Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs from 23rd to 25th January, 2016. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016.
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Union Government launched Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG cylinders
- Union Government on 25 January 2016 launched Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG cylinders. The booking can be done through the unified web portal www.mylpg.in which is available in 13 languages.
- The facility was launched by Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharmendra Pradhan. He said that the government is targeting to add 10 crore new LPG connections by December 2018 to the existing 16.5 crore connections.
ONGC received environmental nod for 53000 crore rupees KG basin project
- Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on 22 January 2016 received environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for drilling 45 developed wells in the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin in Andhra Pradesh. The total cost of the project is estimated at 53000 crore rupees.
- ONGC is planning to drill 45 development wells and set up a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility, among others. The project will be implemented in the northern discovery area of NELP-I offshore block KG-DW N-98/2.
- It is expected that the proposed development drilling and subsequent development of fields will lead to production of 51.33 billion cubic meters of gas over a period of 16 years and 26.71 million cubic meters of oil in 12 years.
Maharashtra govt approves off-grid energy policy
- Maharashtra Cabinet on Monday approved integrated solar off-grid energy policy to encourage use of new and renewable energy. The policy aims to enhance use of green energy to preserve environment and curb the burgeoning issue of waste disposal.
- The policy envisages use of more solar products, bio gas and bio fertiliser plants in housing societies, government and private offices and other establishments. Decentralised micro grid projects will be initially set up in two non electrified villages on pilot basis in two years on 100% government subsidy.
- The government will give 20% subsidy for the generation of 50 Mw (10 MW each year) on private properties.
- Further, additional Rs 500 crore will be spent on promoting solar cookers in government and private organisations while Rs 16 crore are earmarked for the generation of 4,000 kilowatt through bio gas.
Maharashtra’s first Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant commissioned
- Maharashtra’s first Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant was commissioned on 24 January 2016 in Hingna village of Mouda Taluka in Nagpur district.
- The Solar Pump Unit has been installed on experimental basis by Rite Water Solutions under the supervision of the Zilla Parishad authorities.
- The plant will facilitate villagers to get pure water supply for a very low cost, which can easily be borne by the Gram Panchayat.
Key facts related to Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant
- The system runs completely on solar power for which 1800 Watt panels have been installed.
- It delivers 10000 Litres of purified water every day and the nitrate content from water is completely removed so as to prevent the ill effects on the health of villagers.
Union Government notified stricter standards for Sugar Industry to minimise water pollution
- Union Ministry Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 14 January 2016 notified stricter environment standards for sugar industries operating in various states in the country. The revised standards are to be implemented with immediate effect as they were aimed to minimise water pollution.
- The revised standards will lead to improved operational performance of sugar industries through implementation of wastewater discharge standards and waste water conservation and pollution control management protocol.
- Specific wastewater discharge standards were made stricter by limiting them to 200 litre per tonne of cane crushed against the earlier limit of 400 litre per tonne cane crushed which would result less consumption of raw water at operational level.
- The final treated effluent discharge has been restricted to 100 litre per tonne of cane crushed and waste water from spray pond overflow, or cooling tower blow down to be restricted to 100 litre per tonne of cane crushed.
India-France inked 16 pacts including chopper venture
- India and France on 24 January 2016 inked 16 agreements at the India-France Business Summit in Chandigarh. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) covered a wide range of sectors like urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.
- The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, who began his three-day visit to India.
- Hollande is the Chief Guest at the 67th India’s Republic Day (26 January 2016) celebrations. He is the fifth French leader to be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, maximum number from any country so far.
The 16 agreements include
- MoU between AFD and Maharashtra on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development for development of smart city in Nagpur.
- MoU between AFD and the Union Territory of Chandigarh on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development for development of smart city in Chandigarh.
- MoU between AFD and the Union Territory of Puducherry on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable development for development of smart city in Puducherry.
- Wind Power Development Agreement between EDF JV with SITAC RE India to jointly explore opportunities for development of wind based power project in India.
- MOU between EPI ltd – Dassault Systèmes in urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Egis - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI- Schneider Electric - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Thales - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-EDF - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Alstom - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-SA CAN - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Lumiplan ITS India Pvt Ltd - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-POMA - urban sector development.
