Current Affairs : 25 Jan 2016 to 14 Jan 2016 - Summary

Current Affairs 25 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • World's tallest, largest tricolour hoisted at Ranchi

     

    World's tallest, largest tricolour hoisted at Ranchi

    Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hoisted India's tallest and largest Tricolour atop the famous Pahari Mandir in Ranchi on the occasion of 119th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. This flag will remain hoisted for 24 hours and shall be illuminated with the help of twenty sodium vapour lights at night.

    Ranchi's popular Pahari Mandir where the flag has been hosted is remembered by the local people as the 'Fansi Dungri' (hanging point) because this was a place of  cruel executions of freedom fighter by the British forces but today at the same place India hosted it's largest and the tallest tricolour as a symbol of it's voctory over the colonial past.

    Dimensions of flag : It measures 66 feet in height and 99 feet in width in the proper ratio 2:3. It was hoisted on pole with height of 293 feet. It weighs 80 kg.

    Previous such recordIn March 2015 the world’s tallest national flag was raised at  Faridabad (Haryana) at a height of  246 feet. The flag was unfurled by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah in an event  organised by Nav Chetna Trust which is formed to work on social issues like beti bachao and swachh bharat.

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  • Cabinet clears President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh

     

    Cabinet clears President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh

    The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recommended imposition of President's Rule in Congress-ruled Arunachal Pradesh, which is facing a political turmoil under Article 356 (1) of the Indian Constitution. 

    Taking cognisance of the situation in the State, based on Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa’s report  the Union Cabinet felt that the State was heading for a “constitutional breakdown" so the Union Cabinet recommend to the President to issue a proclamation under Article 356(1) of the Constitution.

    Constitutional background 

    The Centre based its decision on Article 174 (sessions of the state legislature, prorogation and dissolution) of the Constitution according to which ,the session of state assembly was to be held on 21st January 2016, six months after the last sitting. But the state assembly failed to comply with this provision which may led to constitutional breakdown.

    Arunachal Pradesh was rocked by a political crisis on December 16, 2015 as 21 rebel Congress MLAs joined hands with 11 of BJP and two independents to 'impeach' Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia  at a makeshift venue i.e, outside the Assembly building  but this move been disputed by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and his supporters. Whether this session is valid or not is under litigation in the Supreme Court.

    Even if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the interpretation that this session was not valid, there will be a constitutional breakdown because the requirement of Article 174(1) would have been breached. On the other hand, if the court holds that the December 16 session was valid, it is clear the government is in a minority and is not allowing a vote of confidence therefore , in either case, the State is heading for a constitutional crisis.

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  • National Girl Child Day observed on January 24

     

    National Girl Child Day observed on January 24

    National girl child day is celebrated annually on 24th of January to increase the awareness among people regarding inequalities faced by the girl child in the society. Girls face inequality in education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection, honour, child marriage and many other sectors.

    There are 1029 women per 1000 men in North America and 1076 women per 1000 men in Europe, but there are only 927 women per 1000 men in India.Sex selection of the before birth and neglect of the female child after birth, in childhood and, during the teenage years is the main cause of poor sex ratio in India.

    A male child is considered a blessing and his birth is celebrated as opposed to a female child where her birth is not celebrated and is considered more of a burden.  In India irrespective of the caste, creed, religion and social status, the overall status of a woman is lower than men and therefore a male child is preferred over a female child.

    Schemes for promoting Girl Child 

    • Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao : It aims to generate awareness and improving the efficiency of welfare services meant for women. The scheme was initiated with an initial corpus of Rs.100 crore.
    • Sukanya Samriddhi Account : Sukanya Samriddhi Account is a saving scheme targeted at the parents of girl children. The scheme encourages parents to build a fund for the future education and marriage expenses for their female child.
    • Dhanalaksmi : It to make cash transfer to the girl child family to fulfil the basic needs such as immunization, birth registration, school enrollment and maintenance up to the Class VIII.

    The objective of all these initiatives is to work towards ensuring that girls are born, loved and nurtured and grow up to become empowered citizens of this country with equal rights and opportunities.

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  • Tabla maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh passes away

     

    Tabla maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh passes away

    Eminent tabla player Pandit Shankar Ghosh passed away on 22nd Jan, 2016 at a private city hospital in Kolkata following a prolonged illness. He was 80 years old. Pandit Shankar Ghosh was one of the best tabla players in the country. He was from the Farukhabad gharana of Hindustani classical music.

    Facts about Pandit Shankar Ghosh 

    He started learning taleem  in 1953 under Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh of Calcutta, who pioneered the concept of tabla ensembles. His other gurus were Pt. Gyan Prakash Ghosh,Ustad Feroz Khan, Pandit Anath Nath Bose and Pandit Sudarshan Adhikari.

    Musical Career : He started his career in 1960s with sarod maestro, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and won rave reviews for his ‘jugalbandi’ performances . He also performed with vocalists such as Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Girija Devi, Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan and Akhtari Bai. At international level, he had collaborated with artists like Pete Lockett, Greg Ellis and John Bergamo.

    Awards and Honours :  Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2000, ITC Sangeet Research Academy award and the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award.

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  • First Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant commissioned in Maharashtra

     

    First Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant commissioned in Maharashtra

    The first Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant of Maharashtra has been commissioned in Hingna village of Mouda Taluka in Nagpur district.The Solar Pump Unit has been installed on experimental basis by Rite Water Solutions under the supervision of the Zilla Parishad authorities. The village with six hundred households is now getting pure water for a very low cost which can easily be borne by the Gram Panchayat.

    Advantages of the system 

    • The system runs completely on solar power for which 1800 Watt panels have been installed. It delivers 10,000 Litres of purified water every day. 
    • It filters the nitrate content and other harmful substances from water so as to prevent the ill effects of toxicated water on the health of villagers
    • The solar operated plant uses effective and environment-friendly cleaner technology that serves the purpose of rural India
    • It alleviate the difficulties being faced by the local bodies in payment of hefty water supply bills, because it provides quality water at affordable cost.

    Ground Water Nitrification 

    The menace of nitrate in the ground water is becoming a major challenge in most parts of the country which is a man-made problem arising out of excessive use of fertilizers in agriculture. The problem is more prominent in Vidarbha region where nitrate content is more than four times than the permissible level so this Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant can help to curb the problem bypurifying the water for drinking purpose.

