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Current Affairs Today – August 31 2016

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CAT August 31 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Union Cabinet Approvals – August 31 2016
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to proposal for dissolution of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited (CIWTC).
ii. The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been approved of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and Ministry of Cabinet Office, UK (as represented by CERT-UK, a unit of the Cabinet Office on Cyber Security)
iii. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to produce a Project Development Fund (PDF) with a corpus of Rs 500 Crore.This move provides an aid for catalyzing Indian economic presence in the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
iv. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the scheme for grant of Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors subject to the relevant conditions as specified in the FDI Policy notified by the Government from time to time.

Union Cabinet approves various amendments in FDI policy
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post-facto approval for the FDI policy amendments announced by the Government. The FDI policy amendments are meant to liberalise and simplify the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in the country leading to larger FDI inflows contributing to growth of investment, incomes and employment. 
ii. Food – It has now been provided that 100% FDI under automatic route for trading.
iii.Defense – Earlier FDI regime permitted 49% FDI participation in the equity of a company under automatic route.
iv. Pharma – The earlier FDI policy on pharmaceutical sector provides for 100% FDI under automatic route
v. Civil aviation – As per the earlier FDI policy, foreign investment up to 49% was allowed under automatic route
vi. Private Security – The earlier policy permitted 49% FDI under government approval route in Private Security Agencies.
vii.Animal Husbandry – As per FDI Policy 2016, FDI in Animal Husbandry (including breeding of dogs), Pisciculture, Aquaculture and Apiculture is allowed 100% under Automatic Route under controlled conditions

Jharkhand – the first state to implement Public Fund Management System (PFMS)
i. Jharkhand became the first state in the country to have implemented Public Fund Management System (PFMS).
ii. Public Financial Management System (PFMS) initially started as a Plan scheme named CPSMS of
the Planning Commission in 2008-09 as a pilot in four States of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Mizoram for four Flagship schemes e.g. MGNREGS, NRHM, SSA and PMGSY. After the initial phase of establishing a network across Ministries / Departments, it has been decided to undertake National rollout of CPSMS (PFMS) to link the financial networks of Central, State Governments and the agencies of State Governments. The scheme was included in 12th Plan initiative of Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance.
iii. The DBT Scheme was announced by the Government of India for implementation w.e.f 01.01.2013. It has been decided that payments (Aadhaar enabled or via NEFT) to ultimate beneficiaries will be processed through PFMS (CPSMS). The erstwhile Planning Commission issued detailed guidelines on 12.4.2013 regarding use of CPSMS by Ministries /Department/Implementing Agencies for DBT.
iv. Further, the use of PFMS has been made mandatory for payment, accounting and reporting under Direct Benefit Transfer, with effect from 1st April 2015. No payments under the Direct Benefit Transfer schemes (except PAHAL) are to be processed, unless the electronic payment files for such payments are received through the PFMS system developed by the CGA from 1st April, 2015.
v. As a result, every Department/Ministry will transfer funds electronically to each beneficiary (individual or institution) through PFMS. Further, implementing agencies will transfer the cash components to beneficiaries through PFMS. In case where funds are transferred to State Government/Treasury, each Ministry will coordinate and ensure that the cash component of each scheme is transferred through PFMS.
vi. In both the above cases, all Departments/ministries will use the PFMS system of CGA for processing payments which is already linked with NEFT and APB of NPCI for settlement of funds, and can process both type of payments on a single platform. 

Former Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta submitted the reports of Indo-Pakisthan border protection
i. The Ministry of Home Affairs had constituted a Committee under Shri Madhukar Gupta, Retd. Home Secretary for strengthening border protection and addressing the issue of gaps and vulnerability in border fencing along Indo-Pakistan Border.
ii. A high powered committee of the National Security Council, headed by former home secretary Madhukar Gupta presented its report on India-Pakistan border to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singhin New Delhi. Madhukar Gupta submitted the reports of Indo-Pakisthan border protection
iii. The committee has made a detailed study through discussions on threat perception, field visits and discussions with stakeholders. The committee has made a several recommendations regarding border protection on India-Pakisthan border.
iv. The Committee mandates the study of all types of gaps in fencing & all other vulnerabilities in the International Border on Indo-Pakistan Border and to suggest comprehensive approach to fix these gaps in fencing and other vulnerabilities on interim and permanent basis. 

