Current Affairs 20th September 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Lt Gen Surinder Singh today took over as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command. He also met the senior staff at the Headquarters and took stock of the situation.  Lt Gen Surinder Singh was commissioned in 1979 into the Second Battalion, The Brigade of the Guards, an elite Infantry regiment.  In his illustrious career, the General has held prestigious commands, staff and instructional posts. He is a graduate of the British Army Command Staff College, Army War College and the National Defence College.  He rose through the ranks to command his Battalion and an Armoured Brigade, an Infantry Division and a Mountain Corps.

The Supreme Court has moved away from death penalty (capital punishment) after it commuted the death sentence of a youth for raping and killing a seven-year-old girl with the Special Category of Punishment. The apex court in its judicial innovation awarded the convict 25 year jail term considering it appropriate punishment between death sentence and life imprisonment in heinous crimes. Special Category of Punishment :  Special Category of Punishment is judicial innovation that will be veering away from capital punishment. It will be limited to a “very few cases”. In this case capital punishment will be shifted to life imprisonment without the benefit of release on remission for prolonged periods ranging from 25 to 30 years, if not more.  It was formalised by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Rajiv Gandhi killers’ case in December 2015. It helps “get rid of death penalty” and addresses the genuine concerns of the society to see justice done. Evolution of Special Category of Punishment  : This special category of Punishment for the first time was mentioned in the Swami Shraddananda versus State of Karnataka judgment of the Supreme Court in 2008. Later in 2016, the apex Court had given itself the authority to tweak the sentencing laws and evolve a special category of sentence in its judgment in Union of India versus Sriharan alias Murugan. The judicial innovation of the special category of punishment bridges the gap between death sentence (capital punishment) on the extreme and only 14 years of actual life imprisonment on the other. It may be considered as endeavour of the Supreme Court to make no party (convict or the society) a loser. Thus, it can be said that with judicial innovation of special category sentence the apex court may have found alternative to capital punishment.

Indian Railways has launched Yatri Mitra Sewa to facilitate access to wheelchairs, battery operated cars and porter services on 19 September 2016. The service was launched to make rail travel comfortable for elderly, differently-abled and ailing travelers. Highlights of the Yatri Mitra Sewa : Yatri Mitra or Passenger Friend service can be an assistant or any other person nominated for the purpose.The service will be available at major railway stations across the country. It can be availed at the time of online booking of tickets by calling or messaging 139 or by simply dialling a dedicated mobile phone number to be activated for the purpose. Passengers can also access the Mobile app to avail the service in the future. The App will be developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS).Once the service is booked, the IRCTC will ensure the Yatri Mitra receive the passenger at the entrance of the station and help in boarding the train safely. The assistant will also be available at the coach when the passenger arrives at the designated railway station.

The Cauvery Supervisory Committee headed by Shashi Shekhar directed Karnataka to release 3000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu on 19 September 2016. As per the committee’s direction, Karnataka will have to release 3000 cusecs water per day from 21 to 30 September 2016 to Tamil Nadu. The other members of the committee are Chief Secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry and Central Water Commission chairman. It will once again meet in October 2016. It seems that the decision of the committee will go in vain as no consensus was reached between the two states regarding the release of water. Karnataka had opposed the release of water due to ground reality and drinking water problems in the state. Earlier on 5 September 2016, the Supreme Court asked Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to approach the panel and till then asked Karnataka to release 15000 cusecs of water per day for 10 days to Tamil Nadu. Later on 12 September, it revised the limit to 12000 cusecs per day till 20 September 2016. The Karnataka government said that it will move Supreme Court to challenge the Cauvery Supervisory Committee's order asking the state to release 3000 cusecs of water per day for 10 days. It said that the state is not in a position to release Cauvery water due to shortage being faced by them.  

Ajay Kaul has resigned as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jubilant FoodWorks Limited on 19 September 2016. However, Kaul will continue in his current role till March 2017. Kaul's resignation came at a time when Jubilant Foodworks, which is the master franchisee of Domino's and Dunkin' Donuts in India, reported decline of 3.2 percent in its same-store sales growth (SSG) for the first quarter of financial year 2016-17. Ajay Kaul : Ajay Kaul joined the Board of Directors of Jubilant FoodWorks as Chief Executive Officer cum Whole Time Director in March 2005. He holds a bachelor’s degree in technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and a masters’ degree in business administration from XLRI, Jamshedpur. He has experience in industries such as financial services, airlines, express distribution and logistics and food retail.

