Current Affairs 23rd July 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Cabinet  approved the incorporation of Sagarmala Development Company (SDC)under the companies Act 2013, with an initial authorized share capital of 1 thousand crore rupees and a subscribed share capital of Rs. 90 Crore. and  that it will be under the administrative control of the Shipping ministry.The cabinet said that the implementation of the identified projects will be taken up by the relevant ports, State Governments, Maritime Boards, Central Ministries, mainly through private or the Public Private Partnership mode.The Sagarmala Programme was launched with the approval of the Union Cabineton March 25th 2015, with a view to achieve the broad objective of promoting port-led economic development in India.In order to harness India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentiallynavigable waterways, and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes, the Government has embarked on the ambitious Sagarmala Programme which was approved by the Cabinet.Skill development projects taken up’ include coastal district skill gap analysis study/ cutting-edge skill training in the ports and maritime sector, safety training in ship-breaking and repair sector,  as part of Deen Dayl Upadhyaya Grarneen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and marine fishermen skill development projects,” said the official statement.the ministry of Shipping, in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, will part-fund select fishing harbour projects under the Sagarmala Programme.

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare the draft Ganga Act which will be headed byJustice (Retd) Girdhar Malviya .According to an official statement , the tenure of the panel would be for a period of three months which may be extended by another three months, if required. The panel has been asked to prepare a Draft Act on Ganga ensuring wholesomeness of the river.The Act should have provisions to ensure cleanliness (nirmalta) and uninterrupted e-flow (aviralta)) of the Ganga. The committee may take into consideration any other issue which it may deem fit in the drafting of the Act.Other members of the committee would be V K Bhasin, Ex-Secretary, Legislative Department, Prof A K Gosain, llT Delhi and Prof Nayan Sharma, llT Roorkee. Sundeep, Director, National Mission for Clean Ganga would be Member Secretary.The law, if enacted, will help the Centre to properly implement the inter-state nature of works through a coordinated manner. It may also provide the existingNational Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) legal teeth to its task of Ganga cleaning in a much more effective way.

Facebook Inc on 22 July 2016 announced the successful completion of test flight of a solar-powered drone named Aquila.The social media giant believes that Aquila will help to extend Internet connectivity to every corner of the planet.The company ultimately hopes to have a fleet of Aquilas that can fly for at least three months at a time at 60000 feet and communicate with each other to deliver internet access.Aquila is a lightweight, high-altitude aircraft.It flew at a few thousand feet for 96 minutes in Yuma, Arizona. It has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737.The body of the plane is made of a carbon fiber composite.It weighs less than 1000 pounds.The aircraft will use new laser-beam technology to deliver fast Internet to people in a 60-mile radius.It will transmit a signal that can be received by the antennas of small towers and dishes on the ground.The antennas will convert the signal into Wi-Fi or 4G networks.

The Cricket Board (BCCI)has commenced a course for umpires on English language and communication skills as part of its educational and development programme for the match officials.The first batch underwent training from July 12 to 16 and the second commenced in Mumbai and would continue till July 23, the BCCI has announced on its website.As mentioned by BCCI, the course will cover various aspects like ‘language to be used’, ‘communicating with captains/players in the field’, ‘conducting meetings,communicating to the third umpire’ etc. In an attempt to make it more interactive, the programme will feature role-play sessions, mock meeting, simulating situations.The course has been designed by the British Council along with the International Cricket Council and is aimed at equipping the match officials with requisite communication skills.While the course focused on language skills in its first year (2015), it was customised for the umpires by adding  language and communication skills to the curriculum.The Board of Control for Cricket in India is the national governing body for cricket in India.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has joined hands with the State Bank of India to chalk out a detailed plan for promotion of rail ticketing activities, including internet ticketing and unreserved ticketing system.IRCTC, a PSU of Railways which handles catering, tourism and Internet ticketing activities, and the SBI have signed an MoU which will also undertake development of Unreserved Ticketing System and such other services which can be jointly undertaken.  

