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Current Affairs Today – January 20 2016

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Current Affairs Today 20 January 2016


Health Ministry releases results from 1st phase of HFHS-4 survey

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the results from the first phase of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), 2015-16. These are available on Ministry’s website, Findings for the 13 States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and two Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.

R V Easwar Committee’s report to simplify Income-tax Act, 1961 released

Union Ministry of Finance has released the draft report of 10 member committee headed by Justice R V Easwar (Retd) Committee to simplify the provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961.

  • The 78 page draft report contains 27 suggestions for amendments under the Income tax Act, 1961 and 8 recommendations for reform through administrative instructions.

Nearly 65% of the personal income-tax collection in India was through tax deducted at source (TDS).

National Tariff Policy for Electricity gets nod from Cabinet

The Union Cabinet approved the “National Tariff Policy for Electricity” aimed at tightening regulations for setting power rates and promotion of clean energy in a support to Swachh Bharat programme.
(Minister of State for Power – Piyush Goyal)

  • The Central government had approved the National Tariff Policy under the provisions of the Electricity Act in 2006, as in 2006, the central government had approved the National Tariff Policy under the provisions of Electricity Act, 2003.

“Project Green Ports” launched to Reduce Pollution

Union Ministry of Shipping launched the “Project Green Ports”, which is aimed at reducing the pollution levels at ports and managing the sewage treatment at ports.

  • The project has two verticals viz. Green Ports Initiative and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Green Port Initiative:
It comprises 12 time-bound sub-initiatives, which include acquiring dust suppression system, setting up of sewage/waste water treatment plants and energy generation plans based on the renewable energy resources.

  • It will also look at the shortfalls of oil spill response facilities, which will prohibit the disposal of garbage at sea.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:
Under this, the ports will be made cleaner. The focus will be on cleaning the wharf, cleaning and repairing sheds and port roads, painting road signs and zebra crossings and modernising toilet complexes.

Gadkari to inaugurate 19th National Conference on e-Governance

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate the 19th National Conference on e-Governance to be held in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

  • The two-day conference (January 21-22, 2016) is being jointly organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Department of Electronics and Information Technology and Maharashtra government.

Key sessions of Conference:
The conference will have 6 plenary sessions including topics – Governance with Accountability Transparency and Innovation (GATI) for citizen-centric services, financial inclusion – Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), urban governance in smart cities.

  • The other sessions are on “Decade of e-Governance – Way Ahead” and technology enabled education and cyber security framework for citizen centric services.
  • CM Devendra Fadnavis will give away the National Awards for e-Governance for the Year 2015-16 for exemplary implementation of e-Governance initiatives in 12 categories.

Telangana to introduce Course Credits for students

Telangana Government is set to introduce ‘Course Credits’ in Secondary education for students to take part in certain programmes, from the next academic year. These will add up as they move on to higher classes.

  • Earlier, the State government signed an agreement with apex IT industry association Nasscom for setting up Start-up Ware house at the T-Hub.

Keys Telangana:

  • Capital – Hyderabad
  • CM – Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao

Bihar Government approves 35 per cent job reservation for women

Bihar Government has approved 35 per cent reservation for women in government jobs in the state including reserved and unreserved category.

Key Points about the Meeting

  • Cabinet meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
  • Experts said that this is a result of several schemes initiated by Nitish Kumar for women’s empowerment.
  • At present state is providing 35 percent reservation for women in recruitment as police constables and sub-inspectors and 50 percent reservation for women as primary school teachers and in the Panchayati Raj system.

Maharashtra government inks MoU with Tata Trust for skill training of youth

The Maharashtra government and Tata Trust signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a skill training programme for the youth. The programme has been undertaken under the state government’s “Kushal Maharashtra, Rojgaryukt Maharashtra” initiative.

Key features of the programme

  • Tata Trust will train around one lakh youths in the state to make them employable.
  • Set up skill development and vocational training centers in 10 districts across the state.
  • The Trust will also set up virtual classrooms in 100 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in Maharashtra.


India among top 5 most promising markets globally: PwC survey

The top five markets considered as most important for overall growth are USA, China, Germany, the UK and India. INDIA has emerged as one of the five most promising markets for businesses globally as it offers one of the best opportunities for both domestic as well as global companies.

Wealth Report: India accommodates 2.36 lakh millionaires

According to the Asia Pacific 2016 Wealth Report, by New World Wealth, India ranked 4th among the top five Asia Pacific countries in terms of number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with 2.36 lakh.

  • Japan has topped the list with 60 lakh people while China ranked second with 654,000 HNWIs and Australia was at the third place with 290,000.
  • India is among the top five Asia Pacific countries in terms of total private wealth held but at the bottom in terms of per capita income.
  • HNWIs are defined as those with net assets of $1 million or more.

