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Current Affairs Today – September 13 2016

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CAT September 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

CCEA approves initiation of the Third Phase of Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP)
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs led by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal for initiation of the Third Phase of Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP).
TEQIP Phase – III :
i. After the successful completion of Technician Education I & Technician Education II projects launched in the Country with the assistance of World Bank, for upgradation of Polytechnics in the country.
ii. The Government had launched another project called “Technician Education III” with the assistance of World Bank and the project was directed towards developing Polytechnics in the States/Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
iii. The Project aimed at capacity expansion, Quality Enhancement and Efficiency Improvement. The Project became effective in January 2001 and ended in June 2007.

Arunachal Pradesh’s first Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Store inaugurated by MoS Shri Mansukh Mandaviya
i. The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurated Arunachal Pradesh’s first Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Store at Naharlagun, Itanagar.
ii. CM of Arunachal Pradesh Shri PemaKhandu participated in this function, both dignitaries witnessed signing of a MoU between Health & Family Welfare Department of Arunachal Pradesh and Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), an agency under Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
iii. Making the quality medicines available at affordable prices has been a key challenge for the government .In order to provide further relief to the common man in the area of healthcare, a countrywide campaign was started for ensuring availability of generic medicines at affordable prices to common man.
iv. Arunachal Government had decided to open 3,000 Stores under Pradhan Mantri Jan AushadhiYojana (PMJAY) during 2016-2017 and to strengthen the supply of generic drugs
v. In order to promote the campaign of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana, a one-time financial assistance of Rs.2.50 Lakh (Rs.1 Lakh for furnishing, Rs.50000/- for computer and peripherals, Refrigerator etc., and Rs.1 Lakh worth medicines to commence operations) is given to those who open shops in Government Hospitals and also to those who are individual entrepreneurs, NGOs, Charitable Trusts etc.

Government issues model guidelines for states to curb Ponzi schemes
i. Model guidelines were issued for states in order to protect consumers from Ponzi frauds, to regulate direct selling and multi-level marketing businesses while prohibiting pyramid structures as well as money circulation schemes.
ii. Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan released the ‘Direct Selling Guidelines 2016’ framework and has been sent to the states and Union Territories for adoption.
iii. The guidelines clearly define legitimate direct selling in order to help investigating agencies identify the firms involving fraudulent activities.
iv. Direct selling means marketing, distribution and sale of goods or providing of services as a part of network of direct selling other than under a pyramid scheme. Money Circulation Scheme has the same meaning as defined under Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.
v. The guidelines would help protect consumer’s interests, mandate direct sellers to constitute a grievance redressal committee to protect consumer’s right, has laid down remuneration system for the person engaged by direct selling firms on sharing of incentives, profit and commission.
vi. A provision was made for appointment of monitoring authority at both Central and state level and this would   prohibit direct selling entities from using misleading and deceptive or unfair recruitment practices.

Chhattisgarh CM launches ‘start-up Chhattisgarh’ scheme
i. Chief Minister Raman Singh”Start-up Chhattisgarh” by announcing a number of sops and tax exemptions to attract budding entrepreneurs and investors to the state.
ii. Addressing media at the Shri Shankaracharya Institute of Professional Management and Technology, Singh announced his government would give tax exemptions to those venturing into this sector.Raman Snigh
iii. The state government launched its action plan for promoting start-ups inChhattisgarh and announced for boot camps covering all 27 districts of the state
iv. The boot camp would be a state-wide campaign to identify potential start-up ideas which can be incubated and turned into successful business ideas. This event would be an apt platform for budding entrepreneurs and students to interact with successful start-ups of Chhattisgarh.
v. This initiative was designed in such a way as to attract start-up leaders, mentors, angel investors and venture capitalists across the globe to participate and become part of Chhattisgarh growth story.

