Current Affairs, News & Facts of 12 Feb 2016

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  • Ramesh Abhishek appointed DIPP Secretary

     

    Ramesh Abhishek appointed DIPP SecretarySenior IAS officer Ramesh Abhishek has been appointed as officer on Special Duty in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). He will take over the charge from incumbent Amitabh Kant, who retires this month-end and is all set to join Niti Aayog as Chief Executive Officer. Ramesh Abhishek is a 1982 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre and presently working as Secretary (Performance Management) in Cabinet Secretariat. 

    Girish Shankar the batchmate of Ramesh Abhishek has been appointed as new Secretary in Department of Heavy Industry. He will take over the charge from Rajan S Katoch who superannuates on February 29.

    Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) :

    Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion which works under the under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is responsible for formulation and implementation of  promotional measures for growth of the industrial sector and also keeping in view the national priorities and socio-economic objectives.

    It is also responsible for facilitating and increasing the FDI flows to the country. It is also responsible for intellectual property rights relating to patents, designs, trademarks, and Geographical indication of goods and oversees the initiative relating to their promotion and protection.

    Established : It was established in the year 1995, and in the year 2000 Department of Industrial Development was merged with it.

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  • Suresh Prabhu launches 3 IT enabled applications for railways

     

    Suresh Prabhu launches 3 IT enabled applications for railways

    Indian Railways is heading towards Digital India to bring transparency in Indian Railways and eliminate all possible loopholes so it has launched 3 IT (Information Technology) enabled apps which aims at making Railway services consumer friendly. These apps were launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu  through Video-Conferencing from Rail Bhawan at a function held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

    Three IT enabled apps are :

     Hand Held Terminals for TTEs: It is pilot project of Northern Railway that will enable TTEs to update an entire train's passenger list and highlight vacant berths which can be sent back to HHT application servers, the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) terminals and indianrail.gov website to be viewed.

    Paperless unreserved ticketing mobile application :The unreserved ticketing mobile application 'UTSONMOBILE' was launched for South Central Railway. It has been developed with the help of Centre for Railway Information Systems ( CRIS). It can be used for booking unreserved tickets on many suburban and some long distance routes. 

     E-booking of disposable linen on trains : This app allows passengers to avail bedroll kits through online booking and from IRCTC selected outlets. There are two types of bedroll kit whiche are  :-

    • Type I :- It offers a bedroll kit packed in a non-woven fabric bag consisting of one pillow and two cotton bedsheets at Rs.140 inclusive of all taxes.
    • Type II :- It offers a bedroll kit packed in a non-woven bag consisting of a single blanket.
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  • Pulitzer winning composer Leslie Bassett passes away at 93

     

    Pulitzer winning composer Leslie Bassett passes away at 93Leslie Bassett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer passed away on 4 February 2016 in Oakwood, Georgia. He was 93. As a legendary composer he was known for his lush sonorities and ecumenical instrumentation and for compositions of coaxing a vast range of tonal colours from the bits of wood and brass.

    Facts about Leslie Bassett :

    Leslie Bassett was born on January 22, 1923, in Hanford, California. He played piano and trombone during his childhood days. He served US Army as trombonist, composer and arranger during World War II. 

    Bassett wrote works for symphony orchestra, chamber and choral ensembles, solo instruments and voice. In his work, he strongly favoured chromatic language mainly at the intersection of tonality and atonality. 

    Even during last phase of his life he was serving as Albert A. Stanley Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Composition.

    His music was known for lucid clarity and deep meaning. His compositions were performed by the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Juilliard String Quartet.

    Awards and honours : Bassett was bestowed with the Pulitzer in 1966 for Variations for Orchestra.

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  • Wipro acquires Florida-based HealthPlan Services for USD 460 m

     

    Wipro acquires Florida-based HealthPlan Services for USD 460 m

    India’s third-largest software exporter Wipro Limited has acquired Florida-based HealthPlan Services, for US 460 million dollars. This acquisition was part of the Wipro’s traditional “string of pearls” acquisition strategy under which Wipro acquired three companies last year ranging from design companies to small tech providers in the financial sector as it seeks to get back on the growth path.

    It will help Wipro to strengthen it's position in the health insurance exchange market by participating in the shift of the US health insurance industry towards a consumer-centric business model as it has currently has a US 800 million dollars healthcare and life sciences business. Wipro's client base include over 100 US payers, leading healthcare providers, and public health agencies so the acquisition will be a major boost for Wipro's healthcare bussiness.

    This is Wipro’s  second-largest acquisition and overall 4th acquisition in the in calendar year 2015, prior to this it had acquired t Denmark-based Designit, German IT consulting firm Cellent AG and US-based Viteos Group.

    HealthPlan Services : It is a Florida-based technology firm that provides Business-Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) on a subscription basis to the health insurance sector.It is run by private equity firm Water Street Healthcare Partners.The company was founded in 1970 and currently generates annual revenue of 223 million dollars and employs over 2,000 associates.

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  • Australia makes Harinder Sidhu High Commissioner to India

     

    Australia makes Harinder Sidhu High Commissioner to IndiaAustralia has announced the appointment of Indian-origin Harinder Sidhu as Australian High Commissioner to India. She will replace the outgoing High Commissioner Patrick Suckling. She will be the second envoy from Australia with Indian roots after Peter Varghese with a Kerala connection. Currently, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma's parents hail from Punjab, while Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel was born in Gujarat.    

