Current Affairs : 23 Feb 2016 to 09 Feb 2016 - Summary

Current Affairs 23 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Malayalam film Ottal named best children’s film at Berlin International Film Festival

     

    Malayalam film Ottal named best children’s film at Berlin International Film Festival

    Malayalam film Ottal has been named the best children’s film at the Berlin International Film Festival and honoured with the Crystal Bear award in the “Generation KPlus” section. This is the third year in a row that Indian films have triumphed. Earlier winners were "Killa" 2014 and "Dhanak" 2015.

    “Ottal” has been directed by Malayali filmmaker Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair. It is about the story of an old fisherman and his grandson. The movie is an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's short story 'Vanaka'.

    Prior to this "Ottal" has bagged the National Award for best film on Environment Conservation/Preservation.  It had set a record at 20th International Film Festival of Kerala by sweeping all the top awards.

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  • 66th Berlin International Film Festival : List of winners

     

    66th Berlin International Film Festival : List of winnersThe 66th edition of the annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 11 February to 21 February 2016,  with American actress Meryl Streep as the President of the Jury. Italian documentary Fire at Sea, directed by Gianfranco Rosi bagged the prestigious Golden Bear, the top prize of the festival.

    The Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement was presented to German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and Hail, Caesar!, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, was selected to open the festival.

    Berlin International Film Festival awards :

    (1) Crystal Bear or the best short film: El inicio de Fabrizio for Argentinian film Fabrizio’s Initiation.

    (2) Alfred Bauer Prize (Silver Bear): A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery by Lav Diaz. 

    (3) Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear): Death in Sarajevo by Danis Tanovic.

    (4) Silver Bear for Best Script: Tomasz Wasilewski for United States of Love.

    (5) Silver Bear for Best Actor: Majd Mastoura (Tunisia) for Hedi. 

    (6) Silver Bear for Best Actress: Trine Dyrholm (Denmark) for The Commune. 

    (7) Silver Bear for best director: Mia Hansen-Løve (France) for Things to Come. 

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  • Four Bengali sweets to get GI tag

     

    Four Bengali sweets to get GI tagThe West Bengal government is planning to get Geographical Indication (GI) tag for four traditional sweet delicacies of the state with a view to protect them from imitations and preserve their quality. It will also help to boost their exports. These four traditional sweet delicacies are Moa of Jainagar, Sarpuria of Krishnagar, and Mihidana and Sitabhog of Burdwan.

    Jainagar-er moa: It is made of puffed rice and date palm jaggery at Jainagar in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. 

    Sarpuria: Made of milk cream and is famous in Krishnagar area of Nadia district. 

    Sitabhog and Mihidana: They are rice-based sweets from Burdwan.

    Geographical Indication (GI) : A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes. GI registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

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  • Senior IRS officer Jayant Misra appointed DG DRI

     

    Senior IRS officer Jayant Misra appointed DG DRI

    Senior IRS officer Jayant Misra has been appointed as Director General (DG) of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) with the approval of competent authority.

     Prior to this appointment, Jayant Misra was serving as Director General (Systems) of Systems and Data Management based in New Delhi.

    He will succeed Najib Shah, Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs who was holding the charge as DG of DRI. Senior bureaucrat S Ramesh has been appointed DG (Systems) in place of Misra. Ramesh at present is Chief Commissioner of Customs in Chennai.

    Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is an intelligence agency established on 4th December 1957. It functions under the aegis of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the Department of Revenue of Union Ministry of Finance. It enforces prohibition of smuggling of gold, diamonds, electronics, narcotics, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian currency etc.

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  • Noted singer Bhubaneswari Mishra passes away

     

    Noted singer Bhubaneswari Mishra passes away

    Renowned classical singer Bhubaneshwari Mishra passed in New Delhi, following a sudden cardiac arrest. She was 67.The classical singer began her career with the song ‘Tiki Mora Naa Ti’ for the mythological Odia movie Krushna Sudama in the 1970s.

    Awards and Honours : She was conferred with the Odisha State Film Award for best playback singer (female) for two consecutive terms in 1979 and 1980 for the movies Srikrushna Rasalila and Jay Ma Mangala respectively.

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  • 21 February : International Mother Language Day observed across the world 

     

    21 February : International Mother Language Day observed across the world

    International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is annually observed worldwide on 21 February. It seeks to promote awareness of linguistic, multilingualism and cultural diversity.

    It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999 and was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages. The year 2016 is the 16th anniversary of International Mother Language Day.

    International Mother Language Day also signifies importance of mother language as the greatest weapon to express one’s feeling. Mother Language of one country is the sign of independence of that country.

    Theme for the year 2016 : “Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes”. 

    Connection with BangladeshInternational Mother Language Day has deep relation with Bangladesh where  students from the University of Dhaka, Jagannath University and Dhaka Medical College, were mercilessly shot down by the Pakistani army in 1952 in erstwhile East Pakistan because the activists demonstrating for the recognition of Bengali as one of the two national languages of East Pakistan. The protest came to be known as Language Movement.

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  • Railway officer Vinay Kumar Singh appointed as MD of NCRTC

     

    Railway officer Vinay Kumar Singh appointed as MD of NCRTCRailway officer Vinay Kumar Singh has been appointed as Managing Director of National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), the implementing agency for the three corridors of the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) in the NCR zone. Currently Singh is working with Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a railway PSU involved in the study of high speed rail corridors.

    About 30 senior officials in the government had shown interest for the post of MD of the newly-formed NCRTC among which 15 were interviewed by the search and selection committee comprising of  Urban Development Secretary, Railway Board Member (Staff), an official from the DoPT and an expert from World Bank among others. 

    National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) The National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC) is the implementing agency for taking up the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project in the  National Capital Region (NCR) zone. The three rapid rail corridors will connect capital with Panipat, Meerut and Alwar.

    Established: July 11, 2013

    Headquarter: New Delhi. 

    Functions:  It is envisaged to undertake design construction, operation and maintenance of the RRTS project on a similar pattern as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC)

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  • Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to 13 MoUs on agriculture

     

    Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to 13 MoUs on agriculture

    The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given it's ex-post facto approval for memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between India and 13 countries including Israel and Syria for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.

    The 13 countries with whom MoU has been signed  in the field of agriculture and allied sectors are Netherlands, Nepal, Cyprus,Israel, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Tanzania, Surinam, Zambia, Syria, Bhutan, Chile and Mauritius.

    This MoU will help in capacity building, knowledge exchange through visits of scientists and technicians, exchange of genetic resources, development of appropriate technologies and farm practices for enhancing agriculture productivity at farmers field.

    Background : As per "Transaction of Business Rules, 1961", it is mandatory for any government departments/ministries to bring before the Union Cabinet cases involving negotiations with foreign countries on agreements, treaties and other important matters for approval.

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  • Jaypee Punjab Warriors wins 2016 Hockey India League

     

    Jaypee Punjab Warriors wins 2016 Hockey India LeagueThe Jaypee Punjab Warriors clinched their first-ever Hockey India League title, defeating the Kalinga Lancers by 6-1 goals, in the final match played at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Ranchi. In earlier two seasons, Punjab Warriors had finished runners-up after they had lost to Delhi Waveriders in 2014 and to Ranchi Rays in 2015.

    Awardees of the Hockey India League

    Player of the Tournament Award: Rupinder Pal Singh (Delhi Waveriders). 
    Man of the Match Award: Mark Knowles (Punjab Warriors) 
    Goal of the Match award: Armaan Qureshi (Punjab Warriors). 
    Emerging Player of the Match award: Armaan Qureshi. 
    Dhruv Batra Maximum Goals award: Glenn Turner (Kalinga Lancers). 
    Ponty Chadha Upcoming Player of the Tournament award: Sumit (Ranchi Rays).

    Hockey India League

    • Hockey India League (HIL), known as the Coal India Hockey India League is a professional field hockey league in India organized by Hockey India, the governing body for the sport in India. The league was established in 2013 and is sanctioned by International Hockey Federation (FIH). 
    • HIL, along with the Indian Premier League, Indian Super League, and Pro Kabaddi League, is considered one of the major sports leagues in the country. Currently, there are six franchisee based teams having players from India and around the world. 2015 edition of the league was won by Ranchi Rays.
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  • PM Narendra Modi launches National Rurban Mission in Chhattisgarh

     

    PM Narendra Modi launches National Rurban Mission in ChhattisgarhPrime Minister Narendra Modi,launched the ambitious National Rurban Mission (NRM) from Kurubhat in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh. The mission is also known as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban mission (SPMRM).

    The mission aims to draw an investment of over Rs 5,000 crore in three years to "transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable spaces." The scheme would complement the Smart Cities initiative by  cluster of Smart Villages over the next 3 years across the country.

    Salient features of National Rurban Mission (NRM) :

    The scheme through development of rurban growth clusters aims at catalyzing overall regional growth by provisioning of economic activities, developing skills & local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities.

    The State Governments would identify the clusters in accordance with the Framework for Implementation prepared by the Ministry of Rural Development. These clusters would be well delineated areas with planned layouts prepared following the planning norms of the State/UTs.

    The clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with different population and follow administrative convergence units of Gram Panchayats.

    Population criterion : Coastal and plain areas must have population of about 25000 to 50000. Hilly, desert or tribal areas must have 5000 to 15000. There will be a separate approach for selection of clusters in Tribal and Non-Tribal Districts.

    Balanced development : Strengthening rural areas and de burdening the urban areas hence leading to balanced regional development and growth of the country, simultaneously benefit the rural as well as urban areas of the country, hence leading to balanced regional development and growth of the country.

    Fourteen components of National Rurban Mission (NRM)

    (1) Skill development training linked to economic activities 
    (2) Agro Processing/Agri Services/Storage and Warehousing 
    (3) Digital Literacy 
    (4) Sanitation 
    (5) Provision of piped water supply 
    (6) Solid and liquid waste management 
    (7) Village streets and drains 
    (8) Street lights 
    (9) Fully equipped mobile health unit 
    (10) Upgrading school /higher education facilities 
    (11) Inter-village road connectivity 
    (12) Citizen Service Centres- for electronic delivery of citizen centric services/e-gram connectivity 
    (13) Public transport 
    (14) LPG gas connections.

     

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  • Google’s Project Loon begins its operations in Sri Lanka

     

    Google’s Project Loon begins its operations in Sri Lanka

    Google's balloon-powered high-speed internet service known as 'Project Loon' began its operations in Sri Lanka after first helium-filled balloon landed in Pupuressa area in Gampola town. It is one of three balloons that will be used in the trials. The balloon was launched from South America. 

    Sri Lanka is not investing any capital, but will take a 25% stake in a joint venture with Google to deliver a high-speed internet service powered by helium-filled balloons in return for allocating spectrum for the project. A further 10% of the joint venture would be offered to existing telephone service providers on the island.

    Project Loon promises to extend coverage and cheaper rates for data services. Once the balloon project is up and running the Service providers will be able to access higher speeds and improve the quality of their existing service.

    Facts and figures : Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to introduce mobile phones in 1989 and the first to roll out a 3G network in 2004. It was also the first in the region to unveil a 4G network two years ago. There are 3.3 million mobile internet connections and 630,000 fixed line internet subscribers among Sri Lanka's more than 20 million population.

    About Google’s Project Loon

    Project Loon is the Flagship Project of search engine giant Google developed by Google X with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas.The project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 18 km where wind speed is low and turbulence is minimum. Each balloon can provide full wireless broadband internet coverage up to an area of 40 km and are powered mainly by solar panels. The balloons will have a lifespan of about 180 days, but can be recycled.

    Users of the service will connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. These balloons have transceivers which can connect to cell phone networks in order to fill the gaps in their networks especially in remote areas such as mountains and deserts. 

    These balloons have transceivers which can connect to cell phone networks in order to fill the gaps in their networks especially in remote areas such as mountains and deserts. It promises to extend mobile and data coverage at cheaper rates for the people. These balloons will have a lifespan of about 180 days and can be recycled.

