Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs from 28th and 29th April, 2016. These are important for the upcoming SBI Clerk Mains and UIIC AO 2016.
FinMin raises EPF interest rate to 8.8%
- The government has decided to reverse its decision of reducing the interest rate on Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and stick to rate of 8.8% for 2015-16 as recommended by the Central Board of Trustees (CBT).
- CBT, the supreme decision making body of EPFO, had approved 8.8% interest rate in February. However, Dattatreya, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Monday, said that the ministry of finance has, ratified an interest rate of 8.7%.
- According to regulations, after the interest rate is approved by the CBT, it has to be ratified by the finance ministry as it is a fiscal decision. However, this was the first instance, when the FinMin had disagreed with the rate approved by the board.
- This is the third rollback on EPF in the last two months. Last month the government was forced to withdraw the Budget proposal to tax a certain portion of withdrawals. Subsequently, it withdrew tighter withdrawal norms.
India becomes 3rd largest source of FDI into Britain
- India's investments in the UK zoomed nearly 65% in 2015, establishing it as the third largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Britain after the US and France.
- A new report released in London also found that the number of Indian companies in the UK, growing at more than 10%, has nearly doubled from 36 to 62 firms in a year.
- 'India meets Britain 2016: Tracking the UK's top Indian companies', published by Grant Thornton UK LLP in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said the combined turnover of these businesses has increased by 4 billion pounds last year, up from 22 billion pounds in 2014 to 26 billion pounds in 2015.
Experian India launched fraud detection mechanism named Hunter Fraud Score
- Experian, the global information services company, in the last week of April 2016 launched a fraud detection mechanism named the Hunter Fraud Score.
- The new scoring mechanism measures the probability of fraud in a credit application across banking and insurance industries.
- Experian had launched the Hunter Fraud Management Services for the life insurance sector in India in March 2016.
Key highlights of Hunter Fraud Score
- As per Experian, the new score will help retail finance providers and insurance companies in India significantly increase their efficiency in fraud detection.
- Businesses will be able to identify applications that should be screened for potential fraud, and prioritise those that have a high probability of being fraudulent.
India extended 1-billion dollar Line of Credit to Mongolia
- India on 28 April 2016 extended a Line of Credit (LoC) of 1 billion US dollars to Mongolia. The LoC was extended after delegation-level bilateral talks between the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh and Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren in New Delhi.
- Besides, the two countries also agreed to exchange sentenced persons.
- Lundeg Purevsuren was on a three-day state visit to India from 27 April to 29 April 2016. This visit was a part of the intensified bilateral exchanges following the upgrade of bilateral relations during Modi's visit.
Reliance Defence signs pact with 3 Ukranian firms
- Reliance Defence has signed a strategic partnership agreement with three Ukranian state-owned companies which will allow them to collaborate on a range of military products, including transport aircraft, upgrade of armoured vehicles, maritime gas turbines and unmanned aerial vehicles.
- The development follows a meeting between Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani and Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine this week.
- During the hour long meeting, the two leaders discussed issues of strategic interest between the Indian and Ukrainian defence and aerospace industry.
NITI Aayog launched urban management programme for capacity building of states and urban local bodies
- NITI Aayog chaired by Vice Chairman Dr Arvind Panagariya launched the Urban Management Programme on 27 April 2016 in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
- The state participation was at the level of Secretaries of Urban Development, Municipal Commissioners and other senior officials of State Government and parastatal bodies. About 150 participants were present in the event.
An overview of the Urban Management Programme
- The Programme is designed by NITI Aayog, Temasek Foundation and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) under the platform of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between NITI Aayog and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE).
- It was to tap the expertise of Singapore in urban sector to build capacities in State Governments and ULBs to design efficient solutions to urban problems.
Union Cabinet approved Investment enhancement by BPCL in Bharat Oman Refineries Limited
- The Union Cabinet on 27 April 2016 approved to enhance investment by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL).
- Now, the investment amount can be enhanced upto a maximum of 3000 crore rupees by way of subscription of convertible warrants giving right to convert it into equity shares to be issued by BORL.
- The infusion of funds by the BPCLs will enable BORL to overcome the implications on account of the erosion of the net worth.
ISRO’s seventh navigational satellite IRNSS 1G launched
- Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 28 April 2016 launched India’s seventh navigation satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS 1G) into a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO) on-board PSLV-C33.
- The satellite was launched from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, which is situated 90 kms from Chennai.
