Current Affairs 19th July 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Supreme Court has accepted major recommendations of the Lodha Committee on reforms in BCCI including a bar on ministers and civil servants and those above 70 years of age from becoming its members on 18 July 2016. However, the apex court left it to the Parliament to decide whether it should come under RTI and if betting on the game should be legalised. The apex court also accepted the recommendations of the Committee headed by retired Chief Justice of India Justice R M Lodha to have a CAG nominee in BCCI. On the other hand, the bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifulla rejected BCCI’s objection against recommendations for one-state-one-vote. While rejecting BCCI’s concern it said that states like Maharashtra and Gujarat having more than one cricket associations will have voting rights on rotational basis.  It accepted the panel's recommendation that there should be a player's association in the BCCI. The bench also accepted the recommendation that one person should hold one post in cricket administration to avoid any conflict of interest and scrapping of all other administrative committees in the BCCI after CAG nominee comes in. The court also left it to the Board to decide whether there is need for any changes in the existing agreement relating to broadcasting rights and whether a franchise member should be in the Board to avoid any conflict of interest. The bench also requested the three-member panel, also comprising former apex court judges Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran to oversee the transition of administrative structure in BCCI which has to take place within six months. The apex court-appointed Lodha Committee had on 4 January 2016 recommended sweeping reforms and an administrative shake-up at the troubled BCCI.  

The World Health Organisation has released a report of 2015 Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Global Survey on 18 July 2016. The report highlights the need to intensify national action to meet the global targets governments have agreed to protect people from heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and lung diseases. However, the global survey titled Assessing national capacity for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases shows that some countries are making remarkable progress. The Sustainable Development Goals agenda includes a target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by 30 per cent by 2030. Trends in national capacity for NCDs were derived from comparing the results of the 2015 survey with those from the capacity surveys conducted in 2013 and 2010. Findings of the survey : Globally, four NCDs, which are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, represent the largest cause of death in people aged under 70 years.In all, 91% of countries (177) responded to the survey. Only 23% of countries reported having a dedicated office, department, or administrative division within the ministry of health exclusively dedicated to NCD surveillance. In relation to availability of evidence-based guidelines, protocols or standards for disease management, 75% of countries reported guidelines for diabetes, 67% for cardiovascular diseases, 60% for cancer and 55% for chronic respiratory diseases. Criteria for chronic respiratory diseases were available in only 57% of countries. In general, palliative care for patients with NCDs in the public health system, in primary health care or as community or home-based care, was not widely available. Findings of the report in regard to India : Cancer, diabetes and heart diseases account for 55% of the premature mortality in India in the age group of 30-69 years. India is the first country to develop specific national targets and indicators aimed at reducing the number of premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025.

Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Australia for another termon 19 July 2016. Turnbull was sworn in after a narrow election victory with budget repair and a public vote on same sex marriage among his top priorities. 2016 Australian federal election : The 2016 Australian federal election was a double dissolution election.It was held on 2 July 2016 to elect all 226 members of the 45th Parliament of Australia. It was the first double dissolution election since the 1987 election.In the first week of vote counting after the election, no party had won enough seats in the House of Representatives to form a government.On 10 July 2016, Opposition leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat, acknowledging that the incumbent Coalition would certainly be able to form either a majority or minority government. Soon after, Malcolm Turnbull claimed victory.The Liberal/National Coalition won a one-seat majority of 76 seats, Labor Party won 69 seats, while on the crossbench the Australian Greens, Nick Xenophon Team, Katter's Australian Party, and independents Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan won one seat each. Malcolm Turnbull : Malcolm Bligh Turnbull is the 29th and current Prime Minister of Australia.He is the Leader of the Liberal Party.He attended Sydney Grammar School.He obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney. He then attended Brasenose College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, where he attained a Bachelor of Civil Law.He had attempted Liberal preselection at a 1981 by-election and later at the 2001 federal election.He was first elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Wentworth in New South Wales at the 2004 federal election.  

