Current Affairs : 13 Jan 2016 to 02 Jan 2016 - Summary

Current Affairs 13 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • EPFO bags National Award on e-Governance

     

    EPFO bags National Award on e-Governance

    The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has won National Award on e-Governance 2015-16 for launching the Universal Account Number (UAN).The EPFO won the gold award in the ‘innovative use of technology in e-governance’ category and it will also get a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh.

    The award will be presented by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to the EPFO in the 19th National Conference on e-governance to be held in Nagpur on January 22.

    About Universal Account Number (UAN) :

    • Through UAN, active employees are provided a universal number which can be linked to various provident fund account numbers provided to them while working in different organisations.
    • A single account number can be used through all of workers’ employments with various organisations. When a worker changes his job, he is required to inform his UAN to new employer and after the previous and present employments are linked to the number, the transfer process happens on its own.

    Earlier, the worker had to apply for transfer of funds on change of job from one organisation to another but UAN facility enables workers to transfer their provident fund deposits while switching jobs anywhere in India easily.The portal also allows a worker view his provident fund balance on a real-time basis without going through the employer.

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  • Blood banks now to post stock data online

     

    Blood banks now to post stock data online

    All blood banks in the country have been asked to update realtime stock status on the National Health Portal (NHP) website with an aim to introduce transparency in availability and disbursement of blood units. Nearly 200 banks are already doing this. The idea is ensure people have access to credible data.

    In this regard Director-General of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), N.S. Kang, has written to all 2,711 licensed blood banks in India, asking them to put data on the portal.

    National Health Portal (NHP) :

    • National Health Portal (NHP) website gives real- time data about blood and blood components at the State and the district level as it is updated every 48 hours.
    • The e-Blood bank will enable electronic monitoring of blood collection, testing, storage and final use and even disposal. The app also will maintain a database of regular donors, in case of requirement.
    • Now the families looking for blood can use the web-enabled system to see availability of blood instead of tapping into personal sources, social media platforms etc for blood.
    • Currently the availability of whole blood/components from nearly 200 blood banks in Jammu & Kashmir,Gujarat, Rajasthan and Odisha are being shown on the NHP app.

    Since all information will be readily available on the portal it will promote safe blood shifts from the individual to blood banks and it's proper distribution. It will also weed out professional donors and touts.

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  • US researchers develop technique for effective light bulbs

     

    US researchers develop technique for effective light bulbs

    Incandescent lightbulb commercially developed by Thomas Edison in the US in the 1880s create light by using electricity to heat a thin, tungsten wire filament to temperatures of around 2,700C. This causes the filament to glow and produce a broad spectrum, warm white light.

    But lightbulbs of this type are hugely inefficient - they only convert around 2-3 per cent of the energy they use into light - the rest is wasted as heat. This is the reason they have long been a target for green campaigners, concerned about climate change.

    These Incandescent lightbulb has seen the bulbs banned in the European Union, Canada and their manufacture and importation has been phased out in the US. They've been replaced by more expensive compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs which are significantly more efficient at around 13 per cent.

    About the Research :

    • Scientists at MIT have found a way of recycling the waste energy and focussing it back on the filament where it is re-emitted as visible light. Using nanotechnology, they've built a structure that surrounds the filament of the bulb and captures the leaking infrared radiation, reflecting it back to the filament where it is re-absorbed and then re-emitted as visible light.
    • The structure is made from thin layers of a type of light-controlling crystal. A key aspect though is the way that these layers are stacked, with visible wavelengths allowed to pass through while infrared get reflected back to the filament as if in a mirror.In theory, the crystal structures could boost the efficiency of incandescent bulbs to 40 per cent, making them three times more efficient than the best LED or CFL bulbs on the market.
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  • Centre sets up panel to fix bullet train issues 

     

    Centre sets up panel to fix bullet train issues

    The government has set up a committee headed by Arvind Panagariya to sort out all issues related to implementation of Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project with a similar panel constituted by Japan. The panel will interact with the Japanese counterpart for taking the next step in implementation.

    Members of the panel : The panel comprises the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary, the Foreign Secretary, the Economic Affairs Secretary and the Railway Board Chairman.

    Background :

    • Last year, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime minister Narendra Modi has given its nod for bullet train project on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor which wii be built with the help of Japan .
    • The Panagariya panel had favoured Japan over China due to the low-cost funding up to 80 per cent of the cost proposed by Japan International Cooperation Agency, at a 0.1 per cent interest rate (50-year repayment), also commitment for technology transfer and local manufacturing for a specified period.

    Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor :

    • In India the proposed trains will  run on a standard gauge line, covering 12 stations between the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai and Sabarmati at Ahmedabad.The route stations would be Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara and Anand. The train is described as having a maximum design speed of 350 km per hour.
    • Indian Railways will run the corridor for an initial five years, after which private operators could be allowed. Bullet trains are run by state-owned agencies in France and Germany. The Japanese system was handed to private companies after two decades of operation
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2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Sports

Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min


Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min


Current Affairs 12 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • List of winners of the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards

     

    List of winners of the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards

    The Awards ceremony for 73rd Golden Globe Awards was organized at Beverly Hills, California, United States (US). The Golden Globe Award is an American award  bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) as a recognizition of excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign. In the 73rd edition of  Annual Golden Globe Awards, The Revenant won the maximum 3 awards followed by The Martian and Steve Jobs winning 2 awards each.

    The winners of  73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards :

    • Best Motion Picture Drama: The Revenant.
    • Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy: The Martian.
    • Best Director in Motion Picture-Drama: Alejandro Inarritu for The Revenant. 
    • Best Actor in Motion Picture-Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant. 
    • Best Actress in Motion Picture-Drama: Brie Larson for Room. 
    • Best Actor in Motion Picture or Musical or Comedy: Matt Damon for The Martian. 
    • Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence for Joy. 
    • Best Actor in a Supporting role in Motion Picture: Sylvester Stallone for Creed. 
    • Best Actress in a Supporting role in Motion Picture: Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs. 
    • Best Original Score Motion Picture: Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight. 
    • Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary).
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  • Telangana becomes first State to make gender education compulsory

     

    Telangana becomes first State to make gender education compulsory

    Telangana has become the first State in the country to make gender education compulsory at the graduate level, for which it has introduced bilingual textbook titled ‘Towards a World of Equals’ on a pilot basis in engineering colleges.

    Objectives of textbook on gender education :

    • Discusses gender in its composite form without limiting itself to crime against women.It has been structured into simple language to suit under-graduates.
    • Provide information on  little known women writers of the state, sex selection problems, and the work of women in the fields of economics and politics
    • The textbook also touches complex subjects like male-female relationships and female-centric history. 
    • The book also discusses different strands of women’s movements across the world, introducing students to political movements of Afro-American, Caribbean, African, Dalit and minority women.
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  • CIRB Hisar becomes second centre to clone buffalo

     

    CIRB Hisar becomes second centre to clone buffalo

    Scientists at Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB) in Hisar have successfully produced a cloned buffalo offspring named ‘Cirb Gaurav’. With this achievement CIRB becomes world's third and India's second institute to produce cloned buffalo.This achievement has been made under the project entitled, Cloning for conservation and multiplication of superior buffalo germplasm.

    Importance :

    This cloned buffalo calf is distinct from the earlier clones produced in India. As this is produced from cells of ventral side of tail of superior bull buffalo, this part is least exposed to sunlight and may have less mutation rate, and can be good choice for isolation of donor cells to produce healthy clones.

