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Current Affairs Today – October 15 2016

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Govt. to use post offices to distribute pulses
i. The Centre government decided to utilise the vast network of post offices across the country to sell subsidised pulses to ensure that there is no shortage of the item during this festival season.
ii. A decision to this effect was taken by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on prices of essential commodities, headed by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande.
iii. The postal networks will fill the gap of absence of government outlets in the States for the distribution of pulses, mainly, tur, urad and chana. It will help government to leverage strong network of around 1.54 lakh post offices in the country, of which 1.39 lakh are in rural areas
iv. The committee also reviewed the availability and prices of essential commodities, especially pulses, and decided to release more chana (gram) from buffer stock to ensure its availability through retail distribution at reasonable prices during the season.

Smriti Irani inaugurates India International Silk Fair in New Delhi
i. Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the India International Silk Fair in New Delhi to promote production and marketing silk across the country.
ii. India International Silk Fair showcasing wide range of silk & silk blended products will give an insight on India’s silk industry to overseas buyers.
iii. The Indian Silk Export Promotion Council is organising the Silk fair in which 100 buyers from various countries are participating.
iv. The buyers will visit 120 exhibitors of silk and silk blended products manufactured in various parts of India and exported all over the world.
v. India is the second largest producer of Silk in the world and is the country which is producing all major varieties of silk including Mulberry, Tesar, Eri and Muga

India, Germany to collaborate for Rs 1-lakh cr projects
i. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari announced that  India and Germany would work on projects, worth Rs.1 lakh crore, for improving rail connectivity of Indian ports, being implemented by the Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL).
ii.  A German delegation, led by its Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, had a detailed meeting with Gadkari related to various aspects of infrastructure development.
iii.The development follows inking of a pact between IPRCL and the German Railways Deutsche Bahn (DB) during the Maritime India Summit for co-operation on modernisation of rail port connectivity and port rail facilities of Indian ports.
iv. The government has already proposed to engage IPRCL for the port connectivity projects identified under its ambitious Sagarmala programme and the corporation has been entrusted with carrying out the feasibility and implementation of 22 projects.
v. Out of the total 22 projects, subject to their feasibility, 10 projects are likely to be completed during 2017-18 and 7 during 2018-19. Five projects are at survey/detailed India & Germanyproject report (DPR)/land acquisition stage, as per the government.
Germany :
♦ Capital: Berlin
♦ Currency :Euro
♦ President: Joachim Gauck

BJP joined Khandu govt. in Arunachal Pradesh
i. TheBharatiya Janata Party in Arunachal Pradesh officially became a part of the People’s Party of Arunachal government with the induction of senior BJP MLA TamiyoTaga in the council of ministers.
ii. Arunachal Pradesh is the 14th State under a coalition government. The PPA is a constituent of the North East Democratic Alliance.
iii. Governor V. Shanmuganathan administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr.Taga in the presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu and his Cabinet colleagues at a function held at the Raj Bhavan.Mr.Khandu dropped Industries, Textiles and Handicrafts and Cooperation Minister TapangTaloh from the Cabinet to accommodate Mr. Taga.
iv. Mr. Khandu was sworn in as Chief Minister on July 16 after months of political turmoil. He replaced NabamTuki, who was reinstated by the Supreme Court.
Arunachal Pradesh:
♦ Capital:Itanagar.
♦ Chief Minister: Pema Khandu.
♦ Governor:Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa.

Haryana starts ‘farm tourism’ scheme
i.The ‘Farm Tourism’ scheme launched by Haryana Tourism Minister Rambilas Sharma to attract people to villages
ii.Under this scheme, farm owners can host tourists under holiday packages.
iii. Aim :To aware people about the history and culture of Haryana, the state government has been focusing on developing ancient cultural heritage, historical and famous pilgrimage sites as tourism spots


17th India-Russia Annual Summit held in Goa
♦ India and Russia will review strategies to boost bilateral trade and investment, while committing to improve ease of doing business, including liberalising travel regime, in their countries.
♦ It was issued after the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the ongoing summit of the BRICS group, comprising Brazil, RussiaIndia, China and South Africa.
Among the agreements signed were :
i. Procurement of the S-400 air defence system and construction of four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigate in India.
ii. Another agreement was signed to set up a joint venture to manufacture 200 Kamov 226T

iii. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up an investment fund of $1 billion.
iv. Agreements were also signed for developing smart cities in Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, and for developing transport logistics systems for such cities.Another important agreement was signed for the joint study of a gas pipeline to India from Russia.

