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Current Affairs Today – September 25 2015

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Current Affairs Sep 25 2015

Indian Affairs 

Kerala Tourism to sign MoU with St Petersburg’s tourism

  • Kerala Tourism and St Petersburg’s tourism department will sign a MoU to promote tourist arrival from the Russian city to Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.
  • Kerala State Tourism Secretary, Kamala Vardhana Rao, Consul General of India in St Petersburg, Arun Kumar Sharma and Deputy Chairman, St Petersburg Tourism, Rimma Sachinova decided to sign an agreement in a recent meeting.
  • The MoU is expected to give a big excite to tourist arrivals from the second largest city of Russia to Kerala.

Rajnath Singh releases graphic booklet on Sardar Post

  • Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh has released a graphic booklet on Sardar Post at Rann of Kutch in the 1965 lndo-Pak War.
  • Shri Rajnath Singh admired the role of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Hot Springs in Ladakh and at other places in maintaining the safety and security of the country.
  • CRPF also plans to publish a series of graphic booklets illustrating various stories of courage and sacrifice of the force.

AP gets Rs.1000 crore special assistance from Centre

  • Andhra Pradesh will get a special financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the current financial year from the central government.
  • The centre has announced such special financial assistance to AP after the demand of state’s CM, N Chandrababu Naidu under the state reorganisation Act.
  • Of the total financial assistance, Rs 350 crore is special assistance for the development of seven backward districts covering Rayalaseema and North Andhra, Rs 350 crore for the construction of the new capital city Vijayawada and Rs 300 crore for Polavaram project.
  • A tax incentive has also been provided in the Finance Act, 2015.

Government plans green road corridors

The Union government is all set to unveil its Green Highways policy on September 29th this year under which bushes and trees will be grown along all the highways in a phased manner.

Highlights:

  • The purpose of the policy is to promote the greening of highway corridors with the participation of the local community, including local contractors and the local Forest Department.
  • The plan is to grow three layers of trees and bushes. The first will be of bushes so that if a vehicle goes off the road, it does not collide with something life-threatening. The second will be of medium-sized trees and the last will be of tall fruit trees. However point to be noted that, only species indigenous to the area would be planted.
  • The investment would be 1,000 crore this year, calculated as one per cent of the Rs. 1,00,000-crore investment in national highway projects this year.
  • The project will be awarded to contractors in small stretches of 8-10 km as pilot scheme.
  • Those who are eligible among the wide cross-section of agencies that can participate in the project, include government or private companies, NGOs registered as societies, trusts or private limited non-profit companies, and producer organizations.
  • Furthermore, the government has laid down strict targets for the companies growing and maintaining trees such as only after reaching the minimum survival rate i.e. 90 per cent implementation, a company will get the required money from the Ministry in the next year.

International Affairs 

Alexis Tsipras sworn in as new Prime Minister of Greece

Alexis Tsipras sworn in as new Prime Minister of Greece

  • Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza party has sworn in as the Prime Minister of Greece by the President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
  • Alexis Tsipras, has sworn in as the PM of Greece for a second time. In January 2015, the 40-year old politician had sworn in for the first time as the youngest PM of Greece since 1965.
  • The left-wing party has secured 35% of total votes (144 seats out of 300) in the elections which held on September, 20.
  • The party has formed a coalition government with the Independent Greeks Party to achieve majority seats in the Parliament.

Magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits East Indonesia

  • A powerful earthquake Magnitude 6.6 on Richter scale struck off Indonesia’s Papua provinces. More than 60 people suffered injuries and 200 houses were damaged.
  • According to the US Geological Survey said the earthquake’s epicentre was at a depth of 24 kilometre north of Sorong, a town in Indonesia’s Papua province. However this under water earthquake had no potential to generate tsunami waves.

Banking & Finance 

Bank of Maharashtra launches MUDRA Card

Bank of Maharashtra (BOM), a leading Public Sector Bank launched MUDRA Card for Micro and Small entrepreneurs to meet their credit requirement. The card was launched by Shri. S. Muhnot, CMD of BOM on the occasion of Bank’s 81st Foundation Day Celebrations.

Highlights of the Card:

  • The MUDRA Card issued as a Rupay Debit Card and it is a hassle free flexible Credit Product that meets in working capital needs of Micro and Small Entrepreneurs.
  • Cash can be withdrawn from any ATM or purchase from Merchandise using POS machine.
  • In addition to that, Bank of Maharashtra is offering MUDRA loans at competitive rates @ Base Rate and no processing charges are levied for the loans up to Rs 5.00 lakh.

Point to be noted that, Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has launched MUDRA (Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency) Scheme with aim to fulfill Micro/Small entrepreneurs engaged in all non-farm sector income generating activities such as manufacturing, trading and services whose credit needs are up to Rs.10 Lakh.

