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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 2nd February, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 2nd February, 2016. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016 Exam.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 2nd February, 2016
  1. Following are the highlights of the RBI’s sixth bi-monthly monetary policy statement: Repo rate unchanged at 6.75 per cent, Cash reserve ratio or CRR unchanged at 4 per cent, Marginal standing facility rate and Bank Rate at 7.75 per cent, Expects FY17 inflation at around 5 per cent, Pegs FY16 growth at 7.4 pc; FY17’s at 7.6 pc; RBI to create a special ecosystem for startup funding.
  2. The Reserve Bank on Tuesday said it will take steps to help improve the ‘ease of doing business’ in the country and contribute to an ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of start-up businesses. The move is aimed at supporting the government’s ‘Start-up India’ initiative.
  3. Alphabet now comes before Apple atop the list of the world’s most valuable companies.
  4. The World Bank Board on 29 January 2016 approved a 35 million US dollars credit for the Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project. The Project will improve access to selected public services for the people of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and particularly those belonging to deprived groups.
  5. The Companies Law Committee submitted its report to the union government on 1 February 2016. It was constituted in June 2015 for examining and making recommendations on the issues arising out of implementation of the Companies Act, 2013. It was chaired by Tapan Ray Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs and consist 8 members and one member convener.
  6. Tamil Nadu Cadre IPS officer Archana Ramasundram on 1 February 2016 was appointed as the Director General of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that guards India's frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan. With this appointment, Ramasundram became the first woman to head a paramilitary force.
  7. Online furniture retailer Urban Ladder has appointed Sanjay Gupta as its Chief Marketing Officer.
  8. Ashish Kumar Goel, an IRSS (Indian Railway Stores Service) cadre of the 1979 batch, has taken charge as the General Manager of Eastern Railway.
  9. An Indian national Saroj Kumar Jha was in news as he was appointed as the Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank on 1 February 2016.
  10. A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will hear curative petitions seeking re-examination of its verdict criminalising sexual activity between same sex consenting adults under section 377 of IPC.
  11. India and Brunei signed three agreements for cooperation in the areas of health, defence, and youth and sports affairs on Tuesday, the second day of Vice President Hamid Ansari's visit to this southeast Asian nation.
  12. Bajaj Auto on Monday unveiled a 150-cc bike named ‘V’ that contains metal sourced from India’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.
  13. World Health Organisation (WHO) on 1 February 2016 declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in the Americas.
  14. Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, who has made a successful international debut with American show "Quantico", is set to join Hollywood A-listers to present at the upcoming 88th Academy Awards.
  15. World Wetlands Day observed with theme Wetlands for our Future – Sustainable Livelihoods.



Finance/Banking/RBI –

RBI keeps key rates unchanged in the 6th bi-monthly monetary policy


  • RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday left the key policy rate unchanged but indicated at accommodative stance saying with “inflation moving closer to the target” there would be more room for rate cut to support growth.
  • He also said that if the Budget makes enough structural reforms to boost growth, the central bank could chip in with cheaper money to boost growth.
  • The repo or short term lending rate remains unchanged at 6.75 per cent and the reverse repo rate at 7.75 per cent.

Following are the highlights of the RBI’s sixth bi-monthly monetary policy statement
  • Repo rate unchanged at 6.75 per cent
  • Cash reserve ratio or CRR unchanged at 4 per cent
  • Marginal standing facility rate and Bank Rate at 7.75 per cent
  • Policy to remain accommodative if fiscal side helps
  • Reforms in Budget to create space for rate cut
  • Expects FY17 inflation at around 5 per cent
  • Indian economy is being viewed as a beacon of stability
  • Pegs FY16 growth at 7.4 pc; FY17’s at 7.6 pc;
  • RBI to create a special ecosystem for startup funding
  • Prospects for the rabi harvest are improving slowly
  • First bi-monthly monetary policy for 2016-17 on April 5.


RBI to create enabling framework for growth of start-ups


  • The Reserve Bank on Tuesday said it will take steps to help improve the ‘ease of doing business’ in the country and contribute to an ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of start-up businesses.
  • The move is aimed at supporting the government’s ‘Start-up India’ initiative.
  • Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a slew of incentives to boost start-up businesses, offering them a tax holiday and inspector raj-free regime for three years, capital gains tax exemption and Rs 10,000 crore corpus to fund them.
  • He also announced a self-certification scheme in respect of nine labour and environment laws and said there will be no inspection during the first three years of launch of the venture.
  • Also, a liberalised patent regime is being brought to help start-up businesses register patents, for which the fee will be slashed by 80 per cent.
  • India, which has the third-largest number of start-ups globally, will also support the ventures by removing the criteria of experience and turnover for bagging government procurement contracts.


