Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the Important Current Affairs of 26th May, 2016. These are important for the upcoming UIIC AO, SBI PO & Clerk Mains 2016 Exams.
Oriental Insurance ties up with Coverfox
- State-owned Oriental Insurance has for the first time tied up with a private online insurance broker, Coverfox, to sell its comprehensive motor insurance product for both four and two wheelers.
- For Coverfox, which operates the online insurance portal coverfox.com, this is the first engagement with a public sector general insurer.
- Currently, auto insurance is the largest selling category for Coverfox. Founded in 2013, Coverfox sells insurance online and offers car insurance, health insurance, home insurance and travel insurance.
- Coverfox is the second largest online auto insurance provider, besides selling health and travel policies. It sells nearly 10,000 policies (auto, health and travel put together) a month and is witnessing a steady growth of about 20 per cent month-on-month
- In March 2014, a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Google India estimated that three in every four insurance policies sold by 2020 would be influenced by digital channels during either the pre-purchase stage, purchase or renewal stages.
India, Japan MoU on sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power development approved
- The Union Cabinet on 25 May 2016 gave ex-post facto approval to the MoU between Indian and Japan for promoting sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power development in India.
- The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will help India in formulating suitable policies and developing technologies involved in producing sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power.
- The agreement will support Clean Coal Technology (CCT) for thermal power plants such as Ultra Super Critical (USC) and other environmental technologies.
- It will also explore possibilities for acquisition of carbon credits with bilateral or multilateral offset schemes that are anticipated to be materialized in the future as a result of low-carbon power development.
Union Cabinet approves takeover of Hindustan Steel Works Construction Limited by NBCC
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 May 2016 approved for financial restructuring of Hindustan Steel Works Construction Limited (HSCL). It also approved its takeover by National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) to takeover HSCL.
- The decision will benefit in economies of scale for NBCC and would assist in better manpower utilization. NBCC and HSCL will benefit from each other’s resources and expertise. HSCL will be able to fulfill its commitments of execution of projects and the orders.
Key features in financial restructuring of HSCL
- The existing paid up equity capital of the HSCL is 117.1 crore rupees.
- Under the proposal, Uni0on Government non-plan loan and plan loan along with accumulated interest thereon and outstanding guarantee fee worth 1502.2 crore rupees.
- It will be converted into equity and equity capital of the company will be raised to that extent.
Union Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to MoU between India and Maldives for cooperation in field of tourism
- The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 25 May 2016 granted ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Maldives.
- The MoU was signed to strengthen cooperation in the field of tourism.
- The MoU with Maldives will be instrumental in increasing arrival from this important source market. In recent years, Maldives has also emerged as an important tourism generating market for India.
Key objectives of the MoU:
- To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector
- To exchange information and data related to tourism
- To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators
- To establish exchange programme for cooperation in Human Resources Development
Union Road Transport Minister Gadkari launches safety feature-rich Nirbhaya buses
- Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on 25 May 2016 launched 20 Nirbhaya buses of Rajasthan State Transport Corporation (RSTC). These buses are fitted with multiple safety measures to better protect women passengers.
- The 20 buses launched as a pilot project under the NIRBHAYA scheme include 10 luxury and 10 ordinary roadways buses.
Features of Nirbhaya bus
- Nirbhaya bus security measures include Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), CCTV and panic buttons on every seat.
- The VTS and the panic buttons will enable the police to know the exact location of the bus and provide prompt assistance.
- Once the emergency signal is triggered, the CCTV cameras will start displaying live footage of the bus at the central control room.
Intel India unveils three new initiatives to support Digital India
- Intel India on Thursday announced three innovative initiatives to strengthen its support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India programme.
- It launched three projects designed to accelerate digital literacy at the grassroots level by reaching out to the population in non-urban India, upskill citizens in tier two cities and beyond and encourage innovation from the local level.
- Building on the momentum of its "Ek Kadam Unnati Ki Aur" initiative to accelerate access to technology in non-urban India, Intel India e-launched its latest "Unnati Kendra at Common Service Centre" (UK at CSC) in Karnal, the first in Haryana.
