Current Affairs 10th June 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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G Ragesh Chandra has been designated as Secretary to Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy. A release from the Chief Secretary to the government said Lt Governor Kiran Bedi issued an order to this effect yesterday, stating that the appointment would come into effect immediately. Chandra would hold additional charge of the departments and subjects already looked after by him, the release said. Last year Ragesh was in news the Anti-corruption wing of CBI has filed a charge sheet in the Special CBI Court here (headed by Principal Sessions Judge)  against him along with at least 11 others in a case of  land scam involving the sale of a  government land at Pillyarkuppam  in Bahour Commune   by  a private party in connivance with certain  government officials of the administration.   

State Bank of India (SBI) and Spain's CaixaBank have inked pact to provide loans to Indo-Spanish joint ventures and local enterprises. SBI and CaixaBank have signed a memorandum of agreement to enhance business synergies. According to the agreement, they will expand banks' guarantee transaction businesses by jointly providing credit to Indian-Spanish joint ventures and Indian local enterprises. The agreement was signed by Caixa Bank's Executive Vice-President, International Banking, Victoria Matia and SBI's Chief General Manager Sujit Kumar Varma. The banks will collaborate in areas of mutual interest such as syndicated loan business, guarantee transactions, trade finance and export credit agency finance, infrastructure finance and networking services, among others. Through this agreement, both SBI and CaixaBank will gain direct access to their respective markets of operation. Both banks' clients will be able to use the vast combined network to expand their businesses abroad.This agreement with India's leading financial institution Will help facilitate the growth of Spanish companies operating in this market. India is increasingly making its global presence felt across various landscapes. Partnering with an organisation like SBI is strategically important to us, and we look forward to contributing to SBI's growth through our market expertise and established relationships. CaixaBank had established its representative office in New Delhi in 2011.

State-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has entered into an agreement with Adani group for construction of two silos to store wheat, at an estimated cost of about Rs 80 crore.The two silos would have a combined storage capacity of 75,000 tonnes. As part of the agreement, Adani Agri Logistics will construct silos at Kotkapura in Punjab and Katihar in Bihar in the next two years.The silos will be designed, built, financed and operated by the private partner while it will be owned by the FCI. FCI, the government's nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrain, would provide guarantee of rentals for 30 years, the official added. The silo at Kotkapura would be of 25,000 tonne capacity and will require an investment of about Rs 35 crore, while the other silo at Katihar would have a capacity of 50,000 tonnes to be built at a cost of about Rs 45 crore. A silo is a steel structure, comprising large size cylindrical shape bins normally each with a capacity of about 12,500 tonnes, where grains can be stored without jute bags for longer duration. FCI will provide the rent assurance for 30 years. For the first year the rate is fixed at Rs 97 per tonne per month. The rates will keep on revising based on the predecided formula, the source added. At present the total storage capacity under silos is about 10 lakh tonnes. Out of which 5.5 lakh tonnes is with FCI and remaining is with state-agencies.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has constituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of PWD Minister Satyendar Jain to look into matters related to water bodies in the national capital on 10 June 2016.  Water Minister Kapil Mishra and Environment & Forests Minister Imran Hussain will be members of the committee. The CEO of Delhi Jal Board, Keshav Chandra will be its Member Secretary.  The committee will look into matters related to water bodies in Delhi and issues related to taking necessary steps like site inspections, proper identification/confirmation of water bodies for updated inventory, suggesting suitable recommendations to restore them, rain water harvesting for the benefit of water bodies along with their development and beautification plan on targeted basis for all the water bodies-owning agencies.  The official said the move is in reference to the NGT's June 3 judgment on 'Society for Protection of Culture Heritage, Environment, Traditions & Promotions of National Awareness (CHETNA) vs. Union of India & Ors'.