- With this launch, India successfully joined the elite group of countries that have their own navigation system technology to cater to the mammoth navigational needs.
- As in the previous six launches of IRNSS satellites, PSLV-C33 used ‘XL’ version of PSLV equipped with six strap-ons, each carrying 12 tons of propellant.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated 100 rural drinking water projects
- Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on 28 April 2016 inaugurated 100 piped water supply projects for rural areas. The CM also pledged to make piped water provision in all gram panchayats by 2017.
- The project was inaugurated on the occasion of Utkal Gaurab Madhusudan Das’ anniversary. Das was the first graduate and advocate of Odisha.
- Earlier on 20 April 2016, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had dedicated 100 urban drinking water supply projects in the state.
Union Government banned import of dogs for commercial breeding
- Union government on 27 April 2016 issued a notification banning the import of dogs for commercial breeding. The imports are allowed only for research or defence purposes.
- The ban came after many animal rights organisations raised concerns over foreign breed dogs suffering due to unsuitable climatic conditions
- Humane Society International (HSI) and People for Animals along with other groups had urged the government to ban the import on dogs for breeding as it was resulting in the overpopulation of street dogs in the country.
Union Cabinet approved MoU between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in health and medical science
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 April 2016 approved for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in the fields of Healthcare and Medical Science.
- The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of India and the Ministry of Health and HIV/AIDS of the Papua New Guinea through joint initiatives in the health sector. It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Papua New Guinea.
Maharashtra Government rose jail term up to 5 yrs for chain snatchers
- The Maharashtra government on 27 April 2016 decided to increase the punishment for chain snatching up to 5 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of 25000 rupees.
- The state Cabinet cleared the amendments to relevant sections of Indian Penal Code sections 379, 397-A (1)(2) and section 379-B along with the CrPC Act-1973, thus increasing the punishment up to five years rigorous imprisonment and 25000 rupees fine, in case of grievous injury to the victim.
- The new additional section of 379-A(1) will define chain snatching as a crime and the convict will be sentenced under section 379-A(2), which provides minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years rigorous imprisonment.
Mindtree co-founder Subroto Bagchi to Head Odisha's Skill body
- Mindtree cofounder and former chairman Subroto Bagchi has been selected by the government of Odisha to head the state's Skill Development Authority.
- Bagchi who would be given the rank of a Cabinet Minister, would directly report to the chief minister and would help in setting up a unified body that would guide, implement and oversee all skill development programmes in the state.
- Bagchi has decided to draw a salary of Rupees 1 per year for this role. He will begin his work with a visit to all the 30 districts of the state to get a first-hand understanding of the initiatives on the ground and submit his recommendations based on which, a detailed programme will be worked out .
- Odisha Skill Development Authority aims to unify the initiatives on the ground and create momentum for unemployed youth to receive skill-based training to make them employable.
Senior IPS officer Surendra Kumar Bhagat appointed as DG of Railways Protection Force
- Senior IPS officer Surendra Kumar Bhagat was on 28 April 2016 appointed as the Director General (DG) of Railways Protection Force (RPF). His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
- As a DG of Railways Protection Force , Bhagat is entrusted with responsibility of protecting railway property and passengers. He will serve the Railway Board till the date of his superannuation that is on 30 June 2017.
- He is presently working as Special Director General in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Western Sector, Jammu & Kashmir.
Indian academician Radha Kumar appointed to United Nations' University Council
- Indian academician Radha Kumar was on 28 April 2016 appointed to the United Nations' University Council to formulate its principles and policies, consider and approve biennial budget and work programme.
- Kumar is among 12 people who are appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the council. These 12 appointees will take office with effect from May 2016 and will serve for terms of either three or six years.
Charles Borromeo resigned from Tata Steel Sports Department
- Asian Games gold medalist Charles Borromeo on 28 April 2016 resigned from the post of head of the Tata Steel sports department.
- The resignation came after the vigilance department officials of the company questioned him in connection with alleged irregularities in tender process of 4.40 crore rupees worth synthetic track laying at the JRD Tata Sports complex.
Awards & Honors –
New Zealand's $5 bill won IBNS Banknote of the Year Award
- The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) on 25 April 2016 announced that New Zealand’s five-dollar note won the Banknote of the Year Award for 2015. The bill came out as a clear winner among nearly 40 eligible designs from a record 20 countries.
- The runner’s up in the voting were Sweden’s 20 Kronor note depicting children's author Astrid Lindgren, Russia’s 100 Ruble note illustrating Crimean landmarks, Kazakhstan’s 20000 Tenge note and Scotland’s (Clydesdale Bank) 5 Pound polymer note.