TVSN Prasad headed expert Committee submitted its report regarding alternatives for Pellet Guns
i. An Expert committee of seven-members under the chairmanship of Shri T V S N Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs for exploring the other possible alternatives to Pellet Guns as Non-lethal Weapons submitted its report to the Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Mehrishi here today
ii. The committee under the chairmanship of Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary T.V.S.N. Prasad comprised CRPF IG Atul Karwal, Srinagar IG (Ops.) Rajeev Krishna, BSF Rajesh Kumar, IPS, J&K Police, IOFS, DDG, Small Arms, OFB Tushar Tripathy, TBRL Director, Chandigarh, Dr. Manjit Singh, and IIT Delhi Professor Dr. Naresh Bhatnagar.
iii. Pellets are loaded with lead and once fired they disperse in huge numbers, and penetrate the skin’s soft tissues, and eye being the delicate structure is the most vulnerable to damage.
iv. Once the pellet goes inside an eye it shatters tissues and causes multiple damages to all parts of the eye and it was introduced by the state police in 2010.
v. It is noted that the recent violence in Jammu and Kashmir has brought pellet guns into focus as over hundred people are being treated for severe eye injuries after security forces fired pellets to contain violence there post the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.

Urban Development Ministry signed MoU with Amar Chitra Katha for a comic initiative
i. The Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu signed a deal with popular comic book series Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) to bring out a comic book on the Swachh Bharat Mission
ii. Swachh Bharat is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which he launched on Oct. 2 in 2014, the year he was elected to power.
iii. The comic will include inspirational stories from the Mission, cleanliness rankings of cities, public figures and ambassadors, environmental impact and stories of individuals and organizations that can inspire children to the concept of ‘Swachhata’.
iv. This initiative will push the Swachh Bharat Mission one step further towards making Swachh Bharat a ‘janandolan’.
v. It is noted that Amar Chitra Katha will be developing and creating the special edition comic book in English and translating into Hindi. In order to ensure large scale dissemination of these stories, MoU will distribute them through national school boards like CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Vidyalaya. 

Goa Gov Passes GST Bill and also Sign MoU with Google
i. A MoU was signed between Goa Government and Google India to promote digital literacy, develop internet safety education for students, and promote android development and make government websites mobile friendly.
ii. The MoU was inked by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Vice-President Google South East Asia Rajan Anandan in the state capital Panaji.
iii. The state in collaboration with Google is set to roll out Internet safety education for students in the state and training and will soon expand to cover 460 schools and 80,000 students.
iv. The State government also passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitution Amendment Bill which will pave the way for the legislation to be notified by the President to the GST Council.
v.Goa becomes the 15 th state to sign the legislation, the Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar underlined that it would help sectors like service and tourism, bringing in more revenue.

Gujarat becomes first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs under UJALA scheme
i. Gujarat is all set to become the first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for all (UJALA) scheme.
UJALA Schemeii. The state reached this milestone in just 96 days after centre has coined the scheme and over 42 lakh households have already benefitted from the scheme.
iii. The state run Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is distributing over 2 lakh bulbs daily in Gujarat which itself a record number.
iv. In Gujarat, 9W LED bulbs are being distributed which comes with a free 3 year replacement warranty for any technical defect.
Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for all (UJALA)
♦ The scheme UJALA was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 May 2015, which replaced the Bachat Lamp Yojana and over 15 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed across India.
♦ This project will enable annual energy savings of 1948 crore kWh and the estimated cumulative cost reduction of INR 7990 crores.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Union Minister Sadanandha Gowda inaugurated the 8th meet of SAARCSTAT
i. India hosted the three-day(August 29-31,2016) Eighth meeting of SAARCSTAT and delegates from SAARC Member States and other international organizations viz., FAO, PARIS 21, and ADB attended the Meet.Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation, Shri. D.V. Sadananda Gowda inaugurated the 8th Meeting of Heads of SAARC Statistical Organizations (SAARCSTAT) in New Delhi
ii. The theme of this Meeting is “Trade Statistics – Merchandise & Services”.
iii. Reducing Asymmetry in Trade data amongst SAARC countries is one of the topics for discussion in this Meeting.  Reducing asymmetry in bilateral trade data is an issue which requires serious attention from the data compilers.
iv. Although India has taken up the issues of data reconciliation with a few countries like China, Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Sri Lanka but much more needs to be done to bring down the asymmetry to an acceptable level especially in the SAARC Region.