India has successfully test-fired the most advanced surface-to-air missile 'Barak-8' off the Odisha coast on 20 September 2016. The long-range nuclear capable ballistic missile, developed jointly with Israel, was launched from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur in Balasore district. The 4.5-meter missile weighs around 3 tonnes and can carry a payload of 70 kilograms. The system also includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. The missile swung into action after getting a signal from the radars to intercept a moving aerial target supported by an unmanned air vehicle ‘Banshee’ over the Bay of Bengal. As a precautionary measure, Balasore district administration had made adequate arrangements to temporarily shift 3700 people residing within the 2.5 km radius. The fishermen were also asked not to venture into the sea during the launch. Earlier between 30 June and 1 July 2016, the Barak-8 was successfully test fired twice.

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won the Russian parliamentary election by securing 343 seats of the total 450 in Duma on 19 September 2016, the lower house of Parliament. This win, paves the way for Putin to run for a fourth term as President. Central Election Commission said, Communist Party and Liberal Democratic Party with about 14 percent each are in second and third place, while A Just Russian party gained about 6 percent of the votes. No other party has overcome the 5 percent threshold for entry into the parliament by party tickets. Earlier, the elections to the state Duma were held on 18 September 2016 in a split system – 225 members of parliament were elected by party tickets, while the other 225 were elected in one-seat constituencies. More than 111 million people were eligible to vote in the election and no minimal turnout was required. In the last election for the Duma in 2011, United Russia won 49 percent (238 seats) of the vote.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has tied up with financial services firm Janalakshmi Financial Services (Jana) as an associate sponsor on 15 September 2016. Janalakshmi will be the official financial services partner of the BCCI where the brand would enjoy visibility on the field. The agreement also gives Janalakshmi benefits of prominence in stadium branding and on-ground advertising for 68 matches in three years across the three formats. Janalakshmi Financial Services : Janalakshmi Financial Services is the largest and the fastest growing Micro Finance Institution (MFI) in India.It recently has been granted in-principle approval to convert itself into a Small Finance Bank. It has deep domain expertise in banking and financial services, with over 500 years of banking sector expertise just among the senior management. In March 2016, it received the VC Circle award for the Best Financial Services Firm in India that has received venture capital funding. JFS is also a part of the financial inclusion working group with the World Economic Forum.  

Monika Kapil Mohta has been appointed as the next envoy of India to Sweden. Mohta is an 1985 batch Indian Foreign Services officer and is presently the Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.  Previously, she has served as the ambassador of India to Poland and Lithuania. The two countries have a cordial relationship and growing economic cooperation.

The US has decided to become a partner country for the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, which is slated to be held in January next year. During the visit of Vibrant Gujarat delegation to the State Department, the United States decided to participate in the Vibrant Gujarat summit as a partner country. The visiting delegation had high-level engagements with senior officials of the US government and Congress leaders, thinkers and business magnates in Washington DC and New York during the road show and one-to-one meetings held on September 14-16. Gujarat Resident Commissioner Bharat Lal extended the invitation to the CEOs and the top business leaders for the Vibrant Gujarat summit to be held on January 10-13, 2017. He underlined that it will be a great opportunity for the companies to meet heads of state governments, ministers, senior policy makers, heads of international institutions and executives from corporates from around the world.