Maldives exit from Commonwealth Weeks After Democracy Warning
i. The Maldives announced that it would leave the Commonwealth, weeks after the organisation warned it could be suspended because of its lack of progress in promoting the rule of law and democracy.
ii .The Indian Ocean archipelago has been involved in political unrest since Mohamed Nasheed, its first democratically elected leader, was removed in disputed circumstances in 2012.
iii .The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group last month warned the Maldives that in the absence of substantive progress in rule of law and democracy, it would consider its options, including suspension.
iv.The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of  52 independent  and sovereign states. Most are former British colonies or dependencies of these colonies.
♦ Capital: Malé
♦ Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa
♦ President: Abdulla Yameen

Bangladesh, China agreed to elevate their ties to strategic partnership
i. Chinese President Xi Jinping talked with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during his visit to the nation and the two leaders agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership of cooperation.
Bangladesh, China agreed to elevate their ties to strategic partnershipii. China highly values its friendly cooperative ties with Bangladesh and will continue to offer support within its capacity for the economic and social development of the South Asian country,” Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.
iii.They have agreed to enhance the alignment of the development strategies of the two countries, fully tap the potentials of cooperation in various areas, work on “the Belt and Road Initiative” so as to realize sustainable development and common prosperity of the two countries
iv. The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
v. Bangladesh is appreciative of the initiative, believing it will bring important opportunities for Bangladesh’s goals of becoming a middle-income country by 2021 and a Developed Country by 2041.


In a first, Bank deposits cross Rs 100 lakh crore
i. According to a data released by the RBI shows that India’ banking system reported total deposits of Rs 100 lakh crore for the first time ever in September
ii. Demand deposits crossing R10 lakh crore and time deposits crossing the Rs 90 lakh crore mark, the month saw the highest-ever monthly rise of Rs 5.32 lakh crore — more than the total deposits in the banking sector 20 years back.
iii. Although Rs 100 lakh crore is a big milestone, historical data reveal deposit growth slowed down considerably over the last five years. While banks’ deposits grew at a CAGR of 12.88% in the last five years, they had grown at a CAGR of 19.9% in the previous five years
iv. The slowing down in the pace of deposit growth was in line with the slowing down of M3 or broad money supply in the economy.

USAID launches scheme to drive cashless payments in India
i. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the launch of a new initiative — Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership.
ii. The multi-stakeholder partnership is designed to scale up digital payments systems in India which will act as a catalyst in the increase of cashless payments in select locations.
iii. These locations will be selected based on criteria such as smartphone penetration, the local economy and administrative feasibility.


Uber inks pact with Electronics and IT Min for driver training
i. Transportation app Uber has signed MoU with Ministry of Electronics and IT’s CSCs (Common Services Centres) for skilling drivers on its platform.
ii. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad and Uttarakhand Chief UBERMinister Harish Rawat, CSC CEO Dinesh Tyagi and Prabhjeet Singh, Uber India GM (Delhi).
iii. It is the part of Uber SHAAN initiative. It has already partnered National Skill Development Corporation, Maruti, National Safai Karamchari Development Corporation  to create 1 million livelihood opportunities in India by 2018.

RCom, Brookfield ink Rs.11,000 cr. deal
i. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) has signed a non-binding term sheet with Canadian Brookfield Infrastructure Group (Brookfield) to sell a majority 51 per cent stake of its nationwide tower assets and related infrastructure for Rs. 11,000 crores.
ii. It is one of the largest FDI in infrastructure sector.
iii. RCom and Brookfield expect considerable growth in tenancies based on increasing 4G offerings by all telecom operators.
iv. RCom will utilize entire Rs. 11,000 crore to reduce debt and the combination of RCom’s wireless business with Aircel will reduce RCom debt by another Rs. 14,000 crore.


