Current Affairs 9th September 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Uttar Pradesh became the first state in the country  to roll out the ambitious "Twitter Seva" project, when in one go 122 Twitter handles were unveiled in the state capital.  The "live customer services resolution solution", senior officials of the micro-blogging site said was by far the biggest engagement by them with any department of any government in India.  The idea behind the service was to "provide the UP police, among other things, strengthening of its primary relationship with the citizens by providing fast, efficient and real time response to complaints and SoS's raised by the 220 plus million population in the state . The state police chief said police personnel should now be more conscious of their responsibilities as everything would be under real time watch and that the process was going to be a mammoth exercise owing to the level of engagement with over 20 crore people. The UP police so far had just a Twitter handle which was activated a few months back and has some 46,000 followers.  The state police force, which is the biggest in the world, has been at the receiving end for spiralling crime and poor law and order but the police has received some good reviews for its proactive action on complaints that were posted on its Twitter handle.  The state government wants to showcase the launch as an example of its seriousness about curbing crime, which has become its biggest bane, specially as it goes to seek a mandate again in the state assembly polls scheduled for early 2017. 

The US space agency, NASA, on 8 September 2016 launched OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft.  The unmanned spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, blasted off onboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. OSIRIS-REx is United States’ first mission to collect samples from an asteroid and return to Earth. The 800 million dollar mission will travel for two years on a journey to Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid about the size of a small mountain. NASA feels that the asteroid may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of water and organic molecules found on Earth. Scientists at NASA said OSIRIS-REx's main goal is to gather dirt and debris at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) from the surface of the asteroid and return it to Earth by 2023 for further study.

India’s largest private sector bank ICICI Bank has successfully deployed ‘Software Robotics’ for power banking operations. With this, it becomes first bank in the country and among few globally to deploy ‘Software Robotics’.  ICICI Bank has deployed Software Robotics to over 200 business processes across various functions. The 200 business processes include retail banking operations, agri-business, trade & foreign exchange, treasury and human resources management, among others In banking, software robotics emulates human actions to automate and perform repetitive, high volume and time consuming business tasks cutting across multiple applications. It leverages recent advancements in artificial intelligence such as facial and voice recognition, machine learning, natural language processing, and bots among others.  The software robots can perform over 10 lakh (1 million) banking transactions every working day.  The software robots at ICICI Bank are configured to capture and interpret information from systems, recognize patterns and run business processes across multiple applications. Besides, it can execute activities including data entry and validation, automated formatting, workflow acceleration, multi-format message creation, text mining, reconciliations and currency exchange rate processing among others.

President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Constitution 122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 as per Article 111 of Constitution of India on 8 September 2016. With this assent, the bill becomes law and allows rolling out a new indirect tax regime. After the Presidential assent, the bill will be notified to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council that will decide the tax rate, cess and surcharges. The council to be headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will comprise of state Finance Ministers. Now, the union and state governments will have to draft the Central GST, State GST and integrated GST laws for being passed in the winter session of the Parliament. The CGST and IGST will be drafted on the basis of the model GST law. On the other hand, the states will draft their respective GST (SGST) laws with minor variation, incorporating State-based exemptions. The IGST law would deal with inter-State movement of goods and services. Goods and Services Tax : The GST is a single indirect tax, which will subsume most of the Central and State taxes such as the Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duty, service tax, central sales tax, additional customs duty and special additional duty of customs.

Maharashtra Government has announced a cash reward of Rs 75 lakh to steeplechase specialist from the state Lalita Babar, who finished a creditable 10th at the Rio Olympics, and Rs 50 lakh to bronze medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who announced these cash rewards, said the five athletes from Maharashtra who took part in the last month’s Games will get Rs 50 lakh each. He also gave a cash award of Rs 75 lakh to Olympic silver medallist in women’s badminton singles P V Sindhu and Rs 25 lakh to her coach P Gopichand.  Lalita Babar, the girl who made Maharashtra proud, will get a cash reward of Rs 75 lakh, while her coach will get Rs 25 lakh. Lalita Babar is an Indian long-distance runner. She was born in a small village in the Satara district, Maharashtra. She predominantly competes in the 3000 metres steeplechase and is the current Indian national record holder and the reigning Asian Champion in the same event. Babar was named as the Sports Person of the Year in the India Sports Awards 2015 organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India. She is currently supported by Anglian Medal Hunt Company.

Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) has once again recommended Pankaj Advani for the Padma Bhushan award, India's third-highest civilian honour.  Advani, a 15-time world champion in billiards and snooker, was also recommended for the honour last year before being overlooked for the award. He is a deserving candidate and hopefully he would get the award this time. Advani has already been conferred with a Padma Shri (2009), Khel Ratna (2005-06) and Arjuna Award (2004). The Padma awards are given for distinguished and exceptional achievements, service in fields such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry.