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  • India, Myanmar conduct fourth coordinated patrol

     

    India, Myanmar conduct fourth coordinated patrolIndia and Myanmar undertook India-Myanmar coordinated patrol (IMCOR) along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Andaman Sea. The coordinated patrol was successfully undertaken from February 13 to 16, 2016. Navies of the two countries have conducted coordinated patrols along the maritime boundary since 2013.

    Indian Navy ships Saryu and Bitra along with Myanmar ships Aung Zeya and FAC 563 participated in the patrol. It should be noted that besides Myanmar, India has formal agreement for joint patrol only with two other navies they are - Thailand and Indonesia.

    Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

    During the Closing Ceremony of 4th IMCOR, India and Myanmar signed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the India-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR). The signing of the SOP is a significant achievement and will facilitate smooth conduct of coordinated patrols between two friendly neighbours that share a long maritime boundary in the strategically significant Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal

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  • Make in India Week concludes in Mumbai : More than Rs 15.2 lakh crore investment commitments 

     

    Make in India Week concludes in Mumbai : More than Rs 15.2 lakh crore investment commitments The week-long Make in India event which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 13, 2016 has concluded in Mumbai. The event has secured investment commitments worth 15.2 lakh crore rupees across the country with host state Maharashtra alone accounting for Rs 8 lakh crore. Besides, it received investment enquiries worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore. 

    Facts to know :

    More than 8 lakh people visited the Make In India Expo and other events, of which 49,743 were registered delegates. 102 countries were represented in the mega expo. 17 Indian states and 3 countries – Germany, Sweden and Poland had their pavilions in the Make In India Centre.

    The Make In India Expo was spread over 23 lakh sqft area, housed under air-conditioned hangers in 27 halls in which, 150 events were organized under the Make In India Week banner while more than 25,000 people participated in  Seminars and Symposia.

    Make In India Week also provided platform for nearly 8,200 Business-to-Business,  Business –to-Government and Government –to-Government meetings. 

    Over 1,200 experts from various walks of life from Ministers, Chief Ministers, policymakers, industrialists, academicians and spiritual gurus spoke on wide ranging issues concerning business and society.

    215 exhibitors show cased their strengths and opportunities in 11 sectors covering aerospace & defence, automobiles, chemicals & petrochemicals, construction machinery, food processing, infrastructure, IT & electronics, industrial equipment & machinery, MSME, pharmaceuticals and textiles. 

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  • Union Cabinet gives nod to Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016

     

    Union Cabinet gives nod to Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to amend section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002. In this regard, Government is going to introduce Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament in pursuance of the Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, 2015.

    It will enable Election Commission to carry out limited delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituency(cies) in the Cooch Behar District of West Bengal and  give voting rights to people who became Indian citizens following the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.

    Background : In a historic pact between India and Bangladesh, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (Chhitmahals) in Indian Territory and 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh territory were exchanged. The move altered the geography and demography of the district of Cooch Behar in West Bengal. Since the newly acquired area has become the part of Indian territory, it was necessary to make delimitation exercise within the limited constituency area of Cooch Behar before the ensuing 2016 West Bengal State Assembly elections.

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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 19 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Rio Haryanto becomes Indonesia’s first F1 Driver

     

    Rio Haryanto becomes Indonesia’s first F1 DriverRio Haryanto will become Indonesia's first Formula One driver this season after signing a deal with British motor racing company "Manor Motorsport". He is all set to make his debut in Australia on March 20 and will start testing in Spain next week. Haryanto replaced the Briton Will Stevens, who failed to score a point in 18 starts last year.

    He won the Formula BMW Pacific in 2009 and spent four years competing in GP2 winning three races in 2015. Haryanto is sponsored by Indonesian oil company Pertamina.

    He will also be third Southeast Asian driver to compete in Formula One since the championship started in 1950. The others were Malaysian Alex Yoong, with Minardi in 2001-2002, and Thailand's Prince Bira (Birabongse Bhanudej) in the 1950s.

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  • Robin Chaurasiya shortlisted for Global teacher prize 

     

    Robin Chaurasiya shortlisted for Global teacher prize Robin Chaurasiya, the  founder of a non-profit organisation "Kranti" in Mumbai that educates girls from the city’s red light areas has been shortlisted for a $1 million global prize for teachers. 

    The top 10 teachers have been selected from 8,000 nominations and applications from 148 countries from around the world. The prize will be announced at a ceremony in Dubai on March 13. The list of 10 shortlisted teachers includes teachers from the United States, Britain, Finland, Australia, Kenya, Japan, the Palestinian Territories and Pakistan. 

    Robin Chaurasiya

    Chaurasiya, 30, was born in Los Angeles and served with the US Air Force for several years. She holds master's degree in gender studies and volunteered with an anti-trafficking NGO in Uganda before coming to Mumbai. 

    She set up the NGO, Kranti in 2011 that educates daughters of sex workers from Mumbai's Kamathipura area and victims of human trafficking, between the ages of 12 and 20. She calls her students as krantikaries (revolutionaries) who will go on to become peer teachers and community leaders.

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  • Make in India week : Tata Unveils the First India-Made Robot ‘Brabo’

     

    Make in India week : Tata Unveils the First India-Made Robot ‘Brabo’TAL Manufacturing Solutions,  a 100 percent subsidiary of TATA Motors, has unveiled India's first indigenous robot " Tata Brabo" during the Make In India Week at Mumbai. However,  the robot will be launch in the market in the next two months.

    Brabo has been developed in-house by a team of six engineers whose average age is 24 years, led by Anil Bhingurde, chief operating officer of TAL Manufacturing Solutions at an  development cost of about Rs 10 crore.

    TAL Manufacturing Solutions : It is one of the leading companies in India, that has successfully delivered manufacturing solutions for over 40 years to customers in Automotive and Heavy Engineering and even in Aerospace and Defence sectors.

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  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting releases India, Bharat 2016 Reference Annual books

     

    Ministry of Information and Broadcasting releases India, Bharat 2016 Reference Annual booksUnion Minister for Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley released the print and digital versions of 'India 2016' and 'Bharat 2016 '. The Annual Reference Book is an asset and a repository of information for all stakeholders which provides detailed information on various schemes and projects of Government and its various departments. It is particularly important for competitive exams.

    The electronic version for both the yearbooks has also been launched for the first time. The E versions will be cheaper and easier to store and will be priced at 75% of the print book cost.

    'India 2016' deals with all aspects of development from rural to urban, industry to infrastructure, science and technology, art and culture, economy, health, defence, education and mass communication.

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  • Renowned vocalist Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan passes away

     

    Renowned vocalist Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan passes awayEminent Hindustani classical singer Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan passed away in Kolkata, following old-age related ailments. He was 107. He was also a prolific writer and poet and has writtern around 2,000 compositions under the pseudonym 'Rasan Piya'.

    Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan

    Khan was born on 19 August 1908, in Gwalior gharana gayaki. His father Chhote Yusuf Khan was his guru. He got extensive taleem from his family elders and later developed this style suiting his own artistic sensitivity.

    Khan's traditional compositions have been recorded by the BBC and Iraq Radio. Organizations like Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academi, Lucknow and ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata have recorded and preserved many compositions. He was a resident guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in the city for the past 20 years.

    Awards and honours : He was the recipient of Padma Bhushan in 2013 and Sangeet Natak Akademi award (2009), Lifetime achievement award (2013) by Government of NCT of Delhi.

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  • Tata Motors, Bharat Forge tie up for $11-bn defence bid

     

    Tata Motors, Bharat Forge tie up for $11-bn defence bidTata Motors, Bharat Forge and General Dynamics have tied up to bid for the $11 billion (Rs 78,000 crore) project of making combat infantry vehicles for the Indian Army under the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) Programme. The project is touted as India’s largest indigenous defense program.

    Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra, Rolta, Pipavav, Bharat Forge, Punj Lloyd and Titagarh Wagons are the other bidders to the FICV project. Since Tata Motors and Bharat Forge, the two of the front runners have joined hands, the number of total bidders has come down to 9 from 10 and the alliance have high chances of getting the project.

    Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV)

    The FICV is an amphibious, tracked, armoured vehicle, operated by a crew of only three including commander, gunner and driver with an additional capacity to carry 7 fully equipped infantrymen.

    The weight of the vehicle will be kept at around 20 tonnes  so that it can be airlifted and dropped in combat zones while being armed with anti-tank guided missiles with range up to four kms. The FICVs will replace Indian Army's fleet of obsolete 2610 Russian BMP-2 carriers.

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  • Khurja Yard gets Ultra Modern Computer based Signalling System 

     

    Khurja Yard gets Ultra Modern Computer based Signalling System Indian Railway Project Management Unit (IRPMU), an arm of North Central Railway in association with the Construction and open line Units of the Railway has commissioned an ultra modern computer-based signaling system at the Khurja junction,  a city famous for pottery in Uttar Pardesh.

    With this commissioning, the Khurja Yard, which is a part of the Allahabad Railway Division, will have a 256 possible movements leading to immense flexibility and faster clearance of trains since the train path will be cleared by a central operator with click of a mouse on the VDU(Visual Display Unit). The VDU will display online position of each train in the complete Khurja Yard of 4.5 Km including adjoining track portions which ensures safety of trains.

    Salient features of the signaling system

    This re-signaling work has been executed as part of the project of Modernization of Signalling and telecommunication System on Ghaziabad – Kanpur section of Indian Railways costing Rs. 440cr funded by German Development Bank.

    The major components of the project are :

    • Replacement of worn out Signalling Gears at 47 stations
    • Automatic Signalling enables multiple trains between two stations thereby enhancing line capacity
    • Dedicated Global System of Mobile (GSM) for railways enabling secured communication between driver, guard, station master and controllers.
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  • NASA finds 'Super-Earth' Atmosphere for First Time

     

    NASA finds 'Super-Earth' Atmosphere for First TimeAstronomers at NASA, working with the ESA and the University College London,  have found a super-Earth exoplanet dubbed 55 Cancri e, with an atmosphere , that, for the first time, they can analyse. 

    Facts to know :

    The observation was made with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3)  on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. It is about 40 light years away from Earth.

    Unfortunately, 55 Cancri e  probably doesn't support life because it is located extremely close to its planet star, which heats its surface to a staggering 2,000 degrees Celcius and a year there lasts 18 Earth-hours. 

    Its atmosphere largely consists of hydrogen (H) and helium (He) which  are common elements in young solar systems as those are the elements that make up young stars.

    Super-earths : Super-earths are simply rocky planets that are bigger than the Earth. In this case, it is eight times bigger than Earth.

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  • Indian origin scientist discovers discovers fast Tin Monoxide conductor to replace silicon

     

    Indian origin scientist discovers discovers fast Tin Monoxide conductor to replace siliconA team led by an Indian-origin scientist Ashutosh Tiwai has discovered a new kind of 2D semiconducting material "Tin Monoxide (SnO) conductor"  that will replace traditional silicon conductor. The 2D semiconducting material for electronics will opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that consume less power. 

    Tin Monoxide (SnO) conductor : It is made of two elements tin and oxygen, or tin monoxide (SnO). It is layer of 2D material with thickness of only one atom which allows electrical charges to move through it much faster than conventional 3D materials such as silicon. 

    Applications : This can be used in transistor which is the lifeblood of all electronic devices such as computer processors and graphics processors in desktop computers and mobile devices.

    Currently, transistors and other components used in electronic devices are made of 3D materials such as silicon and consist of multiple layers on a glass substrate but the downside to 3D materials is that electrons bounce around inside the layers in all directions.The benefit of 2D materials is that the material is made of one layer the thickness of just one or two atoms. 

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Current Affairs 18 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Sameer Anjaan enters Guinness Book of World Records 

     

    Sameer Anjaan enters Guinness Book of World Records

    Renowned Indian lyricist, Sameer Anjaan has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for penning the most number of songs in Bollywood: 3,524 for 650 films in a 33-year-long career.  