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  • PV Sindhu wins Malaysia Masters title

     

    PV Sindhu wins Malaysia Masters title

    Ace Indian Shuttler and two-time World Championship bronze-medallist, India’s P.V. Sindhu (World No.12) has bagged the  2016 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold Badminton title by defeating Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour (World No.20) with an score of  21-15, 21-9 in the final match played at Penang.

    This is her second Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title, having won it in 2013 as well. It was overall fifth career Grand prix gold title and first title of the season 2016.

    Other winners of 2016 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix 

    • Women’s doubles category: Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi from Japan.
    • Mixed doubles category: Zheng Siwei and Li Yinhui from China.
    • Men’s singles category: Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia.
    • Men’s doubles category: Markus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia.
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  • ONGC gets environmental clearance for project in Krishna-Godavari basin

     

    ONGC gets environmental clearance for project in Krishna-Godavari basin

    State owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited, ONGC  has got environmental clearance for drilling 45 development wells and other related infrastructure involving a cost of over Rs. 53,000 crore in the Krishna-Godavari basin in Andhra Pradesh.

    ONGC's proposal is to drill 45 development wells, set up a FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) facility, offshore fixed platform, subsea production systems.The proposed project,will be implemented in the northern discovery area of NELP-I offshore block KG-DW N-98/2

    The proposed development drilling and subsequent development of fields would lead to the production of 51.33 billion cubic metres of gas over a period of 16 years and 26.71 million cubic metres of oil in 12 years.

    Other clearances 

    • ONGC has been asked to obtain Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance, approval from the Directorate General of Shipping for the commencement of drilling
    • ONGC has also been asked to use high-efficiency diesel generator sets, adopt conservation measures to protect marine life and develop waste minimisation plan.
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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 23 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Sri Lanka tops South Asia in human development

     

    Sri Lanka tops South Asia in human development

    As per Global Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP ), Sri Lanka has maintained its high ranking in human development. Sri Lanka has been placed at the 73rd rank with an HDI value of 0.757.  In the previous year’s report, it occupied the 74th place. Since the end of the civil war in 2009, the country’s rank went up by five.

    • The report, which studied a total of 188 countries and territories, has determined the HDI values by assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development—a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
    • Rankings of other seven South Asian Countries are Maldives (104), India (130), Bhutan (132), Bangladesh (142), Nepal (145), Pakistan (147) and Afghanistan (171). India and Bhutan fall under the medium human development countries the category. While Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan fall under low human development countries category.

    The UNDP took 1990 into account as it was from that year that the series of global HDI reports began. In the context of Sri Lanka, too, the year was significant as the Eelam War resumed in June 1990 after the withdrawal of the Indian Peacekeeping Force three months earlier.

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  • India to be fastest growing economy at 7.3% in 2016: UN report 

     

    As per recently released United Nations world economy report India will be the world's fastest growing large economy at 7.3 per cent in 2016, improving further to 7.5 per cent in the following year. In the South Asia region, India’s economy will account for over 70 % of regions GDP.

    Key facts of the report :

    • The sharp decline in the prices of oil, metals and food has boosted the macroeconomic environment in India. The decline in oil prices reduce the burden of fuel bill So this is the time for India to recheck fiscal efforts and raise revenues and do more spending on some of the social sectors. 
    • Spending on infrastructure, health and education is very low compared to other nations such as China in the region so govt need to look at how to increase revenues so that it can invest more in these sctors.
    • Consumer and investor confidence has risen even as India's government faces difficulties in implementing its wide-ranging reform agenda and some economic indicators, such as industrial production, remain volatile 

    The report is produced annually by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the five UN regional commissions and the World Tourism Organisation. 

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  • Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly Nirmala Gajwani passes away

     

    Reputed social worker and former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly Nirmala Gajwani (87) passed away in Rajkot, Gujarat. She was the first lady Deputy Speaker of Gujarat legislative Assembly and one of the leading lights of the Sindhi community in the state.

    Nirmala Gajwani:

    • Born in Rohri Sindh (now in Pakistan) on December 28 1928. She came to India after partition of India and Pakistan. She was first woman MLA from Kutch district in Gujarat Assembly and also served as deputy speaker of the house.
    • As a social worker she had worked in education field and was responsible for starting many educational institutions in the state. She has also served as the Chairperson of Sindhu Resettlement Corporation (SRC) which is responsible for all the land development in the Gandhidham-Adipur metropolitan area.
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  • MSDE and DoT sign MoU for national action plan for skill development in telecom sector 

     

    Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Department of Telecommunication (DoT), or Skill Development in Telecom Sector. The MoU has signed to implement National Action Plan for Skill Development in Telecom Sector and at the same time providing quality opportunities for employment / entrepreneurship. 

    MSDE and DoT together will make concerted joint efforts towards skill development by facilitating mobilisation of financial support for various activities under the National Ecosystem for Development of Telecom Skills. They will also suggest PSUs under DOT to utilize at least 20% of their CSR funds for skilling purposes. National Institute for Policy Research Innovation and Training (NTIPRT)' will be developed for training and skill upgradation in Telecom Sector

    India is currently the second-largest telecommunication market and has the third highest number of internet users in the world. With the advent of newer technology in communications every day and our focus on Digital India and Make in India, there will be consistent requirement for skilled and up-skilled manpower so  skill development in  telecom sector  will make the youth Job ready.

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Current Affairs 22 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • 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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Current Affairs 21 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • World Economic Forum meeting starts in Davos, Switzerland

     

    World Economic Forum meeting starts in Davos, Switzerland

    The annual conference of  World Economic Forum (WEF) has began in  Davos, Switzerland bringing together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals, and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues that world is facing. The agenda of this edition would be outlook of the global economy and measures to fight terrorism.

    Facts about the conference :

    • The conference is being attanded by 2,500 intellectuals and business leaders from around 40 countries of the world. The 4-day long conference will cover the Participatory discussions on tumbling oil prices and China’s uncertain economic prospects.
    • The conference will not only be limited toward  economic discussion but will also discuss the  issue of growing terror threats in the wake of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris (France) and European refugee crisis
    • The conference will also discuss environmental issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, ozone depletion and will also review the latest efforts to improve industrial production with robotics, artificial intelligence and information technology.

    World Economic Forum (WEF) :

    World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva. It works to improve the state of the world through public-private cooperation.

    Motto : "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas"

    Annual winter meeting : The organisation is well known for  its annual winter meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland which brings together some 2,500 intellectuals and business leaders from the world under one roof  to discuss the key issues that the world is facing.

