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Current Affairs Today – March 16 2016

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

RUSA Scheme to be implemented to improve Equity, Quality of Higher Education

An initiative to improve the Quality of Higher education in India by implementing RUSA scheme which was started in 2013 was in news again with the Minister of HRD providing information about the scheme in the Lower house.

  • RUSA-  Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan
  • Aim –To provide strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions

Constitution Order Amendment Bill, 2016 passed in Lok Sabha

The People’s house passed the Amendment of Constitution (Scheduled Caste) order bill, 2016. The bill seeks to amend the Constitution Scheduled Castes Order 1950.

  • The bill was passed on proposals of five states, namely Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal, to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in their states

AAHAR 2016 Inaugurated In New Delhi

AAHAR 2016

The largest fair on Food & Hospitality Sector in India, AAHAR 2016 was inaugurated by Hon. Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Ms. Harsimrat Kaur Badal on March 15, 2016. It is the 31st edition in this series.

  • Largest show of its kind in South Asia
  • Organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), supported by the respective ministries

Over Rs 1 lakh crore disbursed under MUDRA Yojana

Under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana Loans worth Rs1.09 lakh crore have been sanctioned  to small entrepreneurs, loans worth over Rs.1.09 lakh crore were given to over 2.96 crore beneficiaries.

  • MUDRA Yojana, which was launched in April last year, loans between Rs.50, 000 and Rs.10 lakh are provided to small entrepreneurs. The Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA) focuses on the 5.75 crore self-employed who have deployed funds totalling Rs.11 lakh crore and provide jobs to 12 crore people.

Centre releases Rs 609 crore for upgrading prisons in eight States

The Centre has released 609 crore rupees for upgrading prisons in eight States as recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission.

  • In the eight States Kerala has got 154 crore,Chhattisgarh 150 crore rupees and Odisha 100 crore rupees.Andhra Pradesh has been sanctioned 90 crore rupees and Maharashtra 60 crore rupees.
  • The other States to receive Central funds for modernization of jails are Mizoram, 30 crore rupees, Tripura 15 crore rupees and Arunachal Pradesh 10 crore rupees.
  • He there are over 4 lakh 18 thousand prisoners in jails across the country as against the capacity of 3 lakh 57 thousand.

13th Finance Commission:

  • Finance commission is formed to define the financial relations between the centre and the state.
  • The commission is appointed every five years and consists of a chairman and four other members the 13th Finance Commission headed by Vijay Kelkar.

Centre’s nod for Mega Food Park in Khammam

Union Government has given final approval for setting up a Mega Food Park in Khammam District of Telanganato facilitate creation of modern infrastructure for food processing along the value chain from the farm to the market.

  • This is the first Mega Food Park in Telangana and set up with the project cost of Rs. 108.95 crore in an area of 78 acres.
  • These Food Processing Industries is centring on increasing the Food Processing Sector so that agriculture sector grows and becomes the engine of growth to drive the Make in India initiative.

Telangana:

  • Capital: Hyderabad
  • Chief Minister: Chandrasekhar Rao
  • Governor: ESL. Narasimman.

Union Government and Jammu & Kashmir Government signed MoU on UDAY Scheme

Jammu and Kashmir Government has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Union Ministry of Power, An overall net benefit of approximately Rs.9800 crore would accrue to the State by opting to participate in UDAY.

  • Jammu and Kashmir reforms and issue power bonds worth about Rs 7000 crores, which were equal to the power liabilities of the State.
  • Under this MoU it will pave the way for reduced levels of transmission and AT&C losses UDAYwould mean lesser cost per unit of electricity to consumers, The State would gain around Rs.785 crore due to these coal reforms.
  • Union Power Secretary PK Pujari and Commissioner Power Development Department, J&K Dheeraj Gupta signed the agreement in New Delhi

Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana:

  • Under UDAY, nine states have signed MoU so far with the combined DISCOM debt around Rs.1.94 lac crore, to be restructured which is nearly 45% of the total outstanding DISCOM debt of Rs.4.3 lac crore as on 30thSeptember, 2015.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Fourteen Indians in top 100 Global Venture Capitalists

Is there anything in which Indians have not ventured into? Is there something which Indians have not made a mark in? May be not! In fact, we should be proud that wherever we go, we will find at least one Indian in the crowd and how could venture capitalism be left behind?!!

