Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 23 -JANUARY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 23 -JANUARY - 2016
Saturday, 23 January 2016 04:00

 

 

DAILY NEWS UPDATES

23 - JANUARY - 2016

BINNY BANSAL APPOINTED AS CEO OF FLIPKART

India's biggest e-commerce company, Flipkart, announced the promotion of current Chief Operating Officer Binny Bansal to the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). On the other hand, Sachin Bansal, who has been the CEO since inception, will now take on the newly-created role of Executive Chairman.

The major restructuring of its top management will see Mukesh Bansal report to Binny. Mukesh will continue to be chairman of Myntra, which he co-founded, and head Flipkart's commerce platform. He has also been given additional responsibility of the overall ads business.

The current ads business head Ravi Garikipati will report to Mukesh.

Who is Binny Bansal?

Binny Bansal is an Indian Software engineer and Internet entrepreneur.

In 2007, he co-founded the e-commerce platform Flipkart with Sachin Bansal.

Before co-founding Flipkart, Binny was previously employed with Amazon for 9 months.

Prior to joining Amazon, he was rejected by Google twice.

He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering.

DAC APPROVED MAJOR CHANGES IN DEFENCE PROCUREMENT PROCEDURE

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar approved major changes in the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016.

The DPP 2016, which will take at least another two months for it to be notified, allows government funds up to 90 percent of development costs to private companies to push research and innovation. It also aims to enhance private sector participation and speed up procurement process.

The new DPP will streamline defence acquisitions and give a big impetus to indigenisation through the Make in India initiative.

Key highlights of DPP 2016

A new category will be created to promote domestic manufacturing, including government funding for Research & Development and recognition of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in technology development.

Under the new category for Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) equipment, it will be mandatory for 40 percent of the content to be sourced locally.

Validity of the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) has been brought down to six months from the earlier one year. It will help the defence forces to issue tenders faster.

Addition of the policy to fund Indian private entities in R&D to encourage more local development.

BHEL COMMISSIONED 520 MW VIZAG THERMAL POWER PLANT IN ANDHRA PRADESH

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) announced that it commissioned the first unit of the 2x520 MW Vizag thermal power project in Andhra Pradesh.

While the project, which is located in Visakhapatnam, is owned by the Hinduja National Power Company Limited (HNPCL), it is being executed by BHEL on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

The project is located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal and uses single flow condenser and sea water as main cooling water.

And, it is in addition to the four 500 MW thermal sets supplied and executed by BHEL. They are already in operation at Simhadri Super Thermal Power Station of NTPC in Visakhapatnam district.

ANIL AMBANI-LED RELIANCE GROUP SIGNED MOU TO SET UP NAVAL FACILITY IN VISHAKHAPATNAM

Reliance Defence Ltd, a unit of Anil Ambani led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd led signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh Government to set up a world class naval facility in the state.

The announcement regarding the MoU was made at Andhra Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam.

The proposed facility will be established with an initial investment of 5000 crore rupees. And, it will be setup on the East Coast of India at Rambilli, which is 70 kilometers south of Visakhapatnam.

Earlier, in March 2015, Reliance acquired the Pipavav shipyard on West Coast in Gujarat. These two facilities will build submarines and aircraft carriers and also provide services including maintenance and refitting of ships.

US, JORDAN SIGNED JOINT ACTION PLAN ON COOPERATION TO COUNTER NUCLEAR SMUGGLING

United States and Jordan signed a Joint Action Plan (JAP) to improve efforts against nuclear and radiological smuggling. The partnership will help in enhancing the efforts to combat nuclear terrorism.

The JAP was signed by Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Washington.

The measure strengthens US-Jordanian efforts to work to detect and prevent nuclear and radiological smuggling incidents. The US has similar agreements with 13 other countries, including Iraq, Ukraine and Lithuania.

The plan is the fourteenth such arrangement the State Department has concluded worldwide, and Jordan’s third with a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region partner.

This Joint Action Plan strengthens an already excellent partnership that will make the United States, Jordan, and the region more secure.

