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Current Affairs Today – August 14 2016

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No more Rail Budget – Finance Ministry nods for Suresh Prabhu’s Proposal
From the next fiscal, the 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget is set to come to an end as the Finance Ministry accepted to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal for merging it with the General Budget.
i. Following the recommendation of the 10 member-Ac worth Committee in 1920-21, headed by British railway economist William Acworth. The “Acworth Report” led to reorganization of railways, the railway finances of India were separated from the general government finances in 1924. A practice which continues in independent India to date.
ii. If the merger happens, Indian Railway will get rid of the annual dividend it has to pay for gross budgetary support from the government every year.
iii. With the merger, the issue of raising passenger fares, an unpopular decision, will be the Finance Minister’s call and this merger is proposed in the long-term interest of national transporter as well as the country’s economy.

Government notifies revised tax treaty with Mauritius
Government has notified the revised tax treaty with Mauritius under which India will impose capital gains tax on investments routed through the Mauritius from April 1 next year in a bid to curb tax evasion.
i. The protocol amending the agreement between India and Mauritius, signed on August 24, 1982 for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital gains and for the encouragement of mutual trade and investment, was signed at Mauritius on May 10, 2016.
ii. India and Mauritius signed had signed the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) after prolonged negotiations at Port Louis.
iii. This treaty ensure firms in Mauritius that invest in India are not just ‘shell’ and instead have substantial operations in the island, such as paying staff there, before qualifying for treaty terms of getting exemption from payment of capital gains tax in India.
iv. This concessional rate would however apply to a Mauritius resident company that can prove that it has a total expenditure of at least Rs 27 lakh in that nation and is not a ‘shell’ company with just a post office address.
v. Under this amended treaty with Mauritius, for two years beginning April 1, 2017, capital gains tax will be imposed at 50 per cent of the prevailing domestic rate. Full rate will apply from April 1, 2019.

Maiden National Conference Investigation Agencies held in New Delhi
i. The first National Conference of Investigation 2016_8$LargePhoto13_Aug_2016_13082016215223Agencies was held on 12-13 August, 2016, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. It is jointly organized by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India.
ii. This conference is aimed to organize the All India Conference of Police and Law Enforcement officers engaged in investigation task and provide a platform for the India’s different law enforcement agencies to come together and discuss a coordinated strategy to tackle crime.
iii. This conference has originated from the mandate of the BPR&D and the recommendations of Directors General of Police (DGPs)/Inspectors General of Police (IGPs) conferences.
iv. This conference will provide exposure to the investigator about the role and function of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and its coordination with investigation agency, Indian Drug Enforcement Regime and Role of investigation agency, co-ordination between Enforcement Directorate (ED) and investigation agencies, issues related to use of social media by terrorists and strategies to counter them and investigation of terrorist crimes.
v. The investigating agencies will also discuss a large crime scenario including combating economic crime and organized crime, digital and technology driven crime, terrorism and legal issues relating to investigation
vi. The conference was expected to serve as an ideal stage for sharing of best investigative practices and also set to be discussed in the conference are latest technological advancements in forensic sciences for expeditious and professional investigation.
vii. It is noted that the BRP&D was set up in 1970 by the central government with the primary mandate of modernizing the police forces.

Assam Assembly passes the Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
i. Assam Assembly passed the Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
ii. This bill will reduce the service charge of cinema tickets with an aim to give a fillip to the local film industry but, government raised the entertainment tax on cinema tickets by up to ten percentile points.
iii. As per this bill, the government proposed to make service charge Rs 8 per ticket for the halls without air conditioning system and Rs 12 for the halls with air conditioning system with back-up generator.
iv. The government also advised to increase the entertainment tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent at present for entry charges between Rs 5 and Rs 20 per ticket. It is noted that it will be 30 per cent compared to 20 per cent in case the admission charge is more than Rs 20 and there will be no entertainment tax if the entry charge is Rs 5 or less.
v. Apart from this, the new Bill proposes to fix the service charge at a maximum of Rs 12 per ticket, which is as high as Rs 40 at present.
About ASSAM :
♦ Capital – Dispur
♦ CM – Sarbanandha Sonawal
♦ Governor – Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya

Fifth Generation signs pact with Anna University
i. Chennai based Fifth Generation Technologies has entered into an agreement with Anna University, Chennai, for conducting research to study about the remaining life of critical equipment that are working in high temperature environments.
ii. The Company is specialized in real time intelligence solutions and products to the manufacturing industry, will work on creep, fatigue and corrosion to arrive at a prediction of remaining life of critical equipment’s.
iii. The work will be carried out by a Ph.D scholar who shall, apart from being financially supported by the Fifth Generation and work will  be carried out under the auspices of the Centre for Technology Development and Transfer (CTDT), which has been set up by Anna University.