     

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  • CEA approves six-laning of NH-2 in Bihar and Jharkhand

     

    CEA approves six-laning of NH-2 in Bihar and Jharkhand

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given it's approval of Rs. 4,918-crore highway project for six laning of National Highway-2 from Aurangabad BarwaAdda section in Bihar and Jharkhand. Implementation of this project will improve infrastructure and reduce travel time .

    Facts to know :

    • 222 km of  NH-2 stretch would be six laned under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. It will be undertaken on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis 
    • The estimated cost for the  implementation of the project would be Rs.4918.48 crore which would include the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.
    • The development of this stretch  would not only boost the infrastructure but will also increase employment oppertunities for local labourers and uplift the socio-economic condition of the regions.

    National Highway 2 :

    • National Highway 2 runs through the states of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal and constitutes a major portion of the historical Grand 
    • Trunk Road along with NH 91 and NH 1 . It connects national capital Delhi with Kolkata as well as important cities Faridabad, Mathura, Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Durgapur. 
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  • Cabinet approves setting up of over 5,000 MW of Grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects 

     

    Cabinet approves setting up of over 5,000 MW of Grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given it's approval for setting up over 5,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects on build, own and operate (BOOT) basis.

    Facts to know :

    • These projects will be implemented in four phases each of 1,250 MW  capacity during four succeeding financial years from 2015-16 to 2018-19 by solar Power Developers with Viability Gap Funding under Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).
    • The estimated requirement of funds to provide Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the project is Rs. 5,050 Crore over five years and the total investments expected under the JNNSM scheme is about 30,000 crore rupees. 
    • The project if implemented would create employment and infrastructure in the States. Installation of 5000 MW Solar PV plants will generate about 8,300 Million units per year, which caters power to almost 2.5 Million households. It will also reduce 8.525 Million T of CO2 emissions into environment every year.
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  • Cabinet approves India-UK MoU on Public Administration and Governance Reforms 

     

    Cabinet approves India-UK MoU on Public Administration and Governance Reforms

    Union Cabinet  chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in November, 2015 between India and the United Kingdom for cooperation in public administration and governance reforms.The provisions of this MoU will be implemented by a Joint Working Group on Public Administration and Governance.

    About the MoU :

    The MoU signed between India and UK opens up avenue for the  cooperation in areas like sharing good governance practices in public administration, reducing bureaucracy in service delivery, government process re-engineering, building and developing staff capability, public grievance redress mechanism and reforms towards strengthening of social security.

    • The MoU on Public Administration and Governance Reforms was signed between India and UK is inline to Government’s  policy of  ‘Minimum Government with Maximum Governance’ and digital India campaign.
    • As part of its efforts in seeking international collaboration for initiatives in good governance and administrative reforms, the Union Government has signed similar bilateral MoU with China, Malaysia, Singapore and also with Brazil and South Africa (trilateral).
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  • Union Cabinet approves Policy on Promotion of City Compost

     

    Union Cabinet approves Policy on Promotion of City Compost

    The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for a Policy on Promotion of City Compost which will lower the maximum retail price of city compost for farmers.

    Flow of compost from cities to villages :

    • Under the policy, the Centre will provide market development assistance worth Rs 1,500 per tonne on the sale of city compost made out of municipal solid waste which will benifit  farmers by providing the quality organic fertiliser at lowest cost. 
    • Fertilizer companies and marketing entities will co-market City Compost along with chemical fertilizers through their dealers' network. The companies will also adopt villages for promoting the use of compost. Government Departments and Public Sector undertakings will also use City Compost for their horticulture and related uses.
    • Concerned Ministry/Department will run campaigns to educate farmers on the benefits of city composting and will take steps to increase setting up of compost plants across all States. Agriculture Universities will also take up field demonstration activities using City compost.

    Nodal agency : A joint mechanism will be set up by Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Urban Development and Department of Agriculture to monitor and facilitate availability of adequate quantity of City Compost at terms mutually agreeable between compost manufacturers and Fertilizer Marketing companies. They will also be authorised to resolve any co-ordination related issue that may arise.

    Advantages of  Composting :

    • Compost from city garbage would not only provide carbon and primary/secondary nutrients to soil but also help in keeping the city clean. To ensure that environment friendly quality city compost, eco-Mark standard has been made mandatory.
    • Composting will play pivotal role municipal waste management as it will reduce the volume of waste to landfill/dumpsite by converting the waste into useful by-products. It will also generate employment in urban areas.
    • This will also prevents production of harmful greenhouse gases (especially methane) and toxic material that pollutes groundwater apart from polluting the environment of the Cities. 
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Current Affairs 20 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Senior journalist and scholar Aroon Tikekar passes away

     

      India Slips to 89th Rank on Global Talent Competitiveness Index

    Senior journalist and scholar Aroon Tikekar (72) passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Tikekar was a man of expertise in Marathi  and English writing and was associated with different various newspaper groups. He has authored over 20 books.

     Know more about Aroon Tikekar

    • He was born in a renowned family of litterateurs and journalists in 1944. Before starting his  jornalistic career he worked as a college  teacher for some years. He has also worked as a Language and Literature Expert and  Acquisitions Specialist at the US Library of  Congress Office, New Delhi. 
    • He was the Editor of Loksatta, Marathi newspaper of the Indian Express Group Newspaper, for over a decade (1992-2002). He was also reference chief of the Times of India and a senior assistant editor for Maharashtra Times.
    • He had authored over 20 books in Marathi as well as in English  including The cloister’s pale: A Biography of the University of Mumbai .He is the recipient of several literary and journalism awards, and was a adjunct professor in the Department of Journalism and Communications, University of Pune.
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  • Bihar cabinet approves 35 per cent job reservation for women

     

    Bihar cabinet approves 35 per cent job reservation for women

    The Bihar Government has formally approved 35 percent reservation for women in all government jobs in the state including reserved and unreserved category. Decision in this regard was taken by state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna.

    It should be noted that Bihar is already providing 35 percent reservation for women in recruitment as police constables and sub-inspectors. There women in the state also have 50 percent reservation in recruitment as primary school teachers and in the Panchayati Raj system.

    The government’s scheme to promote education among girls by providing them free cycles has increased school enrolment in rural areas. In the last assembly polls a large number of women cutting across caste and religion had voted for Nitish Kumar and in fact women voters outnumbered male voters in the five-phase Bihar assembly poll.