- Agreement between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Green Ventures – Solar photo voltaic projects in the Indian rural areas (Varanasi, U.P.).
- Agreement between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Crompton Greaves - To explore opportunities in Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) System with storage function for Indian Airports.
- Mahindra-Airbus cooperation to create the new private strategic partner for helicopters within the Make in India initiative.
19th National e-Governance Conference concluded at Nagpur
- The two-day long 19th National e-governance Conference with the title Transforming India was concluded on 22 January 2016 in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
- It is conference on e-Governance which provides a platform to policy makers, practitioners, industry leaders and academia, to deliberate, interact and recommend actionable strategies.
- The 19th National conference was focused on strategies like GATI-Governance with Accountability Transparency & Innovation for citizen -centric services, financial inclusion-JAM & DBT, Urban Governance in smart cities plenary, Cyber security framework for citizen centric, decade of eGovernance-Way ahead, and Technology enabled education.
India’s largest flag with tallest flagpole hoisted at Ranchi
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 23 January 2016 hoisted the largest flag of the country atop the tallest pole at Pahari Mandir in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
- The flag is 66 feet in height, 99 feet in width and hoisted on a 293 feet-tall pole.
- The flag is crafted from parachute cloth and has enough clippings to ensure strong winds do not blow it away. The mast sits on around nine feet diameter pedestal fitted with rock anchors.
- The project took more than 120 workers and 40 days to put up the flag post, which cost an estimated 1.25 crore rupees, of which 44 lakh rupees was spent on the flag alone.
- The site was earlier known as Phansi Tongri.
AP Government launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme for tribal people
- The Andhra Pradesh Government on 22 January 2016 launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme to support the tribal women in their quest for livelihood.
- The scheme was launched by Andhra Pradesh Minister for Social Welfare Ravela Kishore Babu.
Highlights of the scheme
- The scheme seeks to reduce rampant infant mortality and child marriages among tribal people.
- It is designed to provide a onetime financial assistance of 50000 rupees to each tribal woman who gets married.
- The amount will be directly disbursed to the bank accounts of the beneficiary through District Tribal Welfare Office.
India Submitted first Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC
- India on 22 January 2016 submitted its first Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- The report was submitted towards fulfilment of the reporting obligation under the Convention. As per the provisions of the Convention, countries need to periodically provide information in the form of their National Communication.
Highlights of the Biennial Update Report (BUR)
- BUR contains national GHG inventory of India for the year 2010, prepared in accordance with the guidelines of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
- The inventory covers six greenhouse gases- Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6).
Inaugural Best Countries report released at World Economic Forum
- US News and World Report, WPP’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on 20 January 2016 released the inaugural Best Countries report, a joint rankings and analysis project at the World Economic Forum, Davos.
- The rankings evaluate 60 nations across 24 rankings lists on a wide range of criteria, from sustainability to economic influence.
- Germany is viewed as the best country in the world followed by Canada and the United Kingdom. India is ranked as the 22nd best country in the World.
- Sweden is recognized as the most modern country, the Best Country to Raise Kids and the No. 1 nation for Green Living.
- Denmark is named the Best Country for Women.
- The United States is named the most powerful country
- India has the No. 1 upcoming economy.
- Germany is the best country for entrepreneurship,
- Luxembourg is the most business friendly.
- Italy is the country with the richest tradition
- Brazil is the No. 1 nation to visit.
- Canada tops the list of countries with the best quality of life.
2016 Best Countries Rankings
- United Kingdom
UNESCAP released World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016 report
- The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on 19 January 2016 released World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2015 report. The report highlights that the world economy stumbled in 2015 and only a modest improvement is projected for 2016/17.
Highlights of the Report
- Global growth is estimated at a mere 2.4 percent in 2015, marking a downward revision by 0.4 percentage points from the UN forecasts presented in 2015.
- The world economy is projected to grow by 2.9 percent in 2016 and 3.2 per cent in 2017, supported by generally less restrictive fiscal and still accommodative monetary policy stances worldwide.
India in WESP 2016
- India will be the fastest growing big economy in the world in 2016. The report has projected India’s growth rate at 7.3 percent in the year 2016 and 7.5 percent in 2017, which is slightly up from an earlier estimated 7.2 percent rate in 2015.
