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

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State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has announced the commissioning of a 500 MW thermal unit in Jharkhand. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has added another coal-based power plant to the grid by successfully commissioning a 500 MW thermal unit in Jharkhand . The unit has been commissioned at Bokaro Thermal Power-A Station of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. With this, BHEL has supplied 84 per cent of the total coal-based power generating capacity installed by DVC.  In Jharkhand, BHEL aims to contribute a significant 87 per cent to the total installed power generating capacity of the state. The company is executing a supercritical project of 3x660 MW rating at North Karanpura for NTPC in the state.  Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited : Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) owned by the Government of India, is a power plant equipment manufacturer and operates as an engineering and manufacturing company based in New Delhi, India. Established in 1964, BHEL is India's largest engineering and manufacturing company of its kind. The company has been earning profits continuously since 1971-72 and paying dividends uninterruptedly since 1976-77.It has been granted the prestigious Maharatna (big gem) status in 2013 by Govt of India for its outstanding performance.The elite list of maharatna contains another 6 behemoth PSU companies of India.

The Karnataka State government has decided to go ahead with the establishment of Asia’s first Rice Technology Park at Gangavati in Koppal district and a Maize Technology Park at Ranebennur in Haveri district on the public-private participation model as a one-stop solution to all problems of rice and maize growers. These parks would pave the way for opening new avenues for rice and maize growers to add value to their produce and get better returns and also enhance quality of the produce. While the rice park is being established at Navali-Karatagi villages on the outskirts of Gangavati, the maize park is to be come up in the APMC market yard at Ranebennur. The establishment of the Rice Technology Park will convert Gangavati into a major agri business centre in the State and help rice growers in the region to end their dependence on mills in neighboring States for processing paddy. Although the production of paddy has more than doubled in the recent years, the processing facility has not grown to match it. According to an estimate, more than 50 per cent of the paddy produced in the region is sent elsewhere for processing.The establishment of the Rice Technology Park will help paddy cultivators in the Tungabhadra Command Area in Ballari, Raichur and Koppal districts and also in the command areas of the Upper Krishna Project in Shahpur and Surpur taluks in Yadgir district and Vijayapura and Bagalkot districts. In the Tungabhadra Project region, the area under irrigation is 9 lakh acres and 95 per cent of it is under paddy cultivation. The farmers in the command area grow two crops of paddy in a year.The area under paddy is likely to increase with additional allotment of water in the Krishna by the Krishna River Water Disputes Tribunal. The area under irrigation in the Krishna Basin is likely to go up by another 4.61 lakh hectares. As a value addition, the technology park would have facilities for rice flour, rice rava, rice bran oil, noodles, rice-based alcohol, animal and poultry feed and paddy husk used for power generation and brick-making.With maize being the second major crop cultivated in the State with an annual production of around 4 million tonnes, there was an urgent need to strengthen maize processing units to add value to the produce and get more returns to farmers. Maize is predominantly grown in Haveri, Davangere, Ballari, Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Chikkaballapur districts. The proposed park will at Ranebennur will have a storage capacity of 32,000 tonnes.The proposed maize technology park being established at a cost of Rs. 111 crore would have mills for production of maize flour, maize flakes, poultry feed, dry maize, maize chips and popcorn to add value to the produce and enable farmers get better returns. The proposed Rice Technology Park is being established at a cost of Rs. 122 crore in an area of 300 acres.  

A festival to commemorate Kamban, the Tamil poet of Chola period, will begin on 6 May 2016 at Kamban Kalaiarangam. The three-day festival is organised by Kamban Kazhagam. The 12th century poet had composed Kamba Ramayanam which is considered as one of the important epics in Tamil literature. Kamban Kazhagam president N. Govindasamy Mudaliar, treasurer Selva Ganapathy and joint secretary Kalyana Sundaram have been organising this annual event for the past 50 years. Every year, the Kamban Vizha is held on May 12, 13 and 14. Due to elections, the programme has been rescheduled to May 6, 7 and 8. The programme on the first day will be headed by V.Ramasubramanian, Madras High Court Judge.All the events in the festival are based on Kamba Ramayanam . This year, poet and lyricist Vairamuthu will take part in event on the third day.  

