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

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The central government has given its nod for renaming Mhow railway station in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh after B R Ambedkar as the Dalit icon was born there.  The Home Ministry has requested the state government to issue a Gazette notification in this regard, spelling the name accordingly in Devnagri (Hindi) and Roman (English) script. Minister Suresh Prabhu last year and in January this year, demanding that the name of Mhow railway station be changed to B R Ambedkar railway station.  Mhow was renamed as Dr Ambedkar Nagar in 2003.

Indus Towers, the country's largest telecom tower company, has appointed Tejinder Kalra as the chief operating officer, the company announced on 4 July 2016. Kalra joins Indus Towers from Nokia, where he was the global head for Bharti business in his last role.  With over 26 years of experience in the telecom and telecom services industry, Kalra has an extensive experience in strategy development, implementation and service delivery across geographies. Indus Towers : Indus Towers is an independently managed company offering passive infrastructure services to all telecom operators and other wireless services providers such as broadband service providers. Incorporated in November 2007, Indus Towers Limited has been promoted under a joint venture between entities of Bharti Group including Bharti Infratel Limited (rendering telecom and tower infrastructure services in India under the brand name Airtel & Bharti Infratel Limited respectively), Vodafone India (rendering telecom services under the brand name Vodafone) and Aditya Birla Telecom (rendering telecom services under the brand name Idea), to render passive infrastructure services to telecom service providers.

SBI Card, a subsidiary of State Bank of India, launched a premium credit card with host of facilities targeting high networth customers.  'Elite' card is launched on the Master Card World platform and is enabled with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology.  This allows customers a contactless payment experience, adding more speed and suave to their wallets. The new card comes with a joining fee of Rs 4,999 and all customers will receive a welcome gift worth Rs 5,000 in the form of vouchers from popular lifestyle and travel brands.  Benefits  : The card offers privileges such as 24x7 concierge services, golf course reservations, spa, limousine or movie ticket bookings, all of this can be availed with just one phone call.  Up to 50,000 bonus points on milestone spends of Rs 3 lakh can be earned by cardholders and they will get Rs 500 off on movie tickets on on every month .  

Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to introduce minimum wages for part-time workers. In this regards, the Labour Department of Rajasthan government has issued a notification.  According to the notification, it is now mandatory to pay 50 per cent of the prescribed a day minimum wage to a person who works for less than four hours in a day.  With this notification, part-time workers now come under the Minimum Wages Act 1948.  In another decision, the state government has increased minimum wages in all categories of scheduled employments by Rs 104 per month. 

Leading global travel site TripAdvisor has appointed Gary Fritz as its Chief Growth Officer and President of the Asia Pacific region.  Role : President of APAC, he is responsible for leading the company's operations and strategy throughout the Asia Pacific region.  Fritz will be responsible for driving growth and strategy across the entire family of TripAdvisor brands. TripAdvisor is poised to capture both inbound and outbound travel throughout the APAC region and the company is committed to developing and expanding our market position throughout APAC. TripAdvisor : TripAdvisor, Inc. is an American travel website company providing reviews of travel-related content. It also includes interactive travel forums. TripAdvisor was an early adopter of user-generated content. The website services are free to users, who provide most of the content, and the website is supported by an advertising business model.  

R Thiruppathi Venkatasamy was appointed as the Accountant General of Economic and Revenue Sector Audit of Tamil Nadu with immediate effect on 6 July 2016. His appointment was approved by the Union Government. Venkatasamy is a 2000 batch officer of Indian Audit and Accounts Service. R Thiruppathi Venkatasamy : Prior to this appointment, he was serving as the Senior Deputy Accountant General in the organisation of Comptroller and Auditor General Agartala, Tripura. He has earlier worked in various filed offices of Indian Audit and Accounts Department in different geographical locations; worked in Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.He has a Master of Public Affairs degree from USA and Master of Science in Agriculture degree from India and a certificate in Auditing IT controls from Norway.  He has a rich experience in planning and policy formulation, financing and implementation of developmental schemes and general administration. He hails from Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu.

Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL) has acquired global clothing brand Forever 21 in the Indian market for 26 million US dollars on 5 July 2016.Forever 21 has a network of more than 700 stores worldwide. Its India operations reported a turnover of 262 crore rupees in 2015-16. Highlights  : Aditya Birla Fashion executed a business transfer agreement with Diana Retail, Franchise of Forever 21, and DLF Brands for acquisition of the business undertaking of Diana Retail under the Forever 21 brand. The transaction involved acquisition of the Forever 21 Undertaking of Diana Retail with effect from 1 July 2016. The transaction of 26 million US dollars was an all cash deal through a business transfer agreement and not a share transfer.  With this, Forever 21 business will form part of ABFRL’s Madura Fashion & Lifestyle division. Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL) : Initially, the company was named as Pantaloons Fashion and Retail Ltd (PFRL).Later, it was formed as the consolidation of the branded apparel businesses of Aditya Birla Group - Aditya Birla Nuvo, Madura Fashion division, Pantaloons Fashion and Retail Ltd and Madura Garments Lifestyle Retail Company Ltd. Post consolidation, PFRL was renamed as Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, with over 7000 points of sale in over 375 cities and towns.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on 5 July 2016 recommended a green cess of 20-22 percent on diesel vehicles. Highlights : The vehicles need to be divided into three categories- up to 1200 cc, up to 2000 cc and 2000 cc and above.An Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) of 10 percent of the vehicle's cost be imposed on diesel cars with engines up to 1200cc. EPCA recommended ECC of 20 percent tax on diesel vehicles with engines smaller than 1500cc in size.It recommended a cess of 22 percent on vehicles with engines over 1500cc. It also recommended high pollution cess of up to 25 percent on the cost of diesel cars above 2000 cc.The authority’s recommendation of 20 per cent (for less than 1500 cc) and 22 per cent (for over 1500 cc) green cess stands at 179766 rupees and 215883 rupees respectively.  Diesel car users cannot pay less tax per litre of fuel compared to petrol car. This needs to be equalised to control growing use of low tax diesel fuel in cars that have cleaner substitutes. If the EPCA’s recommendations are accepted, the cess for the present range of diesel vehicles in the national capital could translate to anywhere between 1-2 lakh rupees. The main reason behind EPCA’s recommendation is to remove the existing incentive for buying diesel vehicles. Removing the fuel price differential, through the imposition of ECC will be a step in removing the incentive for diesel vehicles. This is needed to reduce public health risk. The committee’s report is, however, not the last word on the environment cess on diesel vehicles as the Supreme Court is awaiting inputs of various stakeholders. In December 2015, the Supreme Court banned the registration of diesel-run SUVs and high-end cars with engine capacity of 2000CC and above in Delhi and NCR. The ban was initially instituted for a period of three months and was subsequently extended with no deadline.

State Cabinet of Madhya Pradesh gave its nod to Madhya Pradesh Tax on Entry of Goods in Local Areas Amendment Bill, 2016 on 5 July 2016. The Bill seeks to levy 6 percent entry tax on goods brought to local areas for consumption after purchase under e-commerce. The step has taken in the wake of losses to the state exchequer due to the online shopping. Some other cabinet decisions :  It made toilet in home mandatory for contesting the panchayat elections. Now those not having toilets in their house cannot contest panchayat elections. There are four lakh panch-sarpanchs in the state.  It extended special recruitment drive being conducted for filling backlog/carry forward vacancies of SCs, STs, OBCs and disabled persons. Its deadline has been extended for one year from 30 June 2016. It authorized Finance Minister to hear problems of daily wagers and work charged employees in the state. After getting apprised of their problems, the Finance Minister would inform the Chief Minister. The cabinet sanctioned amended self-finance pension scheme sixth pay scale in accordance with terms and conditions of 1 April 2014 in Rajmata Scindia Agriculture University, Gwalior.

