Daily Current Affairs – 11th and 12th June 2016, Saturday and Sunday

1. Researchers in Assam developed two rice variants, Ranjit Sub-1 & Bahadur Sub-1, for submerged areas

a) Two new rice varieties namely Ranjit Sub-1 & Bahadur Sub-1 was recently developed by researchers at Assam Agricultural University. These rice varieties will give better yields under submerged conditions in Assam state mainly in Barak valley.

b) These rice varieties are suited for the submerged areas in Kharif season. They are the better versions of the Ranjit and Bahadur rice varieties. To develop this new varieties, the researchers have incorporated a new gene which will ensure the increase in productivity even if the crops remain submerged in the flash floods.

2. NIIF, Qatar Investment Authority signed MoU to facilitate investment in Indian infrastructure sector

a) National Investment and infrastructure fund (NIIF) has recently signed an MoU with Qatar investment authority to attract investments from Qatar under the umbrella of NIIF.

b) The MoU was signed by Mr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, CEO of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Mr. Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs on behalf of NIIF Ltd.

c) The Qatar investment authority will study the investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector in India and develop a framework for exchange of information with regard to such investments opportunities, in order to enable both sides to decide on joint investments.

3. India signs Europe-led clampdown on tax evasion and corruption

a) India has recently joined a group of 40 nations by signing a Europe led clamp down on tax evasion and corruption. These signatories have committed to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership.

b) The group is working towards development of a global standard for this exchange of beneficial ownership data between law enforcement agencies and tax authorities of partner countries. Some countries outside of Europe are also in the list of signatories which include Afghanistan, Nigeria, Mexico and the UAE.

c) Most of the European countries have signed this agreement except a tax haven like Switzerland.

4. Union Government releases the Road Accidents in India 2015 Report

a) Union minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has recently launched ‘Road accidents in India 2015’ report. This report is made by the Transport Research Wing.

b) As per the report, the total no. of accidents have increased by 2.5% in 2015 as compared to the statistics of 2014. The total no. of persons killed in 2015 have also increased by 4.6% in 2015. Road accident injuries have increased by 1.4%.

c) Every day around 1374 accidents and 400 deaths take place on Indian roads. 15-34 year old people killed in road accidents are around 54.1% of total. Around 86.7% of road accidents are mostly from thirteen Indian states namely Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, UP, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Haryana.

d) Among cities, Mumbai has the highest no. of road accidents. Delhi has the highest no. of road accident deaths. The main cause of these road accidents across the country are due to the ‘driver’s fault’ mostly.

5. PM Modi concluded five-nation tour to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the USA and Mexico

a) Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has recently concluded his 5 nations tour to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the USA and Mexico.

b) Modi inaugurated Afghan-India friendship dam which is built by India for irrigation, power generation and to supply drinking water. Mr. Modi was conferred with Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour, the Amir Abdullah Khan award.

c) India & Qatar signed seven bilateral agreements in total in various fields. Both the countries have also garred to constitute a high level inter ministerial joint committee to review the bilateral matters.

d) Switzerland supported India’s membership in the 48 member NSG group. They also agreed to support India in fighting against the black money and tax evasion. The country also agreed to set up new vocational and educational training centres.

e) Modi attended a joint session in US congress and 40th US India Business Council in Washington. India and US have launched a 20 million dollar US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative to mobilize up to 400 million dollar to provide clean and renewable energy to upto 1 million households by 2020. India and US have signed six bilateral agreements and 2 documents in total in various fields.

f) Foreign ministers of India and Mexico are instructed to develop a roadmap of Privileged Partnership suitable for the 21st Century, in the framework of the Seventh Mexico-India Joint Commission Meeting to be held in Mexico in 2016.

6. Suresh Prabhu flags off Champaran Satyagrah Express train in Bihar

a) Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the weekly Champaran Satyagraha Express at Motihari, Bihar.

b) He had also inaugurated six new rail facilities in Bihar which includes three Road Over Bridges (ROBs) at Danapur (Patna), Motihari and Begusarai railway stations, the broad gauge conversion work of Banmankhi-Purnea rail section, besides converting Piprahan station into a crossing station.

c) The champaran Satyagraha was the first satyagraha in the country which was led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917 in Champaran. This train is launched to mark the completion of 100 years to the historic moment of Champaran Satyagraha.

d) The train will run between Bapudham, Motihari and Anand Vihar, Delhi.

7. Axis Bank launches India’s first certified green bond at London Stock Exchange

a) Axis Bank has launched India’s first certified green bond at London Stock Exchange with an aim to finance the climate change solutions across globe. Axis Bank raised a $500 million at London stock exchange.

b) Axis Bank said the proceeds of the bond will be invested in green energy, transportation and infrastructure projects, reinforcing India’s commitment to produce 175,000 MW of renewable power by 2022.

c) London Stock Exchange is a world leader in green bond listings, home to international green finance from India and China.