  • Of the top 100 Global Venture Capitalists, fourteen Indians have made us proud today as they get themselves on the list.

Mauritania ratified 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention

Mauritania has ratified the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, emphasising thereby the global movement against forced labour in all its forms, including human trafficking.

  • The country is among the first to formally implement the 2014 Protocol to the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention,This protocol comes after the likes of Mauritania, Niger, Norway and the United Kingdom (Europe) ratified the protocol.
  • Slavery was eradicated in Mauritania in 1980 and criminalised in 2007. But in 2009 contemporary forms of slave concluded according to the report from ILO that de facto slavery continued to exist in the country.

ILO Report on Forced Labour Force:

  • Over 21 million people including women and children are victims of forced labour worldwide, making approximately US$ 150 billion in illicit profits annually.
  • To address the issue, governments, employers, and workers at the ILO International Labour Conference supported the adoption of the new ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI is likely to pay 57000 crores as dividend to the Government

The Reserve Bank of India is likely to pay the government Rs 57,000 crore in dividends in the fiscal year 2016-17.

  • The amount paid is slightly lesser than the previous fiscal year but much higher than the previous years
  • Last year, the government received Rs.73,905 crores as dividends from various state owned banks and the RBI
  • This fiscal year it has estimated to receive Rs.69,897 crores

SBI disburses Rs 1,465 crore OROP arrears

India’s largest lender State Bank of India has released arrears worth Rs.1, 465 crore to about 7.75 lakh defence beneficiaries under OROP scheme ,the scheme is expected to cost the government Rs 7,500 crore per

  • Under One Rank One Pension the pensioners will get their first instalment (1/4th of the total arrear amount up to February, 2016) to service pensioner
  • Family pensioners’ and ‘gallantry award’ pensioners will be eligible to get full amount of arrears paid on 14th March.

Centralised Pension Processing Centres:

  • The Banking Major has introduced Centralised Pension Processing Centres (CPPCs) to cater arrear details to the pensioners across its branches in the country.

Pay interest on savings accounts every quarter: RBI to banks

Reserve bank of India asked banks to credit interest on savings accounts every quarter or shorter than that of the fiscal.

  • Interest rate on savings bank account is calculated on daily basis since April 1, 2010 and it is credited in savings bank account on half-yearly basis.
  • The revised interest rate credit payment may put a burden of 500 crore on banksbut the move by the central bank which will benefit crores of savings account holders.

Savings Account:

  • Public sector lenders offer 4 per cent interest on savings deposit, private banks offer as much as 6 per cent.

ICICI Bank launches contactless mobile pay solution ‘iTap’

ICICI Bank, has now launched a new NFC-based mobile payment system enabling contactless transactions via itsPockets app.

  • The new system enables its credit and debit users to make in-store contactless payments by simply waving their smartphones near an NFC-enabled mobile phone running Android 4.4 and above for making the payment at any merchant terminal.
  • ICICI has become the first bank to use Host card Emulation Technology for its payment system.

Host Card Emulation:

  • Host card emulation(HCE) is the software architecture that offers exact virtual representation of various electronic identity cards using only software.
  • This technology makes virtual cards for physical debit and credit cards (Visa/MasterCard) which can then be used for making payments.

BUSINESS

Survey lists Reliance, Tata Industries under Sustainable Business Practices

A survey of corporate India by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) says the metals and mining, automobile and construction materials sectors lead in sustainable business practices. This survey lists leading Industries like Tata, Reliance, Mahindra and few others as Sustainable Business Practices.

  • The survey involves checking the environment, social and governance dimensions of business and measures the progress of Indian companies in adopting sustainable business practices

Union Government imposes anti-dumping duty on Plastic-Processing imports

Union government had imposed anti-dumping duty of up to 44.7 percent on import of plastic-processing machines from Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam for five years.