Google Alphabet comes before Apple as world's most valuable company


  • Alphabet now comes before Apple atop the list of the world’s most valuable companies.
  • The shift occurred in Monday’s extended trading after Alphabet, Google’s new parent company, released a fourth-quarter earnings report that highlighted the robust growth of the digital ad market. Apple Inc.’s iPhone, meanwhile, is suffering its first downturn since it debuted eight years ago.
  • Alphabet Inc. earned $4.9 billion on revenue of $21.3 billion in the fourth quarter. If not for employee stock expenses and certain other items, Alphabet said it would have earned $8.67 per share. That figure easily topped the average estimate of $8.10 per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
  • The report provided the most detailed breakdown yet on the profits pouring in from Google’s dominant search engine and ad network. (Google reorganized itself under Alphabet last October.) Investors pushed up Alphabet stock $35.73, or 4.6 percent, to $806.50 in extended trading.


World Bank approved $35 million to improve citizen access to public services in Madhya Pradesh

  • The World Bank Board on 29 January 2016 approved a 35 million US dollars credit for the Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project. The Project will improve access to selected public services for the people of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and particularly those belonging to deprived groups.
  • The World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA) will lend the amount with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.


Companies Law Committee submitted report recommending changes in the Companies Act, 2013

  • The Companies Law Committee submitted its report to the union government on 1 February 2016. It was constituted in June 2015 for examining and making recommendations on the issues arising out of implementation of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • It was chaired by Tapan Ray Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs and consist 8 members and one member convener.
  • The Committee had extensive consultations with stakeholders before making its recommendations. It consulted all Industry Chambers, Professional Institutes, law firms, financial sector and other regulators. Six broad based groups were set up to review the suggestions received during the public consultation, each group being convened by a member of the Committee and consisting of subject-matter experts.


Appointments –

Archana Ramasundram became 1st woman to head paramilitary force


  • Tamil Nadu Cadre IPS officer Archana Ramasundram on 1 February 2016 was appointed as the Director General of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that guards India's frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan.
  • With this appointment, Ramasundram became the first woman to head a paramilitary force. 58-year-old Ramasundram is currently the Director of National Crime Records Bureau.
  • An order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said that she has been appointed to the post till the date of her superannuation, that is, 30 September 2017.


Urban Ladder appoints Sanjay Gupta as CMO

  • Online furniture retailer Urban Ladder has appointed Sanjay Gupta as its Chief Marketing Officer.
  • Sanjay brings in twelve years of experience in branding and marketing, and has been instrumental in building brands in the consumer goods industry.
  • Sanjay will lead the company’s marketing strategies, including branding, creative & content and digital and product marketing.
  • Sanjay was previously with Accenture, Purple Squirrel Consulting and Marico Ltd.



Ashish Kumar Goel takes charge as GM, Eastern Railway

  • Ashish Kumar Goel, an IRSS (Indian Railway Stores Service) cadre of the 1979 batch, has taken charge as the General Manager of Eastern Railway. He assumed charge on February 1. He is also the General Manager of South Eastern Railway.
  • Goel, a Mechanical Engineer from Regional Engineering College, Allahabad, joined the Indian Railways as Materials Manager. He has also completed an Advance Diploma in Public Administration.
  • He was involved in the successful implementation of an e-procurement and e-auction project for the Indian Railways and finalisation of the Marhowra and Madhepura Loco Manufacturing Projects as Addl. Member, Railway Stores.


Saroj Kumar Jha appointed Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at World Bank


  • An Indian national Saroj Kumar Jha was in news as he was appointed as the Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank on 1 February 2016.
  • He was appointed to provide strategic leadership to address the challenge of fragility, conflict and violence, working across the Bank Group and in close collaboration with partnes.
  • The WB President Jim Young Kim assigned him the new role.


India –

SC refers curative plea on Section 377 to five-judge bench


  • A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will hear curative petitions seeking re-examination of its verdict criminalising sexual activity between same sex consenting adults under section 377 of IPC.
  • A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A R Dave and J S Khehar said that since important issues concerning the Constitution were involved in the matter, it would be appropriate to refer the issue to a five-judge Constitution bench.
  • The bench said that the larger bench would be constituted in the future.
  • The bench was told there were eight curative petitions seeking re-examination of the order on the review petition and the December 11, 2013 judgement by which the Delhi High Court verdict de-criminalising section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC was set aside.


