Current Affairs 7th June 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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 The Uttarakhand government  has decided to reduce land circle rates in urban and peri-urban areas by around 50%.The state Cabinet gave its nod to a proposal recommending about 50% reduction in land circle rates, revising its own decision taken in January this year. The state government had effected an increase of 10-30% in land circle rates in January this year, drawing flak from a number of quarters and Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which has since been demanding revision of circle rates to bring relief to the common man. Circle rate is the minimum value fixed for land, house and other real estate transactions. The move is seen as another populist decision by the state government with an eye on the state Assembly elections due in early 2017.The government has held a slew of Cabinet meetings to take decisions intended to please the masses, including regularisation of guest teachers.  

India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 6 June 2016 signed a $120 million loan pact to improve irrigation and water management infrastructure in Odisha. The soft loan is the second tranche of a $157.5 million financing facility under the Orissa Integrated Irrigated Agriculture and Water Management Investment Program. The financing will be used for modernising seven irrigation subprojects resulting in improved irrigation in over 1,00,000 hectares and strengthening of Water User Associations (WUAs) and the institutional capacity of Odisha's Department of Water Resources. The selected areas for the investment program are the Baitarani, Brahmani, Budhabalanga and Subernarekha river basins and parts of Mahanadi delta. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs and M Teresa Kho, Country Director, ADB's India Resident Mission signed the loan agreement. The second tranche loan from ADB's ordinary capital resources has a 20-year term. Odisha, acting through its Department of Water Resources, is responsible for implementing the second tranche activities and overall program, which are both due for completion by September 2018.

India became the co-chair of Working Group on Maritime Situational Awareness under Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) on 4 June 2016. This decision was taken through a consensus during the 19th Plenary Session of the CGPCS that took place in Mahe, Seychelles during 31 May to 3 June 2016. Steps taken by Indian Navy to ensure safety at Somalian Coast and in the Indian Ocean Region : The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have played a very important role by enhanced patrolling in the high seas and providing armed naval escorts to ships moving in the area.  To protect Indian ships and Indian citizens employed in sea-faring duties, Indian Navy commenced anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden from 23 October 2008. In addition to escorting Indian-flagged ships, ships of other countries have also been escorted by the Indian Navy.  Merchant ships are currently being escorted along the entire length (490 nm long and 20 nm wide) of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) which is heavily patrolled by Indian Navy. To maintain high degree of alertness in the region, around 19 coastal security operations and exercises have been undertaken over the past year.  Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) :  It is a coalition of states, international organisations, the private sector and civil society that came together to fight piracy together in a coordinated manner. It was established in response to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 (2008), later recalled and replaced with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1918 (2010). It works on the basis of Contact Group model that facilitates discussion and coordination of actions among states and organizations to suppress Somali piracy. Till now, more than 60 countries and international organizations, including India, have become part of this forum. Seychelles is the current Chairman of the CGPCS for the biennium 2016-17.

The Rajiv Gauba Committee on Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi on 5 June 2016 submitted its report to the Union Ministry of Urban Development. To ensure a safe, sustainable, affordable, equitable, comfortable, accessible and environmental friendly public transport system in the city, the Committee recommended a 4-pronged strategy with the components of  a. Improving Public Transport and Disincentivising use of private vehicles b. Promoting Road Safety and efficient Traffic Management c. Setting up Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority and enhancing institutional capacity d. Promotion of Transit Oriented Development through integrated land use and transportation planning Recommendations of the committee : It called for a paradigm shift in transport planning and policy interventions to check explosive growth in automobile population in the national capital. It recommended moving people more efficiently than cars through effective public transport system. The committee noted that that 21 percent of city’s area is already under roads with limited scope for road network expansion and 60 percent of passenger trips are below 4 km distances and 80 percent below 6 km lengths. Since these short distances are ideal for non-motorised transport, it strongly recommended development of necessary infrastructure for promoting walking and cycling in the national capital.It also opined that automobile centric planning with focus on road widening, construction of more and more flyovers, Foot Over Bridges, Under Passes etc., have only promoted increased use of private vehicles which are meeting only less than 20 percent of transport needs and should not be encouraged unless warranted by natural barriers like rivers.The Committee also expressed serious concern over mushrooming of gated communities in the city which are compelling local traffic to come onto main roads by preventing short cuts for movement of people.The Committee called for various interventions over the next five years to enable 80 percent share for public transport and non-motorised trips in total transportation in the city. The Committee concluded that the explosive growth in automobile population needs to be checked quickly by adopting a ‘carrot and stick’ policy of enabling increased use of public and non-motorised transport. It recommended for disincentivising use of private vehicles throughdeterrent parking pricing and Congestion Tax.A Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority should be set up for better coordination, quick decision making and execution. It will replace over 18 different Central and Delhi Government departments and agencies handling different aspects of transportation in the city region. To implement its recommendations, the committee suggested 20000 crore rupees interventions through Bus Rapid Transport Systems (BRTS), buses, walking and cycling infrastructure. The High Powered Committee on Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi was set up by the Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu in October 2014 based on media reports on the havoc being caused by traffic congestion. The inter-ministerial Committee was headed by Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development). It had representatives from 19 different ministries and agencies of Central and Delhi Governments, Delhi Police and all the Urban Local Bodies.It came out with a 126 page comprehensive report analyzing the causes and consequences of traffic congestion and suggesting a way forward.  