    He is also the first lyricist to bag this honor as prior to this, there was no such category as the ‘most number of songs ever’ in the Guinness Book, but it was created to accommodate a new record.

    Sameer AnjaanHe was born on 24 February 1958, near Banaras, Uttar Pradesh. He is the son of veteran lyricist Anjaan (Lalji Pandey). 

    He completed his Master of Commerce degree from the prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and started his career as bank officer at the Central Bank of India but he left the bank job and started his career as a lyricist in 1983 with Bekhabar.

    The first film song he recorded was Maar Ke Kataaree Mar Jaibe for the Bhojpuri film Bairi Saawan (1984) sung by Suresh Wadkar and Preeti Sagar. Later, films such as Dil and Aashiqui established him as the undisputed champion of romantic songs.

    • Notable Works : Honton Pe Bas Tera Naam Hai, Jab Se Tere Naina, Aashiq Banaya Aapne, Tum Dil Ki Dhadkan Me, nazar ke samne jigar ke paas and many more.
    • Awards and honours : He has won three Filmfare Awards.

     

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  • Provident Fund interest rate hiked to 8.8% for 2015-16

     

    Provident Fund interest rate hiked to 8.8% for 2015-16

    The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has increased the PF interest rate from 8.75% to 8.8% for 2015-16, while reducing the returns on short-term small savings instruments by 0.25%. 

    However the hike is an 'interim one' and open for revision as Central Board of Trustees (CBT) will meet again later to discuss the possibility of any further increase in interest rates.

    Finance Audit and Investment committee (FAIC) had early recommended 8.95 percent interest on PF deposits for the current fiscal. But it was brought down to 8.8 % due to which trade unions were upset and registered their protest.

    Fixing the interest rate solely depends on EPFO's apex decision making body  Central Board of Trustees (CBT) because it provides rate of return from its own income without any assistance from the government.

    Earlier, Ministry of Labour and Employment unveiled the Simplified Pension Claim Form 10 D and a single-page Pension Payment Order (PPO). The single-page PPO replaces the current 8-page format and is part of the Centre's efforts to simplify forms and procedures.

    Advantages

    • It will ensure lesser processing time and provide ease of convenience and handling at EPF offices
    • It will also be simpler and comprehensible for members and pensioners

    Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) 

    It is a statutory body of the Government of India under the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The EPFO's apex decision making body is the Central Board of Trustees (CBT). 

    • Function : It administers a compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme, Pension Scheme and an Insurance Scheme
    • Headquarters : New Delhi 
    • Established :  4 March 1952

    The schemes cover Indian workers as well as International workers of the countries from which India has signed bilateral agreements on Social Security, currently 14 Social Security Agreements are operational.

    It is one of the largest social security organisations in India in terms of the number of  beneficiaries covered and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.

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  • Alok Kumar Verma to be next Delhi Police Commissioner

     

    Alok Kumar Verma to be next Delhi Police CommissionerSenior IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma, DG Prisons, Delhi Police, is set to be the next Police Commissioner of  Delhi Police, succeeding incumbent BS Bassi, who is set to retire on February 29. Decision in this regard was taken by Cabinet Committee on Appointments (CCA), headed by Prime Ministre Narenda Modi. 

    58-year-old Alok Kumar Verma is a 1979-batch Union Territory cadre officer and is currently serving as DG of Tihar prison. His service tenure will be for 17 months until his retirement. He will head the 80,000 strong Delhi Police which is responsible for maintaining law and order in the capital that has a population of more than 1.7 crore.

    Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had sent a panel comprising the names of three IPS officers including  Deepak Mishra (1984 batch officer), Dharmendra Kumar (1984 batch officer), and Alok Kumar Verma ( 1979-batch officer) to the CCA, which picked the name of Alok Kumar Verma. The formal orders regarding his appointment will be issued today.

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  • Veteran designer Manish Arora conferred France’s highest honour 

     

    Veteran designer Manish Arora conferred France’s highest honour

    Veteran designer Manish Arora known for working with a riot of colours, psychedelic prints and for producing kitschy designs has been conferred upon "Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur" the highest honour of  France in recognition for his renowned and critically-acclaimed contribution to the fashion world. 

    Last year, the French government also honoured Indian designer Ritu Beri with Chevalier Des Arts et Des Lettres award, one of its highest civilian awards, for her contribution to the enrichment of Indo-French cultural relations.

    About Manish Arora :

    Manish Arora is India's renowned fashion designer, born and brought up in Mumbai. He is a 1994, graduate of  National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi. 

    In 1997 Manish Arora launched his own label "Manish Arora" and started retailing in India.Three years later, he participated in the first-ever India Fashion Week held in New Delhi and represented India at the Hong Kong Fashion Week.

    Chevalier de laA Legion d’HonneurThe Chevalier de laA Legion d’Honneur is France’s premier award to recognise eminent accomplishments of service to France. It is bestowed on both citizens of France as well as foreigners. In the past, eminent personalities such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, Amitabh Bachchan and J.R.D Tata have been honoured with the prestigious award. 

     

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  • Cabinet approves collaboration between Ministry of AYUSH & WHO

     

    Cabinet approves collaboration between Ministry of AYUSH & WHOThe Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Agreement for collaborative activities in the field of Traditional Medicine between Ministry of AYUSH and World Health Organization.

    Key Facts about the collaboration

    The long-term collaboration with WHO would help in Improving International acceptability and branding of Ayush systems.

    It will facilitate awareness generation regarding AYUSH systems of Medicine by means of education, skill development, workshops and publications.

    Exchange programs between AYUSH and WHO would promote capacity building and dissemination of information on AYUSH systems amongst the Member States.

    Financial budget : The expenditure for carrying out collaborative activities will be met from the allocated budget under the existing plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH.

    Background : Ministry of AYUSH has the mandate to promote, propagate and globalize the recognized Traditional and Complementary Systems of Medicine (T&CM) including Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homeopathy so it has collaborated with the World Health Organization which provides leadership on global health matters and shapes the health research agenda.

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  • West Bengal government launches Utkarsh Bangla Scheme

     

    West Bengal government launches Utkarsh Bangla Scheme

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has launched "Utkarsh Bangla Scheme" a welfare scheme aimed at providing vocational training for school-dropouts, in Kolkata. On this occasion, she also released a book on Utkarsh Bangla.

    Under "Utkarsh Bangla Scheme" the school dropouts will be provided training ranging from 400 to 1200 hours free of charge in tailoring, driving, repairing television and other electronic equipment and beauty courses etc. and on completion of training they will be given certificates.

    The syllabus for courses under this scheme has been made in line with the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework. The state Vocational Education Department will be nodal agency for implementation of the scheme.

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  • Ministry of Environment and Forests launches Environment Information System (ENVIS)

     

    Ministry of Environment and Forests launches Environment Information System (ENVIS)Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has launched Environment Information System (ENVIS) portal and mobile application for integrating its Environment Information System centres.

    The ENVIS portal will run parallel with Digital India Objective and and boost-up the efforts for improving digital literacy in the environment sector. It will deliver services digitally all over the country. 

    Environment Information System (ENVIS) 

    ENVIS is central sector Scheme of the MOEFCC implemented since 1982. The purpose of the scheme is to integrate country-wide efforts in environmental information collection, storage, collation, retrieval and dissemination. 

    Environmental Information System (ENVIS), is a Central Sector Scheme functional since 1982. Major users of ENVIS, includes Centre and state governments, institutes, scientists, researchers and agencies carrying out environment-impact assessment for various projects.

    The ENVIS network presently consists of 69 centres, of which 29 are hosted by environment departments of various state governments/UT administrations while 40 are operated by environment-related government and non-governmental organizations. 

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  • Japan launches Astro-H satellite to study black holes

     

    Japan launches Astro-H satellite to study black holesThe Japanese space agency has successfully launched ASTRO-H a jointly developed space observation satellite to probe mysterious black holes. The satellite was  launched by country's mainstay H-IIA rocket, from Tanegashima Space Centre, southern Japan.

    Facts about ASTRO-H satellite  :

    ASTRO-H satellite has been developed  in collaboration between Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other.

    It is set to orbit at an altitude of about 580 kilometres (360 miles) and observe X-rays emanating mainly from black holes and galaxy clusters.  

    It is cylindrically shaped and is 14 meters long and weighs 2.7 tonnes. It is the heaviest scientific satellite Japan has worked on. It will help unravel the mysteries of the universe. 

    The satellite has four X-ray telescopes and two gamma-ray detectors that will enable the space agency to peer into far off galaxy clusters, providing data on how they formed.

    Comment : Black holes have never been directly observed, but the announcement on the first detection of gravitational waves earlier this month indirectly added to the evidence that black holes do actually exist

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  • Renowned Malayalam writer Akbar Kakkattil passes away

     

    Renowned Malayalam writer Akbar Kakkattil passes awayNoted Malayalam novelist and short story writer Akbar Kakkattil passed away in Kozhikode, Kerala due to cancer. He was 62. His writings reflects a unique combination of narration and humour, where readers can feel the naive innocence of his village folk, and experience sensation of compassion and simplicity.

    Facts to know about Akbar Kakkattil

    Akbar Kakkattil was born on 7 July 1954 at Kakkattil in Kozhikode District. He did his Postgraduate education in Malayalam Language & Literature from Kerala Varma College Trichur.

    He started creative writing at the age of fourteen by publishing short stories in a regular column for children in the leading Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi.His first story Pothichoru was published in 1969 through the weekly. 

    He has 54 books to his credit which includes, 27 short stories, 6 collections of essays, 7 novelettes, 4 novels, a play, among others. He had served as the Vice-President of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and  Member of Malayalam Advisory Panel of National Book Trust.

    His work, 'Sarga Sameeksha', a creative and critical interface of a young writer with the iconic writers of the old generation is perhaps the first of its kind among Indian languages.

    Awards and Honours : He has prestigious Kerala Sahitiya Akademi award two times in 1992 and 2003. He was also recipient of the first-ever award in humour section in 1992 for his ‘School Diary  and in the year 2004 his ‘Vadakkuninnoru Kudumba Vrithantham’ was awarded as the best novel.

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  • Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari launches Website for maiden Maritime India Summit

     

    Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari launches Website for maiden Maritime India SummitShipping Minister Nitin Gadkari formally launched website for maiden Maritime India Summit 2016 scheduled to be held in April 2016 on the sidelines of the Make in India Week in Mumbai. The website will facilitate investors and participants access detailed information about the summit, including registrations.

    Facts about Maritime India Summit 2016 

    The Maritime India Summit is scheduled to be held on April 14  in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It will be the maiden global summit to be organised by the shipping ministry. Republic of Korea is the partner country for the MIS 2016  and will be represented by a high-level ministerial and business delegation.

    Objective : It aims to give impetus to Make In India and blue economy.

    The Maritime India Summit (MIS) 2016 will comprise of an Investors’ Summit  on April 14 and 15, 2016, along with exhibition and demo session. More than 50 other maritime nations have been invited.

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Current Affairs 17 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Renowned Indologist awarded prestigious Israel Prize

     

    Renowned Indologist awarded prestigious Israel PrizeRenowned Indologist Professor David Shulman has been awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for his breakthrough studies in fields like religion and philosophy. Announcement in this regard was made by Education Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett at the recommendation of the prize committee, headed by Professor Shaul Shaked.

    Facts about Professor David Shulman

    Professor Shulman of Hebrew University of Jerusalem is a brilliant researcher who had done breakthrough studies on the religion, literature, and culture of southern India.

    He is an internationally renowned expert in this field, and his work is enhanced by his command of a wide range of languages, including Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam.

    Political orientation : He is known to be active in a left wing organisation, Ta’ayush, a joint Israeli-Palestinian initiative active in the south Hebron Hills.

    Professor Shulman has made an important contribution to research management and teaching in Israeli universities. In Israel he founded the field of India studies and most India researchers in Israel are his students.