Union Cabinet has approved redevelopment of seven General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) colonies in the national Capital, Delhi on 5 July 2016. The project will be completed in five years in a phased manner. Highlights : Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Nauroji Nagar will be redeveloped through National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC). Kasturba Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur will be developed through Central Public Works Department (CPWD). This approval will help in replacing the existing housing stock of 12970 dwelling units of Type I to IV with Build Up Area (BUA) of approx. 7.49 lakh sq meter with approx. 25667 dwelling units of Type II to VI with BUA of approx. 29.18 lakh sq meter with supporting social infrastructure. The project will also develop Government office accommodation for nearly 2.42 lakh sq meter at Netaji Nagar. Costing for the Project : The total estimated cost of the project is 32835 crore rupees.The cost includes maintenance and operation costs for 30 years. The project shall be implemented on self-financing basis by sale of commercial BUA in Nauroji Nagar and parts of Sarojini Nagar, adjoining the Ring Road. The decision of redeveloping the General Pool Residential Accommodation colonies was taken in light of shortage of Government accommodation in the National Capital Region. This shortage leads to wait by the Government officials for eligible housing. This shortage made the Union Ministry of Urban Development to move a proposal for redevelopment of existing old dilapidated housing colonies to augment the housing stock by making optimum utilization of land resources as per Master Plan Delhi (MPD) - 2021 and using modern construction technology with green building norms and in-house solid/liquid waste management facilities.

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Tanzania in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.  The MoU will facilitate structured frame work for the cooperation between both countries for the promotion of Indian Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy in Tanzania.  The Union Ministry of AYUSH will provide the financial resources necessary to conduct research, training courses and meetings through its existing plan schemes and budget. The MoU was signed as part of Union Ministry of AYUSH’s mandate to propagate Indian systems of Medicine globally. So far India has signed MoUs with several other countries including China, Hungary, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc.  India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional medicine and homeopathy including medicinal plants, which hold tremendous potential in the global health scenario. Traditional Medicine is an important element of life of Tanzanian people and is mainly used as first aid or stop-gap measure before the patient is referred to modern health facilities. India-Tanzania Relations  : Tanzania is an important East African country and has historical ties with India. It has substantial population of around 70 thousand Indian diaspora. Traditionally, Tanzania and India have enjoyed close, friendly and co-operative bilateral relations. In recent years, their bilateral relations have been marked by close contacts at the highest political level including cooperation in the field of medicine and health.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to The High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016 to change names of the High Courts based on the nomenclature cities they are located.  The Bill facilitates changing of the names of ‘Madras High Court as Chennai High Court’ and ‘Bombay High Court as Mumbai High Court’ respectively. After the enactment of this act, the High Courts of Bombay and Madras will named after the names of the cities in which they were located. The proposed Bill in consequence to the change in the names of these High Courts was prepared to fulfil demands of the respective State Government and the people. There was demand to change the colonial names of these High Courts as the colonial names of the cities in which they are located also have been changed. At present, there is no Union Law under which the proposal for change of names of these High Courts can be addressed. This Bill has addressed this requirement.

The Union Cabinet has approved the Interest Subvention Scheme for farmers for the year 2016-17.  For this purpose Union Government has earmarked a sum of 18,276 Crore Rupees.  The scheme will help farmers getting short term crop loan payable within one year up to 3 lakhs Rupees at only 4% per annum. Interest subvention for providing short term crop loan to farmers has been provided to Public Sector, Private Sector, Cooperative, Regional Rural banks and NABARD. Features : Union Government will provide interest subvention of 5% per annum to all farmers for short term crop loan up to 1 year for loan upto 3 lakhs rupees for year 2016-17. Thus farmers will have to effectively pay only 4% as interest. In case they fail to repay loan in time they would be eligible for interest subvention of 2% as against 5% available above.  Union Government will provide an interest subvention of 2% i.e an effective interest rate of 7% for loans upto 6 months to give relief to small and marginal farmers who borrow at 9% for the post-harvest storage of their produce. The interest subvention of 2% will be provided to Banks for the first year on the restructured amount in order to provide relief to the farmers affected by natural calamities. Interest subvention is a form of waiver of some percentage of interest on loan given to promote some particular industry and general public interest. This implies that with the subsidy in hand, the loan borrower has not to pay total interest on loan amount and the balance interest amount will be borne by the government.

