own or hired space of minimum 120 square feet.

Neyveli Lignite (NLC) is planning to acquire a 1200 MW Raghunathpur Thermal Power Project (RTPP) of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) through a joint venture company (JVC) proposed to be formed with DVC with an equity shareholding of 74:26 by NLC and DVC. LC has initiated actions to acquire power assets and one of the proposals under consideration is the acquisition of 1200 MW Raghunathpur Thermal Power Project (RTPP) of Damaodar Valley Corporation (DVC) through a joint venture company (JVC) proposed to be formed with the DVC with an equity shareholding of 74:26 by NLC and DVC. RTPP consists of two units of 600 MW each and both the units have been commissioned during March 2016. As per the proposal, the project cost as determined by CERC/ APTEL for the purposes of arriving at the final tariff for power or such cost as mutually agreed between NLC and DVC would be the consideration value for the transfer of RTPS project assets to the JVC. The proposal for investment in the JVC is required to be sanctioned by the government of India. The ministry of coal, the administrative ministry, in consultation with the other ministries, is in the process of submitting the proposal to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for sanction of investment decision. On obtaining sanction from the government of India, further course of actions with regard to entering into joint venture agreement and formation of JVC with the DVC will be undertaken, subject to obtaining necessary statutory and other administrative approvals.

India's second largest software exporter Infosys  has backed an Israel-based cloud computing startup called Cloudyn Ltd and picked up a minority stake for $4 million, at a time when chief executive Vishal Sikka is attempting to drive up growth in the company's traditional outsourcing business, while also balancing futuristic bets on newer areas of technology.  Cloudyn, which monitors and optimizes cloud deployments of top Fortune 500 companies, also counts the likes of Israel-based Carmel Ventures and Titanium Investments as existing investors. According to CrunchBase, Cloudyn had raised roughly $16.5 million in three rounds, prior to the latest investment from Infosys.  The latest startup bet from Infosys also highlights Israel's growing importance in the space of enterprise technology and India's largest software firms are currently scrambling to ensure that they do not miss out on the current wave of early-stage next-generation technology ideas from the country.  Crosstown rival Wipro is also currently making moves in Israel, which is widely regarded as one of the world's most fertile and innovative startup ecosystems. Infosys also acquired Israel-based Panaya for $200 million in 2015.  According to the Startup Genome, which ranks startup ecosystems across the world, Tel Aviv was ranked as the fifth best startup ecosystem in the world in 2015, coming in behind only the Silicon Valley, New York City, Los Angeles and Boston.  Over the past year and a half, Infosys has invested in a bunch of early-stage startups such as Trifacta, Waterline Data, WHOOP, CloudEndure, ANSR Consulting and Airviz Speck and spent at least $43 million from its $500-million venture fund in making these investments.  Bangalore-based Infosys is also currently in early-stage talks to invest anywhere between $10 million - $15 million in an Indian venture capital fund, Stellaris Venture Partners, which was launched by a team of venture capitalists, who are aiming for a final corpus of $100 million from both local and global investors . Cloudn enables enterprises to manage and optimise their hybrid, multi-cloud deployments. The solution provides visibility into usage, performance and cost, coupled with actionable recommendations for confident cloud growth . Infosys investment in Cloudyn comes two days after its rival Wipro Enterprises' infrastructure engineering division announced on August 1 buying an Israeli-based aerospace firm H.R. Givon for an undisclosed amount. 

Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to approve sewage and waste water policy. The first of its kind policy was approved by the State Cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in Jaipur. Under this policy, all district headquarters, heritage cities, and cities in the state which have more than one lakh population will be included. Waste water treated under it will be used in irrigation and agricultural work. The requirement of next 30 years will be covered in this poilcy.  It will be compulsory for every house in the state to connect with sewage system in those cities which have 100% sewage system in next five years.

Japan’s cabinet has approved an economic stimulus package worth 275 billion dollars in attempt kick-start the economy and boost growth of the world’s third-largest economy. Decision in this regard was Japanese Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. The Japanese government expects that this package will boost gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.3%. The economic stimulus package of measures aims at tackling deflation and strengthening the national economy of Japan. It includes increase expenditure for the national and local governments as well as significant investments in the country’s infrastructure.  It also includes in a supplementary budget, which will be considered by an extraordinary session of Parliament starting in September. It also will provide support of small and medium-sized enterprises in Japan over the next two years. More than half of package sum has been earmarked for the current fiscal year. The package also includes spending on reconstruction of disaster zones, including parts of north-eastern Japan which were devastated by 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s economy, which is the third largest economy (in terms of nominal GDP) in the world after US and China, has been affected by stagnation and slow economic growth.  In order to revive the economy Japanese government under the Prime Minister Sinzo Abe already had announced series of measures to halt economic stagnation. In 2012, Japanese government had announced series measures such as structural reforms, monetary easing and fiscal stimulus as part of the plan dubbed as Abenomics.

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