Current Affairs 22nd July 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina on 21 July 2016 jointly inaugurated the Petrapole Integrated Check Post (ICP).PM Modi and PM Hasina inaugurated the check post through video-conferencing.The Petrapole checkpost will help in promoting bilateral trade and will also boost economic growth of both countries.Petrapole-Benapole is an important land border crossing for India-Bangladesh trade as more than 50% of the India-Bangladesh trade passes through Petrapole. Petrapole is the Indian side of Petrapole-Benapole border checkpoint between India and Benapole of Bangladesh.It is located near Bongaon in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.Petrapole border is the only land port in south Bengal.It is the largest land customs station in Asia.This check post accounts for more than half of the 4 billion US dollar trade with Bangladesh. The landport accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh.The total traffic via the landport in 2029-30 has been projected as 2938 trucks per day and the passenger traffic is projected to be 3924 people per day.Petrapole ICP is the second ICP on the India-Bangladesh border after the Agartala ICP at the Agartala-Akhaura land border.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) on 21 July 2016 announced that global temperatures for the first six months of 2016 broke many records. It means that 2016 is on the track to be the world's hottest year on record.The WMO stated that Arctic Sea ice melted early and fast, which is another indicator of climate change. In addition, Carbon dioxide levels have also reached new highs.June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month of record heat for land and oceans and the 378th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average.Carbon dioxide concentrations have passed the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere so far in 2016.Two separate reports from the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS) highlighted the dramatic and sweeping changes in the state of the climate.The average temperature in the first six months of 2016 was 1.3°C (2.4°F) warmer than the pre-industrial era in the late 19th century.NOAA said the global land and ocean average temperature for January 2016–June 2016 was 1.05°C (1.89°F) above the 20th century average.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on 21 July 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to develop 12 sewage treatment plants (STP).In the first phase, 12 STPs will be installed across the NDMC area.  Each plant will have a capacity of treating sewage water ranging from 50000-1 lakh litres. All these plants will be connected to all parks which will help the horticulture department to maintain the parks. These plants will be installed at schools also. NDMC will bear only pumping cost which is economic and NEERI will bear the cost of the project.The barren lands that have no use under NDMC areas will be developed into green areas under the same project.

The Union Government on 21 July 2016 appointed Ajay Bhushan Pandey as the Chief Executive Officer of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the promotion of Pandey with effect from 12 July 2016.Under Pandey’s tenure, UIDAI will have to deal with the legal cases involving privacy and parliamentary issues that Aadhaar has been embroiled in. Pandey is a 1984 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of Maharashtra cadre.He has been serving as Director General of the UIDAI since August 2015. He holds a doctorate in Computer Science from University of Minnesota Minneapolis of US.

The 2016 Fortune 500 list of the world's biggest firms was released on 21 July 2016. Seven Indian companies were featured in the list with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) ranked highest at 161st rank with revenues of 54.7 billion US dollars. The overall list was topped by retail giant Walmart with revenue of 482.130 million US dollars.• The world's 500 largest companies generated 27.6 trillion US dollars in revenues and 1.5 trillion US dollars in profits in 2015.This year's Fortune 500 companies employ 67 million people worldwide and are represented by 33 countries.The overall list was topped by Walmart with revenue of 482.130 million US dollars, followed by State Grid at Second place and China National Petroleum at the third place. Chinese companies took over whole of the top 10 in the list. While Walmart leads the list, the next three slots are taken by Chinese companies. These are State Grid, China National Petroleum and Sinopec.More than 100 Chinese companies made to the list this year, with the US the only country with more names on the list.

Former French cyclist Dominique Arnaud passed away in Dax, Aquitaine, France on 20 July 2016 due to cancer. He was 60.Born on 19 September 1955 in Tarnos, France, Dominique Arnaud was a French racing cyclist.He rode in eleven editions of the Tour de France, which is an annual multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France.He won three stages in the Vuelta and a stage in the Midi Libr. He won the Tour du Limousin in 1983, which is a 4-day road bicycle race held annually in Limousin, France.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL ) has successfully commissioned the third unit of the 4×40 MW Teesta Low Dam Hydro Electric Project (HEP) Stage-IV  in West Bengal. A run-of-the-river greenfield project located in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, Teesta HEP is being set up by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), on the River Teesta. The fourth and final unit of the project is also in advanced stages of execution. Power generation from the Teesta project will result in reduction of green-house gas emissions and will help in achieving a low carbon development path for the state as well as the nation.BHEL’s scope of work in the project comprised design, manufacture, supply, installation and commissioning of complete E&M works including vertical shaft Kaplan Turbines and matching generators.The equipment has been supplied by BHEL units at Bhopal, Jhansi, Rudrapur & Bengaluru and the execution of work on site is being carried out by the company’s Power Sector Eastern Region.BHEL is presently executing Hydro Electric Projects of around 3,300 MW in the country which are under various stage of implementation. Other projects of NHPC currently under execution by BHEL are the 4×200 MW Parbati HEP Stage – IIand 3×110 MW Kishanganga HEP. In West Bengal, BHEL is also executing the 3×40 MW Rammam Stage-III hydro-electric project of NTPC.More than 500 hydro generating sets with a cumulative capacity of more than29,000 mw of various ratings have been contracted on BHEL in the country and overseas. Of this, equipment for about 5,700 mw generating capacity has been contracted outside India.