Awards & Honors –
Padma Vibhushan for Rajinikanth, Dhirubhai Ambani, Jagmohan
- Superstar Rajinikanth, founder of the Reliance empire late Dhirubhai Ambani, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and media baron Ramoji Rao have been chosen for Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian award, this year.
- Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Jagmohan, former DRDO chief V K Aatre, cancer specialist and chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute Dr V Shanta and eminent Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi and classical vocalist Girija Devi and Indian—American economist Avinash Dixit have also been named for Padma Vibhushan on the occasion of this year’s Republic Day celebrations.
- Noted actor Anupam Kher, singer Udit Narayan, former CAG Vinod Rai, chairperson of media group Bennett, Coleman & Co. Indu Jain, sports star Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal, spiritual leaders late Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Tejomayananda and former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill are among the 19 eminent people chosen for Padma Bhushan.
- Industrialist Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, Maruti Suzuki chairman R C Bhargava and eminent architect Hafeez Contractor also figure in the list of Padma Bhushan awardees.
- Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, who was the prosecution counsel in the Mumbai terror attack case, actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra get Padma Shri.
J.K. Rowling to receive PEN award for literary service
- The “Harry Potter” author is to receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, PEN America told The Associated Press on Monday.
- Rowling will be presented her award May 16 at the literary and human rights group’s annual spring gala in New York. Previous winners include Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie and Tim Stoppard.
- In its announcement Monday, PEN cited Rowling’s advocacy for free expression; her founding of the charitable trust Volant, which supports multiple sclerosis research and other causes; and her nonprofit organization Lumos, which works to reconnect institutionalized children with their families.
National e-Governance Awards 2015-16 conferred
- Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on 22 January 2016 presented the National Awards for e-Governance for the year 2015-16 in Nagpur. These awards are given for the outstanding achievement in the field of e-governance.
- The awards were conferred during the valedictory function of 19th National e-governance conference held in Nagpur on 21-22 January 2016.
- Eighteen winners were awarded in 12 categories.
Innovative Use of Technology in e-Governance
- EPFO, (Employment Provident Fund Organization), Delhi under Ministry of Labour and Employment for its successful implementation of universal account number programme
Innovative use of GIS Technology in e-Governance
- Maharashtra Remote Sensing Applications Centre, Nagpur
Jeevan Raksha Padak Awards 2015 announced
- President Pranab Mukherjee on 25 January 2016 approved the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards 2015 on 50 persons.
- These series of gallantry awards were instituted in the year 1961. These are given to a person for meritorious act of humane nature in saving the life of a person in cases like drowning in water, accidents, fire incidents, electrocution, natural calamities, rescue operation in mines etc.
The award is given in three categories, which are:
- i) Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak is awarded for conspicuous courage in saving life under circumstances of very great danger to the life of the rescuer.
- ii) Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak is awarded for courage and promptitude in saving life under circumstances of great danger to the life of the rescuer.
- iii) Jeevan Raksha Padak is awarded for courage and promptitude in saving life under circumstances of grave bodily injury to the rescuer.
Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak
- Ullas Unnikrishnan (Posthumous), Kerala;
- Munna alias Ramdars Sisodiya (Posthumous), Madhya Pradesh
- Ankit Kumar Mishra (Posthumous), Uttar Pradesh
National Bravery Awards 2015 presented to 25 Children
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 January 2016 presented the National Bravery Awards to 25 children.
- This award scheme was initiated by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) to give due recognition to the children who distinguish themselves by performing outstanding deeds of bravery and meritorious service and to inspire other children to emulate their examples.
- It was in 1957 that two children, a boy and a girl were first rewarded for their presence of mind and courage by then Prime Minister Nehru. Since then ICCW confers these awards on children every year.
- In 1987-88 ICCW instituted the Bharat Award for an exceptionally outstanding, meritorious and gallant deed. The other special awards include the Geeta Chopra and Sanjay Chopra awards (instituted by ICCW in 1978) and the BapuGaidhani Awards (instituted in 1988-89).
PV Sindhu won Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold Badminton title
- India's Ace Shuttler, PV Sindhu on 24 January 2016 won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold Badminton title. In the final clash at Penang, she defeated Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour 21-15, 21-9.
- This was Sindhu’s second Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title, having won it in 2013 as well.