Space agencies of more than 60 countries, under the impetus of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French Space Agency (CNES), have agreed to come together to combat climate challenge. The announcement was made on 3 June 2016. It is for the first time that the space agencies have agreed to engage their satellites to coordinate their methods and their data to monitor human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. What made world’s space agencies come together : Without satellites, the reality of global warming would not have been recognised and the subsequent historic agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 22 April 2016 would not have been signed. Out of the 50 essential climate variables being monitored in the present time, 26, including rising sea level, sea ice extent and greenhouse gas concentrations in all layers of the atmosphere, can be measured only from space.The key to effectively implementing the Paris Agreement lies in the ability to verify that nations are fulfilling their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s space agencies decided to establish an independent, international system to centralise data from their Earth-observing satellites through the New Delhi Declaration that officially came into effect on 16 May 2016.The agencies will inter-calibrate these satellite data so that they can be combined and compared over time.

Exercise Desert Eagle II, which was the second in the series of bilateral exercises between Indian Air Force (IAF) and United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAE AF), was concluded on 3 June 2016.This was a ten-day air combat exercise in which the IAF and the UAE Air Force undertook air exercises from Al-Dhafra Air Base, Abu Dhabi starting from 22 May 2016. Exercise Desert Eagle II : Exercise Desert Eagle-II saw the IAF Su 30 MKI participating along with Mirage 2000-9 and F-16 block 60 of the UAE Air Force.  Mission commanders from both sides participated in the Exercise and availed this opportunity to the maximum to draw valuable operational lessons. Despite the predominantly hot and arid conditions with temperatures well beyond 40 deg Celsius, IAF maintenance support staff succeeded in maintaining high serviceability state of aircraft and equipment.The Indian Air Force had participated previously in Desert Eagle I in 2008.  India and United Arab Emirates Relations :  It is pertinent to note that India and United Arab Emirates have strong bilateral relations which date back to more than hundreds of years. Both the nations have demonstrated keen resolve to engage each other in multiple facets and take the relationship to the next level.  Defence Co-operation between the two nations gained momentum after signing of the Agreement of Defence Co-operation during the visit of the Chief of Staff of UAE Armed Forces to India in 2003.  

