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Current Affairs Today – February 17 2016

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Cabinet approves to ink a consent in the area of Traditional Medicine b/w AYUSH and WHO

Union Cabinet has given its stamp of approval to ink a concord in the area of Traditional Medicine between Ministry of AYUSH, GOI and World Health Organization, Geneva.

  • For carrying out collaborative activities, the spending will be met from the allocated budget under the current plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH.

West Bengal government launched Utkarsh Bangla Scheme for school-dropouts

West Bengal government had launched the Utkarsh Bangla Scheme for school dropouts at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.The aim of the scheme is to give vocational training to school dropouts.

  • The scheme was launched by the Chief Minister of Kolkata and awards were given to the national and state level winners for excellence in skill development.

Himachal’s Samej village becomes smokeless by Indian Oil Corporation

The Samej village in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh becomes smokeless by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) under the Union Government’s campaign.

  • Indian Oil Corporation authorities distributed 130 gas connections to the villagers before these villagers were using fire wood in their homes.
  • The Indian Oil Corporation initiative made this village hundred percent smokeless.
  • In Himachal 83 percent people are using the LPG.
  • Such initiatives will help to make the state fully smoke free and will prevent deforestation.

NRDC inks MoA with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkatta on Technology Transfer”

National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) had inked Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) in Kolkata for technology Transfer at IACS.

  • NRDC will provide its services in IP Evaluation and Valuation in terms of their commercial potential to IACS as per the agreement.
  • National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) is an Enterprise of Department of Scientific & Industrial Research under the guidance of Union Ministry of Science & Technology.

ICC Cricket for Good and UNICEF launched Team Swachh clinics in partnership with BCCI

ICC Cricket for Good and UNICEF launched Team Swachh clinics in partnership with BCCI

International Cricket Council (ICC) and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had launched the Team Swachh clinics in partnership with BCCI during the ICC WT20 Host City Tour.

  • The Team Swachh clinics were launched at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.
  • This is the first in the series of alliance between the ICC and UNICEF under the aegis of Cricket for Good.
  • The alliance aims at building a social movement for sanitation and toilet use with the impact of cricket.


India joined in “Cobra Gold 2016” Multilateral Exercise

On sidelines of Vice-President Hamid Ansari visit to Thailand, India has participated in the 35thedition of “Cobra Gold” multilateral exercise as an observer plus country, being hosted byThailand.

  • Indian has been accorded as the observer plus country because of its increasing regional operability.
  • Theme of exercise“Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief”
  • Participants 35 Nations

4 oil producing Nations consented to freeze oil output

In a bid to tackle plummet that has battered nations, markets and companies, world’s largest producers of oil, Saudi Arabia and Russia consented to freeze oil output at near-record levels but producer Iran and Iraq stood out of this agreement.

  • This agreement is first of its kind in coordinated cooperation between OPEC (13 member cartel that controls more than a third of the world’s oil) and non-OPEC producers in 15 years as oil producers seek to boost persistently low oil prices which have sunk by about 70%.
  • Contrary, Iran and Iraq is planning to increase output by at least 500,000 barrels a day.


Employee Provident Fund interest

After receiving the stamp of approval from Union Labour Minister Bandaru DattatreyaEmployees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has marginally mounted the PF interest rate to 8.8% from 7.75% for 2015-16 financial year.

  • The announcement in this regard has been made during the 211th meeting of Central Board of Trustees in Chennai, which was chaired by Bandaru Dattatreya.
  • This will benefit over 40 million subscribers in 8.60 lakh establishments.

SBI opens ‘Japan Desk’ in New Delhi

Japan Desk

State Bank of India (SBI) launched ‘Japan Desk‘, a first-of-its-kind initiative to facilitate Japanese corporates looking to invest with banking and advisory services.

Aim: To be the window for inbound Japanese investments in India and vice-versa.

  • This will serve as an one-point comprehensive and reliable information support source for India-bound investments of Japanese companies.

Key points:

  • SBI HQ: Mumbai
  • SBI CEO: Arundhati Bhattacharya

PNB declares United Breweries Holdings ‘wilful defaulter’

Punjab National Bank (PNB) had declared United Breweries Holdings, Kingfisher Airlines and Vijay Mallya as willful defaulter.

