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Current Affairs Today – October 19 2016

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cat-october-19-2016INDIAN AFFAIRS

Centre moots 4 Goods & Services Tax (GST) slabs
i. The Central Government has proposed a four-slab rate structure for the Goods & Services Tax, ranging from zero to 26 per cent, at a meeting of the GST Council.
ii. On consumption of ultra-luxury items and demerit goods, such as big cars and tobacco products, it proposes imposition of cess over and above a 26 per cent GST rate. 
iii. This proposal singles out gold, for which it proposes a GST rate of 4 per cent. The rate proposed on all items is by and large lower than the current rate. In the 26 per cent slab, for instance, currently most goods are being taxed at about 27 to 31 per cent.
iv. The proposal retains only the Clean Environment Cess from the multitude currently in place, with the GST subsuming all the others, including the Swachh Bharat Cess, the Krishi Kalayan Cess and the Education Cess.

Sagarmala funded flagship project of Ro Pax Ferry Service in Gulf of Cambay, Gujarat
i. The Ministry of Shipping ratified the Capital Dredging Project for Ro Pax Ferry Services between Gogha & Dahej, in Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat. The Ministry released Rs.58.50 Crore as first installment of grant-in–aid to Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB). The total project cost is estimated to be Rs.234 Crore and of which 50% would be funded by Centre Government under the Sagarmala programme.Centre approves a grant of Rs. 515 Crores for the development of Sagar Port Project in West Bengal
ii. The project would result in reduction in motorable distance of 231 kms between Gogha&Dahej to mere 31 kms and reduce the travel time from 7 hours to 1 hour only by crossing the Gulf in Cambay in 17 Nautical Miles
iii. The initiative would not only reduce the travel time but also result in savings in fuel, reduction in CO2 emission and reduction in road congestion.
iv. This project is one of the flagship projects under Sagarmala which aims to increase share of waterways transportation in modal mix to 10 per cent from present level of 7 per cent by year 2025.
v. The Sagarmala Programme is Union Government’s flagship strategic, customer-oriented initiative to achieve the broad objective of promoting port-led economic development in India.

Nirmala unveils logo for IPR cell in patent push
i. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched a logo of a Cell for the IPR Promotion and Management(CIPAM).
ii. She termed this as “an ambitious task” as India’s intellectual property related activities need great traction
iii. The logo has been designed by the National Institute of Design, while keeping in mind the country’s slogan for its national IPR policy focsuing on innovation and creativity.

Suresh Prabhu inaugurated and dedicated the “Okha-Kanalus and Porbandar-WansjaliyaSections in Gujarat of Western Railways as Green Corridor Sections.
i. Suresh Prabhu inaugurated and dedicated to the nation the “Okha-Kanalus and Porbandar-Wansjaliya” Sections in Gujarat of Western Railways as Green Corridor Sections (Free from human waste discharge from trains).
ii. Minister of State for Railways & Minister of State for Communication (Independent Charge) Shri Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain, Chairman Railway Board Shri A. K. Mital, Member Rolling Stock Shri Hemant Kumar, and other Board Members and Senior Officials were also present on the occasion.
iii. Railways have taken up a mammoth task of providing human discharge free bio-toilets in all its coaches and the same would be completed by 2021-22.
iv. Ministry of Railways have already provided around 48,000 bio-toilets in about 14,000 passenger coaches.


London Tops in the Global Power City Index
i. According to the 2016 Global Power City Index (GPCI) report, London has topped for the fifth consecutive year with Mumbai ranked 39th on the list of the world’s leading global cities for business, innovation and culture.
ii. London performed well across all areas, retaining its top spot for the fifth year in a row and ranking above other cities such as New York, Tokyo and Paris. The UK capital was first awarded the leading position in 2012, the year it successfully hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
iii. New York experienced no significant change in its ratings, retaining its No. 2 slot.
iv. Tokyo overtook Paris and moved into third place. Singapore completes the top 5 cities in the annual ranking.

India, Algeria reiterated their resolve to fight against terrorism
i. India and Algeria have reiterated their resolve to fight against the terrorism which has become a serious threat to global peace and security.
ii. During the separate meetings with President of the National People’s Assembly Mohamed Larbi Ould Khalifa and President of Council of Nation Abdelkader Bensalah in Algiers.
iii. The two countries discussed wide ranging issues to promote cooperation in several sectors including Hydro-carbon, Phosphates, automobile parts, agricultural and industrial machinery, pharmaceuticals.
iv. India and Algeria have maintained close relations since the era of Algeria’s struggle for independence. India sees Algeria as one of the leading economies of Africa and the developing world.
Algeria :
♦ Capital: Algiers.
♦ Currency: Algerian dinar.
♦ Prime Minister:AbdelmalekSellal.