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  • Maharashtra government signs MoU with Tata Trust for skill training of youth 

     

    Maharashtra government signs MoU with Tata Trust for skill training of youth

    The Maharashtra government and Tata Trust have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a skill training programme for the youth in the state. The programme has been undertaken under the state government's "Kushal Maharashtra, Rojgaryukt Maharashtra" initiative.

    Under the programme, skill development and vocational training centres will be set up in 10 districts in the state. Virtual classrooms will also be set up in 100 ITIs in Maharashtra. The Trust will improve infrastructure in Industrial Training Institutes. 

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  • India Slips to 89th Rank on Global Talent Competitiveness Index 

     

    India Slips to 89th Rank on Global Talent Competitiveness Index

    In the annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2015-16  realeased recently India has slipped 11 places to rank 89th among 106 assessed countries in terms of talent competitiveness of its human resource. Last year, India was ranked 78th on the index.

    GTCI list was compiled by INSEAD business school in partnership with Adecco and Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI). It measures the nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain.

    India’s ranking is worst among the five BRICS countries, while China has been positioned with a global rank of 48 which is highest among the BRICS nations.

    Top 10 countries : Switzerland (1st), Singapore (2nd), Luxembourg (3rd), United States (4th), Denmark (5th),Sweden (6th),United Kingdom (7th), Norway (8th), Canada (9th) and Finland (10th).

    Countries at the bottom :  Mali (105th), Tanzania (106th), Ethiopia (107th), Burkina Faso (108th) and Madagascar (109th).

    Comment : Lower ranking of India on Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI ) reflects the acute shortage of skilled labour force and difficult business condition. India is facing the challenge of attracting talent from abroad, particularly in the context of large emigration rates of high-skilled people in the past.

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Current Affairs 19 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Renowned Kannada filmmaker and lyricist Geethapriya passes away

     

    Renowned Kannada filmmaker and lyricist Geethapriya passes away

    Well-known filmmaker and lyricist Geethapriya, 84, passed away after a battle with throat cancer in Bengaluru, Karnataka. He has directed 40 films and penned over 250 songs in Kannada films.

    Facts to know about Geethapriya :

    • Geethapriya was born as Lakshman Rao Mohite in 1931, and Marathi was his mother tongue.
    • He started to work in the Kannada film industry in the mid-1960 but soon started film directiopn.
    • He was christened 'Geethapriya' meaning 'lover of songs' as a result of his work as a song-writer.
    • Geethapriya directed many top stars in the Kannada film industry like Rajkumar and worked in the film industry for over five decades

    Popular works : Some of his best works include Yaava Janmada Maithri (1972), Beluvalada Madilalli (1975), Besuge (1976), Hombisilu (1978), Putani Agent 123 (1979), Preethisi Nodu (1981) and Mouna Geethe (1985). He directed his last film Shravana Sambhrama in 2003.

    Awards and Honours : Puttanna Kanagal award (1986) for lifetime achievement and Karnataka Rajyotsava award.

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  • France declares economic emergency

     

    France declares economic emergency

    French President Francois Hollande has declared state of economic emergency to redefine France’s economic and social model. Under the state of economic emergency the govt. of France has proposed series of economic measures to boost long-stagnant economic growth and reduce chronic unemployment.

    Proposed economic measures :

    • Creation of 500,000 vocational training schemes, additional subsidies for small companies and a programme to boost apprenticeships
    • Integrate youth from France’s troubled suburbs, including minorities who face job discrimination, into the global economy.
    • Loosening of France’s rigid working time rules, and a bonus of 2,000 euros to small businesses that hire young people.
    • Updating country’s labour-friendly business model in an increasingly online and border-free economy.

    Joblessness in France :

    Since 2012, when Mr Hollande came to power, more than 600,000 people are facing  joblessness while the problem of unemployment has decreased in other large European economies.The jobless rate in France is above 10 per cent compared with a 9.8 per cent EU average. The rate in the UK is 5.2 per cent and in Germany 4.2 per cent as of November 2015. 

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  • Jason-3 launched to Monitor Global Sea Level Rise

     

    Jason-3 launched to Monitor Global Sea Level Rise

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has achieved a milestone by successfully launching the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Jason-3 Ocean-monitoring satellite. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

    It should be noted that  Jason-3 is the 4th mission in the joint US-European series of satellite missions that measure Global Sea Level Rise. The rocket company SpaceX had managed a historic first controlled return of an orbital stage last month.

    Facts to know about Jason-3 :

    • Jason-3 is equipped with with radar altimeter that will measure sea-level variations of oceans across the world with very high accuracy. 
    • The data provided by Jason-3 will boost hurricane forecasting and marine navigation. It will also help the navigators to determine current direction and speed.
    • It will also seek to boost hurricane forecasting and marine navigation. It will provide scientists with critical information about ocean circulation patterns.
    • It will act as an early warning system for El Niño by detecting the developing bulge in surface waters associated with the warming.
    • Jason-3 will measure the shape of the global sea surface to an accuracy of better than 4cm. It will track currents, tides, winds, wave heights, and will help forecast the intensity of storms.

    Note :- Before this two missions of Jason has been launched that are Jason-1 and Jason-2 OSTM which were launched in 2001 and 2008 respectively.

    SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket :

    Falcon 9 designed and manufactured by SpaceX  is a family of two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicles, named for its use of nine engines. Both stages of this two-stage-to-orbit vehicle are powered by rocket engines that burn liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) propellants.The first stage is designed to be reusable, while the second stage is not reusable.

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  • BSE launches algorithm trading test

     

    BSE launches algorithm trading test

    Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has  launched an algorithm trading test facility for investors on its equity and derivatives platform. The new service is free-of-cost for market participants.

    Algorithm trading test facility :

    • The members will be able to test their trading strategies with live market data feed during market hours and historical market data.
    • BSE has also made a provision to generate data analytics reports to check the performance of the strategies.
    • Algorithm trading uses mathematical models and software codes to make transaction decisions on exchanges and execute them at high speed.
    • Besides, it would provide individual test session for each member and “there is no time slot booking for login sessions for trading members".

    What is algorithm trading test ?

