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Current Affairs Today – July 26 2016

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CAT July 26 2016


Lok Sabha passed bill for the Establishment of six new IITs across India
Lok Sabha amended a bill providing for opening six new IITs, Under the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill 2016 on July 26.
i. This bill enables the setting up of Indian Institute of Technology in Palakkad, Goa, Dharward, Bhilai.,Jammu and Tirupati.
ii. This new bill also seeks to bring the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, within the ambit of this Act. It is noted that students from the ST and SC communities, from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and physically challenged have full waiver of fees in the IITs and NITs. And also those whose family income is below `9 lakh per annum also get zero per cent education loan.

Karnataka government sets up a dedicated Start-up Cell
The Karnataka government has set up a dedicated Start-up Cell to fuel the implementation of the initiatives under the Start up policy.
i. The department of Information technology and Bio technology of Karnataka, for the first time, has got all sphere degree solutions for the startup initiatives and more importantly its much required direct intervention to the startups though the open house.
ii. In 2016-17, the Department of IT and BT would have special focus on further strengthening the idea of innovation and leveraging to give impetus to the growth of startups through its startup policy 2015-2020.
iii. The idea that the state govt. have envisaged is to ensure that 20,000 startups are groomed by our startup policy and is going to have a dedicated startup cell booster kit and a dedicated fund to ensure things.
iv. According to Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2015, the city is the second fastest growing startup ecosystem in the world and is the only Indian city to be ranked among the best 15 startup ecosystems across the world.

‘Feed the future’ programme launched
Feed the Futurei. Indian Agriculture Ministry and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) jointly inaugurated the second phase of the Feed the Future -India triangular training programme in New Delhi.
ii. In the second phase of the iniative Specialized agriculture training will be provided to 1,500 agricultural professionals across Africa and Asia. The maiden Phase had trained 200 professionals from Kenya, Liberia and Malawi.
iii. The programme is to share these farming techniques used by India and the US worldwide, helping countries in Africa and Asia to bring innovative solutions to the challenges facing farmers.

Rajasthan aims to double farmers’ income in six years
i. Rajasthan state government aiming to raise the farmer’s income by double within six years, i.e by 2022.
ii. The state also mulling to bring in latest technological innovation and introduce best farming practices to improve yields and on use of drip irrigation to overcome drought-like situations by inviting experts to Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Jaipur which is scheduled later this year.
iii. The global Agri meet aims to safeguard the farmer’s empowerment not compensating the accelerated yet sustainable growth in agriculture and double their income by 2022.

Union Government issues notification for implementation of 7th Pay Commission
i. The Union government issued notification for the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations related to the hike a month after the union cabinet gave its nod for the same.
ii. Upon this notification 4.8 million central government employees and 5.2 million pensioners will get the increased by 2.57 times hike in basic pay payout from their August salaries.
iii. The Pay Commission headed by Ashok Kumar Mathur recommended changes of  1 crore individuals

BRICS policy planning dialogue meeting held in Patna
i. The BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue concluded in Patna, Bihar ahead of the eighth BRICS Summit to be held in Goa. The Goa Summit will be chaired by India
ii. In the meeting held there were talks about strategic assessments of international situation and the regional situation and trends therein and others issues discussed.
BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

MHA sets up T V S N Prasad Committee to explore possible alternatives to pellet guns in Kashmir
i. Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted a seven-member expert committee for exploring the other possible alternatives to pellet guns can be lethal, when sensitive parts like eyes are hit.
ii. The Committee will be headed by Joint Secretary in the MHA T V S N Prasad. The remaining six members include members of the committee: Atul Karwal (IG, CRPF), Rajeev Krishna, (IG Operations, BSF), Tushar Tripathy (DDG, Small Arms, Ordnance factory Board) and Naresh Bhatnagar (Professor at IIT, Delhi).
iii. The committee likely will submit its report within two months.
Pellets guns:
♦ These guns are non-lethal crowd control methods used by police and military to injure individuals and cause pain. They are effective over short ranges up to 500 yards but when fired from close quarters can be lethal.


India contributed $100, 000 fund for sexual exploitation and abuse victims by peacekeepers
Being a front runner among the peace keeping nations, India has contributed US $100,000 (RS 67,14,945) to a trust fund set up for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and by doing so, India is the first country to make a contribution to the fund.
i. Recently, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established a 17-member High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations to make a comprehensive assessment of the state of UN peace operations today, and the emerging needs of the future.
ii. Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. The top 10 contributors for the peace keeping operations are:-

  1. United States (28.38%)
  2. Japan (10.83%)
  3. France (7.22%)
  4. Germany (7.14%)
  5. United Kingdom (6.68%)
  6. China (6.64%)
  7. Italy (4.45%)
  8. Russian Federation (3.15%)
  9. Canada (2.98%)
  10. Spain (2.97%)