India on 1 June 2016 joined the Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) against Ballistic Missile Proliferation as its 138th subscribing state. India joined it by notifying HCoC Central Contact, Vienna, through diplomatic channels. India’s joining the Code signals its readiness to further strengthen global non-proliferation objectives. Its subscription reinforces its support for international missile non-proliferation. Earlier, on 12 May 2016, India formally applied for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership that culminated the process began more than a decade ago with the signing of the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement or 123 Agreement. Against this backdrop, we present a list of major global agreements, conventions and export control regimes that regulate and control various types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related technologies. Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) : Group of nuclear supplier countries based on Non-Proliferation Principle.Mandate is to regulate nuclear exports & nuclear-related exports.Set up in 1974 as a response to Indian nuclear test.Being a signatory of NPT is an important criteria to join the elite club.Has 48 members including P5 of the UNSC Features : Applied for membership in May 2016.Sought exemption from NPT on grounds of clean track-record.India’s pledge of “no-first-use” policy will help in getting membership.Got support from all major members; China poses hurdle.Membership helps in lucrative global nuclear trade.Will get access to sensitive nuclear material & technologies.Big boost to domestic industries & clean energy initiatives. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) : An informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries.Set up in 1987 by the G7 countries.Aims to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology.Focus on those that carry minimum payload of 500 kg & minimum of 300 km.Not a treaty and does not impose legally binding obligations on member.Has 34 members & China is not a member. Features : Applied for membership but denied membership in October 2015.Major countries supported but Italy was reluctant (“due to rift on Marine case”).Membership helps India in curbing global missile non-proliferation threat.More of strategic concern and no additional benefit in terms of trade.Because the group has no restrictions on trade with non-members. Wassenaar Arrangement : Set up in 1995 in Wassenaar (the Netherlands) & operation in 1996.Focus is on conventional arms & dual-use goods and technologies.Seeks to achieve peace and security through export controls.Has a 4-point criterion for membership.41 members including the USA and Russia. Features : Interested in joining this export control regimeMeets 3 of the four conditions needed to join.They are – Producer of arms; Adherence to non-proliferation policies.Third - Fully effective export controls (announced a list of 16 in August 2015).Fourth - Yet to comply with SCOMET list criteria.Benefits – participation in trade and Play key role in deciding export regulations. Australia Group : Informal group set up in 1985.As a response to Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in 1984.To control the export of chemical and biological weapons.Key role in the conclusion of Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) of 1997. Features : Willing to join the group with the USA’s backing.Ratified the CWC and set up a national authority in 2000.With membership, gets a chance in deciding export items list Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) : To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons & weapons technology.Binding treaty and came into force in 1970 for 25 years.In 1995 extended indefinitely; Joined by 195 parties so far.Two categories Nuclear Weapon States (NWS), which are also P5, & Non-NWS.NWS are those that conducted tests before 1 January 1967 Features : Unwilling to sign the treaty as it is biased towards NWS.NPT discriminatory because it enables development of weapons only by NWS.India, Israel and Pakistan are the major non-signatories.Signing of NPT is crucial as it linked to membership in other control regimes. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) : Seeks to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments.Applicable to military as well as civilian purposes.Adopted by UN General Assembly in September 1996.Signed by 183 and ratified by 164.Not in force because not ratified by all 44 Annex II countries including India. Features : Not a signatory to the convention.Because the USA signed and not ratified so far.Other non-signatories: Pakistan, North Korea & Myanmar. Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) : Legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms.In force since 1975 & has 174 states-parties.Non-signatory States – Israel and many African nations. Features : Ratified the convention and strongly committed to not to produce the biological weapons.