    Awards and Honours : He won the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1987, making him the first Israeli to be conferred with the honour. He is also the winner of Emet Prize, awarded annually by the Prime Minister’s Office for excellence in academic and professional achievements. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Sciences.

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  • M. Devaraja Reddy elected as new ICAI president

     

    M. Devaraja Reddy elected as new ICAI president

    M. Devaraja Reddy has been elected as President of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). Prior to this appointment, he has served as Vice President of ICAI for the Council Year 2015-16. He has been a chartered accountant for 28 years.

    About Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)

    ICAI is a statutory body established by the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 for the regulation of the profession of Chartered Accountants in India.

    The affairs of the ICAI are managed by a Council in accordance with the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988. 

    The Council is composed of total 40 members of whom 32 are elected by the members and remaining 8 are nominated by the Union Government generally representing the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders. 

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  • DRDO to conduct Captive flight trials of anti-radiation missile soon

     

    DRDO to conduct Captive flight trials of anti-radiation missile soonMissile technologists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.have planned to conduct Captive flight trials of an advanced, state-of-the-art Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) by April-May this year. The maiden flight test will be conducted by the end of this year.

    During the captive flight trials, scientists will evaluate the performance of the seeker, navigation and control system, structural capability and aerodynamic vibrations. These will be followed by ground testing and the missile will be fired from Su-30 during the actual flight trial by year-end.

    About Anti-Radiation Missile

    The air-to-surface tactical missile indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) will target the enemy’s air defence capabilities by attacking radars and communication facilities by picking up the radiation or signals from these facilities.

    The range of the missile is 100 to 125 km and it will be mounted on combat aircraft Sukhoi (Su-30) and Tejas-Light Combat Aircraft.The missile uses dual pulse propulsion system as in the case of LR-SAM (Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile) instead of thrust propulsion.

    The entire missile is being developed indigenously, including the seeker. The missile will be inducted in about two years after conducting a number of developmental trials. Only a few countries, including the U.S. and Germany, have ARMs at present.

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  • Sindh becomes first province of Pakistan to adopt Hindu Marriage Bill

     

    Sindh becomes first province of Pakistan to adopt Hindu Marriage Bill

    Pakistan's Sindh Assembly passed the landmark Hindu Marriage Bill, 2015 becoming the first provincial legislature in Pakistan to formalise the recognition of marriages of the Hindu, Sikh and Jain minorities. 

    This is first law of it's kind passed since formation of Pakistan in 1947 that provides mechanism for formally registering Hindu marriages in Sindh, a second largest religious minority community in the country.

    Key provisions of Hindu Marriage Bill, 2015

    • The bill fixes the minimum age of marriage at 18. The bill makes it  necessary that a marriage is solemnised after consent of both male and female and at least two witnesses must be present at the time of the solemnisation and registration of the marriage.
    • As per the bill, every marriage being solemnised under this act will be registered with the union council/ward within 45 days of the solemnisation. Any person who fails to get his marriage registered will be liable to pay a fine of 1,000 rupees. 
    • The law will have retrospective effect for the purpose of validation and registration of the marriage prior to this law. It ensures the conservation of women’s matrimonial rights, such as pension for widows, share in husband’s property.

    Criticism : There are concerns about clause 12(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Bill which states that a marriage could be terminated if either spouse converts to another religion. There are chances that the bill could be used for forced conversions of Hindu girls and women. Earlier there have been issue of forced conversion of Hindu women and girls particularly in rural areas of Sindh.

    BackgroundHindus are Pakistan’s second largest religious minority, with an estimated population of 3.3 million, they have demanded a separate personal law to regulate their marriages sincde long time but due to absence of a Hindu Marriage law, the minority community (especially women) faced a huge hindrance to obtain national identity cards, marriage certificates open bank accounts or apply for visas.

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  • NRDC inks MoA with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) on Technology Transfer

     

    NRDC inks MoA with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) on Technology TransferNational Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has entered into Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata for commercialisation of technologies and intellectual properties (IP) developed at IACS.  Under this MoA,  NRDC shall will provide its services in IP Evaluation/Valuation in terms of their commercial potential to IACS.

    National Research Development Corporation (NRDC)

    It is an Enterprise of Department of Scientific & Industrial Research which works under Ministry of Science & Technology. NRDC has been working for more than six decades in development, promotion and commercialisation of technologies emanating from R&D organization and academia. So far, it has licensed technologies of more than 4800 companies/ entrepreneurs in the country in almost all sector of industry.

    Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS)

    The Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) is an autonomous and oldest research institute in India. The institute is devoted to the pursuit of fundamental research in the frontier areas of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Energy, Polymer and Materials. In each field, IACS nurtures young and innovative research fellows in their R&D programs.

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  • Jharkhand gets its First Mega Food Park

     

    Jharkhand gets its First Mega Food ParkUnion Food Processing and Industry Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated the first mega food park of Jharkhand at village Getalsud, district Ranchi on 14 Feb, 2016. The park is promoted by Jharkhand Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd and seeks to give an impetus to the growth of the food processing sector in the state.

    Facts about the food park

    The mega food park has been set up with the project cost of Rs 114.73 crore in an area of 51.50 acres. It will have facilities of multi chamber cold storage, dry warehouse, vegetable dehydration line, modern quality control and testing laboratory and other processing facilities for fruits & vegetables. 

    This park has a central processing centre (CPC) at Ranchi and six primary processing centres (PPCs) are being set up at Lohardaga, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Belchampa, Domchach and Patratu to provide strong backward linkages. 

    The food park will help in providing better prices to farmers, reduce wastage of perishables, add value to agricultural produce  and create huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for the youth of the state.

    The park is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25,000-30,000 farmers in its catchment area.

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  • National Capital goods policy 2016, unveiled 

     

    National Capital goods policy 2016, unveiled

    The government has unveiled a National Capital Goods Policy 2016 to give an impetus to the capital goods sector and a leg up to the Make in India initiative. This is for the first time that Union Government (Ministry of Heavy Industry & Public Enterprise) has framed a national policy  for the capital goods sector.

    The Department of Heavy Industry (DHI)  had set up a Joint Taskforce with Confederation of Indian industry (CII) so that  the formulation of the Capital Goods Policy is done most democratic manner  and  pave the way for Capital Goods sector to become  a part of global value chains apart from mere supply chains.

    National Capital Goods Policy 2016

    The policy envisages increasing exports from the current 27% to 40% of production while increasing share of domestic production in India's demand from 60% to 80%, thus making India a net exporter of capital goods.

    Objective : The policy also aims to facilitate improvement in technology depth across sub-sectors, increase skill availability, ensure mandatory standards and promote growth and capacity building of MSMEs.

    The policy aims to create game changing strategies for the capital goods sector by addressing some of the key issues including availability of finance, raw material, productivity, quality and environment friendly manufacturing practices, innovation and technology, creating domestic demand and promoting exports.

    Strengthening the existing scheme of the DHI (Department of Heavy Industry) on enhancement of competitiveness of Capital Goods Sector by increasing budgetary allocation. It aims is to enhance the export of Indian made capital goods through  a 'Heavy Industry Export & Market Development Assistance Scheme (HIEMDA)'. 

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  • India participates in Cobra Gold 2016 multilateral exercise

     

    India participates in Cobra Gold 2016 multilateral exercise

    Twelve personnel from the engineering and service corps of the Indian Army are participating  as observers in the 35th edition of annual Asia-Pacific military exercise Cobra Gold " being hosted by Thailand, along with its counterparts from China and Pakistan. 

    India has been invited to the exercises as an “observer plus” country. Indian army has been invited for this Asia-Pacific military exercise keeping in view the recent trend of India’s increasing regional interoperability with a series of multi-lateral exercises on land and sea.

    Theme: Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief

    About Cobra Gold

    Cobra Gold is the largest Asia-Pacific military exercise held in Thailand every year. It is among the largest multinational military exercise in which the United States participates. Cobra Gold was first held in 1982  to improve coordination between the armed forces of the United States and Thailand in both hostile military and humanitarian efforts.

    Cobra Gold has three distinct activities

    • Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) 
    • Command Post Exercise (CPX) 
    • Assisting the local Thai population 

    The exercise was proved effective in improving coordinated military response during numerous natural disasters including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2011 Tohoku tsunami and aftermath 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines.

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  • Indian Railway opts for online fuel management system

     

    Indian Railway opts for online fuel management system

    Indian Railway is framing, a first of its kind proposal to develop an online fuel management system, to check pilferage and bring transparency in fuel consumption. 

    Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is likely to announce the fuel management system in the Rail Budget 2016-17 on February 25. Indian Railway spends about 14 per cent of its earning on high speed diesel which is approximately Rs 18,000 crore a year.

    Centre for Railway information systems (CRIS) , the technology arm of Indian Railway will develop the online fuel management system at an estimated cost of Rs 21 crore. once the system is operational, fuel-related information including consumption and expenditure will be known on real-time basis.

    There are Railway Diesel Installations (RDI) across the country where fuel is dispensed for rail use. Currently railways monitor use of fuel and expenditure of diesel manually which leaves scope for pilferage as well as excess expenditure but implementation of fuel management system in (RDIs), the complete activity of fuel receipt to issue to locomotive will be available online.

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  • Micromax enters top three handset brands in Russia

     

    Micromax enters top three handset brands in RussiaIndia’s home-grown handset brand Micromax has captured the third spot in the mobile market of Russia for the first time ever with 9 per cent market share and is  growing more than 350% annually. 

    Alcatel One Touch climbed to the number one spot, capturing 12% market share and growing 60% annually. Micromax, expanded its operations in Eastern Europe a couple of years ago, and is now leveraging benifits of distribution and marketing.

    The Russian economy shrank 3.7%, a sharp dip since the global crisis in 2009, but the overall mobile phone demand was surprisingly good, up by 8%. The growth in mobile market of Russia was driven by a rise in cheaper feature phone demand during the quarter. 

    The smartphone market was flat compared to last year which signals the demand for better and more affordable mobile devices, filling the demand gap. This is the correct time for cheap and affordable brands such as Micromax and Alcatel OneTouch to strengthen their brands in newer markets and move up the global rankings.

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  • Sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali passes away

     

    Sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali passes awayThe sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Boutros Boutros-Ghali died at a hospital in Cairo, Egypt. He was 93.

    He was Egyptian politician and diplomat and first Arab to serve as the chief of United Nations. Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN at a time when it dealt with several world crises, including the break-up of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan Genocide.

     

    Facts about Boutros Boutros-Ghali :

    • He was Born on November 14, 1922 into a Coptic Christian family in Cairo. His grandfather Boutros Ghali had been Prime Minister of Egypt . He was educated at Cairo University and University of Paris.
    • He later studied international relations at Columbia University in New York and became Egypt’s foreign minister in 1977 and President of the African Society of Political Studies in 1980.
    • In 1991 he was elected as the sixth Secretary-General of the UN. In 1992, he submitted An Agenda for Peace, a suggestion for how the UN could respond to violent conflict.
    • During his tenure as Secretary-General of the UN he was criticised for the UN's failure to act during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which officially left over one million people dead.One of the hardest tasks during his term was dealing with the crisis of the Yugoslav Wars after the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia.
    • After leaving the UN, Boutros-Ghali served from 1998 to 2002 as secretary-general of La Francophonie, a grouping of French-speaking nations. In 2004, he was named president of Egypt’s human rights council, a body created by then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
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  • IT highest paying sector in India : Report

     

    IT highest paying sector in India : ReportInformation Technology sector employees get the highest pay in India with a median gross hourly salary of Rs 346.42, while those in the manufacturing sector get paid the least at Rs 254.04 and those in BFSI sector are paid Rs. 300.23 per hour, says a report released by Monster Salary Index.

    Despite being paid about 24% higher than the median salary of country, only 57.4% employees in the IT sector are satisfied with their pay. Employees in the manufacturing sector are paid about 9% lesser than the median salary for the entire Indian economy taken together (Rs 279.7/hr).