    Cloning :

    Cloning is the process of producing genetically identical copies of biological matter which may include genetically identical copies of genes, cells, tissues or entire organisms.The term clone, invented by J. B. S. Haldane and dervied from a Greek word.

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  • Stan Wawrinka wins 2016 Chennai Open title

     

    Stan Wawrinka wins 2016 Chennai Open title

    Swiss professional tennis player Stan Wawrinka (World No. 4)  has won the 2016 Chennai Open title of tennis. In the final match held at Nungambakkam tennis stadium (Chennai) he defeated the Borna Coric (World No. 33) of Croatia by a score of 6-3, 7-5 .

    Stan Wawrinka has won ATP Chennai Open title for consecutively three times (won in 2014, 2015 and 2016) , he has also won it in 2011. With this victory Stan Wawrinka carried home USD 75,700 and 250 ranking points.

    Chennai Open title :

    Chennai Open is a professional tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts. It is held annually in January at the SDAT Tennis Stadium in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.  It is owned by IMG and organized by IMG Reliance.It is currently part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour. 

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  • First female F1 driver Maria Teresa de Filippis passes away

     

    First female F1 driver Maria Teresa de Filippis passes away

    Maria Teresa de Filippis, the first woman to compete in a world championship Formula One Grand Prix, passed away on 8 January 2016 in Italy. She was 89. She participated in five World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 May 1958, but scored no championship points. Though largely unsuccessful in her Formula One racing career but she is remembered as a pioneer in the moto sport which is mainly dominated by men.

    About Maria Teresa de Filippis :

    • De Filippis was born on 11 November 1926 in Naples, Italy. She was a  keen horse rider in her young age.
    • At the age of 22, de Filippis began her racing career and won first race on a 10 km drive between Salerno and Cava de’ Tirreni by driving a Fiat 500
    • De Filippis was a founding member of the Maserati Club and also the honorary president of the former drivers’ association.

    Female drivers in F1 :  Maria Teresa de Filippis, Lella Lombardi, Divina Galica, Desire Wilson, Giovanna Amati

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  • Music Legend David Bowie passes away

     

    Music Legend David Bowie passes away

    One of the most influential musicians of his era, David Bowie passed away on 10 January 2015 in New York, United States following his 18-month long battle with liver cancer. He was 69.

    He was a renowned figure in music for over five decades, and was considered by critics and other musicians as an innovator. He was singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter and actor .

    Facts about David Bowie : 

    • David Bowie was born as David Robert Jones on 8 January 1947 in  Brixton, south London. When he is was only six years old,  he acquiried a reputation as a gifted and single-minded child—and a defiant brawler.
    • His career spanned around 51 year his first album eas released in 1972 of which around 140 million albums were sold. In 1972 he became a soinger of International fame after the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
    • He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, Jan. 8, which was his birthday. His last live music performance was in 2006 at a New York charity concert.
    • His hits include Let's Dance, Changes, Space Oddity, Starman, Modern Love, Heroes, Under Pressure, Rebel Rebel and Life on Mars. He was also well known for creating his flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust.
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  • Lionel Messi wins 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or award

     

    Lionel Messi wins 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or award

    Lionel Messi the Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team has won the 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or Award. Messi was honoured with this title of world’s best football player for record fifth time.

    Before this he was conferred with this award in 2010 (inaugural), 2011, 2012 and 2012.For this edition of award he secured 41.33% of the vote, with Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo (27.76%) second and Barca's Neymar (7.86%) third.

    Other winners for the year 2015 :

    • World Coach of the Year (Men’s): Luis Enrique (Barcelona FC). 
    • World Coach of the Year (Women’s): Jill Ellis (United Staes). 
    • FIFA Fair Play Award: All football organisations supporting refugees
    • FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year: Carli Lloyd (United States)
    • FIFA Puskas Award: Wendell Lira.

    Other winners of  Ballon d’Or award :  Cristiano Ronaldo ( Won in 2008, 2013, 2014), Pavel Nedved (2003) , Andriy Shevchenko (2004), Ronaldinho (2005), Fabio Cannavaro (2006) 

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Current Affairs 11 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis wins Brisbane International title

     

    Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis wins Brisbane International title

    Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis have won the 2016 WTA Brisbane International Tennis trophy in the women’s doubles category by defeating German pair of Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic by 7-5, 6-1 score in the final match held at Brisbane (Australia).

    Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) bagged the 2016 WTA Brisbane International tennis trophy in the Women’s Singles Category by defeating Angelique Kerber of Germany by 6–3, 6–1 score.

    Key Facts :

    • This victory was sixth title in a row of Indo-Swiss pair after the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and WTA Finals in the women’s doubles category.
    • Sania and Martina, the world number one team, have recorded 26-match winning streak together. It should be noted that the last doubles team to win more than 25 consecutive matches was Gigi Fernandez (Puerto Rico) and Natasha Zvereva (Belarus) who had notched up 28 straight victories in 1994.
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  • Governor’s rule imposed in Jammu and Kashmir

     

    Governor’s rule imposed in Jammu and Kashmir

    Governor's rule has been imposed in Jammu & Kashmir as the process of new government formation following the death of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed will take some time.The President cleared the recommendation of the Union home ministry for imposing governor's rule on the basis of a recommendation from J-K governor N N Vohra.

    Governor's rule vs President’s Rule :

    • In the event of failure of constitutional machinery in any other state  of  India, the President's Rule is imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution. But in case of Jammu and Kashmir, the Governor's Rule for  a  period of six months is imposed under the provision of Section 92 of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • If it is not possible to revoke Governor's rule before within six months of imposition, President's Rule under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution is imposed. There is little practical difference between the two provisions.
    • If it is not possible to revoke Governor's rule before within six months of imposition, President's Rule under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution is imposed. There is little practical difference between the two provisions.
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  • Noted Hindi writer and journalist Ravindra Kalia passes away

     

    Noted Hindi writer and journalist Ravindra Kalia passes away

    Noted Hindi writer and journalist Ravindra Kalia passed away in New Delhi as he has been suffering from liver cirrhosis. He was 78. Kalia was known for his works like Ghalib Chutti Sharab and Nau Saal Chotti Patni. He had served as Director of Bharatiya Jnanpith.

    Facts about Ravindra Kalia :

    • Ravindra Kalia was born on 1, April, 1939 in Jalandhar, Punjab.
    • He was well known for writing stories, novels, memoirs and sarcasm.

    Popular stories collections : Ckaya neem, Gally Kuche, Banke Laal, Garibhi Hataoo, Kala Register, Nau Saal Chotti Patni, Ghalib Chutti Sharab

    Fiction: Khuda Sahi Salamat hay, A B C D, 17 Ranade Road

    Awards and Honours: Punjab Government’s Shiromani award, Uttar Pradesh (UP) Premchand Memorail Award, UP Sahitya Bhushan Award, UP Lohia Award, Pdumlal Bakshi Award by Madhya Pradesh Government.

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  • Sailesh appointed as Registrar General and Census Commissioner

     

    Sailesh appointed as Registrar General and Census Commissioner

    Senior IAS officer Sailesh has been appointed as the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the appointment of Sailesh as Registrar General and Census Commissioner for a period till July 28, 2017.