Haryana to re-construct JLN canal
Haryana government approved a Rs 143 crore project for re-construction of Jawahar Lal Nehru (JLN) Canal system to achieve the goal of ‘Har Khet Ko Pani’ (water to every field). The work would be completed by March 2018
Steps taken by Haryana government to resolve the problem of drought.
i. Five old bridges were being reconstructed at a cost of Rs 30 crore to remove obstacles in Western Jamuna Canal (WJC) main line by Haryana Irrigation and Water Resources Department.
ii. Rs 300 crore project for rehabilitation of 565 water courses has got approval from NABARD.
iii. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna is a national mission to improve farm productivity and ensure better utilization of the resources in the country. Rs.500 billion (US$7.4 billion) in a time span of five years allocated to this scheme.

Committee formed to study issues related to Seventh Central Pay Commission
i. The 22-member panel  formed to look into 7th Pay Commission anomalies.The panel will be headed by DoPT(Department of Personnel and Training) secretary.
ii. From the government side, it will have Member (Staff) Railway Board, secretaries of Department of Telecommunications and Department of Posts,Financial Adviser, Defence Ministry, two joint secretaries from DoPT and another Joint Secretary (Personnel) in Finance Ministry as its members
iii. From the staff side a Deputy Secretary of the DoPT will be Member-Secretary of the panel which has 13 people.

Haryana govt announces free bus rides for girl students
i. Free bus rides for Haryana girl school students announced by Haryana Transport minister Krishan Lal Panwar .
ii. Free travel facility also extended to girl students on the state roadways buses
iii. The order came in the wake of complaints by some girl students of Khandra village, who alleged that a bus driver did not halt the bus to allow them to board it.
Haryana:
♦ State Bird – Black Francolin     ♦ State tree – Peepal
♦ State Flower – Lotus               ♦ State Animal – Blackbuck

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

China completes the ‘world’s highest bridge’ standing 1,850 feet above the ground
i. Beipanjiang Bridge is a whopping 565 metres above the ground (1,854 feet), which is nearly twice the height of the 95-storey skyscraper, The Shard in London.
World Highest Bridgeii. This Bridge was named Beipan River, the waterway it crosses, the incredible structure has a 720-metre-wide span (2,363 feet) and is a part of the Hangrui Highway, a 3,405-kilometre-long (2,115 miles) national motorway linking Hangzhou city in southern China with Ruili city on the China-Myanmar border.
iii. The completion of the ambitious project means that eight of the world’s 10 highest completed bridges are now located in China – almost all are situated in remote mountainous provinces.
iv. The Beipanjiang Bridge was expected to open by the end of 2016. It overtook the previous record holder, Sidu River Bridge, situated in central China’s Hubei Province.
v. The vertigo-inducing Sidu River Bridge, completed in 2009, is built between two mountains over a 1,627-foot-deep valley – though some media claim it’s 1,830 feet high.
vi. Engineers joined the last set of decks on September 10, marking the completion of the structure which had cost three years and 780 million RMB (£88 million) to build.

India, Mauritius explore collaboration in defence, security
i. India and Mauritius on September 13 explored greater collaboration in the area of defence and security even as discussions on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between the two countries restarted.
ii. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday met visiting Finance Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth.
iii. The two leaders are also discussed the construction of the World Hindi Secretariat in Mauritius.
iv. Swaraj invited significant participation from Mauritius in the forthcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, 2017.
Mauritius :
♦ Capital: Port Louis
♦ Currency: Mauritian rupee
♦ President: Ameenah Gurib
♦ Prime minister: Anerood Jugnaut

BANKING & FINANCE

India among top prospective markets for global luxury brands
i. India is among the 10 richest countries in the world with total individual wealth of USD 5,600 billion India is among the top prospective markets for luxury brands worldwide, with the country expected to see over two-fold growth in this segment in the next 10 years.
ii. According to the study by New World Wealth, India, along with Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Mauritius and China, offered strong opportunity for growth in luxury and wealth management space.
iii. These markets were not yet fully developed and still offer strong opportunities for growth, especially in the luxury and wealth management space.
iv. Large number of entrepreneurs, good educational system and a large English speaking population was a big positive for the growth of the luxury segment, adding that the 10-year growth forecast stands at 120 per cent.
v. The major factors responsible for growth in wealth performance in the country included strong growth in local construction, financial services, IT, business process outsourcing and healthcare sectors as well as solid economic growth and increased levels of entrepreneurship
vi. According to New World Wealth, at the end of 2015, around 2,36,000 high net worth individuals were living in the country, with a combined wealth of USD 1.5 trillion.