The Union Cabinet has approved a National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) for providing apprenticeship training to over 50 lakh youngsters in order to create more jobs. The Scheme has an outlay of 10,000 crore rupees and a target of training 50 lakh apprentices by 2019-20. Features : It will be implemented by Director General of Training (DGT) under the aegis of Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). Union Government for the first time will provide financial incentives to the employers to engage apprentices. Union Government will directly share 25% of the total stipend payable to an apprentice with employers. In addition, Union Government will also support basic training which is considered an essential component of apprenticeship training. Union Government will bear the 50% of the total expenditure incurred on providing basic training to an apprentice. The National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) seeks to catalyze the entire apprenticeship ecosystem in the country. It is expected to become one of the most powerful skill-delivery vehicle in the country and will offer a win-win situation for all stakeholders. Apprenticeship Training is considered as one of the most efficient and effictive way to develop skilled manpower for the country. It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training. The NAPS has been framed to meet objective of National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 which focuses on apprenticeship as one of the key components for creating skilled manpower in India.  

The Union Cabinet has approved a long-term contract with Mozambique for import of pulses by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU aims to promote the production of Tur (Pigeon Peas) and other pulses in Mozambique by encouraging progressive increase in the trading of these pulses. The MoU will augment domestic availability of pulses in India and thereby stabilise its prices. It aims at doubling the trade from 1 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 to 2 lakh tonnes by 2020-21. It has set target for exports of Tur and other pulses from Mozambique to India for five financial years i.e. till 2020-21. The pulses will be imported from Mozambique either through the Government-to-Government (G2G) or private channels nominated by two countries. The total pulses production in India is estimated to be 17 million tonnes during the year 2015-16 while 5.79 million tonnes of pulses were imported to meet the domestic requirements. However, total availability of pulses including domestic production and imports were less than domestic requirements putting pressure on the prices of pulses during 2015-16 and 2016-17.  Thus, to mitigate the shortfall in availability of pulses and supplement the existing efforts to meet domestic demand, Union Government has entered into long term G2G arrangement with Mozambique to ensure assured availability of pulses.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 July 2016 gave in-principle approval for setting up a Major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu. In this regard, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed for development of Port with initial equity investment from three Major Ports in Tamil Nadu- VO Chidambaranar Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust and Kamarajar Port Limited.  Highlights of the Project :  The Enayam project will cost around 27000 crore rupees and will be undertaken in three phases. The cabinet cleared an expenditure of 6575 crore rupees for phase one of the project.The SPV will develop the port infrastructure including dredging and reclamation, construction of breakwater, ensuring connectivity links, etc.   Establishing this Major port at Enayam will not only act as a major gateway container port for Indian cargo but it will also become a trans-shipment hub for the global East-West trade route. It will also reduce the logistics cost for exporters and importers in South India who currently depend on trans-shipment in Colombo or other ports thus incurring additional port handling charges. At present, there are only a few ports in India that have sufficient draft and can match global cargo handling efficiencies.  Currently, all of India's trans-shipment traffic gets handled in Colombo, Singapore and other international ports. Indian port industry loses out up to 1500 Crore rupees of revenues each year.

Abbas Kiarostami, the critically acclaimed Iranian director died on 4 July 2016 following a prolonged illness in Paris. He was 76. Kiarostami is survived by two sons. His 1997 film Taste of Cherry won the prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Abbas Kiarostami :  Kiarostami wrote and directed dozens of films over an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years. He was born in 1940 in Tehran and continued to work from Iran after the 1979 revolution.Kiarostami made his first film in 1970 titled The Bread and Alley that was just 12 minutes long.  In 1977, he made his first feature-length film titled Report that is about a tax collector who takes bribes.Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry won the Best Picture Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. His other famous films are Close-Up (1990), 1987 film Where is the Friend's Home? 2000 film The Wind Will Carry Us and many more.He also received the award from Martin Scorsese in the 2005 Marrakesh International Film Festival in Morocco.In 2016, he was among 683 film-makers who were asked to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He won more than 70 awards for his works.

World’s largest Charkha (spinning wheels) was unveiled at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), New Delhi by Union Minister for MSME Kalraj Mishra on 5 July 2016. The idea behind displaying the world’s biggest charkha at the country’s busiest airport is to highlight India’s quest to foster an egalitarian society as demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. Aim behind Installation : The Charkha was installed at the departure forecourt of the terminal with a belief that it would help in carrying forward the legacy of promoting India’s rich cultural heritage through different artworks at the terminal. All the existing artworks at the terminal - Mudras, Regal procession, Elephant statues, Surya Sculpture, Suryanamaskar and Worli Art among others - depict and showcase Indian heritage globally. Charkha : The Charkha that weighs 4-tonnes is made from high-quality Burma teak wood.It is 9 ft wide, 17 ft tall and 30 ft long.It is estimated that the Charkha would last for over 50 years. It was built in 55 days by a team of 42 highly skilled carpenters hailing from Ahmedabad.  

