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Current Affairs Today – August 25 2016

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CAT August 25 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

CCEA approves nine new railway projects for better rail connectivity in India
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved nine projects worth about Rs 24,000 crore on 24th August 2016 in nine states for expansion of railway network and connectivity across the country.
The nine CCEA approved projects include the,
1.176 km long construction of second railway line between New Bongaigaon and Kamakhya
2.132 km long third line between Kharagpur (Nimpura) and Adityapur (Jharkhand)
3.228.3 km long construction of the third line between Rajnandgaon and Nagpur in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra
4.273.80 km long third line between Mathura and Jhansi
4.152.57 km long third line between Jhansi and Bina,
6.280 km long third line between Itarsi and Nagpur,
7.201.04 km long third line between Ballarshah and Kazipet
8.287.68 km long third line between Vijaywada and Gudur
9.206 km long construction of fourth line between Jharsuguda and Bilaspur.

Madhya Pradesh & Delhi passes GST Amendment Bill
i. The Madhya Pradesh and Delhi Assembly ratified the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Constitution Amendment Bill, With this MP and Delhi became the seventh and eighth State to ratify the historic tax amendment bill.
ii. The AAP led Delhi become the third non-BJP-ruled state and overall the eighth to clear the proposed tax regime after Bihar and Himachal to ratify the bill.
iii. The Goods and Services Tax bill has already been signed by Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Gujarat.The 122 Constitution Amendment bill was passed by LokSabhaon August 9 while RajyaSabha cleared it on August 4.

Union Ministry joins with companies to promote the Employment Generation Service
i. Union Labour Ministry signed Memorandam of understanding (MoUs) with companies such as job portals Indeed, First Job and HT Shine to enhance the quality and reach of its employment generation services.
ii. This move of the government is to further enrich and widen the employment services; NCS is partnering with HT Shine, Indeed, Freshersworld, FirstJob, Merajob, Urban Clap, Wheebox, Association of Skill Training Providers, Portea, Delivery Track, Amity Business School.
iii. It is noted that NCS will play a significant role in employment generation in the
country
. We are committed to expand the quality and reach of NCS and signing of these MoUs is a step in that direction.
iv.NCS portal facilitates job seekers to register online and employers to post vacancies/search candidates free of cost. Its services are also accessible through the over 1.5 lakh Common Service Centers in the country, he added.
v. The NCS is also partnering with leading institutions from the private sector for establishing Model Career Centers without any financial implications from the government.
vi. The ministry also launched a multilingual toll free helpline, 1800-425-1514, is also operational for job seekers.

Jharkhand postal circle unveils an innovative method of Pink Envelops for High Court Purpose 
Jharkhand envelopei. The Jharkhand postal circle launched a special speed post service for the high court, in a move that is expected to accelerate delivery of summons and notices and thereby save precious time of the overburdened judiciary.
ii. Under the system, articles can be tracked anywhere and anytime. A small jacket containing ‘proof of delivery‘ will be attached to each pink envelop. The recipient will have to sign and return the acknowledgement letter. Subsequently, the high court will be informed of the delivery status through e-mail.
iii. The pink envelopes, which are available in two categories and priced Rs 25 and Rs 30 a piece, respectively, have already been made available at the high court post office.
iv. Registrar general of Jharkhand High Court A.K. Chaudhary and director of the postal services, Jharkhand, Bhupal Ram inked the MoU in Ranchi in the presence of Chief Justice Virender Singh.
v. It is noted that only pink envelopes with a special barcode will be used for delivery of documents, summons and notices of the high court. 

CTTC, Bhubaneswar signs pact with ISRO for Technology Transfer
i. Central Tool Room and Training Centre (CTTC), Bhubaneswar, has signed an agreement with ISRO for technology transfer and a contract for supply of spacecraft component.
ii. As per the contract, the CTTC would supply spacecraft component for next five years for a total value of Rs 32 RPT Rs 32 crore.
iii. Under the agreement, Indian Space Research Organisation would transfer three types of temperature-sensor technology to CTTC to further strengthen its manufacturing capability
iv. It is noted that the achievement of CTTC by supplying critical components to Success of MARS mission (MOM) drew appreciation and felicitations from the prime minister’s office and office from the Minister of MSME.
v. It is also noted that the CTTC has been supplying several critical components used in satellites and launch vehicles developed by ISRO under the national space mission of the country.
vi. CTTC-Bhubaneswar is geared up to develop its manufacturing capability to be a reliable and contributing partner to the National Aerospace missions and marching ahead on the path of Make in India Mission. 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Two day SAARC Finance Minister Meet commenced in Islamabad, Pakistan
i. A two-day conference of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers has been kicked off in Islamabad
ii. During two-day deliberations, the member states will review different activities being carried out in the region under SAARC mechanism, including customs cooperation, avoidance of double taxation, promotion and protection of investment, cooperation in the banking sector, and trade liberalization.
iii. Finance Ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are likely to attend the conference.
iv. On the first day, Finance Secretaries of the member states are discussing the current status of economic and financial cooperation in the region.
v. They are having an overall economic outlook of SAARC economies and global impact on SAARC region.

