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Current Affairs Today – January 23 2016

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Current Affairs Today 23 January 2016


Union Government notified stricter standards for Sugar Industry to minimize water pollution

Union Ministry Environment, Forest and Climate Change had notified stricter environment rules for sugar industries in various states of the country to minimize water pollution. The revised norms will lead to improved operational performance of Sugar industry through accomplishment of wastewater discharge and conservation standards and pollution control management protocol.

MSDE and DoT sign MoU for skill development in telecom sector

On the sidelines of PM’s vision to make India the skill capital of the world, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) inked MoU with Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for the implementation of National Action Plan for Skill Development in Telecom Sector.

  • The objective behind MoU is to fulfill skilled manpower requirement of telecom sector and to provide quality opportunities for employment.

Highlights of MoU:

  • Utilization of old telephone exchanges which are no longer in use for skill development initiatives along with their upgradation.
  • To develop “National Institute for Policy Research Innovation and Training (NTIPRT)” for training and skill development.

Apart from above Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) Rupay ATM Cum Debit card from Bank of India was also issued, which would be issued to the students with 1 Lac Rupee PA Insurance Cover.

  • Skill Vans” were also launched, which would travel to different parts of the country and provide skill development trainings to the youth.

Google Launches First Public Wi-Fi Service in India

The first free Public Wi-Fi service has been launched by Indian Railways’ telecom wing RailTel in partnership with Google at Mumbai’s central railway station. Minister of Railways Mr. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inaugurated the Wi–Fi service.

  • Mumbai central railway station has become the first railway station to have free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet facility in India.
  • The project to provide free Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations across the country was announced last September during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View.

Union Government announced extension of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme in 61 more districts

Union Government has decided to extend the Scheme Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao to 61 more districts in 2016 to improve the declining girl child sex ratio.

Objectives of initiatives

  • Prevention of gender biased sex selective elimination.
  • Ensuring survival and protection of the girl child.
  • Ensuring education and participation of the Girl child.

The Scheme was launched in 100 districts with poor sex ratio across the country in January 2015.

Key points:

  • Head of Ministry of women and child Development – Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi


Denmark crowned as “World’s Best Country for Women”

In accordance with the “2016 Best Countries” ranking by US News and World Report, Denmark has made it to be at the top of the list of world’s best country for women to live in. It was disclosed during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

  • The survey was taken by the U.S. News & World Report, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and global brand consultants BAV Consulting.

The report was based on the survey, filled by more than 7,000 women on the traits consisting: care about human rights, gender equality, income equality, safety and progressiveness.

Haryana signs 8 MoUs in China on smart-cities etc

Haryana Government signed eight momentum of understanding (MoUs) with top companies of China to set up a USD 10 billion industrial park and smart cities in the state. These MoUs were signed with top Chinese companies like Wanda Group, China Land Development Company Private Limited, and ZTE Corporation.

India’s first BUR submitted to UNFCCC

Under the guidelines of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), India submitted its first Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reporting the emission of 2,136.84 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases in 2010.

  • BUR has been prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under its NATCOM project funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) through UNDP. Several studies were carried out by 17 national-level institutions involving more than 60 researchers.

In Human Development, Sri Lanka leads South Asian Region

As per the Global Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 by UN Development Programme (UNDP), Sri Lanka has stood at the top of the ladder in terms of human development.

  • In terms of annual human development index (HDI) growth rate during 1990-2014 it was ranked at 73rd, lower than other South Asian countries.

The report was based on the study of 188 countries and territories by assessing their long-term progress in 3 attributes – a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.


Gold Monetisation Scheme gets Simplified

In a bid to help temple boards and bulk depositors, Reserve Bank of India has simplified the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS).

  • It also allowed banks to sell Ashok Chakra embossed gold coins manufactured by government owned MMTC under the “India gold coin” scheme.

Deposits in Jan Dhan accounts cross Rs 30,000 Crore

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, Like Banking Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, and Pension in an affordable manner. The program PMJDY have crossed the Rs 30,000 Crore mark

  • Accounts had deposits of Rs 30,638.29 crore (about USD 4.5 billion).
  • Nearly 38 crore bank accounts were opened under the PMJDY.
  • The accounts open starts with zero balance.

Key Financial Minister of India – Arun Jaitley


10 new EDs appointed in public sector banks

10 new Executive Directors (EDs) were appointed to various public sector banks. The proposal of the Department of Financial Services for the appointment of 10 new General Managers (GMs) as Executive Directors (EDs) in the banks was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

Greenpeace India accredited Ravi Chellam as its Executive Director

Greenpeace India accredited Ravi Chellam as its Executive DirectorNoted environmentalist Ravi Chellam has been designated as the executive director of NGO Greenpeace India. He will succeed Samit Aich.