IRDAI Slaps Rs 6 Lakh Penalty On Shriram Life Insurance
i. Regulator IRDAI has imposed a penalty of Rs 6 lakh on Shriram Life Insurance for “casual” approach towards certain norms, among other violations.
ii. The company was charged a penalty of Rs 5 lakh, the insurer had covered the loan term of less than three years and provided flat cover of Rs 5,000 for the balance period.
The submissions by the insurer cannot justify the deviation from original File and Use.
iii. A penalty of Rs 1 lakh for the group claims paid date for the financial years 2011-12 and 2012-13 revealed that death claims were settled in favour of Group Master Policyholder.
iv. Also the life insurer had not obtained a confirmation of receipt of claim payment from the beneficiaries.
♦ Chairman: T.S. Vijayan
♦ Headquarters : Hyderabad

3.2 million debit cards of SBI, HDFC, ICICI, YES Bank & Axis Bank compromised 
i. Banks in India will either replace or ask users to change the security codes of as many as 3.2 million debit cards because several victims have reported unauthorised usage from locations in China.
atmii. Out of 3.2 million cards , 2.6 million cards are on the Visa and Master-Card platform and 6,00,000 on the RuPay platform. 
iii. The worst-hit of the card-issuing banks are State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank YES Bank and Axis Bank.
iv. A forensic audit has now ordered by Payments Council of India on Indian bank servers and systems to detect the origin of frauds that might have hit customer accounts.


India to become 3rd largest aviation market by 2026: IATA
i. As per the forecast by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India will become the third largest aviation market in the world displacing the UK by 2026.
ii. It is expected to be the source of more than half the new passengers over the next 20 years. China will displace the US as the world’s largest aviation market around 2029. India will displace the UK for third place in 2026, while Indonesia enters the top ten at the expense of Italy.
iii. India’s passenger traffic will touch 442 million by 2035 and growth will also increasingly be driven within developing markets. Over the past decade the developing world’s share of total passenger traffic has risen from 24% to nearly 40%, and this trend is set to continue.
iv. India’s air passenger traffic to grow to 442 million by 2035 with 322 million new air travellers, amid the domestic aviation market growing by over 20 per cent for more than a year now.


Tata Steel Bags Sustainable Manufacturing Award
i. The Sustainable Manufacturing of Make in India  Award won by Tata Steel at the Make in India Awards 2016. The award was received by T V Narendran, Managing Director of Tata Steel India from the Union Minister for Steel, Mr Birendra Singh in New Delhi on October 19 2016.
ii. The award is in recognition of Tata Steel’s excellent track record and continued efforts to introduce the best-in-class green initiatives in its manufacturing processes.
iii. The Make in India Awards 2016 were classified under seven categories and several other prominent companies were nominated for the award under the ‘Sustainable Tata Steel Bags AwardManufacturing of Make in India’ category.
Tata Steel :
♦ Tata Steel Limited is a subsidiary of the Tata Group.
♦ Headquarters : Mumbai
♦ Founder :  Jamsetji Tata

State Bank of Patiala gets special award for excellence in MSME lending
i. State Bank of Patiala has been conferred “Special Award for Excellence in MSME lending” for its performance in lending to the MSME sector during the year 2013-14 and 2014-15 at the National Award Function held at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi was the chief guest of this function
ii. S A Ramesh Rangan, Managing Director and Devendra Kumar, General Manager, State Bank of Patiala received the award from Kalraj Mishra – Union Minister for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
iii. The Bank is maintaining momentum in lending to this sector during the current financial year also. With a view to extend the coverage of MSME sector, the Bank has 30 MSME specialized branches.


