Daily Current Affairs – 20th May, 2016

1. India, China home to one-third of mentally ill people: study

a) A new study by the Alliance of Global Burden of Disease has revealed that one-third of mentally ill people and people with substance abuse disorders are from India & China.

b) The study published in the The Lancet and The Lancet Psychiatry reveals that India accounts for 15% of the global burden of mentally ill population whereas China bears 17% of such population.

c) Three-fourth of this population resides in developing countries. In India, only 10% with mental disorders are estimated to receive evidence-based interventions. In China, the treatment-seeking rate is less than 6%.

d) In both the countries, less than 1% part of the national healthcare budget is allocated for mental health care. In the USA the figure is nearly 6%, while in Germany and France it is pegged at around 10%.

(e) The study is first in a series of three papers that mark the launch of the China-India Mental Health Alliance, a long-term project bringing together experts from China and India to take stock of the present condition of mental health services in both countries.

2. Ola signs MoU with Union Government to benefit Safai Karamcharis

a) Taxi-hailing app Ola has signed an MoU with the National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) established under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

b) The MoU aims to build a sustainable framework by supporting entrepreneurship, skill development and self-defence courses for safai karamcharis of all levels.

c) It seeks to give them holistic benefits by enabling livelihood opportunities, especially for women beneficiaries identified by NSKFDC.

d) Ola will facilitate driver-partner micro-entrepreneurship opportunities on its platform for those who are identified and trained by NSKFDC.

3. Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer Scheme – 2016 to be Made Central Sector Scheme

a) In a major revision, the rehabilitation of bonded labour scheme will be brought under the Central sector to increase financial assistance from Rs. 20,000/- to Rs.1 lakh.

b) Implementation of the revised rules will replace the Bonded Labour (Abolition) System Act 1976.

c) Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has stated that the scheme proposes to increase the Budgetary provision from ₹5 crore to about ₹47 crore.

d) Few highlights of the revision include: Extended cash assistance of Rs.2-3 lakhs rupees in cases of extreme deprivation, provision of 2 lakh rupees to the special category comprising females and minors.

e) It proposes a fund of Rs.3 lakhs for the disabled, female and children rescued from the trafficking, sexual exploitation and transgenders.

4. Moody’s pegs India’s growth rate at 7.5% in 2016 & 2017

a) Global rating agency, Moody’s has forecasted that in 2016-17 India will witness a growth rate of 7.5% due to spike in private consumption .

b) The current low headline inflation is expected to continue further in 2016-17. India’s GDP will show steady growth but private investment will remain weak.

c) India’s economic growth is supported by high consumer spending which makes up 55% of aggregate demand. With the introduction of the Seventh Pay Commission, private spending will further increase.

d) The impact of weaker commodity prices is likely to dissipate as commodity prices stabilise.

5. SBI mulls acquisition of its associate banks, Bharatiya Mahila Bank

a) Edging closer to accomplish the consolidation agenda, State Bank of India (SBI) may merge its five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with itself to emerge as India’s major banking institution, with assets worth Rs.37 lakh crore ($550 billion).

b) SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya has stated that the merger will add immense value to the group; the cost of funds itself will come down considerably. However, the bank has clarified that the move is exploratory at this stage.

c) Five associate banks of SBI are: State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT). Bhartiya Mahila Bank, started in 2013, is a Delhi-based public sector bank.

6. PNB incurs worst losses in Indian banking history: RBI data

a) As per an asset quality review carried out by the RBI in 2015, Punjab National Bank (PNB) reported a loss of Rs.5,367 crore, the largest-ever loss reported by an Indian bank.

b) It is a result of inordinate rise in bad loans, which in turn increased provisioning. PNB’s bad loans are now at 12.9%.

c) Bank of Baroda (BoB) reported two consecutive quarters of losses; in December 2015 quarter (a loss of Rs3,342 crore) and March 2016 (Rs3,230 crore). This is the second and third largest losses.

d) The fourth highest loss has been reported by IDBI Bank at Rs.2,183 crore. This is the fourth highest loss reported by any bank.

e) Lastly, in its March quarter results, Syndicate Bank also reported Rs2,158 crore loss – the fifth highest loss. The loss was a result of exceptional charge taken due to a fraud at its branches in Jaipur over the last four years.