    Sailesh is a 1985 Batch Assam-Meghalaya Cadre IAS officer and would be succeeding C Chandramauli, who completed his central deputation tenure on 7 January 2016.

    Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India:

    • The post of the RGCC of India comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs and is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary to Government of India. It is is responsible for conducting the decennial Census.
    • He/she heads the Census organisation (mentioned in entry 69 of seventh schedule of Constitution) which functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
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  • Author Balkrishna Garg awarded H K Devsare Baalsahitya award

     

    Author Balkrishna Garg awarded H K Devsare Baalsahitya award

    Veteran poet Balkrishna Garg has been honoured with the second Harikrishna Devsare Baalsahitya Award 2015 for his collection of poems for children, titled BaalGeet.

    With over 300 books for children to his credit, Devsare has been a recipient of several awards and honours, including Bal Sahityakar Samman, Bal Sahitya Samman of Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan, Kriti Samman (2001) and Sahityakar Samman (2004) of Hindi Akademi, Delhi.

    He was conferred with the award by Sahitya Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari and National Book Trust Chairman Baldeo Bhai Sharma. Apart from Garg, Hem Bhatnagar and Yogendra Kumar were also felicitated for their contributions to children's literature.

    H K Devsare Baalsahitya award :

    • H K Devsare Baalsahitya award named after Harikrishna Devsare, a renowned Hindi writer known for his work in the field of children’s literature was instituted in 2014. The award recognises noted work in the field of childern literature.
    • It should be noted that Harikrishna Devsare was one of the foremost writers of Hindi children’s literature and had devoted his entire life in creating children’s literature in Hindi. He passed away in 2013.
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  • Vikas Thapar appointed as Vice President of Micromax

     

    Vikas Thapar appointed as Vice President of Micromax

    Vikas Thapar has been appointed as the new senior vice president of Indian smartphone vendor Micromax. In his new role Thapar will be tasked with building the company's asset and revenue base while leading external relationship developments with all key partners including bankers, equity partners, investors and with the government. 

    Vikas brings with him a wealth of financial experience across industries as  previously he has worked in telecom, IT and infrastructure sectors. Prior to joining Micromax, he was executive director at Avocado Management Services and has previously worked with One97 Communications (PayTm), Bharti Airtel and Morepen Laboratories.

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Current Affairs 09 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • World Book Fair begins in New Delhi

     

    World Book Fair begins in New Delhi

    Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the New Delhi World Book Fair which will be held in the country's capital for 9 days i.e, from 9 to January 17, 2016.  India is the third biggest market for English publications with almost 12,000 publishers that publish around 90,000 titles a year in more than 18 languages.

    Theme for the year 2016 : 'The Cultural Heritage of India'  is the theme for New Delhi World Book Fair, 2016.

    Guest of honour : China will participate with 250 publishers as the Guest of Honour country. 

    Key facts

    • More than 30 countries including China, Egypt, Germany, Malaysia, Nepal, Poland, Pakistan, Serbia, Spain and international agencies like WHO, UNESCO, will particiapte in the fair.
    • Corresponding to the theme of the festival,  more than 1,000 books in major Indian languages on philosophy, language and literature from ancient to contemporary times will represent the theme pavilion

    About New Delhi World Book Fair :

    • The New Delhi World Book Fair, is hosted annually at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi and is India's oldest book fair.The event takes place in winters.
    • The first New Delhi World Book Fair was held from March 18 to April 4, 1972  with 200 participants. It was inaugurated by V. V. Giri, then President of India.

    Organiser : New Delhi World Book Fair is organized by the National Book Trust (NBT), India in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO)

     

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  • Raghuram Rajan Conferred Central Banker of the Year Award

     

    Raghuram Rajan Conferred Central Banker of the Year Award

    RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has been conferred with the Central Banker of the Year Award (Global and Asia Pacific) for year 2016. The award was conferred upon him by the The Banker, a monthly publication of Financial Times Group. This award recognises the officials and bankers who have best managed to stimulate growth and stabilise their country’s economy.

    About Raghuram Rajan  :

    • Raghuram Rajan who is the 23rd Governor of RBI had taken charge in September 2013.
    • Prior to becoming RBI Governor, he was chief economic adviser (CEA) to Union Ministry of Finance in 2013. 
    • Raghuram Rajan was chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2003 to 2007. 
    • He was also professor of finance at the graduate business school at the University of Chicago.

    Some other awards conferred upon Raghuram Rajan :

    • Governor of the Year: In January, 2015  British magazine Central Banking, named Rajan as the ‘Governor of the Year'.
    • Best Central Bank Governor award: In October, 2014, Rajan was conferred with the Best Central Bank Governor award for 2014 by Euromoney magazine. 
    • Deutsche Bank Prize: In September, 2013, Rajan was awarded awarded the Fifth Deutsche Bank Prize for Financial Economics 2013.  He was conferred with the award in recognition of his research work which influenced financial and macro-economic policies around the world.
    • Fischer Black Prize: Raghuram Rajan won the Fischer Black Prize in 2003. The prize, established in 2002, honours individual financial research. It is awarded for a body of work that exemplifies developing original research that is relevant to finance practice.

    Book Authored : Rajan’s book How Hidden Cracks Still Threaten the World Economy won the Financial Times Business Book of the Year award in 2010.

     

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  • D.K. Sikri appointed as the chairman of  Competition Commission of India

     

    D.K. Sikri appointed as the chairman of  Competition Commission of India

    Devender Kumar Sikri, a former IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, has been  appointed as Chairman of fair-trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI). He succeeds Ashok Chawla, whose tenure as the Chairman of CCI ended on 7 January 2016 . Sikri, will have a tenure of about two and half years, i.e till he attains the age of 65 years.

    Facts to know about D.K. Sikri  :

    • D.K. Sikri is a former IAS officer of Gujarat cadre. He has held various positions in Centre as well as in his cadre state Gujarat.
    • He had also been Secretary in Ministry of Women and Child Development, Registrar General of Census and Collector of Rajkot and Jamnagar.

    Competition Commission of India (CCI ) :

    Competition Commission of India is the body under Government of India that is responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout the country to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition among different industries and protect interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade. The CCI acts as a quasi-judicial body which gives opinions to statutory authorities and also deals with other cases.

    Established :  It was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009 with Dhanendra Kumar as its first Chairman

    Predecessor :  MRTPC (Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission) was the predecessor of Competition Commission of India which was functional prior to the Economic Reforms of 1991.

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  • Four new vaccines added to Mission Indradhanush

     

    Four new vaccines added to Mission Indradhanush

    Four new vaccines have been added to the recently launched Centre's ambitious programme Mission Indradhanush to immunise children against preventable diseases.The new vaccines are inactivated polio vaccine, Adult Japanese Encephalitis vaccine, Rotavirus vaccine and Measles Rubella vaccine. Union govt. aims to bring the infant morality rate to single digits from the existing 28 per 1000 infants.

    Mission Indradhanush :

    Mission Indradhanush launched by the Union Govt on December 25, 2014 aims to immunize all children against seven vaccine preventable diseases namely diphtheria, whooping cough (Pertussis), tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B by 2020.

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Current Affairs 08 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Sam Pitroda appointed as Technical Advisor to Odisha Government

     

    Sam Pitroda appointed as Technical Advisor to Odisha Government

    Well-known telecom engineer, inventor,entrepreneur and policymaker Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda popularly known as Sam Pitroda has been appointed technology advisor to the State Government of Odhisa. Pitroda was appointed as the technology adviser for the development of IT sector in Odisha.

