Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 22nd April, 2016. These are important for the upcoming NABARD Assistant Manager and SBI Clerk 2016.
PM to launch Rs. 8,000 crore scheme "Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana" for free LPG connections to poor
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1 will launch Rs. 8,000 crore scheme to provide 5 crore free LPG connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families using the money saved from 1.13 crore cooking gas users voluntarily giving up their subsidies.
- The scheme is called Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and Mr. Modi will be launching it on May 1 at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh and Dahod in Gujarat on May 15.
- The ‘Give-it-Up’ campaign seeking the well-heeled to voluntarily surrender cooking gas subsidies for one year was launched in January, 2015.
- Maharashtra tops the list with 16.44 lakh consumers giving up subsidies, then Uttar Pradesh where nearly 13 lakh users gave up subsidies, followed by Delhi with 7.26 lakh people giving up subsidies. Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat was way down the list with just 4.2 lakh giving up subsidies. In Odisha around 1.3 lakh people gave up subsidies.
Government to terminate three highways project worth Rs. 3,000 crore
- Owing to poor performance of developers, the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has taken a decision to terminate three highway projects worth over Rs. 3,000 crore.
- The projects are Rargaon-Jamshedpur (Rs. 1,650 crore) in Jharkhand, Rohtak-Jind (Rs. 410 crore) in Haryana and Haridwar-Dehradun (Rs. 1,021 crore) in Uttarakhand.
- While in the first two projects, which were started in December 2012 and October 2013 respectively, the NHAI had suspected diversion of funds, the concessionaire failed to bring in promised funds in the Uttarakhand project which had begun construction in November 2011. None of these projects had even completed half the work.
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had met bankers and road developers to break the stalemate over 19 pending road projects in January. The government will soon hold another meeting to review the fate of the remaining 16 stuck highway projects.
Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry launched Twitter Seva
- The Commerce and Industry Ministry on 21 April 2016 launched a service named Twitter Seva to address issues and grievances of startups, exporters and importers, and other stakeholders.
- For this, an institutionalised mechanism with a special Twitter cell has been created in the ministry manned by a set of dedicated officers of the ministry.
Key highlights of Twitter Seva
- Queries on matters relating to Department of Commerce and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will be answered through this service.
- The ministry will try to respond to the queries within 48 to 72 working hours.
- In particular, queries regarding the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Directorate General of supplies and Disposals, SEZs, tea, coffee, rubber, spices, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) will be addressed by the ministry.
- Issues related to manufacturing policy, industrial corridors, investment promotion, Make in India, Start up India, FDI, intellectual property rights will be addressed by the DIPP.
Vistara, TCS enter into strategic partnership
- Full service airline Vistara has entered into a strategic partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for a broad range of information technology (IT) services, including application maintenance services and airport infrastructure support.
- Vistara is a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines.
- The carrier and TCS have entered into an agreement for a "long term strategic partnership".
- According to the agreement, TCS would manage the operational aspects of the airline's IT, including application maintenance services, network maintenance, end-user computing and airport infrastructure support.
Google most influential brand in India, Flipkart at 7th slot
- It is the foreign brands like Google and Facebook that rank on top in terms of their influence, while domestic ones are placed lower, as per the new list of ten most influential brands in the country.
- According to the study by global research firm Ipsos, Google ranks on the top and is followed by Facebook, Gmail, Microsoft and Samsung in the top five -- all of which are foreign brands.
- While another foreign brand WhatsApp is sixth on the India's top 10 most influential brands, Flipkart is the top ranked Indian brand at seventh place.
- The other two Indian brands on the list - SBI and Airtel- are ninth and tenth, US based Amazon is placed at number eight.
- The Most Influential Brands study that ranks brands according to their influence in 21 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, the US and UK, was conducted in December 2015.
- Ipsos study has measured the biggest, most well-known and/ or highest spending brands only. As a result, the study did not look at the entire market.
ISRO Scientists made world’s lightest material ‘Silica Aerogel’ to keep soldiers warm in Siachen
- Scientists at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram indigenously manufactured the world's lightest synthetic material called ‘silica aerogel’ or ‘blue air’ or ‘frozen smoke’. It was in news in the third week of April 2016.
- Silica Aerogel is the lightest synthetic material ever made by man.
Key characteristics of Silica Aerogel
- The material is so light weight that it can be delicately placed on a flower head.
- It has an excellent thermal resistance and if it is used as filler in soldiers' uniforms it can save many lives at the Siachen glacier.
- The material can be used both in space and on Earth. Scientists also hope it can be used to insulate rocket engines.
- Frozen smoke can be also used to make light weight clothing, if painted on windows it can keep buildings cool or warm.
Uttarakhand High Court quashed imposition of President' Rule in the State
- The Uttarakhand High Court on 21 April 2016 quashed the imposition of President' Rule in the state and revived the term of Congress Government headed by Harish Rawat. The court also asked Harish Rawat to prove his majority on 29 April 2016.
- The decision in this regard was passed by the two-judge bench of the Uttarakhand High Court comprising Chief Justice KM Joseph and Chief Justice BN Bisht.
