Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 6th January, 2016. These are important for the upcoming SIDBI Assistant Manager, LIC AAO and Syndicate Manipal PO Exams.
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Cabinet nod for credit guarantee fund for MUDRA loans
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the creation of a Credit Guarantee Fund for Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) loans.
- Approval has also been given for converting MUDRA Ltd into MUDRA Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) Bank as a wholly owned subsidiary of SIDBI.
- The fund is expected to guarantee more than Rs. 1,00,000 crore worth of loans to micro and small units at the first instance.
- The salient features of the scheme are establishment of Credit Guarantee Fund for MUDRA Units (CGFMU) for guaranteeing loans sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana with effect from April 8, 2015 with the objective of reducing the credit risk to banks/NBFCs/MFIs/other financial intermediaries, who are Member Lending Institutions (MLIs).
- National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd. (NCGTC Ltd), a wholly-owned company of the Government of India, constituted under the Companies Act, 1956 (2013) to manage and operate various credit guarantee funds, would be the trustee of the fund.
- The guarantee would be provided on a portfolio basis to a maximum extent of 50 per cent of the amount in Default in the portfolio.
- The MUDRA (SIDBI) Bank will undertake refinance operations and provide support services with focus on portal management; data analysis etc. apart from any other activity entrusted/ advised by the Government of India.
Air India signs MoU to help build MRO facility at Dubai airport
- Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Delhi-based aircraft services firm, Haveus Aerotech, to provide technical assistance to develop Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities at Dubai's Al Maktoum International Airport. AIESL is a subsidiary of Air India.
- At present, engine servicing is only provided by Air India in the country. The public sector company is also expanding its infrastructure to service Boeing planes by building a new facility at Nagpur, which will be ready by 2018.
- In order to boost the MRO industry, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has proposed sops in the draft civil aviation policy. Some of them include tax breaks, zero service tax on MROs, simplification of import processes for aircraft spares and exemptions on customs duty on maintenance tools and tool kits.
Tata Motors, Petronas join hands for lubricants
- Tata Motors in association with Petronas Lubricants International today launched Tata Motors Genuine Oil (TMGO) for its passenger vehicles range in the India market.
- TMGO will be the first range of co-branded lubricants jointly developed by the two companies.
- The co-branded range of lubricants - Tata Motors Genuine Oil CH-4 15W-40 for diesel vehicles and Tata Motors Genuine Gear Oil 80EP for passenger cars - makes part of a bigger range of nine co-branded products that will be rolled out in a phased approach.
Centre approves Rs 815 cr drought aid for Odisha
- The central government has approved an assistance of Rs 815 crore for Odisha for drought relief operations.
- The state government had submitted a memorandum amounting to Rs 2,199.06 crore to the Government of India for management of Drought-2015.
- As per reports received from the collectors, 1.34 million hectares of crop area has been cumulatively affected in 215 blocks across 26 districts have sustained crop loss of 33 per cent and above.
- The fund requirement has been listed under six major heads- agriculture input subsidy (Rs 927.77 crore), conversion of crop loans advanced during Kharif 2015 (Rs 912.66 crore), revival of minor irrigation projects (Rs 52.49 crore), provision of fodder/feed concentrate including water supply and medicines in cattle crops and strengthening of fodder resources (Rs 81 crore), gratuitous relief (Rs 200.35 crore) and emergency drinking water supply (Rs 24.78 crore).
Union Government abolished export duty on Iron Ore Pellets
- To improve capacity utilisation of pellet plants and boost the sector, Union Government on 5 January 2016 reduced export duty on iron ore pellets to zero from 5 percent.
- A notification in this regard was issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). The move will make the commodity more competitive amid subdued demand and weakening prices.
- Iron ore pellet makers as well as some miners had earlier sought a reduction in the export duty on iron ore to make it more competitive. Steel and its related raw material market is facing a tough time on account of subdued demand and high production, adversely impacting the prices.