India and Japan have signed a Social Security Agreement (SSA) that will come into force on 1st October 2016.The Social Security Agreement (SSA) will benefit Indian and Japanese professionals and skilled workers working in each other’s country and will also boost bilateral business linkages.The SSA will help avoid double social security contributions. The exemption will be provided to Indian worker, only if he is covered under the social security system of India and continues to pay his contribution during period of overseas contract. It will favorably impact the competitive position and profitability of Indian and Japanese companies with foreign operations in either country by reducing their cost of doing business abroad. Till now, India has signed similar comprehensive social security agreements with 15 countries. 

BJP Lok Sabha member Ganesh Singh on 22 July 2016 was appointed the new Chairperson of the Joint Committee of Parliament examining the Land Acquisition Bill.Singh replaced S S Ahluwalia, who became Minister of the State for Parliamentary Affairs in reshuffle of the council of ministers on 5 July 2016.After the appointment, Singh will have to move a resolution in the Lok Sabha seeking the seventh extension of the term of the panel.Ganesh Singh is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha of India.He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) political party.He represents the Satna constituency of Madhya Pradesh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 July 2016 unveiled the foundation stone for the revival of gas based Gorakhpur Fertilizer Plant at Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.The plant is implemented by Hindustan Urvarak Rasayan Limited, which is a joint venture between the Coal India Limited (CIL) and the NTPC Limited.The revival of the plant entails an investment of 6000 crore rupees in the equity pattern of 50 per cent each between both the Central Public Sector Enterprises.The revival of the plant will help the farming community getting urea timely.It will usher in a new era of rural progress and prosperity in the country especially in the eastern parts of the country.The revitalization of these plants will help generate 1.27 million tonne per annum of urea along with other associated chemicals from each plant, bridging the demand supply gap of urea.The other positive output will be employment generation opportunities locally.The gas will be made available through the proposed Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline to be constructed by GAIL.Earlier on 16 May 2016, CIL and NTPC Limited have formally inked the Joint Venture agreement for the revival of the fertilizer plant.

Kerala Tourism on 21 July 2016 won two Gold Gongs at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Awards.Kerala Tourism bagged the award in recognition of its trend setting marketing initiatives, which have given a boost to the state's profile as a must-visit destination.The awards were in the categories of Travel Advertisement Broadcast Media and E-Newsletter, which were grabbed by the successful Visit Kerala television commercial campaign and the popular Kerala Tourism E-Newsletter, respectively.The awards will be presented at the PATA Gold Awards Luncheon and Presentation on 9 September 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia.In 2015, Kerala Tourism was also awarded PATA Gold in the Heritage and Culture category for Muziris Heritage Project.The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association.It works to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.In 2011, PATA celebrate its 60th anniversary with a series of activities and events focused around the theme Building Tourism.

India test team captain Virat Kohli on 22 July 2016 became the first Indian captain to score a double century outside India.Kohli scored 200 runs against West Indies on day two of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in North Sound.With his double century, Kohli entered the list of visiting captains with highest scores in West Indies. The list includes name like Sir Leonard Hutton, Steve Waugh, Andrew Strauss and Ricky Ponting.Virat Kohli is the fifth Indian captain to score a double century in a Test match after Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi (2013 vs England), Sunil Gavaskar (205 vs West Indies), Sachin Tendulkar (217 vs New Zealand) and MS Dhoni (224 vs Australia).It is the highest score by an Indian skipper away from home. Mohammad Azharuddin had scored 192 against New Zealand in Auckland in 1990.It is his highest score in first-class cricket and highest in Test cricket.It is his highest score in the first innings as captain in West Indies. Earlier, Ricky Ponting has scored 158 in Kingston in 2008.It is the third double hundred by a visiting captain in West Indies, after 205 by Len Hutton in Kingston in 1954 and 201 by Bob Simpson in Bridgetown in 1965.It is the first double century for India outside the sub-continent since Wasim Jaffer's 212 in St. John's in 2006.

