Current Affairs 12th October 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Veteran actor Ian McKellen was honoured at the UK Theatre Awards on for his individual contributions to British theatre.  McKellen was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre prize, reported Female First. The 77-year-old actor, best known for his roles in the "X-Men" and "Lord Of The Rings" film franchises, was recognised for "championing diversity and contribution to the British theatre" at the ceremony held at London's Guildhall.  McKellen, whose theatre career has spanned six decades and seen him perform at theatres all over the UK. Previous recipients of the accolade include Matthew Bourne, Timothy West and Prunella Scales. 

Ace Indian Shooter Jitu Rai has won the 2016 Champion of Champions pistol Award of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) for pistol shooting.  He won the award consisting cash prize of €5000 in the World Cup Final held in Bologna, Italy. In the 10 m Air Pistol Champions Trophy final Jitu Rail defeated Damir Mikec of Serbia by 29.6 to 28.3 points. Olympic champion Anna Korakaki finished third in this event. It was the mixed knock-out competition meant only for the medallists in the World Cup Final. In this event shooters are eliminated after the first four shots, one each after every successive shot. The last two compete on a three-shot format.

The 28th India and Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) and Second Bilateral Maritime Exercise have commenced at Belawan, Indonesia in the Andaman Sea.  The 17-day-long bilateral exercise (from 10 to 27, October, 2016) will demonstrate India’s commitment to its ties with Indonesia and to maritime security in Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The bilateral maritime exercise and CORPAT will see participation by one warship and one maritime patrol aircraft from navies of both countries. India will be represented by INS Karmuk, an indigenously built missile corvette, based under Andaman and Nicobar Command along with a Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft.  These naval interactions will provide opportunities for both countries for extensive operational and training engagements.  Besides, it will also contribute substantively to the maintenance of good order at sea. The bilateral naval exercise also seeks to strengthen existing bonds of friendship between both countries. It will also underscore India’s partnership and solidarity with friendly countries of the region.

The NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has developed a new high-tech electroactive bandage that uses electricity to significantly promote healing of injured wounds. The high-tech bandage creates an electric charge to promote the healing process of wounds in space especially in conditions of non-Earth gravity. The electroactive bandage uses a new material called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) which can be stimulated by pressure of cell growth and body heat.  The new material generates a small amount of electricity when interacts with another surface, including human skin. When this electroactive bandage is applied to an external wound site, it utilises low level electrical stimulation to promote wound healing.  The bandage speeds the wound’s healing process and minimises infection and related complications such as amputation or illness.  Potential Applications : This bandage could be used by astronauts in space, military personnel wounded in field, patients who have undergone surgery or who have suffered a serious woun

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) appointed committee has submitted its recommendations. It was headed by power system expert Mata Prasad. The committee has suggested an overhaul in transmission planning to facilitate transfer of power on economic principles. Transmission planning : It must be aligned to meet customer aspirations as opposed to existing system where transmission is associated with long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs). It can should be done basis of projected load of states and anticipated generation scenario based on economic principles of merit order operation. Renewable energy sources transmission system : To be planned by central transmission utility (CTU) based on estimated capacity additions in perspective plan and renewable purchase obligations of each state. Promote of power market : Transmission corridor allocation must be done suitably made. 5% of each flow gate may be reserved for day-ahead collective transactions. This flow gate may be released for contingency market in case of non-utilisation of corridor by power exchanges. The percentage of reservation may be reviewed after 1 year of operation. System studies : They must be carried out for various generation and load scenarios during peak and off-peak hours. It should also consider renewable capacity addition and scheduling of various generating stations that don’t have any PPAs. Creation of a central repository of generators : It should be created in the Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA).In this case any generation project developer proposing to set up a new generation plant must register itself. For accurate demand forecasting : Hand-holding of states by CEA and CTU for accurate demand forecasting. States must procure software for short-term, medium-term and long-term demand forecasting.  

The Union Government may soon consider adopting a three-pronged approach to revitalise domestic retail and wholesale trade.  The three-pronged approach includes (i) Establishing a regulatory body for national internal trade (retail and wholesale) (ii) Comprehensive domestic trade policy and (ii) Board for Internal Trade. Domestic trade mainly comprises non-corporate small businesses providing employment to an estimated 460 million people.  Currently, there is no single regulatory body or Ministry for such six crore small businesses in the country that have collective annual turnover of around Rs. 30 lakh crore. The current approach policy regime and the environment is considered only conducive for foreign retail giants and their Indian partners or counterparts The proposed three-pronged policy approach will address need of these small businesses with an aim to generate employment, improve financial inclusion of small traders.  It will also ensure ease of doing business by eliminating multiplicity of approvals, improve competiveness of economy and boost overall demand to boost growth. Besides, the new strategy will also help to link Central Government’s flagship initiatives such as Digital India, Skill India and Make In India with these small businesses.  