    Pitroda will have a key role in Vision 2036 for Odisha@100, a vision document for 2036 to celebrate the 100 years of state’s formation. Dr. Pitroda will help provide the essential technological blueprint to write the IT story of Odisha.

    Key facts about Sam Pitroda :

    Birth : Sam Pitroda was born on 4 May 1942  in Titlagarh, Odisha.

    Education : He completed his schooling from Vallabh Vidyanagar in Gujarat and completed his Master's degree in Physics and Electronics from Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara and later he went to the United States and obtained a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

    Career : Pitroda launched the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) in 1984 and served as advisor to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 on Technology Missions. He was also the founding chairman of India’s Telecom Commission. He is a director of the Young Indian Company co-owned by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

    Autobiography: Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India.

    Awards and Honours: Padma Bhushan (2009), World Telecommunication and Information Society Award (2011) and many more

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  • ICICI Bank partners with FINO PayTech for payments bank space

     

    ICICI Bank partners with FINO PayTech for payments bank space

    India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has partnered with FINO PayTech to foray into the payments bank space. The tie-up with ICICI Bank will help FINO to extend services which a payments bank is not allowed to offer.

    With this tie-up ICICI Bank joins some of the leading lenders of the country which have partnered with payments banks for example, State Bank of India and Kotak Mahindra Bank have picked up stake in the payments banks that will be floated by Reliance Industries and the Bharti Group, respectively.

    FINO Paytech and RBI regulations :

    • FINO Paytech is one of the 10 entities that have that have received ‘in principle’ licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start a payment bank. The ICICI Group, with about 16 per cent stake in FINO Paytech, is the largest domestic shareholder. RBI regulations allow universal banks to invest up 30 per cent in payments bank.
    • RBI regulations also mandate 51 per cent of the equity of the payments bank should be with domestic entities, In FINO PayTech, about 70 per cent stake is with foreign entities but if FINO would raise capital it bring down foreign shareholding. FINO is planning to raise about Rs.500 crore from private equity and other strategic investors.
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  • Overseas ministry to merge with Ministry of External Affairs 

     

    Overseas ministry to merge with Ministry of External Affairs

    The government has decided to merge the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) with the external affairs ministry. The move aims to address the overlapping in the functions of the two ministries and address the various complaints of Indian overseas workers in a more effective manner. The merger would also help by doing away with the duplication of work.

    The merger of two Ministries is in line with Union Government’s broad principle of minimum government, maximum governance. The merger was announced by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and proposal in this regard was cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs :

    • Established : It was established in May 2004 as the Ministry of Non-Resident Indians’ Affairs and in September 2004 it was renamed as the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA).
    • Objective : It's main role was to provides information, partnerships and facilitations for all matters related to Overseas Indians so that they are connected to the motherland. Building partnership by developing network with overseas Indian's was also one f it's objectives.
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  • Govt to build three special training centres for disabled sportsmen

     

    Govt to build three special training centres for disabled sportsmen

    Union Ministery for Social Justice and Empowerment will set up three state-of-the-art training centres in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to provide special training and support to sportsmen who are differently-abled. 

    The centres will be set up in Zirakpur in Punjab, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot made announcement in this regard.

    Key facts :

    • Under the new draft Bill, the number of disabilities has been raised from 7 to 19, while the percentage of reservation has been raised from 3 to 5.
    • As a part of Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan (Accessible India Campaign) launched on December 3 (International Day of Persons with Disability,)  48 cities have been selected where 100 "most important government buildings" will be converted into fully accessible buildings by July 2016.    

    Accessibility audit : Accessibility audit of all international airports will be conducted and they will be made accessible for disabled people by July 2016. The auditing will cover the auditing of  built environment-steps, ramps, corridors, entry ways, emergency, exists, parking as well as indoor and outdoor facilities, including lighting, signage, alarm systems and toilets.

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  • Subscribers of New Pension System can now make payments online  

     

    Subscribers of New Pension System can now make payments online

    Pension fund regulator PFRDA has launched a online platform eNPS through which subscribers of New Pension System can make their contributions online through net banking, credit or debit cards.

    Through this platform, a prospective subscriber can register for NPS; contribute to his/her Permanent Retirement Account. Further, the subscribers who already have an NPS account can make contributions through eNPS directly.

    Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (Pfrda) has been pursuing development and operationalisation of online transaction facilities as per government's Digital India campaign to promote e-governance.

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Current Affairs 07 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • J&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passes away

     

    J&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passes away

    Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away today in New Delhi following multiple organ failure. He was 79. He was undertreatment at the hospital since Decemeber 24, 2015. He was detected with sepsis, decreased blood counts and pneumonia.

    Since he was the serving as the Chief Minister of J&K the post lies vaccant after his death. Sayeed's other daughter Mehbooba Mufti is considered his political heir who will hopefully succeed the chief minister's chair in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Facts about Mufti Mohammad Sayeed :

    • Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was born on 12 January 1936 in Bijbehara district of South Kashmir.
    • Mr Sayeed, was a two time chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and had started his second tenure on March 1st, 2015 in alliance with the BJP. 
    • He had previously led J&K as it's chief minister between 2002-05.  He was also Home Minister of India from December 1989 to November 1990.

    Political party

    • Mohammad Sayeed had been a member of the Indian National Congress party until 1987 but  in 1987, he parted away with the Congress party to join V. P. Singh's Jan Morcha, after which he became  the first Muslim Minister for Home Affairs in the Union Cabinet of India in 1989.
    • He was the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (JKPDP) that he founded in 1999 to persuade "the Indian government into an unconditional dialogue with the Kashmiri people."
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  • Ministry of Water Resources launches Ganga Gram Yojana launched

     

    Ministry of Water Resources launches Ganga Gram Yojana launched

    Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti launched Ganga Gram Yojana to develop 1600 villages in Uttar Pradesh (UP) situated along the banks of Ganga River. The scheme was launched at Village Puth in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

    Key facts about the scheme :

    • In the first phase of the progamme 200 villages have been selected.In these villages open drains falling into river Ganga will be diverted and alternative arrangements for sewage treatment will be made. The villages will have toilets in every house hold. It is proposed to incur and expenditure of Rs. One crore on every village.
    • These villages will be developed under the Sichewal model. It may be noted that Sichewal is situated in Punjab, where cooperation of the villagers has been solicited for the water management and waste disposal in a meticulous way. 

    Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation also deployed the first company of Ganga Task force Battalion at Garhmukteshwar to fast track implementation of Namami Gange Programme.

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  • Apurvi Chandela Sets World Record in 10m Air Rifle at Swedish Cup Grand Prix

     

    Apurvi Chandela Sets World Record in 10m Air Rifle at Swedish Cup Grand Prix

    Indian shooter Apurvi Chandela has made a new world record in the women’s 10 metre air rifle event at the 2015 Swedish Cup Grand Prix. She made a world record after winning gold medal in the women’s 10 metre air rifle event shooting score of 211.2. Her score surpassed the feat of Chinese Olympic gold medallist Yi Siling, who held the record with 211.

    The silver and bronze went to Swedish shooters Astrid Steffensen (207.6) and Stine Nielsen (185.0). In December 2015 Chandela had won the gold at the National Championships representing Rajasthan. She had won an Olympic quota place for India after winning a bronze at the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, South Korea, in April.