- With this, Sindhu has won five career Grand prix gold and first title of the year 2016. She also completed a hat-trick at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold in November 2015.
- Only two women's singles players (Saina Nehwal and Sung Ji-hyun) have more GP Gold title's than Sindhu.
Izumo Takuto and Zhu Chengzhu won ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals
- Japan's Izumo Takuto and Hong Kong's Zhu Chengzhu on 24 January 2016 became champions in the boys' and girls' categories, respectively, in the 11Even Sports 2015 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals at the Abhay Prashal Stadium, Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
- The three-day event came to its conclusion when Takuto hardly dropped a sweat beating Carlos Vedriel from Spain 4-0 in a one-sided final while Zhu overcame stiff resistance to beat Park Seri of Korea 4-2.
- Each winner took home 3800 US dollars while the runners-up received 2100 US dollars each.
India won Blind T20 Asia Cup
- India on 24 January 2016 won the first T20 Asia cup cricket for Blind. In the final clash played at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium of Kochi, India defeated Pakistan by 44 runs.
- Batting first, India scored 208 runs in 20 over whereas Pakistan was restricted to 164 runs in 18.2 over.
- So far, Pakistan was unbeaten in this tournament and had defeated India by 19 runs in the group stages.
9th National Girl Child Day observed on 24 January
- Nation on 24 January 2016 observed the 9th National Girl Child Day. It is celebrated to spread awareness about the inequalities faced by the girl child in the country. It is observed on 24 January every year.
- It was initiated by the government in 2008. Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has been taking different initiatives to address and reverse the trend of declining sex ratio in the country.
The Ministry has come up with some steps to contribute to the upliftment of the girl Child.
Celebrate the birth of a girl Child.
Take the Pride in daughters and oppose the mindset related to Paraya Dhan.
Find ways to promote equality between boys and girls.
6th National Voters’ Day observed with theme Inclusive and Qualitative Participation
- 6th National Voters’ Day (NVD) was observed across the country on 25 January 2016 by the Election Commission of India. The theme for the 6th National Voters’ Day is ‘Inclusive and Qualitative Participation’.
- The Commission’s objective through NVD is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones.
- The National function of the NVD was held in New Delhi and presided over by President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
- On the occasion, the Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi also released a book titled, ‘Belief in the Ballot’ and presented it’s the first copy to the President.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won Presidential Election of Portugal
- Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on 24 January 2016 won the Presidential election of Portugal. Sousa, a centre-right Social Democrats candidate and a former journalist, won the election by securing 52 percent of votes.
- The outcome is likely to help maintain political balance after the inconclusive parliamentary ballot in October 2015.
- His closest rival, Socialist Antonio Sampaio da Novoa, conceded defeat after picking up around 23 percent of the vote. Left Bloc candidate Marisa Matias had 10 percent.
Japan lifted nuclear sanctions on Iran
- Japan on 22 January 2016 lifted sanctions on Iran, falling in line with major world powers. The announcement was made by Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
- The sanctions were lifted after the United Nations atomic energy agency confirmed on 16 January 2016 that Tehran has fully taken steps to curb its disputed nuclear programme.
- The move will allow Japanese companies to pursue investment in Iran's oil and gas industry.
- Tokyo imported around 10 percent of Iran’s oil before introducing sanctions against Tehran. After the sanctions, this share fell to 5 percent and then reduced even further.
Noted Malayalam film actress Kalpana Ranjani died
- Famous Malayalam film actress Kalpana Ranjani died on 25 January 2016 in Hyderabad. She was 51 and famously known as Kalpana.
- She has published her memoirs with the title Njan Kalpana
Eminent Tabla player Shankar Ghosh passed away
- Eminent Tabla player Pandit Shankar Ghosh passed away on 22 January 2016 in Kolkata following a prolonged illness. He was 80.
- He is survived by his wife Sanjukta Ghosh, a classical vocalist of Patiala gharana, a son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons.
Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly Nirmala Gajwani died
- Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly and Social Activist Nirmala Gajwani passed away on 21 January 2016 in Rajkot, Gujarat. She was 87.
- Gajwani was a reputed social worker and one of the leading lights of the Sindhi community in the state.
- Gajwani was the first lady Deputy Speaker of Gujarat legislative Assembly.