Monday, January 04, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 1st to 4th January, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update from 1st to 4th of January, 2016. These are Important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016, Syndicate Manipal and SIDBI Assistant Manager.


HIGHLIGHTS - ONE LINER Important Current Affairs - [BETA]
  1. Reserve Bank has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on an SBI associate bank, State Bank of Travancore, for violation of some of its instructions.
  2. Justice RM Lodha Committee submitted its report to Supreme Court. Recommended legalisation of betting in IPL.
  3. Wipro names Abidali Neemuchwala as CEO
  4. Several heavily armed terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed, an Islamist militant group, on 2 January 2016 attacked Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  5. Earthquake 6.7 hits North East India. Epicenter located 40 km from Imphal.
  6. Government of Telangana on 2 January 2016 launched e-Vahan Bima Scheme to issue motor insurance policy in digital form.
  7. World Braille Day observed on 4 January.
  8. Jinnah Often Came To Our House Authored by Kiran Doshi released by Vice President.
  9. India on 3 January 2016 won of the South Asian Football Federation Cup (SAFF) championships defeating Afghanistan.
  10. Ian Murdock, best known for founding one of the world's best known Linux distributions, passed away on 28 December 2015 in San Francisco.


Finance/RBI/Insurance –

RBI imposes Rs 1 cr fine on State Bank of Travancore


  • Reserve Bank has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on an SBI associate bank, State Bank of Travancore, for violation of some of its instructions.
  • "This action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank and its customers," RBI said in a statement today.
  • The monetary penalty has been imposed for violation of its instructions including reporting of data to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), it said.
  • RBI set up CRILC to collect, store, and disseminate data on all borrowers' credit exposures.
  • Banks are required to report all such information here, including classification of an account as SMA (Special Mention Accounts), on all borrowers having aggregate fund-based and non-fund-based exposure of Rs 5 crore and above.



LIC offers longer cover under ‘Jeevan Labh’


  • LIC is offering a ‘New Year gift’ to the public in the form of a limited-premium, non-linked and with-profit endowment assurance plan ‘Jeevan Labh’ from Monday.
  • The highlight of the plan is that premium is payable for a limited period while risk is covered for the whole policy term.
  • The plan is available from ages 8 to 59 years with a choice of policy term of 16, 21 and 25 years and premium-paying terms of 10,15 and 16 years respectively.
  • The maximum age at maturity is 75 years, said Shaji M Shankar, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC, Thiruvananthapuram Division.
  • The plan is suitable for those who want premium commitment for a short duration while life coverage and benefits are assured for a longer period.
  • Minimum basic sum assured is 2 lakh with maximum basic sum assured having no limit, Shankar added.
  • LIC’s accidental death and disability benefit rider is available as an optional rider by payment of additional premium. New term assurance rider is also available at the inception of the policy on payment of additional premium.



Union Government signed Financing Agreement with World Bank to fund education of minorities


  • The Union Government on 1 January 2016 signed a Financing Agreement of 50 million US dollars with the World Bank for Nai Manzil Scheme- Education and Skills Training for Minorities.
  • The Financing Agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affair (DEA) on behalf of the Union Government and by Michael Haney, World Bank’s Operations Adviser in India.

Highlights of the agreement
  • Under this agreement, the credit will be facilitated by the International Development Association (IDA), World Bank’s concessionary lending arm.
  • The credit facilitated by IDA will be in the form of loan which carries a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.
  • The loan funds will be used for interventions under this scheme to improve the employability and performance of minority youth in the labour market.

About Nai Manzil Scheme
  • The scheme was launched on 8 August 2015 in Patna.
  • This central scheme is designed to address educational and livelihood needs of minority communities lagging behind in terms of educational attainments.



Union Government to roll out LPG-like DBT scheme for kerosene from 1 April 2016

  • The Union Government on 1 January 2015 decided to rollout a LPG-like direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for kerosene. The scheme will be started from 1 April 2016.
  • In the initial phase, the scheme will be implemented in selected 26 districts of eight states: Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan.