The Union Ministry of Water Resources has  released the Draft National Water Framework Bill, 2016 to invite comments and suggestions from public on 16 May 2016. The proposed Act provides an overarching national legal framework with principles for protection, conservation, regulation and management of water as a vital and stressed natural resource.Since ‘water’ is in the State list of the Constitution, the Act will be applicable only after approval of the concerned State legislature. Highlights of Draft National Water Framework Bill, 2016  Right to Water for Life : Every person has a right to sufficient quantity of safe water for life within easy reach of the household.The right shall be provided regardless of, among others, caste, creed, religion, community, class, gender, age, disability, economic status, land ownership and place of residence.However, the precise quantity of safe water for life shall be determined by the appropriate government from time to time. Water as a Common heritage and Resource, held in public trust :The state at all levels holds water in public trust for the people and is obliged to protect water as a trustee for the benefit of all.Water in its primary aspect as a sustainer of human life shall take precedence over other uses of water, such as agricultural, industrial, commercial, and other uses. River rejuvenation : The appropriate government shall strive towards rejuvenating river systems with community participation, ensuringAviral Dhara - continuous flow in time and space including maintenance of connectivity of flow in eachriver system, Nirmal Dhara- unpolluted flow so that the quality of river waters is not adversely affected by human activities and Swachh Kinara – clean and aesthetic river banks. Sustaining ecosystems dependent on water : There shall be minimum interference in existing natural river flows; in the natural state of water bodies and wetlands and in floodplains and riverbeds, which shall be recognised as integral parts of the rivers themselves.The protection, conservation, regulation and management of water shall be carried out by the appropriate Government in a manner that is sustainable, equitable, transparent, accountable and participatory. People-centred water management : People-centred decentralised water management, for both surface and ground water, including local rainwater harvesting, watershed development and participatory irrigation management, shall be prioritised, while recognizing, encouraging and empowering local initiatives. Appropriate treatment and use of wastewater : The appropriate Government shall evolve and implement economic models that promote sustainability of recycle-reduce-and-reuse of water resources, while ensuring adherence to principles of equity. Standards for water quality and water footprints : There shall be binding national water quality standards for every kind of water use. And, there shall be binding national water footprint standards for every activity or product. Water use prioritisation : The first priority and charge on water shall be meeting the right to water for life, followed by allocation for achieving food security, supporting sustenance agriculture, sustainable livelihoods and eco-system needs. Integrated River Basin Development and Management : A river basin, including associated aquifers, shall be considered as the basic hydrological unit for planning, development and management of water.Each State Government shall develop, manage and regulate basins of intra-State rivers through a River Basin Master Plan to be implemented by an appropriate institutional mechanism.The Central Government shall provide for establishment of a River Basin Authority for each inter-State river basin, or for a sub-basin of sub inter-sate river basin wherever appropriate, for optimum and sustainable development of the inter-State rivers and river valleys.Each River Basin Authority shall prepare a Master Plan for the River Basin, under its jurisdiction. The plan shall be reviewed and updated after every 5 years after due consultation with all other planning agencies and stakeholders. Preparation of water security plans : The appropriate Government shall prepare and oversee the implementation of a Water Security Plan for (a) attainment of sufficient quantity of safe water for life and sustainable livelihoods by every person; and (b) ensuring water security even in times of emergencies like droughts and floods.The plan shall be valid for a period of 5 years from the date on which it becomes binding. It shall be revalidated or amended after every 5 years. Groundwater Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management : Groundwater shall be conserved, protected, regulated and managed through appropriate laws based on the Model Bill for the Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management of Groundwater, 2016. Flood mitigation and management : The Central Government shall develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for flood forecasting and flood inundation under the National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC).Each State Government shall also develop their own DSS to address state-specific issues. The NWIC shall ensure that the central DSS and that of each State are provided adequate and effective linkage. Drought mitigation and management : Each State Government shall prepare a Drought Mitigation and Management Policy and Action Plan within 6 months of coming into force of this Act.The policy and action plan shall include a drought risk and vulnerability assessment for the State, identify programmes and measures for drought mitigation. Water pricing and water regulators : The pricing of water shall be based on a differential pricing system in recognition of the right to water for life and its multiple roles, being a part of history, culture and religion.Water, as a part of water for life, shall not be denied to anyone on the ground of inability to pay. Water used for commercial agriculture and for industry or commerce may be priced on the basis of full economic pricing, or higher if needed and appropriate in a given case. Sectoral use of water : Urban water supply shall be metered and priced on a volumetric basis. Water Users Associations (WUAs) shall be accorded statutory powers to collect and retain a portion of Irrigation Service Fees Water resources information system : The Central Government shall develop and maintain a publicly available web based Water Resources Information System (IndiaWRIS) on Geographical Information System Platform.The IndiaWRIS will be developed by integrating water resources and other related data with satellite imageries through use of state-of-the-art Information Technology. Inter-state river water disputes : Appropriate institutional arrangements shall be established at all levels within the State and beyond up to an inter-State river-basin, to obviate and/or resolve emerging inter-State river-water disputes.The disputes should be settled through negotiations, conciliation or mediation, or other such means, at the earliest stages before the disputes become acute, so as to avoid recourse to adjudication as far as possible.All basin States in a river system are equal in rights and status, and there is no hierarchy of rights among them. The upper basin State shall adopt a cautious and minimalist approach to major interventions in inter-State rivers.They provide advance information to the lower basin States about plans for intervention, consult them at all stages on possible impacts and take care to avoid significant harm or injury to them. Existing water-related conflicts or disputes shall be reviewed and appropriate action taken in the light of the provisions of this Act.