Sri Lanka, China sign tripartite pact to construct mega port city
i. Sri Lanka and China has entered into a tripartite agreement to go ahead with construction of a mega multi-billion dollar port city project that initially began construction in September 2014 in capital Colombo.
ii. The tripartite agreement was signed between Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and the China Harbour Engineering Company.
iii. Upon this agreement Colombo Port City Development Project was newly renamed as the Colombo International Financial City which would make over Sri Lanka into an international financial hub in the Indian Ocean region.
iv. The $1.4 billion Port City would also fuel the planned Maritime city, Aero city, Tech city, Industrial cities and Tourist cities. The agreement also pave the way for the land expansion to 269 hectares from the previous.ggg
Sri Lanka:
♦ Capitals: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo
♦ Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
♦ Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
♦ President: Maithripala Sirisena

Brazil Launched Immunization Programme against the deadly Dengue Fever
i. Brazil launched the first public immunization programme in the Americas against dengue fever, where 500,000 people to be injected with the world’s first authorized vaccine against the disease.
ii. This movement will vaccinate all individuals 15-27 years of age in 28 municipalities and 9-44 years of age in the two municipalities with the top dengue burden in our state over the next three weeks.
iii. This anti dengue movement will be set out in the southern state of Parana and In Parana state, home to 10 million people, cases of dengue fever and deaths due to the disease have tripled in recent years.
iv. The vaccine has been approved in Mexico, the Philippines, El Salvador and Costa Rica and Dengvaxia is produced in France in a facility which should be able to produce 100 million doses per year when at full capacity.
v. This mosquito-borne viral disease killed 863 people in Brazil in 2015, a 82.4 percent increase on the previous year and the incidence of dengue has grown “dramatically” around the world in recent decades as per the World Health Organization report..
vi. It is noted that Asia accounts for 70 percent of the global burden of the deadly disease – dengue.


Times Internet partners HDFC Bank to launch co-branded Debit Card
i. Times of India Group’s Times Internet in cooperation with Mortgage lender HDFC launched co-branded debit cards. It will have a daily shopping limit of Rs 2.75 lakh and an ATM withdrawal limit of Rs 1 lakh.
ii.  This is the second co-branded card launched by Times Internet with HDFC Bank, back in 2013 both the majors jointly launched Credit card focused on Entertainment segment.
Co-Branded Debit Card:
♦ The Times Points HDFC Bank Debit Card will offer at least 10 per cent discount on online shopping on retail, groceries and dining space and also offers reward them for engaging with the Times Internet sites.
♦ It also comes with a personal accidental death cover up to Rs 10 lakh per customer, international air accidental death cover of Rs 50 lakh and zero liability cover up to Rs 1 lakh on fraudulent and skimming transactions.


ONGC launches Rs 100-crore start-up fund
ongcceleb_1i. Dehradun based Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) has launched Rs 100-crore start-up fund on its Diamond Jubilee year. The company started operations back in 1956.
ii. The initiative, named ONGC Start-up which also in tune with government’s flagship programme Start-up India to foster, nurture and incubate new ideas related to oil and gas sector.
iii. Upon this ONGC start-up iniative the company would promote entrepreneurship among younger Indians by providing the entire support chain for start-ups, including seed capital, hand-holding, mentoring, market linkage and follow-ups.
iv. The iniative focuses in increasing the contribution of fresh implementable ideas in the oil and gas sector.


Ms. Anitha Nayar  – India’s next ambassador to Chile
i.India’s present ambassador to Lebanon Ms. Anitha Nayar is to be appointed as the next Ambassador of South American country, Chile.
ii.Indian Ministry of External Affairs appointed Ms. Anitha Nayar, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1983 batch as the next ambassador of Chile and she is expected to assume her office in Chile soon.
iii. Chile is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south.
iv.Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands ofJuan Fernández,Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometers Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
v.The arid Atacama Desertin northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.
About Chile :
♦ Capital – Santiago,
♦ Currency – Peso

