Current Affairs, News & Facts of 22 Jan 2016

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  • Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra replace Aamir Khan as 'Incredible India' brand ambassadors

     

    Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra replace Aamir Khan as 'Incredible India' brand ambassadors

    Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra have been chosen as the new brand ambassadors of the Incredible India campaign  following the expiration of Aamir Khan’s contract as it's brand ambassador.

    Aamir Khan the former brand ambassador of  'Incredible India' campaign had promoted Indian tourism for a decade but his contract as the brand ambassador expired recently and the central govt. did not showed any interest  in renewing his contract because last year his remarks on intolerance in India stirred huge controversy.

    Incredible India campaign  :

    • "Incredible India" is international marketing campaign which was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in 2002, with an aim to promote Incredible India as a tourist destination.
    • Advertising and marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather (India) (O&M) was hired by the Union Govt. to create a new campaign to increase tourist inflows into the country.
    • The campaign projected India as an attractive tourist destination by showcasing different aspects of Indian culture and history like yoga, spirituality, etc. 
    • In 2008, the Ministry of Tourism launched the campaign  titled 'Atithidevo Bhava', aimed at educating local population regarding good behaviour and etiquette when dealing with foreign tourists.

    Importance of  Tourism :

    • Tourism has played a pivotal role in Indian economy as per the calcualtions of  World Travel & Tourism Council tourism generated Rs. 6.4 trillion (USD 95 billion) which made 6.6 percent of the nation's GDP in 2012.
    • It supported 39.5 million jobs, 7.7 percent of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9 percent till 2023 making India the third fastest growing tourism destination over the next decade.
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  • India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for Kosi Basin Development Project

     

    India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for Kosi Basin Development Project

    India and the World Bank have signed USD 250 million financing agreement for Bihar Kosi Basin development project. World Bank’s concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA) has sanctioned the loan. The loan has an implementation period of 5 years. Government of Bihar is the implementing agency. 

    • Objective of the project : The objective of the project is to enhance resilience to floods and increase agricultural production and productivity in the targeted districts in the Kosi River Basin, and to enhance Bihar’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. 
    • Project Components : The project has five components: (i) Improving Flood Risk Management. (ii) Augmenting Connectivity. (iii) Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness. (iv) Implementation Support (v) Contingent Emergency Response.

    Beneficiaries of the project

    The primary beneficiaries will be rural producers and households in the Kosi River Basin who are regularly exposed to floods. It will mainly include farmers who lost their agricultural lands due to the silt deposits brought by the 2008 Kosi River Flood as well as farmers in the project area that are currently without access to irrigation and other technologies, improved agricultural practices and an adequate transport network. 

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  • Legendary dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai dies at 97

     

    Legendary dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai dies at 97

    Legendary Bharatnatyam dancer, Mrinalini Sarabhai, died recently in Ahmadabad following complications related to old age. She was, 97.

    Mrinalini Sarabhai :

    • Mrinalini was Trained in Bharatnatyam, Kathakali and Mohiniyattom, she was educated at Shantiniketan under Rabindranath Tagore.  She was married to the architect of India's space programme, Dr Vikram Sarabhai.
    • She was not only a classical dancer but also a  poet, writer, environmentalist and philanthropist. She played a leading role in the social and art scene in Ahmedabad.She was one of the first classical dancer to turn to choreography.
    • In 1948, Ms Sarabhai set up  Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, an institute of dance in Ahmadabad where she trained thousands of dancers and choreographers. She has trained over 18,000 students in Bharatnatyam and Kathakali.

    Awards and Honours : Padma Bhushan Award (1992), Padma Shri (1965) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1994). 

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  • Atulesh Jindal appointed as new chairman of CBDT

    Atulesh Jindal appointed as new chairman of CBDT

    Senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Officer Atulesh Jindal has been appointed as the chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy-making body of the income tax department. His appointment was cleared by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    He will succeed A K Jain who was made acting Chairman of the board following superannuation of Anita Kapur on November 30. A K Jain  completes his term this month-end. He is a 1978 batch IRS officer and currently working as member (revenue) in the CBDT.

    Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) :

    • CBDT is apex policy making body of Income Tax department in India and also the supreme body for framing policies related to direct taxes.
    • CBDT is an statutory authority established under The Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The composition of CBDT includes Chairman and six members.

    Chairperson of  CBDT

    The senior-most IRS civil servant are appointed as the Chairperson of  CBDT. He acts as the ex officio Special Secretary to the Government of India and also cadre controlling authority of the Indian Revenue Service. Although there is no fixed tenure but the average tenure of the chairman has been less than 2 years.

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  • 19th National Conference on e-Governance kicks off in Nagpur

     

    19th National Conference on e-Governance kicks off in Nagpur

    The 19th National Conference on e-Governance has begun in Nagpur, Maharashtra. The conference was inagurated by the Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari and Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh . The 2 days National Conference on e-Governance  has been organised by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) in in association with the State Government of Maharashtra.

    National Conference on e-Governance :

    • The main objective of the conference is to discuss various aspects of e-Governance that ranges from Technology Enabled Services to Cyber Security framework.
    • About include 600 delegates have participated in the conference including 150 delegates from Maharashtra and 250 from other States including as many as 50 participants from the Private Sector.  
    • National Awards for e-Governance for the Year 2015-16 in eighteen categories including 10 Gold and 8 Silver under various categories were presented during the Valedictory Session.
    • The Conference included an Exhibition and brainstorming sessions on-Governanc by subject experts. Four books on e-Governance were also released during the inaugural session.
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  • MoU signed between IBM and NRSC for monitoring mining activities using satellite technology

     

    MoU signed between IBM and NRSC for monitoring mining activities using satellite technology

    Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Remote Sensing Centre of the Department of Space for monitoring mining activity through satellite technology. As part of the MoU, the IBM would set up an exclusive remote sensing cell under the technical guidance of NRSC at its offices in Nagpur and Hyderabad.

    The remote sensing cell will utilise Bhuvan based services for monitoring mining activities. Initially pilot project would be carried out to demonstrate the feasibility of using high resolution satellite imagery in monitoring the changes over a period of time in select group of mines. The pilot project will be launched in Odisha and Hospet sector of Karnataka.

    Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) :

    Indian Bureau of Mines was set up on 1st March,1948 as a advisory body under the aegis of Department of Mines, of Union Ministry of Mines. Now it has emerged as multi-disciplinary government organisation which aims at promoting  scientific development of mineral resources, , conservation and protection of environment in mines other than petroleum & natural gas, coal, atomic minerals and minor minerals.

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  • 4th India Africa Hydrocarbons Conference begins in New Delhi

     

    4th India Africa Hydrocarbons Conference begins in New Delhi

    The 2-day 4th India Africa Hydrocarbons Conference (IAHC) has begun in New Delhi.  The Conference  was inagurated by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas (I/C) Shri Dharmendra Pradhan. The fourth India-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference seeks to  align and initiate future collaborations between India and Africa in hydrocarbons. It also seeks to explore opportunities, bridge boundaries and boost bilateral trade between India and Africa. 

    22 African nations are participating in the the conference among which 9 are represented by their Ministers. These 9 countries are Morocco, Algeria, Liberia, Mauritius, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea and Senegal.

    Objecives of  India Africa Hydrocarbons Conference (IAHC) :

    • Provide a global forum and common platform to African Countries to share their vision and chart out the road map for extended energy cooperation. 
    • Bring together African leaders in and also CEOs from India and abroad to exchange expert insights and develop strategies for enhancing energy cooperation.

    Indo-African relationship in energy sector

    • India and Africa share common experience of colonial past which binds them both culturally and politically but among everything energy security stands as one of the major focus area of the bilateral ties. 
    • India imports about 75% of it's crude oil and gas, so Africa can emerge as a vital region for sourcing petroleum products in coming years. Africa has played a crucial role in meeting energy demands of India. In June 2015, Nigeria had stood as the second largest supplier of oil to India. 
    • India, apart from being an attractive market for crude oil and gas, would be an able partner for African nations across the industry value chain.

     Comment : Africa is a region of huge energy potential  both renewable and non-renewable but it lacks in terms of  capital, technology and ability, experience and manpower to exploit these resources for future growth but partnership and proper cooperation with India in energy sector can boost it's development through mutual sharing of capital and technology.

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