    • Algorithmic trading which is also known as blackbox trading, is a trading systems that is dependent on complex mathematical formulas and high-speed, computer programs to determine trading strategies.
    • These strategies use electronic platforms to enter trading orders with an algorithm which executes pre-programmed trading instructions accounting for a variety of variables such as timing, price, and volume.
    • Algorithmic trading is widely used by investment banks, pension funds, mutual funds, and other buy-side (investor-driven) institutional traders, to divide large trades into several smaller trades to manage market impact and risk.
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  • Former Airbus official Guenter Butschek appointed as the CEO & MD of Tata Motors

     

     Former Airbus official Guenter Butschek appointed as the CEO & MD of  Tata Motors

    Gunter Butschek has been appointed Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Tata Motors, ending a long search for a suitable candidate for the post.Tata Motors which is country’s largest auto maker across segments has been leaderless since the death of its former chief Karl Slym in Bangkok in January 2014.

    Butschek, 55, will lead all operations of Tata Motors in India and in international markets, including South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and South Africa. Jaguar Land Rover, the company’s UK subsidiary, will continue to be managed by its CEO and director Ralf Speth, who is also on the board of Tata Motors.

    In his new role Butschek, will be responsible for the task of turning around the fortunes of a Tata Motors whose domestic passenger car sales and market share have  roughly halve in the past two years, with profit held up mainly by Jaguar Land Rover.

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Current Affairs 18 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Dinesh Sharma elected to board of directors of China-backed AIIB 

     

    Dinesh Sharma elected to board of directors of China-backed AIIB

    India, one of the founding members of the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been elected to it's 12-member board of directors. Dinesh Sharma, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Finance has been elected to the 12-member board for which a secret ballot was held.

    The inaugural meeting of the board of the governors of the bank which approved by-laws, rules and codes of conduct for the bank was held in Beijing. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is the designated governor of the AIIB from India. Dinesh Sharma who headed the Indian delegation represented Jaitley at the meeting.

    Comment : The election of India to board of directors of the AIIB is expected to provide significant role for it as it is the forum that approves the loans for projects. 

    Facts to know :

    • The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is designed to provide financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia. 
    • AIIB which has authorised capital of USD 100 billion and subscribed capital of USD 50 billion, will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare. 
    • China is the largest shareholder of AIIB with 26.06 per cent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 per cent followed by Russia 5.93 per cent and Germany with 4.5 per cent. 
    • India, whose total capital subscription amounts to USD 8.37 billion has paid first installment of USD 334.70 million to the paid-in capital stock of the bank. Twenty per cent of the subscription is to be paid in five equal installments. 
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  • EU and US lifts nuclear sanctions on Iran

     

    EU and US lifts nuclear sanctions on Iran

    Western sanctions against Iran have been lifted  after the UN nuclear watchdog  the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran has met its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Vienna agreement with P5+1 countries signed in July 2015.

    The JCPOA, known as Iran’s nuclear deal, was signed between Iran and six world powers (the so-called P5+1 group comprised of China, France, Russia, the UK, the US and Germany) on July 14, 2015 as per the deal Iran had  agreed to shrink its atomic program, with the US, EU and UN promising to lift sanctions in return.

    The sanctions lifted by the US included a ban on commodities trade for non-Americans, non-US citizens will now be permitted to trade with Iranian government institutions, as well as sell goods and services, such as steel, gold, coal, vehicles and insurance to the country.

    Note : The US has so far lifted only “secondary sanctions” against Iran, i.e,  American citizens are still banned from trading with Iran, although around 400 Iranian companies and individuals are to be removed from the US sanction list but 200 others remain blacklisted.

    Advantage for India

    • With Lifting of ban now India can import crude oil from iran which is it's traditional supplier and it will also boost up trade opportunities. The ambitious India-Pakistan-Iran (IPI) gas pipline project will speed up and make India energy efficient.
    • It will also catalyse the development of Chabbar port whill will act as India's gateway to energy rich central Asia and eastern Europe through proposed International North South Trade Corridor (INSTC).
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  • Anuradha Roy wins 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

     

    Anuradha Roy wins 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

    Renowned indian author Anuradha Roy has bagged the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 for her novel, Sleeping on Jupiter, which deals with the subject of violence against women at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe awarded her a cash prize of USD 50,000 and a trophy.

    Facts to know about Anuradha Roy :

    • Anuradha Roy is an award-winning Indian novelist, journalist and editor. Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing has been translated into fifteen languages across the world.
    • Till date she has authored three novels viz. An Atlas of Impossible Longing (2008), The Folded Earth (2011), Sleeping on Jupiter (2015)

    DSC Prize for South Asian Literature :

    • The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is awarded annually to writers of any nationality or ethnicity writing about South Asia on themes such as culture, history, politics or people.
    • The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature was instituted in 2010 by its founder, Surina Narula. The award is run by DSC Limited, an Indian infrastructure and construction company.
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  • Former Sikkim Governor V Rama Rao Passes Away

     

    Former Sikkim Governor V Rama Rao Passes Away

    Veteran leader of BJP and former governor of Sikkim Ventrapragada Rama Rao (81) passed away in Hyderabad after prolonged illnes.

    Political career of  V Rama Rao :

    • V Rama Rao born on 12 December 1935,  in Machilipatnam in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, was a lawyer by profession and practised at the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
    • He joined Jana Sangh in 1956 as a member and went on to serve as a Member of the National Executive of Bharatiya Jana Sangh for a number of years. 
    • Bharatiya Jana Sangh later became BJP, in which he went on to serve as State Unit President for Andhra Pradesh for two consecutive terms (1993-2001) and as Party National Vice President (2002 - 2007).
    • Rama Rao was elected for a record four times in a row to the AP Legislative Council during 1966 to 1984 from the Hyderabad Graduates Constituency.
    • In October 2002, he was appointed by President of India as the Governor of Sikkim. He served as Governor of Sikkim from 2002 to 2007. He also served as a senate member of Osmania University.
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  • Vicktor Troicki wins 2016 WTA Apia International title

     

    Vicktor Troicki wins 2016 WTA Apia International title

    Viktor Troicki from Serbia has won the 2016 WTA Apia International title of Tennis in the men’s single category by defeating Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria with a score of 2–6, 6–1, 7–6, (9–7) in the final match that was played at Sydney, Australia. It should be noted that this victory was his third ATP’s single career title after 2010 Kremlin Cup and 2015 Apia International Sydney title.

    Winner of Men’s Doubles :

    Jamie Murray of United Kingdom and Bruno Soares of Brazil won the 2016 WTA Apia International title in the men’s double category by defeating the pair of Rohan Bopanna from India and Florin Mergea from Romania with a score of  6–3, 7–6(8–6).