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  • Filippo Grandi of Italy  appointed as UN High Commissioner for Refugees

     

    Filippo Grandi of Italy  appointed as UN High Commissioner for Refugees

    Filippo Grandi of Italy, a senior UN official has taken the charge as new UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Filippo Grandi will succeed Antonio Guterres of Portugal who has retired after heading the Refugee Agency for 10 years. He will have tenure of five years.

    Filippo Grandi

    • Filippo Grandi  an Italian diplomat has worked in international affairs for over 30 years, of which 27 years he spent with the United Nations. Formerly he was heading UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 
    • Previously he had worked for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as Deputy Special Representative,  following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization's Geneva headquarters.

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) :

    UNHCR is a UN Refugee Agency that works worldwide to protect, assist and find solutions for refugees, internally displaced people and stateless populations. Initially it was established with an aim to help people displaced by World War II. But later it became the principal agency that has helped displaced persons all over world.

    Headquartered: Geneva, Switzerland

    Established: December 14, 1950

    Objective : Safeguard the political and human rights as well as well-being of refugees. Seek lasting solutions to the plights of refugees

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  • India to grow at 7.8 per cent in current year: World Bank

     

    India to grow at 7.8 per cent in current year: World Bank

    According to the  Global Economic Prospect report released by the World Bank,  India is projected to grow by a robust 7.8 per cent this year and 7.9 per cent in the next two years. In contrast to other major developing countries, growth in India remained robust, and supported by strong investor sentiment and the positive effect on real incomes of the recent fall in oil prices.

    Growth rate :

    • Estimated growth rate for India :  For FY 2016-17, India, will be dominant economy in the region. It is projected to grow at a faster 7.8 per cent while growth in Pakistan (on a factor cost basis) is expected to accelerate to 4.5 per cent.
    • Estimated growth rate for China : Chinese growth is projected to slow further. The report estimates that China grew at an estimated 6.9 per cent in 2015 and it is estimated to grow at 6.7 per cent in 2016 and 6.5 per cent each in 2017 and 2018.
    • Estimated growth rate for Russia and Brazil : Russia and Brazil are expected to remain in recession in 2016.

    Key facts :

    • Failure to pass the Goods and Services Tax bill by Parliament may hamper the Indian government's ability to increase the infrastructure spending.
    • Slow progress on land reforms can lead to investment delays and the financing of public-private partnerships also remains a challenge.
    • India has smaller trade links with China than other regions, and is a net importer of oilso it will benefit from lower global energy prices.
    • More than 40 per cent of the world's poor live in the developing countries where growth slowed in 2015.

     

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  • Government approves MoU with Bangladesh for operation of Border Haats

     

    Government approves MoU with Bangladesh for operation of Border Haats

    The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given it's ex-post-facto approval to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh for setting up 'Border Haats'.

    Significance :

    The Border Haats aim at establishing a traditional system of marketing local produce thorough local markets in local currency or barter basis, thereby promoting the well-being of the people dwelling in remote areas across the boundary of the two countries. It helps to improve economic well-being of marginalised sections of society.

    Background :

    An agreement was signed  in 2010 to establish Border Haats at selected areas, including on the Meghalaya border, to allow traders in communities of both India and Bangladesh to trade their local produce without any duty.

    Presently 4 Border Haats are already operational along India-Bangladesh border which are Kalaichar (Meghalaya), Balat (Meghalaya), Kamlasagar (Tripura), Srinagar (Tripura). In addition to these hats both Governments also have agreed to further establish 2 Border Haats in Tripura and 4 Border Haats in Meghalaya along the border.

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Current Affairs 06 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Pranav Dhanawade, Indian schoolboy hits world record 1009 runs at school level tournament

     

    Pranav Dhanawade, Indian schoolboy hits world record 1009 runs at school level tournament

    Pranav Dhanawade, a 15-year-old cricketer from Mumbai, created a world record by scoring 1009 runs (not out) in HT Bhandari Cup, an under-16 inter-school tournament held in Mumbai (Maharashtra). With this broke the previous highest record of individual score 628 not out set by  the 13-year-old AEJ Collins in a house match at Clifton College in June 1899.

    Facts to know :-

    • Pranav Dhanawade made this world record during HT Bhandari Cup organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) mainly for suburban schools. 
    • He was representing KC Gandhi High School against Arya Gurukul and played for 395 minutes. He smashed 59 sixes and 127 fours in 395 minutes before his KC Gandhi School declared the innings at 1,465 against Arya Gurukul School
    • His 1009 score also helped his school to score 1465/3 in the innings which broke the past record of 1107 runs of Victoria against New South Wales made in 1926.

    Pranav Dhanawade's father is an auto-rickshaw driver, who had pushed him to play and was partly responsible for his success.

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  • Andhra Bank launches immediate payment service

     

    Andhra Bank launches immediate payment service

    Andhra Bank has launched Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) at all its branches in association with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). IMPS has been enabled across all branches to provide inter-bank electronic fund transfer service.

    Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) :

    • IMPS makes payments possible within fraction of seconds with all the standards and integrity maintained for security. IMPS offers an instant, 24X7, interbank electronic fund transfer service through mobile phones.
    • IMPS is an emphatic tool to transfer money instantly within banks across India through mobile,internet and ATM which is not only safe but also economical both in financial and non financial perspectives.

    Launched on :  22 November 2010 by Smt. Shyamala Gopinath, DG RBI at Mumbai.

    Banks with IMPS :  State Bank of India, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, ICICI Bank, . Yes Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC bank and Andhra Bank.

    IMPS, unlike NEFT, will be available round the clock. Under IMPS, a real time instant fund transfer system for inter-bank remittances, the maximum cap of transaction will Rs. 2 lakh.

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  • SH Kapadia, former Chief Justice of India, passes away

     

    SH Kapadia, former Chief Justice of India, passes away

    Sarosh Homi Kapadia, the 38th Chief Justice of India, passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was He was 68. A strict disciplinarian with interests ranging from Theoretical Physics to Buddhist Philosophy, Justice Kapadia was best known for his statistical acumen.

    Facts to know about SH Kapadia :

    Sarosh Homi Kapadia was born on 29 September 1947. He graduated from Government Law College, Mumbai which is the oldest law college in Asia.

    Legal career :

    • Kapadia started his career as a class IV employee. He later became a law clerk in a lawyer's office in Mumbai. He  joined as an advocate in the Bombay High Court on 10 September 1974.
    • Kapadia was appointed as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court in 1991 and in 1993 he was appointed as a permanent judge. On 5 August 2003 he became the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court.
    • In December 2003 he was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court. On 12 May 2010 he was sworn in as the Chief Justice of India by the then President Pratibha Patil.
    • Kapadia has also served as the Chairman of the General Council of the Gujarat National Law University during his tenure as CJI. He was also the Visitor of the National Law School of India University.

    Famous Rulings : Having authored over 250 judgments, Justice Kapadia is most remembered for his verdict in the Vodafone tax verdict.  

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  • Union Home Ministry reserves 33% posts of women constables in CAPFs

     

    Union home ministry reserves 33% posts of women constables in CAPFs

    With a view to enhancing representation of women in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), Union Home Ministry  has approved the 33% posts at Constable level for being filled up by women. The proposal in this regard was approved by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and shall come into effect with immediate effect.

