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Current Affairs Today – June 29 2016

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Current Affairs Today-29-06-16


Majuli to become India’s first river island district
i. Assam government has granted a river island named Majuli in the state as district status. The island is sprawl over 400sqkm Island in the river Brahmaputra.
ii. Notably Sarbananda Sonowal who is CM of the state had won the assembly election this year from Majuli, a constituency reserved for scheduled tribes.
iii. The erosion-troubled Majuli was a sub-division of Jorhat district, will become the 34th district of Assam.
♦ Capital: Dispur
♦ Governor: Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya
♦ Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal

Supreme Court rejects petition seeking ban on WhatsApp messenger
i. The Supreme Court discharged a petition filed by RTI activist seeking a complete ban on online messaging platform WhatsApp which have end to end encryption.
ii. The petitioner in his file citing this as a National Security concern as demanded the messaging platform to provide a key for the government.
End- End to Encryption:
♦ The messaging service WhatsApp added end-­to-­end 256 bit encryption for its users, which meant that no one except the sender and receiver would be able to access to the content of the message or call.

Cabinet clears pay hike for 1 crore govt employees, pensioners
i. Union cabinet approved the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission which will give a substantial raise to the salaries and pensions to one crore central government employees of central government employees that will be implemented from January 1, 2016.
ii. Upon this the entry level pay to be raised to Rs.18,000 per month from the current Rs.7,000 a month while maximum pay fixed at Rs. 2.5 lakh per month, up from Rs.90,000 per month that would be drawn by the Cabinet Secretary.
7 th Commission Recommendations:
♦ The Central Pay Commission was Chaired by Justice A. K. Mathur had submitted its report on November 2015.
♦ It has financial impact of the recommendations is expected to be Rs.1,02,100 crore that results 27 per cent hike in basic pay at junior levels, 23.55 per cent overall hike in salaries, allowances and pension.

Union Cabinet clears National Mineral Exploration Policy
i. Union Cabinet cleared the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) that pave the way for auction of 100 prospective mineral blocks and enhancing mining potential in India.
ii. The policy likely to attract private sector in exploration through the mineral exploration policy.
iii. Upon this move private entities involved in carrying out regional and comprehensive exploration would get assured share in revenue in mining operation from the successful bidder after the e-auction of block.

Cabinet approves Revised Cost Estimates for establishment of Eight New IITs
i. Union Cabinet headed red by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Revised Cost Estimates for establishment of eight New IITs at Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Mandi, Patna and Ropar.
ii. When this comes into operation it would add student strength in each IIT at the end of the project will be 2360. The total student capacity would be 12880 in these eight IlTs by the end of 2019.
iii. The revised Cost Estimate is Rs. 13,990 crore against original project cost was Rs. 6080 crore for establishment of eight new IITs over a period of 11 years from 2008-09 to 2018-19.


UNICEF released the “State of the World’s Children 2016” Report
New York Based United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) released the annual report “State of the World’s Children 2016” to curb the harassment against the children
Problems facing by Children: Children are affected due to Poverty, Illiteracy and early deaths
If the present situation exists, the world would be affected by
i. Poverty of about 167 million children
ii. 69 million children under 5 years of age fatal due to preventable causes
iii. 70 million women will has been married as children by 2030.


World Bank approved $201.50 million for Technical Education Quality Improvement Project in India
United States based World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved $201.50 million for Technical Education Quality Improvement Project III in India
Purpose: To improve the quality of Engineering education in selected states of India
Objectives of the projects:
To improve quality and equity in participating engineering education institutes
To enhance the efficiency of the engineering education system in states
Fund Allotted: $201.50 million
Maturity period: 25 years plus 5 years grace period

Union Government gave nod to proposal to set up India Post Payments Bank
Union Government has decided to approve the proposal to set up the Indian Post Payments Bank with capital of Rs. 800 Crore and to set up 650 branches by September 2017 as a Public Limited Company under the Department of Posts, with 100% Government of India (GOI) equity
Focus: To increase financial inclusion in the country
Initial Setup: 22,137 Post Offices linked with core banking facility
Key Aspects:
♦ In every district, Post offices will be linked to core branch of Postal bank
♦ The bank will be operated by a board which has five independent directors
♦ The Staff of the postal bank will be from different postal department and staff is expected to be around 2000 members
♦ For the short tenure, S K Sinha, Secretary of Posts requested Chairman and Managing directors of the Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank and Union Bank to lead the India Post Payments Bank on a one-year deputation basis.

