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Current Affairs Today – August 15 2016

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CAT Aug 15 2016


Marking the 70th Independence Day – August 15, 2016
i. Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous Independence Day. Independence Day, is annually observed on 15 August as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the British Empire on 15 August 1947.
ii. Marking the Independence Day, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan organized a candle-light “TIRANGA MARCH” in 100 prominent District Headquarters of several States/ UTs.
iii. The Department of Youth Affairs will organize a candle-light “Tiranga March” in 100 prominent District Headquarters to celebrate the 70th Indian Independence Day. The members of youth clubs affiliated with NYKS as well as other youth will participate in the Programmes.
iv. A week-long “Colors of Independence” campaign has been launched by the Jute Corporation of IndiaJCI marking the 70th Independence Day of India.
v. In a step towards promoting national integration and jute awareness, this campaign will provide an opportunity for general public to participate, from 70 Indian cities to celebrate 70 years of Independence.
vi. Our Lady of Assumption Church” of the Succoro village, near Panaji in Bardez Taluka celebrated ‘Patolleanchem Fest’, a unique salute to the jaggery-based sweet dish called “Patolleo” on the eve of the Indolence Day of India.
vii. Goa Tourism presents an exclusive bike rally called ‘Freedom Ride’, which held on 15 August 2016. The Rally will be very enjoyable and give bikers an experience of Goa while exploring its treasures packed with churches, rivers, beaches, temples, villages and much more.
viii. Union Urban Development Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the Independence Day Film Festival in Delhi’s Siri Fort Auditorium.
ix. On the eve of 70th Indian Independence Day, Information & Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated an Independence Day Film Festival besides launching Festival of Independence theme song “Tiranga Yatra” at separate functions.
x. As part of Independent Day celebrations, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated ‘Bharat Parv’ festival at India Gate lawns and the inauguration ceremony of the festival, which will conclude on August 18, is also attended by Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Mahesh Sharma.
xi. A commemorative postage stamp on Tourism in Indiaon the occasion of 70th Independence Day has been released by the Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha.
xii. On the occasion of the 70th Indian Independence Day, a total of 948 central and state forces police personnel were awarded gallantry and other service medals.
xiii. Havildar Hangpan Dada honored with Ashok Chakra posthumously
xiv. Among the above stated award distributing ceremony, Telangana State has received the highest number of gallantry medals for police personnel in the country on the eve of Independence Day and it is noted that it was the only State unit to secure the President’s police medal for gallantry (PPMG).

Assam Government become the first Indian State to ratify the GST Constitution Amendment Bill 
Assam has become the first state to ratify Constitution Amendment Bill related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), following its passage by both houses of Parliament.
i. Assam assembly unanimously passed the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST and this BJPruled state has become the first state to do so.
ii. The government is aiming to get the bill ratified by 16 states within the first week of September to stay on course its 1 April 2017 implementation deadline. States need to pass the bill by a simple majority to ratify the bill.
iii. The GST has been unanimously been passed by both houses of the Parliament. This is a revolutionary initiative and this particular new tax regime will benefit the common people of the country and this particular transparency in tax regime will defiantly help to be part in this nobel endeavor for over all development of the country.
iv. The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill for the rollout of the Goods and Sevices Tax (GST) was passed by theLok Sabha, with 443 members present in the House voting in favour of the legislation.
v. It is noted that once the Constitution amendment bill is enacted, the government will constitute the GST Council that will take all important decisions regarding crucial issues like the tax rates and threshold and finalize the three GST laws.

On the eve of Independence Day, Bihar CM unveils bunch of State Development schemes
i. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a bunch of development projects and schemes regarding the “seven resolves” adopted by his government for the next five years.
ii. On the 70th Independence Day, Nitish Kumarannouncedthe launch of Student Credit Card scheme from October 2 and this scheme promises Rs. four lakh interest free loan to students for pursuing higher education.
iii. Another scheme of providing free Wi-fi facility would be made available in all state universities and colleges from February 2017.
iv. A new scheme of launch of startup capital of Rs. 5,000 crore to help young entrepreneurs start their ventures.
v. An innovative scheme of opening centers in all 534 blocks in the state for Nitish Kumar first - rated for the K Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2015imparting language training and computer knowledge to youths to prepare them with better employment prospects.
About Bihar  :
Capital – Patna
CM – Nitish Kumar
Governor – R. N. Kovind

Gov constitutes National Committee on Trade Facilitation headed by Pradeep Kumar Sinha
i. Centre has constituted a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) to develop the pan-India road map for trade facilitation.
ii. This move comes after India signed the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA in line with the World Trade Organisation in March this year.
iii. The Committee comprises inter – ministerial body and will be headed by Cabinet Secretary of India Pradeep Kumar Sinha on trade facilitation that will facilitate domestic co-ordination and implementation of TFA provisions.
iv. The national level committee will focus on pan-India road map for trade facilitation and will monitor the implementation of TFA.