  • He will be responsible to anchor the NGO which has been facing challenges from a number of government agencies apart from renewing the organization’s focus on campaigns for a clean and safe future.

Earlier, Govt has suspended its licence for six months from receiving foreign funds after alleging that it has “prejudicially” affected the country’s interests.

About Ravi Chellam:

  • Chellam is a wildlife biologist and conservation scientist by training.
  • He also worked with the Wildlife Institute of India, United Nations Development Programme, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology, Environment, Wildlife Conservation Society (India Program) and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

Paranjoy Thakurta appointed EPW Editor

Sameeksha Trust has designated the senior journalist and political commentator Paranjoy Guha Thakurta as the Editor of Economic and Political Weekly (EPW). He will succeed Rammanohar Reddy.

  • The decision regarding his appointment was taken during the meeting between the trustees of Sameeksha consisting of Chairman Deepak Nayyar, managing trustee D.N. Ghosh, Andre Beteille, Romila Thapar, Jean Dreze and Rajeev Bhargava.

The trustees appreciated the work done by Rammanohar Reddy as editor for 11 years.

Atulesh Jindal designated as the new chairman of CBDT

Government has designated senior revenue service officer Atulesh Jindal as the Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes. He will succeed Arun Kumar Jain.

  • His appointment was cleared by Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

1978 batch IRS officer and currently working as member (revenue) in the CBDT will have tenure of six-months till i.e. July 2016.


Largest Prime Number discovered: 274,207,281-1 dubbed M74207281

An effort to find a largest prime numbers dubbed “The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS)” has become successful after the discovery of 274,207,281-1. It has over 22 million digits, which come under the category of Mersenne Prime Number.

  • This newly discovered largest Prime Number is named as M74207281.
  • It was calculated by multiplying together 74,207,281 twos then subtracting one.
  • The search was conducted using software developed by the GIMPS team, called prime95.

The discovery has been made at the University of Central Missouri by the team headed by Curtis Cooper, which has broken the old record by approximately 5 million digits.

Indian Mi-25 helicopters set to join Afghan Air Force

Three Mi-25 gunship helicopters manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) were supplied by India are officially join the Afghan Air Force. These helicopters are designed to take on fortified enemy positions and counter heavy ground fire.

  • Recently Mohammad Hanif Atmar the National Security Advisor of Afghan visit New Delhi for the deal.
  • Such deals are strong signal of cooperation with Afghanistan in its fight against Taliban.
  • India is preserving Afghanistan’s unity and territorial integrity and ensuring security.

Key Points

  • President of Afghanistan: Ashraf Ghani
  • Capital – Kabul
  • Currency -Afghan afghan


ICC appoints Channel 2 Group as audio rights partner

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed the Channel 2 Group as its global audio rights partner. Channel 2 acquired exclusive rights for all the ICC events from 2016 to 2023 through this Right.

  • Channel 2 Group will provide live audio commentary at the ICC World Twenty20, ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Cricket World Cup under this right.


  • ICC General Manager – Commercial, Campbell Jamieson
  • Chairman of Channel 2 – Ajay Sethi


Chairman of MTAR, Ravindra Reddy passed away

Chairman of MTAR, Ravindra Reddy passed away

Ravindra Reddy, founder Chairman of MTAR, which supplies indigenously developed systems for India’s space and nuclear programmes at the age of 77.

  • Under the mentorship of Mr. Reddy, MTAR manufactured rocket engines that powered Mangalyaan).
  • The private company fabricated engines for the PSLV and GSLV launchers, which have put numerous satellites into space.

About Ravindra Reddy:
A member of the National Academy of Engineers, he also served on the Board of Antrix Corporation Ltd. He was also the Chairman of Rs. 1,500 crore Samuha Aerospace Park that is being set up in Hyderabad.

Awards & recognitions:

  • In 2004, Defence Technology Absorption Award
  • In 2003, INS Industrial Excellence award

Italian film director Ettore Scola died

Italian film director Ettore Scola diedOscar nominated Italian director Ettore Scola, has died at the age of 84. His movie “A Special Day” was a 1977 Oscar- nominated movie.

  • He also wrote and directed “We All Loved Each Other So Much” a 1974 comedy-drama about the post-war lives of three partisans fighting for the liberation of Italy.
  • He directed 41 films over nearly 40 years

He was a former member of the Italian Communist Party and in 1989 he became minister of culture.

Tabla maestro Shankar Ghosh dies at 80

Tabla maestro Shankar Ghosh dies at 80Legendary tabla player Shankar Ghosh died at the age of 80 due to pneumonia, cardiac problems and old age complications.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award was the creator of the all-drum orchestra Music of the Drums – later called the Calcutta Drum Orchestra.
  • He was also conferred with ITC Sangeet Research Academy award and Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award.

Apart from India, he was also collaborated with international artists like Greg Ellis, Pete Lockett and John Bergamo.