Current Affairs 29th September 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Union Government has approved assistance of 1269 crore rupees for drought affected Maharashtra on 28 September 2016. Out of the total amount, around 589 crore rupees will be supplementary assistance for damage to Kharif crops and over 679 crore rupees for Rabi crops. The meeting for the Central Assistance to drought affected Maharashtra was chaired by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. The Committee examined the proposal based on the report of the Central Team which visited the state in May 2016. Maharashtra Government : As per reports, Maharashtra had a demand of 3200 crore rupees. It sought 2000 crore rupees as supplementary relief aid for losses in the Kharif crops and 1200 crore rupees for rabi crops in 2015. The demand was raised under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Singapore in the field of Industrial Property Cooperation on 28 September 2016. The MoU will be signed between India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) during the visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister to India from 4-7 October 2016.  Highlights  :  It will enhance bilateral cooperation activities in the arena of Industrial Property Rights of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs.  It is intended to give a boost to innovation, creativity and technological advancement in both regions. It includes exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on Intellectual Property awareness among the public, businesses and educational institutions of both countries.  It includes exchange of experts specialized in the field of intellectual property.It includes exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP with the industry, universities, R & D organizations and Small and Medium Enterprises.It also involves cooperation in the development of automation and implementation of modernization projects.It calls for partnership in IP-related training for local IP and business communities.

Infosys has launched Skava Commerce, a modern, mobile-first and modular e-commerce platform that delivers engaging omni-channel experiences on 28 September 2016. Skava is a Silicon Valley based e-commerce startup which was acquired by Infosys.  Skava Commerce Platform : The platform can help brick-and-mortar retailers to quickly launch new offerings, improve conversion rates of traffic coming from digital channels without making large investments upfront. It can integrate with existing technologies while providing a future-ready architecture that will enable next generation shopping experiences leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.It also includes a responsive web store and native mobile shopping applications that can be managed by non-technical business users through SkavaSTUDIO- a web-based experience management tool. For retailers who are building their own platform, Skava is offering a source code license of its platform with an aim to accelerate retailers' journey and yet have full ownership through the source code license.  

The world’s first baby was born from a new procedure that combines the DNA of three people. The baby was born in Mexico. The baby was born on 6 April 2016 after his Jordanian parents travelled to Mexico where they were cared for by US fertility specialists. The baby was born using the new and controversial technology, called mitochondrial donation, which incorporates DNA from three persons. The five-month-old boy has the usual DNA from his parents, and a small amount of genetic code from a donor. The baby’s mother carried genes for the fatal Leigh Syndrome, which harms the developing nervous system.The faults affect the DNA in mitochondria, the tiny battery-like structures that provide cells with energy, and are passed down from mother to child. A team of doctors, led by John Zhang, decided to attempt the controversial procedure of mitochondrial transfer in the hope that it would give the couple a healthy child. The doctors took the nucleus from one of the woman’s eggs and inserted it into a healthy donor’s egg that had had its own nucleus removed. Then, the egg was fertilised with the husband’s sperm.The team created five embryos but only one developed normally. This was implanted into the mother and the baby was born nine months later. Mitochondrial Donation :  Mitochondrial donation is a special form of in vitro fertilization in which the future baby's mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party.The two most common techniques in mitochondrial donation are pronuclear transfer andmaternal spindle transfer. Due to the uncharted nature of producing a child with 3 sources of DNA, this subject is currently quite contentious in the field of bioethics, as is the case with many other gene therapies.The treatment was legalised in the UK in 2015 but so far no other country has introduced laws to permit the technique. In February 2016, a report was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug administration declaring that further research into mitochondrial donation is ethically permissible.  

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved ‘Project SAKSHAM’ n 28 September 2016. It is a New Indirect Tax Network (Systems Integration) of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). It will help in integrating system of Central Board of Excise and Customs with the GST network before the roll out in April 2017. The total project cost involved is 2256 crore rupees which will be incurred over a period of seven years. SAKSHAM  : Implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) Other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital India and Ease of Doing Business of Central Board of Excise and Customs The implementation strategy for the project will be to ensure readiness of CBEC's IT systems by 1 April 2017, when GST is to be introduced. The upgrade of the IT systems will be carried out while keeping the existing Tax-payer services running. As predicted, all taxpayers/importers/exporters/dealers under various indirect tax laws administered by CBEC, presently about 36 lakhs, are likely to go up to over 65 lakhs after introduction of GST. CBEC's IT systems need to integrate with the Goods & Services Tax Network (GSTN) for processing of registration, payment and returns data sent by GSTN systems to CBEC, as well as act as a front-end for other modules like Audit, Appeal, Investigation. There is no overlap in the GST-related systems of CBEC and GSTN. This IT infrastructure is also urgently required for continuation of CBEC's e-Services in Customs, Central Excise & Service Tax, implementation of tax¬payer services such as scanned document upload facility, extension of Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) initiative and integration with Government initiatives such as E-Nivesh, E-Taal, e-Sign.

