Current Affairs 2016 July - Current Affairs Today Banking, SSC, UPSC
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July 2016 – Current Affairs and Quiz
30 July 2016 Current AffairsQUIZ
The Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry is launching an Aadhaar based e-Certificate of Origin service. A certificate of origin, a critical document in the course of export, is issued to exporters by the Chamber of Commerce to avail duty benefits under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) or prove from where the goods originated. Chambers of Commerce in countries like Australia, Belgium, UK & U.S already provide online certificates of origin to speed up the application, issuance process and provide a more secure documentation environment. It also saves time, costs and increases transparency. This user-friendly online solution enables the Cochin Chamber of Commerce& Industry to manage digital requests and digitally sign off electronic certificates of origin on behalf of exporters and freight forwarders. The process reduces the overall time and cost of procuring and sending critical export documents. Importers can also be sure that these goods actually originated from the mentioned location, as the chances of manipulation of a digital document are virtually nil.India's largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has signed an agreement with private sector lender Axis Bank as its bancassurance partner wherein the bank will distribute LIC's products to its customers. In the preliminary phase, the bank will distribute LIC’s life insurance products across its branches in West Bengal, Bangalore and Haryana Panchkula. Additionally, the bank will also provide post sales services such as premium collection and renewal of policies. From April 1, norms have been revised under which corporate agents like banks are allowed to tie-up with three life, three non-life and three standalone health insurance companies. Earlier, the bancassurance model where banks sold insurance meant that they could only sell products of one life, one non-life and one standalone health insurer. Apart from LIC, Axis Bank also has a tie-up with Max Life Insurance in the life insurance space. Over the last five years the Life Insurance business at Axis Bank has grown at a CAGR of over 25 per cent. The partnership with LIC would enable us to further expand our existing bouquet of offerings and put forth a compelling proposition for our customers.The newly formed ministry of electronics and IT (MEIT) has got a new Secretary. In a swap, Kerala cadre IAS officer Aruna Sundarajan has been appointed Secretary of the ministry while the current Secretary Aruna Sharma has been moved to the ministry of Steel. Sharma's deployment comes barely six months after she was given charge of the ministry. The department which has been recently broken away from the ministry of communications and IT and has been designated as an independent ministry handles some marque projects of the Narendra Modi government including Digital India and Aadhaar and plays a key role in others such as Make in India with its push on electronics manufacturing. Sundararajan, has had past stints in the department as the CEO of the National Common Service Centre (CSC) apart from being administrator of the USO Fund which comes under the department of telecom and is well regarded in the industry for her understanding of the technology domain. MEIT is currently working on the next version of the CSC scheme expanding their numbers from 1,00,000 earlier to 2,50,000. Sundararajan who will take charge on Monday, has also been IT Secretary of Kerala. The development also comes after former Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad only retained the department of electronics and IT after the recent cabinet reshuffle while moving to the Law Ministry. Manoj Sinha was made the new Minister of State of Communications (Independent Charge) and given the charge of the two other departments in the ministry, Telecommunications and Posts.The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) which forms part of the National Command Authority (NCA) has been added to the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005. In this regard, Union Government has issued a notification mentioning SFC has been brought under sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the RTI. The Section 24 of the RTI exempts security and intelligence establishments from its purview. Section 24 and Second Schedule of RTI. Section 24 of the RTI Act 2005 : It says that this law is not applicable to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule. However, the only exception these organisations have is for information on allegations of corruption and human rights violations. Second Schedule : It includes 26 intelligence and security agencies under its ambit. Some of them are (i) Intelligence Bureau (IB), (ii) Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the Cabinet Secretariat (iii) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), (iv) Special Frontier Force (SFF), (v) Border Security Force (BSF) (vi) National Security Guards (NSG) and (Vii) Assam Rifles. Section 8 of the RTI : It deals with exemption from disclosure of information under this legislation. It says that there shall be no obligation on Government to provide any citizen information, disclosure which will affect (i) India’s sovereignty and integrity, (ii) security, (iii) strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state and (iv) relations with foreign States or (v) will lead to incitement of an offence. Strategic Forces Command (SFC) : The SFC is a tri-Service command that forms part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). It was created on January 4, 2003 by an executive order of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Function: It is responsible for the management and administration of the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile. It is headed by a Commander-in-Chief of the rank of Air Marshal. The first commander-in-chief of SFC was Air Marshal Teja Mohan Asthana. Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) : NCA is India’s nodal authority responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding India’s nuclear weapons programme. It has Executive Council and Political Council. The NCA’s directives are executed by the Strategic Forces Command The Executive Council is chaired by the National Security Adviser (NSA). It gives inputs to the Political Council, which authorises a nuclear attack if need be. The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and is advised by the Executive Council. This separation of power mechanism is meant to ensure that the nuclear weapons are under civilian control (elected government). Besides it act as a Command and Control (C2) mechanism prevents their accidental or unauthorised use.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has constituted a seven-member expert committee for exploring possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons on 26 July 2016. The committee will be chaired by Joint Secretary (Police Modernisation) TVSN Prasad. It has been asked to submit its report within two months. The committee was constituted to rethink on the use of pellet guns after its use by CRPF for crowd control in Kashmir was blamed for causing fatal injuries and blindness among protestors during the recent unrest. Other members of the committee are Atul Karwal, IG, CRPF, Srinagar Rajeev Krishna, IG, BSF Rajesh Kumar of J&K Police Tushar Tripathy of Indian Ordnance Factory Board Manjit Singh of Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh Naresh Bhatnagar of IIT, Delhi As per report, since killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, CRPF personnel fired some 2102 pellet cartridges in the valley. The pellets were fired to disperse protesters. Pellet guns, which are loaded with lead balls, have been categorised as a non-lethal weapon. It is fired from an air gun. It has the capability of causing fatal injuries by penetrating deep into the skin. Generally, it is used to disperse crowds. Pellet guns are being used since 2010 in Kashmir to disperse and control crowd. Earlier, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced in Parliament that a committee would be set up to review the use of pellet guns and find an alternative.Srinivasan K Swamy, popularly known as Sundar, was conferred with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) on 29 July 2016.The award was bestowed on him in Mumbai. Srinivasan K Swamy : He is a veteran of almost four decades in the advertising industry.He is the Chairman of RK Swamy Hansa, a marketing communications group.He has been the President of AAAI for three consecutive terms (2004 – 2007).He is also the Vice Chairman of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).He is a Board Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. He was also president of the All India Management Association (AIMA) during 2008-09. He was the president of The Madras Chamber of Commerce & Industry (2008-10), Madras Management Association (2001-02), and the Advertising Club, Madras (1988-89) as well. AAAI’s Lifetime Award : The AAAI’s Lifetime Award was instituted in 1988. It is the highest recognition bestowed on an individual in India for outstanding contribution to the advertising industry.So far, the award has been conferred on 23 other peoples. Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) : AAAI is the official, national organisation of advertising agencies, formed in 1945, to promote their interests. The Association promotes professionalism, through its founding principles, which uphold sound business practices between Advertisers and Advertising Agencies and the various media. Currently, AAAI is truly representative, with a very large number of small, medium and large-sized agencies as its members, who together account for almost 80% of the advertising business placed in the country. It is thus recognised as the apex body of and the spokesperson for the Advertising industry at all forums – Advertisers and Media owners and their associations and Government.Four writers, three of them from Rajasthan, were today given the Bharatiya Jnanpith's 11th Navlekhan award for the year 2015 in a ceremony. Amlendu Tiwari and Balram Kawant were awarded for their respective novels 'Parityakt', and 'Sara Morila,' while Om Naagar and Tasneem Khan were awarded for their non-fictions 'Nib Ke Chire Se' and 'Yeh Mere Rahnuma' respectively. The awardees were chosen by a selection panel headed by senior writer and journalist Madhusudan Anand and comprising of eminent literary figures Vishnu Nagar, Govind Prasad and Om Nischal.The ceremony was attended by Jananpith Director Leeladhar Mandloi who said authorsa Tiwari and Om Nagar would be given a cash awards of Rs. 50,000 each along with a certificate of merit and an idol of Vagdevi. Besides awarding the two, the Bharatiya Jananpith will publish the works of all the four awardees.India and Bangladesh have agreed to enhance cooperation on anti-terror efforts with Dhaka saying that New Delhi will be "side-by-side" with it in fighting terrorists. Both leaders concurred on the need to immediately operationalise the Agreement on Combating Terrorism and Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking between the two countries. During the Home Minister-level bilateral talks between India and Bangladesh in New Delhi yesterday, the ministers also agreed on the need to sign a Repatriation Treaty to simplify and expedite the process of repatriation of each other's nationals. Both sides also agreed to undertake urgent action for the repatriation of released prisoners and victims of human trafficking.Bastian Schweinsteiger has retired from the German national team, marking the end of a glittering international football career. The 31-year-old midfielder was an instrumental player for Germany when they won the World Cup in 2014, and earned 120 caps for his nation - scoring 24 goals. Bastian Schweinsteiger is a German professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Manchester United and the German national team. A right-footed player, he usually plays as central midfielder. Earlier in his career, he primarily played as a wide midfielder. On 2 September 2014, Schweinsteiger was named captain of the national team following Philipp Lahm's international retirement.Shambhu Singh Yadav, a retired IAS officer and secretary to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was appointed as the Deputy Lokayukta of the state. The governor today appointed Shambhu Singh Yadav as the new Deputy Lokayukta (Up-Lokayukta) of the state. The government had recommended Yadav, a 1997-batch IAS officer, presently posted at the Chief Minister's secretariat on extension. Yadav, considered close to ruling Samajwadi Party, had retired three years ago and served as special secretary to former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in the previous SP government in 2003. The Deputy Lokayukta is appointed in consultation with Lokayukta and the CM. The post of Deputy Lokayukta was vacant since Swatantra Singh's term ended last year.India has approved a $318 million loan for Sri Lanka Railways to upgrade its communications system and rolling stock in the Tamil-dominated north. This money will be used to improve the signal system from Maho to Anuradhapura in the north central province and from Anuradhapura to Omanthai in the north. It will also be used to buy six power sets with air-conditioned carriages, 10 engines and 160 carriages, 30 wagons with oil tanks and 20 container carrying wagons. The Cabinet had approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to enter into an agreement with Exim Bank of India for the loan. India has already given loans of about $996 million to develop Sri Lanka's railway service which were used to improve northern and southern railway lines and buy engines and power sets.Intex Technologies has appointed cinestar Madhuri Dixit as brand ambassador for its consumer durable products, including washing machines and refrigerators. The actor has been signed for a period of two years . In addition to Madhuri, Intex already has many other stars as its brand ambassadors for other product categories. For the mobile phones, the brand has Farhan Akhtar as the national brand ambassador, Sudeep Sanjeev for Karnataka, Mahesh Babu for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and Suriya for Tamil Nadu. Intex Technologies : Intex Technologies founded in 1996, is an Indian smartphone, consumer durables and IT Accessories manufacturer. Intex is headquartered in New Delhi, India.Intex manufactures Smartphones, IT accessories and consumer electronics durables.India's first Firefox OS powered mobile phone, Intex Cloud FX, was launched by Intex.India's First Linux-based Sailfish OS powered mobile phone, the Aqua Fish was launched by Intex.The International Day of Friendship was on 30 July 2016 observed across the world. The Day is aimed at supporting the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). On this day, UN encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation. The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The resolution (A/RES/65/275) places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.The United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2016 was observed across the world on 30 July 2016. On this day, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched the campaign #igivehopeto show victims of human trafficking. The day aims at raising awareness of the plight of human trafficking victims, and promoting and protecting their rights. In 2013, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action. Member States also adopted resolution A/RES/68/192 and designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Human Trafficking : Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labour, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.This may include providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage or the extraction of organs or tissues. Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. It is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim's rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation.It is thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of trans-national criminal organizations. The forthcoming UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016 identifies a clear pattern linking undocumented migration to trafficking in persons.The UNODC report highlights the links between human trafficking and refugee flows from countries including Syria and Eritrea, and involving Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh.Noted Tabla maestro Pandit Lachu Maharaj passed away in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh due to cardiac arrest. He was 73 years old. Lacchu Maharaj was renowned internationally and his table performance had drawn attention of the connoisseur of performing arts from across the country and world. Lachu Maharaj : His real name was Lakshmi Narayan Singh. He belonged to Banaras gharana of classical music. He had started playing tabla at tender age of 10 under guidance of his father Vasudev Singh. He was famous for his pure Banarasi style. His unique style of playing table coupled with perfection had earned him fame as Lachu Maharaj. He had developed spiritual and philosophical table tunes which he had used to play often during his practice sessions (riyaaj). He had lived a simple life and stayed out of publicity and even refused awards. Bollywood actor Govinda is his nephew. Union Government had decided to give him Padma Shri award but he refused saying that no award was bigger than laurels from the audience.Eminent author and social activist Mahasweta Devi passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal after a multi-organ failure. She was 91. Her writings had mainly focused on the marginalised communities in the country and served as the voice of the oppressed and downtrodden. Mahasweta Devi : Mahasweta Devi was born in Dhaka (now in Bangladesh) in 1926 into a family of literary figures. Her first book Jhansi’r Rani (The Queen of Jhansi) was published in 1956 when she was teaching at Kolkata’s Bijoygarh College. In a literary career spanning more than 50 years, she has written over 120 books i.e. 100 novels and over 20 collections of short stories. She was the author behind award-winning Hindi films Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998) and Rudaali. Some of her noted stories are Agnigarbha (Womb of Fire), Aranyer Adhikar (The Occupation of the Forest), Dhowli, Dust on the Road, Bashai Tudu, Till Death Do Us Part, Old Women, etc. As a social activist, she was founder member of Aboriginal United Association and had started a tribal magazine named Bortika in 1980. Awards and Honours : Sahitya Akademi award (1979), Padma Shree (1986), Jnanpith (1997), Ramon Magsaysay award (1997) and Deshikottam award (1999).Haryana Government has launched Pashudhan Bima Yojana, an insurance cover scheme for cattle breeders in the state. It was launched by Haryana Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister, O. P. Dhankar in Jhajjar. Pashudhan Bima Yojana will provide insurance cover to cattle breeders in the state at different premium rates for different animals. Insurance cover will be provided at a premium of Rs 100 for cows, buffaloes, bulls, camels and at Rs 25 for sheep, goat and pig for a period of three years. Under it, the insurance companies would give compensation in case of death of animal (cattle). The scheme is free of cost for cattle breeders from the scheduled castes. The state Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department has set a target to cover one lakh cattle under Pashudhan Bima Yojana.The first-ever meeting of BRICS Employment Working Group (BEWG) was held in Hyderabad, Telangana from July 27 to 28, 2016. The agenda of the two day meeting was to shape the agenda for labour and employment track in BRICS countries. Highlights of meeting : BRICS member countries were able to reach a consensus on employment generation, social security agreement and networking of labour institutes. The meeting set the agenda to promote decent work and promote job creation between BRICS countries. The foundation works for BEWG were also laid by delegates from member countries. India has drafted the Terms of Reference (TOR) of BEWG which has now been finalised. Besides, India also put forth some proposals for concrete collective action in the field of social security as well as research and capacity building. The BEWG meeting is a prelude to the BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting scheduled on September 27-28, 2016 under the Indian Presidency at Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The need to set up employment working group was first recognised at the first BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers meeting held at Ufa, Russia in 2015.
29 July 2016 Current AffairsQUIZ
Astronomers in a new study claimed that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a storm three times bigger than Earth, is hundreds of degrees hotter than anywhere else on the planet. The study was published in Nature on 27 July 2016.GRS, the largest storm in the solar system, was detected using an infrared telescope at Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Observatory. The storm is based in Jupiter’s lower atmosphere and spans 13670 miles by 7456 miles (22000 km by 12000 km). The top of its clouds reach altitudes of about 31 miles (50 km). The storms on Jupiter fail in making a landfall and dissipate, due to unavailability of land on the planet that is made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Unlike hurricane on Earth, the storm on Jupiter is calm but farther out winds reaches 270 mph to 425 mph (430 kmph to 680 kmph). It is like a wheel that is wedged between two conveyor belts running in opposite directions. This helps them to add momentum at the top and bottom. They also feed the vortex to them and help in keeping them alive. Based on the process of elimination, the study concluded that the newly found hot spot must be heated from below. However, the team concluded that the finding may fail to explain the real cause behind transfer of heat but provides a strong link between Jupiter's upper and lower atmosphere. Change in Colour : Based on previous reports, the team of scientists concluded that over the time it has been changing its colour, as in a 1900 report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer it was described the oval storm as salmon pink. Recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope show it has become orange tinged and more circular.Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology came in news in fourth week of July 2016. It came in news because it is celebrating its 40 years of opening its gate for the public. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology (or Croc Bank) : It is a non government environmental organization and was founded in 1976 by Romulus Whitaker.The Croc Bank currently consists of a large reptile park near Chennai, Southern India and several field projects located throughout the subcontinent reaching as far afield as the Nicobar Islands. It rears 17 out of the 23 different species of crocodiles in the world.It is a house of species like turtles, tortoises and iguanas. The main attraction is a 45 year old salt water crocodile called Jaws III which is 17 ft long and weighs 700 kg. It is also the largest crocodile in captivity in India.It also houses four Aldabra giant tortoises, which is the second largest tortoise species in the world. "They grow up to 5ft in length and 3ft in height.The park has anaconda babies and also the four komodo dragons. There are three field stations in the banks of the Chambal River for gharials, another one in the Western Ghats for king cobras and the third one is in the Andamans for projects related to marine biology.T Nanda Kumar resigned from the post of Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). Kumar had submitted his resignation on 29 June 2016. Kumar’s resignation was accepted by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet on 27 July 2016. Kumar, who had a five-year term ending in 2019, will be relieved on 1 August 2016. T Nanda Kumar : T Nanda Kumar is a retired 1972-batch IAS officer from the Bihar cadre.He retired from the IAS in 2010. He was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of NDDB in March 2014 after the exit of Dr Amrita Patel in February 2014. National Dairy Development Board : The National Dairy Development Board is an institution of national importance set up by an Act of Parliament of India in 1965. Its main office is in Anand, Gujarat. Its subsidiaries include IDMC Limited-Anand, Mother Dairy, Delhi, NDDB Dairy Services, Delhi and Indian Immunologicals Ltd., Hyderabad. It was founded by Verghese Kurien. NDDB launched its Perspective Plan 2010 with four thrust areas, which are Quality Assurance, Productivity Enhancement, Institution Building and National Information Network.The Rajya Sabha has unanimously passed the Compensatory and Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill, 2016 that allows States to access nearly 42000 crore rupees and channel into afforestation projects on 28 July 2016.The Bill was already passed by Lok Sabha on 3 May 2016. Provisions of the Bill : The Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state. These Funds will receive payments for: (a) compensatory afforestation, (b) net present value of forest (NPV), and (c) other project specific payments. The National Fund will receive 10 percent of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90 percent.These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development. Issues pertaining to the Bill : The Bill establishes the Funds for compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. However, there are several factors which affect compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. These factors are: Lack of planning and implementation : The state forest departments lack the planning and implementation capacity to carry out compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. Difficulty in procuring land : Procuring land for compensatory afforestation is difficult as land is a limited resource, and is required for multiple purposes, such as agriculture, industry, etc. This is compounded by unclear land titles. Decline in quality of forest cover : A High Level Committee on Environment Laws observed that quality of forest cover has declined between 1951 and 2014, with poor quality of compensatory afforestation