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  • Chinese scientists develops bioartificial liver

     

    Chinese scientists develops bioartificial liver

    Chinese scientists have developed a new bioartificial liver that can help liver failure patients survive long enough for an organ transplant. This milestone in Science and Technology was achieved by team of researchers from the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences and doctors from Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital.

    Bioartificial liver : A blessing for humanity:

    The bioartificial liver has been designed to be attached outside the patient’s body,  the device makes use of human liver cells. The new device is based on cells taken from human skin, fat and other tissue and reprogrammed into liver cells.

    Bioartificial livers can help in the recovery of organ function and prolong people’s lives while they are waiting for a donor.The artificial liver could be a blessing for China, which is home to 100 million people with hepatitis B and has a high incidence of liver cancer.

    Clinical test : In its first clinical test it  saved 61-year-old woman who was dying from acute liver failure.

    Tests on laboratory animals : Tests on laboratory animals found that pigs with acute liver failure had an average 80 percent survival rate after they were fitted with the new device, while untreated pigs died in about three days

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Current Affairs 16 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis create world record by winning Sydney International

     

    Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis create world record by winning Sydney International

    Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis have won the 2016 WTA Apia International title in the women’s doubles category. With this victory the Indo-Swiss pair created world record for most successive matches won consecutively by a women’s doubles pair in professional tennis. 

    In the final match which was being played at Sydney (Australia ) they defeated French pair Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic by a score of 1–6, 7–5, [10–5] in an hour and 14 minutes.

    Sports career of the Indo-Swiss pair :

    The No. 1 ranked pair in women’s doubles has won 11 WTA doubles titles together since 2015. This is the second title of season 2016 fter Brisbane International. This was also their 30th victory in a row.

    11 WTA doubles titles are :  Indian Wells, Miami, Charleston, Wimbledon, US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and WTA Finals in 2015, last week’s Brisbane International, and now WTA Apia International.

    World record : This is the first time ever that a women’s doubles pair has won 30-matches in a row. They broke previous record held by Gigi Fernandez (Puerto Rico) and Natasha Zvereva (Belarus) who had notched up 28 straight victories in 1994.

    Women’s Single Title : Svetlana Kuznetsova  from Russia bagged the 2016 WTA Apia International title in the Women’s Singles Category by defeating Mónica Puig of Puerto Rico by 6–0, 6–2 score.

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  • Former World No. 1 Marat Safin inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame

     

    Former World No. 1 Marat Safin inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame

    Former World No.1 tennis player Marat Safin of Russia has been inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He will be formally inducted in the official ceremony scheduled on July 16, 2016. It should be noted that Safin is the first Russia to be  inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

    Safin was announced as a candidate for the induction into the Hall of Fame in October 2015 together with Belgium’s Justine Henin, a former women's singles No.1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion, and Helena Sukova from the Czech Republic, who won 14 Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles.

    Marat Safin :

    • Born in Moscow on January 27, 1980, Safin is a two-time Grand Slam Champion (2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open) and the dual Davis Cup champion, winning the trophies with the Russian national team in 2002 and 2006.
    • During his career, the 35-year-old Russian tennis player won a total of 15 ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) in men’s singles category. He retired in 2009 and was ranked 61st best player in ATP’s world best men’s singles rankings at that time.

    International Tennis Hall of Fame :

    • It  honors players and contributors to the sport of tennis.
    • It includes a museum, grass tennis courts, an indoor tennis facility, and a court tennis (or real tennis) facility
    • The first Hall of Fame members in the International Tennis Hall of Fame were inducted in 1955.
  •  
  • 'Lagaan' actor Rajesh Vivek passes away 

     

    'Lagaan' actor Rajesh Vivek passes away

    Bollywood actor Rajesh Vivek, who was mainly known for his role of the astrologer Guran in Aamir Khan-starrer 'Lagaan', and as the postman in Shah Rukh Khan's 'Swades',  died due to a heart attack in Hyderabad on January 14. He was 66. 

    Rajesh Vivek was basically a theatre actor, he had also acted in popular television series ‘Mahabharata’, ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ and in ‘Aghori’. Rajesh Vivek was first introduced by Shyam Benegal in his film ‘Junoon’ (1978). 

    Some of his latest films include ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, ‘Bhoot Unkle’, ‘What is Your Rashee’, ‘Agneepath’, ‘Son of Sardaar’, ‘Dishkiyaaun’. 

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  • ‘Hall of Nuclear Power’ inagurated in New Delhi

     

    ‘Hall of Nuclear Power’ inagurated in New Delhi

    Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the Northern India's first permanent exhibition on nuclear power titled 'Hall of Nuclear Power - Atoms Serving the Nation'. The exhibition will be opened to the public at National Science Centre (NSC).

    ‘Hall of Nuclear Power’

    It is spread over an area of about 700 square metres with over 60 permanent exhibits, covering various aspects of nuclear energy,  with prime focus on nuclear power plant safety and applications for human welfare. The exhibition will also include nuclear medicine, food irradiation, as well as several other day-to-day applications of nuclear energy.

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Current Affairs 15 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • Anti-tank missile Nag hits bull’s eye with modified seeker

     

    Anti-tank missile Nag  hits bull’s eye with modified seeker

    The indigenously-built third generation, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile, Nag, scored a “bull’s eye” and successfully hit the target 4 km away during a night trial in the Mahajan Field Firing Range, Rajasthan. With the successfull test of  modified seeker , Nag missile is now ready for final, pre-induction user trials.

    During the test, the Thermal Target System (TTS) developed by a defence laboratory at Jodhpur was used as target for the missile, TTS simulated a target similar to an operational tank as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature.  The trial validated the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch.

    Anti-tank missile Nag uses HEAT (High explosive anti-tank) warhead, the top-attack all-weather fire-and-forget system is capable of destroying modern tanks with armoured protection by nullifying their ERA (explosive reactive armour).

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  • Sikkim Becomes India's First Fully Organic State

     

    Sikkim Becomes India's First Fully Organic State

    Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state by implementing organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land

    Background :

    • In 2003 Pawan Chamling-led government decided to make Sikkim an organic farming state through a declaration in the legislative assembly after which the entry of chemical inputs for farmland was restricted and their sale banned. Farmers therefore had no option but to go organic.
    • Around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land was gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.

    Organic farming a boon for sikkim :

    • Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers as it tries to strike a harmonious balance with a complex series of ecosystems.
    • In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation and environmental protection.
    • Sustainable farming will also help in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production.

    Boosting tourism : Resorts are marketing themselves as completely organic where tourists can pluck, cook and relish fresh organic food from their kitchen gardens.