The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on 9 June 2016 launched the report titled Road Accidents in India 2015. As per the report, road accidents have emerged as a major public health problem in India where almost 5 lakh accidents occurred last year killing 146000 people.The report was compiled by the Transport Research Wing. Highlights of the report : The total number of road accidents increased by 2.5 percent from 489400 in 2014 to 501423 in 2015.The total number of persons killed in road accidents increased by 4.6 percent from 139671 in 2014 to 146133 in 2015. Road accident injuries have also increased by 1.4 percent from 493474 in 2014 to 500279 in 2015.  The severity of road accidents, measured in terms of number of persons killed per 100 accidents has increased from 28.5 in 2014 to 29.1 in 2015.About 1374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads which further translates into 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour  in our country.  About 54.1 percent of all persons killed in road accidents were in the 15 -34 years age group during the year 2015.Thirteen top states namely Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, UP, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telengana, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Haryana accounted for 86.7 percent of all road accidents in the country.  Around 83.6 per cent of all road accidents fatalities also occurred in these top thirteen states.The fifty Million Plus Cities accounted for a share of 22.1 percent in total road accidents in the country, 11.3 percent in total persons killed in road accidents and 16.4 percent people injured in road accidents.   Mumbai had the highest number of road accidents while Delhi had the highest number of deaths due to road accidents. Accident severity in terms of percentage share of 50 Million Cities was 14.9 percent in 2015 as against 15.0 percent in 2014. Drivers’ fault has been revealed as the single most responsible factor for road accidents, accounted for 77.1 percent of total road accidents during 2015 as against 78.8 percent during 2014.  Earlier in January 2016, Union Government unveiled measures to improve road safety across the country during the launch of the Road Safety Week in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has  concluded five-nation visit to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the US and Mexico on 9 June 2016. During the five-day tour between 4 June and 8 June 2016, Modi met with Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani; Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani; President of Swiss federation, Johann Schneider-Ammann; US President Barack Obama; and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieta. During this visit, he held high level meetings on a wide range of bilateral issues and matters of regional and global concern. With US President, Swiss President and Mexico President, Modi discussed India's NSG membership issue and secured their constructive support. Highlights of the visit to Afghanistan : In Herat, Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani dedicated Afghan-India friendship dam, earlier known as Salma dam to the people.The project built by India at a cost 1700 crore rupees will irrigate 75 thousand hectares of land, generate 42 megawatt power and also supply drinking water in 620 villages. Afghan President conferred the highest civilian honour of Afghanistan, the Amir Amanullah Khan Award on Narendra Modi. Highlights of the visit to Qatar : The two nations signed 7 agreements in various fields.Prime Minister as a rare and special gesture shared meal with workers at a medical camp in Doha.The two sides agreed to constitute an inter-ministerial High Level Joint Committee to regularly review all bilateral matters, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.Modi held detailed talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and addressed the business community of Qatar, a country which is India's largest supplier of LNG requirements, accounting for 65% of the country’s total imports in financial year 2015-16. Highlights of the visit to Switzerland : Prime Minister meets Indian scientists and students at CERN in Geneva.Delegation level talks were held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Switzerland President Johann Schneider Ammann in Geneva. Switzerland supported India's membership in the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).Switzerland agreed to provide mutual support to India for becoming non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Switzerland agreed to help India in combating the menace of black money and tax evasion.The country agreed to build Swiss style vocational and educational training centres in India that suit India's requirements.It also agreed to share clean technology and work on energy security and sustainable development. Highlights of the visit to the US : Modi addressed a joint session of the US Congress. He met the Congressional Leadership at Capitol Hills. He addressed the gathering at 40th AGM of US India Business Council in Washington.He interacted with think tanks in Washington. He attended ceremony for repatriation of cultural objects in Washington. He laid wreath at Space Shuttle Colombia Memorial at Arlington Cemetery in Washington. The two nations announced the creation of a 20 million dollar US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative. The initiative will be equally supported by both and is expected to mobilize up to 400 million dollar to provide clean and renewable electricity to up to 1 million households by 2020.The two nations signed and exchanged 6 MoUs and 2 documents. Modi was the fifth Indian prime minister to address a joint session of US lawmakers. Other four Prime Minister’s to address the joint session include Rajiv Gandhi (June 1985), P V Narasimha Rao (May 1994), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (September 2000), Manmohan Singh (July 2005).Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the House and Senate separately in 1949 when he was the head of the interim government. Highlights of the visit to Mexico : Prime Minister meets Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico during his visit to Mexico.Mexico is an important partner for India’s energy security. We are now looking to move beyond a buyer-seller relationship, and into a long-term partnership.'' - Prime Minister Foreign Ministers of the two countries were instructed to develop the roadmap of the Privileged Partnership suitable for the 21st Century, in the framework of the Seventh Mexico-India Joint Commission Meeting to be held in Mexico in 2016.  

India has joined a group of nearly 40 countries that have signed a Europe-led clampdown on tax evasion and corruption.  Under this group countries are committed to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership between law enforcement agencies and tax authorities of partner countries.  This initiative aims to develop a global standard for the automatic exchange of beneficial ownership data Most European countries except Switzerland have signed this automatic exchange mechanism.  Besides India, some of the other countries outside Europe include Nigeria, Afghanistan, Mexico and UAE. India’s this move is seen step in the direction of NDA Government’s election pledge in 2014 to recover billions of dollars sent to tax havens abroad to avoid income tax.

