Current Affairs 15th October 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The World Student Day was observed across the world on 15 October 2016. October 15th, Dr. Abdul Kalam's birthday, is observed as World Student Day by United Nations Organization annually. In India he is highly respected as a scientist and as a great personality.  Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen  was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.  He spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India's civilian space programme and military missile development efforts. He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.

Senior IAS officer Ajay Kumar Bhalla was appointed as the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). Bhalla, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, is presently additional secretary in the commerce ministry. He has been appointed to the post in place of Anup Wadhawan, who has been appointed as additional secretary in the commerce ministry. The DGFT is entrusted with responsibilities for formulating and implementing the foreign trade policy with the main objective of promoting India's exports. Another senior bureaucrat Inder Jit Singh has been appointed as additional secretary in the commerce ministry. He is presently working in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

The Mizoram government's Information and Public Relations department and the Mizoram Journalists' Association (MJA) has declared Lalbiakthanga Pachuau, the editor of 'Zoram Tlangau', a Mizo language daily, as the "oldest working journalist in the country".  The 90-year-old soldier-turned-journalist started editing his own newspaper in 1970 and was elected the president of MJA for three terms.  He co-founded the Association for Voluntary Blood Donation in Mizoram as its general secretary and was later elected its president for a number of times from 2001 onwards.  Under his leadership, the blood donation collection in the state rose from 22.47 per cent to 94 per cent.  Pachuau's contribution in this field has earned him three special awards of State Blood Transfusion Council, not to mention the numerous state awards.  He has also held the post of President, World War-II Veteran Association, on numerous occasions.

The Union Government has decided to utilise the vast network of post offices across the country to sell subsidised pulses. The decision was taken during the meeting of the inter-ministerial committee on prices of essential commodities headed by Consumer Affairs Secretary. The availability and prices of essential commodities, especially pulses. The prices of pulses, sugar and other essential commodities. The committee decided to release more gram (chana) from buffer stock to ensure its availability through retail distribution at reasonable prices during the festive season. The purpose of this move is to ensure that there is no shortage of the pulses during the ongoing festival season. The postal networks will fill the gap of absence of government outlets in the States for the distribution of pulses, mainly, tur, urad and chana.  It will help government to leverage strong network of around 1.54 lakh post offices in the country, of which 1.39 lakh are in rural areas. It will help government to release more pulses from buffer stock and sell it at subsidised prices to protect consumers from high prices.  In order to protect consumers from high prices, Central Government has been releasing tur and urad from its buffer stocks to state governments as well as government agencies like NAFED and Mother Dairy for retail distribution at a subsidised rate.

The researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru have developed a cost-effective, high-performance, self-powered UV photodetector.  The self-powered UV photodetector can use the harvested optical energy for direct self-charging of energy storage devices such as supercapacitor. It can also be used for operating electronic devices in the absence of external power source.  Photodector : Photodector is a device capable of sensing (detecting) or responding to electromagnetic energy, typically light by using the electrical effect of individual photons. The researchers have developed the photodetector by integrating semiconducting vanadium doped zinc oxide (VZnO) nanoflakes with a conducting polymer. The zinc oxide (ZnO) is the base material for UV detection which can be doped with vanadium to produce photodetectors that are self-powered. The photodetector has superior performance in terms of faster detection of photo signals in the order of milliseconds even when UV light intensity is low. When doped with vanadium, the microstructure of ZnO changes from nanorods to closely-packed nanoflakes. It causes increase in the surface area to the volume of the material. It also creates surface defects within the band gap of ZnO, which helps in trapping the UV radiation that falls on the nanoflakes. These nanorods are one-dimensional and cause more light reflection from top surface. When UV light enters into pores it undergoes multiple reflections and finally gets absorbed. Benefits :  The nanoflake (VZnO) produces five times more photocurrent, compared with ZnO, which generates only 40 nA photocurrent. Once these nanoflakes are hydrogenated, the current generation capacity further increased to 1,000 nA. When these hydrogenated nanoflakes exposed to UV light, they detect photo signal within milliseconds, which is nearly 100 times faster than conventional UV photodetectors. VZnO nanoflakes structure has 98% light harvesting efficiency which is much higher than 84% seen in ZnO.

Bangladesh and China have agreed to elevate their bilateral relations to “strategic partnership”. It was announced during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit Bangladesh. This is the first official state visit by Chinese head of state to Bangladesh in three decades since President Li Xiannian’s visit in March 1986. Highlights  : The two countries also have agreed to jointly advance China’s One belt and road (OBOR) initiative. They also agreed to establish institutional cooperation in areas of maritime issues and counter-terrorism.  They also agreed to increase high level exchanges and strategic communication between them. Both countries signed of 26 agreements on different sectors. Through these agreements consensus was reached to work together in trade and investment and other key areas such as infrastructure, energy and power, agriculture, ICT and transportation.  

Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari has recognised a group of 22 MPs belonging to smaller parties and certain Independents as a consolidated bloc - the United Group.  With this recognition the United Group, will be the third largest group of MPs in the Rajya Sabha, after the Congress and the BJP.  This is only the third time in the history of Indian Parliament consolidated bloc has been recognised, the first was in 1983 and the second in 1990.  In 1983, the first such consolidated group was called United Associations of Members was recognised by the then Rajya Sabha Chairman M.Hidayatullah. In 1990, the then chairman of Rajya Sabha recognised organised group of Parliamentarians and was renamed as the United Group. benefits for consolidated bloc :  The newly recognised bloc will find a place in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) that decides time allotment. Thus, MPs of bloc will secure more time to speak in House debates. At present, time allotted to parties to speak on debates depends entirely on their strength in the House.  Earlier due to their solitary or numerically lean status, members of this bloc had as little as three minutes of speech time. Thus, a grouping of this kind will make it possible for a party like Sikkim Democratic Front with a single MP to speak for as much time as say, a Samajwadi Party with 19 MPs in Rajya Sabha.  

The Andhra Pradesh Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department has  released Rs.99.62 crore to AP-Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (AP-UFIDC) for the year 2016-17, for works taken up under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. The funds will be immediately disbursed to the eligible urban local bodies for improving civic infrastructure that includes roads, water supply, sewerage, solid waste management, and storm water drains.  The scheme is being implemented in 33 cities and towns in the State, including Amaravati. Vijayawada, Guntur, and Visakhapatnam find a place in the list of cities set for a major upgrade of infrastructure in the coming years.

The Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has inaugurated the  ‘Women of India Festival 2016’ of organic products by women at New Delhi. The Festival to be held from October 14-23. This initiative is a move to benefit women entrepreneurs, and also actively promote organic food and products. The Women of India Festival is intended to highlight the health and environmental advantages of organic goods, provide a platform for women engaged in this economy and encourage the development of sustainable and easily accessible sales outlets for organic producers from remote areas. Organic foods have been proven to contain more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than similar foods produced with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives. Organic farming relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and natural methods of pest control. Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticide exposure.

Tamim Iqbal has just created history. In the 3rd and the deciding ODI between Bangladesh and England, Tamim Iqbal became the first Bangladeshi batsman to make 5000 runs in ODI cricket. The dashing left handed opener, who is 27 years old, took 159 ODI’s to achieve this accomplishment. Iqbal is entering his peak years as a batsman. Notably, Bangladesh have leveled the series by 1-1.When Tamim touched the milestone, his average run rate was 32.49. A few minutes after his achievement, Tamim was taken out by England legbreak bowler Adil Rashid for 45 runs off 68 balls.The left-handed opener also became the highest century-maker for his country in ODI cricket during the recent Afghanistan seri Heworked seven centuries and 33 half centuries in this format to hold the record of having most centuries and half centuries among Bangladesh players.

Shri Amrit Lugun IFS (1989), presently Ambassador of India to the Republic of the Sudan, has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to the State of Eritrea, with residence in Khartoum(Sudan). Eritrea, officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast.

PetroFed, an apex society of entities in the Hydrocarbon sector, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TERI to undertake study on Climate Change Risks. Preparedness for Oil and Gas Sector. Cop21-The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015. It was the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The agreement will enter into force when joined by at least 55 countries which together represent at least 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions. On 22 April 2016 (Earth Day), 174 countries signed the agreement in New York, and began adopting it within their own legal systems. The study will suggest suitable measures for the Oil & Gas sector to achieve Indias INDC target of reducing emission intensity of GDP by 33.35 per cent below the levels in 2005 by 2030. The share of gas in the Indian energy basket is 6.5 to 7 per cent while the world average is 24 per cent. India aspires to take the share of gas to 15 per cent in the next 3 to 5 years so as to have a new gas based economy.

The Economic Development Board of Andhra Pradesh has signed a pact with Russia’s JSC United Shipping Corporation for setting up a ship-building unit in the state. United is expected to invest about Rs 100 crore in the proposed project. The EDB signed another memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia?s TechnoNICOL Corporation for establishing a world-class manufacturing complex in Visakhapatnam district to produce membranes, shingles and other waterproofing and roofing products. India is the only country to have registered 7.5 per cent economic growth last year and this will continue. AP has grown by 10.99 per cent last year and now our target is to ensure 15 per cent growth in the next 15-20 years.

