Current Affairs, News & Facts of 14 Apr 2016

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  • India ranks 44th in 2016 Global Connectivity Index  

    India ranks 44th in 2016 Global Connectivity Index

    India stood at the 44th position among 50 different countries as per the recent Global Connectivity Index report, 2016 compiled by Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

    The report, measures the progress of 50 nations in investment and deployment of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)  infrastructure including broadband, data centers, cloud services, big data and IoT on a score scale of 0-100. These 50 countries, account for 90 percent of global GDP and and 78% of the global population.

    Top 10 countries in GCI: United States (score-74), Singapore (72), Sweden (70), Switzerland (68), United Kingdom (65), Denmark (64), South Korea (63), Netherlands (63) and Japan (62). 

    BRICS Countries : China (Rank-23, Score-44), Russia (Rank-26, Score-43), Brazil (Rank-30, Score-39), South Africa (Rank-21, Score-39) and India (Rank-44, Score-30). 

    India’s Neighbouring Countries: Pakistan (Rank-50, Score-21), China (Rank-23, Score-44) and Bangladesh (Rank-49, Score-23). 

    Comment : India has a GCI score of 30, this puts the country among ‘Starters’ who are still working on building a reliable connectivity, and on spreading the connection base but with India’s flagship initiatives like ‘Digital India’ the situation might change rapidly next year as such initiative will enable last-mile connectivity.

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  • Nauru becomes 189th member of IMF, World Bank

    Nauru becomes 189th member of IMF, World BankTiny South Pacific island nation Nauru has become the 189th member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, i.e. Bretton-Woods institutions.

    Nauru applied for membership in the Washington-based IMF and World Bank in April 2014, after joining the United Nations in 1996 as the world's smallest independent republic. Before Nauru, the last country to join the IMF and World Bank was South Sudan, in April 2012.

    By joining the World Bank : By joining the World Bank, Nauru gains access to financial support, technical support and special expertise in dealing with Pacific area issues, such as water and sanitation and disaster risk management amid the threat of climate change and rising sea levels.

    By joining the IMF : By joining the IMF Nauru can benefit from the crisis lender’s advice on managing government finances and monetary policy.  Its initial subscription quota for IMF will be of SDR (Special Drawing rights) 2 million or about $2.81 million. It will be the second smallest member of the Fund, after Tuvalu.

    The Republic of Nauru

    Nauru formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia, northeast of Australia. With 9,488 residents in a 21-square-kilometre (8.1 sq mi) area, Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and third smallest state by area in the world, behind only Vatican City and Monaco.  The Australian dollar is the currency of Narau. It had joined United Nations (UN) in 1996 as the world’s smallest independent republic. 

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  • India Successfully Test Fires Surface-To-Air Akash Missile

    India Successfully Test Fires Surface-To-Air Akash MissileIndia's indigenously-developed surface-to-air Akash missile was successfully test fired from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha.

    Missile Test : Altogether six rounds of the missiles were fired.  The missiles were fired against Pilot less target aircraft (PTA) Lakshya, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Banshee and Para-barrel, two times each. It successfully destroyed the targets coordinated by the user, demonstrating its ‘killing’ efficiency.

    About Akash Missile :

    Akash Missile is a medium-range surface-to-air anti-aircraft defence system developed by DRDO as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

    Range : It can fly at a supersonic speed ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5 and can engage aerial targets upto a range of approximately 25 km.

    Akash has the capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles. The missile was formally inducted into the IAF in July 2015.

    Features: The missile has supersonic speeds ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5. It is multi target, multi directional, all weather air-defence system consisting of surveillance and tracking radars.

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  • India, Germany join hands to clean river Ganga

    India, Germany join hands to clean river GangaIndia has joined hands with Germany to attain "pristine" status of Ganga by adopting river basin management strategies used by Germany for cleansing rivers like Rhine and Danube of pollutants.

    Agreement in this regard was signed between the Union Ministry of Water Resources and German International Cooperation (GIZ) of Germany.

    This approach will be based on Indo-German Knowledge (IGK) exchange and practical experience on strategic river basin management issues, public engagement and effective data management system. 

    Initial actions will focus on Uttarakhand, with scope of expansion to other upstream Ganga States.The duration of the project is three years and the German contribution in the project will be to the tune of 22.5 crore rupees.

