Current Affairs Update – 21st-22nd October, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 21st and 22nd October, 2015. These are very Important for the IBPS Clerk Exam.

Finance/Banking –

Reliance Capital signed agreement to acquire Goldman Sachs mutual funds business in India

  • Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM), a part of Anil Ambani led Reliance Capital, on 21 October 2015 signed definitive agreements (DA) to acquire Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s (GSAM) onshore business in India.
  • RCAM will pay a total sum of 243 crore rupees (37.5 million US dollar) in cash to acquire all onshore mutual fund schemes, including exchange traded funds, of GSAM India.
  • With this acquisition, RCAM will become the exclusive fund manager for the government’s CPSE ETFs.
  • As part of the transaction, RCAM will extend offers of employment to substantially all of GSAM India’s employees dedicated to supporting the ETF business.

Union Cabinet approved amendments to Payment of Bonus Act 1965 hiking bonus for Industrial workers

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 21 October 2015 approved amendment in the Payment of Bonus Act 1965 for the Industrial workers.
  • The bonus ceiling under the legislation was increased from 3500 rupees to 7000 rupees per month. 
  • The wage ceiling for getting bonus has also been increased from existing 10000 rupees per month to 21000 rupees per month.
  • The decision will make workers eligible for the reward. The amendment bill concerning this will be tabled in the winter session of Parliament likely to start in November 2015.

Western Digital buying SanDisk in deal worth about $19 billion

  • Western Digital, a maker of hard drives for businesses and personal computers, is buying SanDisk in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $19 billion as it looks to extend its reach in the storage industry.
  • The buyout values SanDisk’s stock at about $86.50 per share, a 15 per cent premium to Tuesday’s closing price.
  • Western Digital and flash-memory chip maker SanDisk said that they have complementary product lines, including hard disk drives, solid-state drives, cloud data centre storage solutions and flash storage solutions.
  • If a previously announced investment in Western Digital from Unisplendour closes prior to the acquisition, Western Digital will pay $85.10 per share in cash and 0.0176 shares of its stock for each SanDisk share. If not, the price will be $67.50 in cash and 0.2387 shares for each share of Milpitas, California-based SanDisk Corp.
  • In September it was announced that Unisplendour, a division of China’s Tsinghua Holdings, was becoming a minority shareholder in Western Digital with a $3.78 billion investment.

FinMin exempts banking correspondents under PMJDY from service tax

  • The Government has exempted services provided by a business facilitator or a business correspondent to a banking company with respect to basic savings bank deposit accounts covered by Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) from payment of service tax.
  • Further, services provided by any person as an intermediary to a business facilitator or a business correspondent for these services have also been exempted from service tax.
  • PMJDY, a national mission on financial inclusion, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day 2014 speech and was formally launched by him on August 28 the same year with the main objective of covering all households with at least one bank account per household across the country.
  • So far, over 18.7 crore accounts have been opened under the scheme.
  • As per RBI guidelines, the accounts that can be opened under PMJDY are basic savings bank deposit accounts (BSBDA) which can be of zero balance.
  • Deposit in accounts opened under the government’s flagship financial inclusion programme has exceeded Rs. 25,000 crore.

India –

Erstwhile Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Areas divided into two Separate Headquarters

  • The Ministry of Defence on 21 October 2015 divided the erstwhile Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Areas into two separate headquarters. It was divided into two under Flag Officer Maharashtra Area and Flag Officer Gujarat Naval Area.
  • This was done with an objective to enhance operational and administrative structure of the organisation.
  • The charge of Flag Officer Maharashtra Area was assumed by Rear Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade from Rear Admiral Murlidhar Sadashiv Pawar who now will officiate as Flag Officer Gujarat Naval Area.

Union Cabinet approved treaty between India and Maldives on Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters

  • The Union Cabinet on 21 October 2015 gave its approval for signing of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in Criminal Matters between India and the Maldives. 
  • The treaty aims to boost the efficiency of both the countries in investigation and prosecution of crime, through cooperation and mutual legal assistance in terrorism, transnational crime and criminal matters.
  • The proposed treaty will offer a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation with Maldives in investigation and prosecution of crime as well as in tracing, restraint and confiscation of proceeds, and instruments of crime as well as funds meant to finance terrorist acts.