India’s contribution :                                                  
♦ India contributed USD 100,000 to a trust fund set up for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.
♦ With this contribution, the Government of India has illustrated its strong commitment to our victim-centered approach in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by UN civilian and uniformed personnel

Armenia to have the world’s largest Yazidi temple
i. A Yazidi temple is under construction in Armenian village, is set to bet the world largest Yazidi Temple is expected to be completed next year. world’s largest Yazidi temple
ii. The temple is being built at a 25m high from Armenian granite and Iranian marble and house a 200 sq. m prayer hall as a symbol of resilience for a persecuted religious tradition which has seven domes and a central arched roof, crowned with a gold-plated sun.
♦ Capital: Yerevan
♦ Currencies: Armenian dram


SBI launches new card less payment system through phone number in the IMT platform
State Bank ATMs are launched with a new payment system, which will allow the account holders to transfer money using mobile phone number as a key identifier and this system is based on the instant money transfer (IMT) platform.
i. The Instant Money Transfer is a unique payment system launched by Eempays Payment Systems.
ii. The facility enables a payment to be made to a mobile phone from a bank account without the beneficiary having a bank account.

AXIS bank ties up with TATA AIG for travel insurance for its customers
i. Tata AIG General Insurance has launched an integrated travel product, for all Axis Bank customers through the bank’s one stop solution called ‘Happy Holidays Package
ii. The ‘Happy Holidays Package’ offers multiple travel benefits to globe surfers such as a Multi-Currency Forex Card and can be utilized up to 16 currencies.
iii. The package allows Axis Bank customers, who are travelling abroad to buy Tata AIG travel insurance policy instantly and in a seamless manner from the bank’s mobile application.
This insurance policy offers several packages including:-
1.Travel insurance policy,
2.Tailor-made Travel Insurance plans;
3.Trip Assist Services – an emergency assistance service;
4.Free International Calling Cards, and
5.Discounts at restaurants in overseas locations. 
iv. This digital advancement is a test to TATA AIG’s continuous effort to conceive and to set new benchmarks for the General Insurance Space.
v. It is noted that Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limitedis an Indian general insurance company, and a joint venture between the Tata Group and American International Group (AIG). Tata Group holds 74 per cent stake in the insurance venture with AIG holding the balance 26 percent.


Vodafone M-Pesa ties up with PSPCL for Online Electricity Bill Payments
i. Vodafone M-Pesa, a digital wallet service from Vodafone that offers Money Transfer, Bill and Utility Pay, has announced its partnership with Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to offer easy-to-use digital option to pay electricity bills instantly.
ii. Vodafone M-Pesa partnership with the PSPCL is one such initiative that bridges the need for a simple, timely and cashless electricity bill payment solution through the mobile phone.
iii. To access M-Pesa, a Vodafone customer should either download an Android app from Google Play Store or dial a USSD short-code (*400#) from any phone and also Vodafone offers new users of M-Pesa can earn 5% cash back on the payment made through the App.
iv. Vodafone has more than 3,000 outlets in Punjab and it can easily provide ease to customers to convert cash into digital money facilitating digital payment of bills and e-commerce /m-Commerce and 31 touch points are set up across throughout the state to ease the customer service.
v. M-Pesa (M – mobile, pesa – money) is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone.


Dakshayani, 86 years old Elephant to be part of Guiness World Record as the Oldest Elephant Alive
Oldest elephant in Kerala set to enter Guinnessi. Dakshayani, 86 years old female Elephant from Kerala is all set to enter the Guinness World Records as the oldest living elephant.
ii. Travancore Devaswom Board -TDB has applied to the Guiness Records stating claim to Dakshayani being the world’ oldest living elephant and this elephant was gifted to the TDB by the Travancore royal family in 1949 along with 9 other elephants.
iii. On honoring this elephant, a special postal cover of Dakshayani from the Kerala Circle Postal Service would be issued.
iv. It is noted that as if now the oldest living elephant, which was 85 years old, died in 2003 in Taiwan.
v. Dakshayani has been taken care of by two mahouts daily and three mahouts who took care of her retired following their honoring by TDB.


Ghanshyam Singh takes over as General Manager of Eastern Railway 
i. Ghanshyam Singh an 1979 batch officer of Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineering (IRSEE), has taken over as the General Manager, Eastern Railway, Kolkata. 
ii. Singh has also served in various other important positions including, his stint as General Manager, RITES, Executive Director (Efficiency & Research), Railway Board, New Delhi
iii. He has executed several innovative projects towards infrastructural development in Indian Railways .

