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Current Affairs Today – January 19 2016

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Current Affairs Today 19 January 2016INDIAN AFFAIRS

National Conference on “Sustainable Agriculture, Farmer’s Welfare”

The two-day National Conference on “Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare” was chaired in Sikkim. The conference will be attended by state government representatives, scientists, academicians, bankers, experts and practitioners.

  • PM Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the plenary session of the conference.
  • “Organic Farming Festival” was also organized to give more impetus to Organic Farming.

The two day National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare deliberated upon the challenges and identify initiatives to transform agriculture based on sustainable and efficient use of resources like soil and water, remunerative prices on farm produce, risk coverage and reduction of potential negative impact of climate change.

Provide access to answer sheets at Rs 2 per page: CIC

The Central Information Commission has ruled the Universities and examining bodies for not to charge more than Rs 2 per page for providing copies of evaluated answer scripts to students.

  • Derivatives are issued to the University Grants Commission and Association of Indian Universities, to circulate, publicise and insist on implementation of this order in all academic and examining bodies.

The decision in regard has been taken when a student Abne Ingty was asked to pay Rs 750 per paper to have his own answer-sheets. That high fee for a copy of answer book was breaching the sections 3, 6 and 7 of the RTI Act.

IIT Kharagpur launches innovation centre

IIT Kharagpur launches innovation centre

IIT-Kharagpur has launched an innovation centre

Target: To promote the culture of innovation among its undergraduate students right from their first year.

M N Faruqui Innovations Centre was launched by ArjunMalhotra(Co-founder of HCL Technologies) comprising a Design Facility and Tinkering Laboratory.

  1. Design Facility supports a meeting, brainstorming and conferencing centre with Computing and Information Technology
  2. Tinkering Labhas collaborative conferencing tools, 3D printers, a mechanical workshop with fabrication machinery, electronics workbenches, PCB fabrication set-ups, and prototyping tools for embedded systems.

Points to remember: IIT Kharagpur

Recently, it was declared the top educational hub in India as per the Times Higher Education, Asia Rankings.

Rank

  • 2013: 3 by India Today, 2 by Outlook India
  • 2011: 4 by Dataquest
  • 2015: 3 in Careers 360 (Magazine) Top Universities
  • Location:Kharagpur, West Bengal
  • Chairman:Srikumar Banerjee

Jayalalithaa launches ‘Amma Call Centre’ for grievance redressal

Tamil Nadu Chief J Jayalalithaa launched a round-the-clock call centre for ensuring fast response to grievances.

Aim: Ensuring quick response to people’s grievances wherein they can dial toll-free number ‘1100’ at any point of time in the day.

Highlights:

  • Details of the callers and the issues reported would be registered on computer and referred to the relevant department for action through e-mail, SMS and telephone.
  • Equipped with latest technology like Computer Telephony Integration and Voice Logger System.

*Jayalalithaa is fondly addressed as ‘Amma’ (mother) by her supporters.

Current initiatives:‘Amma Canteens’ which provide subsidisedfood, and ‘Amma Mineral Water’.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India downgraded to 89th rank on GTCI

The annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTC) has downgraded India with 11 places and landed it to 89th position.

  • The top position was held by the Switzerland followed Singapore, Luxembourg, United States and Denmark.
  • GTCI 2015-16 focuses on the highly topical issue of international mobility and its impact on talent competitiveness.
  • Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTC) was released by INSEAD business school in partnership with Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore.

IBR: India stood as topper in Business Optimism

According to the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), Indian business leaders have emerged as the most optimistic lot globally about economic recovery in 2016. The report has been made on the basis of quarterly global survey of 2,580 business leaders across 36 economies.

  • 89% of the respondents in India expressed confidence in the stable government and expect economic recovery.
  • India is followed by Ireland (88%) and Philippines (84%).

France declares economic emergency

French President Francois Hollande has declared “a state of economic emergency” by announcing that it’s time to redefine France’s economic and social model.

  • The measures included a loosening of some worker-friendly measures to encourage companies to hire, and new training for half a million workers.

Key reforms:

  • Creation of 500,000 vocational training schemes, additional subsidies for small companies and a programme to boost apprenticeships.
  • With immediate effect, companies with fewer than 250 workers will receive a €2,000 payout for hiring youths and unemployed people on low salaries for contracts lasting more than six months.
  • Temporary tax breaks, announced in 2014, will become permanent.

Keys France:

  • Capital – Paris
  • Currencies – Euro, CFP franc
  • PM – Manuel Valls

India, Israel to intensify counter terrorism coordination

India and Israel agreed to intensify coordination to deal with the menaceof terrorism and discussed a wide-range of bilateral and regional issues.