Facebook India has appointed Umang Bedi as managing director. He will take over from Kirthiga Reddy, who will be returning to the US to take on a new role at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters. Bedi has close to two decades of leadership experience covering sales, marketing and partnerships with multinational companies.Prior to joining Facebook, he was the managing director, South Asia, at Adobe. He was responsible for making India one of Adobe’s leading markets. India is known for its great talent pool and we are really pleased to have Umang Bedi, a proven business executive, to lead our business in India. I also want to wish Kirthiga the very best in her new global role. Kirthiga has played a huge and key role in building our India business from scratch, and I know she will continue to deliver the same impact in the US,” said Dan Neary, vice president, Asia Pacific, Facebook. He added, Facebook is where people and businesses connect on mobile and with close to 150 million monthly active people in India, we see significant opportunities to help Indian business large and small deliver against their business objectives in the mobile world. An engineering graduate from the University of Pune, Bedi is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School and the recipient of the prestigious ‘40 Under Forty: India’s Hottest Business Leaders Award 2014’ given by The Economic Times and Spencer Stuart in 2014. Reddy is set to join the Global Accounts team at Menlo Park, California, where she will manage a set of global brands and also lead the emerging markets efforts globally for the Global Accounts team, which manages Facebook’s relationships with the world’s largest global advertisers. This also puts an end to the speculation triggered by a report published in The Economic Times on Tuesday that said Microsoft India’s Karan Bajwa was to join Facebook India. A Facebook spokesperson had told Mint earlier that “the ET story is off by many miles. We will let you know when a successor is appointed.

According to Forbes Magazine reported she has overtaken Maria Sharapova as the world's highest-paid sportswoman. Williams earned $28.9 million over the past 12 months, the financial magazine reported in an article posted on its website.Russian tennis star Sharapova had held the title for the past 11 years. Williams, 34, has dominated her sport for more than a decade. She won her second Grand Slam in 2002 before going on to win 19 more since then. Williams's career prize money of $77.6 million amounts to more than twice as much as any other sportswoman's. However, Sharapova dominated in endorsement profits before companies including Nike, American Express, Porsche and TAG Heuer distanced themselves after she tested positive for the recently banned drug meldonium earlier this year.Sharapova earned $21.9 million over the past 12 months, down almost $8 million from the previous year. American mixed martial arts star Ronda Rousey was third on the list with $14 million, just ahead of NASCAR stock car driver Danica Patrick , who earned $1 3.9 million.

Adobe has announced the appointment of Kulmeet Bawa as Managing Director (MD) for South Asia on 6 June 2016. He will begin his new role on 24 June 2016. Bawa will take over the position from Umang Bedi, who is leaving the company after five years of service. Bawa will report to Paul Robson, President of Adobe Asia Pacific. Bawa will lead Adobe's customer-facing engagements in India. Bawa currently serves as the Head of Sales for Adobe in India. About Adobe : Adobe Systems Incorporated is an American multinational computer software company. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, United States.It has historically focused upon the creation of multimedia and creativity software products. It is best known for Photoshop, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Creative Suite. It was founded in February 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke.

Deshauna Barber, a serving Army Reserve officer of United States (US), was on 5 June 2016 crowned as the Miss USA 2016 at the Miss USA competition 2016 held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip. She represented the US capital as Miss District of Columbia. Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin came in as the first runner-up and Miss Georgia Emanii Davis was the second runner-up.With this, Barber became the first-ever military member to win Miss USA title. She will now represent the USA at Miss Universe Competition 2016. Barber inherited the crown from 2015 winner Miss Oklahoma Olivia Jordan. Deshauna Barber : Barber works as an IT analyst at the US Department of Commerce. Barber was commissioned as a Quartermaster Officer in 2011 in the Army Reserve of US.She is currently a Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit based at Fort Meade, Maryland.She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. She was crowned as Miss District of Columbia USA 2016 in December 2015 by outgoing titleholder Lizzy Olsen.

Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar has laid foundation stone of Jai Jawan Awas Yojna (JJAY) at Bahadurgarh, Haryana on 3 June 2016. Jai Jawan Awas Yojna is an initiative to provide affordable housing to serving and retired JCOs and Other Ranks. Highlights of the project :  The project is being executed by Army Welfare Housing Organization. It aims to provide low cost housing.This housing project has been named in the memory of Late Major Rajiv Joon, recipient of Ashok Chakra and Shaurya Chakra. Major Joon had attained martyrdom fighting militants in Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir. The residential project at Bahadurgarh will be pitched at a very low cost for the benefit of JCOs and Other Ranks.The Chief Minister had granted dispensation in construction which permitted construction of about 500 dwelling units instead of 400 planned earlier.

The abbreviation Swachh Yug was in news on 6 June 2016. The campaign, being a collaborative effort between the Swachh Bharat Mission, local youth leaders and the Namami Gange project - is being called ‘Swachh ’, which translates into ‘the age of Swachh’. Features of Swachh Yug campaign : It is executed by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in partnership with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.Its objective is to make all villages along the banks of the Ganga Open Defecation Free (ODF) in 5 States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. There are 5169 villages along the river Ganga that fall under 1651 Gram Panchayats (GPs), 52 districts, and 5 States.Youth agencies under the Union Ministry of Youth Affaris such as the Bharat Scouts and Guides, Nehru Yuva Kendras and National Service Scheme will be deployed for the campaign. These organizations will be called upon to provide a large number of local youth volunteers to support a behaviour change campaign in the 52 districts under the Swachh Bharat Mission.A nodal officer has been identified for each district to work on making their district Open Defecation Free (ODF) in mission mode.The focus will be on ‘Swachhta’ at the village through proper Solid and Liquid Waste Management and maintaining general cleanliness with the involvement of local bodies, NGOs, private sector organisations, etc.In addition to the monetary incentive offered by the government under the Swachh Bharat Mission, extensive interpersonal behaviour change communication training will be given to local trainers through a network of virtual classrooms across the 5 Ganga States.  

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its second bi-monthly monetary policy review for year 2016-17 has maintained status quo in key policy interest rate. The key policy interest rates were kept unchanged on the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation in the country. RBI has kept its stance on the credit policy accommodative. Repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) : unchanged at 6.75 per cent.  Reverse repo rate under the LAF : unchanged at 5.75 per cent.  Marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate has unchanged at 7.75 per cent.  Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks : Unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liability (NDTL).  Growth forecast pegged at 7.6% for the current fiscal.  Inflation target : It was kept unchanged at 5% for January 2017 with upward bias Public investment: It is gaining strength and continuing weakness in private investment is a concern.

Himachal Pradesh became the first state in the country to have a State Data Centre (SDC), designed using green data centre concept. It was launched by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in Shimla. The SDC will offer 101 people-oriented services online through an integrated data base. It would integrate the websites of various departments and all services can be accessed through the integrated data base. It would help in saving time and money spent on creation of infrastructure as all services would be provided online in digital format thus, giving boost to paperless governance. It is first SDC in the country which has been designed using green data centre concept to minimise power requirement and increase power utilisation efficiency. SDC would help different state government departments to roll out more government-to-citizen-services. It will also enable people these services from anywhere and anytime.

India and United States (US) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate hassle-free entry of Indians into America at selected airports. The hassle-free entry will provide speedy security clearances for pre-approved, low-risk travellers from the country.  The MoU was signed as part of US’s International Expedited Traveller Initiative (also known as the Global Entry Programme). India is only the ninth country with which the US has entered into this initiative reflecting growing relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.  The expedited entry for the Indian travellers under this programme at the US airports will enable further easing of travel environment. It will also have positive impact on all kinds of people-to-people exchange between our two countries.  The US is home to more than 3 million Indian-origin people who continue to maintain deep-rooted links with India. Global Entry Programme : It is available at more than 40 US airports and 12 pre-clearance locations. Approximately 50,000 new applications for the programme are filed every month and more than 1.8 million people are enrolled in Global Entry.