S.P Yadav elected new President of Urology Society of India
i. Noted Urologist S. P Yadav was elected as the new President of the North Zone of Urology Society of India (NZUSI) on October 18, 2016 at the conclusion of a three-day annual conference .It will effective from October 2017 for a period of one year.
ii. He has contributed to various researches and clinical practices for the last 32 years.
iii. He also the Managing Director of Gurgaon based Pushpanjali Hospital, has twice been included in the Limca Book of Records (2011 and 2016) for rare prostate surgeries.
iv. North Zone: Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, besides Delhi and Rajasthan

Geeta Phogat appointed DSP in Haryana Police
Geeta Phogat in Asian Wrestling Championshipsi. Indian woman wrestler Geeta Phogat was appointed as a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Haryana Police by Haryana Government.
ii. Phogat is a graduate and a sportsperson of international repute. She is also a gold medallist of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Other Appointments :
♦ Mountaineer Ram Lal as Sub Inspector in Haryana Police Department against sports quota by the Home Department


MakeMyTrip acquires rival travel portal ibibo
i. Homegrown online travel company MakeMyTrip announced to acquired rival Indiantravel company Ibibo at an undisclosed amount to form the country’s biggest online travel company.
ii. Now MakeMyTrip will own 100 per cent of ibibo Group.
iii. Founder and CEO of ibibo Group, Ashish Kashyap, will join MakeMyTrip’s executive team as a Co-founder and President of the organisation.
iv. CEO : Deep Kalra  and CEO india: Rajesh Magow 

Freshdesk acquires Bengaluru-based Chatimity to scale chat infrastructure
i. One of the largest startups Freshdesk has announced to acquire a social chat platform Chatimity to developed artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbot technology at an undisclosed amount.Freshdesk
ii. This is Freshdesk’s sixth acquisition in 14 months. It has also acquired social media customer care app Airwoot, as well as messaging app Konotor, cloud-based feedback platform Framebench, and social recommendation app Frilp
iii. Chatimity was founded in May 2011 in Bengaluru by former Googlers Tarkeshwar Thakur and Aravind Murthy


New Fast Attack Craft ‘INS Tihayu’ Commissioned In Vizag
The Indian Navy commissioned the newest Car Nicobar-class fast attack craft INS Tihayu at the Eastern Naval Command.
i. INS Tihayu, specifically built for meeting needs of extended coastal and offshore surveillance and patrol, has a length of 49.9 metres and maximum breadth of 7.5 meters. Named after an island in Nicobar, the vessel has an endurance of 2,000 nautical miles at 12 to 14 knots of economical speed.
ii. The ship, which has a 30 mm CRN 91 gun and an electronic day-night fire control system, has a crew of four officers and 41 sailors led by Commander Ajay Kashhov.
iii. It is also equipped with two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns and multiple medium machine guns besides shoulder launched air missiles to combat aerial threats.

NPL Scientists produced electricity from water without using energy
i. Scientists from Delhi’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a novel way of producing electricity from water at room temperature without using any power or chemicals.
ii. A team led by Dr. R.K. Kotnala used nanoporous magnesium ferrite to split water into hydronium (H3O) and hydroxide (OH) ions and used silver and zinc as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity.
iii. The hydroelectric cell that uses magnesium ferrite of 1 sq. inch size produces 8 mA current and 0.98 volt. According to a paper published in the International Journal of Energy Research, magnesium ferrite of 2-inch diameter produces 82 mA current and 0.9 volt.
iv. Now, the hydroelectric cell material design has been improved and a 2-inch diameter material generates 150 mA current and 0.9 V.

Microsoft developed first human-like speech recognition system
i. Microsoft  have developed the firsttechnology that recognises the words in a conversation as well as humans do.A team of researchers and engineers in Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research created a speech recognitionsystem that makes the same or fewer errors than professional transcriptionists.
microsoftii. They reported a word error rate (WER) of 5.9 per cent, down from the 6.3 per cent WER the team reported just last month.The 5.9 per cent error rate is about equal to that of people who were asked to note down the same conversation, and it is the lowest ever recorded against the industry standard Switchboard speech recognition task.
iii. The research milestone comes after decades of research in speech recognition, beginning in the early 1970s with DARPA, the US agency tasked with making technology breakthroughs.
iv. That includes consumer entertainment devices like the Xbox,
accessibility tools such as instant speech-to-text transcription and personal digital assistants such as Cortana.

Qualcomm announces the world’s first 5G modem to bring 5Gbps
i. Qualcomm announces the world’s first 5G Modem, called the Snapdragon X50.
ii. The chip could theoretically support download speeds on your smartphone of up to 5 gigabits per second.
iii. The average 4G download speed in the United States is 9.9 megabits per second.
iv. Phones with the 5G Modem will begin shipping in early 2018.