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  • South Korea's opposition party wins general election

    South Korea's opposition party wins general electionSouth Korea’s main opposition party "Minjoo Party of Korea" has won 123 seats out of 300 seats while the centre-right Saenuri party has won 122 seats. With this the governing party in South Korea has lost the parliamentary majority it has held for 16 years.

    It was for the first time since 1999 that the conservative party has lost control of parliament, with the three opposition parties garnering a combined 167 seats, well over the majority.

    Elections in South Korea

    The president is directly elected for a single five-year term by plurality vote. The National Assembly has 300 members elected for a four-year term, 253 in single-seat constituencies and 47 proportional representation seats are allocated to parties according to the numbers of votes they receive overall. South Korea has a multi-party system, with two dominant parties and numerous third parties.

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  • India was world's largest remittance recipient in 2015: World Bank 

    India was world's largest remittance recipient in 2015: World Bank India was the world's largest remittance recipient in 2015 attracting about USD 69 billion in remittances, down from USD 70 billion in 2014, the World Bank said in its annual report 'Migration and Development Brief'. 

    Other large remittance recipients in 2015 were China, with USD 64 billion, the Philippines (USD 28 billion), Mexico (USD 25 billion) and Nigeria (USD 21 billion). 

    Global remittances, which include those to high-income countries, contracted by 1.7 per cent to 581 billion US dollar in 2015, from 592 billion in 2014.

    According to the report, the growth of remittances in 2015 slowed from eight per cent in 2014 to 2.5 per cent for Bangladesh, from 16.7 per cent to 12.8 per cent for Pakistan, and from 9.6 per cent to 0.5 per cent for Sri Lanka. 

    Remittances to Nepal rose dramatically in response to the earthquake, by 20.9 per cent in 2015 versus 3.2 per cent in 2014. It should be noted that remittances to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh exceeded six per cent of GDP in 2014.

    Remittances to IndiaRemittances to India are money transfers from Non-resident Indians (NRIs), employed outside the country to family, friends or relatives in India.  India is the world's leading receiver of remittances.

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  • Kyrgyzstan parliament approves Sooronbai Jeenbekov for post of PM

    Kyrgyzstan parliament approves Sooronbai Jeenbekov for post of PMSix years after a violent revolution in Kyrgyzstan that claimed hundreds of lives, the parliament of Kyrgyzstan has approved Sooronbai Jeenbekov for the post of the country's prime minister.

    He will replace Temir Sariyev who resigned amid a national scandal surrounding violations in a highway construction tender.

    Jeenbekov, 50, was educated as a zoological engineer and in the beginning of his career worked as a teacher, livestock specialist, and the director of a communal farm. 

    He previously served as the country's agriculture, water, and reprocessing industry minister and as plenipotentiary representative of Kyrgyzstan's government in the southern Osh Province.

    About Kyrgyzstan

    (1) Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest countries that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and is strongly dependent on remittances sent home by migrants working in Russia. 

    (2) The national economy of Kyrgyzstan has taken a sharp hit from the collapse of the Russian ruble that has affected its own national currency, the som, and slowed production at the country’s Kumtor gold mine, one of the country’s biggest assets.

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  • PM Modi to launch National Agriculture Market portal to connect e-mandis

    PM Modi to launch National Agriculture Market portal to connect e-mandisPrime Minister Narendra Modi will formally launch a National Agriculture Market (NAM) portal  to connect e-mandis in several states  at a function in New Delhi, on the 125th birth anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar. 21 mandis from 8 States will join the platform today.

    The national agriculture market will enable farmers in eight states to sell 25 commodities online in 21 wholesale mandis and get better prices.

    The government is aiming to integrate 200 mandis by September this year and entire 585 mandis by March 2018. About 200 crore rupees has been sanctioned for this purpose.

    The online trade will initially be allowed within the state and inter-state trade will be possible once all states and mandis are integrated.

    To integrate a wholesale mandi with the online platform, the state governments have to amend their Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act.

    The 12 states that are part of the pilot programme are Gujarat, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

    The government has listed 25 commodities, including wheat, maize, chana, jowar, bajra, potato and cotton to be traded with National Agriculture Market (NAM).

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