Columbia enters into a Historical Peace Deal with the Leftist – FARC rebels
i. Colombia’s government has secured a groundbreaking peace deal with leftist Farc rebels – promising to end a war that wracked the country for more than half a century, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions.
ii.The Colombian government and the FARC announced that they have reached a final, full and definitive accord.
Columbia FARC Dealiii. Both sides have agreed to work together to address social exclusion, to deliver justice to the victims of the conflict and build a stable and enduring peace.
iv. The announcement in Havana of a deal after four years of talks opens the possibility for Colombians to put behind them political bloodshed that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and driven more than 5 million people from their homes.
v. The comprehensive deal addresses both the root causes of the conflict and its most nefarious consequences, while laying out a calendar for the Farc’s estimated 7,000 fighters to lay down their arms and reintegrate with Colombian society.
About Columbia :
♦ Capital – Bogota,
♦ Currency – Peso,
♦ President – Juan Manuel Santos. 

BANKING & FINANCE

Indian economy to grow 7.9% this fiscal: Goldman Sachs
i. American multinational banking firm Goldman Sachs says Indian economy is likely to grow 7.9 per cent in this year 2016-17,growth in the current fiscal driven by better monsoon, government pay hike, key reforms and FDI inflows.
ii. Sachs report went on to say that GDP of the country is expected to improve gradually and for the April-June quarter it may slow a tad to 7.8 per cent, in part due to unfavorable base.
iii. It added that India grown at 7.9 per cent in the previous quarter. While the forecast for this fiscal is however higher than consensus expectations of 7.5 per cent and up from 7.6 per cent in FY16.
iv. The report note also praises India’s efforts on reforms like passage of the GST bill, inflation targeting framework on Policy among the others.

21 banks to go live with Unified Payments Interface, says NPCI
i. Mumbai based retail payments organisation National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has announced that customers of 21 banks can use Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for sending and collecting money via a smart phone using a Virtual Payment Address (VPA) soon.
ii. The UPI interfaced App will facilitate option for scheduling push and pull transactions for various purposes like Payment of cash on delivery during online shopping websites and can pay for miscellaneous expenses like paying utility bills, barcode based payments, donations.
iii. This is the first of its kind in the world where real-time sending and receiving money through a mobile application which provides customer to have multiple virtual addresses for multiple accounts in various banks.
iv. It also comes with greater security as privacy of customer’s data maintained as there is no account number mapper on the system except the customer’s own bank also customer can use the mobile number for the virtual address like [email protected] in place of short name
National Payments Corporation of India:
♦ Founded: 2008
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Chairman:  Balachandran M,
♦ Managing director & CEO:AP. Hota,

IndusInd Bank ties up with IBM for Cloud Commerce Solutions
i. Private sector lender IndusInd Bank has tied up with IBM to use its Cloud commerce solutions to transform customer engagements and enhance its cross-sell platforms.
ii. Using customer behavior analysis and real-time contextual marketing, banks can ensure that customers connecting with the bank on any channel will receive relevant and timely communications and offers that address their unique needs.
iii. IBM will provide a cloud and predictive analytics based multi-channel campaign management solution that enables IndusInd Bank to strengthen its online banking presence while improving the product holding per customer.
iv. IBM will be combining its Digital Marketing and Analytics consulting, hardware, software, cloud, and business process services offerings to provide digital marketing as a service which helps centralise and standardise activities.
v. This unique managed marketing partnership with IBM helps to leverage their market leading UNICA platform as well as their proven expertise in technology delivery. It allows focusing on our client and business delivery without having to worry about technology components, capital costs, operations management and talent management.
vi. The financial services sector is constantly looking at innovative marketing methods to enhance customer outreach. IBM’s digital marketing-as-a-service model combines powerful IndusInd Bank & IBMcloud and predictive analytics capabilities with our extensive experience in this sector which together can disrupt and transform how businesses such as IndusInd Bank meet the changing needs of their customers.
About IndusInd Bank :
♦ HQ – Mumbai,
♦ CEO – Ramesh Sobti,
♦ Establishment – 1994.