    Study shows that irrespective of the education levels, the salaries in the manufacturing sector are very low even for a Master's degree holder the median hourly salary stands at Rs 260.8/hr. 

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Current Affairs 16 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Well-known music director Rajamani passes away

     

    Well-known music director Rajamani passes awayPopular musician Rajamani, well-known for his background scores in Malayalam movies passed away due to cardiac arrest in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He was 60. He had predominantly worked in Malayalam film industry and  composed songs for more than 70 Malayalam movies in his over three-decade long career.

    Facts about Rajamani

    Rajamani was the son of late musician B A Chidambaranath and his first tryst with music happened when he accompanied his father on a devotional album “Gangayar Pirakkunnu". He was just 13 years old.

    His first independent venture was 1983 Tamil film “Gramathu Kiligal”, followed by “Kalloori Kanavugal” in the same year. He made his Malayalam debut with the film "Nullinovikkathe" in 1985.

    He composed the background score for successful Malayalam films like The King, Ekalavyan, Commissioner, Aram Thampuran and Narasimham. He rendered background score for over 700 films. 

    His famous score music for Malayalam films are The King, Ekalavyan, Commissioner, Aram Thampuran and Narasimham. He had rendered background score for over 700 films and as a composer his last film was Malayalam romantic-drama Hide n’ Seek (2012). His last film as a composer was 2012 Malayalam romantic-drama “Hide n’ Seek”. 

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  • BHEL commissions 101-MW power plant in Tripura

     

    BHEL commissions 101-MW power plant in Tripura

    State-run engineering and manufacturing company Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned a 101-MW gas-based combined cycle power plant on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis at Monarchak, Tripura. The order for this power plant was placed on BHEL by North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO).

    With the commissioning of this project, the share of BHEL supplied sets in the installed power generating capacity of Tripura has gone up to 88 per cent. BHEL has supplied 1,000 MW of generating equipment in the north-eastern state of Tripura, till date.

    Key facts about the project

    Gas for the project will be supplied by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). Due to infrastructure constraints in transporting over dimensional consignments, BHEL has used  multi-modal transportation to ensure safe transportation.

    BHEL’s scope of work in the project includes supply of gas turbine, heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), steam turbine, generators and latest controls and instrumentation, including plant civil work.

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  • India, Sweden ink MoU on technical cooperation

     

    India, Sweden ink MoU on technical cooperation

    India and Sweden have signed an agreement for technical cooperation in railways and other areas. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between Union Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation of Sweden.

    Objective of the MoU :- The main objectives of the MoU is to develop cooperation in railways and achieve concrete results with regard to bilateral trade, investment and research and technology transfer.

    The areas of cooperation include benchmark railway projects, exchange of knowledge, training and education and sustainable solutions. The MoU will remain in force for 5 years and can be extended for a further period of 5 years with the written consent of both sides.

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  • 7th edition of India, Seychelles joint military exercise LAMITYE 2016 begins

     

    7th edition of India, Seychelles joint military exercise LAMITYE 2016 beginsThe 7th edition of joint military exercise LAMITYE 2016  between Indian Army and Seychelles People's Defence Forces (SPDF) has begun in Victoria, Seychelles. The 14 day joint exercise has been conducted at Seychelles Defence Academy (SDA), Victoria. It will conclude on February 28, 2016.

    This edition of joint military drill, will be concluding phase of the drill. It will be incorporating a tactical exercise and will be witnessed by senior military officers from both the countries who will review the standards of interoperability achieved by both the contingents.

    Facts about LAMITYE 2016 :

    India and Seychelles have been conducting joint drill ‘Exercise Lamitye’ since 2001. Lamitye which means friendship in Creole (local dialect), is conducted biennially with the aim of enhancing military cooperation and interoperability between the two countries. 

    Representation: Seychelles People's Defence Forces (SPDF) will be represented by 20 personnel from Tazar (Special Forces Unit) and 32 from Seychelles Infantry while the Indian contingent will comprise an infantry platoon and representatives from the Special Forces. 

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  • Prithvi II missile successfully test-fired from Chandipur

     

    Prithvi II missile successfully test-fired from ChandipurToday India successfull test-fired its indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile, from the Chandipur, off Odisha coast. The test was conducted by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) and was monitored by the scientists from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

    The missile test was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 1000 hrs. The test has met all its mission objectives. Prithvi-II  already has been inducted into India’s armed forces in 2003. The last user trial of it was successfully conducted in November 2015 from the same test range.

    Facts about Prithvi-II missile

    Prithvi-II missile  is a tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) eveloped by DRDO under India’s prestigious IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program).

    • Range: The surface-to-surface Prithvi-II ballistic missile has a strike range of 350 km.
    • Warheads: It is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads.
    • Other Variants : Prithvi-I  (Army Version), Prithvi II (Air Force Version), Prithvi III (Naval Version)
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Current Affairs 15 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Indian Ambassador to Tajikistan Biraja Prasad passes away

     

    Indian Ambassador to Tajikistan Biraja Prasad passes awayIndia's Ambassador to Tajikistan Biraja Prasad passed away following a massive cardiac arrest. He was a 1998 batch Indian Foreign Service officer and the youngest IFS officer to be appointed as India's Ambassador to any country.

    About Biraja Prasad

    Biraja Prasad had Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Electronics and Communication Engineering.     He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1998. 

    He had held different diplomatic assignments such as third secretary and then second secretary (Political) in Embassy of India, Moscow (Russian Federation) from 2000 to 2002 and Second Secretary (Political and Commercial).

    He had also served as under secretary (Russia) in the Ministry of External Affairs , New Delhi, from 2004 to 2005 and under secretary (Europe West) from 2005 to 2007.

    He  had also worked as undersecretary (Europe West) from 2005 to 2007 in MEA where had handled work related to India’s bilateral relations with Russia, France, Germany and Spain.  He had also worked as Deputy Chief of Mission in Embassy of India at Madrid (Spain).

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  • West Indies wins ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2016

     

    West Indies wins ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2016West Indies U-19 team has won the 2016 ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup for the first time by defeating India which is three time world champion of  ICC U-19 World Cup. West Indies defeated India by five wickets in the final match played at Mirpur (Bangladesh). In the final match West Indies team achieved the target of 146 runs set by India in 49.3 overs. In the first inning, the score of Indian team was 145 in 45.1 overs.

    Man of the match: Keacy Carty (West Indies) 
    Player of the tournament: Mehidy Hasan Miraz (Bangladesh)

    2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup

    It was the eleventh edition of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, and the second to be held in Bangladesh, after the 2004 event. Ten teams qualified automatically for the tournament through their status as ICC full members, while five others qualified by winning regional qualifying events. Ishan Kishan was the captain of Indian team.

    Top five cricket teams: West Indies, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

    It was fifth time India was playing in the Under-19 World Cup final. West Indies was appearing for the second time in the final match.

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  • Make in India week: 3 MoUs worth Rs 21,000 Cr signed

     

    Make in India week: 3 MoUs worth Rs 21,000 Cr signedOn the first day of Make in India week in Mumbai, Maharashtra, three Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) were signed, envisaging total investment of Rs 21,000 crore.These MoUs were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

    The MoUs Signed are :

    First MoU: As part of ‘Farm to Fabric’ initiative a MoU has been signed between Raymond Industries and MIDC under which Raymond intends to invest 1,400 crore rupees for manufacturing of abric, linen yarn and garmenting in the state. 

    Second MoU : TwinStar Display has inked MoU with Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to set up an LCD manufacturing unit in collaboration with Autron of Taiwan. The project entails investment of 20,000 crore rupees.

    Third MoU:  Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages, Jain Irrigation Pvt Ltd and Department of Agriculture and Marketing of Maharashtra have signed the MoU for setting up a juice manufacturing facility to support farmers growing oranges in Vidarbha region of state.

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  • Film on conservation efforts by Nagaland villagers wins award

     

    Film on conservation efforts by Nagaland villagers wins award'Nagaland is changing, But...', a film on conservation efforts by villagers has won the Golden Beaver Best Film Award in the institutional category at this year's 6th National Science Film Festival in Mumbai. The film also received the technical excellence award for best sound design at the festival, organized by Vigyan Prasar of the Department of Science and Technology. 

    The film was produced by Nagaland State Forest Department in 2015, in technical collaboration with TERI, New Delhi. The film is about community conservation areas of Nagaland at Sendenyu village in Kohima district and Sukhai village in Zunheboto district. 

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  • Pachauri goes on leave, Ashok Chawla appointed as new Chairman of TERI

     

    Pachauri goes on leave, Ashok Chawla appointed as new Chairman of TERIFacing widespread criticism from the media and women’s rights lawyers, R K Pachauri went on indefinite leave from TERI and its Governing Council, just three days after he was elevated to the position of Executive Vice Chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute TERI.

    The Governing Council of TERI has appointed Former finance secretary Ashok Chawla as the Chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) replacing noted scientist B V Sreekantan. He has also has been appointed as Chairman of TERI’s Governing Council. The executive powers of TERI have been vested in Ajay Mathur, its new director general who assumed charge on February 8.

    Ashok Chawla is an  IAS officer of 1973 batch from Gujarat cadre. He has served as the former Union Finance Secretary and former Chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

    The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

    The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) is a non-profit research institution that conducts research work in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development.

    • Establishment of TERI : The establishment of TERI is rooted to Mithapur, a remote town in Gujarat, where a TATA engineer, Darbari Seth, was concerned about the enormous quantities of energy his factory spent on desalination. He proposed the idea of a research institute to tackle the depletion of natural resources and energy scarcity. His innovative idea was liked and accepted by the than chairman of the TATA Group, J. R. D. Tata and TERI was set up with a modest corpus of 35 million rupees. It was renamed as The Energy and Resources Institute in 2003.
    • Objectives : The main motto of  TERI is to formulate local and national level strategies for shaping global solutions to critical issues. TERI has over 1200 employees, especially research professionals from different disciplines pertaining to issues of environment and energy. In 2013, International Centre for Climate Governance (ICCG) ranked it as the topmost global think-tank.

     

     

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  • Vidya Balan honoured with ‘Pride of Kerala’ award

     

    Vidya Balan honoured with ‘Pride of Kerala’ award

    Bollywood actress Vidya Balan, who hails from Kerala has been felicitated with ‘Pride of Kerala’ award by the World Malayalee Council and Kairali TV.  National award-winning actress made her debut in Bollywood in 2005 in Parineeta and had featured in films like “Parineeta”, “Paa”, “No One Killed Jessica”, “The Dirty Picture” and “Kahaani”. 

    Awards and Honours : She was awarded five Filmfare Awards in Best Female Debut category for Parineeta (2005), Best Actress for Paa (2009), The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani (2012) and Critics Award for Best Actress for Ishqiya (2010). She has also got National Film Award for Best Actress for The Dirty Picture (2011) and Padma Shri Award in 2014.

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  • Jnanpith-winning, Malayalam poet O N V Kurup passes away

     

    Jnanpith-winning, Malayalam poet O N V Kurup passes away

    The celebrated Malayalam poet and lyricist O N V Kurup (84), passed away in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala due to age-related ailments. He was the face of the Malayalam cultural world through his works and also a leading person of progressive movement in Kerala.

    About O N V Kurup

    He was born on 27 May 1931 at Chavara, Kollam. He graduated in Economics from SN College, Kollam and later pursued Master of Arts in Malayalam literature from  Travancore University. His first poem “Munnottu” (Forward) about his patriotic feelings was published in 1946.

    He was much-loved and respected teacher of Malayalam literature and started his career as a lecturer in Maharajas College, Ernakulam  later he taught at the different colleges and retired from service in 1986. O. N. V. Kurup was also a lyricist in Malayalam cinema. He has penned a lot of lyrics for dramas and TV serials also.