Jharkhand Government, JBVNL signed MoU under UDAY Scheme
- The Jharkhand Government and the Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL) on 5 January 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) Scheme.
- The MoU for operational and financial turnaround of Discoms was signed by AK Verma, JS (Distribution), Union Ministry of Power; SKG Rahate, Principle Secretary (Energy) of Jharkhand and by Ameet Kumar, MD, Jharkhand Bijli Vitaran Nigam Ltd (JBVNL).
- With this, Jharkhand becomes first state to sign MoU with Centre for power scheme UDAY.
Union Cabinet approved Stand Up India Scheme
- The Union Cabinet on 6 January 2016 approved the Stand Up India Scheme to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes and Women entrepreneurs.
- The Scheme is intended to facilitate at least two projects per bank branch, on an average one for each category of entrepreneur. It is expected to benefit at least 2.5 lakh borrowers.
- The expected date of reaching the target of at least 2.5 lakh approvals is 36 months from the launch of the Scheme.
Highlights of the Stand Up India Scheme
- It provides for refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with an initial amount of 10000 crore rupees.
- It will create credit guarantee mechanism through the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).
- It will provide support for borrowers both at the pre loan stage and during operations.
- Its focus is on handholding support for both SC/ST and Women borrowers.
- The aim is to leverage institutional credit structure to reach out under-served sectors of the population by facilitating bank loans repayable up to 7 years and between 10 lakh rupees- 100 lakh rupees for greenfield enterprises in nonfarm sector set up by such SC, ST and Women borrowers.
Tata Trusts, Mars sign MoU to work on food safety in India
- The global food manufacturer will help develop methods and tools to increase crop productivity, farm income among others.
- Tata Trusts and leading global food manufacturer Mars Incorporated have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to advance agriculture development, address malnutrition and improve food safety in India, according to a joint statement.
- Tata Trusts that will participate in the initiative include Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Sir Ratan Tata Trust, and Navajbhai Ratan Tata Trust. All these trusts collectively known as Tata Trusts are coalition of philanthropic trusts that have been working to improve the quality of life of people in India.
- Under the MOU, Mars and Tata Trusts intend to work together to explore how best to improve nutrition in India, especially among children.
- More than century old Mars, Incorporated has brands like M&M’S, PEDIGREE, DOUBLEMINT and UNCLE BEN’S. The company has more than $33 billion in sales from six diverse business segments.
Union Government launched Ganga Gram Yojana in Uttar Pradesh
- The Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti on 5 January 2016 launched Ganga Gram Yojana at Village Puth in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
- Under the scheme, 1600 villages of UP situated along the banks of river Ganga will be developed.
Highlights of the Ganga Gram Yojana
- In the first phase of the progamme, 200 villages have been selected initially.
- In these villages, open drains falling into river Ganga will be diverted and alternative arrangements for sewage treatment will be made.
- The villages will have toilets in every house hold.
- It is proposed to incur the expenditure of 1 crore rupees on every village.
- These villages will be developed under the Sichewal model. Sichewal is situated in Punjab, where cooperation of the villagers has been solicited for the water management and waste disposal.
Awards & Honors –
Subodh Sarkar Conferred Gangadhar National Award for Poetry
- Sambalpur University today conferred the prestigious Gangadhar National Award for Poetry -2014 on noted Bengali poet Subodh Sarkar.
- The award, named after Odisha's eminent poet Gangadhar Meher, was given on the occasion of 49th foundation day of the University.
- The award is given to a poet of national repute and Odisha Higher Education Minister Pradeep Kumar Panigrahy, who was the chief guest at the function, conferred the award on Sarkar.
- Sarkar, a recipient of the Banga Bhusan Samman from Government of West Bengal, besides a number of others as well as the Kendriya Sahitya Academy Award in 2013.
Syed Kirmani conferred with 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award
- Former Indian Wicket-Keeper Syed Kirmani was on 5 January 2016 awarded with the 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.