Sudarshan Sen has been as Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He will replace NS Vishwanathan who was elevated as Deputy Governor of RBI. In his new role, Sudarshan Sen will look after Department of Banking Regulation, Department of Co-operative Bank Regulation and Department of Non-Banking Regulation. Sudarshan Sen  : Sen holds an MBA degree in International Banking and Finance from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He has rich experience as the central banker and has a long association with the RBI in the field of supervision and regulation. Earlier, he had served as in charge of the Department of Banking Regulation. He also had served as the Regional Director of Ahmedabad office of the RBI.

Jawaharlal Nehru Port on became the first port in India to implement logistics data tagging of containers 1 July 2016. The implementation of the logistics data bank tagging of containers will help importers/exporters track their goods in transit through logistics data bank service. Highlights of the implementation :  A Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID) will be attached to each container. The containers will be tracked through RIFD readers installed at different locations. This will provide the Visibility and Transparency of the EXIM Container Movement by covering the entire movement through rail or road till the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) and Container Freight Stations (CFSs). The service will integrate the information available with various agencies across the supply chain to provide detailed real time information within a single window.This will help in reducing the overall lead time of the container movement across the western corridor and lower the transaction costs incurred by shippers and consignees. Jawaharlal Nehru Port : Jawaharlal Nehru Port is the largest container port in India.It is located east of Mumbai in Maharashtra. It is situated on the Arabian Sea and is accessed via Thane Creek.The port is also known as Nhava Sheva.Its common name derives from the names of Nhava and Sheva villages that were situated there. The port is also the terminal of Western Dedicated Freight Corridor proposed by Indian Railways.

India is going to host meet of the heads of anti-narcotics agencies of BRICS nations to discuss issues related to narco-terrorism and money laundering. This meet will be held ahead of the eighth annual Summit of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa nations scheduled in October 2016. Highlights : The one-day meeting on July 8, 2016 will be hosted by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The agenda of the high-level meeting is to take into consideration of illicit drug trafficking including diversion of precursors and chemicals, usage of new psychoactive substances.  It will also take into consideration maritime drug trafficking, narco terrorism and drug money laundering.  All BRICS member nations will discuss ways to enhance cooperation to effectively deal with these issues and keep an effective monitoring on illegal narcotics transport happening between these nations.  They will also discuss various trends being observed in the last 5-6 years in these issues and may sign a joint accord at conclusion of the meet. India has taken over the BRICS Chairmanship for the year 2016 for the second time after 2012. It will host the eighth annual Summit of the forum in Goa in October 2016. BRICS bloc comprising the five countries account for 42% of the world’s population and a combined GDP of over USD 16 trillion.