UNICEF in its released has  said that almost a quarter of a million children in parts of Borno state, North-East Nigeria of 19 July 2016, are suffering from severe malnutrition and risk death. The humanitarian crisis is caused due to Boko Haram that is controlling the state since 2013. In its report, UNICEF warned that tens of thousands will die if treatment does not reach them soon. In areas where Boko Haram militants had been in control, it found people without water, food or sanitation. Facts of the Report : Out of the 244000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno in 2016, an estimated 49000 children – almost one in five – will die if they are not reached with treatment. Some 134 children on average will die every day from causes linked to acute malnutrition if the response is not scaled up quickly. Borno the state in Nigeria with capital Maiduguri was formed in 1976 is plagued by violence of terrorist group Boko Haram that declared its caliphate in northern Nigeria in 2014. It came to attention across the world after the infamous kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls from a boarding school in Chibok. UNICEF : UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with their partners, they work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

The Rajya Sabha has  passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 on 18 July 2016. The Bill seeks to establish a Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana.  This will be an institution of education, training and research, under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the National Capital Region. It also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance. With this, both the houses of parliament passed the bill. Lok Sabha passed the bill on 25 April 2016 after it was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on 15 March 2016. Now, the bill will be sent to the President for his assent. Provisions of the Bill : Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields. Create a hub of biotechnology expertise.acilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia.Promote cooperation at the international level. The centre, located in Faridabad in Haryana, will be a state of the art institute and a regional hub for interdisciplinary education, training and research in biotechnology. Powers granted to the Regional Centre includes : The Regional centre will provide masters’ and doctoral degrees, and post-graduate diplomas in biotechnology and related subjects (eg. medical, agricultural and engineering sciences).It will be responsible for instituting academic positions, like professorships, and appointing persons to such positions. It will be determining standards of admission to the Regional Centre.It will be fixing and receiving fees. Authorities of the Regional Centre :  It will have Board of Governors, Programme Advisory Committee, Executive Committee and Finance Committee etc as authorities responsible for its administration and functioning. Programme Advisory Committee :  The Programme Advisory Committee will be the principal academic body of the Regional Centre.  It will be responsible for a) Making recommendations on planning education, training and research activities b) Reviewing annually the programmes of the Regional Centre c) Publishing reports on scientific and technical issues referred to it by the Board, and more d) It will comprise 14 members (including nominees of the Board, central government and UNESCO) Executive and Finance Committees: The Executive Committee will be in charge of implementing policies and decisions of the Board.  The Finance Committee will review finances and accounts of the Regional Centre, and make recommendations to the Board.  The constitution and powers of these committees will be specified by the Board. Review of functioning :  The Regional Centre’s functioning will be reviewed once in every four years by persons appointed by the central government. Fund :  The Regional Centre will maintain a Fund to meet its expenses (including fees and allowances paid to members of the Board and various committees and expenses incurred in carrying out its functions).  The Fund will include a) Money provided by the central government b) Fees received by the Regional Centre c) Grants, gifts, donations, etc. received Board of Governors : The Board will be the apex body of the Regional Centre responsible for a) Approving the annual plan and budget of the institute b) Reviewing its policies and programmes c) Approving organisational structure d) Carrying out the projects relevant to the institute e) Expanding fund raising capabilities and more The Board will have seven members and they include a) The Secretary with the Department of Biotechnology as Chairperson b) Three scientists nominated by the central government (not below the rank of Joint Secretary or equivalent rank) c) Three representatives of UNESCO The Regional Centre will be responsible for disseminating knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields. Besides, it will help create a hub of biotechnology expertise and promote co-operation at the international level. Biotechnology is a new and growing field with immense potential for societal benefit and economic transformation. It is a powerful tool that can revolutionise health care, agriculture, industrial processing and environmental sustainability.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed seven Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers. Some of the agreements also have a Rollback provision as well on 18 July 2016.The 7 APAs pertain to various sectors of economy like banking, Information Technology and Automotives. The international transactions covered in these agreements include software development Services, IT enabled Services, Engineering Design Services & Business Support Services.  Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) Scheme : The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the Rollback provisions were introduced in 2014.  The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.  Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) having been filed in just four years. With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 77. This includes 3 bilateral APAs and 74 Unilateral APAs. In the current financial year, a total of 13 Unilateral APAs have been entered into so far.  The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.