Late director Yash Chopra, has been honoured with a special statue by the Switzerland government. To honour him, a sculpture made of pure bronze and weighing about 350 kilos in an iconic pose of him directing a film. The statue has installed at Interlaken, inside the KURSAAL area, near the Congress Centre. The event was organised by Interlaken Tourism and Jungfrau Railways. Earlier, the government of Interlaken awarded him with the honorary title of Ambassador of Interlaken in 2011 and Jungfrau Railways had a train named after him.  

Reliance Defence has received 16 industrial licences for manufacture of a wide array of high technology equipment that include small arms, heavy weapons, armoured vehicles, ammunition, explosives, electronic warfare systems and missiles. The 16 new licenses given to Reliance Defence Ltd, 11 pertain to Land Systems, 3 for the Naval Systems and remaining 2 covering niche technologies across the Defence spectrum . The Land Systems include design, development and production of heavy weapons, Electronic Warfare Systems, ammunition, explosives, tanks, Infantry Combat Vehicles ( ICV), Directed Energy Weapon Systems, Small Arms Laser Systems for target destruction and C4I Systems for various Land Platforms, Reliance Defence, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Infrastruture . The company said Reliance Land Systems Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Defence Ltd, will be the lead venture for the manufacturing of missiles, explosives heavy weapons, tanks and ICVs and Reliance SED Ltd will be the lead entity for manufacture of Electronic Warfare Systems, Directed Energy Weapon systems and Laser Systems for target destruction.  The key programmes in these segments have budgetary allocation in excess of Rs 50,000 crore. The Indian Army will spend an additional Rs 50,000 crore over next 10 to 15 years on different Combat Vehicles .

Alberta : A province in Western Canada that encompasses mountains, prairies, desert badlands and vast coniferous forests. Alberta, a province in Western Canada, came in news in the first week of May 2016. It came into news on 5 May 2016 after a state of emergency was declared in the city of Fort McMurray due to a massive wildfire destroyed several of homes. Fort McMurray is the hub of the province’s main oil sands region.The raging wildfire that engulfed homes and several neighbourhoods prompted the biggest evacuation in the history of Alberta State. At least 80000 residents were ordered to leave the northern Alberta city.  Highlights of the incident     : Officials warned that the fire had the potential to destroy much of the town with a few neighbourhoods already destroyed.Wind whipped wildfires, which broke out on 1 May 2016, have destroyed at least 1600 homes and other buildings and forced more than 80000 residents to flee.More than 250 firefighters are battling the blaze that was actively burning in residential areas. The firefighters are assisted by helicopters and air tankers.Officials also issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation communities located about 50km south of Fort McMurray. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, while the full extent of the damage was not yet known, it was absolutely devastating and that there was loss on a scale that was hard to imagine.

National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has signed a partnership agreement with Facebook to build a product design initiative in India on 5 May 2016. The agreement focus on assisting the innovation ecosystem by helping product based companies to build solutions in key sectors where technology can play a transformational role. Features of Product Design Initiative : This initiative is aimed towards encouraging Indian entrepreneurs to become problem solvers and develop solutions based on innovation and design thinking.It is a Nasscom’s country-wide initiative with an aim to offer focused programmes to build awareness in product design and mentorship.Nasscom Product Council through its flagship programme aim at supporting over 500 product start-ups on product design. It focuses on training over 5000 product designers over a period of two years. This is the second time that NASSCOM and Facebook have partnered to promote entrepreneurship and startup initiatives in India. Earlier in 2015, NASSCOM partnered with Facebook for its initiative called Leaders Building for the Next Billion.