Rajasthan Government has launched mobile application RajVayu for sharing information about air quality index of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur. The app was launched by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on the eve of World Environment Day (5th June). With this, Rajasthan becomes first state in country to launch such app for sharing information about air quality index of cities. Information provided on RajVayu app is based on the data collected by sophisticated air quality monitoring equipment and weather sensors. The app has been designed by Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) jointly with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM).  It would share details about the air quality, such as levels of pollutants likes SOx, NOx, CO, Ozone particles and Particulate Matter (PM) with the city residents and tourists. It would also share temperature, wind speed, humidity, weather forecast and advisories. This app is based on the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR-India) which is presently connected in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. By 2017, the services of this application would be expanded other cities in the state including in Ajmer, Alwar, Bhiwadi, Kota and Pali. Besides, CM Vasundhara Raje also launched another application named ‘Drishti’ for monitoring of pollution levels in industrial regions. It has been designed by the RSPCB with the support from RajComp.

Ashok Ganapathy was on 6 June 2016 appointed as the Director of Bharti Airtel Ltd. He will take over the post with effect from 1 July 2016. Ganapathy succeeds Manish Prakash as Director (Airtel Business). Prakash has been appointed as Director (strategic alliances). He will report to Gopal Vittal, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel. In this new role, Ashok will be responsible for driving the growth of Airtel's B2B portfolio that serves top corporations, government entities and other corporates with end-to-end solutions. Ashok Ganapathy : Ganapathy joined Airtel in 2013 as the Hub CEO for Mumbai, Maharashtra, Goa & Gujarat circles. Ganapathy has an experience of 26 years in FMCG, entertainment, retail and telecom sectors.  He started his career with Hindustan Unilever in 1990 as a management trainee. He has a B. Tech degree from IIT, Madras and MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad.

Guwahati  became first city in the country to have its own ‘city animal’ with Kamrup metropolitan district administration declaring Gangetic River Dolphin as its mascot on 6 June 2016.Gangetic River Dolphin is locally known as ‘Sihu’ and fewer than 2000 such animals remain in the River Brahmaputra along Guwahati. The district administration had organised online and off-line voting among three protected creatures to decide the ‘city animal’. These three creatures are Gangetic River Dolphin, Black Softshell Turtle (Bor Kaso) and Greater Adjutant Stork (Hargila) and are on the verge of extinction. In the three-month long voting process Gangetic River dolphin received 24247 votes out of 60003 total votes.On the other hand, the Greater Adjutant Stork got 18454 votes while the Black Softshell Turtle got 17302 votes. The Kamrup metropolitan district administration organized the voting process along with other organisations such as the Assam forest department, Assam state biodiversity bard and an NGO, Help Earth. Gangetic River Dolpin : The Ganga Dolphins are also called as the ‘Tigers of Ganga’ as it enjoys the position in Ganga that is equivalent to that of the tiger in the forest.Its scientific name is Platanista gangetica.Ganges River Dolphins prefer deep waters, in and around the confluence of two or more rivers. They share their habitat with crocodiles, fresh water turtles and wetland birds.The distribution range of the Ganges River Dolphins in India covers seven states namely, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Rivers where these dolphins are found : River Ganges, Chambal (Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh), Ghaghra, Gandak (Bihar and Uttar Pradesh), Sone and Kosi rivers (Bihar), River Brahmaputra from Sadia up to Dhubri and Kulsi River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra river, The Ganges River Dolphin has a sturdy, yet flexible, body with large flippers and a low triangular dorsal fin. It weighs up to 150 kg. Females are larger than males. The Gangetic Dolphins are generally blind and catch their prey by emitting an ultrasonic sound which reaches the prey. A Ganges River Dolphin Conservation Programme was initiated in 1997 to build a scientific database of the population status of the species and study the habitat quality of the dolphins' distribution range.

The Delhi Government on 6 June 2016 announced implementation of its solar policy. The policy aims at making the national capital a solar city with installation of 1 GW solar power capacity by 2020. This target is proposed to double it to 2 GW during further next five years. The policy has been prepared by the Delhi Government in consultation with the Dialogue and Development Commission after extensive consultations with local and international experts. Highlights of the policy include : Mandatory deployment of solar panels on the government or public institutions.Virtual net metering to give access to the solar net metering facility to the consumers who do not have a suitable roof for installing a solar system.Group net metering to encourage solar plants on rooftops of buildings that cannot consume all of the energy generated locally.Generation based incentive for three years.Amendment of the building bylaws for rooftop solar installations.

