Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 7th and 8th July, 2016. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains & UBI PO PGDBF Exams 2016.
SBI launches social media banking platform SBI Mingle
- The State Bank of India (SBI) on 1 July 2016 launched SBI Mingle, a social media banking platform for Facebook and Twitter users.
- The platform was launched by SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, on the occasion of 61st State Bank Day that is observed on 1 July every year.
Highlights of SBI Mingle
- It will allow SBI’s customers to access various banking services via these social platforms.
- To avail services from this platform, customers will have to register for it through a simple one time registration process using either their social account number or their ATM/Debit Card details.
- After registering they can undertake the various banking facilities available on the platform.
- Currently, SBI services such as balance enquiry, mini statement, funds transfer within SBI as well as inter-bank and beneficiary management services are available for Facebook.
- On Twitter, customers using hashtags can find out their account balance and view mini statements.
Sidbi partners Yes Bank for loan guarantee under World Bank scheme
- Sidbi on Friday entered into a partnership with private sector lender Yes Bank to guarantee 75% of loans of up to Rs 15 crore extended to energy efficiency projects under a World Bank initiative.
- The state-run Sidbi expects to provide credit guarantee to more than 500 projects and mobilise financing of up to $127 million through the tie-up.
- A memorandum of understanding was signed between Sidbi and Yes Bank under the Partial Risk Sharing Facility (PRSF) for financing energy efficiency projects programme sponsored by the World Bank, Sidbi said in a statement.
- The Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) is the project execution agency whereas Yes Bank claims to be the first Indian lender to be empanelled for the programme.
- Sidbi will extend the guarantee for securing up to 75% of the loan amount of up to Rs 15 crore extended by the bank to MSMEs under this programme.
Kerala becomes first Indian state to impose 14.5% 'fat tax' on junk food
- In a first-of-its-kind move in the country, Kerala has introduced a ‘fat tax’ on the consumption of junk food items like pizzas and burgers sold through branded restaurants.
- The newly-elected LDF government imposed 14.5% tax on branded restaurants selling items like tacos, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, among others. The announcement was made by state finance minister Thomas Isaac as a part of the newly-elected LDF government’s first State Budget presentation after being elected to power.
- Multi-national fast food chains like McDonalds, Pizza etc. are set to be hit on the back of the new tax imposition.
- Meanwhile, the state government has also made consumption of ready-to-eat chapatis dearer with the introduction of 5% tax on wheat products in packets. Along with this, 5% tax has been imposed on packaged basmati rice and coconut oil. Disposable glasses made out of plastic are set to be taxed at a whopping 20%.
NASSCOM unveils India’s first Centre of Excellence on Internet of Things
- The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on 7 July 2016 unveiled India’s first Centre of Excellence focused on Internet of Things (CoE- IoT) at its Startup Warehouse in Bengaluru.
- The centre was launched in a bid to encourage start-ups to come up with tech solutions centred on Internet of Things (IoT).
Highlights of the Centre
- The centre is a joint initiative between the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY), Education and Research Network (ERNET) and NASSCOM.
- It is also supported by Accenture, Cisco, Intel, HCL Technologies, Qualcomm, TCS and L&T Technology Services, among others.
- It will function as an enabler of funding, accelerating, and mentoring for start-ups in this area.
- The CoE laboratory, along with the Nasscom 10000 Startups Warehouse, has the capacity to incubate up to 40 start-ups.
Rajasthan becomes first state to introduce minimum wages for part-time workers
- Rajasthan in the first week of July 2016 became the first state in the country to introduce minimum wages for part time workers.
- The Labour Department of Rajasthan has also issued a notification in this regard.
- As per the notification, it becomes mandatory to pay 50% of the prescribed a day minimum wage to a person who works for less than four hours in a day.
- With the notification, part time workers now come under the Minimum Wages Act 1948.
India, South Africa ink four pacts to take partnership in progress forward
- India and South Africa on Friday inked three Memoranda of Understanding and one Programme of Cooperation to take their "partnership in progress" one more step forward.
- Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted "India-South Africa: Partners in Progress - The two countries announce MoUs/Programme in four areas of cooperation."