8. Maharashtra to observe 21st of every month as Yoga Day

a) 21st day of every month will be observed as the Yoga day across all schools, colleges and universities in the Maharashtra State. 21st day of every month is chosen as the international yoga day is celebrated on 21st June.

b) Every year a Yoga Mahotsav will also be celebrated in the state from 12 Jan t0 21st Jan. Every district in the state will have to set up a Yoga Day Committee to celebrate Yoga Mahotsav. A state level committee will also be formed to monitor the district level Yoga committees.

9. Centre announces new Print Media Advertisement policy

a) The Union Information and Broadcasting ministry has recently released a new print media advertising policy for directorate of advertising and visual publicity (DAVP).

b) The basic objective of this policy is to bring transparency and accountability in issuing of advertisements in print media.

c) The Policy has introduced a new marking system based on 6 objective criteria with different marks to incentivize the newspapers.

d) The newspaper applying this policy will have a better professional standing and can get their circulation verified by Audit Bureau of Circulations or registrar of newspapers for India.

e) The policy mandates that DAVP will release payment of advertisement bills in the name of newspaper or company account directly through ECS or NEFT. It has classified newspaper and journals in three categories namely

I) small: publishing upto 25,000 copies per day,
II) medium: between 25,001 and 75,000 copies

III) Big: 75,000 copies or more.

10. FCI inks pact with Adani Group

a) Adani group of infrastructure and Food Corporation of India has recently inked an infrastructure pact. As per this agreement, the Adani Group will build two silos to store wheat, at an estimated cost of about Rs 80 crore.

b) This two silos have the storage capacity of 75,000 tonnes combined. These silos will be build at Kotkapura in Punjab and Katihar in Bihar in the next two years.

c) A silo is a steel structure, comprising large size cylindrical shape bins normally each with a capacity of about 12,500 tonnes, where grains can be stored without jute bags for longer duration.

11. Tata Power Solar bagged the MNRE award

a) Ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) award was bagged by Tata Power Solar. They received this award for in the Channel Partner/EPC contractor category at the National Excellence Awards 2016 instituted by MNRE for the first time.

b)Tata Power Solar won this award for their rooftop solar power initiative. Tata Power Solar has commissioned 112.5 MW of rooftop projects till 2016.

c) Central government has set up a target of bearing around 100 MW solar capacity by 2022. Rooftop solar power plants constitute around 40% of this target.

12. MTNL chairman Narendra Yadav steps down

a) Narendra Kumar Yadav, Chairman and Managing director of state run MTNL will soon be step down from his position owing to the completion of his tenure.

b) Director (finance) P K Purwar has been given additional charge of the CMD’s post.

13. Akhil Sharma wins €100,000 Dublin International literary award

a) Veteran American author of Indian origin Akhil Sharma has recently won the Dublin International Literary award for his second novel ‘family life’.

b) Dublin International Literary award is considered as the world’s richest literary award as it offers 1,00,000 Euro to the winner. This award is given to the books published in English or English translation and which are nominated by public libraries from around the world.

c) Akhil Sharma has also bagged the 2015 Folio Prize worth 40,000 pounds for his autobiographical novel.

14. World’s highest-paid athletes: Cristiano Ronaldo tops Forbes 2016 list

a) Forbes magazine has recently released a list of world’s highest paid athletes in 2016. With earnings of 88 million in total, ace football player Cristiano Ronaldo topped the list.

b) Americans and baseball players dominated this list. With earnings of 81.4 million US dollars Argentinian football player Lionel Messi stood at the 2nd position. NBA’s Lebron James is at the third position in this list.

c) Roger Federer is the highest earning athlete in individual athlete category. Novak Djokovic has also made in top 10 for the first time.

d) Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are only two female athletes to receive a spot in this list.

15. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016 released

a) BP Statistical Review of World Energy for the year 2015 was released on 8 June 2016. The review provides an objective global overview of energy production, consumption, trade, reserves and prices.

b) Highlights of the BP Statistical Review

. Rise of 1 percent in Global primary energy consumption in 2015, similar to the below-average growth recorded in 2014 (+1.1 percent) and well below its 10-year average of 1.9 percent.

. Oil remained the world’s leading fuel which was accounting for 32.9 percent of global energy consumption. It gained market share for the first time since 1999.

. Global oil consumption grew by 1.9 million barrels per day (b/d), or 1.9 percent which was nearly double the recent historical average (+1 percent) and significantly stronger than the increase of 1.1 million b/d seen in 2014.

. Natural gas market share of primary energy consumption was 23.8percent.

. Global crude runs rose by 1.8 million b/d (+2.3 percent) which was more than triple their 10-year average growth, although there were declines in South & Central America, Africa and Russia.

. 1.7 percent increase in World natural gas consumption which was a significant increase as compared in 2014 but still below the 10-year average of 2.3 percent.

. 1.3 percent increase in global nuclear output with China (+28.9 percent) accounting for the increase. China leads to become the fourth-largest supplier of nuclear power.