plantations being one of the reasons behind the decline.Union Government has announced the formation of District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) that will be known as ‘Disha’ on 28 July 2016. First meeting of Disha will be held on 13 August 2016. Disha was created for effective development and coordination of Central Government's programme, whether it is for infrastructure development or Social and human resource development. It will monitor the implementation of 28 schemes and programmes of Ministry of Rural Development and other Ministries to promote synergy and convergence for greater impact. The terms of references of the committee includesTo ensure that all programmes are implemented in accordance with the Guidelines.It will look into complaints/alleged irregularities received in respect of the implementation of the programmes. It will have the authority to summon and inspect any record for this purpose. The Committee may refer any matter for enquiry to the District Collector/CEO of the Zilla Panchayat/Project Director of DRDA (or Poverty Alleviation Unit). It can also suggest suitable action to be taken in accordance with the rules which should be acted upon by him within 30 days.It will closely review the flow of funds including the funds allocated, funds released by both Centre and the State, utilization and unspent balances under each Scheme. The main purpose of the committee is to coordinate with Central and State and local Panchayat Governments. Efforts will be made to ensure the participation of people’s representative at all levels and successful implementation of flagship programme of central government. The meetings of the committee should be held once in every Quarter (third Saturdays of April, July, October and February) and this has been made mandatory. DDCMC will supersede the District Vigilance & Monitoring Committee currently mandated by Ministry of Rural Development. Formation of District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) : Chairperson : He/she will be the senior most Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) elected from the district, nominated by the Ministry of Rural Development. Co-Chairperson will include a) Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) representing the district b) One MP (Rajya Sabha) representing the State and exercising option to be associated with the district level Committee of that district (on first come basis) Other members of the committee will include a) Members of the State Legislative Assembly elected from the district b) All Mayors/the Chairpersons of Municipalities c) Chairperson of the Zilla Panchayat d) Five elected heads of Gram Panchayat including two women e) One representative each of SC, ST f) Women to be nominated by the Chairperson The Member Secretary of Disha should be the District Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner except in cases where specific exemption has been given by the Union Government.American author James Alan McPherson passed away on 27 July 2016 in Iowa City, U.S. He was 72. McPherson was the first black author to receive the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1978. James Alan McPherson : Born on 16 September 1943, James Alan McPherson was an American short story writer and essayist.In 1978, he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his short story collection Elbow Room, becoming the first African-American to win the Pulitzer for fiction. He was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981. In 1995, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2000, John Updike selected his short story Gold Coast for his collection Best American Short Stories of the Century.In October 2011, he was honoured as the inaugural recipient of the Paul Engle Award from the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. He was also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.International Tiger Day was observed on 29 July 2016. The day is held annually on 29th July to give worldwide attention to the reservation of tigers. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues. It was founded in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit, with the aim to double the big cat population by 2022. Statistic Details : As per latest data by tiger experts, the world has lost 97 percent of all wild tigers in a little over 100 years.The World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum says that the number of wild tigers has gone up to 3890 from the earlier 2010 estimate of 3200.In 1915, the number of tigers was 1 lakh. Some species of tigers have already been extinct.India leads tiger population countries with an estimated population of 2226.Despite countries such as India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan registering a rise in tiger population, the status of the animal remains endangered. Poaching and loss of Habitat : Poaching has been the biggest threat to tigers in India. 81 tigers were victims to poachers in 2014, 25 in 2015 and by April 2016 it was 28.According to reports of United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol, the environmental crime industry, which includes illegal trade in wildlife, is worth 258 billion dollars. Expansion of cities and agriculture by humans led to loss of 93% natural habitat for tigers lostFewer tigers can survive in small, scattered islands of habitat, which make tigers more vulnerable to poaching, which lead to a higher risk of inbreeding.Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest area shared by India and Bangladesh on the northern coast of the Indian Ocean, is one of the world’s largest places where tiger populations is found.Sundarbans harbors Bengal tigers and protects coastal regions from storm surges and wind damage. Threat in Sundarbans : Rising sea levels that were caused by climate change threaten to wipe out these forests and the last remaining habitat of this tiger population.WWF study says that without mitigation efforts, projected sea level rise will go up by nearly a foot by 2070, which could destroy nearly the entire Sundarbans tiger habitat.India has signed a one-billion dollar deal with the US defence and aerospace major Boeing for procuring four long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft , Poseidon-8I on 27 July 2016. First of the four new P-8I aircraft will be delivered in 50 months. Incidentally, India is P-8I's first international customer and was also Boeing's first military sale to India. The contract was inked during the on-going visit of the US under secretary for defence on Acquisition Frank Kendall. The contract is a follow-on order to eight P-81 planes worth 2.1 billion dollars deal inked in 2009, already bought by India in a direct deal with the firm. These aircrafts were inducted by the Navy between May 2013 and October 2015. P-8I Aircrafts : P-8I is the Indian Navy variant of the P-8A Poseidon of the US Navy developed by Boeing.It was formerly called the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft and is based on Beoing’s Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane. The long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft has a maximum speed of 907 kmph and an operating range of 1200 nautical miles.P-8Is will provide the reach and flexibility to undertake extensive maritime surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions. It is currently extensively being used in search of AN 32 aircraft that went down in the Bay of Bengal with 29 defence personnel on board on 22 July 2016.The Navy is already using the eight P-8Is, armed with deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, to keep an "intelligent hawk-eye" over the entire IOR. India-US defence ties : The agreement will further expand and strengthen the ever engaging defence ties between India and the US. With this deal, the US has emerged as the biggest supplier of military hardware. The total value of defence deals signed with the US in the last decade comes to around 15 billion dollars. India in 2015 signed a 3 billion dollars contract with the US through Foreign Military Sales route for 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters. India is also working on a deal to get 145 pieces of M777 light-weight howitzers from the US. Already Indian navy is using Boeing’s eight P-8I that are armed with deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges to keep monitor the entire Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The acquisition will enhance the Indian Navy’s surveillance powers in the IOR.Anurag Thakur, BJP MP and BCCI President, is set for a new innings as an officer of the Territorial Army. 41-year-old Thakur will be commissioned into the Territorial Army (TA) as a regular officer on 29 July to become the first serving BJP Member of Parliament to join the military force. Thakur made it to the TA after clearing an exam and a personal interview conducted in