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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 10th February, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 10th February, 2016. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016 Exam.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 10th February, 2016
  1. India continues its dismal run in International IP Index, placed at the 37th position among 38 economies studied for their IP environment and commitment to innovation, by the US Chamber of Commerce.  US topped the index.
  2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 8 February 2016 released the Report of the Working Group on Introduction of Interest Rate Options in India. The report was prepared by RBI committee chaired by Prof PG Apte.
  3. Central Statistics Office (CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on 8 February 2016 released the Advance Estimates (AE) of National Income for the financial year (FY) 2015-16. The growth in GDP during 2015-16 is estimated at 7.6 % as compared to the growth rate of 7.2 % in 2014- 15.
  4. Vodafone, country's second largest telecom operator, launched its fourth generation broadband services in Mumbai.
  5. Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) for obtaining funds. These funds will be used for onward lending to Schedule Caste borrowers.
  6. To connect Kolkata with Tripura via Bangladesh through railway, the Union Government on 10 February 2016 sanctioned about 580 crore rupees. The money was sanctioned for constructing the 15-kilometer railway track between Kolkata and Tripura.
  7. The 9th Indo-Nepal Combined Battalion level Military Training Exercise Surya Kiran commenced at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand on 8 February 2016.
  8. Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on 9 February 2016 announced that the state government will construct a ‘Mini Sikkim’, which will be a centre for showcasing the state’s diverse and rich culture.
  9. India on 10 February 2016 observed the first National Deworming Day in schools and preschools (anganwadis).
  10. Myntra founder Mukesh Bansal quits Flipkart
  11. Justice Dhirendra Hiralal Waghela on 8 February 2016 was appointed the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.
  12. The Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex, world’s largest solar power plant, was opened on 4 February 2016 in the Souss-Massa-Drâa area in Morocco, 10 km from Ouarzazate town.



Finance/Industry/Economy –

RBI released PG Apte Working Group Report on Introduction of Interest Rate Options in India


  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 8 February 2016 released the Report of the Working Group on Introduction of Interest Rate Options in India. The report was prepared by RBI committee chaired by Prof PG Apte.

Key recommendations of the Apte Committee
  • To begin with, simple call and put Options, caps, floors, collars and swaptions may be permitted. Complex structures may be introduced subsequently.
  • Both Over-the-Counter (OTC) as well as exchange traded options may be introduced. While in the OTC segment only European options may be permitted, both American and European structures may be permitted on Exchanges.
  • Fixed Income Money Market and Derivatives Association of India (FIMMDA)/Financial Benchmark India Private Limited (FBIL) may come out with the list of eligible domestic money or debt market rates as benchmarks like G-Sec, T-Bills, MIBOR,OIS, MIFOR, IRF etc.
  • While banks, PDs and other regulated entities having sound financials and prudent risk management may be allowed as market makers subject to the approval of concerned regulator, all domestic entities having underlying interest rate risk may be permitted as users.
  • While no documentation relating to underlying exposure may be required for exposures up to 5 crore rupees, large corporate may also be allowed to take hedging positions for their anticipated interest rate exposures.
  • The minimum lot size of the contract is to be kept at 2 lakh rupees on Exchanges and on the OTC, it is 5 crore rupees and in multiples of 5 crore rupees thereof among the market makers. Transactions between user and market maker may be standardized.


CSO released Advance Estimates of National Income 2015-16


  • Central Statistics Office (CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on 8 February 2016 released the Advance Estimates (AE) of National Income for the financial year (FY) 2015-16.
  • It also released the Quarterly Estimates (QE) of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter (Q3) of the FY 2015-16.

Main highlights of Advance Estimates
  • The growth in GDP during 2015-16 is estimated at 7.6 % as compared to the growth rate of 7.2 % in 2014- 15.
  • Real GDP or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant (2011-12) prices in the year 2015- 16 is likely to attain a level of 113.51 lakh crore rupees.
  • Real Gross Value Added (GVA) or GVA at basic constant prices (2011-12) is anticipated to increase from 97.27 lakh crore rupees in 2014-15 to 104.38 lakh crore rupees in 2015-16.
  • Anticipated growth of real GVA at basic prices in 2015-16 is 7.3 % against 7.1 % in 2014-15.
  • The sectors which are likely to register growth rate of over 7.0 % are financial, real estate and professional services, trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting, and manufacturing.


Vodafone launches 4G in Mumbai


  • Vodafone, country's second largest telecom operator, launched its fourth generation broadband services in Mumbai. The service was unveiled by chief minister Devendra Phadnavis, a Vodafone customer himself.
  • The company launches its services months after Bharti Airtel launched its 4G services across 300 towns in India.
  • At the launch, Chief Minister Phadnavis said mobile was a key aspect of its JAM trinity (Jandhan, Aadhaar, Mobile) which was transforming governance. He said that he would have liked if Vodafone had launched 4G in Mumbai first as it was the commercial capital of the country.
  • Mumbai is a critical market for all telecom players, as it has the highest level of smartphone penetration (60%) and data accounts for 30% of Vodafone's revenues in the Mumbai circle against 20% for the rest of the country.


Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank inks pact with NSFDC


  • Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) for obtaining funds. These funds will be used for onward lending to Schedule Caste borrowers.
  • A press release by the bank said here on Wednesday that NSFDC is a fully owned public sector undertaking under the Union Ministry of Social Justice. The corporation assists the target group by way of loans, skill training, and entrepreneurship development programmes.
  • Ashok Reddy, Chairman of KVGB, said that MoA with NSFDC will provide easy finance for the businesses of Schedule Caste members with rate of interest varying from 3 per cent to 10 per cent per annum.
  • C Ramsesh Rao, Assistant General Manager of NSFDC, said the corporation would extend 100 per cent refinance to the bank, up to 2 lakh for the self-employment activities of persons belonging to Scheduled Caste.
  • Suryakant Ganga, General Manager of KVGB, and Rao of NSFDC signed the MoA in the presence of Reddy in Dharwad on Wednesday.


Kalyan Jewellers partners Flipkart to sell jewellery online


  • Kerala-based jewellery brand Kalyan Jewellers on Wednesday announced its foray in the e-commerce segment and will offer gold and diamond jewellery on retail major Flipkart's e-commerce platform.
  • The products will be available from February 12, the company said in a statement.
  • Kalyan will make available its popular jewellery designs in gold and diamond encompassing rings, pendants, earrings and necklaces ranging from Rs 3,500 to Rs 2 lakh, it added.
  • Kalyan Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director T S Kalyanaraman said online jewellery sales is growing at more than 70 per cent per annum, valued at more than Rs 1,200 crore.


580 crore rupees sanctioned for construction of railway track to connect Kolkata & Tripura via Bangladesh


  • To connect Kolkata with Tripura via Bangladesh through railway, the Union Government on 10 February 2016 sanctioned about 580 crore rupees. The money was sanctioned for constructing the 15-kilometer railway track between Kolkata and Tripura.
  • The project that is expected to be completed by 2017 will pass through Bangladesh.
  • The Agartala-Akhaura rail-link between Indian Railway and Bangladesh Railway will reduce the current 1700 km road distance between Kolkata to Agartala via Siliguri to just 350-kilometer by railway.
  • The project ranks high on Prime Minister's 'Act East’ Policy, and is expected to increase connectivity and boost trade between India and Bangladesh.


India –

9th Indo-Nepal Combined Battalion level Military Training Exercise Surya Kiran started in Uttarakhand


  • The 9th Indo-Nepal Combined Battalion level Military Training Exercise Surya Kiran commenced at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand on 8 February 2016.
  • The 14-day long exercise will take place till 21 February 2016 under the aegis of Panchshul Brigade of Central Command.
  • An Infantry battalion from Indian Army will represent the exercise while Nepalese Army is being represented by officers and troops of the elite Shree RudraDhoj battalion.


Sikkim to construct Mini Sikkim for showcasing state’s diverse & rich culture


  • Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on 9 February 2016 announced that the state government will construct a ‘Mini Sikkim’, which will be a centre for showcasing the state’s diverse and rich culture.
  • The ‘Mini Sikkim’ will be constructed under the Namthang Ratheypani constituency in South Sikkim district.
  • The announcement was made while inaugurating a newly constructed market at Maniram Bhanjyang in the district.
  • As per reports, the new project will consist of traditional houses of fifteen ethnic communities of Sikkim. Traditional museums will also be put in place alongside commercial outlets throughout the State.
  • This initiative will help the state in garnering domestic and international tourists throughout the year.


Days –

National Deworming Day observed on 10 February


  • India on 10 February 2016 observed the first National Deworming Day in schools and preschools (anganwadis).
  • The day is observed to combat parasitic worm infections among preschool (anganwadi) and school-age children.
  • During this albendezole 400 mg chewable tablets are provided to children at government, government-aided, and private schools, and anganwadis. Out-of-school children will be administered the deworming tablet at anganwadis.
  • The albendazole tablets will be given free-of-cost to children.
  • The National Deworming Day will be followed by a mop-up day on 15 February 2016 to administer the deworming tablet to children who were absent from the school or anganwadi on 10 February. 


Appointments/Resignations –

Myntra founder Mukesh Bansal quits Flipkart


  • India's largest e-commerce company Flipkart has lost two key executives, including Mukesh Bansal, who led the commerce and advertising business after co-founder Binny Bansal took over as the chief executive last month.
  • Mukesh Bansal, 40, who sold his online fashion retailer Myntra for Rs 2,000 crore to Flipkart, confirmed his exit on Wednesday.
  • Flipkart on its blog said that its chief business officer Ankit Nagori resigned to start a sports engagement platform that Flipkart founders Binny and Sachin Bansal would back.