4 Indian Magnificoes among World’s 62 Super-Rich

As per a report by UK-based charity Oxfam titled “An Economy for the 1%”, the wealthiest 62 people now own half of the world’s population (3.5 billion people), as the super-rich have grown richer and the poor poorer. The report highlighted the global inequality.

  • Among those affluent 62, there are four Indian names: Industrialist Mukesh Ambani, IT titan Azim Premji, pharma boss Dilip Shanghvi and business magnates Hinduja Brothers.
  • The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44% since 2010, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion fell 41%.

IMF retains India GDP forecast at 7.5% for 2016

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) kept India’s growth projection unchanged at 7.3% in the current fiscal and 7.5% in the next. India would continue to grow at a “robust pace”.

  • As for the world growth, IMF forecast 4% for 2016 and 3.6% for 2017.
  • China’s growth would slow to 3% in 2016 and further to 6% in 2017.

About IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization of 188 member countries headquartered in Washington, D.C.

  • Its purpose is to promote international monetary cooperation, facilitate international trade, foster sustainable economic growth and make resources available to members experiencing balance of payments difficulties.
  • Formation – 1945
  • Managing Director – Christine Lagarde

World tourism numbers hit record 1.18 billion in 2015

As per Madrid headquartered United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the number of international tourists rose by 4.4% worldwide in 2015 to hit a record 1.18 billion despite concerns over terrorism.

  • Tourism arrivals were up by 5% in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas but fell by 8% in North Africa where nations like Tunisia were hit by terrorist attacks.

India, UK to cooperate in infrastructure financing, address tax evasion

India and the UK agreed to strengthen economic cooperation in various sectors including infrastructure financing, addressing issues of cross-border tax evasion and avoidance.

Key points

  • Finance Minister, held talks with George Osborne as part of the 8th India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue
  • The possibility of their investing, either directly in projects or through the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) were discussed.
  • The talks included senior representatives from Finance Ministries, Central Banks and key regulators of both countries.


Microsoft donates cloud computing “worth $1 billion”

Microsoft’s charity arm is set to donate $1 billion in cloud computing services over the course of the next three years to non-profits worldwide.

  • The initiative was a part of the company’s pledge to ensure that Microsoft Cloud’s services can be used for public good.

Through the program, Microsoft aims to offer support for over 70,000 NGOs worldwide on its cloud platforms such as Power BI, Office 365, Azure and CRM online in the coming three years.

India starts anti-dumping probe on rubber import from EU, South Korea

India has initiated a probe into alleged dumping of rubber variants used for leather goods by the EU, South Korea and Thailand following complaints from Reliance Industries and Indian Synthetic Rubber.

  • The move is aimed at protecting domestic players in the sector against cheap imports and to ensure fair trading practices.
  • The Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), an arm of the Commerce Ministry, has begun investigating imports of “Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) of 1,500 series and 1,700 series” from these three regions.

Indian Synthetic Rubber Pvt is a joint venture of Indian Oil Corporation, TSRC, Taiwan and Marubeni Corporation, Japan.


PSLV-C31 carrying IRNSS-1E launched successfully from SDSC

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched PSLV-C31 rocket successfully, carrying 5th satellite (out of 7) of India Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), the IRNSS-1E from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, near Chennai,

  • PSLV-C31 for the 11th time used “XL” version of PSLV.
  • This was Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s 33rd flight ((PSLV-C31).
  • This is also the ISRO’s 50th orbital launch with the PSLV deploying the IRNSS navigation satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit.


World’s largest canyon spotted by Chinese scientists

The world’s largest canyon far larger than the Grand Canyon in the United States (in the picture) has been spotted by Chinese scientists who took part in the country’s latest Antarctic expedition to the South Pole.


Music band Eagles’ guitarist Glenn Frey passed away

Music band Eagles’ guitarist Glenn Frey passed awayEagle’s guitarist Glenn Frey has died at the age of 67.

About Eagles’ guitarist Glenn Frey

  • He was died in New York City from complications arising from rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and pneumonia.
  • The Eagles were one of the most successful bands of the 1970s, with multiple hit singles, including Hotel California in 1976.
  • Frey co-founded the Eagles in 1971 with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner.

Senior journalist Aroon Tikekar passes away

Senior journalist Aroon Tikekar passes awaySenior journalist and scholar Aroon Tikekar passed away at 72 due to breathing-related complications.

About Aroon Tikekar

  • He was the Editor of Loksatta, Marathi newspaper of the Indian Express Group Newspaper, over a decade (1992-2002), and reference chief of the Times of India and a senior assistant editor for Maharashtra Times.
  • Tikekar was a former Group Editor of Lokmat and Editor Director of Sakal group of newspapers.

Recipient of several literary and journalism awards, and was an adjunct professor in the Department of Journalism and Communications, University of Pune.