The Maharashtra government today decided to extend fee waiver to students whose family income limit is less than Rs 6 lakhs, for professional and higher education courses, including medical and engineering. SC/ST students had 100 per cent fee waiver while OBC students had 50 per cent concession. It will now be extended to all students with income limit of Rs 6 lakhs and who have secured more than 60 per cent marks at the time of admission. Those with income limit upto Rs 2.5 lakhs will have no condition. The government also decided that the Punjabrao Deshmukh scheme will be implemented to provide hostel fees to children of marginal farmers and registered labourers. The government has also decided to implement Pandit Deendayal Upadhay Swayam Yojana for providing hostel and food facilities to tribal students.  It would be Rs 6,000 per month, in 2-tier cities it would be Rs 5,000 and in 3-tier it would be Rs 4,000 per month. In medical colleges, those with income limit of Rs 2.5 lakhs to Rs 6 lakhs, the government will pay interest of the educational loan taken by them. About 35,000 students in government and 3 lakhs in private colleges will benefit from the scheme.

Kirtiraj Kundlik Gaikwad, an Indian scientist, was on 12 October 2016 awarded with the prestigious IAFP Young scientist scholarship award 2016 for his research work on development of novel oxygen absorbing package in the field of active packaging for oxygen sensitive food products. The award worth 2000 US dollars and an award plaque was presented to him in the annual meeting of International Association Of Food Protection (IAFP) held in St Louise, USA by The IAFP Foundation, USA.  Kirtiraj Kundlik Gaikwad : Kirtiraj received his MS (Packaging) from Michigan State University, USA in 2013 and MTech (Food safety & standards) from Allahabad Agriculture University, India in 2011. He has authored and co-authored 15 research papers in reputed international journals.  He developed this novel oxygen scavenging package from the natural source. The feature of this package is that it can extend the shelf life of food. Moreover, it is suitable for microwave, liquid food packaging like juices and metal detector friendly at processing line. International Association Of Food Protection (IAFP) : The International Association for Food Protection recognizes young researchers from around the world that are the future leaders in the field of food safety.  The IAFP Foundation has been dedicated to enhance the career potential of exceptional researchers through the annual IAFP Scholarship Program, which provides full funding for the annual meeting. IAFP members, representing more than 50 countries, help the association achieve its mission through networking, educational programs, journals, career opportunities.

The International Day of Rural Women was observed across the world on 15 October 2016. The theme for the day for the year 2016 is Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too. The theme tries to bring focus on farmers, fishers and pastoralists who are standing on the frontlines of food insecurity as temperatures rise, weather patterns become less predictable and climate-related disasters become more frequent. As key actors in food systems, as small-scale farmers and those in charge of ensuring adequate nutrition for families, rural women are at the centre of this challenge. As per the United Nations, empowering rural women is a pre-requisite to fulfilling the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals that aim to end poverty and hunger, achieve food security and empower all women and girls. The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. The day was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007. The day recognizes the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Safe Motherhood Week is being observed from 14 October to 21 October 2016. The main aim of the 'Safe Motherhood Week' is to decrease the 'Mother Mortality Rate' (MMR) and 'Infant Mortality Rate' (IMR). At present, the MMR in the state is 258 per lakh deliveries, which is above the national average of 167. For this purpose, the state has decided to bring down the MMR to 200 till the end of 2016. During the campaign, the expecting mothers will be provided with all necessary medical aid and assistance to the pregnant women and to ensure safe delivery in the entire state. Highlights :  The High Risk Pregnancies (HRPs) will be identified and will be provided special care.Under the campaign, women with anemic conditions will also be provided special care.  As per principal secretary health and family welfare Arun Kumar Sinha nearly 50 per cent of the expecting mothers are anemic in the state which is the single largest reason for Mother Mortality. Under NHM, the state has decided to that in place of routine 100 iron folic tablets, 180 such tablets will be given to expecting mothers to fight anemia. Anemia is rampant in most parts of Uttar Pradesh.To fight calcium deficiency, a total of 720 calcium tablets will be provided to the pregnant women with 360 each before and after the delivery. The state will organise a special counseling and planning camp on 24 and 25 October 2016 for the women identified with HRP so that proper care can be planned for their safe delivery. This is the second phase of the Safe Motherhood Week in the state. The first phase was conducted in January 2016, under which nearly eighteen lakh pregnant women were identified with a number of one lakh fourteen thousand HRPs.

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