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Current Affairs Today – April 20 2016

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Current Affairs Today-20


Cabinet approves signing the Paris Agreement

The Union Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved for signing the Paris Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties held in Paris in last December.

  • Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will sign the agreement from India side on 22 April 2016 at the high level signature ceremony convened by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Dr. Mahesh Sharma Unveils Gold Finial at Humayun’s Tomb

Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma unveiled the restored 18 feet tall Finial at Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi as part of the ongoing conservation effort.

  • The Tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site one of three in the capital has reinstated with a gold crown.
  • The Humayun’s Tomb is model of the 18-feet tall structure weighs about 300-kg finial made of 4 percent pure copper and plated with 3.5 kg of 24-carat gold.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan visit to Nagaland

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Science Harsh Vardhan in his a two-day maiden visit to Nagaland.

  • During the visit he inaugurated DBT created Biotech Infrastructure facility at ICAR- National Research Centre on Mithun, Jharnapani.
  • The minister also inaugurated Twinning Network Project on Chemical Ecology of North Eastern Region at Nagaland Science and Technology Council.

Government merges Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan with Khelo India

The Union Government has merged Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyanwith Khelo India. They merged another two sport projects which were launched during UPA Government

  • Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS)
  • National Sports Talent Search Scheme (N-STSS)

During the 2016-17 budget Rs 140 crore allocated for the above projects.

MoU on Youth Exchange Programmes with foreign countries

The Union Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was apprised of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed with Bahrain, Kuwait, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and BRICS Nations on Organizing Youth Exchange Programmes with these countries.

  • International Youth Exchange programmes support exchange of ideas and values amongst youth of different countries and help in developing international view among the youth.
  • The MoU will pave the way for people-to-people contacts, these Programmes promote peace and understanding and strengthen friendly relations between countries.

Tata Trusts signs pact with Odisha for Malaria elimination

Tata Trusts has signed MoU with the Odisha government to achieve elimination of Malaria from the state by 2030.

Vision: To reduce malaria deaths by 50 per cent in five years and incidence by 40 per cent

Tata Trusts will be taking mass screenings twice a year in 557 villages in five selected blocks including Bissamcuttack and Muniguda blocks of Rayagada district, Lanjigarh, Thuamulrampur blocks of Kalahandi district and Kotgarh block of Kandhamal district in southern Odisha.


  • Capital: Bhubaneswar
  • Governor:S.C. Jamir
  • Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik

MoU between India and Bhutan on Technical Cooperation in the Field of Capacity Building, Benchmarking and Bilateral Exchange in Infrastructure Engineering

  • The Union Cabinet approved for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bhutan on technical cooperation in the field of capacity building, benchmarking and bilateral exchange in infrastructure engineering.

India-Bhutan friendship treaty:

  • The India-Bhutan friendship treaty signed in New Delhi in2007 which strengthens the mutual relations.
  • Earlier in 2014 PM Narendra Modi made a state visit to Bhutan. The visit reinforced the tradition of regular high level exchanges between the two countries.
  • The MoU is in furtherance of Article 2,7 and 8 of the India-Bhutan friendship treaty.
  • The MoU will cover various areas includingeducational, scientific & technical research and environment protection which are also stated aim of the India-Bhutan foundation established in 2003.

Ceasefire in Nagaland extended by one year

Union Government and National Socialist Council of Nagaland, under the leadership of N. KitoviZhimomi and M.B NeokpaoKonyak have mutually agreed to extend the Cease Fire Agreement by another year with effect from April 28.

  • The agreement targets to bring lasting peace in the state of Nagaland with the involvement of Naga people.
  • Both the sides agreed that the ceasefire will follow to Ceasefire Ground Rules (CFGR) as mutually ratified. The CFGR will subject to mutual review and amendment with the involvement of both the parties.


  • Nagaland is the 16th State it was established in 1963, As per Census 2011, Nagaland is the smallest state in India.