The trial operation of a world's largest permanent shiplift designed by Chinese and German engineers on China's Three Gorges Dam began. The shiplift, is the largest and most sophisticated in the world, according to Three Gorges Corp, a state-owned company responsible for the construction of the project. Three Gorges Dam in central China's Hubei province is the world's biggest water project.  The beginning of its trial operation marks the completion of the Three Gorges project, 22 years after construction on the mammoth project began, Zhang Shuguang, assistant general manager of the corporation said.  The vertical-hoisting elevator is designed to help small and medium-sized ships, with a maximum displacement of about 3,000 tonnes, to traverse the dam.  The water-level behind the dam is up to 113 meters higher than the downstream river.  The shiplift is equipped with a ship-chamber, which has a pool of water 120-meters long, 18-meters wide and 3.5-meters deep. The chamber, its mechanical systems and the water weigh 15,500 tonnes altogether.  The shiplift has been installed to complement the five-tier ship lock next to it, which is also the world's largest and has allowed ships to pass through since 2003.  The ship lock is running at full capacity, with its cargo throughput standing at 119.6 million tonnes in 2015, compared with 34.31 million tonnes in 2004.  The increase has been attributed to the booming water transportation sector in the mountainous regions of the Three Gorges, including the southwestern municipality of Chongqing.  It used to take ships about three to four hours to pass the dam via the ship lock. The shiplift will cut this time to about 40 minutes to one hour, the report said.  Construction of the shiplift began in 1994. Due to technical difficulties, the project was put on hold in 1995. Construction resumed in 2008.  The Three Gorges project is a multi-functional water control system. Its functions include flood control, transportation and power generation.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced funds for renovation of churches and mosques under the Waqf board. She has ordered release of Rs. 3 crore for the corpus fund. State presently disbursed Rs 60 lakh per annum for renovation of mosques and darghas under Waqf She has also unveiled welfare measures for members of SC and ST communities, including ‘quick electricity connections’ to 1000 SC community farmers.Sunrise’, Parched’ scripts archived at Oscar library The scripts of Adil Hussain-starrers “Sunrise” and “Parched” have been archived at the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He shared a copy of the letter from Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Twitter The Margaret Herrick Library is a non-circulating reference and research collection devoted to the history and development of the motion picture as an art form and an industry.

Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi has joined Coast Guard and volunteers in cleaning garbage from the beach here as part of the ’31nd International Coastal Clean Up Day’. Earlier, Bedi and Local Administration Minister A Namassivayam administered a pledge for ‘garbage free beaches’ to volunteers of NSS, NCC, NGOs, members of Indian Coast Guard and others. The programme was organised by the Indian Coast Guard here in association with the Local Administration Department.

Buoyed by the initial success of Direct Benefit Transfer, government plans to double the number of schemes under DBT to 147 by March and has launched pilots for paying subsidy on food, kerosene and fertiliser directly via bank accounts of beneficiaries . Benefits and subsidies in as many as 74 schemes of 17 government departments and ministries were paid directly to beneficiaries under DBT. The government planned to extend DBT to 147 schemes by March 2017.  The government hoped to achieve accurate targeting of beneficiaries, weed out duplication, curb leakages and bring efficiency in delivery process to help control expenditure and bring greater accountability and transparency.  

To make the Swachh Bharat Mission successful and encourage people to use clean toilets, the Ludhiana district administration has started a ‘Selfie with my Shauchalya’ campaign. Under the initiative, beneficiaries of toilets provided by the Punjab government and Bharti Foundation had been urged to click a selfie with their toilets.  The owner of the cleanest toilet, having all facilities, would be specially honored on October 2,.The campaign had been started for encouraging masses on the benefits of clean toilets.  

Andhra Pradesh has emerged on the top among all other states in attracting industrial investments in 2015-16, pushing the previous year's topper Maharashtra to the third spot. Andhra Pradesh attracted an investment of Rs 21,914 crore out of the Rs 1,38,700 crore gross investments across India, the state government said in an official release, quoting a report by the Reserve Bank of India.  This was 15.8% of the total investments of over Rs 10 crore each unit. In 2014-15, AP's share in the country's investments was 8.1%.

Federal Bank has launched its second Federal Skill Academy at Coimbatore, as part of its CSR initiatives. The first one being inaugurated last year at Ernakulam. The academy at Coimbatore will be initially providing an in-demand CNC Machine Operator Certificate Course in Milling & Turning, which will be certified by COINDIA. The initiative will facilitate underprivileged students to successfully complete the courses, and get employment opportunities both in India as well as abroad. Federal Bank : The Federal Bank Limited is a major Indian commercial bank in the private sector, headquartered at Aluva, Kochi, Kerala. As on 31 March 2016, Federal Bank has 1252 branches spread across 24 states and 1516 ATMs across the country. Its balance-sheet stood at Rs 1.37 trillion as of end March 2016 and its net profit stood at Rs 475 crore for the full fiscal year.