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  • Indo-Japan Coast Guard joint exercise Sahyog Kaijin begins off the Chennai coast 

     

    Indo-Japan Coast Guard joint exercise Sahyog Kaijin begins off the Chennai coast

    The 15th edition of joint exercise by the Indian Coast Guard and its Japanese counterpart beigins from today  off the Chennai coast . The joint exercise has been titled as ‘Sahayog-Kaijin 2014'. Indian Coast Guard (ICG) vessel Samudra Pehredar and the Japanese vessel Echigo are berthed at Chennai Port.

    Focus: The focus of the bilateral training would be anti-piracy, search and rescue operations and interoperability between the two forces.

    The Director General of Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Vice Commandant of the Japanese Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Hideyo Hanamizu and other prominent officials would be witnessing the day-long event.

  •  
  • World Health Organisation declares end to Ebola epidemic

     

    World Health Organisation declares end to Ebola epidemic

    The World Health Organisation declared an end to the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever in West Africa after no positive case was reported in last 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) and all known chains of transmission have been stopped.

    Liberia, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea was an epicenter of the Ebola outbreak . Liberia was first declared free of Ebola transmission in May 2015 but the virus had reappeared twice since then.Sierra Leone and Guinea were declared free from Ebola transmission in November 2015 and in December 2015 respectively.

    About Ebola :

    Ebola was first identified in 1976 in after two simultaneous outbreakes, one in Nzara, and the other in Yambuku, a village near the  Ebola River from which the disease takes its name. 

    Transmission : Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of people who are sick or bodies of the dead.

    Type of disease : Viral disease

    Deaths till date : Between 1976 and 2013, the World Health Organization reports a total of 24 outbreaks involving 1,716 cases. Nearly 23,000 children lost at least one parent or caregiver to the disease. Some 17,000 survivors are trying to resume their lives though many battle mysterious, lingering side effects. The largest outbreak to date is the epidemic in West Africa, which occurred from December 2013 to January 2016 with 28,638 cases and 11,315 deaths.

    Ebola free : A country is considered free of the disease when it has passed two incubation periods of 21 days without any more cases. 

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  • Permanent campus of IISER Thiruvananthapuram inagurated

     

    Permanent campus of IISER Thiruvananthapuram inagurated

    Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the first phase of permanent campus of the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) at Vithura in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

    The Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) is dedicated toward science education of international standards. It started functioning in Kerala in August 2008 with a transit campus at the College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram (CET).

    Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) :

    • IISER are a group of autonomous institution created under The National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2010 (an amendment of the National Institutes of Technology Act, 2007). They are mainly science education and research institutes in India of national importance and are intended to be the IITs of basic sciences.
    • Currently there  are six  functional IISERs in the country namely IISER Kolkata (West Bengal), IISER Pune (Maharashtra), IISER Mohali (Punjab), IISER Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), IISER Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) and IISER Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh). Two new IISERs one at Brahmapur (Odisha) and other one in Nagaland  have been announced under 2015 Union Budget.
  •  
  • SBI Launches First Dedicated Branch For Startups – SBI InCube

     

    SBI Launches First Dedicated Branch For Startups – SBI InCube

    India’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India, has opened its first branch dedicated to serving startup companies called ‘SBI InCube' in Bengaluru. It was launched by by SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya in Bengaluru, Karnataka

    Key Facts :

    • InCube branches will be a one-stop shop for the financial and advisory service requirements of startups in the country.
    • InCube will cater to all  banking needs of the entrepreneurs such as employee account maintenance,setting up a company, and bringing in funds from foreign investors.
    • In it's present form Incube will not provide loans to the start ups but will provide loans to the budding entrepreneurs once they get mature and stable.
    • The branch office of  InCube in Bengaluru will be headed by an assistant general manager and a team of three other officers. SBI will also launch branches in Pune and National Capital Region (NCR).

    Other services launched by SBI :

    • SBI also launched a new wealth management service called Exclusif. Customers of the service will have access to a dedicated relationship manager and a team of investment experts.
    • SBI has also setup a remote relationship management center for the service allowing customers to transact and invest their wealth over mobile and internet securely with the use of technology.
  •  
  • 68th Indian Army Day celebrated in Delhi

     

    68th Indian Army Day celebrated in Delhi

    Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year in recognition of Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) KM Cariappa who took over as the  first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, on 15 January 1949.  This year it will be the 68th Indian Army Day.

    Events organised : It is celebrated every year at all the Army Command headquarters and national capital by organizing army parades including many other military shows.

    Key facts about Indian army :

    • Indian Army, the biggest component of Indian armed forces. It is headed by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), a four-star General. Presently Genral Dalbir Singh Suhag is COAS. 
    • So far only two officers from Indian Army - Sam Mankeshaw (in 1973) and K M Cariappa (1986) have been conferred the rank of Field Marshal, a five-star rank, which is a ceremonial position of great honour. 
    • The Indian Army originated from the armies of the East India Company, which eventually became the British India Army and finally the Indian Army after independence
    • Indian Army is the 2nd largest standing army in the world, with about 1, 129, 900 active troops and 960,000 reserve troops.
    • The Indian Army is a voluntary service and although a provision for military conscription (mandatory Military Service ) exists in the Constitution, it has never been imposed. 
    • Headquartered at New Delhi, the Indian Army fields 35 Divisions within 13 Corps. The army operates 6 operational commands and 1 training command. 
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  • British actor Alan Rickman passes away

     

    British actor Alan Rickman passes away

    Alan Rickman, one of the best-loved and most warmly admired British actors of the past 30 years passed away in London, England. He was 69 and was suffering from cancer. He was well known for his role in films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

    About Alan Rickman :

    • Alan Rickman was born on 21 February 1946  in Acton, London, to a working class family . He excelled at calligraphy and watercolour painting.
    • His first major appearance was in 1985 in the film Vicomte de Valmont which was the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. For this he was nominated for a Tony Award.
    • Rickman's major films included  the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply, Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, Harry in Love Actually, P. L. O'Hara in An Awfully Big Adventure, e.tc.
    • Rickaman was globally praised for his complex antagonist acting for playing numerous roles of villains in films like Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

    Awards and Honours: Golden Globe Award, Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA Award.

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Current Affairs 14 Jan 2016 Jan 2016

  • 1971 Indo-Pak War hero, Lt Gen Jacob passes away   

     

    1971 Indo-Pak War hero, Lt Gen Jacob passes away

    Lt Gen JFR Jacob (retd), who played a key role in India's victory in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and the Liberation of Bangladesh passed away in New Delhi. He was 92.