Axis Bank opens innovation lab to create investment fund
i. Mumbai based private sector lender Axis Bank is set to open an innovation lab by axis bankjoining with financial technology start-ups to ride on the digital wave in the country.
ii. This innovation hub situated in Bangalore will emphasis on curating start-ups and working with them to help them develop the value propositions and the bank will look at absorbing their technology.
iii. These start-ups will mainly be centering across lending, digital, payments and artificial intelligence space. For this, the bank has joined hands with Zone Start-ups, Nasscom, venture capitalist and some global banks.
iv. Earlier HDFC Bank, SBI, Federal Bank, RBL, ICICI Bank among others have either allocated funds or created special divisions to engage with the start-up ecosystem and most recently Barclays has also opened a fintech innovation platform.

World Bank approves $63 million for Tejaswini Project in Jharkhand
i. The World Bank Board has approved the 63 million US dollar for Tejaswini project  that paves the way for Socioeconomic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Jharkhand.
ii. This project Tejaswini is the first World Bank project in India that is especially dedicated on the welfare of adolescent girls and young women.
iii. The project will support adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 14 and 24 to complete their secondary level education. It will also help them to acquire relevant skills for the job market.
iv. In Jharkhand there are 56 percent of young women (ages 15-24) are neither engaged in education, nor employment or training.


4 Indian-Americans including Sunder Pichai Honoured With Great Immigrants Award
Indian Origin United States settled Google Chief Executive Office Sunder Pichai and other three Indian Americans are among the 42 United States citizens conferred with Prestigious “Great Immigrants: The Pride of America” award.
Presented by: Carnegie Corporation
Venue: New York
Indian Americans Awardees:
♦ Sunder Pichai – CEO of Google
♦ Hari Sreenivasan – Anchor and Senior Correspondent, PBS News Hour
♦ Vikram Malhotra – Chairman of the Americas, McKinsey & Company
♦ Bharati Mukherjee – National Book critics circle Award winning author

CAG Shashi Kant Sharma gets honorary professorship in China
i. The Indian Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma has been conferred CAGhonorary professorship by the Nanjing Audit University in China.
ii. Nanjing Audit University is recognised by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Sharma is the 12th CAG of India.
iii. Shashi Kant Sharma is a 1976 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Bihar cadre. He had succeeded Vinod Rai as the CAG, supreme federal auditor in 2013.


Virat Kohli launches new startup Stepathlon kids to promote fitness
i. Indian test Skipper Virat Kohli joined with Stepathlon Lifestyle and formed a new kohlicompany Stepathlon Kids – a company focused on the health and wellness of the next generation.
ii. Upon this move Stepathlon Kids will press the Indian children to take 15,000 steps a day to a healthy lifestyle and to create long term positive behaviour.
iii. The Stepathlon lifestyle will drive the launch 30-day, pedometer-based, mass participation virtual race, across the nation built to promote fitness among children.

Indore to host first ever Test, no day-night Test in NZ series
i. Indore is all set to host its first-ever cricket Test during India’s home series against New  Zealand in September-October but a day-night clash is not part of the schedule released by the BCCI.
ii. The new announcement from the BCCI says no Day- Night game against the Blackcaps during the NZ tour, against the earlier plans to have a game with the pink ball.
iii. India’s first Test against Blackcaps in Kanpur from September 22-26.  In the statement BCCI let out there was no mention of the day-night Test against the Kiwis as all Test matches will start morning.


National Statistics Day – June 29
i. The National Statistics Day, celebrated every year on June 29 to mark the birth nsdanniversary of renowned statistician Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis.
ii. The theme of 10th National Statistics Day is Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
iii. Celebration of National Statistics Day is organised by the Ministry of Statistics Programme Implementation at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
♦ World Statistics Day – October 10