    Key facts to know :

    • 33% of posts of Constables will be reserved for women in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
    • 14-15 % posts in the Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) will be reserved for women.

    The Committee on Empowerment of Women in its Sixth Report (Recommendation No.84) of the (2010-11) had recommended urgent need to provide due representation to women in paramilitary forces. 

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  • Jharkhand becomes first state to sign MoU for power reforms

     

    Jharkhand becomes first state to sign MoU for power reforms

    Jharkhand, the mineral-rich but energy-deficit state, has became the first state to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Centre on Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) for improving financial and operational efficiencies of its power distribution company (DISCOMs). 

    The MoU in this regard was signed between the state government, Union Ministry of Power and state power distributor Jharkhand Bijli Vitaran Nigam Ltd (JBVNL) in the presence of Chief Minister Raghubar Das.

    About the MoU :

    • Corporation would be repaid by the State Government and is expected to save `115 crore on interest cost and reduction in debt. Consequently, DISCOM would become sustainable to supply adequate and reliable power enabling 24x7 power supply. The scheme provides that the States would take over 75 per cent debt of Discoms.
    • With this, the total number of states that would be joining UDAY will become 15. The other states that are on board UDAY are Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. 

    Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) :

    Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) is the financial revival package for electricity distribution companies of India (DISCOMs) launched on 20th November 2015. Under the scheme, states have been asked to take over 75 per cent of the discom debt over the next two years against which they can issue bonds. 

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  • Govt abolishes export duty on iron ore pellets

     

    Govt abolishes export duty on iron ore pellets

    Union government has reduced export duty on iron ore pellets to zero from 5 per cent to make the commodity more competitive amid weakening prices due to subdued demand. A notification in this regard was  issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). Iron ore pellets are value-added products of leftover material or low-grade iron ore and are used in steel-making. 

    Economical cause of abolishing export duty :

    In current scenario of global economic slowdown there has been decrease in demand followed by increase in supply (production) which has resulted in decrease of global commodity prices especially minerals and oil. Besides fall in demand in China, which is the world’s largest metal consumer also has attributed to falling in commodity prices.

    Steel and its related raw material market is facing a tough time on account of subdued demand and high production, adversely impacting the prices. Iron ore pellet makers as well as some miners had earlier sought a reduction in the export duty on iron ore to make it more competitive. 

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  • Sri Lanka, Pakistan agree to expand free trade agreement

     

    Sri Lanka, Pakistan agree to expand free trade agreement

    Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed on the inclusion of services and investment in the bilateral free trade agreement. This would help companies of the two nations to form joint ventures for exports to other nations.

    The statement in this regard was made by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his official trip  to Sri Lanka which comes after eight months of President Sirisena’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015.Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif  and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena signed several memoranda of understanding and deals .

    Trade relation between Sri Lanka and Pakistan :

    • When the FTA came into effect in June 2005, Since the Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka were to the tune of 150 million dollars.
    • Sri Lanka’s exports to Pakistan were valued at about $52 million, accounting for around 70 per cent of the country’s total exports to Pakistan.

    MoUs signed between Sri Lanka and Pakistan :

    Both the countries signed several MoUs. The MoUs covered a number of areas, including trade promotion and curbing money laundering and terrorism financing. Pakistan would help  Sri Lanka to set up sugar and cement plants in Sri Lanka and promote dairy industry.

    Defence Deal signed :

    Pakistan also sealed a landmark defence deal to sell JF-17 Thunder fighter jets to Sri Lanka. Under this deal Pakistan will sell 8 JF-17 Thunder fighter jets which are already part of Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

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Current Affairs 05 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • RK Mathur sworn in as 8th Chief Information Commissioner

     

    RK Mathur sworn in as 8th Chief Information Commissioner

    Former Defence Secretary RK Mathur has been  sworn in as the eighth Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of the Central Information Commission by President Pranab Mukherjee. Mr. Mathur Will have a tenure of about three years i.e. till 2019 till he attains the age of 65 years.

    About RK Mathur

    62-year-old RK Mathur is a retired 1977 batch IAS officer of Tripura cadre. He had served as Defence Secretary for two years. He also had served as Secretary Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Defence Production and Supplies

    Central Information Commission:

    Central Information Commission (CIC) was established in 2005, under the Right to Information Act. The Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.

    Function :  To act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.

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  • Wipro appoints Abid Ali Neemuchwala as it's CEO

     

    Wipro appoints Abid Ali Neemuchwala as it's CEO

    India’s third largest IT exporter Wipro Limited announced the appointment of Abid Ali Z. Neemuchwala as the Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of the company. The company also appointed the current CEO T.K. Kurien as the Executive Vice Chairman. Both the appointments will be effective from February 1, 2016.

    About Abid Ali Neemuchwala :

    • Prior to this appointment Neemuchwala was working as the chief operating officer (COO) of the company since April 2015. Before joining Wipro, he was working with India’s largest IT exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for 23 years. He had served as BPO CEO in TCS from year 2010 to 2012.
    • Abid Ali Neemuchwala brings with him rich experience in Business and Technology Operations, Process, and Consulting and his portfolio includes Business Application Services, Global Infrastructure Services, Business Process Servicesand Advanced Technology Solutions.
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  • RBI imposes Rs. 1 crore fine on State Bank of Travancore

     

    RBI imposes Rs. 1 crore fine on State Bank of Travancore

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs. 1 crore on an SBI associate bank, State Bank of Travancore, for violation of some of its instructions.

    Cause of imposing monetary penalty :

    The monetary penalty has been imposed for violation of its instructions including reporting of data to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC). Banks are required to report all such information with RBI, including classification of an account as SMA (Special Mention Accounts), on all borrowers having aggregate fund-based and non-fund-based exposure of Rs 5 crore and above

    Background :

    Prior to imposing the penalty RBI had issued a show cause notice to the bank for not having complied with the directions issued by the bank on submission of accurate data to the CRILC. After considering the bank's reply, information submitted and documents furnished, RBI came to the conclusion that the bank had violated the instructions or guidelines issued, from time to time, which warranted imposition of monetary penalty on it

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  • Toilets made mandatory to contest panchayat polls in Bihar 

     

    Toilets made mandatory to contest panchayat polls in Bihar

    The Bihar legislative Assembly passed a legislation incorporating a provision making it mandatory for candidates contesting panchayat polls in Bihar to have toilets at their houses. The provision has been incorporated in the Bihar Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which was passed by the Assembly by a voice vote . 

    The candidates desiring to contest panchayat polls from January 21, 2016, must have toilets at their households. It has been noted that people in rural areas, including women, have to go in open areas to relieve themselves due to lack of toilets at their households which lead to pollution so this move by the Bihar govt can bring a change .

    Other key bills passed by the Bihar Govt :

    • Bihar State Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2015  
    • Aryabhatta Knowledge University Bill, 2015
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  • Bus service to Nepal resumes after 27 years

     

    Bus service to Nepal resumes after 27 years

    In the midst of uneasiness in India-Nepal relations, a friendship bus service between India and Nepal via Champawat in Uttarakhand resumed today after a gap of 27 years. The service had been suspended 27 years back in the wake of the Indo-Nepal Trade and Transit Treaty . 

    Resumption of the service between the two countries after its prolonged suspension has been welcomed by locals on either side of the border . The resumed bus service will run regularly between Kanchanpur in Nepal close to Banbasa border in Champavat district of Uttarakhand and Anand Vihar, Delhi 

    Importance of the resumed bus service :

    About eight to ten thousand Nepalis travel in these buses on a daily basis from Kanchanpur district, Dandel Dhura, Voti, Sapen, Acham, Kalali, Jagbuddha and Siddhartha Nagar areas in Nepal. People on both sides of the border have family as well as trade relations with each other.