Goa-based defence shipyard, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), on 5 May 2016 launched Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Shaurya at Vasco. The is the fifth ship of a series of six off-shore patrol vessels  (OPVs) that the Indian Coast Guard had tasked the Vasco defence public sector undertaking to build. This 105-metre new generation OPV that was launched by the Governor of Goa, Mridula Sinha will be delivered to the Coast Guard after sea trials are completed. The ICGS Shaurya will be commissioned into service in early 2017. Indian Coast Guard ship Shaurya : The vessel is capable of cruising at a speed of 23 knots and has a range of 6000 nautical miles.It will be fitted with state-of-the-art machinery like the integrated machinery control system and integrated bridge system.This new generation OPV is powered by twin diesel engines.The vessel carries four boats for boarding party operations.One 30 mm gun and two 12.7 mm guns associated with fire control system form the main weaponry package.The indigenously designed ship is capable of search and rescue operations, pollution control and external firefighting.It will be deployed for ocean surveillance and for monitoring sea lanes of communication. GSL chairman and managing director Shekhar Mital said that all the six ships would be delivered to the Coast Guard by 2017.  

The Union Government has announced that the H.R. Nagendra Committee on Yoga Education in Universities has recommended seven programmes for implementation in universities on 5 May 2016 . The Union Government on 15 January 2016 had constituted a committee on yoga education in universities. The committee was headed by Professor H.R. Nagendra, Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana, Samsthana, Bengaluru.The committee had submitted its report on 19 April 2016. Terms of Reference of the Committee : To identify the courses and programmes in Yogic Art and Science and the levels at which they can be offered.To spell out the scope of programmes offered at Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate Degree/Postgraduate Diploma and Research levels, and to develop broad details of the curriculum in core and elective courses thereof.To prescribe the syllabus for conducting NET in Yogic Art and Science.To determine the eligibility qualifications for students for joining Yoga Education Programme at different levels.To prescribe the qualifications of faculty of Yoga in the colleges and universities and also to examine whether the existing qualifications in recruitment of the faculty in the colleges and universities as presently approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC) will need amendments.To identify universities where Departments of Yoga already exists and to consider whether they can be upgraded to be developed as Departments of Yogic Art and ScienceTo suggest the names of National Level Yoga Centres whose expertise can be networked with the universities where the Departments of Yogic Arts and Science will be establishedTo determine the modalities of further training for persons who may be recruited with their present background in the field of YogaAny other issue considered relevant for the establishment of Department of Yogic Art and Science Seven programmes recommended by the committee for implementation in universities are : Certificate Course in Yoga (CCY) of 6 to 12 months duration Bachelors of Science (Yoga)-BSc.(Yoga) of 3 to 6 years Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga (PGDY) of 1 to 2 years Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy(PGDYT) of 1 to 2 years Masters of Science (MSc.)- Yoga of 2 years to 4 years Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)-Yoga of 3 to 5 years Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)- Yoga of 4 to 6 years

President Pranab Mukherjee has conferred the 15th set of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Niryat Shree and Niryat Bandhu Awards in New Delhi.The awards were presented at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO). The awards were conferred to the companies from various sectors of exports besides service providers, banks, and various facilitating agencies which are promoting exports during the year 2015-16. Award Winner List :  Reliance Industry was adjudged as the top foreign exchange earner and leading exporter of last 50 years. TCS bagged the Gold Award in IT services. Exporters from engineering, chemicals, textiles, agro and processed sector, etc. were also given Gold/Silver/Bronze awards. State Bank of India got the Gold award followed by Canara Bank and Punjab National Bank are among the supporting institutions. Besides conferring the awards, the president also unveiled the brand new FIEO Logo representing growth, vibrancy, innovation and entrepreneurship. Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) : It was set up in 1965 and completed 50 years of its service to the exporting community.The Federation started with a small room in Allahabad Bank building moved to its state of art building at Niryat Bhawan, New Delhi. It extended its arms to support the State Governments through formulation of Export Strategy and Export Policy.The Trade Portal developed by FIEO has provided single window information on all facets of international trade for Indian Exim community.

Union Rural Development Minister Birender Singh has agreed to relax the norms in Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to boost rural road connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh.  The Union minister for Rural Development Minister Birender Singh gave his nod for relaxation on population norm for faster road connectivity.The state demanded long span bridges up to 200 metres on the rivers of Siang, Subansiri, Kameng, Lohit and Dibang. The Union Minister agreed to consider the same for which a technical team from the Ministry would visit the areas to assess the requirements and suggest appropriate technology. The Union Minister also agreed to enhance the allocation under PMGSY during RE (Revised Estimate) stage at the request of the CM from Rs 468 crore to 1100 crore during the current year in view of the enhanced target of constructing roads 1000 kms in the state.