- The three Memoranda of Understanding are in the fields of ICT (Information and Communications Technology); Tourism and Grassroots Innovation in Science and Technology (S & T). A Programme of Cooperation in Arts and Culture was the fourth bilateral agreement between the two sides after delegation-level talks held in the presidential boardroom at the Union Building in Pretoria.
Google acquires Paris-based startup Moodstocks
- Search Giant Google on 6 July 2016 acquired Moodstocks, a startup based out of Paris that develops machine-learning based image recognition technology for smartphones.
- Moodstocks' application programming interface (API) for developers are described as the Shazam for images. With this acquisition, Moodstocks’ API and SDK will be discontinued soon.
TRAI launches Myspeed App to measure real time mobile internet speed
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 5 July 2016 launched MySpeed mobile application for measuring real time mobile Internet speed of consumers.
- The idea behind the app is that customers should know about the experience of their as well as other networks in order to select the best mobile operator in their locality. This is the first application to be launched under the Digital India initiative which is directly trying to tackle the issue of poor data speeds.
Highlights of the portal
- The MySpeed app is a free to download, and is currently available only for Android smartphones.
- It takes up 23MB after it is installed on the phone.
- The interface is clutter-free and easy to follow.
- In terms of graphics, MySpeed looks pretty basic in comparison to the most popular speed testing app Speedtest.
- It allows users to report poor mobile network to TRAI, which will eventually help the regulator assess the service quality of an operator.
India, Mozambique sign MoUs on drug trafficking, pulse trading and sports
- India and Mozambique on 7 July 2016 signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in areas of drug trafficking, pulse trading and sports
- These MoUs were signed between two countries at Maputo, Mozambique during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mozambique.
- MoU on long term agreement for purchase of pulses
- It will promote the production of Tur (Pigeon Peas) and other pulses in Mozambique to encourage trading of pulses.
- It will also play an important role in augmenting domestic availability of pulses in India.
- The contract will be valid for five financial years 2020-21 and pulses under it will be imported by India either through G2G or private channels nominated by two countries.
Other MoUs signed
- MoU on cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports.
- MoU on reduction of drug trafficking and psychotropic substances and related materials.
231 Projects under Namami Gange launched all over country
- Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on 7 July 2016 inaugurated 231 projects under the Namami Gange Programme.
- The projects were inaugurated from Haridwar, Uttarakhand in various locations in different states namely Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi.
- These projects involve modernization and redevelopment of Ghats and crematoriums, development of sewage infrastructure and treatment, afforestation, tree plantation, pilot drain project, interceptor drain project, trash skimmers and conservation of biodiversity.
- 47 such projects were inaugurated at various locations in Dehradun, Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Chamoli districts of Uttrakhand.
- 20 projects will be inaugurated at various locations in North 24 pargana, Nadia, South 24 pargana and Howrah districts of West Bengal.
- 26 projects were inaugurated at various locations in Buxar, Vaishali, Saran, Patna and Bhagalpur districts of Bihar.
- 112 projects under Namami Gange programme were inaugurated at various locations in Amroha, Bijnor, Hapur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Mathura, Allahabad, Varanasi, Farukhabad and Kanpur districts.
Second phase of Haritha Haram programme launched in Telangana
- The second phase of Haritha Haram programme of Telangana government was launched in the state on 8 July 2016.
- Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao participated in the plantation programme at Gundrampalli near Chityal in Nalgonda district by planting a Neem sapling.
- Ministers, legislators, officials besides a large number of school children and MGNREGA workers have been asked to take up similar plantations across the state.
- 2nd Phase of Haritha Haram programme
- The two-week long Haritha Haram programme aims at planting 46 crore plants, including 25 lakh in Hyderabad, to improve green belt in the state.
- The trees were planted over 163 kms of highway by over a lakh of people on the first day of the programme.
- As part of its five year programme to increase the forest cover in the state to 33 percent, the government has selected Hyderabad - Vijayawada highway as a pilot project to plant trees on either side of highways.
Union Government launched National Green Highways Mission
- Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on 1 July 2016 launched the National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) in New Delhi.