Agreement:

  • Exchange of information (between the two countries) will continue in the future.
  • India attaches the highest importance to the full development of bilateral ties with Israel.
  • Two countries are intensifying their contacts and cooperation in fields such as science and technology, cyber, defence and agriculture.

President Rivlin pushed for a boost in bilateral economic ties and announced the two partners should quickly finalise the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

*Points to remember: Israel

  • Capital: Jerusalem
  • Currency: Israeli new shekel
  • Prime minister: Benjamin Netanyahu
  • President: ReuvenRivlin

BANKING & FINANCE

BSE launches algo trading test facility

Bombay Stock Exchange has launched a new service for algorithm trading test environment in partnership with Symphony Fintech Solutions Pvt Ltd.

  • The service will enable all market participants to test their trading algorithms in equity, equity derivatives and currency derivatives segments free of cost.
  • The members will be able to test their trading strategies with live market data feed during market hours and historical market data.

Algorithm trading uses mathematical models and software codes to make transaction decisions on exchanges and execute them at high speed.

Keys BSE:

  • Founded – 1875
  • Location – Mumbai
  • Key people – Ashishkumar Chauhan (MD & CEO)
  • Indices – BSE SENSEX, BSE Small Cap, BSE Mid-Cap & BSE 500

SBT launches online platform for KSEB bill payments

SBT (State Bank of Travancore) has tied up with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to provide customers of the state utility online facility for remittance of electricity charges.

Features of the platform:

  • Immediate credit of remittance through the SBT internet banking platform free of any additional charges
  • Enable consumers to pay their monthly bills without going to the KSEB offices. They will get confirmation of the remittance from the bank as well as KSEB.
  • The facility will be helpful for NRIs abroad who need not entertain worries of disconnection due to default of bill payment.

Key points

  • Managing Director, SBT:Jeevandas Narayan
  • Chairman, KSEB: M Shivasankar

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Govt inducted new category of award for “Most Film Friendly State/UT”

To promote the Indian film industry and India’s “Soft Power”, Govt has instituted a new award category under the National Film Awards titled “The Most Film Friendly State/UT”.

  • This award will be conferred for the first time at the 63rd National Film Awards to be held on 3rd May 2016 by President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
  • The announcement in this regard has been made by Sunil Arora (Secretary I&B) during the inaugural function for the Public screening of Indian Panorama-2015 films at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi.
  • The 12-day fest will showcase 47 popular movies, which were selected in the Indian Panorama section at the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2015.

PM Modi becomes 2nd most followed Indian on Twitter

PM Modi is 2nd most followed Indian on Twitter

Prime Minister NarendraModi has become second most followed Indian on social media site Twitter and pipped bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.

Modi had over 17,382,784 followers while Khan was being followed by 17,362,505 Twitter members as on January 17. He now trails only superstar Amitabh Bachchan- close to 18.9 million followers.

It is surprising to note that the number of followers of Modi’s account @narendramodi has consistently increased by about a million every two months.

  • Active on Twitter since 2009, the most followed Indian politician
  • He is second most followed politician in the world US President Barack Obama (@barackobama)

*Used twitter for campaigns like

#MakeInIndia, #SwachBharat, #MannKiBaat and #SefieWithDaughter

APPOINTMENTS

For the 9th succession Lalu Prasad Yadav designated as RJD Chief

Former railway minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav (67) was elected as president of his party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for the ninth consecutive term. He has been elected for the period of 3 years.

  • The RJD won 80 of the 243 seats in the Bihar assembly to emerge as the single-largest party after the November 2015 polls.
  • RJD is aimed to end the “misrule” of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

Mindtree appoints Ravanan as CEO, Natarajan as executive chairman

Mindtree(IT firm)appointed RostowRavanan as its CEO and Managing Director and current chief KrishnakumarNatarajanmoved on to the role of Executive Chairman with co-founder Subroto Bagchi stepping down from the position.

About Ravanan:

  • Served as the Head for Europe, Service Lines and Key Accounts andChief Financial Officer of Mindtree.

Recent flashback:Mindtree’s larger rival Wipro had also announced a senior-level rejig appointing AbidaliNeemuchwala in place of T K Kurien.

*Points to remember: Mindtree

  • CEO:KrishnakumarNatarajan
  • HQ: Bengaluru
  • Founders:SubrotoBagchi, Ashok Soota

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Delhi government launches DVAT BILL app to boost tax collection

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Siodia launched ‘DVAT BILL‘ App to boost Delhi Government’s tax collection and bring in transparency and through this App, people can become a “VAT Inspectors”.

