Current Affairs 19th October 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Haryana Government has appointed international woman wrestler Geeta Phogat as a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Haryana Police.  A proposal of the Home Department was approved at a meeting of the state cabinet  presided over by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.  The State Cabinet also approved the proposal of the Home Department to appoint Mountaineer Ram Lal as Sub Inspector in Haryana Police Department against sports quota.   

The Union Government has proposed a four-slab rate structure for the new indirect tax regime i.e. Goods & Services Tax (GST) ranging from 0 to 26 per cent. It was proposed at the meeting of the GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and included representatives from all states in New Delhi. Compensation of states due to loss of revenue after implementation of GST from 1 April 2017. Secular growth rate of 14% will be taken into consideration for calculating the revenue of each state in the first five years of implementation of the GST. Base year for calculating the revenue of states will be 2015-16. States getting lower revenue will be compensated by the Centre. These states will be compensated fund to be created from the Cess on top of the GST on ultra-luxury items and demerit goods. The rate structure will be revenue-neutral so that there is no need to burden consumers with additional tax. It will not lead to further inflation. Good items along with other 50% items of common usage to be exempted from the tax to keep the inflation under check. The GST is proposed to be levied at 6% (lower rate), 12% (Standard 1 rate), 18% (Standard 2 rate) and 26% (Higher rates) on the goods and services. It will be 0% on host of goods and services, including food, health and education services, and 26% on luxury items, such as fast-moving consumer goods and consumer durables. On consumption of ultra-luxury items and demerit goods, such as big cars and tobacco products, cess must be imposed over and above a 26% GST rate. The functions of GST Council are mention in Article 279A (4) of the Constitution. The Council will make recommendations to Union and States on important issues related to GST, like (i) Goods and services that may be subjected or exempted from GST.  (ii) Model GST Laws.  (iii) Principles that govern Place of Supply, threshold limits, GST rates.  (iv) GST rates will including the floor rates with bands and (v) Special rates for raising additional resources during natural disasters/ calamities, special provisions for certain States, etc.

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) national capital New Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category. The average (24-hour rolling) of PM2.5 and PM10, suspended respirable pollutants, were recorded as 120.8 and 248 micrograms per cubic metre as against safe limits of 60 and 100.  The poor air quality may lead to respiratory problems, irritation to eyes and skin, blurring of vision and headache. The major reasons for the poor air quality may due to the favourable cold weather conditions coupled with very light wind, vehicular pollution and farm fires in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana. SAFAR was introduced by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location specific information on air quality in near real time. It was developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune along with India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF). The main objective of SAFAR project is to increase awareness among general public regarding the air quality. The purpose awareness for general public is to take appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action for betterment of air quality and related health issues.

Scientists have developed a novel way using of producing electricity from water hydroelectric cell at room temperature without using any power or chemicals. The major breakthrough was developed by team of scientists led by Dr. RK Kotnala from Delhi’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL).  In this new method, scientist had used zinc and silver as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity. They had used nanoporous magnesium ferrite to split water into hydroxide (OH) and hydronium (H3O) ions. As magnesium has high affinity for hydroxide, it spontaneously splits water into hydroxide and hydronium ions.  The H3O ions get trapped inside the nanopores of magnesium ferrite and generate an electric field. The electric field helps in further dissociation of water. To further enhance the activity of magnesium ferrite, about 20% of magnesium is replaced with lithium. The substitution of lithium at magnesium site increases the sensitivity of magnesium ferrite. This is helpful in dissociating water at room temperature as the electrons get trapped in the oxygen deficient sites. Significance : The hydroelectric cell using magnesium ferrite of 1 sq. inch size can produce 8 mA current and 0.98 volt. Further if these four cells [of 2-inch diameter] are connected in series the voltage increases to 3.70 volts and can operate a small plastic fan or a LED light of 1 watt.  

The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has made it mandatory for all automobile manufacturers to provide emission and noise pollution details for every vehicle they produce by April 2017. In this regard, the ministry has amended Form 22 under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989 through which manufactures provide the initial certification of compliance of vehicles.  Basically, it will include pollution standards, safety standards of component quality and road-worthiness certificate for all vehicles. With this mandatory measure, the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in future intends to award five star ratings to vehicles based on their emission and noise pollution standards. Mandatory for all automobile manufacturers to provide emission and noise pollution details for every vehicle including makers of electric rickshaws and electric carts. The Form will include the brand, engine number, chassis number and emission norm of the vehicle.  It will apply to all vehicles including petrol, CNG, LPG, electric, diesel and hybrid. Automobile manufacturers must specify the levels of each pollutant like carbon monoxide, hydro carbon, nonmethane HC, NOx, HC+NOx, PM etc. for petrol and diesel vehicles.  They should also specify the sound level for horn and pass-by noise values of all vehicles. Earlier, Form 22 only certified that the vehicle in question complied with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1989 and rules thereunder, including the relevant emission norms.