Former Minister Veeranna selected for Valmiki Award
Former Minister Veeranna (76) awarded with the Sri Maharshi Valimiki Jayanti Award for the year 2016-17 by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh and a citation.
About Veeranna :
i. Mr Veeranna hails from Koratagere in Tumakuru district and served as the Minister in the Janata Party government and he held portfolios of small savings, transport, commerce and industries and prisons.
ii. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1983 from Koratagere constituency. He was re-elected in 1985. He also served as the Deputy Speaker.

IAFP Young scientist scholarship award for Kirtiraj Kundlik Gaikwad
i. Kirtiraj Kundlik Gaikwad, an Indian scientist with the Department of Packaging, has been awarded the prestigious IAFP Young scientist scholarship award.
IAFP Young scientist scholarship award for Kirtiraj Kundlik Gaikwadii. This is awarded for his research work on “development of novel oxygen absorbing package in the field of active packaging for oxygen sensitive food products”.
iii. The International Association for Food Protection recognizes young researchers from around the world that are the future leaders in the field of food safety. 
The IAFP Foundation has been dedicated to enhance the career potential of exceptional researchers through the annual IAFP Scholarship Program, which provides full funding for the annual meeting.
 IAFP members, representing more than 50 countries, help the association achieve its mission through networking, educational programs, journals, career opportunities.

Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon wins the 2016 Golden Foot award
i. Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon has won prestigious Golden Foot award in Monaco.
ii. The 38-year-old, Juventus legend has been one of the standout performers for the Turin club in the last decade.
iii. He was honoured with the award not only for his contributions on the field but his contributions for football off the field as well.


Softbank names Rajeev Misra as head of S100 billion tech fund
Rajeev Misra has been appointed as head of $100 billion fund by Japanese telecom Softbank Corp. Prior to this, Misra was the senior managing director and partner at New York-based investment firm Fortress.
♦ Misra joined Softbank Group in 2014 as head of strategic finance and also works with SoftBank Internet and Media Inc,
About Softbank fund:
i. $100 billion will invest in technology companies across the world.
ii. Softbank announced the launch of Softbank Vision Fund which it will “seed” with $25 billion in a strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, chipping in $45 billion.Rajesh Mishri
iii. The remaining amount will be raised from other investors, and the two parties aim to deploy the corpus over next five years.
Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo
Founder: Masayoshi Son
Founded: September 3, 1981


Self-powered UV photodetector charges energy storage devices developed by IISc researchers 
i. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have developed a cost-effective, high-performance, self-powered UV photodetector that can use the harvested optical energy for direct self-charging of energy storage devices such as supercapacitor.
ii. The researchers have developed the photodetector by integrating semiconducting vanadium doped zinc oxide (VZnO) nanoflakes with a conducting polymer.
iii. The zinc oxide (ZnO) is the base material for UV detection which can be doped with vanadium to produce photodetectors that are self-powered.
iv. Photodetector is a device capable of sensing (detecting) or responding to electromagnetic energy, typically light by using the electrical effect of individual photons.
.The nanoflake (VZnO) produces five times more photocurrent, compared with ZnO, which generates only 40 nA photocurrent. Once these nanoflakes are hydrogenated, the current generation capacity further increased to 1,000 nA.
vi.When exposed to UV light, the device, after hydrogenation, was able to detect photo signal within milliseconds, which is nearly 100 times faster than conventional UV photodetectors.


Manipuri boy Yengkhom brought India its first gold in Wushu after 30 years 
i. Manipuri player Yengkhom Jason defeated his Chinese contender in straight rounds and bagged  the yellow medal in the 52 Kg category, overcoming the 30 years drought. 17 year old Jason announced India’s arrival in Wushu at the world stage.
ii. Along with Jason, two Manipuri girls, Malemngangbi and Roshibina who participated at the Junior championship also bagged a silver and a bronze medals, doing Manipur Wushu proud.
iii. In the world of Wushu, China ranks no. 1 and Iran no. 2 and are always taken to be unbeaten up until Jason’s feat. Naturally, the jubilation among the Wushu players in Manipur were electrifying.
iv. Wushu is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. It was developed in China after 1949, in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts although attempts to structure the various decentralized martial arts traditions date back earlier, when the Central Guoshu Institute was established at Nanking in 1928. The 6th World Junior Wushu Championship was held at Burgas, Bulgaria.