Drought-hit Zimbabwe has invited local farmers and private game rangers to buy wild animals as it destocks national game reserves to save fauna from starvation, the wildlife authority .Parks and wildlife authority spokeswoman Caroline Washaya. But the cash-strapped country has been battling to reduce its animals  especially elephants whose population is more than twice what the parks can accommodate. A notice in a state newspaper invited "members of the public with the capacity to acquire and manage wildlife" to make offers to buy.Zimbabwe has in recent years resorted to exporting elephants to countries like China in a bid to raise funds and cut the ballooning population. The drought has left at least a quarter of the population in need of food aid and President Robert Mugabe in February declared many parts of the rural areas in a "state of disaster".The drought has further strained national parks that are already burdened by the growing numbers of species like elephants.

Renowned musician Angelique Kidjo along with three inspirational African youth activist movements have been declared the joint winners of the prestigious Amnesty International top 2016 human rights award. The award will be shared between the singer and the activist groups Y’en a marre from Senegal, le Balai Citoyen from Burkina Faso and Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) from DRC. All will be honoured at the awards ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, on 28 May. Last year it was awarded to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and American singer-songwriter Joan Baez. Amnesty International : Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty and AI) is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with over 7 million members and supporters around the world. The stated objective of the organisation is to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article "The Forgotten Prisoners" in The Observer 28 May 1961,by the lawyer Peter Benenson. Amnesty draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilise public opinion to put pressure on governments that let abuse take place.[3] The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its "campaign against torture," and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.  

The Lok Sabha has unanimously passed Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 by a voice vote. The code seeks to ensure time-bound settlement of insolvency, faster turnaround of businesses and create a unified data base of serial defaulters. Highlights : The Code creates time-bound processes for resolution of the insolvency of companies and individuals. These processes will be completed within time-bound 180 days. If insolvency is resolved in stipulated time, the assets of the borrowers may be sold to repay creditors. The resolution of the insolvency of processes will be conducted by licensed insolvency professionals (IPs). These IPs will be members of insolvency professional agencies (IPAs). IPAs under insolvency resolution will also furnish performance bonds equal to the assets of a company. The Code facilitates establishment of Information utilities (IUs) to collect, collate and disseminate financial information to facilitate insolvency resolution. The insolvency resolution for companies will be adjudicated by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) will adjudicate insolvency resolution for individuals. The Code also gives statutory backing establishment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India to regulate functioning of IPs, IPAs and IUs.

Zimbabwe is all set to introduce its own version of US dollars in order to ease a cash shortage in the country. The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya has stated that the bank will introduce the note of $2, $5, $10, and $20, which will hold the same value as their US dollar counterparts. Earlier in 2009, Zimbabwe introduced the US dollar after ditching its own currency following sustained hyperinflation. Since then Zimbabweans have been using the dollar. The new notes will come in circulation within the next two months. 

Sudhir Yadav, the 1985 batch IPS officer of Delhi Police, was appointed as new Director General (DG) of Tihar. An order issued by the Lt Governor announced Yadav's appointment as the next DG of Tihar. Earlier, he served as Special Commissioner (Provisions and Logistics) of Delhi Police. An AGMU cadre officer Yadav earlier served as DGP o Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2013. After joining police service as an IPS officer in 1985 he went on to serve on various important posts of Delhi Police.  Earlier, Delhi government had appointed JK Sharma as new DG of Tihar on April 19, but the order was nullified as the government had not sought prior approval of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung before the appointment.  The post of DG Tihar was lying vacant after Alok Kumar Verma became Commissioner of Delhi Police at the end of February.  