China has rapped United States for its interventions in Asia as tensions are growing between the two powers over territorial disputes in the South China Sea (SCS). In this regard, China’s Defence Minister has levied thinly veiled criticism at recent US involvement in Asia’s trouble spots. China has claimed its territorial rights over almost the entire South China Sea region while other countries Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have rival claims. To support its rights, China also has built artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities the strategically vital South China Sea.  Earlier to oppose China’s moves, US had conducted freedom of navigation operations close to artificial islands built by China in the SCS as it pose a challenge to freedom of navigation. Besides, it also had agreed to deploy a missile defence system in South Korea following repeated nuclear and missile tests by China’s ally North Korea.  US also has sought to “pivot” to Asia by increasing its military and economic engagement with countries in region which is seen as its move to contain China’s growing power. In July 2016, an international Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in its pronouncement had ruled that China has no legal basis over the entire SCS. However, China has rejected PCA verdict.

India won the three-match test series against New Zealand, 3-0 on 11 October 2016. In the third and final test played at Holkar Stadium in Indore, India wrapped up the New Zealand innings at 153 in 44.5 overs claiming a huge victory by 321 runs. The entire second innings of the visitors folded in just one-and-a-half sessions on Day -4 with an entire day remaining. The chief wrecker for India was R Ashwin who claimed 13 wickets in the match with six wickets in first and seven in the second inning. It was also Ashwin’s sixth ten-wicket haul in 39 Tests and 21st 5-wicket haul. Series Report 1st Match : The match was played at Green Park, Kanpur between 22 September and 26 September 2016. India won by an innings and 197 runs. Ravindra Jadeja (India) was declared Man of the Match. 2nd Match : The match was played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata between 30 September and 4 October 2016. India won by an innings and 178 runs. Wriddhiman Saha (India) was declared Man of the Match. 3rd Match : The match was played at Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore between 8 October and 12 October 2016. India won by an innings and 178 runs. Ravichandran Ashwin (India) was declared Man of the Match. Player of the Series: Ravichandran Ashwin

Kerala can now enhance their learning ability with the introduction of a new textbook which integrates even games through meaningful learning situations. The new textbook, named 'Kalipetty' (which means Playbox), has been developed in a scientific manner and is expected to simplify mathematics and other subjects. The Kerala education department has introduced New Information Communication Technology (ICT) textbooks for primary classes from 1 to 4 through its IT@school project. For differently abled students, who require special attention, 'Kalipetty' also has specific content which would help them overcome many of their limitations and learn ICT education. This new learning solution has been developed by a committee headed by K. Anvar Sadath, Executive Director of IT at School.

Lieutenant General AK Sharma today assumed command of the White Knight Corps (16 Corps) from Lieutenant General RR Nimbhorkar.  Lt Gen Nimbhorkar complimented all ranks of White Knight Corps for their professionalism and dedication and thanked the civil administration for the excellent synergy with the Armed Forces. Lt Gen Sharma was commissioned in 1980 into 2 SIKH, a unit which he later commanded on the line of control and during 'Operation Parakram'.  An alumnus of Defence service and staff college Wellington, Army War College and National Defence College, he has also attended Terrorism and Security Studies Course in Germany.  He commanded a Mountain Brigade in the North East, an Infantry Brigade Group in UN Mission in Congo and a Counter Insurgency Force in Jammu and Kashmir. The General officer has been decorated with YSM, SM and COAS Commendation Card.  Before taking charge of White Knight Corps the General officer tenanted the appointment of Director General of Recruiting. 

Doordarshan and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) have entered into an agreement for transmission of four Gyan Darshan educational channels. Gyan Darshan ran successfully till June 2, 2014 as a must carry channel for educational programmes but was shut down by ISRO to facilitate its migration from INSAT 3C to GSAT-10. IGNOU now needs to apply for a fresh license to start the uplinking of its channels for GSAT-10 satellite, as under the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines of the I&B Ministry, it is not eligible for the grant of a license. IGNOU requested Doordarshan to apply for the necessary license and permissions for the Gyan Darshan channels. Through this MoU, Doordarshan has acceded to the request of IGNOU and agreed to apply for and obtain the necessary license and permissions as are required for the telecast of Gyan Darshan channels from IGNOU Earth Station, Delhi to operate in C-band from GSAT-10.