Key Highlights of the scheme
  • Under the scheme, people will buy kerosene at market rate, but will get subsidy directly in their bank accounts.
  • The cash subsidy to be paid to users will be equivalent to the difference between current Public Distribution System (PDS) price and market rate of kerosene.
  • To avoid any inconvenience to the beneficiary through payment of un-subsidised price, subsidy will be credited to eligible beneficiaries in advance during the initial purchase.


Telangana launched e-Vahan Bima Scheme

  • Government of Telangana on 2 January 2016 launched e-Vahan Bima Scheme to issue motor insurance policy in digital form.
  • The scheme was launched by Information Technology Minister K T Rama Rao in the presence of T S Vijayan, Chairman of Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA).
  • With the launch of this scheme, Telangana became the first state in the country to legally accept motor vehicle insurance policy in digital form.

Key features of e-Vahan Bima Scheme
  • Under the scheme, an electronic motor insurance policy is issued in digital form with Quick Response (QR) code.
  • The QR code will be used to scan for verification of policy details.
  • An SMS-based verification was also installed. It can be stored and accessed on smart phones to make the process of verification easier for commuters as well as police.
  • Apart from the QR-based verification, an SMS-based verification was also installed.


Jharkhand first among 15 early birds for UDAY


  • Mineral-rich yet energy deficit Jharkhand on Tuesday would be the first state to sign Memorandum of Understanding with the centre for the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) reforms for state-owned power distribution companies.
  • Apart from this, 4 major states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Odisha gave in-principle approval to join UDAY.
  • The total states that have joined the UDAY reforms are now 15. "Close to 90% of the discoms losses is under reform plan with these four major states joining UDAY," said Piyush Goyal, minister of state for coal, power and renewable energy.
  • The other states that have joined UDAY are: Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
  • The government is hopeful that close to 21 states would join UDAY by March 2016.
  • The MoU is a tripartite agreement is between the state government, the power distribution companies and the union ministry of power.


India –

Earthquake epicentre located 40 km from Imphal


  • A rupture between the Indian plate and the Burmese plate caused the large tremor that shook the entire North-East and parts of eastern India in the early morning hours today. According to N Srinagesh, seismologist at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) here, the impact of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake was felt in neighbouring Nepal as well. The earthquake was located about 25 km deep and the epicentre lay around 40 km from Imphal city, the capital of Manipur.
  • According to observations made by the seismological centre in Hyderabad, the earthquake was followed by at least five aftershocks in the last few hours. The epicentre being located in hilly terrain and the area being sparsely populated, the damage caused should be low.
  • The region falls under the Seismic Zone V (the highest risk area). Earthquake activity is not unusual in the region and a few large earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 have occurred in the past three decades.
  • In the past two years, the region surrounding the country has experienced heightened seismic activity. The devastating 7.8 Nepal tremblor of April 25, 2015, the large 7.3 earthquake in the Hindukush region in October 2015, and earthquakes of magnitude 6 affecting Afghanistan, Pakistan and neighbourhood have been reported.


PM lays foundation for HAL's new helicopter plant in Tumkur


  • The construction work for the new helicopter manufacturing unit of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Tumkur district in Karnataka has begun with Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling a plaque for the foundation stone of the new plant on January 3, 2015.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Modi said that the manufacturing unit coming up in Tumkur would not be an ordinary one, but one which would make the whole world take notice.


LRSAM successfully test-fired from INS Kolkata

  • Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM), the missile co-developed by India and Israel, was successfully test-fired on 30 December 2015 on the Western Sea Board.
  • The missile was fired from INS Kolkata and it successfully intercepted an aerial target at extended ranges.
  • The test-fire was jointly carried out by the Indian Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries.
  • For LRSAM or BARAK 8 missile, as it is called in Israel, it was the first test in India. Earlier, on 11 November 2015, it was successfully test-fired from a range in Israel.


Union Government constituted Shyam Benegal Committee to revamp Censor Board

  • Union Government on 1 January 2016 constituted Shyam Benegal Committee for holistic interpretation of the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952. The committee was formed with an aim to revamp Censor Board of India.
  • The recommendations of this Committee will provide a holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework.
  • The committee will be headed by noted film-maker Shyam Benegal. The other Members of the Committee include Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Piyush Pandey, Bhawana Somaaya , Nina Lath Gupta and Joint Secretary (Films) as Member Convenor.