    Facts about Harinder Sidhu 

    Ms. Sidhu who has an Indian background was born in Singapore and later migrated to Australia. Her parents belonged to Punjab.She holds a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Sydney. 

    Prior to this appointment, she was working as a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has also served as First Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy Division. Previously, she had served overseas in Moscow (Russia) and Damascus (Syria). 

    Mr. Sidhu’s previous roles included First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Climate Change, Assistant Director-General in the Office of National Assessments and Senior Adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    Indo-Australia relationship 

    • India is one of Australia’s closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific region and 10th largest trading partner. The two way investment is worth over USD 20 billion.
    • There are also over 450,000 people of Indian descent currently residing in Australia driving our strong education, cultural and tourism links.
    • Both countries share strong strategic and defence ties and Australia conducted its first bilateral maritime exercises  'AUSINDEX-15' in 2015.
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  • Karnataka's flagship Mobile One m-governance model wins gold at World Government Summit in UAE 

     

    Karnataka's flagship Mobile One m-governance model wins gold at World Government Summit in UAE Karnataka's flagship mobile-one governance project surpassed British e-governance app, one of the biggest in the world, to win gold at the m-governance awards at the fourth World Government Summit in Dubai.On behalf of state government, Karnataka’s e-governance secretary Srivatsa Krishna received the award.

    About 64 countries competed for the award, of which the e-governance apps of the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan were shortlisted along with Karnataka Mobile-One. The shortlisting is done through online voting and a jury selection method.

    Karnataka Mobile One m-governance model 

    The Karnataka Mobile-One app launched in December 2014 by President Pranab Mukherjee brings over 4,000 services including government ones and private ones onto one integrated platform that can be accessed on smartphones, a web portal or through SMS and IVRS. It provides services like bill payments, issue redressal, agriculture etc from both the government and private sector to citizens. The app has been commended as India's first M-governance model and there are plans at the Centre to upscale it to the national level.

     

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  • Indian-origin lawyer Davinder Singh named vice-chairman of ICC commission

     

    Indian-origin lawyer Davinder Singh named vice-chairman of ICC commissionIndian-origin lawyer Davinder Singh (58) has been named as the vice-chairman of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption. Mr. Singh who lives in Singapore is currently the chief executive of the Singapore based law firm Drew & Napier. He was also the member of Singapore Parliament from 1988-2006.

    International Chamber of Commerce Commission (ICC) 

    ICC  Commission is a private sector world business organisation based in paris with a central role in global trade and commerce. It brings together more than 300 members from 40 countries, representing multi-national companies, law firms, trade associations, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

    The Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption which is one of the 13 policy commissions under the ICC develops rules of conduct, best practices and advocacy for fighting corruption worldwide.

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  • India, UAE ink 7 deals to boost bilateral ties

     

    India, UAE ink 7 deals to boost bilateral tiesThe UAE and India signed have a wide-ranging set of seven agreements on various issues of mutual concern, including cyber security, infrastructure investment, renewable energy and space cooperation.These agreements were signed during the second day of  Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan official visit to India.

    Key Agreements are 

    Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation (EPCC) :  It aims at developing and boosting cultural relations between the two countries,  protecting of national heritage and exchanging  publications of mutual interest.

    MoU for bilateral cooperation in Insurance sector : MoU between the UAE's Insurance Authority and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has been signed which aims at promoting cooperation between the two countries in the field of insurance supervision and increasing mutual understanding through regulatory and relevant supervisory information exchange. 

    MoU between the UAE Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organisation : The MoU signed between the two space agencies aims at facilitating cooperation in the area of space exploration and the peaceful use of outer space. 

    MoU in insurance sector :  An MoU between  UAE's Insurance Authority and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has been signed which aims at promoting cooperation in insurance regulations.

    MoU for investment cooperation. : The MoU facilitates the contributions of the UAE's investment funds to investment in India's infrastructure.

    An MoU for cooperation in the area of combating electronic crimes : The MoU was signed between UAE's Ministry of Interior and India's Ministry of Home Affairs. It  aims at boosting cooperation in the area of electronic crimes, which threaten to destabilise societies.

    General Framework Agreement on Renewable Energy Cooperation: It provide for bilateral cooperation in the area of renewable energy, especially in the area of investments and joint research and development efforts between the two countries.

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  • Wild pigs declared vermin in Uttarakhand for a year

     

    Wild pigs declared vermin in Uttarakhand for a yearThe ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified wild pig (sus scrofa) as vermin for a year in Uttarakhand. MoEFCC has taken this decison by using the constitutional power enshrined to under section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972. 

    This decision will allow state authorities to carry out an extermination of wild pigs on a large scale without asking for permission from the forest or wildlife officials and without caring for penal provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Uttarakhand has become the second state after Bihar to get such permission.

    Background : Earlier, Uttarakhand forest department had forwarded proposal to the MoEFCC to declare both wild pig and Neel Gai (blue bull) as vermin because these animals play a major role in destruction of crops in the state. Many farmers have abandoned agriculture due to wild boar menace in the hill areas of the state. However MoEFCC has rejected  forest department’s proposal to declare Neel Gai (blue bull) vermin.

    Legal authority : If any wild animal poses a danger to human life or property (including standing crops on any land), or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery, the law allows for it to be hunted. Using these provisions, any animal listed in Schedule I to IV can be put in Schedule V for a specific period, declaring it as vermin, allowing its killing. Schedule V include animals like the common crow, fruit bats, mice and rats.

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2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

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