    Key Facts :

    • The buses are air conditioned with Indian and Nepalese flags painted on their bodies, they will enter the Nepalese district of Kanchanpur at 6 AM every day and start for Delhi from there at 6 PM every evening.
    • No special documents are required to travel in these buses which provides free wi-fi connectiviy and a bottle of mineral water for free to the passengers.
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Current Affairs 04 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • President Pranab Mukerjee clears five legislations

     

    President Pranab Mukerjee clears five legislation

    Presdent Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to five key bill in line to the provisions laid down Article 111 of the Constitution of India. The five bills has already been passed by both the houses of Parliament, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the recently concluded Winter session of Parliament.

    Five Bills cleared by the President :

    • Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act : As per the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015, an arbitrator will have to settle a case within 18 months. After the completion of 12 months, certain restrictions will be put in place to ensure that the arbitration case does not linger.
    • The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act : Under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, assaulting or sexually exploiting an SC or ST woman is an offence. The Act states that any intentional touching of an SC or ST woman in a sexual manner without her consent, using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature, dedicating her as a devadasi to a temple, or any similar practice will be considered an offence.
    • The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act : The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act is aimed at creating commercial benches in select high courts.
    • The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act : The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act will allow state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to have collaboration with other public sector undertakings in the nuclear field.
    • The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015 :The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015, provides for enhancing monthly bonus calculation ceiling to Rs. 7,000 per month from the existing Rs. 3,500. It also enhances the eligibility limit for payment of bonus from Rs. 10,000 per month to Rs. 21,000 per month.
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  • Amputee mountaineer Arunima Sinha scales Mt Aconcagua in Andes  

     

    Amputee mountaineer Arunima Sinha scales Mt Aconcagua in Andes

    Arunima Sinha, an amputee mountaineer from Uttar Pradesh who had previously set a record by climbing the Mount Everest, has added another feather in her cap by conquering Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. With this, she has created World record by becoming First Female amputee to climb 5 Mountains of the World.

    It was her 5th successful summit of the Mission 7 Summits which  she started on the morning of December 12 and hoisted the Indian tricolour on December 25 at the summit. Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside Asia, at 6,960.8 metres, and by extension, the highest point in both the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere

    Facts to know about Arunima Sinha :

    • Arunima Sinha born in 1988 at Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh  is the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. She is also the first Indian amputee to climb Mount Everest.
    • Arunima was  a national level volleyball player who lost her left leg in a train accident in 2011 after she was pushed out of a running train by robbers but even than  she surprised the world by scaling Mt. Everest on May 21, 2013. She was awarded the Padma Shri for her achievement.
    • Her aim is to climb all the continents' highest peaks and put the national flag of India, she has already scaled five world's highest peaks.
  •  
  • Govt to roll out direct benefit transfer scheme for kerosene from 1 April

     

    Govt to roll out direct benefit transfer scheme for kerosene from 1 April

    After the success of paying subsidy to LPG users in their bank through PAHAL scheme, now the government will from April 1 roll out a similar programme for kerosene where the users will buy the kerosene at market rate but will get subsidy directly in their bank accounts.

    The scheme will be rolled out from April 1 in selected 26 districts of eight states. These states are Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.

    About The scheme :

    • Consumers will buy kerosene at market rate (un-subsidised price) but will get subsidy directly in their bank accounts.The cash subsidy to be paid to users will be equivalent to the difference between current PDS price of about Rs 12 and market rate of Rs 43 per litre. 
    • To avoid any inconvenience to the beneficiary through payment of un-subsidised price, subsidy shall be credited to eligible beneficiaries in advance during the initial purchase.
    • The state governments will be consulted in the meantime before operationalising the scheme. The working of the scheme will also be reviewed after three months of implementation.

    How much kerosene the country needs ?

    1. The National Sample Survey 2011-12 indicates that the total consumption of kerosene in the country, including both open market and PDS kerosene, was 71.30 lakh kilolitres. 
    2. Although the consumption of kerosene has been coming down over the years but 86.85 lakh kilolitres of subsidized PDS kerosene has been allocated to the states in the year 2015-16, which is higher than the total household kerosene demand in the country. 

    Note : The data shows that much of  kerosene is being given to people who actually do not need it as there has been a major increase in coverage of power supply through electrification of villages. Nearly 45 lakh new LPG connections have also been given to the poor 

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  • Veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan passes away

     

    Veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan passes away

    Veteran Communist Party of India leader Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan (92) passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Bardhan was a leading figure of the trade union movement and left politics in India.  He had had played a crucial role in maintaining the space for Communists in national politics.

    Facts to know about A.B. Bardhan :

    • A.B. Bardhan was born on 25 September, 1924  in Barisal, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Bangladesh). He had embraced Communism at the age of 15 after he moved to Nagpur and had joined All India Students’ Federation (AISF) at Nagpur University in 1940.
    • Bardhan entered national politics and moved to Delhi where he became the General Secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress in 1994 and became the Deputy General Secretary of the Communist Party of India in 1995. He had held the post of general secretary for over a record number of years from 1996 to 2012.    
    • Bardhan played a key role in the formation of the United Progressive Alliance government which was supported by the Communist Party of India.  He is rememebred for the campaign he initiated in response to Lal Krishna Advani’s Rath Yatra
  •  
  • India wins SAFF football championships  for 7th time  

     

    India wins SAFF football championships  for 7th time

    India won the 2015 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) championship for record seventh time. In the finals played at Thiruvanantapuram (Kerala), India defeated the defending champion Afghanistan by a score of 2-1. Earlier India had won the SAFF Football Championship in year 1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009 and 2011.

    Jeje Lalpekhlua (72nd minute) and Sunil Chhetri (101th) had scored goals for India. For Afghanistan single goal was scored by Zubayr Amiri at 70th minute.

    • Captain of Indian team : Sunil Chhetri.
    • Captain of Afghanistan Team : Faysal Shayesteh.

    Facts to know about  SAFF football championships  :

    • SAFF Championship which is also known as  South Asian Football Federation Cup is the biennial football competition of the men’s national football teams of 8 countries in South Asia region. SAFF Football Championship was established in 1993 and is governed by the South Asian Football Federation.
    • The countries that compete in the tournaments are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is held every two years. Afghanistan joined SAFF in 2005.
  •  
  • 207th Birth anniversary of Louis Braille celebrated across the world 

     

    207th Birth anniversary of Louis Braille celebrated across the world

    The 207th Birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille script for the visually challenged people is being celebrated today across the world.The day is also marked as 'Louis Braille Day' every year on 4th January. A series of functions have been organised by Blind Peoples Association- BPA Ahmedabad and other organisations in the state on this occasion.

    Facts to know about Louis Braille :

    • Louis Braille was a French educator who invented the braille system through which a blind or visually impaired person can read and write.
    • He was blinded in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident, he mastered his disability while still a boy. He excelled in his education and received scholarship to France's Royal Institute for Blind Youth.
    • Inspired by the military cryptography of Charles Barbier, Louis Braille began developing a system of tactile code that could allow blind people to read and write quickly and efficiently which was  recognized as a revolutionary invention and adapted for use in languages worldwide.
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Current Affairs 02 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Virat Kohli and Mithali Raj named cricketers of the year 2014-15 

     

    Virat Kohli and Mithali Raj named cricketers of the year 2014-15

    The winners of Annual BCCI Awards which recognises and honours the best Indian international and domestic cricketers of the past year have been announced . The BCCI Awards are a set of annual cricket awards given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  The awards were first given in 2006–07.