The Union Government has decided to invest 15,000 crore rupees to increase the capacity of Panipat refinery in Haryana to 25 Million Tonnes from existing 15 Million Tonnes.  It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan at a function in Panipat. The expansion of Panipat refinery will help raise specifications of fuel quality from BS-IV to BS-VI to meet future demand. It will also create employment opportunities for the people and also help in raising quality of fuel in the country by the year 2020.  Besides, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will also set up bio-ethanol plant in Panipat to generate alternative fuel from agricultural residue which would boost agriculture sector. It is an alcohol derived by process of fermentation mostly from carbohydrates of agricultural residue and feedstocks.  As a quasi-renewable energy, ethonal can be blended with petrol or diesel making it a sustainable transport fuel. It will help to reducing emissions and dependency on imported fuel. Help in solving the chronic problem of straw burning of leftover agro-based produce especially from wheat and rice feedstocks. Benefit farmers economically, as they would be paid for their agro-based produce to extract bio-ethanol. It would also help in preventing the loss of fertility of soil and damage to environment by reducing air pollution.

The Union Government is going to commemorate the birth centenary of social activist and former RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh from October 11, 2016 to October 11, 2017.  It was announced by the Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma during inaugural programme organised on the eve of the birth centenary celebrations. Nanaji Deshmukh was a social activist who had worked in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance.  He was a leader of Bharatiya Jana Sangh and RSS. He was born as Chandikadas Amritrao Deshmukh on October 11, 1916 in Kadoli in Maharashtra’s Hingoli district and passed away on February 27, 2010. He was inspired by Lokamanya Tilak and his nationalist ideology.  He was associated with Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, founding Sarsanghachalak of the RSS. He also had actively participated in Bhoodan Movement started by Vinoba Bhave. He also had supported the Total Revolution movement of J P Narayan. He was one of main architects of the Janata Party. He had won in the 1977 Lok election from Balrampur Lok Sabha constituency of Uttar Pradesh. He had established Chitarkoot Gramoday Vishwavidyalaya in Chitrakoot, India’s first rural University and had served as its Chancellor  He had done pioneering work towards the anti-poverty and minimum needs programme. He had implemented the philosophy of integral humanism to improve the living standards of more than 150 villages of bundelkhand. He was nominated to Rajya Sabha in the 1999 in recognition of his services to the nation. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1999.

Abdelilah Bekirane, leader of Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party, was appointed as country's Prime Minister on 10 October 2016. This will be his second term as Prime Minister of Morocco. Mohammed VI, the king of Morocco, made the announcement after Benkirane's PJD party emerged with the most number of seats in the 395-seat lower house of parliament. In the election held on 7 October 2016, the PJD party, which has been running a coalition government since 2011, won 125 seats. The opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party came second with 102 seats. The country’s oldest party Istiqlal (Independence) Party stood third with 46 seats. Benkirane has been serving as Prime Minister in a coalition government since November 2011. Benkirane and the PJD will now reach out to other parties to form a coalition government, because the multi-party system in the kingdom makes it impossible for any political party to win an absolute majority. Of the 395 members of the lower house, 305 are elected in multi-seat constituencies from electoral lists put together by the parties, while 60 seats of the remaining 90 are reserved for a national list of women and the rest 30 seats are set aside for candidates under the age of 35.

Telangana on 11 October 2016, the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dasami, had redrawn its map by creating 21 new districts. With these, the total number of districts of the youngest state of India went up to 31. Telangana, which came into existence on 2 June 2014 as the 29th State of India, started out with 10 districts. On an average, each district will have population of two to four lakh families, except Hyderabad where the number is much large. Reorganisation of districts has been taken up for better administration. Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao inaugurated Siddipet district, carved out of Medak, his home turf. Other 20 districts were inaugurated by his cabinet colleagues. The new districts are Siddipet, Mancheriyal, Vikarabad, Jagtial, Jangaon, Jayashankar, Warangal (Rural), Mahabubabad, Kamareddy, Medak, Rajanna, Asifabad, Suryapet, Kothagudem, Nirmal, Wanaparthy, Nagarkurnool, Yadadri, Peddapally, Jogulamba and Medchal/Malkajgiri. Besides, the state government also created 25 new revenue divisions, 125 new mandals, four new police commissionerates, 23 new police subdivisions, 28 new circles and 91 police stations.

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