 Skahti Sinha probably to become the new Director of NMML, New Delhi.
53679212i. Shakti Sinha, an Indian Administrative Service officer may be appointed as the new director of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) under the Union Cultural Ministry.
ii. Shakti Sinha has served as a private secretary to Vajpayee during the NDA 1 regime. He took voluntary retirement from the service in 2013 while serving as Finance Secretary in the Delhi government.
iii. The previous director, Mahesh Rangarajan, resigned last year in the aftermath of statements by senior BJP leaders and Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma, expressing unhappiness at the NMML’s orientation.
iv. It is noted that Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a member of the executive committee (EC) of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) resigned from his position to protest the manner in which the institution’s reputation and integrity were being compromised by attempts to foist a politically-connected bureaucrat as director.
v. The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) is a museum and library in New DelhiIndia, which aims to preserve and reconstruct the history of the Indian independence movement. This library is instituted within the Teen Murti House complex, it is an autonomous institution under the Indian Ministry of Culture, and was founded in 1964 after the death of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
vi. NMML aims to foster academic research on modern and contemporary history. Now the Nehru Memorial Library is the world’s leading resource centre on India’s first prime minister and its archives contain the bulk of Mahatma Gandhi’s writings apart from private papers of C. Rajagopalachari, B. C. Roy, Jayaprakash Narayan, Charan Singh, Sarojini Naidu and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur.


12 Indian Biomedical Scientists bags the Prestigious ICMR Young Biomedical Scientist Fellowship Award 2016-17 
i. Dr Prashant Murumkar, Assistant Professor at Faculty of Pharmacy of The MS University of Baroda here has been selected for prestigious “Indian Council of Medicinal Research (ICMR) International Fellowship Award’.
ii. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is the premier national agency for the formulation, promotion and conduct of biomedical research in India. The mandate and policies of the ICMR coincide with national health policies. The Council not only plans and promotes medical research in the current and emerging health problems of the country but also is expected to build a strong national cadre of skilled biomedical scientists. One of the major mandates of the Council is to augment capacity strengthening of institutions involved in both basic and clinical sciences.
Fellowship Details:-
Young Scientists:
♦ US$ 3000 per month which includes accommodation and other expenses.
♦ Return economy class excursion airfare (by Air India ).
Senior Scientists:
♦ US$ 200 per day including US$ 75 as per diem and up to US$ 125 for accommodation expenses, subject to a maximum of US$ 3000 for entire duration of stay.
♦ Return economy class excursion airfare (by Air India ).
iii. The Award is given under the Young Biomedical Scientist category for 2016-17 and totally twelve Indian Biomedical Scientists has been selected throughout India by International Health Division, ICMR, New Delhi for this award.


SpaceX done it again – One of the Falcon 9 rockets Successfully landed on a floating drone ship
A002_C002_0408A9i. One of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets successfully landed on a floating drone ship, after the vehicle launched a Japanese communications satellite into orbit. The feat marks the fourth time SpaceX has landed one of its vehicles at sea and the company’s fifth rocket recovery overall in 2016.
ii. The two-stage Falcon 9 lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on sunday, carrying JCSAT-16 toward a distant geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).
iii. Getting to GTO requires a lot of speed and uses up a lot of fuel during takeoff, more so than getting to lower Earth orbit.
iii. That makes things difficult for the rocket landing afterward. Not only is the rocket subjected to “extreme velocities and re-entry heating” during its fall back to Earth.
iv. It is noted that by reusing these rockets, SpaceX will be able to reduce a big chunk of its manufacturing costs. Up until now, nearly all rockets have been expendable, meaning they are either destroyed or unrecovered after launch. Reusing an already launched vehicle saves SpaceX from having to build an entirely new rocket for each mission.
v. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known asSpaceX, is an Americanaerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, United States. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable, and the Dragon spacecraft which is flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to supply the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo.

A major breakthrough – IIT Madras develops optical system to detect and monitor algal bloom
i. A new bio-optical algorithm has been developed to provide accurate assessments of chlorophylla(Chla) concentration for detection and mapping of algal blooms from satellite data in optically complex waters, where the presence of suspended sediments and dissolved substances can interfere with phytoplankton signal and thus confound conventional band ratio algorithms has been developed by a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.
ii. The Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) will begin using the optical system for detecting and monitoring algal blooms in ocean waters surrounding India. INCOIS is currently in the process of making the system operational.
iii. The algorithm is derived using Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor bands, and it is subsequently tuned to be applicable to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)/Aqua data.
iv. The optical system provides an array of optical parameters and spatial information regarding algal bloom density (chlorophyll) and their causative algal species that are commonly seen in coastal and oceanic waters around India, particularly in the Arabian Sea. Results of the study were published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.
v. Chlorophyll is used as a proxy for measuring the phytoplankton biomass. The increase in biomass of phytoplankton due to their increased growth or physical aggregation leads to algal blooms. Typically one dominant or a few phytoplankton species are involved in bloom formation. Some algal blooms including “red tides” and “blue-green blooms” are a serious concern because they can pose significant threats to water quality and risks to human and animal health.
vi. These findings imply that, provided that an accurate atmospheric correction scheme is available to deal with complex waters, the current MODIS/Aqua, MERIS and OCM data could be extensively used for quantitative and operational monitoring of algal blooms in various regional and global waters.