China Commissions High-Capacity Solar Thermal Power Plant
i. East Asian nation China in the Qinghai province has commissioned its first solar thermal power plant with the capacity of 10 megawatt which is the third such power plant in the world has been commissioned.
ii. The other two high end Power Generating stations are located in the US and Spain.
iii. The core technology used here is that solar collection, heat absorption, energy storage and electricity generation.
iv. Molten salt employs as the heat-exchange fluid which has wide temperature range in its liquid state. The salt will pave the way improve the system efficiency and the heat-exchange process will be simplified and energy loss will be minimized.
China:
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping
♦ India shares 3,380 km with China. McMahon Line is a line agreed to by Britain and Tibet as part of the Simla Accord, a treaty signed in 1914.

BANKING & FINANCE

India to grow at 7.6% in FY’17: RBI
i. Reserve Bank of India predicts India to clock at 7.6 per cent in 2016-17 in the wake of near-term growth outlook for India seems brighter than last fiscal.
ii. The Central Bank in its annual report said that overall gross value added growth is expected at 7.6 per cent this fiscal, up from 7.2 per cent last year.
iii. In latest annual report RBI mentioned that better monsoon, 7th Pay Commission roll out adding fuel to the growth in the last quarter of 2016-17 which upsides to this projection.
iv. This is the last report under outgoing governor Raghuram Rajan emphasised the need to bring down consumer inflation and headline inflation, is likely to trend towards the target of 5 per cent by the last quarter of the year.
RBI Subsidiaries:
1.Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India(DICGC)
2.Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited(BRBNMPL)
3.National Housing Bank(NHB)

NPCI launches Bharat Bill Payment System pilot project
npcilogoi. Mumbai based National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with 26 Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs) launched the pilot project for Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
ii. Bharat Bill Payment System will provide interoperable bill payment services to customers. Now  it will cover repetitive payments such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and Direct-to-Home (DTH). 
iii. NPCI will include AP Mahesh Co-operative Urban Bank, Axis Bank, Gopinath Patil Parsik Janata Sahakari Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank, Punjab National Bank, RBL Bank, State Bank of India,The Saraswat Co-Op Bank, TJSB Sahakari Bank and YES Bank from the banking entities and Avenues India , Common Service Centre, Euronet Services India, IndiaIdeas.com (Billdesk), ITZ Cash Card, One97 Communications Ltd (Paytm), Oxigen Services , PayU Payments , Spice Digital Ltd and Tech Process Payment Services.
iv. As of now  52 Banking entities and 10 Non-Banking entities are received in-principle approval from  RBI to function as Operating Units (OU).

BUSINESS

Kudankulam II was connected for southern grid for power supply
i. The second 1,000 MW unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu was connected to the grid for power supply.
ii. The Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactor was synchronized with the southern grid and is now generating 245 MWe.
iii. Construction of Kudankulam 2 was completed in July 2015, and it was loaded with its first fuel in May 2016. Following the completion of safety tests, NPCIL began the process of approaching criticality on 8 July by diluting neutron-absorbing boric acid in the primary coolant water. A controlled self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction – or criticality – was attained on 10 July.
iv. India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL has built two similar 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at Kudankulam with Russian equipment. 
v. Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power station in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Construction on the plant began on 31 March 2002, but faced several delays due to the fishermen’s objection.
vi. It is noted that Unit 1 was synchronised with the southern power grid on 22 October 2013.  The original cost of the two units was ₹ 13,171 crore, but it was later revised to ₹ 17,270 crore ($2.6 billion). Russia advanced a credit of ₹ 6,416 crore ($0.97 billion) to both the units.

E-rickshaws, e-carts free from permit requirements
i. E-rickshaws and E-cards are not required to get permission to ply on the roads as per the notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
ii. This notification makes free e rickshaws and e carts from permit requirements upon the provisions of the sub-section (1) of section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 will not apply to e-carts and e-rickshaws (as defined in section 2A of MVA 1988).
iii. According to the Act these vehicles are meant to carry goods or passengers with personal luggage. The Notification says that State Governments can however impose restrictions under appropriate traffic laws on them under specific conditions.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Rattan Kapur – New President of Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA).
i. Rattan Kapur, Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Exhaust Systems Ltd, has been appointed as President of Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA).
ii. ACMA is the apex body  representing the auto component manufacturing industry
iii. The announcement was made at the 56th ACMA Annual Session during its Executive Committee meeting.
iv. ACMA membership of over 750 manufacturers contributes more than eighty five per cent of the auto component industry’s turnover in the organised sector. ACMA is an ISO 9001:2008 Certified Association. 
v. 
ACMA’s charter is to develop a globally competitive Indian Auto Component Industry and strengthen its role in national economic development as also promote business through international alliances.
vi. It is noted that the Auto Component industry in India, with a strong positive multiplier effect, is one of key drivers of India’s economic growth. The well-developed Indian auto component industry manufactures a wide variety of products including engine parts, drive transmission and steering parts, body and chassis, suspension and braking parts, equipment and electrical parts, besides others. 