- The Reserve Bank of New Zealand began releasing a new family of Brighter Money banknotes in 2015. It began with the $5 and $10 denominations.
Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare 2016 observed
- The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare 2016 was observed on 29 April 2016 by the United Nations (UN).
- This commemoration will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons.
World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2016 observed globally
- The 2016 World Day for Safety and Health at Work was observed across the world on 28 April 2016 with the theme Workplace Stress: a collective challenge.
- The International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrates World Day for Safety and Health to raise awareness of safety in the workplace. Occurring annually since 2003, each year it focuses on a specific area and bases a campaign around the theme.
- The day 28 April has also long been associated with the world's trade union movement's commemoration of the victims of occupational accidents and diseases.
China successfully launched Kunpeng-1B Sounding Rocket
- China on 27 April 2016 successfully launched the Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket from a launch pad in Danzhou City in the southern Chinese Hainan Province. The rocket reached a maximum height of 316 kilometres (196 miles), with the total flight time coming to 10 minutes.
- The head of the rocket was equipped with a new altitude control system. New materials of flexible carbon fibre were also used in the rocket to enable easier flight.
China developed world's first graphene electronic paper
- China developed a new electronic paper, which has been heralded as "the world's first graphene electronic paper. It was in news in the last of April 2016.
- It will be a huge breakthrough that will catapult the material to a new level. It was developed by The Guangzhou OED Technologies in partnership with a company in Chongqing.
- Compared with traditional e-papers, graphene e-paper is more pliable and has more intensity and its high-light transmittance means optical displays will be much brighter.
Japan unveiled Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympics emblems
- Japan's Olympic organisers on 25 April 2016 unveiled the new official logos of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The emblems, designed by Asao Tokolo, feature an indigo-coloured check in the design.
- The Olympic logo features a circular Japanese traditional checkered pattern. Below the design are the words Tokyo 2020 and under them the five interlocking Olympic rings. The design is meant to express a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.
South Korean Olympians to wear mosquito repellent uniform at Rio Olympics
- South Korea on 27 April 2016 announced that its Olympic athletes will wear uniforms that have been infused with insect repellent to keep mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus at bay.
- The South Korean team's uniforms were unveiled in Seoul, marking 100 days until the opening ceremony in Brazil.
- These formal long-sleeved shirts and trousers containing mosquito repellent will be worn by the South Korean athletes during ceremonies and at the athletes' village at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Jayasurya recalled as Sri Lanka's cricket chief selector
- Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on 27 April 2016 announced appointment of Sanath Jayasuriya as chief selector of the Sri Lankan Cricket team.
- Jayasuriya is back as the chief selector for the team, after a year when he stepped down from the role. Earlier, he served as the chief selector from January 2013 to March 2015.
- Jayasuriya-led committee will succeed the Aravinda de Silva led committee.
Books & Authors –
Blood on my Hands: Confessions of Staged Encounters by Kishalay Bhattacharjee
- The book titled Blood on my Hands: Confessions of Staged Encounter authored by Kishlay Bhattacharjee was in news in the last week of April 2016.
- The book came into news as Biju Janata Dal leader Tathagata Satpathy on 26 April 2016 demanded revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the north-eastern region. He stated that the book, which is on India’s north-eastern region, serves as an eye-opener.
Kerala cartoonist V T Thomas passed away
- Kerala cartoonist V T Thomas, popularly known as Toms, passed away on 27 April 2016 following a brief illness at in Kottayam, Kerela. He was 86. He is survived by his wife Thresyakutty and children Boban, Molly, Rani, Peter, Bose, Princy.
- Toms created the legendary cartoon characters Boban and Molly (Bobanum Moliyum).
Two-time Olympic champion Felix Sanchez retired
- Two-time Olympic 400-meter hurdles gold medalist champion Felix Sanchez announced his retirement on 26 April 2016. The announcement means that the 38-year-old will not defend his title at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
- Sanchez made the announcement in a video press conference in the Dominican Republic.
Chinese human rights activist Harry Wu died
- Harry Wu, campaigner for human rights in China, passed away on 26 April 2016 in Honduras. He was 79.
- Wu, the son of a wealthy Roman Catholic family from Shanghai, was arrested in 1960 when he was only 23 years old. He was given a life sentence in a forced labour prison camp after he criticised the Soviet Union, then an ally of China.