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Current Affairs Today – September 17 2016

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Government notifies GST Council
i. The Union Finance Ministry had notified the GST Council, which would decide on the tax rate, exempted goods and the threshold under the new taxation regime.
ii. The council would be chaired by Union Finance Minister and would haveMinister in charge of Finance or Taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government as its member. Also Minister of State in charge of Revenue or Finance at the Centre would be a member..
iii. The first meeting of the GST Council would be held on September 22-23. The government was planning to introduce GST legislations – Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) — in Winter Session of Parliament in November.
iv. In his meeting with top revenue department officials ,Modi declared the GST Council would need to have intensive meetings to be able to make timely recommendations relating to its mandate, including proposals relating to Model GST laws, GST rates, goods and services that might be subjected to or exempted from GST.
v. The government was keen to implement the biggest tax reform since Independence from April1, so as to ensure a smooth rollover to the changed tax structure from the beginning of the new fiscal and avoid mid-year alterations.

7-day ‘Naropa 2016’ festival begins at Leh
i. A grand spiritual gathering that happens once in 12 years and is referred to as the “KumbhMela of the Himalayas” had begun in Ladakh’s biggest monastery, Hemis, to commemorate the millennial birth anniversary of the scholar saint Naropa.
ii. The month-long mega congregation, also known as Naropa festival, started with spiritual leader Gyalwang Drukpa’s grand welcomeThe Gyalwang Drukpa is the head of the Buddhist Drukpa Lineage, and a world-renowned humanitarian, author, environmentalist, and champion of gender equality.
iii. Governor N.N. Vohra attended the inaugural function of 7 day “Naropa 2016” festival held at the Hemis Monastery in Leh district.
iv. This event plays a crucial role in promoting cultural heritage and strengthening the bonds of
compassion, love and understanding which is most needed in today’s strife torn world.
v. The Governor lauded his 2,500 km expedition on cycle from Kathmandu to Leh along with over 200 Kung Fu nuns belonging to various nunneries of the Drukpa sect, spreading the message of women’s empowerment, gender equality and climate change enroute. He hoped that such ecofriendly expeditions would inspire people to respect and enjoy nature in sync with it.
vi. The Governor and His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa inaugurated Naropa’s Six Ornaments and released books on Buddhist philosophy and religious and devotional songs.

PM Modi launches irrigation and drinking water supply projects worth 4800 cr rupees in tribal areas of Gujarat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the water supply and irrigation projects worth of Rs 4800 crore under the Gujarat Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojna at Limkheda in Dahod district, Gujarat on his 66th birthday anniversary celebrations.
PM Modi in GujaratProject Details :
i. Six water supply projects worth 1757 crore rupees to provide drinking water to about 21-lakh people residing in 960 villages including 23 settlements in Dahod, Mahisagar, Narmada and Chhota Udepur districts
ii. Four lift irrigation projects based on Kadana- Karjan and Kakrapar Reservoirs worth another 2,000 crore rupees to provide irrigation in 97,455 hectares of land in Dahod, Narmada, Mahisagar and Surat districts
Gujarat:
♦ The state is formed on 01,November 1960 and separated from Maharashtra
♦ Gujarat folk music is called Sugam sangeet.
♦ First Capital of Gujarat is Ahmedabad.

Union Water Resources Ministry signs MoU with Agriculture Ministry to take up organic farming
i. Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh signed the MoU to encourage farmers of over 5,000 villages along the Ganga to take up organic farming
ii. Aim: To promote organic farming through various means like awareness programmes, self-help groups, providing information through mobile apps.
iii. The Agriculture Ministry will develop organic farming in over 5,000 villages along the Ganga with each Gram Panchayat representing a cluster under Paramaparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana. 
iv. It also provide training on Integrated Nutrient Management and micro-irrigation techniques.
Paramaparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana: 
♦ Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (Traditional Farming Improvement Programme) has been launched by Government of India to support and promote organic farming and thereby improving soil health.
♦ The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana of the NDA government is basically a scheme of supporting organic farming via cluster approach

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Five Indian museums featured among the best 25 museums in Asia
i. A recent survey among the travelers revealed that Five Indian museums featured among the best 25 in Asia while Leh’s ‘Hall of Fame’ has topped the India list as a “must-visit” place. The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horse in China topped the Asia list.
ii. Top 5 in the World – Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Art Institute of Chicago, State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace, Musee d’Orsay, Paris and National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.
Top 5 museums in India :

1 Leh’s Hall of Fame,
2 Bagore Ki Haveli (Udaipur),
3 Victoria Memorial Hall (Kolkata),
4 Salar Jung Museum (Hyderabad) and
5 Jaisalmer War Museum (Jaisalmer)

BANKING & FINANCE

India, AfDB ink MoU for hosting bank’s annual meetings at Ahmedabad
i. Government of India and the AfDB signed MoU to host the next annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group at Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre, Ahmedabad from May 22 to May 26, 2017.
ii. The meeting will be led by Ms Nnenna Nwabufo, chairperson, permanent committee for annual meetings.AfDB
African Development Bank (AfDB):
♦ Formation: 10 September 1964
♦ President: Akinwumi Adesina
♦ Headquarters: Abidjan, Ivory Coast
♦ India became in 1983.