Maharashtra government has decided to celebrate the 21st day of every month as Yoga day across all schools, colleges and universities in the state. State School and Higher Education minister Vinod Tawde had recently held a meeting with yoga institutions like Shri Shri Ravishankar's Art of Living, Ramdev Baba's Patanjali Yog Samiti, Samarth Vyayam Mandir Bharat Swabhiman Nyas and others to moot various ways to celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21 on a grand scale at district levels. It is also decided that every district will have to set up a Yoga Day committee at their levels to plan 'Yoga Mahostav' (Yoga Festival) every year in between January 12-21 and a separate committee at the state level will monitor and coordinate with these committees. Schools, colleges, technical and medical colleges in the state will help promote and disseminate yoga at district levels for these 10 days during the festival.He also appealed to yoga institutions to help in the promotion and dissemination of Yoga therapy. Swami Vivekanand's birth anniversary, January 12, is celebrated as Yuvak Din (Youth Day) in the country. So during 10 days from January 12 to 21, all schools and colleges will have to organise Yoga Festival aiming to spread Yoga therapy in 40,000 villages across the state.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has announced the names of four elements in the periodic table that were discovered in January 2016. Moscovium (Mc), nihonium (Nh), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og)complete the seventh row of the table.  The elements  with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118  were discovered in a joint effort by American and Russian scientists. The research included scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Riken institute in Japan.

Capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will sell 16 land parcels of the Sahara Group to recover dues through e-auction . It has set a reserve price of Rs 1,898 crore for these properties. While SBI Capital Markets will conduct the e-auction on July 13, HDFC Realty will conduct one on July 15, said notices published by these agencies. They have been appointed to conduct the sale of Sahara properties. According to the notice, SBI Cap will auction eight land parcels which will fetch Rs 1,196 crore at the reserve price and HDFC Realty will auction five land parcels at reserve price of Rs 702 crore. The properties residential, agricultural and non-agricultural - are located in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Interested bidders can inspect these land parcels between June 16 and 17. According to the court directions, these properties cannot be sold at less than 90 per cent of circle rates.

Coast Guard teams of India and Korea are warming up for a joint exercise codenamed 'Sahyog-Hyeobleod-2016. According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials, the exercise is being scheduled in the Bay of Bengal, off Chennai between June 8 and 11. friendly volleyball match between Indian Coast Guard and Korea Coast Guard will also be played on June 9. The Korean ship would leave Chennai on June 11. Korea Coast Guard Ship 3009 with about 70 personnel on board arrived in India on8 June 2016. Social interaction between crew of Indian Coast Guard and Korea Coast Guard has been planned on June 10. Indian and Korean Coast Guards have been conducting combined exercises since 12 years following a Memorandum of Understanding inked in 2004.  The exercise would be witnessed by ICG Director General Rajendra Singh and Honglk-Tae, Commissioner General of Korea Coast Guard. The Korean delegation would also witness the air prowess of ICG aircraft. Interdiction of pirate vessel, joint boarding operation, Search and Rescue demonstration and external fire fighting methods are some of the features of the exercise. This event is historic from the point of view of both the countries.

Tata Power Solar has bagged the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) award for rooftop solar power projects. The company has won in the Channel Partner/EPC contractor category at the National Excellence Awards 2016 instituted by MNRE for the first time. According to Ashish Khanna, ED and CEO, Tata Power Solar, as per MNRE, the awards are presented to encourage efficiency and give positive feedback to various government bodies as well as private sector.  Tata Power Solar has commissioned 112.5 MW of rooftop projects till 2016. Rooftop power plants are expected to constitute 40 per cent of the Government’s 100 GW target solar capacity to be achieved by 2022. Recently, MNRE announced a 30 per cent subsidy for all residential and non-profit organisations installing rooftop solar. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy : Ministry of New and Renewable Energy or MNRE is a ministry of the Government of India. The ministry is currently headed by Piyush Goyal, a cabinet minister. The ministry was established as the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources in 1992. It adopted its current name in October 2006. The Ministry is mainly responsible for research and development, intellectual property protection, and international cooperation, promotion, and coordination in renewable energy sources such as wind power, small hydro, biogas, and solar power. The broad aim of the ministry is to develop and deploy new and renewable energy for supplementing the energy requirements of India.The ministry is headquartered in Lodhi Road, New Delhi

Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Kamal Thapa is all set to arrive in New Delhi today on a three-day visit. Mr. Thapa, who is also Nepal's Foreign Minister, will hold the talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on a range of bilateral issues which also includes, Nepal's Constitution and internal situation.  During his visit to the nation, he will attend the convocation of the South Asian University in New Delhi tomorrow. External Affairs Minister of India Swaraj is also scheduled to attend it. This is an SAARC project which came into force in the year 2010. This will be his fifth visit to India since the formation of CPN-UML-led government in October.

Indian-American author Akhil Sharma has won the prestigious 100,000-euro International Dublin Literary Award, the world's richest award for a single novel, for his second novel 'Family Life'.  The Delhi-born New Yorker has already bagged the 2015 Folio Prize worth 40,000 pounds for his autobiographical novel that tells the tale of how a family moves from Delhi to New York, where the older brother has an accident that leaves him brain-damaged and in need of 24-hour care.  Sharma was named the winner from an initial list of 160 nominations by a panel of judges including novelists Ian Sansom, Juan Pablo Villalobos and Carlo Gebler. 'Family Life' took Sharma nearly 13 years to write and now he plans to use some of the money from the award to set up a scholarship in his brother's name, one of the key characters in the book. The Irish prize is unusual in that contenders, which must be published in English or English translation, are nominated by public libraries from around the world, Sharma's work was put forward by theIndia International Centre library in New Delhi and by Jacksonville public library in the US. The authoris now working on a collection of short stories and hopes to complete it by the end of the year. International DUBLIN Literary Award : The International DUBLIN Literary Award is an international literary award awarded each year for a novel written in English or translated into English. It aims to promote excellence in world literature and is solely sponsored by the City of Dublin, Ireland.At €100,000, the award is one of the richest literary prizes in the world. If the winning book is a translation (as it has been 8 times), the prize is divided between the writer and the translator, with the writer receiving €75,000 and the translator €25,000.Nominations are submitted by public libraries worldwide  over 400 library systems in 177 countries worldwide are invited to nominate books each year  from which the shortlist and the eventual winner are selected by an international panel of judges (which changes each year).

State-run firm MTNL Chairman and Managing Director, Narendra Kumar Yadav had resigned.Director (finance) P K Purwar has been given additional charge of the CMD's post, MTNL said in a BSE filing. "Narendra Kumar Yadav has relinquished the charge of CMD of the company w.e.f. June 8, 2016. P K Purwar, Director (Finance), MTNL has been entrusted with the additional charge of the post of CMD. The telecom firm, which has operations in the Delhi and Mumbai circles, expects to post operational profit at the end of the current financial year and turn profitable in 2017-18.The state-run firm has been running in losses since 2009-10. At the end of March the company had 356,085 wireless subscribers and 3,504,088 wireline users, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's data.

Axis Bank has launched India’s first internationally-listed certified green bond to finance climate change solutions around the world at London Stock Exchange (LSE). The proceeds of the bond will be invested by Axis Bank in green energy, transportation and infrastructure projects.  It will play important role in reinforcing India’s commitment to produce 175,000 MW of renewable power by 2022. The green bonds of Axis Bank were certified by the Climate Bonds Standards Board. It has raised 500 million dollars at the LSE after it launched. This is the first green bond of Axis Bank issued within its 5 billion dollars Medium Term Note (MTN) programme, which has also has been listed entirely on LSE. Green Bonds : Bonds basically are debt instruments which help issuer to get capital while the investors receive fixed income in the form of interest. In case of Green Bonds, the issuer gets capital from the investors only if the investment (capital) is being raised to fund green projects relating to renewable energy or emission reductions etc.