. Renewable energy sources reached 2.8 percent of global energy consumption in 2015, a rise of 0.8 percent in a decade.

16. Gordie Howe, legendary ice hockey player dies

a) Veteran Ice hockey player Gordie Howe recently passed away at the age of 88.

b) He was considered among the greatest ice hockey players of all time. He was nicknamed as Mr. Hockey.

c) He played for Detroit Red Wings and led to them to win 4 Stanley cup titles. He played 26 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) and six seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA).

17. Iceland scientists turn CO2 into Stone under CarbFix Project

a) Researchers in Iceland have discovered a new way to trap the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground by changing it into rock.

b) As per the CarbFix project, injecting CO2 into volcanic rocks triggers a reaction that rapidly forms new carbonate minerals-potentially locking up the gas.

c) This carbon capture and storage (CCS) technique gives a new hope for handling the CO2 emissions safely and disposing it in a more reliable way. It is identified as a potential way to combat climate change.

18. AAI conferred national award for best performing central PSU for Green Energy initiatives

a) The Airport Authority of India was recently conferred with National award for best performing central PSU for Green Energy initiatives. AAI received this award for Rooftop Solar Power initiatives.

b) AAI started their Rooftop Solar Power initiatives back in 2010 with a visionary approach called ‘Invest in the Sun’. With these solar power based initiatives, the carbon emissions are considerably reduced.

c) AAI has also installed 4.8 MWp rooftop solar plants at 13 Airports. They are also working on for 4.9 MWp at 14 airports.

19. Govt forms panel on PSU executives pay revision

a) Central government has recently constituted a committee to make recommendations on revisions in pay scale of executives of central public sector undertakings. The panel is chaired by retired justice Satish Chandra.

b) The committee will submit its report within next six months. In this report, the committee will recommend on the matter to the government, covering Board level functionaries, below-Board level executives and non-unionized supervisory staff of CPSEs. While making these recommendations, the committee will also consider the report of 7th Pay Commission.

c) Jugal Mohapatra, Ex-IAS Officer; Manoj Panda, Director, Institute for Economic Growth Delhi and Shailendra Pal Singh, Executive Director (HR), NTPC Ltd. are also part this 3rd pay revision committee.

20. Telangana to set up 12,500-acre Pharma City near Hyderabad

a) As per the recent order given by state government of Telangana, a Pharma city will soon be established on 12,500 acres of land in Ranga Reddy and Mahbubnagar districts of the state.

b) Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) will soon send a detailed project proposal for this city to state government.

c) Being a bulk drugs capital of India, around ⅓ of the total drug production is carried out in Telangana. This newly proposed pharma city will become a hub of pharmaceutical companies with most modern facilities available.

21. Machilipatnam Town-Sanctioned For Development Under AMRUT Scheme

a) Rs. 37.5 crores are signed by Union Urban Development Ministry for the development of the Machilipatnam town under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.

b) The allocated funds will be used mainly for the beautification of the town and establishing amusement parks. The funds will also be used of development of cemeteries.

22. FICCI to be national partner at 8th Vibrant Gujarat Summit

a) Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) will be the national partner for the eighth edition of the biennial industrial global summit called Vibrant Gujarat 2017. FICCI will partner jointly with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

b) The core theme of the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Summit is ‘Connecting India to the World’.

23. SBI, CaixaBank ink pact to fund Indo-Spanish joint ventures

a) Recently a financial pact was inked between State Bank of India and CaixaBank with an aim to provide loans to Indo-Spanish joint ventures.

b) Both the banks will jointly fund the Indo-Spanish joint ventures and Indian local enterprises by expanding bank’s guarantee transactions.

c) Both the banks will also collaborate to introduce new business opportunities and partnering possible infrastructure funds. The areas of mutual interests would be syndicated loan business, guarantee transactions, trade finance and export credit agency finance, infrastructure finance and networking services, among others.

24. ‘Sansad Ratna’ awards conferred on 5 MPs

a) Former RBI Governor C Rangarajan gave away Sansad Ratna awards to five Members of Parliament for their performance in parliament.

b) BJP’s PP Chaudhary, representing Pali in Rajasthan, Heena Vijaykumar Gavit, BJP MP from Nandurbar, Shrirang Appa Barne, Shivsena MP from Maval and Congress MP Rajeev Shankarrao Satav from Hingoli and CPI (M) leader from Kerala, P Rajeev, were also honoured for their work.

c) Prime Point Foundation and emagazine Presence instituted this award on the suggestion of India’s former president Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. These 5 MPs received this award for their participation in several debates, moving a number of private member bills, raising over 300-500 questions individually and a high attendance percentage in Parliament.

25. Karnataka Bank former chairman MS Krishna Bhat passes away

a) Former Chairman of Karnataka Bank M S Krishna has recently passed away. He was chairman of Karnataka Bank from 1995 to 2000.

b) He started Capital expansion programme in the bank in October, 1995 by way of public issue of shares at a premium. During his tenure, he brought the bank to new heights.