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region

The term MENA is an acronym referring to the Middle East and North Africa region and covers an extensive region, extending from Morocco to Iran, including all Middle Eastern and Maghreb countries. The term is roughly synonymous with the term the Greater Middle East.

AMITABH BACHCHAN MADE HONORARY LIFE MEMBER OF MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan was bestowed honorary life membership of Kolkata’s soccer outfit Mohammedan Sporting.

Sporting president Sultan Ahmed handed over the club’s life membership to Bachchan.

Bachchan was also invited to be the chief guest of the club’s 125th anniversary gala event to be held later in 2016.

About Mohammedan Sporting Club

Mohammedan Sporting Club was founded in 1891 at Kolkata.

It is one of the oldest and leading football clubs in India.

At present, the club plays in the I-League 2nd Division and premier division of Calcutta Football League(CFL).

It was the first Indian club to win CFL in 1934 and continued their run till 1938 season.

Before Independence, numerous triumphs against British teams earned the club huge support from every section of Indian society.

The club also became the first Indian club to win the Durand Cup in 1940.

After Independence, the club also became the first Indian club to win on foreign soil by lifting the Aga Khan Gold Cup in 1960.

Mohammedan Sporting along with Mohun Bagan A.C. and East Bengal F.C. are tagged as the Big Three.

UNION GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED GREENFIELD PETROCHEMICAL COMPLEX AND NIPER IN VISAKHAPATNAM

Union Minister for Fertilizers and Chemicals Ananth Kumar announced the sanction of greenfield petrochemical complex and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) in Visakhapatnam and a Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) in Vijayawada.

The announcement was made at Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) partnership summit 2016 in Visakhapatnam.

The proposed petrochemical complex will be constructed by public sector companies Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL). This would be an additional Medical Devices Park to the prior announced one in Gujarat in December 2015.

Greenfield petrochemical complex, will have a potential investment of 20000 crore rupees will be manufacturing medical devices and NIPERwould help meet the demand for specialized manpower for making Visakhapatnam as a pharmaceutical hub.

Along with these, Union Government will expand the student capacity of Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) in Vijayawada to 5000 from the existing 200 and the institute will also offer graduate and post graduate courses in plastic engineering and that there are 28 CIPET centers all over the country.

CONFERENCE OF QCG ON AFGHAN PEACE & RECONCILIATION HELD IN ISLAMABAD

Conference of Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) on Afghan Peace and Reconciliation process was held in Islamabad. The purpose of the conference was to explore ways to create consensus for talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan's government.

The conference was participated representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US. The group will again meet in Kabul on 18 January 2016 to hold discussions on a roadmap.

The joint statement released after the discussions emphasised the immediate need for direct talks between the representatives of the Afghanistan government and representatives from Taliban groups. The talks for peace process aims at preserving Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

About Quadrilateral Coordination Group

• The four-nation group was set up in 2015 to expedite the process of reconciliation in the war-torn country after decades of bloodshed.

• The first round was held in July 2015 but the process was suspended in the same month after news of Taliban Chief Mullah Omar's death was announced.

The group also reiterated their commitment to the realization of objectives expressed in their statement from the quadrilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad on 9 December 2015.

USIBC APPOINTED EDWARD MONSER, PUNIT RENJEN AS VICE CHAIRS OF COUNCIL BOARD

The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) Board of Directors selected Council board members Edward Monser, President of Emerson, and Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global), as USIBC Vice Chairs.

The announcement came at the heels of former Cisco CEO John Chamber’s recent appointment to USIBC Chairman.

Renjen and Monser together represent over 60 years of experience and expertise in global manufacturing, business strategy, and business development, reflecting USIBC’s directive to maintain a diverse leadership.

Who is Punit Renjen?

Renjen belongs to Rohtak, Haryana.

He grew up in India and did his schooling at Lawrence School in Sanawar, Himachal Pradesh.

He holds a bachelor’s degree with honours and a master’s degree in management from Willamette University, US.

He is the first Indian-origin person to head a Big-Four audit firm.

He has been working with Deloitte for the last 28 years.

Earlier, he served as the chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting LLP.

He was one of The Top 25 Consultants ranked by Consulting Magazine in 2007.