  • To protect the domestic industry the duty will be levied on imports of all kinds of plastic-processing or injection-moulding machines.

Anti-Dumping Duty:

  • When the goods are exported by a country to another country at a price lower than its normal value. This is an unfair trade practice which can have a distortive effect on international trade.
  • Anti-dumping is a measure to repair the situation rising out of the dumping of goods and its trade distortive effect.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

India-based software engineer Abdulqadir Rashik won First Prize in UN #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge

The United Nations honoured the founder of India-based Miavy Systems Abdulqadir Rashik for the Unite Ideas #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge. Itwill be used to identify further research opportunities and guide policy decisions around the implementation of global sustainability initiatives.

  • He was bestowed with the Challenge’s top prize for his submission Links to Sustainable Cities an interactive visualization that identifies and maps the links between Sustainable Development Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the other 16 Goals.

Mother Teresa To Be Canonised On September 4

Mother Teresa

The “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity and a wonderful human being as known to the world, Mother Teresa is set to attain sainthood on September 4, as confirmed by Pope Francis.

  • Her canonization was just a second miracle away, which was confirmed in December 2015.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Nepal To Have Its First Woman Chief Justice

Nepal is on a gender equality drive as it chooses its first woman Chief Justice, in a row of selecting women to top posts. Recently, the country got its first woman President and Speaker.

  • Sushila Karki, the senior most of the judges in the Nepal’s Supreme Court has been nominated for the top post by the judicial council chaired by the Prime Minister, K P Oli.
  • She will take charge as Nepal’s first woman President Bindya Bhandari, endorses her nomination and the current chief justice, Kalyan Shreshtha retires.

Bangladesh’s bank governor resigns on $81 million cyber theft

Atiur Rahman, the governor of Bangladesh’s central bank, resigned after $81 million cyber theft from the country’s official account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

  • The resignation came days after the Bangladesh finance minister said the central bank did not inform him about the theft. The Governor resignation was accepted by the Prime Minister SheikhHasina.
  • Cyber hackers cracked the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank and transferred the money from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to casinos in the Philippines.
  • The Finance Ministry also had dismissed two deputy central bank governors and the BangladeshBank and Financial Institutions division secretary. 

Bangladesh:

  • Capital: Dhaka
  • Currency: Taka
  • Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
  • President: Abdul Hamid.

UN suspended Maria Sharapova as goodwill ambassador after doping allegations

The United Nations formally suspended relationship with Russian Tennis great Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador after she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.

  • Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open and has been provisionally suspended from tennis pending an independent panel ruling on the case.
  • She had started the role with the UN Development Programme in 2007, with a special focus on helping with the recovery efforts after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
  • Meldonium aDrug was placed on World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list on January1.

Maria Sharapova:

  • Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player, who is ranked world No. 7 by the Women’s Tennis Association.
  • She has won four grand slam titles under her belt.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Malawi, UNICEF tested first UAV flights for early diagnosis of HIV in infants

UNICEF launched the first test for the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles-drones with Malawi government to search the cost effective ways of decreasing waiting period for HIV testing of infants.

  • The joint initiative took place at Area 25 Health Centre in Lilongwe where theset drone airborne on its test flight to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) covering a distance of 10 km at 400ft above the sea level.
  • Drones have been used for surveillance and assessments of disaster, but this is the first of its kind, UAVs on the continent for improvement of HIV services.

Drones:

  • Unmanned Ariel Vehicles is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. The flight of UAVs may be controlled with various kinds.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Gandhi: An Illustrated Biography authored by Pramod Kapoor

An Illustrated Biography: Gandhi was authored by Pramod Kapooris a one platform for all those who want to know about the life of the Father of the Nation.

  • It is a biography of Mahatma Gandhi who played a key role in Indian independence movement.Gandhiji
  • In the 68 years since his assassination, Gandhi has been studied and re-analysed infinitely, with respect and critically.

Pramod Kapoor:

  • He is the founder and publisher of Roli Books and has conceived and produced award-winning books that include then and now series, Made for Maharajas, New Delhi: The Making of a Capital.