Union Cabinet approved agreement between India and Egypt on Maritime Transport

  • The Union Cabinet on 21 October 2015 gave its nod to sign an agreement between India and Egypt on Maritime Transport.
  • The agreement will be signed on a mutually convenient date and venue.
  • It will help both the nations to encourage and facilitate the development of their maritime relationship.
  • It will help both the nations to cooperate in the task of enhancing and stimulating steady growth of maritime traffic.

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting reconstituted Central Press Accreditation Committee

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 19 October 2015 reconstituted the Central Press Accreditation Committee (CPAC) that issues Press Information Bureau (PIB) cards to journalists.
  • Post reconstitution, PIB director general Frank Noronha will be the ex-officio chairman of the committee.

Renowned journalists included in the the committee are:
  1. Pramod Kumar of National Union of Journalists (India), International Federation of Journalists
  2. Surendra Verma of Association of Accredited News Cameraman
  3. Shyam Babu of Indian Federation of Working Journalists
  4. Rabi Rath from Association of Small and Medium Newspapers of India
  5. Meenakshi Pandit from All India Journalists Welfare Association

The nominated members for the committee are:
  1. Navika Kumar from Times Now
  2. Diwakar Asthana from The Times of India
  3. Coomi Kapoor from Indian Express
  4. Jayanto Ghoshal from ABP
  5. Amitabh Sinha from IBN-7 TV
  6. Akhilesh Sharma from NDTV
  7. Kalyan Barua from Assam Tribune
  8. Iftikhar Geelani from DNA
  9. Nistula Hebbar from The Hindu
  10. Shekhar Iyer from Deccan Herald

ISRO to launch six Singapore-made satellites in Dec

  • India will launch six Singapore-made satellites, including a dedicated 400 kg spacecraft for carrying out surveillance missions for maritime and border security, in mid-December onboard PSLV-C29.
  • The six satellites will be launched on PSLV-C29 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh on December 16, 2015.
  • Among them is a 400 kg satellite that can conduct surveillance missions for maritime and border security, The Strait Times reported.
  • The satellites will then hover about 550 km above ground for up to five years.
  • The December 16 launch comes four years after Singapore put its first home-grown micro-satellite in space. Since the launch of the fridge-size X-Sat in 2011, smaller satellites have subsequently been launched by Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Appointments –

Justice Vaiphei appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court

  • The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 19 October 2015 appointed Justice Tinlianthang Vaiphei, senior-most Judge of Gauhati High Court, as the acting Chief Justice for the Gauhati High Court. The President appointed Vaiphei by exercising the powers conferred by article 223 of the Constitution of India.
  • Justice Vaiphei will perform the duties with effect from 21 October 2015 consequent upon the retirement of Justice Karanam Sreedhar Rao, Acting Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court.
  • On 15 September 2000, Vaiphei was appointed as an additional Advocate General, Mizoram, and was also designated as a Senior Advocate on 22 February 2001. He was then elevated to the Bench as Additional Judge, Gauhati High Court on 17 July 2003, and was made Permanent Judge on 28 February 2005.

AB de Villiers named brand ambassador of MRF

  • Tyre manufacturing giant MRF Limited on 20 October 2015 named South African batsman AB de Villiers as its brand ambassador. As per company norms, the association is for a period of three years.
  • AB de Villiers, the ODI captain of South Africa team, in his new role will endorse the company’s products and services through advertising campaigns and other such promotional programmes during the term of the agreement.

Anil Kumble named Brand Ambassador of Champions Tennis League team Raipur Rangers

  • Former Indian captain and leg spinner Anil Kumble on 20 October 2015 was named as the brand ambassador of the Raipur Rangers – one of the franchises of Champions Tennis League (CTL).
  • Raipur Rangers is co-owned by Abhishek Mishra and Chinmay Tiwari and will comprise players like Thomas Muster, Alize Cornet and Ramanathan Ramkumar.
  • The Balbir Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium in Raipur will be the team's home stadium. The team will also be accompanied by two Indian juniors.
  • The Champions Tennis League was conceptualised by Vijay Amritraj in 2014.