Who is Edward Monser?

Edward L. Monser has been serving as the president of Emerson since 2010.

He served as the company’s chief operating officer from 2001-2015 and is also a member of its Office of the Chief Executive.

He began his career as a senior engineer at Rosemount in 1981. After serving in several engineering management positions, he was named Rosemount’s director of technology in 1987.

He obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1980.

He also holds a bachelor's degree in education from Eastern Michigan University.

He is an alumnus of the executive education program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

About U.S.-India Business Council

The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) was formed in 1975 as a business advocacy organization to enlighten and encourage the private sectors of both India and United States.

The organization serves as a direct link between business and Government leaders, resulting in increased trade and investment to strengthen ties between the two nations.

EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUND ORGANIZATION WON THE NATIONAL AWARD ON E-GOVERNANCE 2015-16

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization won the National Award on e-Governance 2015-16 for launching the Universal Account Number (UAN). The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions will present the award in the 19th National Conference on e-governance.

The EPFO bagged the national award in the ‘innovative use of technology in e-governance’ category and the retirement body will get a cash prize of 200000 rupees.

What is Universal Account Number (UAN)?

• UAN is an e-initiative of EPFO, launched in July 2014.

• In this initiative, all active employees are provided a universal number which can be linked to various provident fund account numbers provided to them while working in different organisations

• Statistically, 5.65 crore employees in 457000 organisations were allocated with UAN till November 2015.

• A single account number can be used through all of workers’ employments with various organisations.

• It enables the employees to switch their provident fund deposits automatically, when they change their job, just by providing UAN to the new employer.

• It also allows employees to have access to their provident fund account to view their balance and deposits on the portal, without going through the Employer.

About National Awards for e-Governance

These are presented every year to recognize and promote excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives.

Purpose of Award

The purpose of the award is to:

• Recognize achievements in the area of e-Governance

• Disseminate knowledge on effective methods of designing and implementing sustainable e-Governance initiatives

• Encourage incremental innovations in successful e-Governance solutions

• Promote and exchange experiences in solving problems, mitigating risks, resolving issues and planning for success.

There would be two awards for each category:

Gold Award: It carries a certificate for the Project and one certificate to each team member not exceeding seven in numbers (including Project Head) along with cash award of 200000 rupees to be shared equally among eligible team members.

Silver Award: It carries a certificate for the Project and one certificate to each team member not exceeding seven in numbers (including Project Head) along with cash award of 100000 rupees to be shared equally among eligible team members.

Categories of awards

• Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering

• Outstanding performance in Citizen-Centric Service Delivery

• Innovative Use of Technology in e-Governance

• Incremental Innovations in existing projects

• Best District level initiative in citizen-centric service delivery through ICT

• Innovative use of GIS Technology in e-Governance

• Innovative use of mobile technology in e-Governance

• Sectoral Award: (Focus Sector for 2015-16: Financial Inclusion)

• Innovative Use of ICT by Central Government PSUs

• Innovative Use of ICT by State Government PSUs/Cooperatives/Federations/Societies

• Outstanding e-Governance initiative by Academic and Research institutions

• Use of ICT for Development by Non-Government Institutions

PSLV C-31 PUT FIFTH IRNSS-1E SATELLITE IN ORBIT

  • In yet another textbook launch, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched IRNSS-1E, the fifth of the seven-satellite Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) into space.
  • ISRO’s workhorse PSLV C-31 rocket lifted the 1,425 kg satellite from the second launchpad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre and placed it in the intended orbit some 19 minutes later. This is ISRO’s first launch for this year.
  • IRNSS-1E with a mission life of 12 years was launched into a sub geosynchronous transfer orbit with a 284 km perigee (nearest point to Earth) and 20,657 km apogee (farthest point from Earth) with an inclination of 19.2 degree with reference to the equatorial plane.
  • IRNSS-1E carried navigation and ranging payloads, including a rubidium atomic clock, C-band transponder and corner cube retro reflectors for laser ranging.
  • The signal-in-space of four satellites has already been validated by various agencies within and outside the country.