7. BHEL commissions 250 MW thermal unit in Maharashtra

a) PSU Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned a 250 MW thermal unit in Maharashtra .

b) The unit has been commissioned at Parli Thermal Power Station ( TPS ), located in Beed district in Marathwada.

c) BHEL, a major partner in the state’s power development programme, has commissioned 16,000 MW of power generation capacity here, its highest in any single state. The project is owned by Maharashtra State Power Generation Company. It is the eighth coal-based unit commissioned by BHEL at Parli TPS.

8. Tata Power bags 100 mw solar projects in Karnataka

a) Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd. recently won two projects of 50 megawatt capacity each in Karnataka under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission at a tariff of Rs.4.79 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

b) TPREL has received the Letter Of Intent (LoI) to develop the projects and will sign a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd.

c) Tata Power plans to generate 30 – 40% of the company’s fuel total generation capacity using non fossil fuel sources by 2025.

9. Nomura exits mutual fund JV with LIC

a) Japanese financial firm Nomura has fully exited its mutual fund joint venture (JV) with state-owned insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).

b) Thus, LIC Nomura Mutual Fund has been renamed LIC Mutual Fund.

c) earlier, Nomura held 35% stake in the asset management company (AMC). The shareholding pattern of the new (AMC) is LIC – 45%, LIC Housing Finance Ltd – 39.3%, GIC Housing Finance – 11.7% and Corporation Bank – 4%.

10. Rakesh Kumar Mishra appointed as CCMB director

a) The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has appointed Dr. Rakesh Kumar has been appointed as the new Director of the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

b) A postgraduate and a doctorate from Allahabad University, he joined CSIR- CCMB in 2001.

11. Patricia Espinosa appointed as new UNFCCC Executive Secretary

a) UN General Secretary Ban-Ki-Moon recently appointed Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa Cantellano as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

b) Espinosa, who is presently serving as Mexico’s ambassador to Germany (since 2013), will succeed Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica.

d) She has earlier served as Mexico’s representative in multilateral bodies and international organisations in Vienna, Geneva and New York. She was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 2006 to 2012.

12. Sevilla win 3rd consecutive Europa League title

a) Sevilla has become the first football club to win the Europa League title three consecutive times.

b) In the final match against Liverpool in Basel, Switzerland, Sevilla scored 3 goals against 1 goal by Liverpool.

c) Sevilla has till date bagged 5 Europa League titles – in 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015 & 2016.

13.Indian-American Rupa Iyer awarded highest teaching award in US

a) The University of Houston’s Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Award of the United States was recently conferred on Indian-American biotechnologist Rupa Iyer.

b) She has received this award for her sustained and significant contributions in the field of education. She has been serving as Associate Dean at Research & Graduate Studies at the University of the Houston College of Technology since 2014.

c) Iyer has received many honours in the past for her research in the area of environmental biotechnology, with applications in bioremediation.

14. President Mukherjee launches Intelligent Operations Centre and Mobile App Monitor

a) President Pranab Mukherjee has inaugurated an Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) in Rashtrapati Bhavan. It is a software solution designed by IBM which helps collect and understand the rich data streaming in from several sources within the Estate to provide intelligent insights.

b) The IOC will be helpful for agencies to prepare for problems, coordinate and manage response efforts and enhance efficiency of services with IOC’s integrated data visualisation, near real-time collaboration and deep analytics.

c) The President has also launched a Mobile App Monitor for transformation of the Estate into a smart township. It is a residents collaboration tool of the IOC. It will help residents and domain (Energy, Water, Horticulture, Waste and Security) supervisors to coordinate well.

(d) Using this app, residents can also report issues like broken street lights, electricity failure, etc. and check resolution status in their cell phones.

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