In a recognition of the country's Muslim community, the second-largest in the world, an Indian has been invited to attend a prestigious conference of the Organisation of Islamic Countries' Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC).  Haji Syed Salman Chishty of Dargah Ajmer Sharif has been invited to address the ICYF-DC's Third Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers opening in Istanbul on October 4.  This is a great honour for India and Indian Muslims. I shall speak on 'Empowering Youth for Peace, Solidarity and Development', which is the main theme of this global conference to be attended by representatives from 52 countries . The recommendations of the conference will be included in "The OIC 2025 Action Plan", encompassing the adoption of the OIC Youth Strategy . This is the first time India  which is home to the world's second largest Muslim population after Indonesia  has been invited to the OIC forum. In fact, since nearly a decade, India's application for an OIC membership or getting observer status has been denied due to Pakistan's objections . Besides, there are other youth-related issues like early marriages, with 27.3 per cent being performed before the age of 18, with prevalence maximum in Bangladesh (29.1 per cent) and Chad (29 per cent). This needs to be regulated in terms of age and consent for a better future for the youth and their children .

Senior IPS officers Sudhir Pratap Singh has appointed as Directors General of counter-terrorism force National Security Guard (NSG)  Sudhir Pratap Singh, a 1983 batch IPS officer of Rajasthan cadre, is ADG, Central Reserve Police Force.The CISF is entrusted with responsibility of providing security to national installations including airports.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement (on Climate Change) on 2nd October 2016. The Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations in December 2015.  India had signed the agreement in New York in April 2016. So far, 191 countries have signed the agreement. The Paris treaty on Climate Change will come into force when 55 countries contributing to 55 % of total global emission ratify the agreement.  So far, 61 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, approval or acceptance accounting in total for 47.79% of the total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With the gathering momentum and willingness expressed by several other countries it is expected that the Agreement will enter into force soon. Significance of India’s Ratification : India’s decision to ratify the agreement will take the number of cumulative level of emission of countries that have ratified the agreement so far to 51.89%. With its decision, India will be one of the key countries that will be instrumental in bringing the Paris Agreement into force.  Underlines the important role played by India’s responsive leadership in the community of nations committed to global cause of climate justice and environmental protection. Paris Agreement gives thrust to the global actions to address climate change and pertains to post-2020 climate actions.  In the pre-2020 period, developed countries are to act as per Kyoto Protocol and some developing countries have taken voluntary pledges.

IPS officer O P Singh has appointed as the new Director General of CISF, a paramilitary force tasked to secure vital civil airports, and nuclear and aerospace installations in the country.  Singh, a 1983-batch officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, who was serving as the Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), was appointed to head the 1.48 lakh-strong force after an order by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister on September 23. His tenure is till January 2020. On his arrival at the CISFheadquarters here, he was accorded a guard of honour after which senior officers briefed him.  The government has carried out a comprehensive high-level security audit of civil airports in the country and has underlined that all these facilities need to be secured by the Central Industrial Security Force.  Singh, the only DG-rank officer in the present lot to have been decorated with the President's Police Medal for Gallantry, has been credited with initiating some of the best standard operating procedures in the NDRF and having led his men on the ground during the massive Nepal earthquake rescue and relief operations last year.  Apart from securing airports and other important installations, the CISF also secures a host of VVIPs along with providing armed security to the Delhi Metro network, seaports, power plants and sensitive government buildings.

Tech giants Microsoft and Adobe has announced a major partnership to promote the use of each other's cloud-computing tools among their mutual customers.  The deal follows a pact last year that linked some Adobe products to Microsoft's customer relationship management tools.  Cloud-computing, a growing business in which companies increasingly turn to rented, web-based infrastructure to run their software instead of their own back room servers, has a been a showcase of Microsoft's newfound willingness to partner with erstwhile competitors.  Under the new deal, the maker of Photoshop will use Microsoft's network of on-demand data storage and processing power to run its web-based digital media and marketing software.  Adobe and Microsoft will bring together the cloud horsepower and end-to-end capabilities brands need to design and deliver great digital experiences.  Microsoft itself will now make the Adobe Marketing Cloud its preferred marketing service for Dynamics Enterprise 365 and the two companies will collaborate on data integrations that will make it easier for their users to work across the two services. Adobe and Microsoft will bring together the cloud horsepower and end-to-end capabilities brands need to design and deliver great digital experiences.   