    India’s Test captain Virat Kohli will be presented Polly Umrigar Award, given to the cricketer of the year. This is the second time that Kohli will be honoured with the Polly Umrigar Award, after winning it in 2011-12. The previous two winners of the prestigious award are pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2013-14) and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (2012-13).

    Winners of 2014-15 BCCI Awards are :

    • Syed Kirmani : Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Virat Kohli : Polly Umrigar Award
    • Mithali Raj : M.A. Chidambaram Trophy for Best Woman Cricketer of 2014-15 (SR)
    • Devika Vaidya : M.A. Chidambaram Trophy for Best Woman Cricketer of 2014-15 (JR)
    • O Nandan : Best Umpire in Domestic Cricket in (2014-15)
    • Shardul Thakur : Madhavrao Scindia Award for highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy (2014-15)
    • Jalaj Saxena : Lala Amarnath Award for Best All-rounder in the Ranji Trophy (2014-15)
    • Deepak Hooda : Lala Amarnath Award for Best All-rounder in Domestic Limited-overs Competitions, (2014-15)
    • Robin Uthappa : Madhavrao Scindia Award for highest scorer in the Ranji Trophy (2014-15)
    • R Vinay Kumar : Madhavrao Scindia Award for highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy (2014-15)
    • Almas Shaukat : M.A. Chidambaram Trophy for Best Under-23 Cricketr of (2014-15)
    • Anmolpreet Singh: M.A. Chidambaram Trophy for Best Under-19 Cricketr of (2014-15)
    • Shubman Gill : M.A. Chidambaram Trophy for Best Under-16 Cricketr of (2014-15)
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  • India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear facilities  

     

    India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear facilities

    India and Pakistan have exchanged the list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that prohibits them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities. This exchange is done on 1st of January every year between the two countries, this is the 24th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries.

    What is Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement ?

    • The bilateral nuclear weapons control treaty has been signed between India and Pakistan that bars them from carrying out any surprise attack (or to assist foreign power to attack) on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.
    • The agreement was signed between India and Pakistan on 31st December 1988 and entered into force on 27 January 1991. It was signed by then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Pakistani counterpart Benazir Bhutto.
    • Under the treaty both countries inform each other about their nuclear installations and facilities that need to be covered under the Agreement on 1 January every year.
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  • Sanjay Subrahmanyam conferred 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award

     

    Sanjay Subrahmanyam conferred 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award

    Vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan — one of the foremost south Indian classical vocalists has been conferred with the 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award. The prestigious award was conferred upon him by mathematician Manjul Bhargava at 89th annual conference of the Madras Music Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

    With this, Subrahmanyam became seventh artist to be conferred with this award before completing 50 years of age including Ariyakudi Iyengar, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, GN Balasubramaniam, ML Vasanthakumari and M Balamuralikrishna.

    About Sanjay Subrahmanyam :

    Sanjay Subrahmanyan  is Charted Accountant by profession but in 2000, he became full-time musician. He had started performing Carnatic music from 1987.

    Awards and honours : Gaana Padhmam (2013), Vani Kala Sudhakara (2010) and the title Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu Government (2006) etc.

    About Sangita Kalanidhi award :

    Sangita Kalanidhi award is a prestigious award bestowed annually upon an expert of Carnatic Music by the Madras Music Academy. This honour is considered one of the highest awards in Carnatic music.The name of award has been derived from Sanskrit which means treasure of Music and art in English.

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  • Committee set up to Review Wage Structure of Gramin Dak Sevaks 

     

    Union government has constituted a one-man committee to examine the wage structure and service conditions of gramin dak sevaks. The Committee will review the service conditions of Gramin Dak Sevaks and suggest changes as considered necessary. The Department of Posts has 2.6 lakh gramin dak sevaks. 

    Kamlesh Chandra, a retired member of the postal services board, will constitute the committee, which will be assisted by T Q Mohammad, a senior administrative grade officer, who will act as secretary.

    Objectives of the committee :-

    • To examine the system of Branch Post Offices, engagement conditions and the existing structure of wage and enrolments paid to the Gramin Dak Sevaks and recommend necessary changes.
    • To review the existing Services Discharge Benefits Scheme/other social security benefits for the Gramin Dak Sevaks and suggest necessary changes;
    • To review the existing facilities/welfare measures provided to the Gramin Dak Sevaks and suggest necessary changes;
    • To examine and suggest any changes in the method of engagement, minimum qualification for engagement as Gramin Dak Sevaks and their conduct and disciplinary rules, particularly keeping in view the proposed induction of technology in the Rural Post Offices.
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  • Government constitutes Shyam Benegal Committee to revamp Censor Board 

     

    Government constitutes Shyam Benegal Committee to revamp Censor Board

    The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has constituted a committee headed by noted film-maker Shyam Benegal to look into revamp the film certification nuances by Censor Board of Film Censors (CBFC).

    The committee will suggest certain recommendations and provide a holistic framework and interpretation of provisions of Cinematograph Act, 1952 and Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983.

    Terms of reference of the Committee :

    • The committee has been tasked with recommending broad guidelines and procedures under the Cinematograph Act for the benefit of the chairperson and members of the screening committee.
    • The committee would also look into the CBFC’s staffing pattern so as to recommend a framework for efficient, transparent and user-friendly services.

    The other members are Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Piyush Pandey, Bhawana Somaaya and Nina Lath Gupta. Sanjay Murthy, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is member-convener.The committee is expected to submit its recommendations within two months.

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  • World Bank offers $50 million loan for minority education

     

    World Bank offers $50 million loan for minority education

    The World Bank has signed  a credit agreement of $50 million with Union Government for Nai Manzil Scheme which aims at  helping young people from minority communities complete their education and improve their employment opportunities.

    The loan agreement was signed by Kumar and World Bank's Michael Haney, the operations advisor in India. Credit will be facilitated by the World Bank's concessionary lending arm, International Development Association (IDA). The loan carries a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.

    The total project size is 100 million dollars, out of which 50 million dollars will be available as IDA credit and the remaining balance funding from the Union Budget

    About Nai Manzil Scheme :

    • The scheme “Nai Manzil” scheme will address educational and livelihood needs of minority communities as they lags behind other communities in terms of educational attainments and employment opportunities.
    • Nai Manzil is a new direction and a new goal for the all out of school/dropped out students and those studying in Madrasas. It aims to provide educational intervention by giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them Certificates for Class XII and X from distance medium educational system.
    • Under the Nai Manzil Scheme the minorities students will be provided trade basis skill training in four courses at the same time of formal education, in field of (i) Manufacturing (ii) Engineering (iii) Services (iv) Soft skills.
    • The project will reach out to the disadvantaged youth from minority communities and support their enrolment in open schooling as well as provide hands-on vocational training. It will also provide post-placement support to assist them in finding sustainable employment,
    • Around 20 per cent of those between 17 and 35 years of age from minority groups such as Muslims, Parsees, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Sikhs are out of the labour force, according to the World Bank.
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