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd. on 5 June 2016 signed a MoU with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to facilitate investment in Indian infrastructure sector. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Doha during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Qatar. Features of the MoU :  Its objective is to facilitate QIA to study investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector in India.The QIA will develop a framework for exchange of information with regard to such investments opportunities, in order to enable both sides to decide on joint investments.The MoU will remain in effect for 12 months during which period, both parties will discuss and agree on the terms, principles, criteria for such investments. The NIIF shall share with QIA a pipeline of investment opportunities available in the infrastructure sector in India Qatar Investment Authority : It is the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar.They are long-term investors and access investment opportunities across all geographical areas, sectors and asset classes.The majority of their investments are outside Qatar with assets spanning a wide range of sectors and spread across asset classes.The fund deploys a wide range of investment strategies and invests through a carefully selected network of top-tier fund managers. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund : It was approved by the Union Cabinet in July 2015 to fund new and rejuvenate stressed projects so that stalled investment cycle is revived in the country. It was established as a Category II Alternate Investment Funds (AIF) as per the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). It has an initial corpus of 20000 crore rupees which can be leveraged by infrastructure companies including Indian Rail Finance Corporation (IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB).Similar to the agreement with the QIA, the NIIF signed a MoU with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities in February 2016 to mobilize investments into the Indian infrastructure sector.

Per Lodin, Major General of Sweden, was on 8 June 2016 appointed as the Head of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).  Lodin's appointment was approved by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Major General Lodin succeeds Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who will complete his two-year assignment as Chief Military Observer and Head of UNMOGIP on 2 July 2016. Major General Per Lodin : Lodin is currently the head of Strategic Material Management at Forsvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish Defence Ministry’s procurement and logistics arm.He had earlier served as the head of the task force centre of Kosovo Force (KFOR), the multi-national peacekeeping mission led by NATO in 2006-2007.He began his military career in the Swedish Army in 1978. UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) : According to the Security Council mandate, UNMOGIP reports on ceasefire violations along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. It also observes and reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations. It has personnel from 10 countries comprising 44 military members and 72 civilian staff. UNMOGIP began the operations in 1949. India has always been against the UNMOGIP. It has maintained that the UNMOGIP has been made irrelevant by the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that recognises the Kashmir dispute as a bilateral issue.While on the other hand, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for an expansion of the UNMOGIP and his country continues to file complaints with it about alleged Indian ceasefire violations. In 2014, India asked the UNMOGIP to leave the government building it had provided the mission.

The iconic Eden Gardens has emerged as the frontrunner to host the first ever Day-Night Test match in the country against the visiting New Zealand side even though CAB president Sourav Ganguly said it will depend on their upcoming "pink ball experiment" from June 18.  Nothing has been confirmed yet. Hosting a day night Test will depend on the success of the Duleep Trophy. We are also organising the country's first day night four-day CAB Super League final with pink Kookaburra balls from June 18-21 on an experimental basis. We will see how it goes,Ganguly told PTI, keeping cards close to his chest.  An influential BCCI official, though, told PTI that if the Day/Night Test match is held against New Zealand, it will come to Eden Gardens in all likelihood.  Eden's chances are bright since the other two Test venues for the New Zealand leg are Indore and Kanpur. Kanpur's floodlights have been a problem while Indore, for a match of this magnitude, may not be the best venue. The CAB has procured a dozen pink kookaburra balls for the super league final next week which will be telecast live.  At CAB are committed to try our level best to provide best of facilities and meaningful games for the spectators to witness. 

Researchers at Assam Agricultural University have developed two rice varieties, namely Ranjit Sub-1 and Bahadur Sub-1. These rice varieties were developed to get better yields under submerged conditions in state mainly Barak Valley. Most parts of the state including Barak valley is prone to periodical flash floods particularly during the monsoon season. Two rice varieties : These are ideally suited for such submerged areas in the khariff season.These new rice variants are improved forms of the Ranjit and Bahadur varieties which the farmers of the state have been using for years.An additional gene has been incorporated in the new variants which ensure productivity even if the crops remain submerged during flash floods.

