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Current Affairs Today – January 8 2016

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Current Affairs Today 8 January 2016


Cabinet approved AMRUT for Punjab and Uttarakhand for 2015-16

The Ministry of Urban Development has approved the Atal Mission plans for Punjab and Uttarakhand for 2015-16.
(Minister of Urban Development – Venkaiah Naidu)

  • Punjab will invest 720 cr in improving basic urban infrastructure in 16 cities.
  • Uttarakhand will spend 267 cr in 6 cities under action plans.

Cabinet apprised of the signing of protocol with Czech Republic on heavy industry

Union Cabinet has been apprised of the protocol signed earlier between India and Czech Republic in the field of heavy industry, especially in industrial cooperation and facilities construction.

  • The Protocol includes the intent for modernization of the existing facilities in India by the Czech companies, including modernization of three plants of Heavy Engineering Corporation, a Central Public Sector Enterprises under the Department of Heavy Industries at Ranchi, set up with Czech support in the early 1960’s.

The aim of the Protocol is to promote bilateral cooperation between both States of the Parties in the field of heavy industry on the principle of mutual convenience and benefit.

Keys Czech Republic:

  • Capital – Prague
  • Currency – Czech koruna
  • Prime Minister – Bohuslav Sobotka
  • President – Milos Zeman

India-France military exercise Shakti-2016 begins

Indian and French troops commenced their 8 days counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency joint exercise at the Mahajan field firing range in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

  • The French contingent comprising 56 personnel of 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade, which had taken part in the Afghan war. It has been led by Maj Thibaut De Lacoste Lareymondie.
  • Indian side is being represented by the 2nd Battalion of Garhwal Rifles which is part of the Sapta Shakti Command.

The joint exercise will undergo a training schedule aimed at combating conditioning, infantry tactical operations in a counter-terrorism environment and planning of joint operations under the United Nations mandate.

Keys France:

  • Capital – Paris
  • Currencies – Euro, CFP franc
  • Prime Minister – Manuel Valls
  • President – Francois Hollande


Bajaj Allianz launches micro term insurance

Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance has launched micro term insurance plan Bajaj Allianz Bima Dhan Suraksha Yojana with return of premium option.

  • It is targeted at the small income groups in rural parts of the country, minimum premium of Bima Dhan Suraksha Yojana is capped at Rs 1,500 annually or Rs 200 monthly.

For a longer policy term of maximum 10 years, a person can get a protection cover (Sum Assured) of up to 35 times of the annual premium if he or she opts for regular premium before the age of 35 years.

Keys Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance:

  • Founded – 2001
  • CEO – Anuj Agarwal
  • Headquarter – Pune
  • Slogan – Jiyo Befikar

Kotak Life launches Premier Life Plan

Kotak Life launched Premier Life Plan as company was expecting reviving business in the present fourth quarter. This is the tax savings season, about 35 to 40 per cent total business for life insurance industry normally happens during these three months. A few group insurance products will also be launched soon.

  • Kotak Premier Life Plan offers protection up to 99 years of age.
  • Premium payments will be limited with the two bonus options of cash payout and paid up additions

Kotak Life’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Distribution Officer: Suresh Agarwal

ICICI Bank partners with FINO PayTech for payments bank space

ICICI Bank partnered with FINO PayTech to venture into the payments bank space.

RBI Regulations:

  • It allows universal banks to invest up 30 per cent in payments banks but ICICI can increase its stake if there is a requirement.
  • Payments banks are not allowed to lend. They are also not allowed to offer fixed deposits but only savings and current account products are allowed.
  • Payments banks can hold a maximum balance of Rs.1lakh per individual

Recently, State Bank of India and Kotak Mahindra Bank have picked up stakes in the payments banks to be lifted by Reliance Industries and the Bharti group respectively.

Keys FINO Paytech:

  • It is a business correspondent has received an in-principle licence from RBI to start a payments bank.
  • CEO : Rishi Gupta


BHEL commissions two substations in Afghanistan

Bhel has commissioned two 220/20kV substations in Afghanistan to expand its footprint in the strife-torn nation.