- On the other hand, Test captain Virat Kohli bagged the Polly Umrigar Trophy for Cricketer of the Year in the BCCI awards.
Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman topped 2015 US Bestseller List
- The book Go Set a Watchman written by Harper Lee was in news in the first week of January 2016 as it topped the 2015 US bestseller list.
- Around 1.6 million copies of the book were sold in the USA since it was published in July 2015. The figures were based on US print unit sales reported to Nielsen.
- Go Set a Watchman was published more than half a century after Harper’s Pulitzer-winning first book, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published.
- The second and third bestseller in the list was Jeff Kinney’s Diary of Wimpy Kid series (1.48 million copies) and British author EL James’ Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian (1.4 million) respectively.
Manchester United skipper Rooney bags 'England Player of Year' award
- Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney has been named 'England Player of the Year' for the second consecutive time after becoming his country's all-time leading goal scorer.
- The 30-year-old, who bagged the award for the fourth time, scored 51 goals in 2015 and thereby, surpassed Bobby Charlton's record of 49 goals, Sport24 reported.
- Rooney also top scored with seven goals to help England qualify for Euro 2016 with a perfect record of 10 wins.
- Meanwhile, Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland has been elected for the Under-21s Player of the Year for displaying rich vein of form during this season.
Odisha appoints Sam Pitroda its technology advisor
- Sam Pitroda, former chairman of the National Knowledge Commission and ex-adviser to the prime minister, has been appointed technology advisor of Odisha.
- Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday announced the development through a tweet.
- Pitroda, who will be given cabinet rank in the state, will work for the Vision 2036 of the Odisha government.
- Notably, Patnaik recently declared a vision document would be prepared eyeing 2036 for holistic development of the state.
Filippo Grandi assumed office as UNHCR Chief
- Filippo Grandi on 1 January 2016 took over as the new High Commissioner for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
- Grandi succeeded Antonio Guterres, a former Portuguese Prime Minister, who retired on 31 December 2015 after heading the Refugee Agency for 10 years.
- Grandi took over the position amid unprecedented displacement challenges, with worldwide forced displacement of people reaching a new post-World War-II high of 59.5 million.
World's largest blue star sapphire discovered in Sri Lanka
- The world's largest blue star sapphire that weighs 1404.49 carats was discovered in a mine in Sri Lanka. The sapphire was found in August 2015 near Ratnapura city in the South of Sri Lanka.
- The stone is worth at an estimated cost of 100 million US dollars but could be valued up to 165 million US dollars.
- The sapphire has been named as The Star of Adam by its current owner. The name came from a Muslim belief that Adam arrived in Sri Lanka after being sent away from the Garden of Eden. As per the myth, Adam lived on the slopes of a mountain now known as Adam’s Peak, about 15 miles from Ratnapura.
- The Star of Adam Sapphire has also been certified by the Gemology Institute of Columbo, Sri Lanka.
Forbes released 2016 30 Under 30 List; 45 Indian-origin people figured
- Forbes on 4 January 2016 released the 2016 30 Under 30 List featuring 600 men and women who achieved remarkable professional success before attaining 30 years of age.
- They were chosen from an initial screening list of more than 15000 representing a gamut of 20 segments that include art & style, finance, sports, education, etc.
- The list includes John Boyega (Hollywood & Entertainment category), Shawn Mendes (Music), Emerson Spartz (Media) among others.
- Further, 45 Indians and Indian-origin people figured in the annual compilation for their entrepreneurial spirit and breakout talents.
Prominent Indian-origin people figured in the list are,
- Ritesh Agarwal, OYO Rooms CEO
- Karishma Shah, Alphabet’s Google X
- Divya Nettimi, Viking Global Investors
- Nisha Chittal, MSNBC
- Ashish Patel, NowThis Media
- Saagar Govil, CEO of Cemtrex