Union minister of steel and mines Narendra singh Tomar unveiled the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) on 4 July 2016. It was unveiled to adopt comprehensive exploration of non fuel and non coal mineral resources. The policy was released at National conclave on mines and minerals at Raipur in Chhattisgarh. Highlights : The policy aims to bring together best of knowledge and experience, modern technology, trained manpower and financial resources on a collaborative platform. The objective of the policy is to set in motion a massive process for mineral exploration of the country that would give a major boost to the economy. Space technology would be used to check illegal mining by developing a mining surveillance system. It prescribes for incentivising the participation of private companies in exploration. It calls for engaging the private agencies to carry out exploration with the right to a certain share in the revenue from the successful bidder of mineral block after e-auction, which will be discovered by that private explorer. The revenue will be shared by way of royalty/premium to be accruing to the state government. The revenue sharing could be either in the form of a lump sum or an annuity, to be paid throughout the period of mining lease, with transferable rights. Government will also work out normative cost of exploration works for different kinds of minerals so that the exploration agencies could be compensated, in case they could not discover any mineable reserves in their respective areas.This will be an added incentive for exploration agencies to mitigate their risk of exploration. Process of selection of the private explorer  : Acquisition, processing and interpretation of pre-competitive baseline geo-science data play a pivotal role in successful exploration process. In this regard, the NMEP proposes the following: a) The pre-competitive baseline geo-scientific data will be created as a public good and will be fully available for open dissemination free of charge. b) A National Aero-geophysical Mapping program will be launched to map the entire country. It will help to delineate the deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits. National Geoscience Data Repository (NGDR) will be set up. GSI will collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central and state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and maintain these on a geospatial database. Government will coordinate and collaborate with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for the scientific and technological research to address the mineral exploration challenges in the country. For this, a not-for-profit autonomous body/company to be known as the National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT) will be established. State Governments have a key role in building up a steady stream of auctionable prospects. They will have to take up mineral exploration and complete to G3 or G2 level for auctioning. The States need to build up the exploration capabilities, technical expertise and infrastructure facility. The Central Government will provide support to States for capacity building from National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET). On the lines of UNCOVER project of Australia, a special initiative will be launched to probe deep-seated/concealed mineral deposits in the country. The pilot project will be in collaboration with National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and the proposed National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT)) and Geoscience Australia. SBI Capital Markets Ltd (SBICAP) has been selected as consultant by the Ministry of Mines for development of detailed modalities of contractual framework for mineral exploration. The Ministry will provide handholding support to the State Governments in this process of engaging the private agencies.

Researchers from the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium have built a super-sensitive electronic nose comprising of chemical sensors metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The super-sensitive e-nose has ability to detect pesticides and nerve gas in very low concentrations by analyzing their chemical makeup. MOFs are like microscopic sponges. They can absorb quite a lot of gas into their minuscule pores. This MOF is the most sensitive gas sensor to date to detect very low concentrations/traces of dangerous substances. Potential applications : In medical field it can be used to screen someone’s breath for detecting diseases such as lung cancer and multiple sclerosis (MS) in an early stage. These chemical sensors can easily be integrated into existing electronic devices which will allow to examine other applications as well. The best-known and commonly used e-nose is the breathalyser. It  used by police for checking alcohol consumption of car drivers. It is a chemical sensor that measures the amount of alcohol in the breathe car driver.

Country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (HMCL) has inked a wage settlement pact with its permanent workers at Gurgaon Plant, entailing a hike of 12500 rupees spread over three years. The three-year agreement will be implemented with retrospective effect starting from 1 August 2015 till 31 July 2018. The previous wage settlement was effective from 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2015.Hero MotoCorp employs about 1400 permanent employees at its Gurgaon facility. Hero MotoCorp : Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (formerly Hero Honda Motors Ltd.) based in India is the world's largest manufacturer of two – wheelers. In 2001, the company achieved the coveted position of being the largest two-wheeler manufacturing company in India and also, the 'World No.1' two-wheeler company in terms of unit volume sales in a calendar year. Hero MotoCorp Ltd. continues to maintain this position till date. Hero MotoCorp two wheelers are manufactured across 4 globally benchmarked manufacturing facilities. Two of these are based at Gurgaon and Dharuhera in Haryana and one each at Haridwar, Uttarakhand and Neemrana, Rajasthan.

Noted scientist Madhav Dhekane has assumed the office of Director at ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) on 1 July 2016 , Department of Space, at Vattiyoorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Dhekane is the seventh director of IISU. Madhav Dhekane : Madhav Dhekane obtained a B-Tech degree in electrical engineering and an M-tech degree in Systems and Control from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. He had joined Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in 1983.  He holds wide experience and expertise in the launch vehicle control and guidance design, onboard software development and mission design, and analysis.He had also held various significant positions in ISRO such as Deputy Director, Control, Guidance & Simulation Entity at VSSC, Chief Controller at VSSC and Associate Director (R&D) at VSSC. ISRO Inertial Systems Unit : The ISRO Inertial Systems Unit is a research and development unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).IISU is located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.  It specialises in inertial sensors and systems in satellite technology.Its specialized fields include the fields of launch vehicle inertial systems, spacecraft inertial systems, inertial sensors evaluation and simulation, inertial system production and more.The unit has the total capability to design, engineer, develop, qualify and deliver inertial systems for the entire Indian Space programme.