India to Purchase 145 M777 Howitzers for US$ 750 Million

India is expected to buy 145 M777 Howitzers for $750 million to prepare its Mountain Strike Corps. The decision to buy ultra-light Howitzers produced by UK based BAE Systems under the Make In India

  • The Decision was taken at a meeting between Indian Defense Minister ManoharParrikar and his US counterpart Ashton Carter. The price notified by the US in 2012 was $694 million. But the Gun maker seeking price revision of 10% hike from the earlier price.
  • Under Make in India iniative BAE Systems had tied up Mahindra as its business partner for its proposed in-country assembly, integration and test (AIT) facility for the M777 Howitzer.
  • The proposed gun comes with laser inertial artillery pointing systems (LINAPS), maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services.
  • The Army aims to use the howitzers to modernize its forces and develop Operational Conditions.

Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojana notified by Haryana Government


Haryana government has notified the Affordable Plotted Housing Policy 2016 for low and medium standard towns under Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojana.

  • This is to achieve the goal of providing houses for all which will facilitate creation of additional affordable housing stock in the low and medium potential towns of the state.

Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojna:

  • The Scheme intended at developing high density plotted colonies in low and medium potential towns where small plots are made available through a liberal policy framework.
  • All the projects are be required to be completed within seven years from the date of license granted.


India ranked at 133 on World Press Freedom Index

World Press Freedom Index:

Annual Ranking of countries based on the organization compilation of the Countries press freedom in the previous year

Published By: Reporters Without Borders

  • Shows the levels of freedom that journalists, News Organisations enjoy in the country
  • India gains at 133 among 180 countries in the recent annual meeting of World Press freedom Index and there is improvement in the rank whereas 136th in 2015.
  • Finland retains its first position for the sixth consecutive year, Netherlands and Norway gains successive position.


Punjab CM Parkash Badal distributes health insurance cards & approves Rs 750 crore for road sector

Government of Punjab to begin the process of issuing 303074 pre-active cashless Farmers Health Insurance Cards underBhagat Puran Singh Sehat BimaYojna in the maiden phase of project.

  • This Scheme enable farmers and their families to get health cover up to Rs 50,000 for their treatment and compensation of Rs 5 Lakhs in case of death of the head of the family or any circumstances which may cause 100% disability to that person.

Punjab CM approves Rs 750 crore for roads

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal approved Rs 750 crore for the repair and strengthening of 6500 km link road in the State.

IFMR Capital initiates first capital market transaction for MUDRA

IFMR capital has enabled the first capital market transaction for MUDRA which emphases on providing low cost loans to microfinance and non-banking financial institutions.mudra

  • The Joint initiative would facilitate accelerated impact on the sector by leveraging MUDRA’s capital and risk appetite.
  • IFMR Capital has completely structured and arranged a securitization transaction Mjolnir IFMR Capital enabling Mudra to invest Rs 50 crore in the A (-) rated senior tranche of securitized MSME loan portfolio of Janalakshmi Financial Services.
  • This will be a short term transaction with tenure of 1.5 years. Which in turn will gain exposure to over 100 high quality MFIs and NBFCs in the Nation.
  • Small enterprises in India continue to lack access to institutional credit. This is in spite of nearly 80% of the total estimated demand of Rs 32, 50,000 crore originating from the informal sector.


US think tank launches India-US trade initiative

A top US think-tank Atlantic Council has launched an India-US trade initiative to strengthen economic ties and meet the two countries’ bilateral trade target of $500 billion. 

Aim: To generate American support for continued economic engagement in India and to forge collaboration on issues of trade and commerce,

Supporter: John Corny of the Republican Party and Mark Warner of the Democratic Party.

  • India and the US enjoy a robust and thriving trade relationship which holds tremendous potential for the future in a number of sectors including renewable energy, infrastructure, smart cities, IT services, digital economy, and defense


  • Capital: Washington, D.C ; Currency: Dollar
  • President: Barack Obama; Indian Ambassador to the US: Arun Singh.


The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Awarded for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition in United States

  • The winner in the public service category of the journalism is awarded a gold medal.