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has acquired exclusive television and digital rights or the International Champions Cup 2016 for the Indian sub-continent.The International Champions Cup 2016 is the first tournament of the 2016-17 football season and will kick-off the 2016-17 club season across the world.The fourth edition of this prestigious cup competition will see the return of winners from the past three seasons – Real Madrid C.F., Manchester United F.C.,Paris Saint-Germain, along with other illustrious clubs from across the world.The matches this year will be held across North America, Europe, Australia, and China, and will see 17 of the top clubs from across the world participating in the highly anticipated season opening tournament.The International Champions Cup will begin from July 22 and will run through August 13, 2016 and will be telecast live and exclusive on Sony Espn and Sony Espn HD channels. The tournament will also be streamed live on the SonyLiv app.Rajesh Kaul, President, Distribution & Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks, “The acquisition of the exclusive broadcast rights of the 2016 edition of the International. Champions Cup in India reinforces the Sports Cluster of SPN’s leadership in sports broadcast in India.

Wrist spinner Yasir Shah has scaled the number spot in the ICC Test rankings, becoming the first Pakistani bowler to do so since Mushtaq Ahmed achieved the feat in December 1996.He reached the number-one spot after bowling Pakistan to a 75-run victory over England in the first Test at Lord’s .Yasir, who returned with figures of six for 72 and four for 69, has leapfroggedIndia spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and England’s fast bowling pair of James Anderson  and Stuart Broad into the top spot after his achievement earned him 32 points.Yasir won the player of the match award in his first Test outside Asia and now leads Ashwin by seven points and Anderson by 10 points.Pakistan’s Rahat Ali, who took four wickets in the match, has also achieved a career-high ranking of 32nd after jumping three places, while Mohammad Amirhas returned to the rankings just inside the top 100 in 93rd position.Pakistan captain Mishab-ul-Haq, who scored his 10th Test century while scoring 114 in the first innings, has moved up one place to ninth, whilewicketkeeper/batsman Sarfraz Ahmed has gained two places and is now in 17th position.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and US Secretary for Energy Ernest Monizhave agreed to increase technical and institutional cooperation on hydrocarbons and energy.The  agreed to enhance cooperation in “assessment of both onshore and offshore conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reserves in India, new technologies in development of biofuel and development of petroleum storage”, a petroleum ministry statement said of their meeting in Washington .The two ministers also agreed on the need for regular meetings of officials and experts from both sides.During his just-concluded visit to the US, Pradhan also launched a roadshow in Houston to promote the auction of 67 discovered small hydrocarbon fields in India.The cooperation on oil and gas is among one of the six work streams that are working under the aegis of India-US Energy Dialogue. Over the last decade, several areas of interest for cooperation in the field of oil and gas have been identified such as technology for production from marginal fields, shale structures, development of gas pipeline network and improving refinery efficiency etc.It is worth noting that GAIL has contracted for import of LNG from the US to the tune of 5.8 MMT per year from end 2017. Indian companies have also invested in shale oil and gas projects in the US, i.e. GAIL has 20% equity in Eagle Ford basin; IOC and OIL have 10% equity in Niobrara basin.

India’s first e-court was  opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, which is the common high court for the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.Inaugurating the e-court, Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur said Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were first two states in the country to be chosen for Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) project.The purpose of e-courts was to ensure speedy justice for the litigants. He stressed the need to appoint staff for paperless courts and advised judges to focus on online data entry.Justice Lokur, who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, said modalities of the system will be worked out at a meeting scheduled on July 28.It is not only the e-court in the sense it is fully computerised but it also a paperless court. , so it has potential to cut through a lot of unnecessary red-tapism.It will also make the work of judges, advocates and all those related with judiciary a lot more effective and will also provide solution for large number of pending cases in the country.

Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of the United Nations and the Bertelsmann Stiftung on 20 July 2016 launched a new Sustainable Development Goal Index (SDG Index) to provide a report card for tracking SDG progress and ensuring accountability.SDG Index is the world’s first comparative study of the Sustainable Development Goals for 149 countriesThe SDG Index assess where each country stands in 2016 with regard to achieving the SDGs. The SDG Index ranks countries based on their performance across 17 goals.The index has been topped by Sweden and India is ranked 110th in the index and is followed by Lesotho on 113th position, Pakistan (115), Myanmar (117), Bangladesh (118) and Afghanistan (139).

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