RBI allowed banks to use e-payments for imports

In order to facilitate e-commerce, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) started allowing banks to enter into pacts with Online Payment Gateway Service Providers (OPGSPs) for import purpose.

Key Facts:

  • The facility will only be available for import of goods and software (as permitted in the prevalent Foreign Trade Policy) of value not exceeding USD 2,000.
  • Foreign entities, willing to operate as OPGSP, will have to open a relationship office in India with the approval of RBI before operationalising the arrangement with any bank.
  • On the other side, domestic entities functioning as intermediaries for e-payment transactions and intending to undertake cross border transactions will have to maintain separate accounts for domestic and cross border transactions.
  • Point to be noted that RBI had earlier permitted banks to offer the facility to repatriate export related remittances by entering standing arrangements with OPGSPs in respect of export of goods and services. The limit has been fixed at USD 10,000.

Awards and Recognition

National Cadet Corps enters Limca Book of Records

  • National Cadet Corps (NCC) was presented the certificate by Limca Book of Records for the largest Yoga performance concurrently by NCC at multiple venues on International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2015.
  • The certificate was presented by the Editor Limca Book of Records, Mrs Vijaya Ghose to Lt Gen A Chakravarty.
  • NCC created this record with 9, 50,210 NCC cadets performing Yoga simultaneously at 1767 venues in India.

Appointments & Resigns

Keshari Nath Tripathi gets additional charge of Governor of Tripura.

  • The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has appointed West Bengal Governor Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi to hold the additional charge of Tripura Governor during the absence on leave of Shri Tathagata Roy.
  • According to the Article 158(3)(3A) of Indian constitution, where the same person is appointed as Governor of two or more States, the emoluments and allowances payable to the Governor shall be allocated among the States in such proportion as the President may by order determine.

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigns

  • Martin Winterkorn, 68-year old CEO of Volkswagen group has resigned following the scandal close around the emissions of its diesel cars.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the company had purposely programmed some 50,000 diesel-powered vehicles to emit lower levels of harmful gases in official tests by installing a device to give more positive results during the official tests.
  • Later, Volkswagen revealed it had found significant emissions discrepancies in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.
  • Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the brands namely Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborgin, Porsche, SEAT and Skoda.

Oxigen appoints Sachin as brand ambassador

  • Oxigen Services, digital payment solution firm has signed Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador. The company has not revealed the financial details of the endorsement deal.
  • Pramod Saxena, Founder & CMD at Oxigen Services said, “We are set to take our initiatives towards financial inclusion, digital India and swachh bharat abhiyan to the next level”
  • Oxigen is the first non-banking firm to provide instant money transfers in association with the NPCI. Oxigen will be the official sponsor the South African T20 cricket team. The South African T20 team will be visiting India for the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Series.
  • Similarly, Patym and Mobikwik are investing Rs.500 crore and Rs.100 crore respectively, for promoting sports such as cricket, football, hockey and kabbadi over the next few years.
  • Recently, Patym has acquired title sponsorship rights for BCCI matches in India till 2019 for Rs.203 crore.

Abdul Bari Siddiqui elected as President of BCA

Abdul Bari Siddiqui elected as President of BCA

  • Abdul Bari Siddiqui, a senior leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) elected as President of Bihar Cricket Association (BCA). At present Siddiqui is the chairman of the state’s Badminton Association.
  • BCA elections were held in August 2015 under the direction of the Patna High Court, which had appointed former judge Dharampal Sinha as electoral officer-cum-observer for the polls.
  • Siddiqui defeated Vinod Kumar, a former president of BCA, by 30 votes in the election. Five Vice Presidents, Working President of the governing body, Treasurer and General Secretary were also selected.
  • Five Vice Presidents – Sunil kumar Singh, Gopal Bohra, Anand Kumar, S Mumtazuddin and N K Jamuar
  • Working President of the cricketing body – Laliteshwar Prasad Verma (International umpire)
  • Treasurer – Ram Kumar
    General Secretary – Ravi Shankar Prasad

S K Sharma appointed as Chairman of BBMB

S K Sharma, Member Irrigation of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), has been given the charge of Chairman of the board.  He will replace A B Agrawal.

  • He joined Haryana Irrigation & Water Resources Department in 1980 as Sub Divisional Officer and has also monitored various canal regulation related O&M and new hydraulic structures, pump houses, canal and drainage network, NABARD projects etc.
  • He has also handled training works on the river Yamuna.

ABOUT BBMB

Headquartered in Chandigarh Bhakra Beas Management Board is engaged in regulation of the supply of Water & Power from Bhakra Nangal and Beas Projects to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pardesh, Delhi and Chandigarh.