Software developed by: Delhi Government’s Trade and Taxes department

Features:

  • For bill or cash memo/retail invoice of not less than Rs 100
  • To be eligible for the reward scheme, the taxable value of the goods purchased should not be less than Rs 100
  • Bill should have the registration number ad cash award would be transferred to the bank account of the customer directly.
  • Customer can upload the picture of bill/cash memo in the mobile or the send the snapshot of the bill on the application. A unique ID would be generated for each bill.

Key points :

  • VAT Commissioner: S SYadav
  • Manish Sisodiya: Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi(AamAdmi Party)

SPORTS

UK’s Ronnie O’Sullivan bagged 2016 Dafabet Masters

Ronnie O’Sullivan won his 6th £200,000 Snooker Masters title after defeating Barry Hawkins by 10-1 in the final of professional non-ranking snooker tournament, 2016 Dafabet Masters at the Alexandra Palace in London.

  • It was the 42nd staging of the tournament.
  • O’Sullivan, had previously won the event in 1995, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2014, equaling the record set by Stephen Hendry.

Delhi Crowned Premier Badminton League Champion

Delhi Acers were crowned the champions of the inaugural edition of the Premier Badminton League after they defeated the Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in the final at the DDA Badminton Stadium in Delhi.

  • Mumbai was leading by a point after the fourth game but Delhi’s victory in the trump-called matchup saw them clinch the title.
  • The 4-3 triumph for Delhi was worth 3 crore. Mumbai settled for Rs. 2 crore out of the total prize fund of approximately Rs. 6.5 crore.

Premier Badminton League Champion: Premier Badminton League is a franchise league, managed and commercially owned by the Badminton Association of India.

  • Inaugural season – 2013

Life time ban imposed on IPL player Ajit Chandila by BCCI

Life time ban imposed on IPL player Ajit Chandila by BCCIBoard of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) imposed a life time ban on Haryana off-spinner bowler Ajit Chandila due to his involvement in the IPL spot-fixing scandal 2013.

  • Ajit Chandila was found guilty of misconduct and corruption under the Articles 2.1.1, Article 2.1.2, Article 2.1.3, Article 2.1.4, Article 2.2.2, Article 2.2.3, and Article 2.4.1 of the BCCI Anti-Corruption Code.
  • BCCI also decided to hand a five-year suspension on Mumbai batsman Hiken Shah for making a corrupt approach to a fellow player.

The decision in this regard was taken at the Disciplinary Committee of the BCCI which was held in Mumbai. The committee was headed by BCCI President Shashank Manohar.

Stuart Broad become No. 1 test bowler

Stuart Broad become No. 1 test bowlerStuart Broad has become the first England bowler since Steve Harminson in 2004 to top the ICC player ranking for the test bowlers.

  • He has jumped to the peak of the ICC Test rankings for bowlers after his devastating spell of 6 for 17 set up England’s seven-wicket win against South Africa in the Johannesburg Test.

About Stuart Broad:1986 born Stuart Christopher John Broad is a cricket player who plays Test and ODI cricket for England.

  • At the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 tournament, Broad entered cricketing history by conceding a record-setting six sixes in a single over to Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh.
  • Broad was awarded the Man of the Match in the fifth Test of the 2009 Ashes series.

OBITUARY

Renowned Kannada filmmaker and lyricist Geethapriya passes away

Noted Sandalwood film-maker and lyricist Geethapriya (84) passed away.

About Geethapriya:

  • Directed-about 40 Kannada movies, written- more than 250 songs
  • Nickname Geethapriya (meaning Song lover)
  • First film as a director-ManninaMaga (meaning Son of the Soil)- won a national award for best Kannada film in 1968
  • KaadinaRahasya, Kannada’s first Tarzan movie
  • Major films YaavaJanmadaMaithri (1972), BeluvaladaMadilalli (1975), Besuge (1976), Hombisilu (1978), Putani Agent 123 (1979), PreethisiNodu (1981) and MounaGeethe (1985)
  • Last movie in 2003:ShravanaSambhrama
  • Awards:Karnataka Rajyotsava award and PuttannaKanagalaward for lifetime achievement

Yasutaro Koide, world’s oldest man, dies at 112

Yasutaro Koide, world’s oldest man, dies at 112

Yasutaro Koide, the world’s oldest man, a Japanese, died at the age of 112.

His secret to a long life: Say no to smoking, drinking or overdoing it

About Koide(pronounced “Ko-ee-deh”):

  • Born on March 13, 1903, died two months short of his 113th birthday
  • Worked as a tailor when he was younger
  • Recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest man last August(2015)

Japan’s oldest man now:Masamitsu Yoshida, a 111-year-old

Oldest is an American woman: 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, New York.