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Tunisia  for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Digital Economy.The agreement intends to foster active cooperation andexchange between private entities, governments, institutionsinvolved in enhancing capacity building and other public andprivate organisations of the two countries in the field of ICTand Digital Economy. Reletions  between India   and  Tunisia :India has traditionally maintained and friendly relationship with Tunisia since establishment of diplomatic relations in 1958 . The 1st residence Indian mission at the level of  Cd’ A  was  establishment in Tunisia in 1963. The Tunisia Embassy in NEW DELHI  was set in 1981.An India- Tunisia joint commission has been established under the co-chairmanship of the respective minister of state , its 11th session  was held in New Delhi in 2012.Tunisia has been a reliable source of phosphate since 1950s. India  accounts for over 50% of Tunisia’s  global phospharic acid exporter .

With the aim of sharing the impact of various governance initiatives with citizens in real-time, the government has launched a website — ‘Transforming India’ –The website was launched by Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology and Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad.The website,, will provide information in a user-friendly format enabling citizens to view the content in the form of infographics, e-books, performance dashboard, videos, daily news corner, and engage with the content by comments and sharing the content through social media.The website is aimed at promoting accountability in major national initiatives. website acts as a repository of information on major policies and decisions.The key facets of the website are that it promotes accountability in major national initiatives, acts as a repository of major policies and decisions and provides a central platform to citizens for sharing of transformational changes that they see around themselves.There is a section in the site especially for citizen voices. Citizens can share stories about transformative growth in India that they see around themselves. This can be in the format of videos, photos and comments.

Leading Ayurvedic FMCG firm Dabur has tied up with DRDO to promote sustainable cultivation of high-altitude medicinal plants in Ladakh. Dabur India has signed a pact with DRDOs unit Defense Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), Leh, under which both organisations will educate farmers and help enhance livelihood opportunities in the cold desert area.“The first step towards the goal of implementing conservation & environmental development benefits in Leh-Ladakh will be a baseline survey of the area for cultivation of highly endangered medicinal plant species.” DIHAR Director Bhuvanesh Kumar said.Dabur India Head – Healthcare Research Dr JLN Sastry said: “We are pleased to be the initiator of this developmental programme, which will not only help in growing and cultivating high altitude medicinal plants to prepare Ayurvedic medicines but also provide an alternative source of income to the farmers living in the often neglected high altitude mountain areas.”Under this tie-up with the unit of Defence Research &Development Organisation,Dabur will also impart training tothe villagers on sustainable cultivation of herbs.Jivanti Welfare and Charitable Trust (JWCT), Dabur India Ltds CSR arm, had approached DIHAR & Pragya an NGO operating from Leh-Ladakh, with the primary focus on helping the local community in Leh-Ladakh while also augmenting the population of medicinal herbs in the country.

After an extensive review process and passing a major development milestone,National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is ready to proceed with final design and construction of its next Mars rover, currently targeted to launch in the summer of 2020 and arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021.This  mission marks a significant milestone in NASA’s Journey to Mars – to determine whether life has ever existed on Mars, and to advance our goal of sending humans to the Red Planet.The Mars 2020 rover is the first step in a potential multi-mission campaign to return carefully selected and sealed samples of Martian rocks and soil to Earth,” said Geoffrey Yoder, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Mars 2020 rover will investigate a region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been favorable for microbial life, probing the Martian rocks for evidence of past life. Throughout its investigation, it will collect samples of soil and rock and cache them on the surface for potential return to Earth by a future mission.To reduce risk and provide cost savings, the 2020 rover will look much like its six-wheeled, one-ton predecessor, Curiosity, but with an array of new science instruments and enhancements to explore Mars as never before.The Mars 2020 mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. Driven by scientific discovery, the program currently includes two active rovers and three NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars. NASA also plans to launch a stationary Mars lander in 2018, InSight, to study the deep interior of Mars.The Mars 2020 rover will use the same sky crane landing system as Curiosity, but will have the ability to land in more challenging terrain with two enhancements, making more rugged sites eligible as safe landing candidates.

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