Indian Navy has commissioned INS Tihayu, a Car Nicobar Class water jet fast attack craft (WJFAC). It was commissioned by the Flag-Officer-Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command Vice-Admiral H.C.S. Bisht in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. INS Tahiyu  : INS Tahiyu is the sixth WJFAC Car Nicobar Class vessel to be commissioned and allotted to the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy. It has been built by Kolkata-based shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE). Overall, INS Tahiyu is the 20th vessel in this class to be built by the shipyard.  INS Tahiyu weighs 315-tonne and can achieve a top operating speed of 35 knots per hour. It is an improved version of the earlier vessels. It has been fitted with three water jet propulsion systems, powered by marine diesel engines generating 2720 KW of power.  It also has been loaded with an indigenously-built 30 mm CRN gun, an assorted variant of machine guns and shoulder-launched IGLA surface to air missile.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is all set to declare the Kashmiri Red Stag, also known as Hangul, a Critically Endangered species. As per Bombay Natural History Society, nearly 3000 to 5000 Hanguls existed around the 1940s. At present, only about 150 of them survive in the Greater Dachigam Landscape of 1000 square kilometeres. Even then, IUCN had categorised it as that of Least Concern by clubbing with European and other 'red deer' species of the world. Kashmir's Red Stag :  The Kashmir Stag is a subspecies of elk native to India.It is found in dense riverine forests in the high valleys and mountains of the Kashmir Valley and northern Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. In Kashmir, it's found in the Dachigam National Park where it receives protection but elsewhere it is more at risk. In the 1940s, the population was between 3000 and 5000 individuals. However, since then, the habitat destruction, over-grazing by domestic livestock and poaching have greatly reduced that dramatically. Earlier believed to be a subspecies of red deer, a number of mitochondrial DNA genetic studies have revealed that the Hangul is part of the Asian clade of the elk and has not been evaluated by IUCN.

India and Myanmar has signed three agreements to boost the bilateral relations between the two nations on 19 October 2016. Keeping in view the sensitivity of each other’s strategic interests, the two nations also agreed for close security coordination in border areas. The MoUs were inked in New Delhi after delegation level talks with the visiting State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi was on a three day visit to India. Agreements inked includes MoU for designing an academic and professional building programme for insurance industry of Myanmar. The MoU was signed between Financial Regulatory Department of Myanmar and Insurance Institute of India. MoU on Cooperation in the field of Power Sector: India has also offered to enhance power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar. MoU on Banking Supervision between RBI and Central Bank of Myanmar. Besides, the two countries also agreed to enhance engagement in several areas like to develop a mutually beneficial arrangement for trade in pulses. India also said that the Archaeological Survey of India will soon begin work on restoring two old temples and inscriptions of King Mindon and King Baygyidaw in Bodh Gaya.  

Human rights activist Irom Sharmila has announced the formation of her political party named Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) on 18 October 2016 . The announcement was made with a promise to fight for justice and peace among the people. While launching the party, the Iron Lady of Manipur said that she is entering electoral battle to fight against injustice after ending her nearly 16-year long hunger strike. Sharmila further said her party will contest for at least 20 seats in the coming state Assembly election to be held early in 2017. She also named candidates for some seats. She will contest from two seats, Thoubal and Khurai. Thoubal is her home constituency, while Khurai is represented by Chief MInsiter Okram Ibobi Singh. The Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) : Irom Sharmila will be the co-convenor Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA).Academician Erendro Leichombam is the convenor of the party. The party includes a number of activists and entrepreneurs. Irom Chanu Sharmila, the Iron Lady of Manipur, on 9 August 2016 announced her decision to enter politics on 9 August 2016, the day when she broke her 16-year-long fast. She was on a fast with the demand of withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state. Earlier on 5 October, a court in Imphal acquitted her from charges uunder Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (attempt to suicide).

Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the last king of Rwanda, passed away on 16 October 2016 in Virginia, U.S. He was 80. King Kigeli V came to power in 1959 but was only king of Rwanda until 1961, when the monarchy was abolished and he was forced into exile. King Kigeli V eventually settled in the United States where he set up a charity helping Rwandan refugees and orphans. Kigeli V Ndahindurwa :  Kigeli V Ndahindurwa was born on 29 June 1936. After his half-brother, King Mutara III Rudahigwa, died under mysterious circumstances on 25 July 1959, it was announced on 28 July 1959 that Kigeli would succeed him as King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa. He was the last ruling King (Mwami) of Rwanda, from 28 July 1959 until the overthrow of the Rwandan monarchy on 28 January 1961. The titular King lived in exile during the final part of his life in the U.S. town of Oakton, Virginia. In exile, he was known for heading the King Kigeli V Foundation. The institution promoted humanitarian work for Rwandan refugees.

A 13-year-old boy , Roshan Sori from a Maoist violence-affected district of Chhattisgarh has won the prestigious APJ Abdul Kalam Ignite Award for suggesting an idea for a software to instantaneously register a vote given through an electronic voting machine with the authorities. Roshan Sori, a Class 6th student of Sukma district, came upon the idea after reading in the newspapers that Maoist rebels often loot EVMs on the way to counting centres, causing long delays and spiraling costs in the poll process. His parents are small farmers. Sori is one of three students from the state among this year’s 28 awardees.  The other two students of Chhattisgarh are Himanshu Rateria of Janjgir Chanpa district and Indu Manikpur of Dantewada (Bastar region). Manikpuri’s idea was to develop a septic tank pressure record scale while Rateria wanted to create a medical alarm on TV for senior citizens.

Government has formally granted a licence to BP Plc, Europe's third-biggest oil company, to set up 3,500 petrol pumps in India, making it the 10th company to enter the lucrative fuel retailing sector.  The company was granted a formal licence on October 14. BP granted licence to market Motor Spirit (petrol) and High Speed Diesel (diesel) - another milestone for BP in India . The UK-based firm, as also Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd, was given approval by the Oil Ministry to retail petrol and diesel . The company had in January this year won in-principle approval to retail aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to airlines in India. Subsequently, it got full approval for that.  BP, which had in 2011 bought 30 per cent interest in 21 exploration blocks of Reliance Industries for USD 7.2 billion, had cited investment of nearly USD 500 million in oil and gas exploration and production for gaining the licence.  India currently has about 56,190 petrol pumps, with public sector firms operating a majority of them.  Private sector operators are limited to Essar Oil and Reliance Industries, who between them have some 3,500 petrol pumps. Royal Dutch Shell operates 82 petrol stations.  Private sector operators are limited to Essar Oil and Reliance Industries, who between them have some 3,500 petrol pumps. Royal Dutch Shell operates 82 petrol stations.  State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) owns 25,363 petrol pumps, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) 13,802 stations and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) 13,439 outlets.  Kolkata-based Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) was the latest company to get licence to set up upto 100 petrol pumps, mostly in West Bengal.  In ATF or jet fuel retailing, there are 205 aviation fuel stations, 100 of which are owned by IOC, 40 by BPCL and 37 by HPCL. RIL has 27 aviation fuel stations at airports while joint venture of Shell and MRPL owns one. 

Former Sri Lankan cricket skipper Sanath Jayasuriya was  named brand ambassador of the third edition of the STAIRS School Football League (SSFL), starting here from October 19. STAIRS (Society For Transformation, Inclusion and Recognition through Sports) is a not-for-profit organisation working towards sports, education, health and skill development of children across India.

The Maharajas' Express, the world's most luxurious train owned and operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), received the 2016 Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards at Marbella in Spain. Maharajas' Express was presented the "Signum Virtutis", the seal of Excellence, from the Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards at an impressive function held at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella. The 23-coach Maharajas' Express currently runs on five routes with choices of 7 Nights/8 Days and 3 Nights/4 Days itineraries. The itineraries cover destinations like Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Balasinor, Ajanta, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Lucknow. The train, which began its inaugural journey in 2010, is a winner of the coveted Leading Luxury Train of the World Award for four years on the trot, and is in the league of leading luxury trains of the world, including the Royal Scotsman and the Eastern and Oriental Express. It is also a notch higher in several aspects--the menus, the cabin experience, the excursions and the events organised for guests. The train has state of the art features with in-room temperature control, on-board water filtration plant, spacious cabin sizes, two bar-cum-lounges, two restaurants and an on-board team to cater to expectations of guests from across the world.