Justice Dhirendra Hiralal Waghela appointed as Chief Justice of Bombay High Court


  • Justice Dhirendra Hiralal Waghela on 8 February 2016 was appointed the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.
  • Justice Waghela, currently serving as the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court, has been asked to assume charge by 16 February 2016.
  • The Bombay High Court has been functioning with an officiating Chief Justice since October 2015, after the retirement of Justice Mohit S Shah in September 2015.


Isuzu Motors India appoint Hitoshi Kono as new Deputy MD


  • Isuzu Motors India on 9 February announced a change in the senior management position of the company in its Indian operations. The Japanese company has appointed Hitoshi Kono as the new Deputy Managing Director, and will succeed Shigeru Wakabayashi in the country.
  • Hitoshi Kono will take on the new role of Deputy MD from February 14, while Wakabayashi will assume the role of Division COO, Isuzu Business Division, Mitsubishi Corporation in Japan.
  • Kono is currently the General Manager of Isuzu Asia Department at the Isuzu Business Division.
  • Wakabayashi has been instrumental in setting up Isuzu operations in India since 2012 when he set up a new manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh. Isuzu recently launched Isuzu D-MAX pick-up at the Auto Expo 2016.


World –

World’s largest concentrated solar plant opened in Morocco


  • The Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex, world’s largest solar power plant, was opened on 4 February 2016 in the Souss-Massa-Drâa area in Morocco, 10 km from Ouarzazate town.
  • The plant holds the capacity to produce enough energy to power over one million homes by 2018 and reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 760000 tons per year.
  • Phase One of the project involved the construction of a 160MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant named Noor I, while Phase Two involved the construction of the 200MW Noor II CSP plant and the 150MW Noor III CSP plant, and Phase Three will involve the construction of the Noor IV CSP plant.
  • The World Bank partially financed construction of the plant through a 97 million US dollar loan from the Clean Technology Fund.


US President unveiled Cyber Security National Action Plan


  • The President of United States (US) Barack Obama on 9 February 2016 unveiled a Cyber Security National Action Plan.
  • The action plan called for an overhaul of aging government networks and a high-level commission to boost security awareness.
  • The action plan was unveiled on eve of Safer Internet Day designated by governments and technology firms to boost awareness on cybersecurity issues.

Main highlights of Action Plan
  • The plan seeks to address both short-term and long-term threats, with the goal of providing every American a basic level of online security.
  • Obama issued an executive order creating a 12-member Cybersecurity Commission to make recommendations to both the public and private sectors. The panel will submit the report to the president by 1 December 2016.
  • The plan also called for a new federal chief information security officer to direct cybersecurity across the federal government.


Lists/Indexes –

India Ranks 37th in International IP Index


  • India continues its dismal run in International IP Index, placed at the 37th position among 38 economies studied for their IP environment and commitment to innovation, by the US Chamber of Commerce. 
  • Patent protection in India remains outside of international best practices, and Indian law does not provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to effectively combat online piracy, the report said.
  • Produced by the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), the study – in its fourth edition - found India’s score was largely unchanged from previous editions of the study. Venezuela finished last out of the 38 economies studied, while the United States was the top ranked country.
  • India’s overall score decreased to 7.05 as against 7.23 in the third edition. The report noted that this decrease was largely driven by the introduction of the Global Measure of Physical Counterfeiting in the current edition, in which India was ranked, 7th, out of the 38 economies mapped.
  • The United States topped the index, while UK, France, Germany and Sweden also came in ahead of Singapore.


Awards & Honors –

Four Indian-Americans selected to U.S. National Academy of Engineering


  • Four Indian-Americans have been selected to the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to be part of its new list of 80 members for their valuable contributions to the society.
  • Anil K. Jain, Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Ganesh Thakur and Dr. K.R. Sridhar were formally made part of the NAE during a ceremony at its annual meeting, the academy announced in a statement on 9 February, 2016.
  • Mr. Jain, a distinguished professor in the department of computer science and engineering at the Michigan State University in East Lansing, was elected for his contributions to the field of engineering and practice of biometrics. An IIT-Kanpur alumnus, Mr. Jain’s research focuses on pattern recognition, computer vision and biometric recognition.
  • Dr. Prabhakar, director of the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Virginia, was chosen for national leadership to advance semiconductor and information technologies.
  • Mr. Thakur, who is the president of Thakur Services Inc. in Houston, Texas, was named a member for leadership in the implementation of integrated reservoir management techniques.
  • Dr. Sridhar, the principal co-founder and chief executive officer of Bloom Energy Corporation in California, was selected for the “contributions to transport phenomena and thermal packaging of electrochemical systems and generation of clean, reliable and affordable power“.







Regards



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