Chandigarh and training held in Bhopal. As a regular officer, the Lok Sabha member from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh will have to undergo a mandatory training. The Territorial Army, the second line of defence after the regular army, is composed of volunteers who receive military training for about a month in a year so that in case of an emergency they can be mobilised for the defence of the country.The Reserve Bank of India has come down hard on 13 banks and fined them for Rs 27 crore for violation of FEMA and lapses in know your client (KYC) rules. The matter relates to irregularities in import remittances by several banks which came to light in October 2015. On the basis of inputs received from a public sector bank, the Reserve Bank undertook a scrutiny on advance import remittances in 21 banks in October/November 2015 . The RBI fined Bank of Baroda for Rs 5 crore, Punjab National Bank and Syndicate Bank have been fined Rs 3 crore each. UCO Bank, HDFC Bank, Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank and IndusInd Bank have all been fined Rs 2 crore each. While the regulator did not impose any fine on SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Union Bank of India, among others, it advised these banks to ensure strict compliance of KYC (know your customer) requirements and FEMA provisions on an ongoing basis. The regulator said its actions were based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank and its customers. RBI started an inspection of banks after Rs 6,100-crore import remittances were effected by Bank of Baroda's Ashok Vihar branch in New Delhi. This, after late last year, CBI conducted search and seizure operations across multiple bank branches of HDFC Bank and Bank of Baroda in relation to irregularities in advance import remittances in various banks. Both CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are currently probing the huge remittances to Hong Kong from the bank. The amount was allegedly transferred in the garb of payments for imports that never took place, investigators suspect.State Bank has launched a payment system at its ATMs which will allow the account holders transfer money using mobile phone number as identifier. The system works on instant money transfer (IMT) platform. The facility will enable a payment of up to Rs 10,000 from any SBI bank account and the recipient of this payment can withdraw funds instantly from an IMT-enabled ATM without using a debit card . SBI Group will be able to offer a unique payment option to our customers and expand our reach to those sections of the population who are either unbanked or do not have access to banking . Additionally, it offers a new form of convenience payment to the emerging younger generation as SBI seeks to address them through new options. The IMT is a unique payment system launched by Eempays Payment Systems. The facility enables a payment to be made to a mobile phone from a bank account without the beneficiary having a bank account.Chinese electronics firm LeEco to buying American TV manufacturer Vizio for $2 billion. Under the deal, Vizio will be operated as an independent subsidiary, with the company's current executive team staying in place and working out of its offices in Southern California sans Vizio founder and CEO William Wang, who is leaving the company. No replacement has been named, but Wang will be taking the reins as chairman and CEO of Inscape,Vizio's data business, which is being spun out into a privately held company. LeEco will own 49 % of Inscape, with Wang owning the remaining 51 %. The LeEco deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Leshi Internet Information & Technology, also known as LeEco, is a Chinese technology company, and one of the largest online video companies in China. It is headquartered in Chaoyang District, Beijing.The Hero Group said that Sunil Kant Munjal, joint managing director of Hero MotoCorp and Chairman Hero Corporate Services will step down from the Board of Directors of the two-wheeler maker to focus on his independent core business and to pursue new business interests. Hero Group as established by the late Dr Brijmohan Lall Munjal, the members of BML Munjal family have decided to realign their businesses to achieve future growth and expansion. The statement added Sunil Kant Munjal has expressed his desire to step down as joint MD once his tenure comes to an end on August 16,2016. Sunil Kant Munjal is the youngest son of Brijmohan Lall Munjal. During his lifetime itself the succession plan of Hero MotoCorp was decided with the elevation of Pawan Munjal as the Chairman of the company.The Gujarat government’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) has selected the Ahmedabad-based e-commerce company Infibeam as knowledge partner for its e-commerce training and development programme, aimed at grooming budding entrepreneurs and individuals to set up their businesses. The state government had recently launched an e-commerce workshop programme ‘How To Start E-commerce Business’ in partnership with Infibeam Incorporation Ltd to create awareness on e-commerce. So far, CED has received over 40 registrations from participants in the first batch comprising professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners and individuals. The participants were trained on how to adopt the e-commerce platform and various modules that could help build their existing business and start new businesses as well. Promoted by the state government, CED is a pioneer in entrepreneurship development activity, particularly for first generation entrepreneurs.The Union Cabinet has approved Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between India and Cambodia to boost trade and business. Decision in this regard was taken during the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The Treaty seeks to promote and protect investments in either country with the objective of increasing bilateral investment flows. It also seeks to encourage each country to create favourable conditions (climate) for investors of the other country to make investments in its territory and also to admit investments in accordance with its laws. This Treaty is the first Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) signed between both countries in accordance with the text of the Indian Model BIT which was approved by the Union Cabinet in December, 2015.The Union Cabinet has given its approval for raising foreign shareholding limit from current 5% to 15% in Indian Stock Exchanges. The decision brings the investment limit of foreign entities at par with that of domestic institutions. This enhanced limit is for a stock exchange, depository, banking company, insurance company and commodity derivative exchange. Additionally, the Union Cabinet also gave its approval for foreign portfolio investors to acquire shares through initial allotment, besides secondary market, in the stock exchanges. Implications : Enhance global competitiveness of Indian stock exchanges. Enable Indian stock exchanges to acquire and adopt latest technology and global best practices. Pave way for better overall growth and development of the Indian capital market The Union Cabinet approval is in pursuance of implementation of the 2016-17 Budget Announcement made by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Finance Minister had made this announcement with regard to reforms in FDI Policy in order to enhance investment limit for foreign entities in Indian stock exchanges from 5% to 15%.The Lok Sabha has passed comprehensive Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 to curb domestic black money. The comprehensive amendment bill seeks to amend and strengthen Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988 in terms of legal and administrative procedure. Features of Bill : The Bill seeks to (i) Amend the definition of benami transactions to widen the scope for legal action (ii) Specify penalties for entering into benami transactions and (iii) establish adjudicating authorities and Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions. It add other transactions which qualify as benami, such as property transactions where: (i) the owner is not aware or denies knowledge of the ownership of the property, (ii) transaction is made in a fictitious name (iii) person providing the consideration for the property is not traceable. The Bill also adds provisions to establish an Appellate Tribunal in order to hear appeals against any orders passed by the Adjudicating Authority. Appeals against orders of the Appellate Tribunal will lie to the high court. The Bill specifies the penalty for providing false information. The punishment includes rigorous imprisonment ranging from 6 months up to 5 years, and a fine which may extend to 25% of the fair market value of the benami property. It also intends to effectively prohibit benami transactions and consequently prevent circumvention of law