Current Affairs 6th August 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Gamesa has received an order for 90 MW from SMDPL - a joint venture between France-based EDF Energies Nouvelles and New Delhi-based SITAC Group.  Under the agreement, Gamesa will deliver a complete turnkey solution with the supply of 45 units (90 MW) of G114-2.0MW T106 turbine in the districts of Rajkot, Amreli and Jamnagar in Gujarat.  The importance for renewable energy is growing at a robust pace and we are happy to be leading the wind turbine market at the right place and time with our proven technologies. We are confident that with our understanding of the Indian market and our excellence in service, we will be able to help EDF EN and SITAC accelerate their growth in the renewable space. Earlier Gamesa had signed 52 MW with SMDPL in the first quarter of calendar year 2016. This order entails supply of 26 units of G97-2.0MW T104 turbine and the project is currently under execution.   SMDPL, a JV between EDF EN and the SITAC Group, is an independent wind energy company exclusively focused on the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of utility-scale wind energy projects in India. Based out of New Delhi, SMDPML is in the process of developing and operating wind energy projects across India with a project pipeline of circa 830 MW. EDF Energies Nouvelles, a subsidiary of the EDF Group dedicated to renewable energy, is a market leader in green electricity production, with a portfolio of more than 9 GW gross installed capacity focused for the most part on wind (onshore and offshore) and solar photovoltaic energy. Mostly operating in Europe and North America, EDF Energies Nouvelles continues its development in promising emerging areas taking position in new countries (Chile, Brazil, South Africa and India).  The company is also present in other segments of the renewable energy market: marine energy, biomass and distributed energies. EDF Energies Nouvelles manages renewable energy projects’ development and construction as well as operation and maintenance for its own account and for third parties. 

The Union Government has set the ambitious target to roll out of the Goods and Services Tax, (GST) from 1st April 2017. It was announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after unveiling a detailed road map for GST implementation. This announcement was made after Rajya Sabha had passed The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014. GST administered in India :  There will be two components of GST – Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST) in order to comply with federal structure of India. Thus both Centre and States have authority to simultaneously levy GST across the value chain. GST will be levied on every supply of goods and services.  States will levy and collect the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) on all transactions within a State and Centre will levy and collect Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST). The credit of SGST paid on inputs will be allowed for paying the SGST on output. No cross utilization of credit would be permitted. Similarly, the input tax credit of CGST will be available for discharging the CGST liability on the output at each stage. Benefits of GST :  For business and industry Uniformity of tax rates and structures: GST will ensure that indirect tax rates and structures are uniform across the country. Thereby it will increase certainty and ease of doing business i.e. make it tax neutral, irrespective of the choice of place of doing business in the country. Removal of cascading: The GST will ensure minimal cascading of taxes (i.e. tax on tax) as it will have a system of seamless tax-credits throughout the value-chain, and across boundaries of States. It will help to reduce hidden costs of doing business. Easy compliance: The GST regime will have a robust and comprehensive IT system. Therefore, all tax payer services such as registrations, payments, returns, etc. will be available to the taxpayers online. Thus it would make compliance easy and transparent. Improved competitiveness: It will reduce transaction costs of doing business that will eventually lead to an improved competitiveness for the trade and industry. Gain to manufacturers and exporters: The subsuming of major Central and State indirect taxes in GST would reduce the cost of locally manufactured goods and services. It will increase the competitiveness of Indian goods and services in the international market and give boost to Indian exports. For Central and State Governments Simple and easy to administer : GST will replace multiple indirect taxes at the Central and State levels into single regime. GST backed with a robust end-to-end IT system will be simpler and easier to administer than all other indirect taxes of the Centre and State levied so far. Better controls on leakage: The robust IT infrastructure of GST regime will result in better tax compliance that will curb leakages and incentivize tax compliance by traders. Higher revenue efficiency: GST will lead to higher revenue efficiency as it is expected to decrease the cost of collection of tax revenues of the Government. For the consumer  : Single and transparent tax proportionate to the value of goods and services: Under GST regime there will be only one tax from the manufacturer to the consumer. Thus, it will remove many hidden taxes leading to transparency of taxes paid to the final consumer. Relief in overall tax burden: The overall tax burden on most commodities will come down because of efficiency gains and prevention of leakages which will benefit consumers.