India and the United States of America (USA) on 7 June 2016 released a Joint Statement to endure as global partners in the 21st Century. The Joint statement was released in White House marking third major bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and POTUS Barak Obama. The United States recognized India as a Major Defense Partner which strengthens the defense cooperation between these two Nations. This will allow India to purchase more advanced and sensitive technologies from the US. Highlights of the Joint statement : India and the United States recognize the urgency of climate change and share the goal of enabling entry into force of the Paris Agreement as early as possible in 2016.Both the nations welcomed the signing of an MOU for Development of an International Expedited Traveler Initiative which is also known as the Global Entry Program. India’s ambitious national goal to install 175 GW of renewable power which includes 100 GW from solar power was supported by The United States. India and The United States also remain committed to the goals of Mission Innovation to double their respective clean energy research and development (R&D) investment in five years. India and The United States will work together to combat the threat of terrorists accessing and using chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological materials. Both the countries welcomed the finalization of the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).Both these countries issued two Joint statements earlier on the January 2015 US-India Joint Statement to make a counterterrorism relationship for the 21st Century and in September 2015 US-India Joint Declaration on Combatting Terrorism.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) wrote a letter to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice seeking amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951. In the letter, the ECI urged the government to confer specific powers on it to postpone or countermand polls based on evidence that money power was used to influence voters. The move comes days after the ECI revoked the poll notification for two assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu - Aravakurichi and Thanjavur - following reports of large-scale distribution of money to voters by the candidates and political parties.The cancellation of the elections was taken under Article 324 of the Constitution that empowers the ECI to conduct elections in a free and fair manner. At present, there is no specific provision in the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to this effect and the ECI is of understanding that the Article 324 should be invoked sparingly. What are the ill effects of money power in elections : There is an undeniable fact that financial superiority translates into electoral advantage, and so richer candidates and parties have a greater chance of winning elections. This is best articulated by the Supreme Court in Kanwar Lal Gupta v Amar Nath Chawla case. The above observation can be substantiated from the 2014 Lok Sabha election results in which 27% (or 2208 candidates) of all the candidates were “crorepati candidates.”The average asset of each of the 8163 candidates was 3.16 crore rupees. The percentage of crorepati candidates increased from 16% in 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The current system tolerates, or at least does not prevent, lobbying and capture, where a sort of quid pro quo transpires between big donors and political parties/candidates. Unregulated, or under-regulated, election financing leads to two types of capture: the first involves cases where the industry / private entities use money to ensure less stringent regulation, and the money used to finance elections eventually leads to favourable policies. The second involves cases of “deeper capture”, where through their disproportionate and self-serving influence, corporations capture not just regulators, but also the views of ordinary citizens and what they think of as “public interest.”Thus, lobbying and capture give undue importance to big donors and certain interest groups, at the expense of the ordinary citizen. What steps to be taken to curb money power in elections : The following steps were recommended by the Law Commission of India in its March 2015 report titled Electoral Reforms.The suggestions involve suitable amendments to the provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 and the Companies Act, 2013 and the Income Tax Act, 1961 that govern use of money in the electoral process. Election finance : The election expenses incurred or authorized by candidates or their election agents currently extends from the date of nomination to the date of declaration of results. This period should be extended to apply from the date of notification of the elections to the date of declaration of results.The district election officer should make publicly available, on his website or on file for public inspection on payment of prescribed fee, the expenditure reports submitted by every contesting candidate. The Law Commission was not in a favour of complete state funding of elections or matching grants to be feasible, given the current conditions of the country. Instead, it supported the existing system of indirect in-kind subsidies. Regulation of political parties and inner party democracy : It strongly recommended for internal democracy within political parties in view of growing nexus between industrialists and top echelon of party leadership.Political parties should be required to maintain and submit annual accounts. The accounts are duly audited by a qualified and practicing chartered accountant from a panel of such accountants maintained for the purpose by the Comptroller and Auditor General, to the ECI every financial year. Independent Candidates : Independent candidates be disbarred from contesting elections because the current regime allows a proliferation of independents, who are mostly dummy/non-serious candidates or those who stand (with the same name) only to increase the voters’ confusion. The Election Commission of India in its guidelines issued in August 2014 recognised that that money power is disturbing the level playing field and vitiating the purity of elections. Money, often from illegitimate sources, results in “undisguised bullying” and is the primary source to buy muscle power, weapons, or to unduly influence voters through liquor, cash and gifts. It is against this context, it is high time India undertakes comprehensive electoral reforms in the broader interest of democracy.

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