TRAI NOT HAPPY WITH FREE BASICS OF FACEBOOK

  • A war of letters broke out between the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Facebook over what the regulator called the social networking giant’s “crude” attempt at turning the consultation over differential pricing of data services into an “orchestrated opinion poll” on its Free Basics product.
  • The social networking site hit back in a statement on Wednesday, stressing that the expression of support for Free Basics is “highly relevant” to the debate. Facebook said it “attempted to cooperate” with TRAI.
  • In a strongly worded communiqué uploaded on its website on Tuesday night, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) slammed Facebook’s approach to the consultation on differential pricing of data services.
  • The irrelevance of template submissions from millionsof its users backing Free Basics and the nature of consent it had obtained from these users.

SECOND INDIGENOUS AIRCRAFT CARRIER BY YEAR END

  • By the end of the year, India expects to freeze the design for the largest battleship ever built for the Indian Navy. It will also be one of the largest carriers across the world after the U.S. super carriers, which weigh about 1,00,000 tonnes.
  • The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-II) would be of 65,000 tonnes, and will be capable of carrying over 50 aircraft. In comparison, displacement of INS Viraat is only 28,500 tonnes and INS Vikramaditya is 45,400 tonnes
  • both of which are of foreign origin and currently in service with the Indian Navy. The first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant weighing 40,000 tonnes is currently under construction at Kochi.
  • Given that this the first timea ship of such size will be built in India which involves development of several new technologies, design consultancy will be sought from foreign companies with expertise in carrier design and construction.
  • Five countries have been identified for the purpose — the U.S., Russia, France, the U.K. and Italy — all of which currently operate carriers.

SRILANKA READY TO COME UP WITH NEW CONSTITUTION

  • Even as Sri Lanka is preparing to come up with a new Constitution with devo- lution as one of the key issues,the 13 th Amendment, which created provincial councils in the country, is again in the limelight.
  • While former President MahindaRajapaksa has argued that the proposed scheme of devolution should not exceed the terms of the amendment, with no to any merger of provinces and the transfer of land and police powers to provincial councils.
  • The amendment was an outcome of an agreement re- ached between India and Sri Lanka in 1987.
  • Pointing out that Sri Lanka is estimated to have 89,000 war widows, including around 54,000 in the Northern Province, he says “lack or absence of livelihood opportunities” is the major problem being faced by the women.

2015 TEMPERATURE WAS 0.9 CELSIUS MORE THAN 20TH CENTURY MARGIN

  • Last year was the planet’s hottest in modern times by the widest margin on record, setting a troubling new milestone as the climate warms at an in- creasing pace, U.S. scientists.
  • During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 [0.90 Celsius] above the 20th century average.
  • This was the highest among all years in the 1880- 2015 record. This is also the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken.
  • The report, which was confirmed by a separate analysis from NASA scientists, marks the fourth time a global temperature re- cord has been set this century.
  • The latest finding adds to a steady rise in heat across land and sea surfaces that have seen records repeatedly broken over the years.

RUPEE SLUMPS WORRIES INVESTORS IN INDIA

  • India’s benchmark equity indices fell to their lowest levels in 20 months as concerns about a global economic slowdown amid slumping commodity prices and a weakening rupee spurred investors to sell shares.
  • The rupee breached the 68a-dollar mark for the first time since August 2013. It closed at a record low of 68.85 a dollar on August 28, 2013, just days before Raghuram Rajan took charge as RBI Governor.
  • The fall in the Indian indices was in line with that of the negative trend in the global markets. Among the leading Asian indices, both Hang Seng and Nikkei lost more than 3 per cent each.
  • India is better placed to recover but will have to wait for an overall upturn. The markets will consolidate at current levels and then will wait for cues from the budget.
  • Equity markets globally have been witnessing weakness on account of an economic slowdown in China. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already cut its global growth outlook thrice in less than a year.
  • Crude futures fell below $28 per barrel – the lowest level since 2003–over concerns of an oversupply amidst falling demand on account of the bearish economic outlook.
  • Data as per the National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) shows that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have sold Indian shares worth Rs.7,146 crore.