    About Jacob-Farj-Rafael "JFR" Jacob :

    Lt Gen Jacob was born in the Bengal Presidency under British India, in 1923. He joined the army at the age of 19 and fought in World War II and the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 before he retired in 1978.

    Jacob was the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army's Eastern Command during the 1971 India-Pakistan war that led to Pakistan's eastern wing seceding and becoming an independent Bangladesh.

    Books authored : Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a Nation, An Odyssey in War and Peace: An Autobiography Lt Gen. J.F.R. Jacob.

    Awards and Honours : Commendation of Merit, Param Vishisht Seva Medal

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  • BSNL launches 4G services in Chandigarh

     

    BSNL launches 4G services in Chandigarh

    State-run telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has started  4G services on non-commercial basis in Chandigarh promising broadband speed of up to 100 megabit per second (Mbps).

    With this launch Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited became the fifth telecom service provider in India to launch 4G service after Airtel (1st), Aircel (2nd), Vodafone (3rd) and Reliance Jio (4th).

    Facts to know :

    • BSNL 4G services will provide broadband speed of up to 100 megabit per second (Mbps) through which users can download large files of 1 GB with few seconds which takes long time currently on slow 2G and 3G.
    • BSNL will aid  govt agencies  by  providing 4G services for video camera surveillance, traffic management solutions and home- land security service in India.
    • BSNL has 4G spectrum across India except in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata. It has entered into an agreement with Reliance Jio to offer high speed services to its customers.

    Request For Proposal : BSNL will issue request for proposal (RFP) to launch 4G services across circles where it has 2500 Mhz spectrum on revenue share basis.The company selected through RFP will manage the networks while BSNL would share its revenue the successful bidder. It has been expanding its footprint on this model wherein it provides only bandwidth and the infrastructure is set up by its partner

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  • Govt. launches exclusive web portal for ITBP recruitment

     

    Govt. launches exclusive web portal for ITBP recruitment

    Union Govt. has launched a dedicated website for aspirants seeking recruitment in border guarding force Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) which works under the command of the Union Home Ministry.The website is the first-ever initiative by any paramilitary force in the country to help young men and women gain entry in central forces .

    The launched website provides information about the maximum number of career opportunities in the force, vacancies, pay scales and results and other relevant subjects. Online applications for various posts can also be submitted through this portal. ITBP has received the government sanction to raise at least ten new battalions for border guarding and other duties.

    Indo Tibetan Border Police Force :

    Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)  one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India. The ITBP was intended for deployment along India's border with Chinese-occupied Tibet.

    Established: It was raised on 24 October 1962, under the CRPF Act, in the wake of the Sino-Indian War of 1962. 

    The ITBP, started with 4 battalions and now it has undergone expansion to a force of 45 battalions with 4 more being raised as of 2013

    Role : The ITBP is trained in Civil Medical Camp, disaster management, and nuclear, biological and chemical disasters.

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  • President gives his approval to The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015

     

    President gives his approval to The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015

    President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015, raising the ceiling of the impost from Rs 25 to Rs 200 per quintal, a measure that will help sugarcane growers and cash-starved mills. 

    The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on December 15 after it was declared a money bill. The opposition members  in the Rajya Sabha opposed the consideration of the bill hence as required under the rules of the Indian constitution under Article 111 President gave his assent and the bill became a law.

    The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Act, 2015, which has amended the Sugar Cess Act, 1982 which provides for the imposition of a cess as an excise duty on the production of sugar.

    The hike in sugar cess would lead to increase in the accruals to the Sugar Development Fund, which facilitates rehabilitation and modernisation of sugar mills, thereby helping cane growers.

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  • MoU between India and Maldives for Health

     

    MoU between India and Maldives for Health

    The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Maldives on co-operation in the field of health.

    Objective of the MoU : This MoU will facilitate greater cooperation between the two countries, especially for assisting Maldives for development of human resources and facilities for healthcare. Enhanced cooperation in the field of health will foster great friendship and relations between the two countries.

    The main areas of co-operation under the MoU includes :

    • Exchange & training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and experts; 
    • Assistance in development of human resources and setting up of health care facilities; 
    • Medical and health research development; 
    • Management of healthcare sector and public health services; 
    • Procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies; 
    • Health promotion and disease prevention; 
    • Traditional and; complementary Medicine
    • Telemedicine; 
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  • Kerala becomes first state to achieve 100% primary education

     

    Kerala becomes first state to achieve 100% primary education

    Kerala has become the first state in the country to achieve total primary education. In this regard  a declaration was made by the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari on 12 January 2016 at a special ceremony organised at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. 

    The success of Kerala in achieving total primary education can be attributed to various initiatives undertaken by the Kerala Literacy Mission in the last two decades and mainly it's  flagship primary education equivalency drive Athulyam Scheme.

    About Athulyam Scheme :

    • 'Athulyam scheme' launched by the Kerala govt aimed at providing primary school education to all within the age group of 15 to 50 years. Through this scheme the state govt. ensured that everyone from 15 to 50 years must have the minimum educational qualification of a 4th grade.
    • The main goal of the scheme was to educate that section of society which was unable to complete their primary education up to fourth standard. 'Athulyam scheme" mainly targeted deprived section of society i.e, the scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, physically, financially weak and mentally disabled among others.
    • The state level literacy mission aimed at educating those who had been unable to complete their primary education up to fourth standard. The mission mainly focused on deprived sections viz. the scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, physically, financially weak and mentally disabled among others.
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  • Nitin Gadkari inaugurates 2nd Liquid Chemical Berth of Mumbai Port Trust

     

    Nitin Gadkari inaugurates 2nd Liquid Chemical Berth of Mumbai Port Trust

    Union Minister for Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated Mumbai Port Trust’s second liquid chemical berth at Pir Pau, Mumbai. With commissioning of this berth, the cargo handling capacity of the Port will increase by 2.5 MMT (Million Metric Tonnes) per annum.

    Facts to know about Second Liquid Chemical Berth :

    • The total project cost  for this Second Liquid Chemical Berth was Rs.127 crores. 
    • The safety standards provided at this facility are conforming to the Oil Industry Safety Directorate ( OISD) norms.
    • The berth is designed to handle 55000 DWT vessels carrying liquid bulk chemicals and POL products, which can be upgraded to 65000 DWT in future.
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