    • Notable works : His notable works include Agnishalabhangal (1971), Aksharam (1974), Uppu (1980), Bhoomikkoru Charamageetham (1984), Ujjayini (1994) and Swayamvaram (1995). He had served as Chairman of the Kerala Kalamdandalam and also held several top positions in various arts and literary bodies.
    • Awards and Honours: He was awarded Padma Shri in 1998, Padma Vibhushan in 2011, Jnanpith Award in 2007.
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  • Tamar Hahn of Israel appointed as Director of United Nations Information Centre

     

    Tamar Hahn of Israel appointed as Director of United Nations Information Centre

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Tamar Hahn from Israel as the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Buenos Aires.

    Prior to this appointment, she was serving as the Regional Adviser for Resource Mobilization and Partnerships at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama City, Panama, since 2013.

    United Nations Information Centre

    United Nations Information Centres which have the network of 63 centres  around the world serves as regional couriers of information from the UN to the local public.They are operated by the United Nations Department of Public Information.

    These centres, work in coordination with the UN system, reach out to the media and educational institutions, engage in partnerships with governments, local civil society organizations and the private sector, and maintain libraries and electronic information resource.

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  • Union Government launches National Framework for Elimination of Malaria 

     

    Union Government launches National Framework for Elimination of Malaria

    Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Shri J P Nadda has launched the National Framework for MalariaElimination (NFME) 2016-2030, which outlines India’s strategy for elimination of the disease by 2030 after neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal reported no deaths due to the vector-borne disease in the past several years.

    Highlights of the framework :

    This framework has been developed with a vision to eliminate malaria from the country and contribute to improved health and quality of life and alleviation of poverty. Under the framework whole country will be divided into three categories as per malaria prevalence — low (Category 1), moderate (Category 2) and endemic (Category 3) States. 

     

    Objectives of the NFME :

    • Eliminate malaria from all low (Category 1) and moderate (Category 2) endemic states/UTs  by 2022
    • Reduce incidence of malaria to less than 1 case per 1000 population in all States/UTs by 2024
    • Interrupt indigenous transmission of malaria in all category 3 states by 2027. 
    • Prevent re-establishment of local transmission of malaria in areas where it has been eliminated and to maintain malaria-free status of the country by 2030.

    By the end of 2017, all States/UTs are expected to bring down Annual Parasite Incidence [API] to less than one per thousand population. By the end of 2020, 15 endemic (category 1) States/UTs are expected to interrupt transmission of malaria and achieve 0 indigenous cases and deaths due to malaria. By end of 2020, 15 states/UTs under category 1 (elimination phase) are expected to interrupt transmission of malaria and achieve zero indigenous cases and deaths due to malaria.

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  • Soviet football legend Anatoli Ilyin passes away

     

    Soviet football legend Anatoli Ilyin passes away

    Soviet football legend Anatoly Ilyin passed away on 10 February 2016 in Moscow, Russia. He was 84. He played for the Spartak Moscow club for the majority of his professional career (1949-1962).

    He mostly played at striker position and was capped 31 times by the then Sovietbetween 1952-59 and scored 16 goals and was best known for scoring winning goal that had helped Russia  to win gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics against Yugoslavia. Ilyin also participated in the 1958 FIFA World Cup. 

    Anatoli Ilyin was the member of  Grigory Fedotov club. He was Soviet Top League winner in 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1962 and  Top League top scorer in  1954 (11 goals) and 1958 (20 goals).

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  • Neem extract may help treat pancreatic cancer: Study

     

    Neem extract may help treat pancreatic cancer: StudyA new study has claimed that the natural extract derived from the neem tree, commonly found in India, could potentially be used to treat pancreatic cancer without harming normal, healthy cells.The study was conducted by the researchers from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. 

    Neem : Miraculous drug for pancreatic cancer

    Scientists tested nimbolide, a compound found in neem leaves, against pancreatic cancer in cell lines and mice. Scientists tested nimbolide, a compound found in neem leaves, against pancreatic cancer in cell lines and mice. The results showed that nimbolide can stop pancreatic cancer's growth and metastasis without harming normal, healthy cells. 

    During the study it was observed that nimbolide was able to reduce the migration and invasion capabilities of pancreatic cancer cells by 70 per cent which means that cancerous cells did not become aggressive and spread. It should be noted that in humans, this migration and invasion-or metastasis-of pancreatic cancer to other regions of the body is the chief cause of mortality. Nimbolide treatments also induced cancer cell death, causing the size and number of pancreatic cancer cell colonies to drop by 80 per cent. 

    Pancreatic cancer : Pancreatic cancer arises when cells in the pancreas, a glandular organ behind the stomach, begin to multiply out of control and form a mass. It has the highest mortality rate among the all other forms of cancers.Around 94 per cent of patients suffering from it die within five years of diagnosis. 

    Medicinal values of Neem tree : Azadirachta indica which is commonly known as Neem, is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is native to India and the Indian subcontinent including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Products made from neem trees have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties. Neem products are believed by Siddha and Ayurvedic practitioners to be antihelmenthic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive and sedative. Neem oil contains fatty acid and vitamin E and is used for healthy hair, to improve liver function, detoxify the blood, and balance blood sugar levels

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Current Affairs 13 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Uttar Pradesh govt amends "UP land reform act"

     

    Uttar Pradesh govt amends "UP land reform act"

    Uttar Pradesh has amended Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reform Act allowing the Scheduled castes to sell their farm land to non-dalits without asking for permission from District magistrate. Uttar Pradesh (UP) Land Revenue Act, 2015 has been notified in this regard.The new revenue act also replaced the pre and post British era British era Land Revenue Act of 1901 and Zamindari Abolition and Land Reform Act 1950.

    Earlier there were some clauses in the Act which said that dalit cannot sell his land to non-dalit unless he takes permission from the DM.  The law also said that DM cannot give permission if on the given day the area of the proposed land is less than 1.26 hectares or after selling a portion of the land the original land becomes less than 1.26 hectare. This clause was creating problem in selling land.

    In many cases, when dalits were in urgent need of money and they wanted to sell off their property they could not do so because they cannot sell it off to non-dalits. Then they were either forced to sell the land to a dalit at a throw away price or take loan from the private money lender but now this decision of the government will allow the dalits to use land as a medium to earn money at times of need.

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  • BCCI banned Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf for 5 years

     

    BCCI banned Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf for 5 yearsThe Disciplinary Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has banned controversial Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf for five years from any form of cricket that falls under purview of the Indian Board. The committee, headed by BCCI president Shashank Manohar and comprising Jyotiraditya Scindia and Niranjan Shah has passed order in this regard.

    59-year-old, Asad Rauf, who was part of the ICC's elite panel and officiated in Test matches, was accused of accepting expensive gifts from bookies besides placing bets on IPL matches in the 2013 edition. 

    Legal ground for ban : He has been found guilty of  misconduct and corruption within the meaning of Article 2.2.2, 2.3.2, 2.3.3 and 2.4.1 of the BCCI Anti Corruption Code. The articles under which he has been found guilty deal with "soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging, facilitating or authorising any other party to enter into a bet for the direct or indirect benefit of the Participant in relation to the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any match or event

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  • Vilas Tonapi appointed as Director of Indian Institute of Millets Research

     

    Vilas Tonapi appointed as Director of Indian Institute of Millets ResearchDr. Vilas A. Tonapi has been appointed Director of Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad. He is currently serving as the Principal Scientist at Seed Science and Technology of the IIMR.

    Dr. Vilas A. Tonapi

    Earlier, Dr. Tonapi has served as Head, Division of Seed Science and Technology, IARI, New Delhi. He holds a Ph.D from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and did his post Doctoral from University of Queensland, Australia.

    His field of specialisation includes Planning, development and management of crop improvement programmes and strategies. He has 50 research papers to his credit in peer reviewed journals, 30 authored and edited books.

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  • ’Nidar’ India’s Lightest Revolver weighing 250gm

     

    ’Nidar’ India’s Lightest Revolver weighing 250gmBoosting the 'Make in India' initiative, the Rifle Factory Ishapore, has indigenously developed country's lightest revolver 'Nidar' which weighs merely 250 grams and costing  35,000 rupees. Two years ago India had also launched Nirbheek, the country's "first gun for women" weighing 500 grams and costing 1,22,000.

    Unlike costly titanium alloy used in Nirbheek, Nidar is made with an aluminium alloy called  'DTD5124' which makes it very light, but has supreme metal strength. It has a 40-mm barrel and is just 140mm in length which makes it "small enough to fit into small purse, handbag, pockets of trousers and jackets.

    The revolver is capable of firing eight rounds loaded in a revolving chamber against Nirbheek which has only six rounds capacity. Nidar has been developed mainly for office going/ professional men and women, so that they can defend themselves from goons roaming on the urban streets.

    Both guns Nirbheek and Nidar have been named after Nirbhaya - the nickname given by the Indian press to Jyoti Singh, the 23-year-old victim of December 2012 fatal gang rape. All three words mean fearless in Hindi.

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  • Gujarat to have India’s first disabled-friendly beach

     

    Gujarat to have India’s first disabled-friendly beachA person relises his disablity when he has no choice but to depend on someone for basic accessibility to places like hospitals, movie theatres, train stations, beaches and parks because in India most of these places lack the necessary facilities for the disabled although various attempts to make public areas inclusive for the disabled under "Accessible India campaign" have been successful, but we are still a long way to go.

    The Tithal Beach  in Valsad district of Gujarat is one of the most popular tourist spot in Gujarat with an average of thousand visitors on a weekly basis but it is not that easy for a disabled person to feel the pleasure of cool sand beneath their foot and the fresh breazes flowing nearby because their wheelchair can not negotiate on sand so the Union Govt has planned to make it India’s first disable friendly beach by providing proper infrastructure. Government will provide Rs.5 crore in the first phase.

    Key Highlights about the Project :

    • In the first phase of the project 1 km beach stretch will have disabled-friendly food courts, washrooms and entertainment area.
    • Ramps and railings will lead up from the parking area to the beach.
    • Everything from washrooms to food court will be accessible for those who use wheelchairs.
    • The food counters will be at a lower height for the disabled.
    • The total budget for the first phase is set to Rs 5 crore.
    • The plans have been chalked out in close consultation with the disabled.
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  • Four Indian-Americans selected to U.S. National Academy of Engineering

     

    Four Indian-Americans selected to U.S. National Academy of EngineeringFour Indian-Americans have been selected for the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE)  to be part of its new list of 80 members for their valuable contributions to the society.

    Selected Indian-Americans are :-

    Anil K. Jain :  An IIT-Kanpur alumnus, he was elected for his contributions to the practice of biometrics and field of engineering. He is currently working as a distinguished professor at the Michigan State University in East Lansing in the department of computer science and engineering.

    Arati Prabhakar :  Prabhakar was chosen for national leadership to advance semiconductor and information technologies. He is currently director of the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Virginia. 

    Ganesh Thakur : He has been selected for his leadership in the implementation of integrated reservoir management techniques. He is currently the president of Thakur Services Inc. in Houston, Texas.

    K.R. Sridhar : Sridhar was selected for his contributions to the thermal packaging of electrochemical systems and transport phenomena and also for the generation of clean, affordable and reliable power. Currently he is chief executive officer and principal co-founder of Bloom Energy Corporation in California. Earlier, he had worked with the NASA Mars programme.

    About US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) 

    The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private non-profit governmental organization (NGO) in the United States. It was established in 1964 and is part of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.The NAE operates engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages research and education. It also recognizes the superior achievements of engineers.New members NAE are elected annually by current members based on their distinguished achievements in original research.

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  • 13 February : World Radio Day

     

    13 February : World Radio DayWorld Radio Day is observed annually on 13 February. It is a day to remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe. World Radio Day is about celebrating radio, why we love it and why we need it today more than ever.

    Today we have various advanced technologies for communication but Radio still remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide, in the quickest possible time. World Radio Day was proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO's 36th General Conference after originally proposed by the Kingdom of Spain.  