NABARD, NRSC signed MoU for monitoring Watershed Projects

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on 1 January 2016 signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for web-based monitoring of Indo-German Watershed Development projects.

Highlights of the MoU
  • The web-based monitoring of Indo-German Watershed Development projects will happen in three states- Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana.
  • Under the MoU, NRSC will create a separate page for NABARD on Bhuvan web-portal.
  • NRSC will develop customised software tool and mobile application for real time monitoring, online comparison and visualisation with respect to activities implemented in the projects.


Union Cabinet gave ex-post facto approval for MoU on BRICS Network University

  • The Union Cabinet on 30 December 2015 gave ex-post facto approval for signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among BRICS countries on BRICS Network University.
  • The MoU will help in developing pro-active cooperation among the BRICS nations for the purpose of enhancement of scientific research, higher education and information exchange.
  • It will also help in analysis and implementation of best practices, joint research programmes, and mobility of students, researchers and educators.
  • Earlier, in November 2015, the negotiations were held on the MoU during the 3rd BRICS Education Ministers meeting and Senior Officials meeting held in Mosco, Russia.


Terrorist attacked IAF Airbase at Pathankot


  • Several heavily armed terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed, an Islamist militant group, on 2 January 2016 attacked Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • Following this a joint combing operation by the armed forces, police and security personnel was launched and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the probe.
  • The operation that ran until 3 January 2015 after a brief lull for 24 hours saw 6 terrorists and 7 jawans being killed in gun battle at Air Force base in Punjab.


India successfully test-fired indigenously developed MBRL Pinaka II at Pokhran


  • Amament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in the last week of December 2015 successfully test-fired Pinaka II multi barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) System.
  • The three-day long user assisted trials were conducted at Pokhran in Rajasthan.

Key features of Pinaka II MBRL System
  • Pinaka is an unguided rocket system and capable of neutralising large areas with rapid salvos.
  • Range of Pinaka II is 20 km more than the Pinaka I version, which has a 40 km range and has already been inducted into the forces.
  • The system acts as a force-multiplier while supplementing the artillery guns of the armed forces.


Appointments –

Wipro names Abidali Neemuchwala as CEO


  • Wipro Limited, India's third largest IT services company, on Monday said Abidali Z Neemuchwala who is currently its Chief Operating Officer (COO) would become the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), succeeding T K Kurien who would become the Executive Vice Chairman.
  • Kurien will continue to be a member of the Board until March 31, 2017
  • As part of his new responsibility, Neemuchwala, who joined the Bengaluru-based company in March last year, would also join the board as an executive director. Both the appointments would be effective February 1, 2016, the company said in a release.


Javed Ahmed appointed as Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh

  • Javed Ahmed was on 1 January 2016 appointed as Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh by the state government. He succeeds Jagmohan Yadav, who retired from the post on 31 December 2015.
  • Ahmed will serve the post till 2020, the year of his retirement.


Atul Sobti took charge as CMD of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited

  • Atul Sobti on 1 January 2016 took charge as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of state-owned power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for a period of five years.
  • His appointment as CMD of BHEL was approved by the Union Government in September 2015.



Sports –

Justice RM Lodha Committee submitted its report to Supreme Court


  • Justice RM Lodha Committee on IPL spot fixing on 4 January 2015 submitted its report to the Supreme Court suggesting reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
  • The panel has recommended separate governing bodies for IPL and BCCI, with limited autonomy for the IPL Governing Council. It has also recommended legalising betting.

Key Recommendations Proposed
  • It proposed that no Minister or government servant should become a BCCI office-bearer.
  • It suggested that the BCCI office-bearer's term should not exceed more than two consecutive terms.
  • It suggests that any BCCI office-bearer cannot hold two posts at the same time.
  • It proposed the constitution and establishment of a players' association.



India won the 2015 SAFF championships


  • India on 3 January 2016 won of the South Asian Football Federation Cup (SAFF) championships. In the title clash played at Trivandrum International Stadium of Kerala, India defeated defending champions Afghanistan 2-1.
  • Half time saw both the teams’ goal-less. At the end of a breathless normal second half, both India and Afghanistan were 1-1.
  • For India, the first goal was scored by Jeje Lalpehlua. In the ongoing extra time, Indian captain Sunil Chhetri scored a goal to help India lead 2-1.