New Development Bank (NDB), which is headed by K V Kamath, has chosen his former organisation ICICI Bank for its first tie-up with any bank in India to explore opportunities around bond issuances, co-financing, treasury management and human resources. The two lenders announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) according to which they would consider each other as “preferred partners” to work in the aforementioned areas. BRICS NDB won’t be the first multi-lateral funding agency that is looking at tapping the rupee-denominated bond market. Recently, IFC, part of the World Bank group, also raised about Rs 180 crore by issuing rupee-denominated 'Maharaja' bonds. Apart from this, the two lenders will also be working together to fund development projects in the country. In fact, in 2014, the leaders of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries had decided to establish NDB with the intention to fund infrastructure projects. Our mandate prescribes partnering with local development banks in member countries and this MoU will enable NDB to leverage the deep market access and insight of ICICI Bank in India's financial markets.Another area where the two banks will be collaborating will be around treasury risk management, account and cash management services and human resource development. However, the banks failed to divulge more details on the nature of partnership or the financial transactions between the two that will be a result of this collaboration. NDB has already inked a similar pact with BNDES Bank of Brazil. Last month (in April 2016) newly established BRICS New Development Bank granted a $250 million funding to Canara Bank for a renewable energy project. The China-based NDB has approved four green renewable energy projects from India, China, Brazil and South Africa entailing Bank financing of $811 million. The project from India entails provisioning of a multi-tranche loan of $250 million to Canara Bank for lending to renewable energy ventures. The project will result in generation of 500 MWs of renewable energy and savings of about 800,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on 5 May 2016 dedicated to the nation a high speed Wi-Fi hotspot at the three Railway Stations. These stations are Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, Kachiguda in Telangana and Raipur in Chhattisgarh. The Wi-Fi facility for the visitors and rail users of these stations has been commissioned by RailTel in association with Google for providing high speed state of the art world class internet experience to the commuters. Highlights of Wi-Fi hotspots launched :  Kacheguda, Raipur and Vijayawada Railway Stations became Wi-Fi hot spot from 5 May 2016.RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. has been mandated by Ministry of Railways to provide Wi-Fi for use of passengers at A1, A and B category Railway stations.RailTel engaged with Google as the technology partner for setting up high speed Wi-Fi network initially in A1 and A category stations.RailTel will upgrade its backbone infrastructure to backhaul high speed connectivity of approximately 1Gbps per station.At Railway stations, RailTel will be providing power and fiber network infrastructure while Google will provide the Radio access Network.Wi-Fi services to passengers will be provided under Railwire the retail Broadband distribution model of RailTel.Designed to offer users the best Internet experience, Railwire Wi-Fi will be available to any user who has a working mobile connection on a smart phone.Users will be able to easily stream a high definition video and surf the web. RailTel : RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. is a Miniratna enterprise of Government of India. It is one of the largest neutral telecom services providers in the country owning a Pan-India optic fiber network.It covers all important towns and cities of the country and several rural areas covering 70% of India’s population.It is in the forefront in providing nationwide Broadband Telecom and Multimedia Network in all parts of the country.

The country's largest bank State Bank of India which is giving tough competition to private sector lenders in digital innovations has now launched 'mVisa' - a mobile-based payments solution.  The service will enable customers to make payments from their smartphones, by simply scanning the unique merchant Quick Response (QR) code, at merchant outlets.  mVisa is a card-less solution which facilitates payment by scanning the QR code displayed at the merchant outlet or from the merchants mobile .The new technology eliminates the need to swipe the physical card at a point-of-sale machine.  SBI customers will have to download the latest version of SBI Anywhere application and register for mVisa payments to enable the service. A similar SBI mVisa merchant app will also be made available for merchants to receive payment notification and generate QR codes.  This cost effective digital offering will not only provide our large base of consumers with an easy, convenient and secure payment product but will also facilitate small merchants with any-time payment, thereby changing the way businesses transact and customers pay .The mVisa service is a bank agnostic - which means that any bank mVisa customer can transact on any mVisa merchants and any mVisa merchant can accept payment from mVisa customers of any bank. 

