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Current Affairs Today – May 30 2015

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Indian Affairs

HP becomes first state to implement ABPS in country

  • Himachal Pradesh becomes the first state in the country to start Aadhaar based Payment System(ABPS). Payments amounting to Rs 76.53 Cr have been made through this system till now.
  • The workers and vendors whose bank accounts were Aadhaar-linked were being paid through ABPS and the wages and cost of material was being directly transferred to their latest Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. The scheme was launched on October 2, 2014
  • So far, Aadhaar numbers of 7.23 lakh active MNREGA workers had been synced with MNREGA out of which 5.54 lakh workers ‘accounts had been linked with the banks.
  • Rural Development Minister : Anil Kumar

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, inaugurated New Bank Note Paper Line unit in Hoshangabad, MP

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the New Bank Note Paper Line unit at Security Paper Mill in Hoshangabad, MP. It has a capacity of 6000 metric tone. He also flagged off the first consignment of one thousand rupees bank note paper made indigenously to Currency Note Press Nashik.
  • With opening of this, India will become self-reliant in producing Bank Note Paper for big denominations. Earlier, India was dependent on import of bank note paper for currency of big denominations. It is part of the indigenisation of the Bank Note paper undertaken by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited.
  • The project has been completed at a cost of 495 crore rupees within the scheduled time. The plant is capable of incorporating the advanced security features into the Bank Note paper. It is also capable of manufacturing all denominations of Bank Note paper including 1000 rupees.
  • Another such unit will be soon being opened in Mysore.

Cabinet approves India, Bangladesh coastal shipping pact

  • The Government today approved a pact on coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh to facilitate faster and cheaper cargo movement between both the nations.
  • The benefit of this agreement is that freight charges will come down and improve the utilisation of port capabilities between the two countries, the Communication and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said while briefing the media.
  • It will also help in decongestion of roads, especially at the land custom stations/integrated check posts at the India-Bangladesh boarder, the statement said.
  • India and Bangladesh shall render the same treatment to the other country’s vessels as it would have done to its national vessels used in international sea transportation.
  • The commencement of coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh will increase bilateral trade between the two countries and lower down the cost of transportation of Exim cargo.
  • India’s trade with Bangladesh has grown rapidly during the past few years and Bangladesh is now India’s largest trade partner in South Asia.
  • Therefore, to reduce the cost of shipping operation, a lower but pragmatic standard of vessel known as River Sea Vessel (RSV) has been prescribed for coastal shipping and the RSV category of vessel has been agreed upon by both the countries.

International

 Solar Impulse 2 plane takes off for Pacific flight

  • The revolutionary Solar Impulse 2 aircraft took off early Sunday for a six-day flight over the Pacific Ocean, AFP saw, the most ambitious leg of its quest to circumnavigate the globe powered only by the sun.
  • Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg, 62, left the ground in Nanjing, in eastern China, heading for the US island of Hawaii, at about 2.40 am (1840 GMT), for a 8,500 kilometre (5,270 mile) flight expected to take 130 hours.

Powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake shakes Japan

  • A powerful earthquake, 7.8 on the richter scale, shook Japan, which lasted for about a minute and the quake was most intense at around 8.30pm. The epicentre was 676 kilometres below the Earth’s surface. It was centred on a remote spot in the Pacific Ocean around 870 kilometres south of Tokyo.
  • Despite the huge power of the quake, there was no risk of a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre reported. There were also no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
  • This was the second sizable shake Tokyo has had this week, after a much weaker quake hit close to Tokyo on Monday. It is worthwhile to mention that Japan is located at the meeting place of four tectonic plates and experiences around 20 per cent of the world’s most powerful earthquakes every year.

Appointment

 Veena Jain appointed as Director General of Doordarshan News

  • Veena Jain was appointed as Director General (news) at Doordarshan. She succeeded Akshay Rout, senior Indian Information Service (IIS) officer.
  • She is currently posted as Additional Director General in the News Services Division of All India Radio (AIR). Prior to this, she had also been the director of Publications Division of AIR.
  • Jain will also hold the charge as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and will oversee the govt. new media wing and social media cell.

Indian-origin UK MP, Keith Vaz, appointed Vice-Chairman of Labour party

  • One of Britain’s longest serving Indian-origin MPs, Keith Vaz, has been appointed Vice-Chairman of the Labour party.
  • Vaz, 58, who was re-elected from his Leicester East stronghold at the May 7 general election, also serves as the chair of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons.