BUSINESS

CCEA approves enhancing the buffer stock of pulses up to 20 lakh tonnes
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, had approved the proposal of Department of Consumer Affairs on enhancing the buffer stock for pulses up to 20 lakh tonnes.Pulses
ii. The specific variety of pulses and their respective quantities for the buffer stock, their phasing and procurement would be decided based on price and availability position, both domestic and global changes.
iii. If any changes in the procurement plan for the current and subsequent seasons would be with due approvals. Releases from the stock and procurement in subsequent year would be based on the prevailing pulse scenario as well as buffer stock position.
iv. Requisite funds for this operation would be provided to the ‘Price Stabilisation Fund’ Scheme of the Department.Import of pulses under PSF to meet the buffer stock requirements would be undertaken through G2G contract and spot purchase from the global market through designated Public Sector Enterprise of Department of Commerce or any other agency designated by PSFMC
v. The allocation and release of the pulses from the buffer stock would be made to States/ UTs and Central Agencies. Pulses would also be released through strategic open market sale. For managing the buffer, professional pulses buffer management entity might also be engaged. The exercise would ensure a stable price regime for pulses and also encourage domestic farmers to increase production of pulses.

Punjab Cabinet abolishes 2% stamp duty tax 
i. The Punjab Cabinet today decided to abolish the stamp duty of 2% levied on immovable property while awarding the power of attorney.
ii. A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
iii. The stamp duty would now be a nominal Rs.1000 as the general power of Attorney and Rs.500 on Special Power of Attorney, irrespective of the market value.
iv. In a major relief to the small and marginal agricultural farmers cultivating up to 5 acres of Provincial government agricultural land, the Cabinet decided in principle to offer the proprietary rights under concessional terms and conditions.
v. These tillers who had been in cultivating possession for at least 20 years would be entitled for allotment at significant discount from the collector rates.
vi. The allotment price would be payable to the government over a period of five years interest free six monthly ten instalments. The amount payable upfront would be 20%
vii. A discount of 10% would be given on the allotment price, if any allot tee prefers to pay the entire amount in one go at the time of allotment. This would fulfil the long pending demand of the small and marginal farmers.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Meghna Pant to be honored with Fellows of Nature South Asia Short Story Award
i. Indian Writer Meghna Pant to be honored with Kumaon Literary Festival’s FON – Fellows of Nature South Asia Short Story Award in Nature writing in October for her short story “People of the Sun.”
ii. Meghna Pant is an Indian literary fiction author and financial journalist.She has written one novel,One & A Half Wife (2012), and a collection of short stories, Happy Birthday! (2013).
iii. Pant’s short stories have been published in over a dozen international literary magazines, including Avatar Review, Wasafari, Eclectica, and QLRS.
iv. Pant is also known for having abridged the world’s longest epic, the Mahabharata.

Nagpur Girl Shristi sharma Sets Historic Ice Limbo Skating Record
Ice Limbo Skating Recordi. Shristi Sharma(12) from Nagpur has created history by by  ice skating for 10 metres under 11 bars placed a metre apart at a height of 33 centimetres from the ground at the iSkate rink in Gurgaon on 9th September 2016 at the iSkate rink in Gurgaon, Shristi made history
ii. She is the only person to accomplish such a feat and Her name entered in the Limca Book of World Records 
iii. She also campaigns actively for ‘Save the Girl Child.’