through unfair practices. It empowers the Union Government to confiscate benami property by following due procedure. Therefore it promotes equity across all citizens. The Bill provides immunity under the Benami Act to those who declare their benami properties under income declaration scheme. ‘Benami’ Transaction : In literally sense benami means ‘nameless’ or ‘without a name’. The benami transaction refers to property purchased by a person in the name of some other person. In such transactions, the person who pays for the property is directly or indirectly ultimate beneficiary of the property in the future.The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has announced that India Meteorological Department (IMD) will use supercomputer to forecast India’s annual summer monsoon. The forecast made by a supercomputer will be based on a dynamical monsoon model and will be operational from year 2017. This model will be used along with the present traditional ensemble model. Dynamical Monsoon Model : The dynamical monsoon model works by simulating the weather on powerful computers (supercomputers) and extrapolating it over particular timeframes. This modern forecasting model is being tested at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune. The dynamical monsoon model is also called the Coupled Forecast System version 2. So far it has achieved only 60% accuracy in forecasting the monsoon. This method is widely used in forecasting weather over a few days. But using it to forecast the annual monsoon over 3 or 4 months has proved difficult. Ensemble model : Currently, IMD relies on an ensemble model for forecasting monsoon. This traditional model uses a statistical technique. It uses an average of 6 meteorological values correlated to the monsoon such as sea surface temperatures in the Pacific, and North Atlantic sea level pressure. These meteorological values are traditionally derived from century-old meteorological data linked to the historical performance of the monsoon. However, this traditional approach in has failed to predict monsoon recent decades (for instance in 2002 and 2004) leading meteorologists to call for a new, modern forecasting system. India Meteorological Department (IMD) : It is an official national weather forecaster of India. It was established in 1875. It is a division of Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.
28 July 2016 Current AffairsQUIZ
The Union Cabinet has cleared changes to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill on 27 July 2016.The changes include dropping 1 percent manufacturing tax and providing guarantee to compensate states for any revenue loss in the first five years of rollout of the proposed indirect tax regime. It decided that any dispute between states and the Centre will be adjudicated by the GST Council, which will have representation from both the Centre and states. The existing bill provides that the centre will give 100 percent compensation to states for first three years, 75 per cent and 50 per cent for the next two years. Recommendation of the Rajya Sabha : Earlier, the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha in its report recommended 100 percent compensation for probable loss of revenue for five years. As per the amendments, the Centre will now constitutionally guarantee States any loss of revenue from the GST subsuming all indirect taxes, including VAT, in the first five years of introduction. Omission of the 1 percent inter-state tax over and above the GST rate is one of the three key demands over which the main opposition Congress, the government hopes that the long-pending GST Bill will pass in the Parliament during the ongoing monsoon session, which ends on 12 August 2016. Congress has been blocking the bill in Rajya Sabha due to three key demands. The other demands include GST rate in the statute and Supreme Court judge-headed dispute resolution body. Other Cabinet decisions include : The Cabinet decided to abolish existing guidelines for establishment of Joint Venture Companies by Defence Public Sector Undertakings, DPSUs. These guidelines which were notified in February of 2012 will not be required for a separate joint venture for DPSUs. The abolition of the guidelines will provide a level playing field between DPSUs and the private sector. The Cabinet gave its nod to raise foreign shareholding limit from 5 percent to 15 percent in Indian Stock Exchanges. It approved the proposal to allow foreign portfolio investors to acquire shares through initial allotment, besides secondary market, in the stock exchanges. This approval would help in enhancing global competitiveness of Indian stock exchanges by accelerating and facilitating the adoption of latest technology and global best practices. This will lead to overall growth and development of the Indian Capital Market.The Cabinet approved Bilateral Investment Treaty between India and Cambodia. It seeks to promote and protect investments from either country in the territory of the other country with the objective of increasing bilateral investment flows. The Cabinet gave its approval for setting up of new All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhatinda, Punjab. It will have 750 beds and incur an expenditure of 925 crore rupees. The super specialty hospital will be built under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of a All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) at Bhatinda in Punjab under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) on 27 July 2016. It will provide super specialty health care to the population while creating a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that can be available for primary and secondary level institutions/facilities being created under National Health Mission (NHM). Highlights of the AIIMS in Bhatinda : The cost of the project for establishment of the AIIMS in Bhatinda shall be 925 crore rupees. This cost estimate does not include recurring costs (wages & salaries and operation & maintenance expenses). The recurring expenditure will be met by the respective AIIMS from their annual budgets through Grant-in-Aid to them from Plan Budget Head of PMSSY of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The institution shall have a hospital with capacity of 750 beds which will include Emergency/Trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, Private Beds and ICU Speciality & Super Speciality beds. In addition, there will be an Administration Block, AYUSH Block, Auditorium, Night Shelter, Hostels and residential facilities. It will also conduct research on prevalent regional diseases and other health issues and provide for better control and cure of such diseases. The project will be completed in a period of 48 months from the date of the approval by the Union Government. The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was first announced in August 2003 with the primary objective of correcting the regional imbalances in availability of affordable tertiary level healthcare in the country in general. Under this scheme, AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Raipur, Rishikesh, Bhopal and Patna while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli is in progress. Also, three AIIMS in Nagpur (Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (AP) were sanctioned in 2015.World Hepatitis Day 2016 was observed across the world on 28 July 2016 with the theme Elimination. The day acts as a significant global platform for raising awareness about hepatitis and influence real change in disease prevention, testing and treatment. The theme for the 2016 focuses on elimination of hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. The theme can be easily adapted for local use to achieve elimination, greater awareness, increased diagnosis and key interventions including universal vaccination, blood and injection safety etc. World Hepatitis Summit : The World Hepatitis Summit will be held from 29 March to 31 March 2017. It will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.It is a large-scale, global biennial event to advance the viral hepatitis agenda.It is a joint initiative between World Health Organization and the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA). summit’s objectives are : To increase the number of countries developing practicable viral hepatitis action plans by making use of the latest public health research and technical support from WHO.To improve the implementation of existing viral hepatitis action plans through the sharing of best practice. To support clause 1.3 of WHO’s Resolution WHA67.6 which urges Member States to promote the involvement of civil society in all aspects of preventing, diagnosing and treating viral hepatitis.To discuss funding mechanisms for medicines and/or diagnostics through engagement of key stakeholders. To raise the profile of viral hepatitis by engagement of international top-tier media.To encourage and direct public health research to where it is needed by engaging key global funders. Viral Hepatitis : Viral hepatitis is caused by 5 distinct hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E which together are responsible for 1.45 million deaths each year.Hepatitis B and C are responsible for 80 percent of infections whereas Hepatitis A and E are only responsible for 1 percent of infections. 