A British woman Kate McWilliams become the world's youngest ever commercial airline captain at just 26 years old. Kate McWilliams, with budget carrier easyJet, is based at London's Gatwick Airport. She began flying at the age of 13 in the air cadets before embarking on a training programme at CTC Aviation in Southampton on her 19th birthday. She first became interested in planes after attending an air show at age four. She flies Airbus A319 and A320 planes to around 100 destinations, such as Reykjavik, Tel Aviv and Marrakesh. 

The Punjab Government has approved the inclusion of Gosai/Goswami, Yadav/Aahir and Rabari Communities in the list of Backward Classes of the state. The Cabinet also approved the recommendations of Cabinet sub-committee regarding the settlement of legacy food credit account. The committee recommended that the terms as approved by State Bank of India in its meeting held on September 20 has agreed to reduce the rate of interest from 9.26 per cent to 8.25 per cent. The Cabinet also decided to extend the Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Beema Yojna to provide health insurance to 40 lakh blue card holders, farmers, traders and labourer families.Which was expiring on October 31, Henceforth the Cabinet gave its nod to extend this policy from November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017.

Sixteen trees native to Aravali and NCR, will soon be notified as "protected" natural heritage, on the lines of recognising special monuments in Delhi.  Monuments are recognised as 'historical heritage' of the city, but now Delhi government will, officially, recognise trees as 'natural heritage' in the city. Mishra, who is holding interim charge of the Environment Department, says the government has taken the step to highlight the issue of pollution.  The trees will be adorned with descriptive and informative signboards - which will tell people of the ecological and botanical value of these tree. It will also tell about historical stories surrounding the tree and also warn people against damaging them. The city has seen continuous habitation since the 6th century BC. It has been ruled by Lodhis, Khiljis, Tughlaks, British, who built several temples and mosques.  Also, the native trees of Delhi like jamun, pilkhan, shahtoot, kadamb are getting lost. The ones which survived, and have served an increasingly urbanising Delhi for 100-200 years, deserve protection.

World Health Organization (WHO) has released its report on pollution, which is extremely worrying on 27 September 2016. The report claims that 92 percent of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. This mean, 9 out of 10 people globally are breathing poor quality air. Maria Neira, head of the WHO's department of public health and environment, termed the report as a 'public health emergency'. She also urged governments to take up measures like cutting the number of vehicles on the road, improving waste management and promotion of clean cooking fuel. The WHO report is based on data collected from more than 3000 sites across the globe. According to the report, poorer countries have much dirtier air than the developed world. The report is based on WHO’s new air quality model that is based on data derived from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors. The model was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom. Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together. Nearly 90 percent of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions. WHO says that 94 percent are due to non-communicable diseases – notably cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Telangana government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide digital classes across the state through its state channel Mana TV on 28 September 2016. As per the MoU, the ISRO’s Development & Educational Communication Unit (DECU) will work with the state government to disseminate educational content using satellite technology. IT Minister KT Rama Rao said that this arrangement would help the channel start coaching classes from 1 October 2016. The channel will telecast a four-hour programme daily. Besides, about 6000 schools of the state will launch digital classes from 14 October 2016. The digital classes will provide a platform for lakhs of students and job aspirants to get quality education. Earlier in August 2016, the states Irrigation Department signed MoU with ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) to use space technology for real-time monitoring of all water resources in the state.

World Maritime Day was observed across the world on 29 September 2016. Theme for the day is shipping: indispensable to the world. The theme was chosen to focus on the critical link between shipping and global society and to raise awareness of the relevance of the role of International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the global regulatory body for international shipping. The importance of shipping to support and sustain today's global society gives IMO's work a significance that reaches far beyond the industry itself. Besides, to mark the 2016 World Maritime Day, a parallel event will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 4 to 6 November 2016.

Former Australian cricketer Max Walker passed away on 28 September 2016 at Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was 68. Walker was famous for his unconventional bowling action that earned him the nickname Tangles. Max Walker  : Maxwell Henry Norman Walker was an Australian cricketer and Australian rules football player.He earned a place in the Australian cricket team in 1973 and represented his country in the sport until injury ended his career in 1981. Following his retirement, he worked as an architect and also commenced a career in radio and television media.He wrote 14 books over a period of thirty years and became a successful public speaker.

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