The Winners of 2016 are

  • Public Service – Associated Press
  • Breaking News Reporting – Los Angeles Times Staff
  • Investigative Reporting – Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Tampa Bay Times and Michael Braga of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
  • Explanatory Reporting – T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project
  • Local Reporting – Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner of the Tampa Bay Times
  • National Reporting – The Washington Post Staff
  • International Reporting – Alissa J. Rubin of The New York Times
  • Feature Writing – Kathryn Schulz of The New Yorker
  • Commentary – Farah Stockman of The Boston Globe
  • Criticism – Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker


Obama nominates Indian-American Geeta Pasi as US envoy to Chad

US President Barack Obama, has nominated Indian-American Geeta Pasi, a career foreign service officer, as the country’s next envoy to Chad.geeta

  • She is at present the Director of the Office of Career Development and Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State.
  • Ms. Pasi is a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counsellor. She served as US Ambassador to Djibouti from 2011 to 2014.

Laos appoints new president, prime minister

Communist Party chief Bounnhang Vorachit was appointed as the country’s new president and foreign minister Thongloun Sisoulith as the prime minister of Laos by Laos’s National Assembly

  • The National Assembly has elected president, with more than two-thirds of the votes.
  • The 149-member assembly completed the process of nomination and voting for both president & Prime minister in an hour.


  • Capital: Vientiane
  • Currency: Lao kip

Centre appoints A. Ajith Kumar as Rubber Board Chief

The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the appointment of A. Ajith Kumar, a 1994 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, to the post of chairman, Rubber Board, Kottayam. The post has been lying vacant since August 2014.

  • He has been appointed for a period up to May 31, 2018.

BCCI appoints media veteran Rahul Johri as CEO

BCCI appoints media veteran Rahul Johri as CEO

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed Rahul Johri as its new CEO, in line with the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee.

  • Before this assignment, Johri was executive vice-president and general manager for South Asia at Discovery Network. 
  • Johri will join the Board on June 1st. He will be responsible for the stakeholder management and building robust strategies for further promoting the sport.

About BCCI:

The board was formed in December 1928 as a society, registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.

  • President: Shashank Manohar 
  • Secretary: Anurag Thakur
  • Headquarters: Mumbai

Russia Test-Fires ‘Iskander’ Tactical Ballistic Missile

Russian Military test-fired a cruise missile named Iskander tactical missile system from the Kapustin Yar practice range in the Astrakhan Region as part of drill.

  • A missile brigade has live-fired a cruise missile from the Iskander tactical missile against a simulated enemy’s command post at a distance of around 200 km.

Iskander tactical ballistic missile:

  • Iskander flew at an altitude of about 40-50 km. It incorporates reduced signature technology was not detected by a simulated enemy’s electronic warfare means and successfully hit the target.
  • The missile systems are accomplished of hitting both small-size and large-area targets at a distance of up to 500 km to abolish missile and multiple launch rocket systems, long-range artillery guns, aircraft and helicopters at aerodromes, command posts and communications centers.


Hockey India decides to withdraw from Sultan of Johor Cup

  • Hockey India to withdraw the National junior team from the annual Sultan of Johor Cup to be held this year due to injury concerns.
  • The junior World Cup is to be held in India in December and Hockey India considers there is little time to recover in case of an injury.

Sultan of Johor Cup:

The sixth edition of the Sultan Johor cup is to be held from October 31 to November 6 at Johor Bahru in Malasiya.

  • India Participated in Johar Cup tournament in all the previous editions. India finished runner-up last year, losing to Great Britain on penalties.
  • India Participated in Olympics for the first time in 1928 (in Amsterdam Olympics)
  • Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was formed on 1925.
  • Captain: Sardar Singh
  • Coach: Roelant Oltmans
  • FIH ranking: 7


Silicon Valley’s Legendary ‘Coach’ Bill Campbell Has Died

A former Ivy League football coach Bill Campbell passed away. He was 75. bill-campbell

He was the management guru for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley luminaries and he garnered the name “The Coach” for the sage advice and counsel.

About Bill Campbell :

  • Bill Campbell was born on 31 August 1940 in Pennsylvania
  • He worked as head football coach for Columbia University from 1974 to 1979.
  • He joined Apple in 1983 as a marketing executive and was appointed to the Apple board in 1997.
  • He was chief executive officer of financial-software firm Intuit for five years in the 1990s and served as its chairman until January 2016.