    Theme for the year 2016 : This year, the UNESCO theme for World Radio Day is “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster”

    All India Radio (AIR) :

    All India Radio (AIR) which is officially known as Akashvani is the national public radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. It is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, the national public television broadcaster.

    • Established : 1930
    • Headquarters :  Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi

    All India Radio is one of the largest radio networks in the world and has  covered more than 99% of the Indian Population as per the latest information given by Minister of Information and Broadcast. AIR has many services in a number of languages, each serving different regions across India.

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Current Affairs 12 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Ramesh Abhishek appointed DIPP Secretary

     

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

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

    Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) :

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

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

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

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  • Suresh Prabhu launches 3 IT enabled applications for railways

     

    Suresh Prabhu launches 3 IT enabled applications for railways

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

    Three IT enabled apps are :

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

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

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

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

     

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

    Facts about Leslie Bassett :

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Wipro acquires Florida-based HealthPlan Services for USD 460 m

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

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

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

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

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  • Australia makes Harinder Sidhu High Commissioner to India

     

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

    Facts about Harinder Sidhu 

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

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

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

    Indo-Australia relationship 

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

     

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

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

    Karnataka Mobile One m-governance model 

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

     

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

     

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

    International Chamber of Commerce Commission (ICC) 

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

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

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  • India, UAE ink 7 deals to boost bilateral ties

     

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

    Key Agreements are 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Wild pigs declared vermin in Uttarakhand for a year

     

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

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

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

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

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Current Affairs 11 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Maharashtra tops in internet readiness index

     

    Maharashtra tops in internet readiness index

    Maharashtra has emerged as the top ranking state in terms of overall Internet readiness index, followed by Karnataka, Gujarat, Telengana and Tamil Nadu, as per recently released Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States (IIRIS) report, published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indicus Analytics

    The Internet readiness index is a composite index that measures internet penetration and usage in Indian states based on four components (i) mobile and internet infrastructure (ii) status of the IT service sector (iii) e-participation or use of online transactions and services by citizens (iv) e-governance services offered by the states.

    Objectives of Internet readiness index :The purpose of the report was to help business and governments to leverage the strength, and policy measures that can be taken where improvements are required and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the states. It also aims to give a more holistic picture of the digital ecosphere that presently exists in the states.

    Key Points from the report :

    Top 5 states: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Telengana and Tamil Nadu. 

    Smaller states and Union Territories: Among the smaller States, Delhi has emerged on top in terms of Internet readiness index, followed by Puducherry and Goa. Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh ranks top.

    North East states: The smaller states in North East India have not even figured among the smaller states which gives clear indication that much more needs to be done in the form of investment and infrastructure development in the region.

     

     

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  • India sanctions funds for Agartala-Akhaura rail link Project

     

    India sanctions funds for Agartala-Akhaura rail link ProjectSix years after the finalisation of a new India-Bangladesh railway project, Union Government has sanctioned about 580 crore rupees for Agartala-Akhaura railway link Project to connect Kolkata (West Bengal) with Tripura via Bangladesh. The project's cost was earlier estimated at Rs.271 crore but  Rs.302 crore more was needed  to acquire around 97.6 acres of land in Tripura for laying the track.

    Agartala-Akhaura Railway Link Project : The Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh) railway project was finalised in January 2010 when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during her visit to New Delhi. The 15-km-long Agartala-Akhaura railway route would connect Indian Railways with the Bangladesh Railways. Of the 15 km strategic railway track, 10 km falls in the Bangladesh side and the rest 5 km falls in India. The work on this project is expected to complete by 2017.

    Advantages of Agartala-Akhaura railway project :

    • Agartala-Akhaura railway project would provide a major boost to development and economy of the northeastern region of India and eastern Bangladesh.
    • The 1,650-km distance between Agartala and Kolkata would be reduced to only 550 km once the new rail track is linked through Banglades
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  • Rajendra K Pachauri appointed as Executive Vice Chairman of TERI

     

    Former Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has been appointed as Executive Vice Chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). The post of Executive Vice Chairman has been recently created and Pachauri will be the first to hold the post.

    Rajendra K Pachauri

    Rajendra Kumar Pachauri was born on 20 August 1940, in Nainital, Uttarakhand. He passed out from Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Jamalpur, Bihar and started his career with the Indian Railways at the Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi.

    Later he joined the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, USA, where he obtained an MS in Industrial Engineering in 1972, and a PhD with co-majors in Industrial Engineering and Economics in 1974.

    Later from August 1974 to May 1975 he served as Assistant Professor and Visiting Faculty Member in the Department of Economics and Business at North Carolina State, US. 

    He has also served as a Visiting Professor of Resource Economics at the College of Mineral and Energy Resources, West Virginia University. Later he had returned to India and had worked with Hyderabad based Administrative Staff College of India. 

    Later he went on to become Director of Consulting and Applied Research Division. He had joined TERI as Director in 1982. In April 2002, he was elected Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations panel established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    During his stint as Chairman, IPCC had won Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its 4th Assessment Report (AR). In February 2015, he was removed as Director General of TERI after one of his junior colleague accused him of sexual harassment and internal committee report found him guilty of misconduct.

    The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) 

    The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) is a non-profit research institution that conducts research work in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development.

    Establishment of TERI The establishment of TERI is rooted to Mithapur, a remote town in Gujarat, where a TATA engineer, Darbari Seth, was concerned about the enormous quantities of energy his factory spent on desalination. He proposed the idea of a research institute to tackle the depletion of natural resources and energy scarcity. His innovative idea was liked and accepted by the than chairman of the TATA Group, J. R. D. Tata and TERI was set up with a modest corpus of 35 million rupees. It was renamed as The Energy and Resources Institute in 2003.

    Objectives : The main motto of  TERI is to formulate local and national level strategies for shaping global solutions to critical issues. TERI has over 1200 employees, especially research professionals from different disciplines pertaining to issues of environment and energy. In 2013, International Centre for Climate Governance (ICCG) ranked it as the topmost global think-tank.

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  • NATO, EU sign agreement on cyberdefense cooperation

     

    NATO, EU sign agreement on cyberdefense cooperationEuropean Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in the sphere of cyberdefense, with an aim to curb modern forms of hybrid warfare.

    The agreement was signed between NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) and the Computer Emergency Response Team – European Union (CERT-EU).

    The agreement facilitates technical information sharing between NCIRC and CERT-EU so as to improve cyber incident prevention, detection and response and implement the objectives of the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework.

    The EU-NATO cooperation in cyber security started in 2010, with staff-to-staff cyber defence consultations and informal meetings. The EU has been also observing the NATO annual cyber defence exercise, "Cyber Coalition".

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  • India ranks 37th on USCC’s 2016 Intellectual Property Index

     

    India ranks 37th on USCC’s 2016 Intellectual Property IndexIndia has ranked 37th out of 38 countries in recently released Intellectual Property Index (IPI) by United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC). The 38 countries that have been evaluated accounts for nearly 85% of the global GDP. Venezuela with 6.42 points has been ranked the lowest below India.

    In this edition of IP Index, India has scored 7.05, lower than last year’s 7.23.The country has remained at the bottom of the index for the fourth consecutive year. In 2015, it had moved one notch higher from the last position to the second last.

    Top 10 Countries: US (28.6 score), UK (27.5), Germany (27.4), France (27.2), Sweden (27.1), Singapore (25.6), Switzerland (24.9), Australia (24.8), Japan (23.3) and South Korea (23.3). BRICS Countries: Russia (20th Rank), China (22nd), South Africa (26th), Brazil (29th) and India (37th). 

    Reasons for India’s lower ranking 

    • The Patentability requirements are outside international standards
    • Compulsory licensing provisions for commercial & non-commercial situations
    • Limited framework for addressing online piracy
    • High level of software piracy, music piracy and counterfeit goods
    • India is not signatory to any of the major international IP treaties
    • Poor enforcement of civil and criminal remedies

    Intellectual Property Index : Intellectual Property Index has been prepared by USCC’s Global Intellectual Property Chamber (GIPC). It was started in 2012 and some of its criteria are patent, copyright and trademark protections, enforcement and engagement in international treaties.

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  • UAE to store crude oil in Mangalore petroleum reserve

     

    UAE to store crude oil in Mangalore petroleum reserveIn a first of its kind deal, the UAE’s national oil company, Abu Dhabi National Oil (ADNOC) has agreed to store crude oil in India’s maiden Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRs) storage and give two-third of the oil to it for free. India has partnered with other countries for storing crude oil in the SPR storage for emergency purpose.

    Strategic Petroleum Reserves : India, which imports 79 per cent of its crude oil needs,  is building underground SPR storages at Visakhapatnam (1.33 million tonnes capacity), Mangalore (1.5 million tonnes) and Padur (2.5 million tonnes) to store about 5.33 million tonnes of crude oil.These SPRs will act as buffer stock against global price shocks and supply disruptions.

    It will stock 0.75 million tonnes or 6 million barrels of oil in one compartment of the Mangalore facility. Of this, 0.5 million tons will belong to India and it can use it in emergencies. Adnoc will use the facility as a warehouse to trade its oil.

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  • February 10 observed as National Deworming Day

     

    February 10 observed as National Deworming DayThe National Deworming Day is observed on February 10 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The main objective of this day is to combat parasitic worm infections among preschool and school-age children across India. This year marks the second edition of the observance of this day after it was launched in 2015 by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

    Significance of deworming children : Worm infections have serious health effect on preschool and school-age children between the ages of 1-19 years as it causes anemia, malnourishment, impaired mental and physical development thus impacing education and overall productivity of the childern. On this day, Albendazole tablets are given to all targeted children. Children at the age of (1-2) are given half a tablet of of albendazole (400mg), while one full tablet for 2-19 years is given.

    Childern with deworming infection : As per the reports released by World Health Organization (WHO),  India has the highest burden of Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) in the world. Approximately 220 million children aged 1-14 are estimated to be at risk of worm infections. National Family Health Survey reports, 2016 says that about 7 in 10 children between 6 month and 5 years are anaemic and the risk is even higher in  rural areas.

    Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) : Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) or Parasitic worms are among the most common infections worldwide. It lives in human intestines and consume nutrients meant for the human body.  It causes complications among the children resulting in anaemia, malnutrition and improper mental and physical development.They produce thousands of eggs each day, which are passed in faeces and spread to others in areas used for public toilet. 

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  • Veteran filmmaker Aurobindo Mukherjee passes away

     

    Veteran filmmaker Aurobindo Mukherjee passes away

    Veteran filmmaker Aurobindo Mukherjee passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 97. Mukherjee was ailing from geriatric problems for some time. Mukherjee was the maker of cult Bengali classics like 'Agniswar', 'Mouchak' and 'Nishipadma' all starring matinee idol Uttam Kumar in the early 70s. 

    He was younger brother of famous novelist Balaichand Mukhopadhyay who is popularly known as Bonophool. He joined Tollywood in 1950s. Shakti Samanta's 'Amar Prem', starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore, was inspired by 'Nishipadma'. 

    Aurobindo Mukherjee had given debut role to than young Jaya Bhaduri in 'Dhanyee Meye' in 1971. She later became famous Bollywood actress and married superstar Amitabh Bachchan .

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Current Affairs 09 Feb 2016 Feb 2016

  • Noted Urdu poet Nida Fazli passes away

     

    Noted Urdu poet Nida Fazli passes awayNoted Urdu poet and well known Bollywood lyricis Nida Fazli passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra following a heart attack. He was 78. He was best known among  the readers and ghazal singers for his elegant presentation and exclusive use of colloquial language for ghazals, dohaas and nazms.

    About Nida Fazli

    He was born as Muqtida Hasan Nida Fazli on 12 October, 1938  in Delhi, India into a Kashmiri family and grew up in Gwalior. He was the son of famous poet Murtaza Hasan Baidi. At the time of partition, his parents had migrated to Pakistan while he preferred to stay in India. 