NPS: PFRDA lowers minimum contribution to Rs 1,000 per year
i. Insurance regulator PFRDA has substantially lowered the minimum annual contribution to Rs 1,000 to keep the account active in order to encourage more people to join the National Pension System.
ii. Priorly instead of 1000, a subscriber had to contribute at least Rs 6,000 in a financial year to keep the Tier-1 account running.
iii. NPS comprises of two tiers of accounts.
♦ TIER – I is the non-withdraw able permanent retirement account into which the accumulations are deposited and invested as per the option of the subscriber.
♦ Tier-II is a savings account; the regulator has decided to waive the requirement of annual minimum contribution of Rs 250 and minimum balance of Rs 2,000 at the end of a fiscal year.
iv. PFRDA promotes this lowering with a view to encourage the access of NPS to all segments of the society including the unorganized sector, it has been decided to reduce the requirement of minimum contribution to keep the NPS Tier I account active, from Rs 6,000 to Rs 2,000. 
v. It is noted that NPS has over 1.30 crore subscribers with total Asset Under Management (AUM) of more than Rs 1.37 lakh crores. 
About PFRDA :
Name – Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority
Establishment – 2003
Chairman – Hemant Contractor


1st BIO-CNG project in India inaugurated in Pune
i. Pune based Primove Engineering Private Limited Commissioned India’s first Bio-CNG plant which will use agricultural residue to generate CNG which in-turn can be an alternate fuel to the Automobiles that run CNG.
ii. The CNG generation is doneby using agriculture residue. Over 600 million tonnes of agricultural waste is generated per year in the country.
iii. It has been set up as a Proof of Concept (PoC) that can be replicated elsewhere. Primove has coughed out around Rs 4.5 crore in the plant.
iv. The process involves treating the waste with a special bacterial solution, after which the gas so generated is cleaned and compressed for use in vehicles.
v. The Bio-CNG has got nod from the by Ministries of Road Transport as well as Chief Controller of Explosives.

India’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ Insurance Policy unveiled by INIP
i. State-run General Insurance Corporation of India in association with non-life insurance companies unveiled the Nuclear Supplier’s Insurance Policy (NSIP). It is first of its kind in India.
ii. The policy was launched by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Sekhar Basu in Mumbai.
iii. The move comes a year after launching the Rs 1,500 crore India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP) which is the 27th global nuclear insurance pool which was launched.
iv. As part of this iniative New India Assurance Co (NIAC) and INIP will issue the policy and administer the claims on behalf of the pool.
v. The company NIAC couple of months back issued a policy for nuclear power plants operators under INIP by underwriting premium to the tune of Rs 100 crore.

India’s exports better placed in product diversification: Study
i. According to the study conducted by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry India’s exports are better placed in terms of product diversification as the top ten export products account for 58 per cent of the total export items accounted.
ii. The study observes the concentration of the top 10 export products for the major economies, including Hong Kong (89 per cent), the Republic of Korea (86 per cent), Japan (77 per cent), the UK (71 per cent), Germany (70 per cent), the US (68 per cent), China (68 per cent), the Netherlands (63 per cent) and France (60 per cent).
iii. The study went on to say that India has consistently diversified in terms of export as the concentration of the top ten export products was 60 per cent in 2010 and 58 per cent in 2015.
iv. The country placed 19th place in the list of exporters with merchandise exports valued at $262 billion.