Javeline thrower Annu Rani has bettered her national record with a 59.87m throw at the 56th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships in Hyderabad on 2 July 2016. Rani improved her previous meet mark with her first round 59.06m at G.M.C. Balayogi Stadium. However, her 59.87m throw came in the fourth round. Suman Devi could log only 55.88m to bag the second place. Haryana’s Sharmila Kumari finished third with 53.80m throw. Annu Rani :  Annu Rani is the current national record holder in javeline throw.She is supported by Olympic Gold Quest, a not-for-profit foundation that identifies and supports Indian athletes.  At the 2014 National Inter-State Championship in Lucknow, Rani broke the national record held by Gurmeet Kaur with a throw of 58.83 metres. In 2014, she won the bronze medal with a throw of 59.53 meters at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. In the process, she bettered her personal best and also broke the national record that she previously held.

Nineteen new Ministers of State (MoS) were inducted in the Union Council of Ministers in a major expansion. These new ministers were administered oath of office and secrecy by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.  This was the second expansion of the NDA government led by PM Narendra Modi. Of the 19 new ministers, 17 are from the BJP, one each from Apna Dal and RPI.  Besides, induction of these new ministers, Minister of State (MoS) Environment, Forests and Climate Change with independent charge, Prakash Javdekar was elevated to the Cabinet rank. The Ministers of State inducted are :  Faggan Singh Kulaste : Health and Family Welfare Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia : Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; Parliamentary Affairs Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi : Drinking Water and Sanitation Vijay Goel : Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge); Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ramdas Athawale :  Social justice and empowerment Rajen Gohain : Railways Anil Madhav Dave :  Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge) Parshottam Rupala : Agriculture and farmers welfare; panchayati raj MJ Akbar : External affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal :  Finance; corporate affairs Jasvantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor : Tribal affairs Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey :  HRD Ajay Tamta :  Textiles Krishna Raj :  Women and child development Mansukh L Mandaviya : Road transport and highways, Shipping; chemicals and fertilizers Anupriya Singh Patel :  Health and family welfare CR Chaudhary : Consumer affairs, food and public distribution PP Chaudhary : Law and justice; electronics and information technology Subhash Ramrao Bhamre : Defence Among the newly inducted Ministers, three each are from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Rajasthan got four berths while Maharashtra got two. There is one Minister each from Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka and Uttarakhand. With the induction of 19 MoS, total number of Ministers in the Union Council has gone up to 83, exceeding the constitutional cap of 82. As per provisions of Article 75, the total number cannot exceed 82 i.e. 15% of the total number of members of Lok Sabha. This provision of constitutional cap for total number of Ministers in the Union Council was added by the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003.  

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the first week of July 2016 gave its approval to the New Horizons mission to investigate a mysterious object deep in the Kuiper Belt.The mission will explore the mysterious object known as 2014 MU69. It is expected that the New Horizons will reach 2014 MU69 on 31 December 2018 or 1 January 2019. 2014 MU69 : 2014 MU69 is an ancient object considered one of the early building blocks of the solar system.It was selected as New Horizons' target in August 2015. After four course changes in October and November 2015, New Horizons is on course toward 2014 MU69. 2014 MU69 was initially called PT1 and 1110113Y by the New Horizons and Hubble teams respectively. It was discovered on 26 June 2014 using the Hubble Space Telescope during a preliminary survey to find a suitable Kuiper belt object for the New Horizons probe to flyby.2014 MU69 is the first object to be targeted for a flyby that was discovered after the spacecraft was launched. New Horizons : New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe that was launched as a part of NASA's New Frontiers program. It is engineered by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), with a team led by S. Alan Stern.  It was launched with the primary mission to perform a flyby study of the Pluto system. Its secondary mission is to fly by and study one or more other Kuiper belt objects (KBOs).New Horizons was launched on 19 January 2006 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was launched directly into an Earth-and-solar escape trajectory with a speed of about 16.26 kilometers per second. On 14 July 2015, it flew 12500 km above the surface of Pluto, making it the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet.  