  • State Bank of India had also declared Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines and its holding company United Breweries Holdings as wilful defaulters in November 2015.
  • For recovery bank conglomerate led by SBI had decided to auction Kingfisher House in Mumbai on March 17 to recover a part of Rs 6,963 crore
  • Punjab National Bank had an exposure of Rs 800 crore to the redundant carrier.

Supreme Court seeks list of companies who have defaulted over Rs. 500 crore

The Supreme Court had directed the RBI that it seeks the list of companies, which have defaulted bank loans of over Rs. 500 crore.

  • Expressing the serious concern over the rise in bad loans the court asked the RBI to provide the list within six weeks.
  • A bad loan is a loan where repayments are not being made as per the agreement between the borrower and the lender.


  • Chief Justice of India – T.S. Thakur


Renowned Indologist awarded prestigious Israel Prize

Professor David Shulman the renowned Indologist had been awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for his infiltrate studies in fields like religion and philosophy.

  • He is an Indologist and considered as one of the world’s leading authorities on the languages of India.

Indian-Origin Student Honoured In US for His Charity Work

Ishaan Patel an Indian-origin 13 year old boy has been honoured in the US for his charity work.

  • He made efforts to improve access to education for under privileged students in America and around the world.
  • He is the founder and CEO of Planting Pencils.
  • He was recently honoured by the Milan Cultural Organisation in the Legislative Office Hartford, Connecticut.
  • He is the student of Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford.


Sri Srinivasan First Indian-American Judge Of US Supreme Court

Sri Srinivasan become the first Indian-American to be on the bench of the US Supreme Court after conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden death.He was nominated  President Barack Obama .

About  Sri Srinivasan :

  • Chandigarh-born Srikanth ‘Sri’ Srinivasan, 48, tops the list of prospective justice to the country’s highest judicial body.Sri Srinivasan First Indian-American Judge Of US Supreme Court
  • He began his legal career by serving as a law clerk for Judge J Harvie Wilkinson on the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1995 to 1996.
  • He then spent a year as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General before clerking for O’Connor during the Supreme Court’s 1997-98 term.
  • He was an associate at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington DC from 1998 until 2002.

Awards & Honours :

He received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering US National Security in 2003 and the Office of the Secretary of Defence Award for Excellence in 2005.

NITI Aayog CEO to be member of Telecom Panel

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to nomination of Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, as part-time member of the Telecom Commission in place of Secretary, Planning Commission.

  • NITI Aayog CEO as the part-time member is aimed at lending value to deliberations of the Telecom Commission, it added.

About  Telecom Commission

  • The Telecom Commission was set up by central government through a resolution dated April 11, 1989.
  • The Telecom Commission was composed of a chairman, four full-time members and four part-time members, including the Secretary of the Planning Commission.
  • After the replacement, only three part-time members were left with the Telecom Commission.


HCL Technologies acquires Volvo Group’s external IT business

HCL Technologies had acquired the Volvo Group’s external IT business.

  • The total value of deal is not disclosed yet but it is estimated to be in the range of $1.75 billion (Rs 11,900 crore).
  • HCL is a leading global IT services provider and the Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles.
  • 40 new customers from the Nordics and France are added to HCL portfolio.
  • After the acquisition approximately 2,500 highly skilled people will transfer to HCL across 11 countries from Volvo Group.


Indian origin scientist discovers fast Tin Monoxide conductor to replace silicon

Indian-origin scientist Ashutosh Tiwari with his team had discovered a fast Tin Monoxide conductor to replace silicon.

  • It is made up of the tin and oxygen elements (tin monoxide SnO).
  • The electrical charges in the newly discovered element moves faster than the conventional 3D materials.
  • This 2D material is made up of just one or two atoms therefore the electrons has to move in one layer so it’s much faster than 3d elements.
  • It consumes less power and will help in speedier computers and Smartphone’s.

Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley inaugurates Non-Tax Receipt Portal

Arun Jaitley the Union Finance Minister inaugurated the Non-Tax Receipt Portal (NTRP).

  • It had been developed by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) office.
  • It will provide a one-stop platform for making online payment of Non-Tax Receipts to the Government of India.
  • It provides platform to citizens, corporate and other users.
  • The annual collection is over Rs 2 lakh crores.
  • The interest receipts, spectrum charges, royalty, license fee, sale of forms, RTI application fee are the major stuff of Non-Tax Receipts.