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

India based Singapore businessman Sunny Verghese become the board member of Business Commission
Singapore-based Indian-origin businessman Sunny Verghese has become a member of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. This institution aims to help accelerate sustainable growth in agri-business.
About Sunny Verghese :
i. Verghese, Co–Founder and CEO of Singapore’s agri-business group Olam International Limited, joins roster of leaders from the private sector, academia and civil society, who are committed to accelerating the world’s transition to inclusive and sustainable growth.
ii. Sunny Verghese is the Co‑Founder and Group CEO and was appointed to the Board in 1996. He had been with the Kewalram Chanrai Group for nearly 3 decades and in 1989 was mandated to start the Company with a view to building an agricultural products business.
iii. Before joining the K.C. Group, he worked for Unilever in India. Sunny is currently the Chairman of the Human Capital Leadership Institute.
iv. Sunny has won several awards including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Singapore in 2008 and Best CEO of the Year 2011 at the Singapore Corporate Awards. He was also awarded the Public Service Medal by the Government of the Republic of Singapore in 2010.

Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa sacked
i. Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa was sacked from the post after President Pranab Mukherjee signed an order removing Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa from the post of Arunachal Pradesh Governor on September 12, 2016Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa
ii. Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan to take additional charge of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh temporarily
About Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa Rajkhowa :
♦ Rajkhowa, a 1968 batch IAS officer, had retired as Chief Secretary of Assam.
♦ He was appointed the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh on May 12, 2015 and he was the first gubernatorial appointee of the Modi government

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Telemedicine app ‘VISIT’ launches doctor on call service
i. VISIT is an on-demand healthcare service provider, had partnered with Spice Digital to launch a doctor on call service on BSNL network and plans to tie-up with other telecom players to go national.
ii. Telemedicinewas the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care from a distance. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities. It is also used to save lives in critical care and emergency situations.
iii. The service, called ‘JIYO Behtar Expert Talk Health Line‘, had already been made live in North Zone with state-run BSNL as the first telecom partner.
iv. VISIT is a platform that connects patients with practitioners anytime, anywhere through smartphone or computer. The telemedicine app was launched earlier this year by four BITS Pilani graduates — Anurag Prasad, Vaibhav Singh, Chetan Anand and ShashvatTripathi.
v. Over 500 telehealth had been consulted on the BSNL network on a daily basis. These were people from Tier 3 cities and villages in North Zone. It would be launching in West Zone, South Zone and East Zone. The states covered under North Zone include Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu& Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

ENVIRONMENT

Tenth of world’s wild areas vanished since 1990
i. According to a study by World Conservation Society scientists , the world’s wilderness had reduced by a tenth in the past two decades.
ii. The research findings published in the journal Current Biology last week noted the wild areas that vanished were mostly in South America and Africa, and only about 20%of the world’s land area was sorted as wilderness.
iii. The concept of wild areas or wilderness means landscapes free of human disturbances such as housing, development and industry, according to the scientists.
iv. The findings were based on a map of worldwide wilderness now compared with the condition in the early 1990s. The distribution of different colors in the map shows that around 3.3 million square kilometers of wild areas had reduced during the period of time.
v. The researchers reported that all wilderness areas, regardless of their size, should be assessed immediately for protection measures. If not,all attempts to restore places to nature – known as “rewilding” – would be futile.

Iceland named world’s best adventure destination
i. Iceland was named as the best adventure destination for luxury travel by an international network of luxury travel specialists ‘Virtuoso
ii. The report released by Virtuoso shows that 41 per cent of the travellers who are driving the demand for experiential holidays are between the ages of 50 and 65
Top 10 adventure travel destinations in the world:
Iceland, Galapagos Islands/Ecuador, Costa Rica and Chile/Patagonia (tie), New Zealand, Peru, Cuba, Antarctica, Arctic/North Pole, South Africa and Australia
Iceland:
♦ Capital: Reykjavik
♦ Currency: Icelandic króna
♦ Prime minister: Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

SPORTS

Kickboxer Sushmita Rai wins bronze at World Martial Arts Masterships  
Kickboxer Sushmita Rai i. Sikkim girl Sushmita Rai won bronze at the World Martial Arts Mastership 2016 held at Cheongju in South Korea.
ii. She was among the 12-member Indian contingent who participated in the week-long event World Martial Arts Mastership 2016.
World Martial Arts Masterships :
♦ Athletes from 81 countries partcipated  in 17 disciplines including Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Judo and Kendo.
♦ The next  edition of the competition will be staged again in 2019 in South Korea