81 percent of world’s infants are vaccinated and protected from hepatitis B infection and 2 million hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections occur yearly through unsafe injections.These viruses are transmitted through contaminated water and food, as well as by contact with blood or bodily fluids, through unsafe injections or transfusions. Infection also occurs from a mother to a child, or through sexual contact.The Union Cabinet has approved the Policy for awarding waterfront and associated land to port dependent industries in major ports along with its operationalization on 27 July 2016.The Policy will result in uniformity and transparency in the procedure for awarding captive facilities. It will enable optimal utilization of capacities in major ports and increase revenue to the Major Port Authority. Highlights of the Policy : The ambit of the Policy includes creation of new assets as well as utilization of currently unutilised existing assets such as vacant berths. The Policy will be applicable to all the Major Ports. Under the Policy, concession will be granted to Port Dependent Industries (PDI) for setting up dedicated facilities in Major Ports for import and export of cargo for maximum 30 years. Extension of concession period on conditions including under utilization of asset as per the Concession Agreement may be allowed. After a maximum of 30 years of operation, the waterfront land in a Major Port will be allotted for construction of berths, offshore anchorages, transhipment jetties, single point moorings etc. It will be as per the terms and conditions of the Concession Agreement (CA) to be entered into between the Port Authority and the PDI concerned.The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced that Muttiah Muralitharan, Karen Rolton, Arthur Morris and George Lohmann will be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on 27 July 2016. With the announcement, off-spinner Muralitharan becomes the first Sri Lankan player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The four cricketers were voted by the ICC Cricket Hall of Famers as well as members of the media. They will be presented with commemorative caps honouring their contribution to the game to mark their induction. Muttiah Muralitharan : Deshabandu Muttiah Muralitharan is a former Sri Lankan cricketer.He was rated the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 2002. He retired from Test cricket in 2010.He registered his 800th and final wicket on 22 July 2010 from his final ball in his last Test match.He holds the world record for the most wickets in both test and one-day cricket. He took the wicket of Gautam Gambhir on 5 February 2009 in Colombo to surpass Wasim Akram's ODI record of 502 wickets.He held the number one spot in the International Cricket Council’s player rankings for Test bowlers for a record period of 1711 days spanning 214 Test matches He was first Sri Lankan player to be named to the new Twenty20 tournament. Karen Rolton : Karen Rolton is a former Australian cricketer.She is a left-handed batsman and occasional left-arm medium-paced bowler. She has scored the most runs for Australia in women's Test cricket.She made her international debut for Australia in 1995.She has played in 14 Test matches, scoring 1002 runs at a batting average of 55.66, including two centuries and five half-centuries.She made her top score of 209 not out against England at Headingley in 2001, setting a world record. She has twice won the Australian International Woman Cricketer of the Year award in 2002 and 2003 and then in 2005 and 2006.She was the International Cricket Council's inaugural Female Player of the Year in 2006.She also holds the highest score in Women's Twenty20 cricket with an unbeaten 96.She announced her retirement from international cricket in January 2010. Arthur Morris : Arthur Morris was an Australian cricketer who played 46 Test matches between 1946 and 1955.He is regarded as one of Australia's greatest left-handed batsmen.He was named in the Australian Cricket Board's Team of the Century in 2000.He was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2001.He passed away on 22 August 2015 at the age of 93. George Lohmann : George Lohmann was an English cricketer.He is regarded as one of the greatest bowlers of all time.He was the finest slip fielder of his time.In county cricket, he scored two centuries for Surrey and averaged 25 in 1887.He passed away on 1 December 1901 at the age of 36. ICC Cricket Hall of Fame : The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame recognises the achievements of the legends of the game from cricket's long and illustrious history. It was launched by the ICC on 2 January 2009 in association with the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA).The inaugural inductees ranged from W. G. Grace to Graham Gooch.Members of the Hall of Fame assist in the selection of future inductees.There are more English players in the Hall of Fame than players from other countries.Distinguished agricultural scientist Neelamraju Ganga Prasada (NGP) Rao, fondly referred to as the Father of Hybrid Sorghum, passed away on 27 July 2016 in Hyderabad following a brief illness. He was 89. NGP Rao is well-known for basic and applied research in breeding and agronomy of several dryland crops. Neelamraju Ganga Prasada Rao : Born in Korisapadu, Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, Rao had his early education in the Agricultural College, Bapatla.Due to his efforts, sorghum hybrids CSH1 CSH5 and CSH9 became popular and were cultivated in over 8 to 10 million hectares. His contributions in dryland crops, particularly long staple desi cotton, pigeonpea, castor and novel cropping systems, were well recognised. Rao also held various positions such as Consultant to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Project Coordinator (Sorghum), All-India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project, many more. He has around 200 research publications in national and international journals. He was awarded with the SS Bhatnagar Prize for Biological Sciences for his efforts.The European Union’s executive has appointed Michel Barnier, former French Financial Services Commissioner on 27 July 2016, as its Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom’s exit from the bloc. Barnier will be a prominent figure in the negotiations over Britain’s exit from the union. In June 2016, Didier Seeuws, a Belgian diplomat, was appointed as head of a Brexit task force by the European Council. Michel Barnier : Michel Barnier is a French Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) politician and Vice President of the European People's Party (EPP).He was appointed Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in the French government on 18 June 2007. He stepped down from the position on 7 June 2009 after his election as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).In February 2010, he was confirmed as European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. As European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, he handled many important issues, such as the reform of the financial sector, the banking union and the digital single market.