The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards was announced at the Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, U.S on 18 September 2016. The Game of Thrones won best drama series at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards, while Veep took home the top comedy award. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story also earned several awards, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her fifth consecutive Emmy in the lead comedy actress category. Award Winner Outstanding Comedy Series Veep Outstanding Drama Series Game of Thrones Outstanding Variety Talk Series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Outstanding Variety Sketch Series Key & Peele Outstanding Limited Series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Outstanding Television Movie Sherlock: "The Abominable Bride" Outstanding Reality-Competition Program The Voice Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Julia Louis-Dreyfus as President Selina Meyer on Veep Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson on Mr. Robot Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning, Alison Hendrix, Cosima Niehaus, Beth Childs, Rachel Duncan, and MK on Orphan Black Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran on The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark on The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets on Baskets Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Kate McKinnon as Various Characters on Saturday Night Live Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn on Bloodline Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden on The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Regina King as Terri LaCroix on American Crime Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Transparent (Episode: "Man on the Land"), Directed by Jill Soloway Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Game of Thrones (Episode: "Battle of the Bastards"), Directed by Miguel Sapochnik Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special Thomas Kail and Alex Rudzinski for Grease: Live Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special The Night Manager, Directed by Susanne Bier Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Master of None (Episode: "Parents"), Written by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Game of Thrones (Episode: "Battle of the Bastards"), Written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping, Written by Patton Oswalt Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (Episode: "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia"), Written by D. V. DeVincentis Primetime Emmy Awards :  The Primetime Emmy Award is an American award bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.It is given in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. It was first given in 1949. The award was originally referred to as simply the Emmy Awards until the first Daytime Emmy Award ceremonies were held in the 1970s. The word prime time was added to distinguish between the two.The Emmy Awards are considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards (film), Grammy Awards (music), and Tony Awards (stage). The awards are divided into three categories: the Primetime Emmy Awards for television performance, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards.  

Pulitzer-winning US playwright Edward Albee passed away on 16 September 2016 following a brief illness in Montauk, New York. He was 88. He authored many of the masterpieces such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee : Considered one of the most important American playwrights of his time, Albee wrote a variety of intense, controversial plays diving into anxieties, disillusionments and death.He burst onto the theatre scene with The Zoo Story (1958) at the age of 30 which later moved to off-Broadway in 1960.  Afraid of Virginia Woolf :  debuted on Broadway in 1962. It was later made into a 1966 black-comedy movie directed by Mike Nichols starring Elizabeth Taylor, who won an Oscar as best actress.Albee won a string of awards for Virginia Woolf including a Tony Award for best play in 1963. Throughout an up-and-down commercial career over several decades, Albee won three Pulitzer Prizes for best drama. The first in 1967 was for A Delicate Balance .He also garnered Pulitzers for Seascape in 1975, followed by Three Tall Women in 1994.In 2005, he was awarded the special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar has inaugurated the super computer PARAM ISHAN at IIT Guwahati campus on 19 September 2016. Students and faculty members of IIT Guwahati are expected to derive huge benefit from the facility. PARAM ISHAN :  It is the fastest and most powerful computer in North East, Eastern and Southern region. It has been jointly developed by IIT Guwahati and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, C -DAC. PARAM ISHAN has the power of 250 Teraflops and 300 terabyte capacity and can be used in the application areas like computational chemistry, computational fluid dynamics, computational electromagnetic, civil engineering structures, nana-block self assemble, optimization and others. It can also be used for weather, climate modeling and seismic data processing.

Anandi Ramalingam has  assumed charge as functional/whole time director of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) on 16 September 2016. Ramalingam has assumed charge as Director Marketing. It is the first time that a woman has been appointed as the Director of the company. Earlier, Ramalingam served as the General Manager heading the Military Communication Strategic Business Unit (SBU) at BEL's Bangalore Complex. Ramalingam had joined BEL-Bengaluru in March 1985 after completing her BE in Electronics and Communication engineering from the PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore. Bharat Electronics Limited :  Bharat Electronics Limited is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company with about nine factories in India. It is owned by the Indian Government.It primarily manufactures advanced electronic products for the Indian Armed Forces. It is one of nine PSUs under the Ministry of Defence of India. It has been accorded Navratna status by the Government of India.  

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