World Bank Group has appointed Paul Romer as World Bank Chief Economist with effect from September 2016 on 18 July 2016. Romer is a widely respected economist and a successful entrepreneur. Romer will join the Bank at a critical time when the field of development is transforming under the forces of rapid technological change, globalization, and demography. As Chief Economist, Romer will support the President and the senior management in leading the institution and inspiring the development profession during this time of transformative change.  Paul Romer : Romer is currently a professor at New York University (NYU), Director of NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, and a professor of economics in NYU's Stern School of Business.  Earlier in his career, his research brought the economics of ideas into the analysis of economic growth. His start-up company Aplia, focused on educational technology, signals the breadth of his intellectual and practical interests.Before joining NYU, Romer taught at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.  His earlier roles included professorships at the Universities of California Berkeley, Chicago and Rochester.He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dabur India in the second week of July 2016 inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Defence Research and Development Organization's (DRDO) Defense Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR). The agreement was signed to promote sustainable cultivation of rare medicinal plants Ladakh, which is one of the most difficult terrains in the world. Highlights of the agreement :  Dabur and DIHAR will educate farmers in the Leh-Ladakh about high altitude medicinal plant species.This will also help in enhancing the livelihood of villagers in the cold desert area by involving them in cultivation of medicinal plants. The farmers will also be provided free saplings of rare medicinal plants and herbs.The initiative will focus on development of a self-sustainable system by creation of a value chain for the targeted endangered species.  It will also focus on sustainable management of bio-resources by implying scientific agronomy practices. It will ensure biodiversity conservation.

Vice President Hamid Ansari unveiled a stone statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Pethub Monastery in the Mongolian capital which is seen as symbol of India-Mongolia cultural and spiritual ties.  After unveiling the statue of the 'Father of the Nation', the Vice President also went around the monastery founded by former Indian ambassador Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. Pethub Monastery, seen as symbol of India-Mongolia cultural and spiritual ties, was inaugurated in August, 1999 by Indian Vice President Krishan Kant.  Rinpoche named his monastery as 'Pethub', which in Tibetan means a model or exemplary. The name is drawn from the main monastery in Ladakh which is also known as Spituk Monastery and is over 800 years old.  He founded the monastery after feeling an urgent need to revive Buddhism in the country and for establishing it, Rinpoche chose a tract of land in the city so that it becomes more accessible to the people.  Last year, Prime Minster Narendra Modi also visited a monastery in the Mongolian capital and handed over a Bodhi tree sapling to its chief abbott.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has listed Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier’s works among its World Heritage Sites list.  In this regard, announcement was at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO held in Istanbul in Turkey. Le Corbusier works were added in the list in recognition of his contribution in spearheading the modern architectural movement after World War I, with an emphasis on functionality, bold lines and materials such as concrete, iron and glass.  His 17 sites across spread across seven countries France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Argentina, Japan and India have been added in the World Heritage Sites list.  Le Corbusier : Born on October 6, 1887. Died on August 27, 1965. He was Swiss-French architect, urban planner, designer, painter, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. His architectural career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout Europe, India, and the Americas.  Famous Works : Some of his architectural masterpieces included in the World Heritage Sites list are La Cite Radieuse housing project in Marseille, Dominican monastery of La Tourette near Lyon and La Villa Savoye near Paris. Corbusier also had prepared the master plan for the city of Chandigarh in India and contributed specific designs for several buildings including Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex.

Odisha-born bureaucrat Guruprasad Mohapatra was on 15 July 2016 appointed as the Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI) with effect from 19 July 2016. Guruprasad Mohapatra is a 1986 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre. Guruprasad Mohapatra : Prior to the recent posting, he was posted as Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Commerce. Mohpatra also served the Sales Tax department as Special Commissioner (Enforcement), and as a Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and as the Commissioner of Transport.He was the Joint MD of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) during his service in Gujarat. He had also served as Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad for over three years.He started in the State Electricity Sector with the erstwhile Gujarat Electricity Board in 2002 and worked with various Electricity Companies such as GSEC and the distribution companies such as PGVCL, DGVCL & UGVCL. He is an MA in Political Science, MPhil in Diplomacy (International Relation) and also an MBA degree holder.

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