India, Brunei Sign MoUs on Defence, Health, Sports


  • India and Brunei signed three agreements for cooperation in the areas of health, defence, and youth and sports affairs on Tuesday, the second day of Vice President Hamid Ansari's visit to this southeast Asian nation.
  • The three MoUs (memoranda of understanding) signed today (Tuesday) which the honourable vice president was witness to are the MoUs on health cooperation, defence cooperation and cooperation in youth and sports affairs.
  • The MoU on health seeks to establish cooperation in the field of health by pooling technical, scientific, financial and human resources and to upgrade the health care, medical education, research between the two countries.
  • The MoU on defence is aimed at enhancing defence cooperation between India and Brunei in various fields.
  • The MoU on youth and sports affairs is aimed at providing a framework for exchanges of sports persons and sports teams, to facilitate the exchange of expertise in coaching, sports talent identification, sports management and administration, and exchange of information in the field of youth Affairs.


Bajaj unveils bike with INS Vikrant metal


  • Bajaj Auto on Monday unveiled a 150-cc bike named ‘V’ that contains metal sourced from India’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.
  • The motorcycle, targeted at the commuter segment, is expected to be priced a little over Rs. 60,000.
  • INS Vikrant was commissioned as the first aircraft carrier of Indian Navy in 1961. After years of distinguished service, it was decommissioned in January 1997 and served as a museum till 2012. In November 2014, the aircraft carrier was dismantled and sold as scrap metal.


Himachal Pradesh to spend 15 crore rupees on Swachh Bharat Mission in Kinnaur

  • The Himachal Pradesh Government in the first week of February 2016 decided to spend 15 crore rupees on Swachh Bharat Mission in tribal district of Kinnaur.
  • The funds will be utilized on capacity building and organizing of workshops for awareness. Under the Mission, target has been also fixed to involve all the schools, government institutions and villages.
  • Under the Mission, the first instalment of four crore fifty lakh rupees has been received by the district authorities.


World –

WHO declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over Zika virus outbreak


  • World Health Organisation (WHO) on 1 February 2016 declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in the Americas.
  • The UN health agency convened an emergency meeting of independent experts in Geneva to assess the outbreak of the virus. The meeting was convened after noting a suspicious link between Zika's arrival in Brazil in 2015 and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.
  • This was the first meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005).


UK granted licence to use gene editing techniques on human embryos

  • The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) of United Kingdom on 1 February 2016 granted license to the Francis Crick Institute to use new gene editing techniques on human embryos.
  • Under the license, the institute will be allowed to genetically modify human embryos for research purposes in order to better understand infertility and miscarriage issues.
  • With this issuance of license, the UK became one of the first countries in the world to give authorization for experimentation on human embryos. Earlier, China allowed similar research on a limited scale.


Priyanka Chopra to Present at the Oscars


  • Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, who has made a successful international debut with American show "Quantico", is set to join Hollywood A-listers to present at the upcoming 88th Academy Awards.
  • Her name comes in the second slate of presenters that includes Steve Carell, Quincy Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Jared Leto Julianne Moore, Olivia Munn, Margot Robbie, Jason Segel Andy Serkis, JK Simmons, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.
  • She becomes the sole representative of India at this year's Oscar ceremony. The country's official entry in the best foreign film category for the Oscars 2016, Court, could not make it to the final five.
  • The Academy Awards are scheduled to take place on February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.
  • A Padma Shri awardee, Priyanka's first international feat came with her best actress in a new TV series win at this year's People's Choice Awards for "Quantico". She is the first Bollywood personality to be feted with the honour.


Days –

World Wetlands Day observed with theme Wetlands for our Future – Sustainable Livelihoods

  • The World Wetlands Day was observed on 2 February 2016 across the globe to mark the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the city of Ramsar in Iran in 1971.
  • The theme of World Wetlands Day this year is Wetlands for our Future – Sustainable Livelihoods. It highlights the value of wetlands in securing local livelihoods through activities as fishing, rice farming, tourism, and water provision.
  • The day is observed on the same day every year to promote, create awareness and ensure positive and affirmative action for conservation of wetlands.
  • This year the World Wetlands Day is being celebrated by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in collaboration with the West Bengal Government at Sunderbans.


Obituaries –

Noted Dravidian Ideologist Annamalai Dead

  • A noted Dravidian ideologist, P Annamalai, died near here today. He was 78.
  • Father of 'Minnambalam' internet Tamil magazine editor A Kamaraj, Annamalai passed away at Perambalur, about 270 Kms from here.
  • His funeral will be held later in the day, a statement by Minnambalam said.
  • The employees of the organisation condoled his death, it added.




NOTE: The Monthly Current Affairs PDF will be given tomorrow evening around 7.




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