The Union Government has set an inflation target of four per cent for the next five years i.e. till March 31, 2021. In this regard, Union Government will soon set-up Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to adhere to the target till March 31, 2021.  This target was fixed after the Union Government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had reached an agreement on a monetary policy framework. The framework had had set the inflation target at four per cent, plus or minus two per cent. However, there was no legal backing to it. The Union Government in June 2016 also had notified rules for setting up the MPC giving effect to amendments in the RBI Act. Inflation targeting :  Inflation targeting is a monetary policy in which a central bank estimates and makes public a projected or “target” inflation rate. After declaration of target, the central bank attempts to steer actual inflation towards the target through the use of interest rate changes and other monetary tools. The key advantage of a target is that it allows to recognise the short run trade-offs between inflation and growth. It also enables Central Bank to pursue the inflation target in the long run over the course of a business cycle.

China has successfully launched the first satellite dubbed as The Tiantong-01 for mobile telecommunication. It was launched on-board of the Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.  The Tiantong-01 is the first satellite of China’s homemade satellite mobile telecom system. It is a key part of the country’s space information infrastructure. It will operate in a geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and shall establish a mobile network with ground facilities, providing services for China, Middle East, Africa and other areas.  It is S-Band mobile communications satellite designed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and its ground service will be operated by China Telecom. Its mobile communication system application subsystem was developed by Henan Communication Technology Co. Ltd. Long March-3B carrier rocket : It was produced by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT). It was the 232nd flight of the Long March series carrier rockets, and the 36th launch of the Long March-3B.  

The 2016 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is being observed across the world. The week is held every year from 1 to 7 August.  The theme for the 2016 World Breastfeeding Week isBreastfeeding: A key to Sustainable Development. The theme aims at raising awareness of the links between breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals. The week is organized by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF. WBW’s goal is to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, which yields tremendous health benefits, providing critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases development.  World Breastfeeding Week was first celebrated in 1992 by WABA.At present, it is observed in over 120 countries by UNICEF, WHO and their partners.WBW commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF in August 1990 to protect and support breastfeeding.

Union Health Minister J P Nadda has launched a nation-wide programme MAA - Mothers’ Absolute Affection for promoting breastfeeding on 5 August 2016. The goal of the programme is to enhance optimal breastfeeding practices. About the programme : MAA is an intensified programme of the Health Ministry for creating an enabling environment to ensure that mothers, husbands and families receive adequate information and support for promotion of breastfeeding.  The Ministry has allocated 30 crore rupees for the Programme and 4.3 lakh rupees for each district will be allotted for implementing the various activities under MAA programme. The chief components of the MAA Programme are Community awareness generation, Strengthening inter personal communication through ASHA, Skilled support for breastfeeding at Delivery points in Public health facilities, and Monitoring and Award/recognition. Benefits of Breastfeeding : The practice of breastfeeding enhances immunity level in the child which will help reduce the child mortality rate.Breastfeeding is one of the important interventions for child survival. Around 20 percent newborn deaths and 13 percent under-five deaths can be prevented by breastfeeding. Besides this, breastfeeding can prevent child deaths associated with Diarrhoea and Pneumonia.Infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more to die from diarrhea than children who are exclusively breastfed.Breastfed infant also have higher intelligence quotient.