Brazil Crowned Champions Of BRICS U-17 Football Tourney
i. Brazil were crowned Champions of the inaugural edition of the BRICS U-17 Football Tournament as the ‘Samba Boys’ thumped South Africa 5-1 in the Finals at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa on October 15, 2016.BRICS U-17 Football Tourney
ii. They scored through Paulo Henrique SampaioFilho(24th), Vinicuis Jose paixo de Oliveira Junior(35th), Victor Gabriel Moura de Oliveira(40th, 61st) and Alan de Sourza Guimaraes (90+1).
iii. South Africa’s resurgence was short-lived and four minutes later, Brazil took the lead as Paulo Filho outfoxed his marking defender and cleverly found the back of the net.
iv. Brazil, who beat South Africa 3-0 in the league stage, made their intention clear from the start as they came with a flury of moves but Alan Guimaraes, Paulo and Victor failed to find the back of the net Russia finished third in the Tournament after they came from a goal down to defeat China 2-1 in the 3rd/4th placing match.
♦ Capital: Brasilia.
♦ Currency:Brasillian real.
♦ President: Michel Temer.

Jessica Ennis-Hill: Great Britain hept athlete retired from athletics
i. Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach  has announced that the 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion has chosen the right time to retire after a glittering career that also saw her crowned world champion twice.
ii. The face of London 2012, the country’s greatest sporting summer, called time on her glittering career almost two months to the day since she narrowly failed to retain the Olympic heptathlon title that made her a national heroine.
iii. Having returned to competition after giving birth to her son, Reggie, in 2014, Ennis-Hill went on to win gold at the 2015 World Championships, and took silver at this year’s Olympic Gamesbehind Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam.
iv. Jessica Ennis-Hillwas born on 28 January 1986. She  is a retired British track and field athlete from England, specialising in multi-eventing disciplines and 100 metres hurdles


International Day of Rural Women – October 15, 2016
International Day of Rural Women celebrated every year on October 15, 2016 since 2008 to recognizes rural women’s importance in enhancing agricultural and rural development worldwide.
Highlights in 2016:
♦ From October 15-17, 2016 , UN Women commemorates three key United Nations observances related to women’s role in development, International Day of Rural Women (15 October), World Food Day (16 October) and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October).
♦ 2016 Theme:  “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”. 

‘Safe motherhood’ week began in UP
i. The ‘safe motherhood’ week began on October 15 2016 in Uttar Pradesh to provide all necessary medical aid and assistance to the pregnant women and to ensure safe delivery.
ii. The campaign being run under National Health Mission till 21st October.It is the second phase of the ‘Safe Motherhood Week’ as in the first phase conducted in January this year
iii. Aim : To bring down the ‘Mother Mortality Rate’ ‘MMR’ and ‘Infant Mortality Rate’ or ‘IMR’.
iv. At present, the MMR in the state is 258 per lakh delveries which have been targeted to be brought down to 200 till the end of this year as it is still above the national average of 167.
v. To ensure total transparency, the financial benefits under Janani Suraksha Yojna will be given to the pregnant women for whom their Adhar linked bank account mapping has been made mandatory.
Uttar Pradesh :
♦ Taj Mahal is located at Agra in UP
♦ Judiciary capital of UP is Allahabad

World Student’s Day – October 15
i. World celebrates Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s birth anniversary as students day.
World Student’s Dayii. In honour of the man who always wished to be remembered as a teacher and who has made himself approachable to more than 18 million youngsters over the last 15 years of his life.
iii. United Nations recognized Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s 79th birthday as the World Student’s Day, in the year 2010.