India’s foreign exchange reserves up at $371 bn
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced India’s foreign exchange reserves went up to $371.27 billion as on September 9.
ii. According to data released by the RBI, the reserves stood at $371.27 billion as on September 9, as against $367.76 billion as on Sep 2.
iii. The reserves as on September 2 comprised of foreign currency assets at USD 342.23 billion, gold at USD 21.64 billion, special drawing rights at USD 1.48 billion and the reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at USD 2.39 billion.
About Foreign Reserves:
♦ Foreign-exchange reserves (also called forex reserves or FX reserves) is money or other assets held by central bank or other monetary authority so that it can pay if need be its liabilities, such as the currency issued by the central bank, as well as the various bank reserves deposited with the central bank by the government and other financial institutions.
♦ Reserves are held in one or more reserve currency, mostly the United States dollar and to a lesser extent the EU’s euro, the British pound sterling, and theJapanese yen.

Tata AIG, Paytm to offer health insurance to cab drivers 
i. Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited had joined hands with mobile payments’ company Paytm to provide health insurance to cab and auto drivers.
ii. Tata AIG General Insurance had designed cashless insurance scheme, as required by Paytm, to provide drivers, quality medical care as per their need and budget.
iii. While subscribing to the policy, the existing health condition of drivers would also be covered under this scheme.
iv. The new health insurance scheme would cover hospital expenses uptoRs 50,000
v. This initiative had already received a good response in Delhi and NCR, with over 1,800 drivers signing up and the services are expected to extend to other regions of India soon
viPaytm is an Indian e-commerce website headquartered in Noida, India. It was launched in 2010 and added to the industry of FinTech in India. It is owned by One97 Communications.

BUSINESS

Andhra Pradesh tops in attracting industrial investment
i. According to the latest RBI Report,Andhra Pradesh had emerged on the top among all other states in attracting industrial investments in 2015-16,  pushing the previous year’s topper Maharashtra to the third spot.
ii. Andhra Pradesh attracted an investment of Rs.21,914crore out of the Rs.1,38,700 crore gross investments across India, the state government officially released, quoting a report by the Reserve Bank of India was 8.1 per cent.
iii. Tamil Nadu also made quantum gains in investment, attracting 9 per cent of the gross and jumping to the fourth spot.In 2014-15, investment flow into Tamil Nadu was a mere 2.9 per cent
iv. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh were tied at the fifth spot garnering 7.2 per cent share each in industrial investments, according to the RBI report.
Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital: Amaravathi.
♦ Governor: Narasimha Rao.
♦ Chief Minister: Chandrababhu Naidu.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma honored with Arjuna Award
i. India batsmen, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma were awarded with the prestigious Arjuna Award for 2016 and 2015 respectively, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
ii. The Arjuna Awards are given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports.
iii. It is instituted in 1961; the award carries a cash prize of Rs. 500,000, a bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll.

ISRO, Katrina and Juhi Chawla among the Priyadarshini Global Awardees 2016
i. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Bollywood actors Katrina Kaif and Juhi Chawla bagged the prestigious Priyadarshini Global Awards 2016 in Mumbai.
ii. The awards would be presented at a function in the presence of Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goyal, real estate tycoon & Chairman of Priyadarshini Academy Niranjan Hiranandani and Chairman-Emeritus of the Academy, Nanik Rupani.
iii. Other recipients of the awards, instituted by a socio-cultural and educational organisation Priyadarshini Academy, in various fields are from Israel, Switzerland and UK. The awards are given to personalities and organisations for contribution in their respective fields.

Malayalam critic M Leelavathi bags Mohanan Suvarna Mudra Award
Malayalam Critic M Leelavathi Bags Mohanan Suvarna Mudra Awardi. Eminent Malayalam critic and academician Dr M Leelavathi has been chosen for the prestigious N Mohanan Suvarna Mudra Award 2016.
ii. The award was instituted in memory of well-known short story writer N Mohanan.The honour comprises a gold medal of one sovereign.
iii. An expert panel, includes journalists M G Radhakrishnan and M Saritha Varma and Athmaraman, selected Leelavathi for the biennial award considering her contributions to Malayalam language and literature.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Young Yazidi woman appointed as a UN Ambassador
i. Iraqi survivor of ISIS’ atrocities Nadia Murad Basee Taha has been appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime announced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon .
ii. The appointment marks the first time a survivor of atrocities is bestowed with this distinction
Nadia Murad Basee Taha :
♦ A 23-year-old Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Nadia Murad  had briefed the UN Security Council in its first-ever session on human trafficking in December last year. She described being rounded up with fellow Yazidis in Iraq in 2014 and witnessing as ISIS fighters shot men and boys in cold blood. She was bought and sold various times.