Orkut creator launches new social network called Hello
i. San Francisco based Hello Network, Inc which was founded by orkut creator Orkut Büyükkökten come up with new social network called Hello, which is available on mobile only.
ii. The Hello platform designed to help you connect with people who share your passions. In fact Hello is probably the most widely spoken word in the world after Okay.
iii. The Orkut website owned and operated by Google in which users meet new and old friends and maintain in effect relationships came to an end on September 30, 2014.
iv. According to the Former Google Engineer and Hello founder the app is more visual based rather than text. The idea with Hello is to make the world friendlier.


ONGC lifts PSG Trophy in Basketball
i. Oil major’s ONGC team was the crowned Champions in the PSG Trophy by beating the Tamil Nadu State team by 84­-72, in title clash of the 52nd All India Basket Ball Championship held in Coimbatore.
ii. The State team was lagging behind the ONGC in half time by 8 points, However the Winning team boys Riyazuddin scored 26 points, Vishesh Bhrighvanshi 18, and Amrit Pal Singh 16.
iii. The Winner will get a trophy and cash prize of Rs.1 lakh, and the runners­-up (Tamilnadu State) were given Rs. 50,000.

Karichal Chundan’ wins 64th Nehru Trophy
imagei. In the Nehru trophy Kumarakam Vembanad Boat Club maneuvered Karichal Chundan were the crowned Champions of the 64th Nehru Trophy in the electrifying race held at Punnamada lake in Alappuzha Kerala.
ii. While Gabriel Chundan, rowed by UBC Kainakary has reached the second prize. However it is the 14th time that Karichal Chundan bagging the title.
iii. The Karichal Chundan finished in 4.20 minutes, while Gabriel Chundan finished in 4.32 minutes, In the Race twenty Chundans participated in the competition category and five Chundans participated in the exhibition category.
iv. The trophy was instituted to commemorate the visit of first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.


Founder of Akshardham temples and a saint of the Swaminarayan sect Pramukh Swami passed away
i. The 95-year-old founder of Akshardham temples and a saint of the Swaminarayan sect Pramukh Swami passed away after prolonged illness at the Sarangpur temple near Ahmedabad on August 13.
ii. He was the president of the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS), a sub-sect of the Swaminarayan sect, which during his tenure expanded globally, with over 3000 temples built in five decades worldwide.
iii. Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham complex is a Hindu mandir, and a spiritual-cultural campus in New Delhi, India. Also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture.
iv.  In 1982,Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj’s successor as the spiritual head of BAPS, started to continue fulfilling the dream of his guru Yogiji Maharaj and prompted devotees to look into the possibility of building the temple in Delhi. A request for the plan was put forward to theDelhi Development Authority (DDA), and several different places were suggested, including Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, andFaridabad. Pramukh Swami Maharaj stood firm in following the wishes of Yogiji Maharaj to build a temple on the Yamuna.
v. It is noted that Pramukh Swami created 1,000 saints and over 50,000 volunteers who oversee the programmes of the sect in India and abroad.

Lyricist Na Muthukumar passes away
i. Famous Tamil lyricist-poet-columnist Na Muthukumar, who has written songs for more than 1000 films, passed away due Jaundice. He was 41 years old. He was not keeping well for the past one month who was well known for his Tamil Writings.
Lyricist Na Muthukumar passes awayii. Muthukumar hailed from Kanchipuram did his graduation in Physics and opted Masters in Tamil Literature and worked for a doctorate from the Madras University.
iii. He began his career by working under Balu Mahendra for four years as Assistant in Direction. But then he became a lyricist, beginning with the lyrics for the songs of the Tamil film Veera Nadai, directed by Seeman. He had Written Songs in more than 70 Films.
iv. He is a two-time recipient of the National Film Award for Best Lyrics for his works in Thanga Meenkal (2013) and Saivam (2014) and received many Filmfare Awards.