The 31st Summer Olympic Games officially began on 5 August 2016 with inaugural ceremony held at the Maracana Stadium in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The Game was declared open by Brazil’s Acting President Michel Temer in the presence of International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach and United Nations chief, Ban-Ki Moon.  After declaration of the Games by President Temer, the Brazilian 2004 Athens Olympics marathon bronze winner Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic cauldron. He lit the lamp after former tennis world number one and three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten brought the torch into the arena. Olympic Tradition : After declaration and lighting the flame, the athletes’ parade was led by Greece with the host country Brazil coming at last. The countries marched in alphabetical order based on the spelling of their names in Portuguese. Traditionally (starting at the 1928 Summer Olympics), Greece enters first, because of its historical status as the progenitor of the Olympics, while the host nation marches last. Opening Ceremony : The opening ceremony that showcased the rich history and cultural history of Brazil combined with Rio’s famous Samba dance was witnessed by athletes from 205 countries. The ceremony saw participation of around 35000 professionals. With a message of peace and environment, the programme revolved around three main themes - Garden, diversity and joy. The opening ceremony also saw the traditional Parade of athletes and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. It delivered a message for planet earth, with organisers saying that each athlete will be given a seedling to plant in what will become the athletes’ legacy for Rio. Facts of the Rio Olympics : Nearly 11000 athletes, including a first-ever refugee team, will take part in the 17-day extravaganza featuring 306 events in 42 sport disciplines.The Refugee team will compete under the Olympic flag and has members from South Sudan, Syria, Congo and Ethiopia.With this, Rio de Janeiro became South America's first Olympic host city, while the African continent is yet to host the Olympic Games. Other major geographic regions which have not hosted the Olympics include the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. The build-up of the Games has been dominated by a doping scandal in Russia and also in India, threat of Zika virus, leading to withdrawal by big names, and issues with the city's security, infrastructure and venues. But still, the Games promise to be, as always, the mother of all sporting events. India at Rio Olympics : India is fielding its biggest-ever contingent with almost 120 athletes. Prominent among those are Shooters Abhinav Bindra, Jitu Rai and Gagan Narang Archer Deepika Kumari, wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Vinesh Phogat Boxer Shiva Thapa Sprinters Dutee Chand and Srabani Nanda Tennis stars Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, shuttlers Saina Nehwal and K. Srikanth Gymnast Dipa Karmakar Men's and Women's Hockey teams Indian contingent (95th country to enter the stadium) was led by its only individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra as the flag bearer. Indian male marched in navy blue colour blazer and trousers, while, their female counterparts had blue blazer and traditional Saree. The parade was skipped by the men’s hockey players as they had a match against Ireland. The archery, table tennis and weightlifting teams also skipped the opening ceremony.

Four new major ports are proposed to be set up, including in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal  The government has proposed to set up four new major ports - Enayam in Tamil Nadu, Sagar in West Bengal, Dugarajpatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Vadhawan in Maharashtra," Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan told the Lok Sabha . Cabinet has conveyed in-principle approval for setting up of Enayam Port in Tamil Nadu on July 5, 2016. Assistance will be extended by the government based on their need .

German automaker Volkswagen has started an in-house arm in Pune to serve the information technology-related needs of all its global brands. It has invested euro 3 million or Rs 22.5 in crore into Volkswagen IT Services India, the newly created company which has a team of 300 professionals at present which will be scaled up to 450 soon. They will be collaborating with different IT organisations within the Volkswagen Group in Germany and work on future related projects and drive innovations.  As the team here will eventually extend its services to cover all brands, India's significance will only be further amplified. The group, which is at present mired in the emissions scandal, boasts of a brand portfolio including marquee names like Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche and Skoda. It can be noted that a slew of companies across sectors use India as a base to support their in-house IT requirements, employing thousands of Indian engineers. At present, the team has an expertise in areas like AVA, Microsoft Technologies,Business Intelligence, SAP, ServiceNow, mobility and testing.

The Maharashtra government will open 51 cyber laboratories across the state on August 15, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi said at a cyber security conference organised by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). With the help of Centre for Development of Advance Computing, railway board, Cert-In, and the department of telecom, we have now been able to identify the system integrator, which is a government agency, and a bandwidth provider, also a government agency. The new cyber labs will cover 34 districts, and involve seven IGs, nine police commissionerates and the headquarters. The state has seen a steep rise of 142.1% in registration of cyber crimes cases, from 907 in 2013 to 2,195 in 2015, the Crime in India Report 2015 says. While Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of cyber crimes in the country, its conviction rate is the poorest. Only five out of the 4,981 cases registered in the last three years resulted in conviction. CERT-In is a national information technology security organisation. The government has engaged experts from Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Army and the Navy to set up CERT-Maharashtra. It will be managed by an independent autonomous body comprised by renowned cyber experts and some government officials, including the chief secretary of Maharashtra.