Indian pharmaceutical major Cipla has signed a memorandum of agreement for South Africa's first biosimilars manufacturing facility to be set up at a cost of nearly $91 million.  The agreement with KwaZulu-Natal Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone for Cipla BIOTEC's new facility was concluded on the margins of BRICS Summit in Goa . The Memorandum of Agreement was signed at a meeting held at Cipla's offices in Goa which was attended by South Africa's Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies; KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala; and Divian Govender, South Africa CEO and Global Chief Business Officer of Cipla BIOTEC.  The facility will be South Africa's first biotech manufacturing unit for the production of biosimilars. It is set to produce a range of affordable treatments for cancer and other autoimmune diseases for the African and global market.  The CIPLA Biologic investment is a Top 10 priority project of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Investment chaired by President Jacob Zuma and is strategic for a number of reasons . The investment represents the introduction of an entirely new technology into the South African economy, which will have a wide reaching impact especially the elevation of the research and development done in our tertiary education institutions . The construction of the new facility is scheduled to start early next year, with full operations expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018. 

The Reserve Bank today has launched the survey to seek quantitative information on order books, inventories and capacity utilisation of companies in the manufacturing sector, a key input for monetary policy formulation. The quarterly Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilisation Survey (OBICUS) is for the reference period July-September 2016-17. The survey seeks quantitative information on order books, inventories and capacity utilisation, such as, pending order books, backlog order books, total inventories, finished goods inventories, work in progress inventories and installed capacity from companies in the manufacturing activities.  The information on installed capacity, quantity produced, value of production, etc, is used for calculating the capacity utilisation at industry as well as at an all India level. The survey provides a significant input to the Reserve Bank in monetary policy formulation. The major manufacturing companies will be approached by the Reserve Bank. Other manufacturing units that are not approached earlier can also participate in this survey round by downloading the survey schedule from RBI website. In the previous OBICUS survey, 903 manufacturing sector companies had participated the survey. RBI has also launched the 11th pilot round of its Services and Infrastructure Outlook Survey (SIOS).

Sixteen countries are slated to participate in Physical Agility and Combat Efficiency System military exercises scheduled to begin in Lahore from October 18.  According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the countries will take part in the six-day drills aimed at enhancing physical and military capabilities of troops . A 25-member Sri Lankan army team arrived in Lahore . The first ever joint exercise between Pakistan and Russian military which started on September 27, meanwhile, ended on October 10. 

For the welfare of SC/ST entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 18 October 2016 launched national SC/ST (Schedule Castes/Schedule Tribes) hub in Ludhiana. He also launched the Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Besides, he also gave away national awards to MSME entrepreneurs. He distributed 500 spinning wheels (spinning wheels) to women of weaker sections of Punjab to make them able to earn their livelihood. National SC/ST hub : This hub has been set up under Prime Minister's Employment Generation scheme to provide support to entrepreneurs from the SC/ST community. It was started with an objective to provide professional support to entrepreneurs from the SC/ST sections.  It aims at promoting entrepreneurship among the SC/ST population. The hub with an initial outlay of 490 crore rupees will work towards strengthening market access/linkage, monitoring, capacity building, leveraging financial support schemes and sharing industry-best practices.  It will also enable central public sector enterprises to fulfill the procurement target set by the government. Setting of the national SC/ST Hub under the MSME Ministry was announced by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) scheme : The scheme was first mentioned by PM Modi in his Independence Day speech in 2014.ZED scheme denotes high quality manufacturing with a minimal negative impact on environment. It aims at raising quality levels in unregulated MSME sector.It will support MSMEs across the nation in all Make in India sectors through quality control cells constituted by government. These cells will rate them after carrying out annual assessment of their products. Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister visited Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, where he dedicated to the nation three hydropower projects – namely, Koldam, Parbati and Rampur.  

S P Yadav was elected the new President of the North Zone of Urology Society of India (NZUSI) on 18 October 2016. His tenure would begin from October 2017 for a period of one year. The announcement was made at the conclusion of a three-day annual conference held under the auspices of the Agra Urology Association from 16 October to 18 October 2016. S P Yadav : S P Yadav is noted urologist.He has contributed to various researches and clinical practices for the last 32 years. He has been involved in basic and clinical research throughout my career. He is also the Managing Director of Gurgaon based Pushpanjali Hospital. He has twice been included in the Limca Book of Records (2011 and 2016) for rare prostate surgeries. Urology Society of India : The Urological Society of India (USI) came into existence as Urology Section of the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) at their Annual Conference in Baroda in December 1961. At inception, a provisional Executive Committee was entrusted with the task of framing the rules, enrolling members and ensuring passage through the Governing Body of ASI.The membership of the Urology Section was later on rechristened as, The Urological Society of India.  Its objective is to promote research and high standards in the practice of urology, apart from fostering high and uniform standards in post-graduate training in urology.NZUSI covers Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, besides Delhi and Rajasthan.  

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