A rare and colourful sighting has enraptured birdwatchers across Maharashtra with the unexpected visitor, in the form of an elusive Amur Falcon, being spotted last week at the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary near the Pench Tiger Reserve, 60 km from Nagpur. In India, this winged raptor (bird of prey)  the size of a pigeon makes its home in the North-eastern State of Nagaland, before traversing a staggering 22,000 km from there to South Africa then onto Mongolia and back to Nagaland. The bird has one of the longest and most fascinating migratory paths in the avian kingdom.The falcon breeds in south-eastern Siberia and North-eastern China where the Amur River divides the Russian Far East and China. Amur Falcons typically begin their annual journey from North- Eastern Siberia and Northern China, heading to North-East India and roosting in Nagaland, before leaving for Africa, where they spend their winters. The birds’ roosting in Nagaland made them particularly vulnerable to hunters who mass-slaughtered them for their tender meat. It was reported that in 2013, nearly 1, 20, 000 of these falcons were trapped and killed at just one location in Nagaland each year. Appalled at this savagery, several green groups, along with concerned locals and the Church, joined hands and launched a conservation and patrolling programme called ‘Friends of the Amur Falcon’ to end the killings.  

Former England all-rounder Matthew Fleming is all set to become the next President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). The 51-year-old will take up the post on 1 October 2016 after being nominated by current President Roger Knight and announced at the MCC Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 4 May 2016 at Lord’s.Fleming has a long association with MCC, having served two three-year terms as an elected member on the Club’s Main committee since 2005. Matthew Fleming : He has served as a member of the Club’s Cricket committee since 2006 and is current Chairman of Cricket having been elected in October 2013. He will be the youngest MCC President for 36 years, since Peter May served in 1980.Fleming is also MCC’s representative on the ECB Board of Directors.As a player he was a Kent stalwart, making 219 first-class appearances for the county between 1989 and 2002. An industrious all-rounder, Fleming scored 9206 runs at an average of 30.18 and took 290 wickets at 35.91 runs apiece.He also played 314 List A matches for Kent, scoring 6161 runs at an average of 24.74 and taking 377 wickets at an average of 25.71. His performances in the shorter form of the game earned him 11 One-Day International caps for England.In recent years Fleming has become a driving force behind the MCC Foundation’s work in Afghanistan and has worked closely with charity Afghan Connection to help develop the country’s cricket programme.Since the MCC Foundation first committed financial support to Afghan Connection in 2009, 52 pitches have been built in 22 Afghan provinces, with over 100,000 local children attending cricket training as a result.Fleming himself travelled to Jalalabad in May 2009 to oversee the first coaching camps held under the MCC Spirit of Cricket banner.  

A Social Science professor from India Prashar Kulkarni has won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for 2016, for the Asia region for his "politically grounded, funny" fiction.  Kulkarni's story 'Cow and Company' about four men in search of a cow was adjudged the 'best piece of unpublished short fiction in English' from Asia and will receive 2500 pounds prize Set up by Commonwealth Writers in 2012 to "inspire and connect writers and storytellers across world" the prize attracted 4,000 entries from 47 Commonwealth countries in 2016.  Besides Kulkarni three authors from India - Kritika Pandey (Dirty White Strings), Sumit Ray (Girdhar's Mansion) and Vinayak Varma (Instant Karma) were in the regional shortlist.  Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta magazine to give regional winners of Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to be published by Granta online.  Kulkarni, an Assistant Professor in Social Sciences at Yale NUS College Singapore who works at the intersection of religion and political economy said he was encouraged and has been trying to write for many years.  Other Regional Winners : He is one of the five winners of 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Winners from other four regions are:  Faraaz Mahomed - ‘The Pigeon’ with its playful tone and unreliable narrator Stefanie Seddon - Eel, a simply told and moving story of childhood Lance Dowrich - comedic ‘Ethelbert and the Free Cheese’ Tina Makereti - ‘Black Milk’, which impressed with a lyricism that takes the reader into another world while keeping them always on earth Commonwealth Short Story Prize : The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000 - 5,000 words). The prize is open to Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and over. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is managed by Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, which was set up in 2012 to inspire, develop and connect writers and storytellers across the Commonwealth.The Prize replaced the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, a roughly similar competition that existed from 1996 to 2011 and was discontinued by the Commonwealth Foundation, along with the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.  