Union Government announced setting up of CCL Sports University in Jharkhand

  • Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on 31 December 2015 announced setting up of CCL Sports University in Jharkhand.
  • The university will have a capacity of 1400 students and 15 sports academies.
  • As 700 out of the total 1400 students will be selected from Jharkhand, the university will help the youth from the state to sharpen their skills under coaches of international standard.
  • The decision was taken to give effect to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Central Coalfield Limited (CCL) and the Jharkhand Government in June 2015 in this regard.


Awards & Honors –

DAVA project of Department of Commerce won 2015 eASIA Award


  • DAVA or Drug Authentication and Verification Application Project on 31 December 2015 won the 2015 eASIA Award under Trade Facilitation categoy. The award was announced by Asia Pacific Council for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (AFACT) in Tehran, Iran.
  • DAVA is an integrated platform for implementation of the Track and Trace system both for exports and domestic markets of Drugs and Pharmaceuticals.


Vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyam conferred with 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award
 
  • Veteran South Indian classical vocalists Sanjay Subrahmanyam was on  1 January 2016 conferred with the 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award. The prestigious award was conferred upon him by mathematician Manjul Bhargava at 89th annual conference of the Madras Music Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • With this, Subrahmanyam became seventh artist to be conferred with this award before completing 50 years of age including Ariyakudi Iyengar, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, GN Balasubramaniam, ML Vasanthakumari and M Balamuralikrishna.


World –

Arunima Sinha scaled Mount Aconcagua in Argentina


  • Arunima Sinha, the amputee mountaineer who set a record by climbing the Mount Everest on 25 December 2015, conquered Mount Aconcagua in Argentina.
  • Arunima started her mission on the morning of 12 December 2015 and hoisted the Indian tricolour on 25 December 2015.
  • With this, Arunima has successfully completed the 5th summit of the Mission 7 Summits and also became the first female amputee to climb 5 Mountains of the World. The four other peaks conquered by her include Everest in Asia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, and Kosizko, Australia, as the world's four highest peaks.
  • PM Narendra Modi launched Born Again on the Mountain by Arunima Sinha


Days –

World Braille Day observed on 4 January


  • World Braille Day was observed across the world on 4 January 2016 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Louis Braille.
  • To mark this occasion, NGOs, as well as other organizations came together to raise awareness about the apathy towards visually impaired people and to help them be equal with the rest of the people.
  • The day also helps people to feel the importance to produce works in the Braille language to allow blinds to read the works.



Books & Authors –

Jinnah Often Came To Our House Authored by Kiran Doshi released by Vice President


  • Vice President Hamid Ansari today released a book on Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, stating that the leader has "either been canonized or demonised" in the various books written on him.
  • The book titled Jinnah Often Came To Our House is published by Westland and authored by Kiran Doshi, an Indian Foreign Service Officer and former ambassador to Austria.
  • Doshi is also the author of Birds of Passage, set in the world of India-Pakistan-USA diplomacy, and Diplomatic Tales, short stories written in comic verse.


Obituaries –

Ian Murdock, founder of Debian Linux, passed away


  • Ian Murdock, best known for founding one of the world's best known Linux distributions, passed away on 28 December 2015 in San Francisco. He was 42.
  • The reason behind his death is unknown; however, his last tweets declared an intention to commit suicide.


Veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan passed away

  • Veteran Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan passed away on 2 January 2016 after a long illness. He was 92.
  • He was the former general secretary of the CPI, which is one of the oldest political parties in India.


English cricketer Matthew Hobden passed away

  • Sussex fast bowler Matthew Hobden, regarded as one of the most talented up-and-coming players in the country, died on 3 January 2016. He was 22.
  • Hobden’s death was announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). However, it did not announce the cause of death.


Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond died


  • Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, winner of an Oscar for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, passed away on 1 January 2016 in California, United States. He was 85.
  • Zsigmond was also Oscar nominated for Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, Mark Rydell’s The River and Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia.










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