  • Inaugurated by: CEO of the Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, along with Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha
  • Commissioned at: Charikar, around 60 kms from Kabul and Doshi, around 150 kms from Kabul.

Benefit: Substations are part of the 220 kV Pul-e-Khumri – Kabul transmission system and will provide power to Charikar and Doshi sites and their neighbouring areas.

Keys Afghanistan:

  • Capital – Kabul
  • Currency – Afgani
  • PresidentAshraf Ghani


People’s Choice Award bestowed upon Priyanka Chopra for “Quantico”

The winner of Miss World pageant 2000, actress Priyanka Chopra (33) has won the Favourite Actress in New TV series award at the 42nd People’s Choice Awards 2016 for her leading role in American TV thriller series “Quantico”.

  • She plays the role of an FBI agent named Alex Parish in the show.
  • With this, Priyanka becomes the first Indian actor to register a win at the People’s Choice Awards.
  • She was competing against actresses like Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele and Marcia Gay Harden in the category.


Odisha Govt designated Sam Pitroda as its Technical Advisor

Telecom engineer and inventor Sam Pitroda has been designated as the Technical Advisor to the Odisha Government. He will be responsible for the IT Enabled Services sectors of the state.

  • With this appointment he will get the rank of a Cabinet Minister. He will play key role in formulation Vision 2036 for Odisha@100, a vision document for 2036 to celebrate the 100 years of state’s formation.

Asian Cricket Council (ACC) designated Sumathipala as its chief

Thilanga Sumathipala, who was recently elected as the President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), has also become the head of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).

  • He will succeed Sri Lankan Jayantha Dharmadasa.

Amitabh Bachchan replaces Aamir Khan as ‘Incredible India’ ambassador

Amitabh Bachchan replaces Aamir Khan as 'Incredible India' ambassadorGovernment’s famous Incredible India campaign to market the country to tourists abroad, has appointed Bollywood veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan as its new spokesperson for a period of three years.

  • He will succeed Aamir Khan.
  • Mr Bachchan’s name was suggested by the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Earlier he has featured in the past for the tourism campaign of Gujarat.

As per Union culture and tourism minister Mahesh Sharma, the earlier contract was with McCann Worldwide (ad agency) for “Atithi Devo Bhava” campaign. The agency had hired Aamir for the job. Now the contract with the agency is over.

  • Aamir was the brand ambassador of for the Incredible India campaign for the past 10 years.

A B Khare named CMD of Madras Fertilzers

Centre has appointed AB Khare as the Chairman and Managing Director of the state-run Madras Fertilizers Ltd for a five-year term. His name was finalised after interviewing 7 shortlisted candidates.

  • He will succeed I Vijay Kumar.
  • Khare was previously working with state owned fertiliser firm Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers as Chief General Manager (Commercial).

MFL was incorporated in 1966 as a joint venture between the Government of India and Amoco India, a subsidiary of Standard Oil Company of the USA. It is under the administrative control of the Fertiliser Ministry.


Government decides to merge Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with MEA

Government has decided to merge the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) with the external affairs ministry. It was put forth by Sushma Swaraj, the cabinet minister for both ministries.

  • Aim: To address the various complaints of Indian overseas workers in a more effective manner and also help by doing away with the duplication of work. Another objective is also minimising government and maximising governance.

Some earlier Facts: Swaraj and minister of state in MEA VK Singh have been handling both ministries since 2014.

  • Established in May 2004 as the ministry of non-resident Indian’s affairs was renamed as the ministry of overseas Indian affairs in September 2004.


7th row of Periodic Table completed with addition of 4 elements

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has officially confirmed the permanent addition of four new elements to the periodic table.

  • The announcement has been made that all four elements with atomic number 113, 115, 117 and 118 have met the criteria for discovery.
  • The addition of these new elements also completes the seventh row of the periodic table.
  • Riken Institute in Japan has been credited for the discovery of element 113 and it becomes the first element to be named by researchers in Asia.