- The court stated that there was no reason for the Centre to impose President's Rule in the state. It also said that the disqualification of the nine rebel MLAs by the Speaker under the Anti-defection Law was no material for imposition of President’s rule.
- The court said that the President of India is not infallible and he, too, can go wrong. Therefore, the President's decision is open to judicial scrutiny.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 10th Civil Services Day
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 21 April 2016 inaugurated the 10th Civil Services Day in New Delhi.
- During the inauguration ceremony, PM Modi called for experiments to bring change in society and creating an atmosphere where everyone can contribute.
- Besides, PM Modi also conferred awards to civil servants for excellence in implementation of Priority Programmes of the Government of India namely Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY), Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), Swachh Vidyalaya and Soil Health Card Scheme.
- This is for the first time that a new category of Excellence in implementing a Priority Programme has been added to the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
- Raj Kishore Prasad, LDM of Allahabad Bank of India, 24 North Paraganas
- Surendra Chandra Das, West Bengal LDM of Union bank of India, Navgaon, Assam
- Pramod Narayan, LDM of Punjab National Bank, Chandigarh
Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)
- Dr Savita Anand, Principal Resident Commissioner of Rajasthan, Bikaner
- Aishwariya Singh, District Collector of West Sikkim, West Sikkim
- Anantpur district in Andhra Pradesh
- Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir
International Mother Earth Day observed across the world
- The International Mother Earth Day was on 22 April 2016 observed across the world with the theme ‘Trees for the Earth’. This year's theme sets the goal of planting 7.8 billion trees over the next five years.
- The Day recognises that the Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance.
- It also aims to raise awareness that humans have a collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature and to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.
Japan successfully flies first stealth fighter jet
- Japan's first stealth fighter jet successfully took to the skies on Friday as the country joins a select group of world military powers wielding the radar-dodging technology.
- Japan, despite strict constitutional constraints on the use of military force imposed after World War II, has one of the world's most advanced defence forces and the development of the stealth fighter comes as it faces new security challenges in the form of China's expanding force posture.
- The domestically developed Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin jet took off from Nagoya airport in central Japan on its maiden test flight as dozens of aviation enthusiasts, watching the event, erupted in applause as it lifted off into the clear morning sky.
Europe became world’s first region to end malaria: WHO
- The World Health Organization (WHO) on 20 April 2016 announced that the European Region became the first in the world to have achieved interruption of indigenous malaria transmission. The number of indigenous malaria cases in the region dropped from 90712 in 1995 to zero cases in 2015.
- WHO released the figures in World Malaria Report 2015.
- Besides, WHO announced that the European Region hit its 2015 target to wipe out malaria, thus contributing to the global goal to End malaria for good.
Key highlights of the World Malaria Report 2015
- The number of malaria cases globally fell from an estimated 262 million in 2000 to 214 million in 2015, a decline of 18%.
- The number of malaria deaths globally fell from an estimated 839000 in 2000 to 438 000 in 2015, a decline of 48%.
- The number of malaria deaths in children aged under 5 years is estimated to have decreased from 723000 globally in 2000.
Report with respect to India
- Funding for malaria control is lowest in countries with the largest populations at risk, including India and Indonesia.
- In 2014, all countries, except India, Indonesia and Nepal, reported delivering sufficient quantities of antimalarial medicines (including ACT) to treat all reported cases in public health facilities.
Pakistan, China signed agreement to launch a special satellite to monitor CPEC
- Pakistan and China on 20 April 2016 signed an agreement for the launch of a special satellite to monitor the development of the 46 billion US dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
- Pakistan Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal on behalf of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and China Great Wall Industry Cooperation (CGWIC) President Yin Limping signed the agreement in Islamabad, Pakistan.
- This bilateral cooperation between the two nations in space domain would open new arena of socio-economic and scientific cooperation. It would give boost to the historic bilateral cordial relations in other fields.
WADA suspended accreditation of National Anti-Doping Laboratory of Beijing
- The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on 21 April 2016 suspended the accreditation of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory of Beijing. It prohibits the Chinese laboratory from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples.
- The suspension was for up to four months with immediate effect, although the laboratory has 21 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Music legend Prince Rogers Nelson died
- Pop music superstar Prince Rogers Nelson, popularly known as Prince, died on 21 April 2016 at his home in Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minneapolis. He was 57. He was found dead at his home, however, the cause of his death was not identified.
- In a career that lasted from the late 1970s until his solo Piano & a Microphone tour in 2016, he was acclaimed as a musical prodigy and an artist who shaped his career his way.
Comedian Victoria Wood passed away
- Famous comedian, singer and writer Victoria Wood died on 20 April 2016 due to cancer. She was 62.
- Born on 19 May 1953, Wood was an English comedian, actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter and director. She wrote and starred in sketches, plays, films and sitcoms, and her live comedy act was interspersed with her own compositions, which she performed on piano.
- Wood also composed and performed the theme music for her BBC sitcom Dinnerladies. She was noted for her skills in observing culture, and in satirising social classes.