Atul Kumar Goel takes charges as ED in UBI
i. Executive Director of Allahabad Bank Atul Kumar Goel appointed as Executive Director in Union Bank of India for a period of 3 years .He will be replaced by Raj Kamal Verma.
ii. He has taken over charge of the post of Executive Director of Union Bank of India on September 15, 2016
UBI(Union Bank of India):
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ CEO: Arun Tiwari
♦ Founded: November 11, 1919

VK Sharma replaces SK Roy as LIC chairman
i. VK Sharma was appointed as chairman of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India on September 17, 2016, announced by finance ministry.He will be replaced SK Roy
ii. Sharma is currently working as the Managing director of LICVK Sharma replaces SK Roy as LIC chairman
Reason for sudden change :
The finance ministry initiated a departmental enquiry against Roy, allegedly over investments made by LIC in real estate firm Unitech in 2008-09.
Life Insurance Corporation (LIC):
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: September 1, 1956

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Ashok Leyland okays merger with Hinduja Foundries
i. Ashok Leyland Board has approved a proposal to merge Hinduja Foundries Ltd (HFL) with itself.<
ii. HFL has an accumulated loss of about Rs.1,100 crore and debt of Rs.512 crore.
iii. Leyland has invested Rs.321 crore in HFL by way of preferential shares and has an equity stake of 2.64 per cent.
iv. Leyland expects to get tax benefit of 32 per cent to 34 per cent of HFL losses.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Aarambh Initiative has launched the country’s first-ever hotline to curb child pronography
i. The country’s first-ever hotline to curb sexual abuse of children through the internet and to remove child pornographic content online was prepared to be unveiled next week.
ii .Aarambh Initiative, a network of organisations and individuals working on child protection in the country, had collaborated with UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which is an industry watchdog and is the most successful hotline in the world at removing child pornography.
iii. The hotline in India would be hosted on aarambhindia.org and would enable users to report child sexual abuse images and videos in a safe and anonymous environment. While the hotline would initially be in English and Hindi, it would also be available in as many as 22 regional languages.
iv. A complaint made on the hotline remained confidential and was accessed by an expert team of the IWF based in the UK. This team picked the offensive URL and added it to its blocking list thus disrupting any further access to the content until it has been removed.
v.
Once the content is removed, it is assigned a unique identification number in order to ensure that it is not uploaded in the future.
vi.
This expert team also decided the criminality and severity of the content and determines the location from where it was uploaded and where it was being hosted. Thereafter, it contacts the host as well the law enforcement agency of the country from where it was uploaded.

Indian Navy launches missile destroyer ‘Mormugao’
i. The Indian Navy launched an advanced indigenously built guided-missile destroyer, Mormugao, in financial capital of the country (Mumbai).
ii. Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, who was present when the vessel was released into the Arabian Sea, announced that the  stealth destroyer was at par with the best vessels in the world.
Mormugaoiii. The first ship of the project, guided-missile destroyer ‘Visakhapatnam’, was launched on April 20 last year.
iv. The vessel was built by Centre-owned Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. The government planned to build four more similar vessels between 2020-2024. Vice admiral GS Pabby, controller warship production and acquisition, announced the navy has the target of having 212 ships in its fleet by 2027 and it would be a “real challenge
v. The warship could sail at a maximum speed of over 30 knots, while it has a displacement of around 7,300 tonnes (the ship’s weight). The vessel was equipped with surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missilesand anti-submarine rocket launchers. It could also carry two anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
vi. The last six years can be called the golden years of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders. Since 2010, the yard has delivered one major warship platform to Indian Navy almost every year.The vessel belongs to Visakhapatnam class of ships commissioned under the ministry’s Project 15B.

SPORTS

2016 Calcutta Football League won by East Bengal
i.
Indian football giants East Bengal on 16 September 2016 won the Calcutta Football League (CFL) for the seventh consecutive time.
iiOnly a point was required from the game to achieve what they had set out for at the start of the season. But, Mohammedan made it tough for Lal Holud from the get go, as a win for them would put Mohammedan in second place in the league standings.
iii. East Bengal Football Club is a professional football club, based in Kolkata, West Bengal.East Bengal FC was founded in 1920.
About Calcutta Football League:
♦ Calcutta Football League is the football league system where several football clubs of Kolkata participate.It currently consists of seven-tier pyramid system.
Indian Football Association (IFA) conducts the CFL with 157 mostly Kolkata based clubs and units.It was Started in 1898.This league is regarded as one of the oldest football competitions in the world.

OBITUARY

US playwright Edward Albee dies at the age of 88
i. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee died in New York. He was 88.
ii. He was the America’s greatest living playwrighter after Arthur Miller and August Wilson Edward Albee
iii. Albee was proclaimed the playwright of his generation after his blistering “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” opened on Broadway in 1962. The Tony-winning play, still widely considered Albee’s finest, was made into an award-winning 1966 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
iv. He won the pulitzer prize for “A Delicate Balance” (1967), “Seascape” (1975) and “Three Tall Women”(1994)”
v. “The Play About the Baby” and “The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?” which won him his second Tony for best play in 2002.

Italy’s Former President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi dies at 95
i. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the former Italian president who played a crucial role in Italy’s adoption of the euro, has died at the age of 95
ii.  Ciampi spent 14 years as governor of the Bank of Italy and later served as a Treasury minister.
iii. He also served as Prime Minister in a 1993-94 caretaker government of technocrats