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) nominated the two-time Olympic-medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar for the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civillian honour. The Federation also recommended female wrestler Alka Tomar and Dronacharya awardee Yashvir Singh, Sushil's coach, for the honour. These three names were recommended for the honour in August 2016. Earlier, Sushil's name was recommended for the honour two years ago but was rejected. Sushil is the only Indian athlete to have won two individual Olympic medals -- a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games and a silver in the 2012 London Games. Already bestowed with the Khel Ratna award -- the country's highest sporting honour -- Sushil is also a World Championships gold-medallist, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, four-time Commonwealth champion.

West Bengal has reported the highest number of dengue deaths in the country so far this year with the figure till August end standing at 22, Union Health Ministry has said on its website. Dengue deaths in West Bengal this year is up from 14 in 2015 when Delhi had earned the distinction of recording the highest number of deaths due to the disease at 60. A list on the website of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme under the Directorate General of Health Services of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed that 5,129 dengue cases were reported in the state till August 31. According to the last figure given by state Director of Health Services Biswaranjan Satpathy, West Bengal has 23 dengue-related deaths with 5,639 people affected by it from January to August 31. West Bengal is followed by Odisha and Kerala, both recording nine deaths each. Karnataka so far has registered six deaths due to dengue, while two people died in Delhi till August 31. There have been 60 Dengue deaths with 27,879 dengue cases reported from different states and union territories in the country so far this year.There were 220 dengue deaths and 99,913 cases of the vector-borne disease last year

Majuli, the 400 sq km island on the Brahmaputra has become the first river island district of India, with this Majuli becoming the 35th district of Assam.  This was one of the first decisions taken by the Sarbananda Sonowal government in Assam, on their first cabinet meeting on May 24th, after coming to power with a thumping majority. It regained the status of world's largest riverine island in the Guinness Book of World Records on September 1.  The island, which is the cultural capital of the state, is also fighting for survival as almost 60% of the land has been washed away by the Brahmaputra

Mr. Satbir Singh, presently Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria.He is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1985 batch. Algeria is a North African country with a Mediterranean coastline and a Saharan desert interior. Many empires have left legacies here, such as the ancient Roman ruins in seaside Tipaza. In the capital, Algiers, Ottoman landmarks like circa-1612 Ketchaoua Mosque line the hillside Casbah quarter, with its narrow alleys and stairways. The city’s Neo-Byzantine basilica Notre Dame d’Afrique dates to French colonial rule.

The Union Government has launched a new service -integration of DigiLocker with Driving Licenses (DL) & Vehicle Registration Certificates (RC).  It was jointly launched by Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi. With this integration people will no longer need to carry around physical copies of their Driving Licences and RCs. Using DigiLocker mobile app, they can instead access digital copies of the same on their mobile phones. Besides, DLs and VRC documents will be now issued directly to the DigiLockers of individuals in digital formats.  These digital copies also can be shared with other government departments as identity and address proof. They can also be used for on the spot verification through the citizen’s mobile, by various law enforcement authorities like the Traffic Police. Besides, it will also result in assured authenticity of such documents and reduction of administrative overhead. DigiLocker is a key initiative under Digital India programme and serves as a platform for issuance of documents and certificates in a digital way.  The integration of VRCs and DLs with DigiLocker will bring a major shift in the vision of paperless governance. It will also bring efficiency to the entire process of issuance of driving licenses and vehicle registration certificates through IT enablement.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched advanced weather satellite, INSAT-3DR on 8 September 2016. The advanced weather satellite was launched with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F05), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. GSLV-F05, the tenth flight of India's GSLV, carried 2211 kg INSAT-3DR into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). GSLV is designed to inject 2 - 2.5 ton class of satellites into GTO. After reaching GTO, INSAT-3DR will use its own propulsion system to reach its final geosynchronous orbital home and will be stationed at 74 deg East longitude. INSAT-3DR : INSAT-3DR is an advanced meteorological satellite of India configured with an imaging System and an Atmospheric Sounder. INSAT-3DR is an improved variant of INSAT-3D, the improvements incorporated includes Imaging in Middle Infrared band to provide night time pictures of low clouds and fog Imaging in two Thermal Infrared bands for estimation of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) with better accuracy Higher Spatial Resolution in the Visible and Thermal Infrared bands Like its predecessor INSAT-3D, INSAT-3DR carries a Data Relay Transponder as well as a Search and Rescue Transponder. Thus, INSAT-3DR will provide service continuity to earlier meteorological missions of ISRO and further augment the capability to provide various meteorological as well as search and rescue services.  INSAT-3DR is based on ISRO's two Tonne Class platform (I-2K bus) employing light-weight structural elements like Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP).The satellite has a solar array generating 1700 Watts of power. INSAT-3DR will provide a variety of meteorological services to the country. It will have an advanced imager, a sounder and transponders for data relay and search and rescue missions. It will have an operational life of about ten years. GSLV-F05 :  It is the flight in which the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) was carried on-board for the fourth time during a GSLV flight. Its flight was significant as it was the first operational flight of GSLV carrying CUS. GSLV-F05 vehicle is configured with all its three stages including the CUS similar to the ones successfully flown during the previous GSLV-D5 and D6 missions that in January 2014 and August 2015 successfully placed GSAT-14 and GSAT-6 satellites.  

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