G R Aloria to be new Gujarat chief secretary

  • Gujarat government has appointed senior IAS officer G R Aloria as the new chief secretary of the state.
  • He will replace incumbent Chief Secretary D J Pandian who is retiring on May 31.
  • He is a 1981 batch IAS officer, and at present is the Additional Chief Secretary of Ministry of Urban Development Department and also holds the additional charge of Home Ministry. Aloria had served in Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited as a head.

Niti Aayog gets 2 advisers; 10 new Joint Secretaries appointed

Alok Kumar, a 1993-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, and Jitendra Kumar, 1987-batch IFS officer of UT cadre were appointed as advisers in Niti Aayog for a period of five years.

    Ten new joint secretaries were also appointed

  • Anna Roy, a 1992 batch Indian Economic Service officer has been appointed as Joint Secretary (JS) in the Department of Financial Services,
  • IAS officer Sanjay Prasad has been appointed as JS in the Department of Science and Technology for a five-year term.
  • Jitendra Kumar Sinha, a 1996 batch IAS officer of Manipur Tripura cadre, is the new JS in the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.
  • Md Shahbaz Ali, Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service officer, has been appointed as Managing Director (JS-level) in National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation under the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
  • Rajiv Kumar, an IFS officer, has been appointed as JS in the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • Jagmohan Gupta, a 1987-batch officer of Indian Railway Accounts Service, is the new JS and Financial Adviser in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

Banking & finance

State Bank of India launched Online Customer Acquisition Solution

  • State Bank of India launched yet another new service, Online Customer Acquisition Solution (OCAS), an online platform to apply for home loans, car loans, education loans and personal loans. Customers can even upload all necessary documents online, reducing the processing time of their loan
  • This new service will help the customers determine their eligibility and get a loan personalized to their requirement.
  • The customer will instantly get an e-approval on filling the online form. Thereafter, the Bank officials will contact the customer and complete all the loan formalities.
  • A similar application will shortly also be launched on the mobile platform as well.

Business

Railways to sign an MoU with the states for infra- expansion of railways

  • Railways will sign MoU with state governments to ensure their participation in its efforts to provide better passenger amenities and upgrade infrastructure.
  • It is encouraging states’ involvement in laying new tracks and improving passenger amenities at stations.
  • Railways have also been entertaining suggestions from passengers for improving facilities at rail premises.

Science & Technology

 Pinaka Mark-II rocket successfully test-fired

  • An advanced version of the indigenously and jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization and the Indian Army, multi-barrel rocketlauncher, Pinaka Mark-II rocket was successfully test-fired from Army’s Chandan firing range near Pokhranusing, near Indo-Pak border.
  • It successfully hit the target in Keru area which was situated 55 km from the firing point. It has high operational mobility, flexibility and accuracy.
  • Pinaka Mark-II rocket with a range of more than 60-km is capable of acting as a force-multiplier and was developed to supplement artillery guns and is currently passing through a phase of testing. Pinaka-I has already been inducted into the army.

 Sports

 Prarthana wins ITF doubles title in Indonesia

  • Prarthana Thombare won her first ever  USD 25000 level ITF (International Tennis Federation ) doubles title partnering  with British partner Harriet Dart.
  • Prarthana and Harriet defeated the Thai pair of Nicha Lertpitaksinchai and Nudnida Luangnam ( 6-4 , 4-6 , 18-16 ) in the final.
  • Prarthana, now trains at Sania Mirza Tennis Academy in Hyderabad, had been the runner-up in Ahmedabad USD 25,000 doubles event earlier in the season.
  • She also won two USD 10,000 level doubles titles this season — at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in March and at Dehradun in April.

Arsenal keeps FA Cup

  • Reigning champions, london based, Arsenal won the FA Cup, world’s oldest knockout competition, for a record 12th time, setting up a victory against Aston Villa ( 4-0 ) in the finals, at Wembley with the help of  two spectacular goals from Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez .
  • Arsene Wenger also became the most successful FA Cup manager of modern times, guiding his side to a sixth triumph in their 19th final, and another record.

Books & Authors

 Book titled Ahmedabad: A City in the World by Amrita Shah released

  • Ahmedabad: A City in the World authored by Amrita Shah was released 28 May 2015. The book is a biography of India’s seventh-largest city Ahmedabad and its all too frequent complicity in communal violence.
  • The author in the book has described the six-hundred year old former textile town in Kaka-style development and sketches Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle against British rule.

Book titled Super Economies by Raghav Bahl released

  • The book Super Economies: America, India, China & The Future Of The World written by Raghav Bahl published in May 2015. He is an Indian businessman best known for his ownership of several television channels, including TV18.
  • The book explains the vastly changed nature of the world since the Cold War and predicts what will be the likely changes in the 21st century.