- Under this initiative, plantation drive on 1500 km of National Highways was launched at a cost of about 300 crore rupees.
Besides, the minister also launched the following initiatives on this occasion.
i. Guidelines for Implementation
ii. Vision Document
iii. Knowledge Reports of the mission
iv. Adopt a Green Highway Program
v. Kisan Harit Rajmarg Yojana
vi. National Green Highways Mission Mobile App
Key features of National Green Highways Mission
- It was launched under the Green Highways Policy that was unveiled in September 2015 to actualize the vision of developing eco-friendly and green National Highways.
- The greening project has a huge potential to generate jobs and can prove to be a game-changer for agriculture and rural economy.
- Greening of one km of highway provides employment to ten people. The initial launch on the 1500 km stretch will employ 15000 people.
- The government has made it mandatory to set aside 1 per cent of the total project cost of any NH contract to a Green Fund corpus that will be used for plantation purposes.
Index & Lists –
India ranks 91 in Networked Readiness Index 2016
- India was placed at 91st position in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) 2016 that was released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) on 6 July 2016. The index was released as the part of the WEF’s Global Information Technology Report 2016.
- It measures countries’ success in creating the necessary conditions for a transition to a digitised economy and society.
Highlights of the Networked Readiness Index 2016
- It finds seven countries are excelling when it comes to economically benefiting from investments in information and communications technologies
- Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the US are leading the world when it comes to generating economic impact from investments in information and technology.
- Singapore leads the Index followed by Finland, Sweden, Norway and the United States.
- India (91st) was ranked the lowest among the BRICS countries- Russia (41st), China (59th), South Africa (65th) and Brazil (72nd).
Awards & Honors –
South African writer Lidudumalingani Mqombothi wins 2016 Caine Prize
- South African writer, filmmaker and photographer Lidudumalingani Mqombothi on 5 July 2016 won the 17th edition of prestigious Caine Prize 2016 for his short story Memories We Lost.
- With this, Lidudumalingani was awarded with 10000 Euros and a month at Georgetown University in the US as a writer-in-residence.
- The winning story explores a difficult subject of tackling schizophrenia. This is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape.
- The Caine Prize is an annual literature prize awarded to an African writer of a short story published in the English language.
Deepak Singhal appointed as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh
- 1982 batch IAS officer Deepak Singhal was on 6 July 2016 appointed as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh. Singhal succeeds 1978 batch officer Alok Ranjan, who retired on 30 June 2016 after a three-month extension of service.
- He will also hold additional charge of Principal Resident Commissioner of UP in New Delhi, and chairman of the Pradeshiya Industrial & Investment Corporation of UP (PICUP).
New Tarantula species named after Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Scientists has named a newly discovered species of tarantula (a big hairy spider) as Kankuamo Marquezi after the famed Colombian novelist and 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
- The species was discovered in large number in an isolated mountain range in Caribbean Colombia. It was named after him as homage to the country where it was found.
- It was discovered by a group of Uruguayan and Colombian scientists, led by Carlos Perefan from the University of the Republic of Uruguay.
Russian leader Putin signs ‘Big Brother’ law
- Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2016 signed the “anti-terrorist” legislation adopted by the lower and upper houses of parliament in June 2016.
- This anti-terror amendment is dubbed as Big Brother by US intelligence contractor turned privacy activist Edward Snowden.
- Critics say that the measures may cost billions to the internet and telecom companies.
- Law enforcement agencies will be granted access to any user’s messages without any judicial oversight.
- It boosts the surveillance powers for the security services by requiring communication providers to store users’ calls, messages, photographs and videos for six months, and the Metadata for up to three years.
- They will have to provide Federal Security Service (FSB) with access to this data and any necessary encryption mechanisms necessary to use it.
Dipa Karmakar named World Class Gymnast by International Gymnastics Federation
- Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar was named a ‘Gymnaste de Classe Mondaile’ (World class gymnast) by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
- In this regard, she received the official letter confirming the distinction from the federation on 6 July 2016.
- With this, she also became the first-ever Indian gymnast to receive the honour.
- She is the first woman in the gymnast history to land the Produnova, one of the most dangerous vaults.