M S Subbulakshmi honoured at UN on Independence Day
Legendary carnatic vocalist M. S. Subbulakshmi  honoured at the United Nations on India’s 70th Independence Day by a performance by Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman .UN also releasing Postal Stamp of MS Subbulakshmi to mark her 100thBirth Anniversary.
i. The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a stamp to mark the birth centenary of Indian music legend M S Subbulakshmi on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day.
ii. United Nations, the intergovernmental organization plans to honor legendary Carnatic vocalist MS Subbulaksmi by issuing a stamp to mark her hundredth birth anniversary, which falls on September 16, 2016.
iii. India’s independence day will be commemorated at the world body’s headquarters this year as Versatile composer A.R Rahman, who is going to become the second Indian artiste after MS Subbulaksmi to perform at the iconic UN hall will execute a concert on the Independence Day at the headquarters of the UN in New York. He will perform in the presence of the respected UN members and other notable dignitaries.
iv. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of her performance at the UN and the photo exhibition will depict various facets and moments of Ms Subbulakshmi’s life and times providing a rare insight to the music legend’s achievements.

CLRI scientist bags A P J Abdul Kalam award
Tamilnadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa presented APJ Abdul Kalam award to the Principaljaya jiScientist P Shanmugam, Central Leather Research Institute –Chennai, for meritorious services in the Higher Education Department in the state during the 70th Independence Day celebrations after delivering her Special address at Fort St George in Chennai.
i. The award comprising a certificate, Rs five lakh cheque and eight gram gold medal.
ii. In the same Occasion the Kalpana Chawla Award which is given for Courage and Daring Enterprise was bestowed to Jayanthi from Namakkal District. The award carries Rs 5 lakh cash, certificate and gold coated medal.

Presidential Award for Certificate of Honour and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman to Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic and Persian Scholars for the Year 2016
i. President of India awards certificates of honor to eminent scholars of Sanskrit, Pali/Prakrit, Arabic and Persian and the Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman to young scholars
ii. The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee awarded Certificates of Honour to eminent scholars of Sanskrit, Pali/Prakrit, Arabic and Persian and the Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman to young scholars at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
iii. The list of several scholars and their respective language are as follows includes Sanskrit(13), Sanskrit-International(1), Arabic(3), Parsian (3), Pali (1) , Prakrit( 1).
iv. while in Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman  the Sanskrit(5), Arabic(1), Parsian (1), Pali (1) , Prakrit( 1).

Four Indians of Bangalore firm clinch Guinness records title after making largest dirt cake
i. Bangalore based Bangalore Baking Buddies has entered their name in Guinness World Records 2016 after making a world largest dirt that weighed a whopping 1,078 kg was unveiled at The Park hotel in Bangalore.
ii. The Cake was prepared by bakers Danish Ali, Dr Archana Diwan, Nidhi Bagri and Poonam Ankur Shrishrimal, who took over 10 hours to complete it.
iii. The specially made dirt cake prepared using sandwich cookies and pudding in combination with other ingredients to create a dessert that has a dirty, gardenlike look.
iv. The dirt cake was distributed to 17 institutions and some schools in the vicinity after the show case.


Tech Giant Microsoft’s Xbox Acquires seattle based Live Streaming Platform – Beam
Microsoft Beami. Microsoft’s Xbox team acquired Beam, an interactive live streaming platform for gamers on August 12.
ii. Xbox is a video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft. It represents a series of video game consoles developed by Microsoft, with three consoles released in the sixth, seventh, and eighth generations respectively.
iii. The brand also represents applications (games), streaming services, and an online service by the name of Xbox Live. The brand was first introduced on November 15, 2001 in the United States, with the launch of the original Xbox console.
iv. The seattle based Beam was launched 8 months ago by an 18-year-old Matt Salsamendi and this startup has 24 employees.
v. It is noted that Beam emerged as the Battlefield winner, winning $50,000. In June, Salsamendi and cofounder James Boehm, 20, were named Thiel Fellows in June 2016. Investor Peter Thiel’s organization pays young entrepreneurs $100,000 over the course of two years in exchange for skipping college or dropping out to work on their own ventures.


New sensor developed to detect heart attacks in just a minute
i. A team of researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea has developed a new electrical immunosensor for swift and reliable diagnosis of heart Attack.
ii. The research team includes one of Indian-origin, Abhinav Sharma from UNIST made the device that holds considerable potential for use as a platform for sensing distinct types of proteins.
iii. The electrical immunosensor measures within a minute and able to rapidly diagnose the level of heart attacks at the point of care.
iv. The sensor uses a single droplet of blood to identify the level of cardiac troponin, a type of protein that is excreted by the heart muscle into the blood which causes acute myocardial infarction, also called heart attack.