Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 19th May, 2016. These are important for the upcoming UIIC AO 2016, SBI PO and SBI Clerk Mains 2016.
IT department launches e-nivaran platform to fast track taxpayer grievances
- The Income Tax (IT) department on 17 May 2016 launched an electronic grievance redressal system e-nivaran to fast track taxpayer grievances and ensure early resolution of their complaints.
- In this regard, a separate and dedicated window for grievance redressal was also launched in the Income Tax Business Application (ITBA).
Highlights of the e-nivaran system
- The e-nivaran system, also named as Unified Grievance Management System, seeks to integrate all online and physical complaints gathered by the department.
- The complaints at this platform will be monitored by the Assessing Officer up to the supervisory officers in a paperless environment.
- The system not only records the origin of the grievance on the electronic platform it works on, but it also keeps tracking it till it reaches its logical conclusion for final resolution.
- It will also ensure that grievances related to any section or domain of the IT department is transferred quickly to the concerned department.
Amazon India teams up with govt to boost handloom sales
- Amazon India today forged a partnership with Development Commissioner Handloom of the Union Ministry of Textiles under which it will educate, train and enable cooperatives and weavers to directly sell their products on the online portal.
- The partnership allows Amazon India to engage with weavers in Kota in Rajasthan, Nadia in West Bengal, Bargarh in Odisha and Bijoynagar in Assam.
- The products will carry government certifications 'India Handloom Brand' and 'Handloom Mark', ensuring availability of quality products to shoppers across the globe, Amazon India said in a release here.
- The company has already deployed teams in the four states and conducted workshops in Kota and Bargarh, introducing weavers to online selling and Amazon.In's seller services that will help them kickstart their online business, it said.
HSBC to halve branches in India as customers go digital
- British lender HSBC on Thursday announced a consolidation exercise under which it will almost halve its branches in the country to 26 as customers shift to digital alternatives for their banking transactions.
- The total number of branches will be coming down to 26 in 14 cities from 50 in 29 cities earlier, with a bulk of the impact in smaller centres.
- It added that the impacted branches account for only 10 per cent of the customer base in the country.
- The reduction in branches is due to customers’ adoption of digital solutions, it said.
- The consolidation exercise is the result of a strategic review of retail and wealth management vertical and will be carried out in the coming months in a phased manner, said HSBC, which has been present in India since 1853.
Ola signs MoU with Kempegowda International Airport
- App-based cab service provider Ola has launched a unique initiative for travellers arriving at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). Through this first-of- its-kind agreement.
- Ola will have a designated ‘Ola Zone’ at the airport where its driver-partners will be able to park their vehicles and offer uninterrupted service to travellers.
- The move will help users to get an Ola cab within less than three minutes.
- Ola has also deputed queue representatives to guide customers towards their cab if need be.
- The company aims to replicate this model at other key public utility spaces such as railways stations and bus stations in Bengaluru and other cities.
LIC Nomura Mutual Fund is LIC MF again after Nomura quits
- Japanese firm Nomura has exited from its JV with LIC Mutual Fund. LIC Nomura Mutual Fund is again being positioned as LIC Mutual Fund -- the original name it had before Nomura came in with 35 per cent stake in the joint venture.
- There are now two new partners in LIC Mutual fund - GIC Housing Finance and Corporation Bank with 11.7 per cent and 4 per cent stake, respectively.
- Meanwhile, the existing partner LIC Housing Finance has picked up another 19.3 per cent stake to reach 39.3 per cent in the company.
- The rest 45 per cent is owned by the parent firm Life Corporation of India.
BHEL commissions 250 mw thermal unit in Maharashtra
- State-owned BHEL today said it has commissioned a 250 mw thermal unit in Maharashtra.
- The unit has been commissioned at Parli Thermal Power Station (TPS), located in Beed district in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) said in a BSE filing.
- The project is owned by Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco). This is the eighth coal-based unit commissioned by BHEL at Parli TPS.
- BHEL has been a major partner in the power development programme of the state and has commissioned 16,000 mw of power generation capacity in Maharashtra, its highest in any single state.
Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer Scheme – 2016 to be Made Central Sector Scheme
- Union Government on 17 May 2016 announced that it is working to revise the rehabilitation of bonded labour scheme and make it a Central Sector Scheme.
- The revised scheme was announced by Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (IC) labour and Employment.
- Implementation of the new rules will replace Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
Highlights of the revision
- Quantum of Assistance: It increases the quantum of financial assistance from 20 thousand rupees to one lakh rupees.
- Cash Assistance may extend to two lakh rupees in Special Cases and to three lakh rupees in cases of extreme deprivation.
Apple opens Development Office in Hyderabad
- Apple Inc. on 19 May 2016 opened a new Development Office in Hyderabad, Telangana. The office was formally opened by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.
- The facility will focus on development of Maps for Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. This investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4000 jobs.
- Apple has been continually updating and adding new features to Maps, including 3D views, the Flyover feature and tools to help customers find convenient places to shop, eat and explore nearby areas.
- With iOS 9 Apple added Transit, offering a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, which is already available for more than 300 cities around the world.
Apple announces iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru
- Apple Inc. on 18 May 2016 announced establishment of a new iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru.
- The new initiative is aimed at supporting engineering talent and accelerating growth in India’s iOS developer community.
- This facility is in addition to the Development Office that was formally opened by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook in Hyderabad on 19 May 2016.
Features of the new facility
- Apple’s team will work to inspire and instruct developers on best practices, help them hone their skills and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.
- The developers will be given access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world.
- The facility will also provide support and guidance on Swift, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language created to build apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch.
- Swift enables developers to write safer, more reliable code, save time and create richer app experiences.
- The facility is expected to open in early 2017.