BUSINESS

BCCI signs MoU with TERI to promote renewable energy
i. Kolkata based Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) for promoting renewable energy.
ii. The MoU will pave the way to popularise clean energy and climate also to offer technology and business models on renewables by exploiting technology.
iii. The BCCI energy committee chairman Deb A Mukherjee said that the joint work will strengthen the alliance between the chamber and TERI in the domain of renewables and allied fields.
The Energy and Resources Institute:
♦ Established 1974
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Director General: Dr. Ajay Mathur

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Satheesh Reddy conferred first IEI-IEEE award
 First IEI-IEEE awardeei. The Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister G Satheesh Reddy has been conferred with the IEI-IEEE Award for Engineering Excellence-2015 Award for his significant national contribution towards Missiles and Aerospace technologies.
ii. Currently Reddy is the Scientific Advisor to Defence MinisterParrikar and he isalso the Director General, Missiles and Strategic Systems at DRDO.
iii. Reddy being the Director of RCI, he headed the development of Avionics technologies in critical areas of inertial systems for various defence programmes AgniA1, A2, A3, A4, A5, Akash,underwater missiles, Prithvi, Dhanush, Astra, BrahMos, Nirbhay, Helina, Nag, MRSAM.
Satheesh Reddy:
♦ Reddy is did his graduation in Electronics and Communication Engineering from JNTU, Anantapur and received his MS and Doctorate from JNTU, Hyderabad. He was appointed the Scientific Advisor to Parrikar in 2015.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Shri Ravi Shankar – India’s next High Commissioner to Republic of Uganda
i. Shri Ravi Shankar – lndian Foreign Service 1995 Batch, presently Deputy Chief of Mission in Embassy of India, Rome, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of lndia to the Republic of Uganda.
ii.He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
iii. Uganda officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the southwest by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania.
iv. Uganda is the world’s second most populous landlocked country after Ethiopia. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania.
v. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate.
vi. Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.

Pankaj Harjai – Lenovo SMB’s New Head
i. Leading PC maker Lenovo appointed Pankaj Harjai as head of its newly constituted Small and Medium Business (SMB) vertical.
ii. Lenovo Group Ltd.is a Chinesemultinational technology company with headquarters in Beijing, China, and Morrisville, North Carolina, United States.
iii. It designs, develops, manufactures and sells personal computers, tablet computers, smartphones, workstations, servers, electronic storage devices, IT management software and smart televisions.Pankaj Hariraj
iv. In 2015, Lenovo was the world’s largest personal computer vendor by unit sales. It markets the Think Pad line of notebook computers, Idea Pad line of notebook laptops, Idea Centre line of desktops, Yoga line of notebook laptops, and the Think Centre line of desktops
v. Pankaj has also taken charge of Lenovo’s commercial channel business. He will be reporting to Rahul Agarwal, Managing Director, Lenovo India.
vi. Pankaj will lead sales, product and go-to-market strategy for the SMB vertical. He is also tasked with managing and growing the partner base for the commercial channel segment.

Yes Bank apppoints Amit Sanan head Mid Corp Banking
i. India fifth largest private sector bank, Yes Bank has appointed Amit Sanan as Group President and Country Head of Mid-Corporate Banking.
ii. The two existing teams of Emerging Corporate Banking and Commercial Business Banking of 300 relationship managers nationally will now report to him.
iii. Sanan has more than 20 years of corporate banking experience in the areas of relationship management, structured financing and commercial banking. 
iv. Yes Bank is India’s fifth largest private sector Bank, co-founded by Rana Kapoor in 2004. Yes Bank is the only Greenfield Bank license awarded by the RBI in the last two decades.
v. Yes Bank is a “Full Service Commercial Bank”, and has steadily built a Corporate, Retail & SME Banking franchise, Financial Markets, Investment Banking, Corporate Finance, Branch Banking, Business and Transaction Banking, and Wealth Management business lines across the country.
About Yes Bank :
♦ HQ – Mumbai
♦ Founder – Rana Kapoor,
♦ Establishment – 2004

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Scientists discovered Earth-sized planet orbiting star nearest to Sun
i. Astronomers have discovered an Earth-like planet that orbiting the star closest to our sun using instruments such as the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) and the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS).
ii. The Scientist team used the UVES and HARPS that are installed on telescopes run by the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The discovery reported in a study published in Nature.
iii. The Planet called Proxima b, sound much like Earth’s. It is 1.3 times the mass of the Earth or bigger which is bigger than Earth and, like Earth, is rocky, and it’s the right distance from its star to support liquid on the surface.
iv.That Planet is invisible to the naked eye, is only 4.2 light-years away from the earth and about 25 trillion miles that is likely nearest stellar neighbor.