Switzerland voters on 5 June 2016 rejected an unconditional basic income (UBI) proposal in referendum. As per the proposal, all Swiss citizens and foreigners who have been residents in Switzerland for at least 5 years are provided with the UBI irrespective of their income status.The referendum result is of significance because of its wide margin. Out of the total votes polled, nearly 77 percent were against the plan, while only 23 percent were in favour of it. The amount to be paid was not determined before the vote, but the political-group behind the initiative suggested paying 2500 US dollars a month to each adult and 640 US dollars for each child.As per an estimate, the proposal would have cost an additional 25.62 billion US dollars on the exchequer. The result of the referendum is of importance to policy makers across the world. The proposal for providing unconditional basic income was mooted due to growing uncertainties in the job market because of economic downturn.Supporters argued that providing such income grant would assist people in a world where good jobs with steady salaries are becoming harder to find. However, the critics of the proposal argued that the UBI initiative would lead to sky-high costs and people quitting their jobs in large numbers.

N Ramachandran, the president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was awarded the prestigious Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 1 June 2016. He was honoured for his outstanding services to the Olympic movement. Earlier to him, former IOA president, the late BS Adityan was the other Indian to be honoured with the same award in 1995. N Ramachandran :  He is an Indian squash administrator. He is serving as President of World Squash Federation (WSF) since 2008 when he succeeded Jahangir Khan.He became the president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in February 2014. Olympic Order :  The Olympic Order is the highest award of the Olympic Movement which is awarded in recognition of efforts worthy of merit in the cause of sport. It was established in May 1975 as a successor to the Olympic Certificate by the International Olympic Committee.The Olympic Order originally had three grades gold, silver and bronze, although the bronze grade fell dormant in 1984. As a tradition, IOC bestows the Olympic Order upon the chief national organiser(s) at the closing ceremony of each respective Olympic Games. The insignia of the Olympic Order is in the form of a collar (or chain), in Gold, Silver or Bronze according to grade; the front of the chain depicts the five rings of the Olympic Movement, flanked on either side by kotinos emblem (olive wreath). A lapel badge, in the form of the five rings in Gold, Silver and Bronze according to grade, is presented to recipients to wear as appropriate. Nadia Comaneci is the only athlete to be awarded the Olympic Order twice, that is, in 1984 and 2004. He also is the youngest ever recipient.

French Open, the second Grand Slam of the 2016 tennis season, concluded on 5 June 2016. It was held for three weeks beginning on 16 May 2016 in the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France. Men’s Singles : Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - Runner Up : Andy Murray (the UK) Women’s Singles : Garbine Muguruza (Spain) - Runner Up : Serena Williams (the USA) Men’s Doubles : F Lopez and M Lopez (Spain) - Runner Up : M Bryan and B Bryan (the USA) Women’s Doubles : C Garcia and K Mladenovic (France) - Runner Up :  E Makarova and E Vesnina (Russia) Mixed Doubles : Leander Paes (India) and Martina Hingis (Switzerland) - Runner Up :   Ivan Dodig (Croatia) and Sania Mirza (India)

Congress Legislature Party leader V Narayanasamy was sworn-in as Chief Minister of the Union Territory of Puducherry on 6 June 2016. Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi administered his oath of office and secrecy along with five ministers at Gandhi Thidal in Beach Road. Five Congress legislators who were also sworn-in as ministers are A Namassivayam, Shah Jahan, Malladi Krishna Rao, M Kandasamy and R Kamalakannan. V Narayanasamy  :  He represented Puducherry in Rajya Sabha for three terms. He was elected to Lok Sabha in 2009 and served as Minister of State Parliamentary Affairs in UPA-I.In UPA-II, he served as Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office. Narayanasamy is not a member of the house hence he will need to face polls in 6 months. Earlier on 19 May 2016, Congress - DMK alliance has 17 members in the 30 member Territorial Assembly. DMK which has 2 members in the Assembly will be supporting the Government from outside. Of the four regions of the Union Territory, Mahe alone do not have representation in the Council of Ministers.

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