    He moved to Mumbai in search of a job in 1964 and wrote in Dharmayug and Blitz magazines in early days of his career. His poetic works attracted the notice of filmmakers and writers of Hindi and Urdu literature.

    His poetry were unique mixture of both urban and village landscapes exploring nature and human relations. Songs written by his have been featured in several Indian films. He has authored 24 books in Urdu, Hindi and Gujarati languages. Some of his books are assigned as school textbooks in Maharashtra.

    • Best Known Works : Lafzon ke Phool (collection of sher-o-shayari), Mor Naach (collected works) in 1978, Mulaqaten (character-sketches), Aankh aur Khwab ke Darmiyan, Safar Mein Dhuup to Hogi, etc.
    • Popular film songs : Tu is tarah se meri zindagi mein (Aap To Aise Na The), Aa bhi jaa (Sur) and Hosh waalon ko khabar (Sarfarosh) etc.
    • Most acclaimed shers : ‘Duniya jise kehte hain jaadu kaa khilona hai, Mil jaaye to mitti hai, kho jaaye to sona hai’.
    • Awards and Honours : Sahitya Akademi Award  (1998), Star Screen Award for Best Lyricist (2003), Bollywood Movie Award - Best Lyricist (2003), Padma Shri (2013).
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  • Chettinad Cotton Saree gets Indian Handloom tag  

     

    Chettinad Cotton Saree gets Indian Handloom tagThe Union textile ministry has awarded ‘India Handloom’ tag to Chettinad cotton sarees  for its unique designs and identity. This prestigious tag was bestowed under the India Handloom Brand Scheme after checking various quality parameters stipulated by the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The Union Ministry has also offered a logo which will enhance it's brand value and boost the marketing of the product. It will also enable weavers of these saris to promote the material in the international market thus empower the local workforce.

    Chettinad cotton sareesChettinad cotton saree which is also known as the “kandaangi” is the traditional sari of the Chettinad region in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. The dramatic and spontaneous use of colour and pattern with bold checks, stripes and contrasting hues makes it unique among other sarees. The colours of these saris never fade, and unlike other cotton saris, they will retain their 48-inch width even after umpteen number of machine or hand washes. These sarees very popular in the northern part of the country and are worn by ladies on special ocassions. It is also famous im countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

    India Handloom BrandThe 'India Handloom Brand' is an endorsement to quality of the handloom products right from its inception, that is raw material, processing, embellishments, design besides compliances of social and environment

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  • Indo-Nepal military exercise Surya Kiran IX begins in Pithoragarh

     

    Indo-Nepal military exercise Surya Kiran IX begins in Pithoragarh

    The 9th India-Nepal combined exercise Surya Kiran IX has commenced at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand. The exercise will culminate on February 21. The 14-day India-Nepal combined military exercise, is being conducted under the aegis of Panchshul Brigade of Central Command. Indian army is being represented by Infantry Battalion while the Nepal army is being represented by officers and troops of the elite Shree RudraDhoj battalion.

    During the combined training, both armies will focus on  upgradation of tactical and practical skills by sharing each other’s experiences. They will also focus on enhancing interoperability in Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare operations in mountain terrain.  Armed Forces of both countries have played crucial role in disaster management and relief operations  in the recent years. Therefore, focus will also be laid on humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, including medical and aviation aspects.

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  • Nepal’s former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala passes away

     

    Nepal’s former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala passes awayNepal’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Nepali Congress, Sushil Koirala (78), in capital city Kathmandu following his worsening lung condition. He was the Prime Minister of Nepal from 11 February 2014 to 10 October 2015. 

    He presided over the promulgation of the new constitution of Nepal which is criticised for being discriminatory by the pro-blockade activist.  He ceased from office of PM after he lost the elction in October 2015 which brought Kharga Prasad Oli as the next Prime Minister.

    After the unfortunate demise of Sushil Koirala now the future course of the Nepali Congress, the biggest liberal political party of Nepal is left in charge of Sujata Koirala, daughter of Girija Prasad Koirala and her relative Shekhar Koirala as there is no one among the older generation of the Koiralas.

    About Sushil Koirala 

    Sushil Koirala was born on 12 August 1939 in Biratnagar, second-biggest city of Nepal. He was very inspired by the social-democratic ideals of the Nepali Congress and so he joined politics in 1954 by joining Nepali Congress and since than he has served Nepali Congress in various capacities and was elected as its President in 2010 and remained it's president till his death.

    Koirala was from  Nepal’s politically prominent Koirala family and his cousins Matrika Prasad Koirala, Girija Prasad Koirala and Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala were the former Prime Ministers of Nepal. He was in political exile in India for 16 years following the royal takeover of 1960. Koirala also spent three years in Indian prisons for his involvement in a plane hijacking in 1973.

    His leadership played a crucial role in making Nepali Congress as the largest party of Nepal in the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections which made significant contribution is  drafting the new constitution of Nepal. During his tenure as Prime Minister a historic agreement among 4 major political parties was reached was reached in June 2015, which made the way for the  unopposed adaptation of new republic constitution of Nepal.

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  • New luminous creatures found in the Red Sea

     

    New luminous creatures found in the Red SeaRed Sea is known as one of the best tourist destinations for good relaxation and scuba diving, but hardly anyone can imagine that deep below the sea there are many creature awaiting discovery. An international team of biologists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences, have discovered a new species of hydroid polyps emitting green fluorescence in the Red Sea. The new creature was found when scientists were investigating  the biodiversity of coral reefs of the archipelago Farasan  (Saudi Arabia, south of the Red Sea).

    These Sea hydroids are presumably, a new species of the genus Cytaeis, whose body length reaches 1.5mm. The new species lives in colonies as garlands of ‘fluorescent lanterns’ and emitting a green glow. The zoologists suggest that the glow around the mouths of polyps may attract prey. 

    FluorescenceFluorescence is a glow of some proteins or pigments under light illumination, fading instantly after illumination stops. Fluorescent proteins are found among  corals Anthozoa and hydroid jellyfishes and also among some lancelets (Cephalochordata) and combjellies (Ctenophora).

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  • India's first Aviation Park to come up in Gujarat 

     

    India's first Aviation Park to come up in Gujarat With an aim to strengthen the aviation sector in Gujarat, the state government has planned to set up the country’s first-ever aviation park near Bagodara village in Ahmedabad district. Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Ltd (GUJSAIL) has been tasked by the government to carry out the project.

    Key facts about the Aviation Park :

    It is an integrated aviation park that aims to raise the awareness about the potential of the aviation sector among students, professionals, policy makers and business entities. 

    The park will have a training complex having flight simulator, an aviation and aerospace management school, an aircrew training school, a helipad and a landing strip for smaller aircrafts.

    The Aviation Park will serve as a one-stop destination in the avenues of aerospace training, research, recreation and manufacturing. Everything related to aviation sector will be available under one roof.

    The Aviation Park will create direct and indirect employment for highly-skilled resources in the area of aerospace and avionics as it park will have small manufacturing units to produce spare parts for aircraft.

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  • Senior Samajwadi Party leader Kailash Yadav passes away

     

    Senior Samajwadi Party leader Kailash Yadav passes awayKailash Yadav, a senior leader of Samajwadi Party and cabinet Minister in the present Akhilesh Yadav government passed away at the Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon. after reportedly suffering a brain stroke. He was 65.

    Kailash Yadav : Born in 1951 in a village in East UP’s Ghazipur district. He started his political career from a rural background, holding the post of a gram pradhan. Later he was elected as a member of the UP Legislative Assembly on three occasions. Currently, he was MLA from the Jangipur constituency in Ghazipur district. He has served as Minister of State for Revenue and Industrial Development under the Mulayam Singh regime 2003-07 and was considered close to the supremo.

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  • SAG 2016: Joshna Chinappa clinches squash gold

     

    SAG 2016: Joshna Chinappa clinches squash gold

    India’s Star squash player Joshna Chinappa has won the gold medal in women’s individual category at the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) by defeating Pakistan’s Maria Wazir with a score of 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 at the final match played at  R G Baruah Sports Complex in Guwahati. With this she became first Indian squash player to win individual gold medal in 2016 SAG.

    Winner in the men’s individual category : Pakistani squash player Nasir Iqbal has won the gold medal in men’s individual category at the 12th SAG by defeating Farhan Zaman of Pakistan with a score of 14-12, 11-7, 11-9.

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  • Sapna Devi won gold in women Wushu Taulu competition  

     

    Sapna Devi won gold in women Wushu Taulu competition

    Sapna Devi from India has bagged gold medal in the women Wushu Taulu (Changquan) Competition of the 12th South Asian Games by scoring 9.45 pts. Susmita Tamang of Nepal won silver medal by scoring 8.72 pts. while Nazia Parvaiz of Pakistan won bronze medal by scoring 6:30 pts.

    Winners of the Men’s section :  L. H Lakshan from Sri Lanka bagged gold medal by scoring  8:86 points while Bijay Sinjali from Nepal bagged silver medal by scoring 8:80 points and Anjul Namdeo from India bagged bronze Medal by scoring 8:66 points. 

    What is Wushu  ?

    Wushu is s both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. It was developed in China after 1949, in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts.  It is the sports of internationl status governed through the International Wushu Federation (IWUF).

     

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  • France became first country in the world  to forbid food waste by supermarkets

     

    France became first country in the world  to forbid food waste by supermarkets

    France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks. Law in this regard has been unanimously passed by the French Senate.

    Now large shops and super markets will no longer throw away good quality food approaching its expiry date and  instead donate it to charities and food banks due to which charities and food banks will be able to give out millions more free meals each year to people struggling to afford to eat.

    The law comes as a success to grassroots campaign in France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste. The campaign, which led to a petition, was started by the councillor Arash Derambarsh. Campaigners now hope to persuade the EU to adopt similar legislation across member states.

    Highlights of the new law

    • Supermarkets will now be bound to make donations to charities and food banks, failing which they face a fine of 75000 euros and a jail term of 2 years.
    • Supermarkets spread across 400 square metres area and above will have to sign donation contracts with charities or face a penalty of 3,750 euros.
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  • Ministry of Tourism launches 24×7 multi-lingual helpline

     

    Ministry of Tourism launches 24×7 multi-lingual helpline

    Union Ministry of Tourism has launched 24×7 Toll Free Multi-Lingual Tourist Info Line for international tourists in 12 international languages.  The 12 languages 

    include 10 International languages besides English and Hindi, namely, French, Arabic, Italian, German, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

    Facts to know about Tourist Infoline Project : The  24×7 Toll Free Multi-Lingual Tourist Info project has been implemented by the Union Ministry through TATA Business Support Services (BSS) Limited. The Infoline service will provide essential information regarding Travel and tourism to both international and domestic tourists.

    Calls made by both international and domestic will be free of charge. These calls will be directed to the call agents proficient in the respective mentioned languages. This 24×7 Tourist Infoline service aims at providing hassel-free experience to tourists travelling or planning to travel to India.

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  • Indian-origin Singaporean, Vishal Mehta appointed as President of International Grown Diamond Association

     

    Indian-origin Singaporean, Vishal Mehta appointed as President of International Grown Diamond Association

    Indian-origin Singaporean, Vishal Mehta has been appointed as the President of the newly- formed International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA). Currently Vishal Mehta is serving as the CEO of a Singapore-based IIa Technologies which grows diamond from its state-of-the-art facility in the city state.

    What is are lab diamonds ?

    Grown diamonds or lab diamonds are man-made diamonds that consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. In the 1950s, scientists first created diamonds by replicating the intense heat and pressure that forms them underground.

    International Grown Diamond Association : The IGDA, the first ever grown diamond industry association of more than 10 leading grown diamond producers, distributors and retailers. It aims at representing the grown diamond industry, promoting grown diamonds as a new choice in diamonds and educating about various unique qualities and applications of grown diamonds.

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