World’s first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore
i. Singapore based NuTonomy announced the first autonomous vehicles available for public hire in Singapore starting on 25 August 2016.
ii. The company called a select group of people to download their app and ride for free in its robo-taxi in a western Singapore. This was the trial run held by the NuTonomy.
iii. The Robo Taxi developed by Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiE Velectrics, the vehicle is fitted with six sets of Lidar a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar, including one that constantly spins on the roof. It also has two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles in front be it traffic signal or the other type of obstacles.
iv. Nutonomy is a started three years back in 2013 aiming to launch self-driving vehicles, with automakers and technology firms. It is targeting to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018.

SPORTS

Bindra to head NRAI review committee on Rio debacle
Abhinav Bindra becomes Rio olympics goodwill ambassadori. India’s Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra has been named as the Chairman of a five-member National Rifle Association of India review committee to probe the shooters’ dejected show in the Rio Games.
ii. The Appointed Chairman of the committee bindra also was part of the team that contested, the five member committee include former tennis player Manisha Malhotra (Convenor of the committee), NRAI Secretary Rajiv Bhatia and two journalists.It is been asked to submit its report to the President within a maximum period of four weeks.
iii. The committee intended to examine and identify in a cold and ruthless manner the causes behind shooting not securing any medals at the Rio.
iv. Besides the committee will recommend concrete steps that NRAI must undertake on fast manner to ensure that this situation is repeated in future
AbhinavBindra:
♦ He is the first to man to bag Olympic medal in Shooting at the 2008 Summer Olympics Beijing in Men’s 10 metre air rifle Event.
♦ The Dehradun hailed man has finished 4th in the finals of 10m Air Rifle Event in Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. He was Flag Bearer for India in Opening Ceremony of Rio 2016.

Indian Men Hockey Team slipped to sixth after the lackluster performance in Rio Olympics
i. Indian men’s hockey team slipped one place to occupy sixth in the FIH rankings after their lusterless show in Rio Olympics while their Women Hockey team surprisingly gained one position to be at 12th in the latest charts.
ii. P.R. Sreejesh led India who started the Summer Games as the fifth-ranked side in the world have slipped one place to the sixth spot.
iii. Two wins, two losses and a draw in the group stage followed with a defeat to Belgium by 3-1 in the quarterfinals pushed Team India one down in the latest rankings released by the International Hockey Federation.
iv. Australia’s Kookaburras — who finished in sixth place in Rio — remain in first place, but newly crowned Olympic champions Argentina earned enough points to move up five places to second.
v. Olympic silver medalists Belgium move up one place to fifth, with India being pushed down into sixth and England (Great Britain) down from fourth to seventh.
vi. Spain’s excellent performances at Rio 2016 saw them finish in fifth in the Olympic standings, enough to see them re-enter the top 10 to sit ninth in the rankings.

BWF Rankings- Sindhu at 10th, Saina Nehwal at 9th
i. India’s PV Sindhu remained in the 10th spot in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings despite getting a silver in the women’s singles competition at the recently-concluded Olympics.
ii. But Saina Nehwal dropped four points to be ninth and also the women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa dropped four places to the 26th spot following their failure to reach the knock-out stage in the Rio Games.

Rank Name Country
     1 Carolina MARIN Spain
2 Li Xuerui China
3 Nozomi OKUHARA Japan
4 Wang Yihan China
5 Ratchanok INTANON Thailand
6 Wang Shixian China
7 Tai Tzu Ying Chinese Taipei
8 Sung Ji Hyun Korea
9 Saina NEHWAL India
10 Pusarla V. Sindhu India


iii. Carolina Marin remains the World No. 1 player, while Rio semi-finalist Li Xuerui moved to second spot. Nozomi Okuhara of Japan moved to third spot despite the loss against PV Sindhu in the semifinals. Yihan Wang dropped to 4th place from 2nd. Former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand is now placed at 5th. Shixian Wang of China and Tai Tzy Ying of Chinese Taipei are placed at 6th and 7th respectively.