Snapdeal appointed Anup Vikal as CFO

  • E-commerce firm Snapdeal on 20 October 2015 appointed Anup Vikal as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
  • Vikal replaced Aakash Moondhra, who had quit the company in October 2015.
  • Before joining Snapdeal, Vikal was working as the CFO of Aircel since January 2013. Before Aircel, he worked as the group-CFO & head of strategy and IT with budget carrier IndiGo's parent InterGlobe Enterprises, wherein he handled multiple responsibilities like incubating and developing new business, mergers and acquisitions and portfolio management. He also served as a part of Bharti Airtel's finance team for around seven years before joining Colt, where he worked for a few years.

Flipkart appoints Samardeep Subandh as the new Chief Marketing Officer

  • India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart announced the appointment of Samardeep Subandh as its Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) on Wednesday.
  • In his role as CMO, Samar will be the primary custodian of the Flipkart brand. His focus will be on gaining deeper customer insights, raising the level of customer centricity and driving high level of creativity and quality in all communication, the company said in a release.
  • He will also be leading the social media communication charter for the company, it added.
  • He will report to Mukesh Bansal, Head of the e-commerce platform, Flipkart.

Alok Rawat first male member of NCW

  • Former Water Resources Secretary Alok Rawat has been appointed as the first male member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), filling the fourth seat in the five-member body.
  • Not deterred to voice his opinions in a female-dominated body, Mr. Rawat said, “I feel that the presence of a male would provide a better understanding to the women’s issues.”

Awards & Honors –

Noted criminologist K Chockalingam won Paul H Appleby Award

  • Noted criminologist K Chockalingam was in fourth week of October 2015 conferred with the prestigious Paul H Appleby Award given by the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA). He was awarded for his distinguished services to public administration and IIPA, where he was a member.
  • Chockalingam has served as a professor and a researcher in criminology in University of Madras and is Vice President of World Society of Victimology. He also worked as Chair Professor of criminal law at the National Law University (NLU) in Delhi from 2012-14.

Reports –

UN released The World's Women 2015: Trends and Statistics report

  • The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations on 20 October 2015 released a report entitled The World's Women 2015: Trends and Statistics.
  • The report provides an update of the statistics and indicators on the situation of women and men around the world covering gender-specific information on eight key areas-population and families, health, education, work, power and decision-making, violence against women, environment and poverty.
  • There are about 62 million more men than women worldwide. In younger age groups, men outnumber women; in older age groups, women outnumber men.

Days –

Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day observed on 21 October

  • Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) Prevention Day was observed on 21 October 2015 across the world to create awareness of the need to prevent iodine deficiency.
  • Almost one-third of world’s population is exposed to the risk of iodine deficiency disorders. Iodine deficiency is also the world’s single greatest cause of preventable mental retardation.
  • A diet low in iodine is the main cause of iodine deficiency. It usually occurs among populations living in areas where the soil has been depleted of iodine because of flooding, heavy rainfall or glaciations.

World –

Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference 2015 held in Mexico City

  • The Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference 2015 was held between 18 October and 21 October 2015 in the Mexico City.
  • It was a technical meeting focused on accelerating progress towards effective and sustainable coverage of maternal and newborn interventions at scale.
  • It provided a forum to identify, understand and respond to the most urgent health needs of mothers and newborns, focusing on quality care, integration and equity.
  • It was attended by technical implementers, policymakers, researchers and practitioners from over 50 countries including India.

Books & Authors –

Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India by Sam Pitroda

  • The book Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India was launched on 19 October 2015. It is the auto biography of Sam Pitroda written with the help of David Chanoff, an American author.
  • The book describes the journey of Satanarayan Gangaram Pitroda, considered as the ‘father of Indian telecom revolution.
  • It starts with 1964 when he embarked on a long journey to the USA from Titilagarh in Odisha.

Obituaries –

Renowned marine biologist Syed Zahoor Qasim died

  • Renowned marine biologist Syed Zahoor Qasim died on 20 October 2015 in New Delhi. He was 88.
  • He is considered as the founder of Polar Biology in India and was part of the first Indian expedition to Antarctica in 1981-82.
  • After the first expedition, he successfully organized and guided the next the seven expeditions till 1988 and made pioneering contributions in the field of fisheries biology, mari-culture, estuarine ecology and environmental pollution.

Veteran Labour MP Michael Meacher Dies in UK

  • A veteran British left-wing Labour party MP and a former minister in Tony Blair's first government has died, the party said today.
  • 75-year old Michael Meacher was former environment minister and was also transport secretary. He died yesterday after a short illness.
  • He has represented Oldham constituency since 1970.


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