Cyclone 'ROANU': Heavy rainfall predicted across Odisha
- Heavy rainfall coupled with gusty surface wind is likely to pound some parts of Odisha as the deep depression over west-central Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm 'ROANU' on Thursday.
- The deep depression over west-central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal moved nearly north-northeastwards before intensifying into the cyclonic storm 'ROANU' and lay centred about 590 km southeast of Gopalpur, the Meteorological Centre here said.
- The system is likely to move north-northeastwards along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast in the next 24 hours and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm.
- Subsequently, the system is likely to move northeastwards along and off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in 48 hours, it said.
Uttar Pradesh govt signs MoU to build theme park in Agra
- Uttar Pradesh government Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kingdom Company of veteran actor Sanjay Khan to establish a 1,000-acre theme park along the Agra Ring Road, which connects the Yamuna Expressway and the under-construction Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
- The MoU was signed between Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation and Kingdom Company in presence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Sanjay Khan.
- Targetting international as well as domestic tourists, the theme park would showcase seven cities in different time periods — ancient, medieval and modern — such as Mohenjo Daro, Pataliputra, Gupta age, Mahabharata age and Ramayana age. Statues of freedom fighters would also be put up.
- Similar to Disneyland, the park would have a five star accommodation, shops and a place called “Swayamvar”, which would be used for organising marriage ceremonies.
- To be constructed with an investment of about Rs 10,000 crore in next 10 years, the project would be developed in four phases.
DMRC conducts trial run of India's first ever Driverless Metro train
- The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on 18 May 2016 conducted the trial run of India's first ever Metro train equipped to run in the driverless mode. The train was ceremonially flagged off by Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
- The six-coach train was ferried to India from South Korea by sea and was brought by road to Delhi on special trailers. DMRC has already assembled 14 such trains and will add 3-4 trains every month to take the total count to 86.
Odisha to launch Green Passage Scheme for orphan students
- The Odisha Government on 17 May 2016 decided to launch Green Passage Scheme for orphan students.
- The scheme will ensure that the orphan students get free of cost higher education in the state.
- Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also gave his green signal for the scheme, which would function under the department of higher education.
Key highlights of the scheme
- Orphan students pursuing higher education from Plus-II level to post-graduation level will no longer have to bear the education expenses.
- As many as 16382 orphan students lodged in 272 institutions across the state, will be exempted of admission fee, tuition fees and laboratory fees for higher studies.
- They will be provided free hostel facilities and food.
India successfully test fires indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile
- India on 18 May 2016 successfully test fired indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile from the Chandipur, off Odisha coast.
- As part of a user trial, the surface-to-surface missile was fired from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range.
- The launch activities were carried out by the Strategic Force Command and monitored by the DRDO scientists.
Features of Prithvi-II Missile
- It weighs 4600 kilogram and has a strike range of 350 kilometer.
- It is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.
- It is the first missile to be developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).
UN Secretary-General appoints Patricia Espinosa Cantellano Executive Secretary of UNFCCC
- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 18 May 2016 appointed Patricia Espinosa Cantellano of Mexico as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- The appointment was made after consultation with the Conference of Parties through its Bureau.
- Espinosa Cantellano will succeed Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica.
Rakesh Kumar Mishra appointed as CCMB director
- Rakesh Kumar Mishra, a noted expert in the study of function of genes, has been appointed as the new Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- Mishra had joined CCMB in 2001 as a senior scientist after stints at the IISc, Bangalore, the University of Bordeaux, France, Saint Louise University, USA and the University of Geneva, Switzerland for post-doctoral experience.
- An MSc from Allahabad University, Mishra's research interests include investigating evolutionarily conserved features of genome organisation, chromatin structure and epigenetic regulation of genes during embryonic development stages.
UN-Habitat releases World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures
- The UN-Habitat on 18 May 2016 released the new global flagship report on sustainable urban development titled World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures.
- The report states that a New Urban Agenda is needed to unlock the transformative power of cities.
Highlights of the World Cities Report 2016
- The top 600 cities, with 1/5th of the world’s population, produce 60 percent of global GDP.
- Since the last UN conference on cities Habitat II in Istanbul in 1996, the center of gravity for megacities has shifted to developing regions.
- In 1995, there were 22 large cities, and 14 megacities globally; by 2015, both categories of cities had doubled with 79 percent of the megacities, that are located in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
India in World Cities Report 2016
- India is projected to add 300 million new urban residents by 2050 and it will need to build climate-friendly cities to address the challenge of accommodating the needs of the growing population.
- India should plan to build 100 smart cities in response to the country's growing population and pressure on urban infrastructure.
Nokia, HMD signs 10-year licensing deal to market Nokia-branded phones and tablets
- Finland-based companies Nokia Technologies and HMD global Oy (HMD) on 18 May 2016 signed a 10-year licensing agreement to market Nokia-branded phones and tablets.
- As part of this brand-licensing deal, Nokia will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights.
- In 2014, Nokia sold its entire handset business to Microsoft under a 7.2 billion US dollars deal. While the deal majorly covered manufacturing, sales and distribution, Nokia held on to its phone patents.
Indian Women's 4 x 100m Relay Team breaks national record at IAAF World Challenge
- The Indian 4x100m women's relay team on 18 May 2016 broke the 18-year-old national record to finish in 4th position at the IAAF World Challenge held in Beijing, China.
- The 4x100m women relay team, which included Dutee Chand, Srabani Nanda, HM Jyoti and Merlin Joseph, clocked 44.03 seconds to finish the race.
- The clocked time broke the 18-year-old record of 44.43s created by the quartet of Saraswati Dey, Rachita Mistry, EB Shyla and PT Usha on 22 July 1998 in Fukuoka, Japan.