  • Constituted on 1st November 1966 under section 79 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.
  • 1st October 1967 – Administration, maintenance and operation of Bhakra Nangal Project were handed over to Bhakra Management Board
  • 15th May 1976 – Bhakra Management Board was renamed as Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB)
  • BBMB has won 3rd prize in Rajbhasha Kirti Awards for excellent implementation of official language policy during the year 2014- 15

George Raju – India’s Ambassador to the Republic of lraq

Senior diplomat George Raju has been appointed India’s next Ambassador to Iraq. He will succeed Ajay Kumar.

  • Raju is presently serving as India’s Consul General in Reunion Island (capital city – Saint Denis) and Mayotte Island, an overseas region of France in the Indian Ocean.
  • He served in several Indian Missions including in Malawi, Cuba, Bangkok, Kazakhstan and London.

The Consulate General of India was established in March 1986 with Mr. K.H. Patel as the first Consul General to Reunion Island.

KEYS

  • Iraq capital – Baghdad
  • Iraq currency – Iraqi Dinar
  • Iraq President – Fuad Masum
  • Iraq PM – Haider al-Abadi

Sourav Ganguly takes over as CAB Chief

sourav-ganguly

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly was appointed the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), as a successor of Jagmohan Dalmiya who passed away last week.

The declaration was made by Mamata Banerjee in the presence of senior CAB officials and state government ministers at the secretariat building.

  • Ganguly was holding the post of joint secretary in the CAB
  • Now Dalmiya’s son Avishek inducted as one of the two joint secretaries replacing the current Ganguly.
  • Subir Ganguly will continue as the other joint secretary while Biswarup Dey will continue as treasurer.

Arvind Panagariya replaces Suresh Prabhu as G20 Sherpa

Government has decided to appoint NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya as the Sherpa for G-20 talks, replacing Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

  • The next G20 Leaders Summit is scheduled on November 1516 at Antalya in Turkey.

As per the practice, the Deputy Chairman of the former Planning Commission used to be the Sherpa for G-20 talks. Earlier, former Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia was the Sherpa for G-20 talks.

MEANING OF SHERPA

A civil servant or diplomat who undertakes preparatory work prior to a summit conference.

Acquisitions & Mergers

Healthcare Company Practo acquires Qikwell

Healthcare platform Practo has acquired Qikwell. This is the fourth acquisition for the Bengaluru-based firm in the last five months and makes it the world’s largest appointment booking platform.

  • Practo now aims to service 40 million appointments every year.

ABOUT PRACTO

It provides an app and web service for scheduling appointments with doctors, is now managing about 40 million appointments per year. Gravitas Advisory, an investment banking firm was the financial advisor on this transaction.

ABOUT QUICKWELL

It is a Bangalore based technology startup on a mission to improve access to healthcare in India by providing information on doctors, live information on doctor’s availability, online appointment booking, instant appointment confirmation, delay or schedule change notifications and fair & transparent queueing system.

Sports

Goa to host AFC U-16 Championship 2016

  • Asian Football Federation (AFC) gives nod to the Goa Government to host AFC U-16 Championship 2016.
  • A five-member team of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has started inspecting the stadium and hotels for the AFC U-16 Championship that will be held in the State next year and the AFC team was satisfied with the facilities.
  • The AFC team inspected the two main stadiums for the competition namely GMC Bambolim and PJN Fatorda. The team also inspected the 8 training grounds namely Tilak Maidan, Utorda, Cuncolim, Assolna, Benaulim, Navelim, Raia and Nagoa that will be used by 16 nations.

Obituary

Australia’s oldest cricketer Harold Stapleton passed away at age 100

Australia's oldest cricketer Harold Stapleton passed away at age 100

Australia’s oldest cricketer Harold Stapleton, who represented New South Wales (NSW), died aged 100.

  • Harold Stapleton played one first-class match for New South Wales in 1941 before his career was cut short by the World War II.
  • He celebrated his 100th birthday on January 7, during India-Australia Test in Sydney.
  • Stapleton’s statistics include 2242 runs at 32.49 with three centuries and a top-score of 146, in addition to 93 wickets at 17.56 with best figures of 6-17.

Former Australia wicketkeeper Len Maddocks is now Australia’s oldest living cricketer aged 89 years and 112 days and Neil Harvey isNSW’s oldest surviving cricketer aged 86 years and 350 days.

Important Days

World Maritime Day – 24 September 2015

  • World Maritime Day was celebrated at London, the head quarters of International Maritime Organization (IMO).
  • 2015 World Maritime Day was observed under the theme, “Maritime education and training”.
  • UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon delivered a message on the World Maritime Day that through the millennia, shipping has united the world by carrying the goods and commodities that underpin the global economy.
  • IMO Secretary-General, Koji Sekimizu marked the Day by highlighting the importance of shipping to the global community and the key role it has to play in sustainable development.