Government  has retified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the WTO and the pact aims to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.  India has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Agreement (WTO) and the instrument of Acceptance for Trade Facilitation Agreement was handed over to WTO Director-General by India on April 22, 2016," Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said The Trade Facilitation Agreement will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO members have completed their domestic rectification process, Sitharaman added. India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA.  TFA sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. These objectives are in consonance with India's 'Ease of Doing Business' initiativeAt the Ministerial Conference of the WTO held in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2015, Ministerial decisions were adopted on some agricultural issues and issues of importance of developing countries and least developed countries   

The Union Government has announced that currently 34 Indian satellites are operational in the space. It was announced by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha. 34 operational satellites are 13 Communication Satellites: INSAT-3A, INSAT-3C, INSAT-4A, INSAT-4B, INSAT-4CR, GSAT-6, GSAT-7, GSAT-8, GSAT-10, GSAT-12, GSAT-14, GSAT-15 and GSAT-16.  Earth Observation Satellites: Resourcesat-2, RISAT-1, RISAT-2, Cartosat-1, Cartosat-2, Cartosat-2A, Cartosat-2B, Oceansat-2, SARAL, Kalpana-1, Megha-Tropiques and INSAT-3D.  7 Navigational Satellites: IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F and 1G.  2 Space science Satellites: Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and Astrosat. It was also mentioned that about 30 service providers are utilising Ku-band (a part of K band) transponders onboard indigenous communication satellites for various communication applications. These applications include Direct-To-Home Television (DTH), Digital Satellite News Gathering, telecommunication, VSAT services for banking, tele-education and business communication etc.  

Senior IPS officer Kumar Rajesh Chandra on 5 May 2016 was appointed the Chief of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the name of Chandra for appointment to the post of Director General (formerly known as Commissioner of Security (Civil Aviation) in the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.Chandra has been appointed in place of IPS officer G S Malhi. Malhi had completed his tenure as BCAS Chief in November 2012. The crucial post was lying vacant since then. The appointment for the post was delayed due to claims from officers of both Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) to the coveted post. Kumar Rajesh Chandra : Chandra is a 1985 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre.He is currently working as Additional Director General (Modernisation), Bihar Police. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security : BCAS acts as regulatory authority for civil aviation security.After the hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight in September 1976, the Pande Committee recommended establishing an aviation security department.In January 1978, the BCAS was established as a department of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. As a result of the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, the BCAS became an independent agency of the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 1 April 1987.The main responsibility of BCAS is to lay down standards and measures in respect of security of civil flights at international and domestic airports in India.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 May 2016 approved to allow the flexibility in optimal use of domestic coal to reduce cost of electricity generation and purchase.It will leverage coal to electricity conversion and also optimize the transportation cost. Objectives : This would create new thrust in promoting efficiency, optimum utilization of natural resources as well as overall economic benefit in the power sector in the country. This proposal is also in line with the UDAY scheme of Union Government.It will result in coal transportation cost reduction as well as savings in energy used for transportation and may also result in removal of congestion of Railways network.This will also be a more environment friendly arrangement as less coal will be used to produce more power and also the distance for transportation of coal would be optimized.It envisages that all the long term coal linkages of individual State Generating Stations shall be clubbed and assigned to respective states or state nominated agency.Similarly coal linkages of individual Central Generating Stations (CGS) shall be clubbed to enable the efficient coal utilization amongst end use generating stations. In case of use of coal in State or Central Generating Plants, the deciding criteria shall be plant efficiency, coal transportation cost, transmission charges and overall cost of power. In case of use of coal assigned to the State in Private Generating Stations, power through substituted coal shall be procured on bidding basis from amongst the competing private sector plants. The Coal is the main source of power generation in the country.There are broadly two categories of coal based Thermal power plants:       i. Pit Head based plants, which are situated near coal Mines and       ii. Load centre based plants situated near load centres. Power Plants are having different efficiency levels for conversion of coal to electricity depending upon their technology, unit capacity etc.At present, there are situations where efficient power plants have shortage of coal while some other Power Stations have adequate coal available with them because of less capacity utilization.  

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