National Museum gets it New Director General – Dr. Buddha Rashmi Mani, former ASI head
 Dr. Buddha Rashmi Manii. Dr Buddha Rashmi Mani, former Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official was appointed Director General of the National Museum by the government.
ii. Dr Buddha Rashmi Mani chaired a team had found remains of what seemed like a temple while excavating the disputed Ayodhya site; Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in 2003.
iii. He had retired as the ASI additional director general last year and Dr Mani is appointment as the National Museum head for three years or till he attains the age of 70.
iv. The National Museum in New Delhi, also known as the National Museum of India, is one of the largest museums in India. Established in 1949, it holds variety of articles ranging from pre-historic era to modern works of art and it functions under the Ministry of CultureGovernment of India


Flipkart’s Myntra acquires Jabong for $70 million
i. Myntra, a Flipkart Group company, acquired Jabong from Global Fashion Group (GFG) for $70 million.
ii. Myntra and parent Flipkart together held 60 per cent share of the online fashion and lifestyle market in the country. With the acquisition of Jabong, the Share per cent will be increased to 75%.
iii. Jabong offers more than 1,500 international high-street brands, sports labels, Indian ethnic and designer labels and over 150,000 styles from more than 1,000 sellers.


Solar Impulse 2 completes historic round-the-world trip 
i. Solar Impulse 2, the first plane powered by renewable energy has completed the first round world trip.
ii. The solar-powered plane finally arrived at Al-Bateen Executive Airport located in Abu Dhabi, where it had started its journey 505 days ago.
iii. The plane is extra sensitive to weather patterns and it depends on the sun for power and also its tiny weight makes it difficult to fly through heavy cloud cover or rain.
iv. The flight covered a remarkable 42,000-kilometre journey across four continents, two oceans and three seas.


Culex mosquito strain that carries ZIKA Virus is found by Brazil Researchers
i. Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus. It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.
ii. Researchers in Brazil announced that the “presence of the Zika virus” in Culex mosquito, a common house mosquito and its strain capable of carrying the virus is threatening the population.
iii. But the researchers haven’t proven that it can also transmit the virus to humans. The process to determine whether a mosquito is a vector of a disease is difficult. First, researchers need to collect or rear mosquitoes of a particular species. Then they need to feed it blood that contains the disease infection of the Zika virus.
iv. Reuters notes the same group of scientists was able to artificially transmit Zika to this breed of mosquito in laboratory tests, but now seeks to confirm Culex can carry the virus and in the further testing is reportedly necessary before the results can be confirmed.
v. The World Health Organization welcomed the addition to the existing body of Zika research but also cautioned that more study is needed to confirm whether Culex mosquitoes can transmit the Zika virus.

Digital Attic – a new masterpiece in the field of Data Storage revealed by a Scientist in Washington
i. Scientist at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, is working to make that sci-fi fantasy a reality.
ii. The Scientist named Karin Strauss has created a digital attic — a place which stores the old data like when she published her math paper wrote in high school, and computer science schoolwork from college.
iii. For long-term storage it’s typically disks or a specialized kind of tape, wound up in cartridges about three inches on a side and less than an inch thick. A single cartridge containing about half a mile of tape can hold the equivalent of about 46 million books of 200 pages
iv. Digital devices, on the other hand, store information in a two-letter code that produces strings of ones and zeroes.
Converting digital information to DNA involves translating between the two codes. In one lab, for example, a capital A can become ATATG. The idea is once that transformation is made, strings of DNA can be custom-made to carry the new code, and hence the information that code contains.
v. Once scientists have converted the digital code into the 4-letter DNA code, they have to custom-make DNA. For some recent research Strauss and Ceze worked on, that involved creating about 10 million short strings of DNA.
vi. This research is aimed at helping companies and institutions archive huge amounts of data for decades or centuries, at a time when the world is generating digital data faster than it can store it.


Rio bound shot putter Inderjeet Singh fails dope test
i. Shot putter Inderjit Singh, the second Rio Olympics-bound athlete to fail a dope test after wrestler Narsingh Yadav.
ii. 28-year-old Singh’s ‘A’ sample returned positive for a banned substance.
iii. Inderjeet Singh had won a bronze medal in the 2014 Asian Games and won the gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in 2015.

Ashwin regains top spot in ICC bowler rankings 
Ashwini. India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has moved to the top spot of the MRF Tyres ICC Rankings for Test Bowlers. The Chennai hailed spinner has replaced Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
ii. He produced a match-winning spell of 7/83 in the second innings of the Antigua Test against West Indies on behalf that he gained five points.
iii. The off spinner who was top-ranked in the 2015 also gained in the batsmen’s rankings with a knock of 113 that will help him in gaining top spot in the all-rounder category.


Kargil Vijai Diwas – July 26
i. Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed to mark the celebration of Kargil victory on 26 July every year in honour of the Kargil War’s Heroes in the Kargil – Dras sector in New Delhi.
ii. The Vijay Diwas was named after the success of Operation Vijay. On the same day in 1999 our country successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders.
Operation Vijay:
♦ In the kargil war operation over 200,000 Indian troops took part. Finally war came to an end on July 26, 1999, thus making it the Vijay Diwas.