- The 'UK at CSC' will serve as the common access digital learning centres for people of the state.
- Intel India is working with the government to open a network of up to 100 'UK at CSC' facilities across 10 states this year, with 10 such facilities already set up in the state of Telangana.
- Intel India also announced the "Digital Unnati" website that is being set up in collaboration with the CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd.
- It will enable Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) to learn how to assemble a PC online and upskill their technology know-how.
Union HRD Minister launches Bharatavani Portal at Lucknow
- The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Zubin Irani on 25 May 2016 launched the multilingual knowledge portal www.bharatvani.in at Lucknow. With its launch, Bharatavani became the largest online repository of dictionaries in India.
- The portal has been launched in 22 scheduled languages, which eventually will be extended to 100 more languages. It will help the government to showcase the Indian culture and heritage to the world.
- This project is in line with the HRD Ministry’s efforts to not only ensure universalization of education but also towards creation of a knowledge society in the digital age.
Key features of Bharatavani Portal
- Aim: It aims at brining in people of India under one portal and establishes itself as a single point online window to knowledge in and about Indian Languages, dictionaries, language IT tools and textbooks.
- Goal: Its goal is to bridge the Digital and language divide, with the idea to publish as well as involve people in the Open Knowledge movement.
- One Point language resource: It is the first knowledge portal of its kind in India which focuses on becoming a single point source for multiple language learning, content and technology.
- Window to language diversity: It will help the government to protect, preserve and include all Indian languages through technological development without discrimination.
The Bharatavani Portal would publish the content in the following main sections:
- Paa Thyapustaka Kosha: Textbooks by various authorities
- Jnana Kosha: Encyclopedic Knowledge base in all languages
- Shabda Kosh: Dictionaries, Glossaries, Terminologies
- Bhasha Kosha: Language learning books
- Suchanaa Praudyogikii Kosha: It tools (right now linked to TDIL)
- Bahumaadhyama Kosha: Multimedia content
India’s first ever Passenger Satisfaction Survey conducted at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
- The finding of the first of its kind survey conducted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai were released by the Research Team of L.N.Welingkar Institute of Management (WE School) in May 2016 at Mumbai Customs House.
- The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) engaged a WE School to conduct a survey of Passenger Satisfaction levels of customs clearance process at the Mumbai International Airport.
- The scope of the Survey was to assess Passenger Satisfaction levels with the Customs Clearance Process, focusing on three aspects. Those three aspects were Information, Behaviour and Process.
- A research team comprising of faculty members and research associates of WE School conducted the survey over a week on 24x7 basis in May 2016.
Key findings of the survey:
- Overall Satisfaction level at Mumbai Airport
- The passengers were asked to rate their experience of Mumbai Customs vis-a- vis other international Airports across the world.
- 69% rated their experience with Mumbai airport customs as better as or somewhat better than other international airports.
- 15% rated on par.
- About 16% felt that it was worse .
- 77% of the passengers stated that they did not face any difficulty or harassment.
- The study revealed that passengers are sensitive to the time they spend on the entire Customs Clearance Process.
- In the case of Green Channel passengers, threshold time is up to 15 minutes while in the case of Red Channel Passengers, threshold time appeared to creep in the 15 to 29 minutes time interval.
UNEP releases report titled Actions on Air Quality
- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 24 May 2016 released the report titled Actions on Air Quality. The report was released during the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2).
- As per the report, with the decline of the global air quality, action in some air quality areas points to political will to tackle this global public health emergency although current efforts still fall short.
Highlights of the report
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global urban air pollution levels increased by 8 percent between 2008 and 2013.
- More than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits, threatening lives, productivity and economies.
- The report found improvements in some areas such as access to cleaner cooking fuels and stoves, renewables, fuel sulphur content and public transport - pointing to a growing momentum for change.