INS Kadmatt, anti-submarine warfare corvette commissioned

INS Kadmatt, the second ship of Project 28 (P28) class anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvettes has been inducted into the Eastern Naval Command of Indian Navy.

  • With the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, INS Kadmatt will augment the mobility, reach and flexibility of Indian Navy.
  • The ship is commanded by Commander Mahesh Chandra Moudgil.

Mylan launches Hep C combination drug in India

Mylan Pharmaceuticals Private Limited has launched their generic Hepatitis C medicine under brand name MyHep LVIR in India.

About Ledipasvir/Sofosbuvir:

  • For the treatment of Hepatitis C infection and offers a treatment procedure that eradicates the need for interferon injections and ribavirin tablets.
  • Single-tablet regimen and requires a therapy course of just 12 weeks, compared with 24 to 48 weeks involving interferon and ribavirin.
  • Roughly 12 million people are infected with the virus in India.
  • Mylan President: Rajiv Malik


Oxigen Wallet appointed as MCL Title sponsors

‘Oxigen Wallet’, India’s leading mobile-wallet app has announced as the Title Sponsor for the upcoming Masters Champions League (MCL). Inaugural season of MCL will be known as the “Oxigen Masters Champions League” is set to begin on January 28th with the final match to be played on February 13.

  • Location: Dubai International Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium
  • MCL will now be called ‘Oxigen MCL’
  • MCL brand ambassador: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  • First match: Sourav Ganguly’s Team Libra Legends vs Virender Sehwag’s Team Gemini Arabians.

Key persons:

  • Chairman and Managing Director, Oxigen Services: Pramod Saxena
  • Chairman, MCL: Mr Zafar Shah

Siril Verma tops junior badminton rankings

Siril Verma tops junior badminton rankingsSiril Verma occupied the number one spot in junior men’s singles category in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings.

Men’s SinglesWomen’s Singles

First: Siril Verma(Indai)

Second:TomaJunior Popov(France)

Third: Chirag Sen(India)

Ninth: Kidambi Srikanth(India)



First: Carolina Marin(Spain)

Second: Saina Nehwal(India)

Third: Li Xuerei(China)

Twelfth: PV Sindhu(India)


Other Indians in the list:

  • Parupalli Kashyap is at the 15th spot ahead of H S Prannoy (20th) and Ajay Jayram (21st).
  • Jwala Gutta and Ashwinin Ponappa is at the 14th position in the women’s doubles rankings, while the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy occupies the 17th spot.

About Siril Verma:

  • Born in Andhra Pradesh(Telangana State now)
  • Silver medal: Junior World Badminton Championship
  • Clinched the Junior U15 Asian Championships title in 2013
  • First Indian player to win the Badminton Asia Youth Championships(2013).

India rise three places in FIFA rankings after SAFF Cup triumph

Indian National football team has climbed 3 steps above & reached at 163rd on the ladder of FIFA world rankings.

  • India gained seven points after their recent SAFF Cup win over Afghanistan, who are now ranked 153rd in the list.
  • India’s highest world ranking is the 94th position that they achieved in 1996 under the former Uzbek coach Rustam Akramov.
  • India is looking forward to host the U-17 World Cup next year.

Other Nation’s ranking:

  • Bhutan is at 192nd spot and Nepal the lowest ranked SAFF team at 196th position in the world rankings.
  • Belgium is the top of the table with 1494 points.
  • Thailand is the biggest mover in the latest ranking updates by moving up twelve spots to 121st.

Australia pulled out of U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh due to safety concerns

Australia have pulled out of the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh starting on January 27 due to threat to Australian interests in Bangladesh was as high as when the senior team had pulled out of their tour last year and it is replaced by Ireland who were runners-up in the qualifying tournament in Kuala Lumpur

  • New Zealand Cricket confirmed that they would be going ahead with their tournament preparations as scheduled.
  • Australia was in Group D of the Under-19 World Cup along with India, Nepal and New Zealand.

Key Persons:

  • Cricket Australia chief executive: James Sutherland
  • ICC Chairman: Shashank Manoohar