Gujarat BJP president Vijay Rupani being declared as the new Chief Minister of the state. The new government will take oath of office on 7 Aug 2016 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.  But the declaration came with its own share of drama with state health minister Nitin Patel being projected as the prospective Chief Minister ahead of the meeting of the MLAs.  Rupani on his part had earlier made a statement to media indicating that he being a man of organisation was happy being president of the state unit of the party, which was widely interpreted as his withdrawal from the race of chief minister's position, leaving a solace position for Patel.  BJP observer Nitin Gadkari announced before the media that Vijay Rupani will be the next chief minister of the state, adding that the outgoing Chief Minister Anandi Patel has proposed the name of Nitin Patel as the deputy chief minister, which was seconded by more than ten leaders and the decision was taken unanimously.  A source within the party had maintained that the speculation on Nitin Patel was actively fuelled by the party as a smokescreen to extract the resignation from Anandi Patel while the decision on Rupani was already made and implemented shrewdly.  It may be mentioned here that ET had predicted Rupani's probable rise to Chief Ministerial position after he was inducted in the state cabinet in November, 2014.   

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the India International Footwear Fair (IIFF) on August 5. As many as 263 companies from India and abroad are participating in the fair this year. The organisers expect business of around Rs 2,000 crore to be generated from the three-day event. Last year the quantum of business generated from the fair was Rs 1,200 crore. However, we expect business to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore to be generated this year. India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) CMD L C Goyal said he expects nearly 10,000 people to visit the IIFF 2016, much higher than the 6,000 visitors who attended last year. 160 Indian companies and 103 overseas firms from Brazil, China, Iran and Taiwan are participating in the fair this year. The present demand in India is 2.3 billion pairs a year and it is estimated India will need 5 billion pairs of shoes in 2020. Apart from unveiling the export potential of India in footwear and leather industry.

A Doppler weather radar, which can provide advance information about storms, cyclones and other severe weather conditions, was inaugurated at the Vikram Sarabahi Space Centre ,Thiruvananthapuram Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar inaugurated the C Band Polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar, first of its kind to be set up in southern states . Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled the first Doppler weather radar, built by the ISRO and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), in Chirapunji in Meghalaya in May last.  The work was on for two more Doppler radars to be set up in Bhuj in Gujarat and Gopalpur . The data from this radar would be available to India Meteorological Department (IMD) to supplement its weather predictions and also to researchers and user agencies . Doppler weather radar is used for forecasting storms, cyclones and other severe weather conditions so that necessary preventative steps can be initiated to alleviate the impact of natural disasters on life and property of millions of people . The radar has been developed as a national effort to meet the country's weather forecast requirements and establish a network to seamlessly cover the regions of interest, thereby ensuring effective weather forecast. 

Eminent Assamese litterateur Mahim Bora has passed away due to old age problems. He was 92 years old. He was a Padma Shri (2011) and Sahitya Akademi winner.  He had received the Sahitya Akademi award for his most popular work ‘Edhani Mahir Hanhi’ in 2001 and the Assam Valley Literary award in 1998. Mr. Mahim Bora's literary works include ‘Kathanibari Ghat’, ‘Bohubhuji Tribhuj’, ‘Eai Nadir Sonte,’ ‘Mai Pippali Aru Puja’, ‘Rati Phula Phul’, ‘Barayatri’, ‘Chakravat’, ‘Much aru Manuh’, ‘Top’, ‘Tinir Tini Gol’, ‘Putala Ghaiz’, ‘Herowa Digantara Maya’. His ‘Chinta Bichitra’ is a work on criticism.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI) Mysuru on 4 August 2016 developed the Nutrice Cream. Nutrice cream was developed in association with M/s Oleome Biosolutions, Bengaluru and M/s Dairy Classic Ice Creams Pvt. Ltd.  Nutrice cream : Nutrice cream is an Omega-3 and Vitamin-E enriched frozen nutritional dessert from vegetarian source.This product will provide the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of omega-3 for children in one serving.  It has been developed using Chia seeds, having the highest content of Omega-3 fat from a vegetarian source.CFTRI has developed agro technology for Chia and has shared the seeds to farmers from across the nation. Dietary supplementation of Omega-3 (ω-3) fats, which are the Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA), have been reported to have beneficial health functions including brain development in children and good health in elderly population.  

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