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat – the VCOAS of the Indian Army
Lt Gen Bipin Rawat - the VCOAS of the Indian Armyi. Lt Gen Bipin Rawat will take over as the VCOAS of the Indian Army on 01 September 2016. He was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA, Dehradun, where he was awarded the‘Sword of Honour’.
ii. The Vice Chief of the Army Staff(VCOAS) is second in command of the Indian Army next to Chief of the Army Staff. He is responsible for operation and army related tasks.
iii. He has also been Major General General Staff at HQ Eastern Command.  The officer commanded a Multinational Brigade, in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).
iv. An alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command & National Defence College Courses, the General Officer,  during the span of over 35 years service in uniform, has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service with the UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, COAS Commendation on two occasions and the Army Commander’s Commendation.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Sony Pictures Network acquires Ten Sports for $385 mn
i. Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) on August 31 2016 announced that to acquire TEN Sports Network its subsidiaries for $385 million from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE).It was announced by CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India NP Singh.
ii. The acquisition will add South Asia’s leading sports network to SPN’s existing portfolio of channels.The TEN Sports channels being acquired include TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3, TEN Golf HD, TEN Cricket.
iii. TEN Sports that operates in Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Caribbean.It holds broadcast rights to major cricket boards and holds rights to wrestling (WWE), football (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, French League, English Football League Cup), tennis (WTA Events, ATP events), golf (European Tour, Asian Tour, Ryder Cup, US PGA Championship, LPGA Tour, Professional Golf Tour of India and Golf Channel Block), athletics (Asian Games, Commonwealth Games), motor sports (Moto GP) and cycling (Tour de France) events etc.

SPORTS

Ashwin slips to third, Rahane eighth in latest ICC Test rankings
i. Indian right-arm off break bowler Ravichandran Ashwin slipped one place down to third in the International Cricket Council (ICC) list for Test bowlers. The list is topped by South African speedster Dale Steyn.
ii. Proteas team man Steyn’s breath taking figures of 5/33 in the second innings helped his side to register a thumping 204-run victory over New Zealand. He pushed James Anderson to the second place.
iii. However All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is another Indian in the top 10 of the list, conquering the 8th spot.
iv. In the Batsman list Steve Smith Australia is on the top position, and Ajinkya Rahane features is ranked 8 th in the list. He is the only Indian to figure in the top 10.
The Test Rankings:

Batsman Bowler
Position Nationality Name Name Nationality
1 Australia Steve Smith Dale Steyn South Africa
2 England Joe Root James Anderson England
3 New Zealand Kane Williamson Ravi Ashwin India
4 South Africa Hashim Amla Stuart Broad England
5 Pakisthan Younus Khan Rangana herath Sri Lanka

100-Year-Old Runner from India Gets Gold Medal
i. 100-year-old Mann Kaur from Chandigarh clinched Gold medal in the 100-metre dash clocking one minute and 21 seconds at the American Masters Games in Vancouver Canada.
ii. This feat by Kaur comes as she was the only female competitor in her age category at the competition for older athletes as many of them in their 70s and 80s. However the average age of the athletes is 49.100-Year-Old Runner from India Gets Gold Medal
iii. She has now won more than 20 medals in Masters Games across the world and there’s one man who is even older than Kaur – 101-year-old Nihal Gill of Richmond from British Columbia.
World Masters Games:
It takes place every four years, with regional games in between. The Americas Masters Games in Vancouver is the first summer regional games in North America.

ENVIRONMENT

One of the world’s largest one-horned rhino horns was found in central Assam
i. One of the world’s largest one-horned rhino horns was found in central Assam’s Nagaon treasury during the ongoing verification of the horns in Assam.
ii. The rhino horn verification committee (RHVC) has found one of the world’s largest horns – possibly the heaviest – of the one-horned rhino in central Assam’s Nagaon treasury.
iii. The only recorded rhino horn bigger than this could be found in British Museum in London, where a 60 cm  long horn from Assam, found in 1909.
world’s largest one-horned rhino horns iv. It is noted that the verification Committee have completed the verification process rhino horns kept in  Golaghat, Tezpur, Jorhat, Diphu and Nagaon treasuries of Assam.
v .It is also noted that the the committee will move to Morigaon district treasury tomorrow where 22 horns are being kept from the nearby Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.