DRDO to conduct captive flight trails of Anti-Radiation Missile

Captive flight trials of an advanced state-of-the-art Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) are planned for April-May this year and the maiden flight test by year-end by the missile technologists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

About Anti-Radiation Missile :Air missile

  • The air-to-surface tactical missile being developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) will target the enemy’s air defence capabilities by attacking radars and communication facilities.
  • The range of the missile is 100 to 125 km and it will be mounted on combat aircraft Sukhoi (Su-30) and Tejas-Light Combat Aircraft.
  • The missile picks up the radiation or signals of radars and communication facilities and homes on to the targets to destroy them.
  • Only a few countries, including the U.S. and Germany have ARMs at present.

Environment Minister launches envis portal

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Javadekar launched a website and mobile application for integrating its Environment Information System(ENVIS) centres.

About  ENVIS:

  • Environment Information System (ENVIS) is a ministry initiative for integrating country-wide efforts in environment -related information collection, collation, storage, and dissemination.
  • The ENVIS portal will run parallel with Digital India Objective and aid the efforts for improving digital literacy in the environment sector.
  • The ENVIS network presently consists of 69 centres, of which 29 are hosted by environment departments of various state governments while 40 are operated by environment-related government and non-governmental organisations.

Javadekar also inaugurated a two-day workshop on National Interaction-cum-kivaluation of all ENVIS systems.


ShortDena Bank’s Sridhar selected as umpire (Table Tennis) for Rio Olympic Games

Sridhar of Short Dena Bank’shad been selected as Umpire (Table Tennis) for the comingRio Olympic Games 2016.

  • The Rio Olympic Games will started from August 5 and end on August 21, 2016.
  • He will be going to represent as an Indian Table Tennis umpire.
  • Formerly he had represented India in the Asian Games at Incheon South Korea and in Commonwealth Games Glasgow, Scotland.
  • He is a Blue Badge International Umpire represented India in more than ten World Table Tennis Championships.

Indian Railways Wins National Chess Team Championship for the First Time

Indian Railways has won The National Chess team Championship for the first time at the 36th Championship was held at Bhubaneswar from 8th to 14th February, 2016.

  • Indian Railway team beat its counterparts, viz. Odisha, Gujrat, Air-India, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, Airport Authority of India, Tamil Nadu, Delhi. Lastly, Indian Railway ousted Life Insurance Corporation.
  • Indian Railway team consisted of Karthikayan/ICF, Deepan Chakkravarthy/ICF,Shri Rathnakaran/SR,Shri Arghyadip Das/ER and Shri Swapni Dhopade/CR.


Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali died

Former UN President

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a veteran Egyptian diplomat, who helped negotiate his country’s landmark peace deal with Israel but then clashed with the United States when he served a single term as UN secretary-general, has died. He was 93.

About Boutros Boutros-Ghali :

  • Egyptian diplomat served one term as secretary general from 1992-96 and was first African to hold position
  • Boutros-Ghali, the scion of a prominent Egyptian Christian political family.
  • He stepped into the post in 1992 at a time of dramatic world changes, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a unipolar era dominated by the United States.

About UN :

  • TheUnited Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation. The headquarters of the United Nations is in Manhattan, New York City.
  • A replacement for the ineffectiveLeague of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II .
  • The UN had 51 member states, there are now 193.

Renowned Malayalam writer passes away

Noted Malayalam novelist and short story writer Akbar Kakkattil passed away.He was 62 .

About Akbar Kakkattil :

  • He has 54 books to his credit which includes, four novels, 27 short stories, six collections of essays, seven novelettes, a play, among others.
  • He was the Vice-President of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and Member of Malayalam Advisory Panel of National Book Trust and Malayalam Advisory Board of Kerala Government.
  • He had worked as a member of the governing body of South Zone Cultural Centre of the Union government and Kerala State Institute of Children’s literature.
  • He was also a member of Malayalam Advisory Board of Kendra Sahitya Akademi and Convener of Publication Committee, Kerala Sahitya Akademi.

Awards :

  • A two-time winner of the prestigious Kerala Sahitiya Akademi award.
  • He was also recipient of the first-ever award in humour section in 1992 for his ‘School Diary‘ an anthology of short essays
  • In the year 2004 his ‘Vadakkuninnoru Kudumba Vrithantham’ was awarded as the best novel.