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has successfully entered into the orbit of Jupiter on 4th July 2016 and started orbiting solar system’s most massive planet. The spacecraft was launched by NASA as part of its New Frontiers program in 2011 to study Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. Juno spacecraft :  The unmanned spacecraft has been named after the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter who is considered as the god of the sky in ancient Greco-Roman mythology. Juno is the first mission designed by NASA to see beneath Jupiter’s clouds. It has travelled 2.7 billion kilometres since its launch to reach Jupiter. The mission previously was been referred to by the backronym JUpiter Near-polar Orbiter. Orbit : It will orbit Jupiter from pole to pole, 5,000 kilometres above planet’s cloud tops. It will sample Jupiter’s charged particles and magnetic fields for the first time to study its composition beneath the sky. Payloads : Juno has nine instruments on board to study atmosphere, gravity, magnetic field and possible existence of solid core in Jupiter. Juno will map Jupiter’s gravity and magnetic fields and also track how much water is present in the atmosphere.  Mission Life : Juno will have mission life of 20 months from July 2016 to Feb 2018. In its mission life, the spacecraft will circle the Jupiter 37 times before finally making a death plunge in 2018 in order to avoid accidentally crashing onto one of the planet’s moons. Juno is not the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. It is second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after Galileo probe which had orbited the planet from 1995–2003. Galileo probe in its mission had found evidence of subsurface saltwater on Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Jupiter is solar system’s most massive planet and is fifth from the sun after Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. It is known for its Great Red Spot because of a storm (bigger than size of Earth) that has been raging for hundreds of years. Diameter: 142000 km (11times size of earth)  Composition : Hydrogen (90%) and Helium (10%). Known moons : Length of day : 10 hours.  Average temperature : -145 degree Celsius.  Volume: 1329 Earths could fit inside Jupiter.

American actor Noel Neill, the first actor to play the role Lois Lane on the Adventures of Superman television series died on 3 July 2016. She was 95. Lois Lane is a fictional character who is an award-winning journalist and the primary love interest of Superman. Noel Neill : Noel Neill was born in Minneapolis on 25 November 1920. In her teens, she was a popular photographic model.  In the mid-40s, she appeared in a leading role in one of Monogram Pictures' melodramas. She played the role in the film serials Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950) with Kirk Alyn playing Superman/Clark Kent. Over the decades, she appeared in various productions of the Superman franchise. She often played the parent or other relative of one of the main characters, including the 1978 Superman feature film, the 1980s TV series Superboy, the 1990s primetime drama Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and the 2006 film Superman Returns.

Para swimmer Niranjan Mukundan won eight medals, including three gold medals, at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) U-23 World Games.The games concluded on 3 July 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic. Mukundan bagged gold medals in 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke, silver in 100m fly and 50m freestyle, and bronze in 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 100m backstroke events. Niranjan Mukundan :  Born on 4 September 1994, Mukundan is an Indian para-swimmer. He was born with a physical deformity called Spina Bifida. It is a birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord.He was crowned as the Junior World Champion in the year 2015.  GoSports Foundation supports Mukundan through the Para Champions Programme. In 2015, he was given National Award for Best Sports-person of the Year by Government of India. In 2016, he was awarded with Ekalavya Award.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Mozambique on Drug demand reduction and related matters.  The MoU also envisages prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals.  It also aims to enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries in combating illicit trafficking in Narcotic drugs, Psychotropic substances and their precursors through exchange of expertise, information and capacity building.

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Mauritius in the field of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation. The MoU will encourage cooperation between both countries in the field of rural development and capacity building on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. Highlights : The MoU will help to establish a framework for cooperation between the National Development Unit of Mauritius and Union Ministry of Rural Development in the sphere of rural development. Under it, a Joint Committee on Cooperation on Rural Development will be established which will meet alternatively in both countries on mutually agreed dates.  Both countries will coordinate and facilitate appropriate technical cooperation, including the access to Indian expertise institutions for fulfilling the objectives of this MoU. They will also exchange of relevant information in the sphere of rural development, including scientific and technical information together with policies and support measures. The MoU was signed taking into consideration the institutional arrangement for bilateral cooperation between India and Mauritius in the field of rural development and poverty alleviation. Both countries have a large segment of their population living in rural areas and for their livelihoods are pre-dominantly dependent on agriculture and its allied activities.

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