Narendra Modi the second most-liked world leader on Facebook
- As Narendra Modi completes two years as Prime Minister, he remains the second most-liked world leader on Facebook, the social media giant said Thursday.
- The list of most-liked world leaders on Facebook released by the social network shows that Modi is second only to US President Barack Obama and is followed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
- Modi's Facebook post on May 15 with his mother at his official residence at Delhi's Race Course Road remains on top with 1.6 million likes, 1.2 lakh shares and 34,000 comments.
- The Prime Minister's colleagues are also not far behind in making their presence felt in the virtual world.
- Out of a total of 50 cabinet ministers along with ministers with independent charge, 47 of them have verified Facebook presence.
- During the last one year, the top performing ministers on Facebook include Home Minister Rajnath Singh, HRD minister Smriti Zubin Irani, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
India home to 56 of the world's largest public firms: Forbes
- Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries leads the pack of 56 Indian firms in Forbes's annual list of the world's 2,000 largest and mostpowerful public companies, with the US leading the list with 586 companies.
- The 2016 Forbes 'Global 2000', a snapshot of the world's largest companies, shows the dominance of US and China in the current global business landscape.
- US and China-based companies dominate the top 10, with only Japan's Toyota Motor at the 10th tenth preventing a clean sweep for the two nations.
- India's tally of 56 of the world's biggest companies remains the same as last year and Reliance Industries maintains its top position of leading the largest public companies in India.
- Reliance improved its ranking this year to 121 from 142 last year, with a market value of $50.6 billion and assets worth $91.5 billion.
- Reliance is followed by State Bank of India which is ranked 149 and has a 23.3 billion dollar market value.
- The other Indian companies on the list are Oil and Natural Gas ranked (220), ICICI Bank (266), HDFC Bank (275), Indian Oil (371), Tata Consultancy Services (385), NTPC (400), Bharti Airtel (453), Axis Bank (484), Infosys (590), Bharat Petroleum (650), Wipro (755,Tata Steel (1178) and Adani Enterprises (1993).
- Also making to the list are Coal India (465), Larsen and Toubro (505), ITC (781), Kotak Mahindra Bank (899), Mahindra and Mahindra (901) and HCL Technologies (943).
Pinarayi Vijayan sworn-in as Chief Minister of Kerala
- Veteran CPI-M leader Pinarayi Vijayan was sworn-in as 12th Chief Minister of Kerala on 25 May 2016. Governor P Sathasivam administered his oath of office and secrecy along with other 18 ministers in Thiruvananthapuram.
- He won the 2016 Kerala Legislative Assembly election as the CPI(M) candidate for Dharmadom constituency.
- Of those who were sworn on the occasion are 12 ministers from CPI-M including Pinarayi Vijayan. While 4 ministers are from CPI, 3 others are from Congress(S), NCP and JD(S). Eight of those who were sworn on the occasion became ministers for the first time.
Startup Village head Sanjay Vijaykumar appointed advisor to Rajasthan govt council
- Startup Village Chairman Sanjay Vijayakumar, who played a key role in setting up India’s first technology business incubator on the PPP model in Kerala, has been appointed Advisor to the Rajasthan government’s Startup Council, to create a startup ecosystem in the state.
- The Startup Council, headed by the Rajasthan Chief Minister, comprises a Member Secretary, nine members and 11 experts from the industry.
- The 32-year-old Vijayakumar has been appointed in his capacity as an eminent expert of the Startup Council, whose mandate is to play “an advisory role and act as a think tank for strengthening the startup ecosystem” in the state.
Awards & Honors –
US engineer Frances Arnold becomes first woman to win Millennium Technology Prize
- Technology Academy Finland (TAF) on 24 May 2016 declared American innovator Frances Arnold as winner of the 2016 Millennium Technology Prize.
- The 1 million euro prize is awarded biennially and Arnold is the first female winner in its 12-year history.
- Biochemical engineer Arnold received the 2016 Millennium Technology Prize in recognition of her discoveries that launched the field of directed evolution, which mimics natural evolution to create new and better proteins in the laboratory.