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that it will launch the Olympic Channel on 27 July 2016. The channel will be launched on 21 August 2016, at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The channels original programming will include short-form and long-form content, focusing on elite athletes, their quest for success and sport around the world. Olympic Channel : The Olympic Channel is a digital-first, multiplatform global Olympic media entity, which aims to broadcast the Olympic Movement and its inherent values all year round, especially in the periods between the Olympic Games. It is a free platform that will present original programming, live sports events, news and highlights offering additional exposure for sports and athletes all year round. The primary objectives of the Olympic Channel : Provide a platform for the continuous exposure of Olympic sports and athletes beyond the Olympic Games period and help create anticipation while providing opportunities to "re-live the experience" after the Games.Continuously highlight the relevance of the Olympic Movement's ideals to the challenges of today's world. Provide a platform for sharing the IOC's very rich patrimonial assets and archives with the world and create additional value and content for the IOC archives.As a matter of priority, engage the young generations around the world using methods that are relevant to them, building understanding, entertainment and education. According a statement by IOC, the channel will be available online, worldwide via an app for Android and iOS devices and at olympic channel.com. In addition, the Channel will be also available on YouTube and social media - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The Olympic Channel will first be offered in English with an option of subtitles in nine different languages. International Olympic Committee : The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 percent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.25 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.To mark the first death anniversary of former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the foundation stone for National memorial of Dr. Kalam was laid at Peikarumbu in Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu). Also, a life-size statue and a 3-D model of the memorial of the ‘Missile man of India’ were unveiled by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Manohar Parrikar. An exhibition named ‘Mission of Life’ depicting the life of Dr. Kalam and his achievements towards nation building was also inaugurated. The event was attended by a host of dignitaries. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen "A. P. J." Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. A career scientist turned politician, Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, and studied physics and aerospace engineering. 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 program and military missile development efforts. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.The Odisha government has approved three projects involving investment of Rs 874 crore and employment potential of 630 persons. The government's nod to the three projects came at the State Level Single Window Clearance Authority (SLSWCA) . The SLSWCA approved a proposal of Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited for expansion of its non-alcoholic plant at Industrial estate in Khurda with a total investment of Rs 500 crore, said Kalyan Mohanty, General Manager of Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha Limited. A proposal of P & A Bottlers Limited to set up 2.50 lakh hectolitre capacity brewery at Balarampur of Dhenkal district with an investment of Rs 102 crore which would generate employment for 116 persons, also got the state government's nod. The third project which also got approval was Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited Common User Facility Centre at Dhutra of Jharsuguda district for storage of petroleum products with investment of Rs 272 crore. This unit would provide employment to around 166 persons. While approving the projects, Chief Secretary Padhi directed the departments concerned to facilitate grounding of these projects by quickening procedures. These projects included Gandhamardan-B mining project of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), Daitari Mining project of OMC, South Kaliapani Mining project of OMC, Construction of 220 KV Transmission Line from Laxmipur to Damonjodi Aditya Aluminium Project, approach road to RSB Transmission Pvt Ltd. Establishment of railway siding in Jalpaposhi village of Keonjhar district by Bhusan Steel Limited, Construction of Odisha Power Generation Corporation ash pond in Jharsguda district were also discussed. This apart construction of railway corridor in Jharsguda Sundargarh districts, construction of flay over at Info-valley and Khandagiri crossings in Bhabaneswar, widening of road from Mendhasala to Sea Food park at Deras.Manipur is the 14th state to join the UDAY. It is also the first North Eastern state to opt for the UDAY for improving the efficiency of the DISCOM. Manipur has joined the Ujwal DISCOM (distribution company) Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme meant for revival of debt-stressed power distribution utilities and will get benefits of around Rs 263 crore. The combined DISCOM debt to be restructured in respect of these states is around Rs 2.16 lakh crore as on September 30, 2015. Government of India, Manipur and the DISCOM of Manipur signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the UDAY scheme on Tuesday for operational turnaround of the DISCOM. The reduction in aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses and transmission losses by Manipur to 15 per cent and 3.20 per cent respectively is likely to bring additional revenue of around Rs 208 crore during the period of turnaround. The state would also gain around Rs 32 crore due to coal reforms. Besides demand side interventions in the UDAY such as usage of energy-efficient light emitting diode bulbs, agricultural pumps would result in gain of around Rs 17 crore. That improvement in operation efficiency would enable the DISCOM to borrow at cheaper rates in future, for their infrastructure development and improvement of existing infrastructure. The expected benefit to the State on this account is around Rs 6 crore during the turnaround period. An overall net benefit of approximately Rs 263 crore would accrue to the state by opting to participate in the UDAY, by way of cheaper funds, reduction in AT&C and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. during the period of turnaround. The healthy DISCOMs in Manipur would be in a position to supply more power. Thus, the scheme would allow speedy availability of power to around 188 villages and 2.43 lakh households in the state that are still without electricity.The Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016 without discussion. The bill seeks to amend the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 which provides Lokpal (at Centre) and Lokayukta (at States) statutory backing to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters. Enable the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in the absence of a recognised Leader of Opposition to be a member of the selection committee that would select the ombudsman. Amends section 44 of parent Act that deals with provision of furnishing of details of assets and liabilities of public servants within 30 days of joining the government service. The amendment has removed the period of 30 days. Now the public servants will make declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner as prescribed by government.
27 July 2016 Current AffairsQUIZ
Global payments leader SWIFT said ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have become the first domestic lenders to sign up for its global payments innovation initiative, which already has over 70 other leading banks globally. The initiative aims to enhance cross-border payments by leveraging Swift's messaging platform and global reach and in the first phase, the initiative will focus on business-to-business payments. Designed to help corporates grow their international business, improve supplier relationships, and achieve greater treasury efficiencies, the new service will enable corporates to receive an enhanced payments service directly from their banks. The service offers key features such as the same day use of funds, transparency and predictability of fees, end-to-end payments tracking, and transfer of rich payment information. Kiran Shetty, head of India and Subcontinent at Swift said, "by being the first domestic banks to join the global payments innovation initiative, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank reiterate their commitment to offering greater speed, transparency and predictability to their clients when it comes to cross-border payments." On the partnership, ICICI Bank's Ajay Gupta said the association will help it to add value to its corporate clients. The Belgium-based Swift is a global member-owned cooperative and a leading provider of secure financial messaging services. It provides its members a platform for messaging and standards for communicating, apart from offering products and services to facilitate access and integration, identification, analysis and financial crime compliance to over 11,000 banking and securities companies, market infrastructure and corporates in over 200 countries.Vodafone M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer service, has tied up with Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to enable consumers pay their electricity bills instantly. Vodafone M-Pesa offers customers a cashless, secure platform for electricity bill payments with the largest network of agents (or CashIn Points) to enable digitisation of money for cash holding population. M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. It has since expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India and in 2014 to Romania and in 2015 to Albania. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services (Lipa na M-Pesa) easily with a mobile device.