Auto manufacturers to provide emission and noise pollution details for every vehicle
i. The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has made it mandatory for all automobile manufacturers to provide emission and noise pollution details for every vehicle they produce by April 2017.
ii. It has amended Form 22 under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989, through which manufacturers provide the initial certificate of compliance with pollution standards, safety standards of components quality and road-worthiness certificate for all vehicles.
iii. The Form will include the brand, chassis number, engine number (motor number, in case of battery operated vehicles) and emission norms – Bharat Stage – IV / VI /Bharat (Trem) Stage-III/III etc of the vehicle
iv. They should specify the levels of each pollutant like carbon monoxide, hydro carbon, non-methane HC, NOx, HC + NOx, PM etc. for petrol and diesel vehicles and also sound level for horn and pass by noise values.

Delhi chokes, six monitoring stations recorded very poor air quality
i. Delhi’s air quality worsened on last two days with the six stations that monitor particulate matter(PM) 2.5 and 10 falling in the ‘very poor’ category.
ii. The overall levels of PM 2.5 (particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5
micrometres) and PM 10 (particulate matter with diameter less than 10 micrometres), were settled at 120.8 and 248 micrograms per cubic metre, as per System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
iii. The PM 10 levels went down to 199 micrograms per cubic metre, making the air more breathable.The acceptable levels of PM 2.5 are 60 micrograms per cubic metre and PM 10 are 100 micrograms per cubic metre.
iv. SAFAR’s Dhirpur, Pitampura, Delhi University, Pusa Road, Mathura Road and Airport (T3) stations recorded ‘very poor’ air quality index
v. The ‘very poor’ air quality might give rise to respiratory illnesses and ‘poor’ quality may cause breathing discomfort on prolonged exposure. Sensitive people are advised to take precautions as their health is more likely to be affected


Indian Boxing Council Inducted In To WBO
i. The Indian Boxing Council, a licensing body for the country’s professional boxers, has been inducted into the World Boxing Organisation with voting rights in the WBO’s annual convention at Puerto Rico.
Indian Boxing Council Inducted In To WBOii. IBC President Brig. PKM Raja attended the meet in which the Indian body was welcomed into the fold by WBO founder Chairman Luis Batista Salas.
iii. This give the way for Indian Boxers to participate in WBO Events and be eligible to compete for WBO Asia Pacific as well as WBO World Titles
iv. The convention was also attended by Neerav Tomar, Managing Director and CEO of Infinity Optimal Solutions (IOS), which is the India promoter of star boxer Vijender Singh. Vijender is the reigning WBO Asia-Pacific super middleweight champion.
About WBO:
♦ The World Boxing Organization (WBO) is a sanctioning organization which recognizes professional boxing world champions. It is recognized by the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) as one of the four major world championship groups, alongside the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), and International Boxing Federation (IBF).
♦ Headquarters:San Juan, Puerto Rico.
♦ President: Francisco Varcarcel.

Kochi gets FIFA nod to host U-17 World Cup
i. A 23-member high-level delegation comprising FIFA experts ratified Kochi as venue after visiting Jawarharlal Nehru International Stadium.
ii. Kochi became the first Indian city to be officially declared as one of the venues for hosting the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup
iii. The team also visited the prospective training grounds in Kochi — Parade Ground, Fort Kochi Veli Football Ground, Maharajas College Ground and Government Boys High School Panampilly Nagar.


Coal India Director N Kumar Passes Away
i. State-owned Coal India Limited Director  N Kumar passed away in New Delhi.
ii. Kumar had joined Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) as junior executive trainee in 1980
iii. He had assumed the charge of Director (Technical) of Coal India Limited on February 1, 2012.
iv. He was worked as a manager for almost 6 years and  project officer for seven years

S African Struggle Stalwart And Gandhian Activist Dies
i. Former president of the National Indian Congress and husband of Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Mewa Ramgobin passed away. He was 83.
S African Struggle Stalwart And Gandhian Activist Mewa Ramgobinii. A former African National Congress member of Parliament until 2009, he was among the first supporters of the Release Mandela campaign. He was charged for treason in 1985.
iii. After Mandela’s election,he served for several years in the first Parliament of South Africa.
iv. He also published books such as ‘Waiting To Live’ and ‘Prisms Of Light’.