IN ORDER TO PROMOTE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEW TARIFF POLICY APPROVED BY CABINET

  • The Union Cabinet has approvedseveral amendments to the national power tariff policy with a viewto promote renewable energy andimprove the ease of doing businessfor developers in the sector.
  • In a major shift, power companies are allowed to pass costs on toconsumers arising out of any changes in taxes, cesses and levies levied on them.
  • The policy also seeks to “create a win-win between the generator,utilities and consumers” by allow-ing power generators to sell theirsurplus power on the power ex-change and sharing the proceedswith the state government.
  • The amendments are based on four Es—electricity for all, efficiency that will ensure affordable tariffs, the environment, and ease of doing business to attract greater investment in the sector
  • The amended tariff policy also imposes a renewable energy obligation on new coal or lignite-based thermal plants, requiring them to establish or purchase renewable capacity alongside their own generation units.
  • The new policy also mandates that no inter-state transmission charges will be levied until a time to be specified by the government.
  • The costs and business models fordifferent renewable alternatives such as rooftop solar or grid-connected sources are constantlyevolving so the decision won’t be top-down any longer,”
  • To encourage efficiency, the policy allows power producers to expand up to double their capacity through the automatic route, at their existing unit locations.
  • This automatic approval was earlier limited to 50 per cent capacity expansions.
  • Further, the tariffs for multi-state power projects will be deter-mined by the Central ElectricityRegulatory Commission, thereby removing a major point of uncertainty to do with such projects.
  • The amended policy also said that the power regulator has to come up with a clear action plan to ensure 24x7 power supply to all consumers by 2021-22 or earlier.
  • Towards the power for all initiative, the policy enables the creation of micro-grids in remote villages as yet unconnected to the grid, and also says that these micro-grids can sell their surplus power to the grid when it reaches those areas.

GOVERNMENT MAY SURPASS SOLAR PROJECTS TARGET IN FY 16

  • The government is confident of receiving bids for 3,000 MW of solar projects this financial year against the set target of 2,000MW.
  • This financial year, that is up to March 31, it have to commission 2,000 MW of solar projects and we will actually do 3,000 MW.
  • Next year onward, the target is 12,000MW, 15,000 MW and 17,000MW for each subsequent year.
  • Solar tariff fell to a historic low of Rs.4.34 per kilowatt-hour following the auction of a 70MW project in Rajasthan, with the winning bid going toFinnish solar power companyFortum Energy.

INDIA, AUSTRALIA STILL HOPEFUL ON FTA

  • Despite missing the deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia’s then-Prime MinisterTony Abbott for December 31,2015, negotiators are still hopeful that the India-Australia free trade agreement(FTA) or Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) will be cleared.
  • the talks were stuck due to several outstanding issues re-lated to market access in services and goods, with an add-ed complication on tariff reduction.
  • While Australia wanted India to significantly lower or eliminate tariffs on several agricultural and industrialgoods.
  • New Delhi asked Canberra to ease rules on temporary movement of skilled professionals and intra-company transfers.

COMMERCE MINISTRY BACKS MEASURES TO BOOST SEZS

  • The CommerceMinistry is in the process of identifying reasons for the slowdown in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
  • It has al-so asked the Finance Ministry to consider steps to ensure greater investment and employment generation in these enclaves to boost exports from SEZs.
  • The commerce ministry has taken up with the finance ministry issues raised by theSEZ developers and units including removal or reduction of Minimum Alternate Tax(MAT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) on SEZs.
  • It is also looking into the developers’ opposition against a proposal considered by the finance minis-try for abolition of all direct tax benefits for SEZs not operationalised before April,2017.
  • Finance ministry has been asked to extend the Sun-set Clause (provision relating to the expiry of the benefits toSEZs) on SEZs up to 2023.
  • Opposing the proposal that was being considered by theCentral Board of Direct Taxes for abolition of all direct tax benefits for SEZs not operationalised before April, 2017,EPCES said it would create uncertainty in the minds of investors and lead to an in-crease in the number of applications for de-notification of approved SEZs.

 

 

 


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Last Updated on Sunday, 24 January 2016 06:28
 

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