Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 04 - JULY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 04 - JULY - 2016
Monday, 04 July 2016 05:04

 

 


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04- JULY - 2016

 

 

SUJOY BOSE APPOINTED AS CEO OF NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE FUND

Sujoy Bose was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

His appointment was made by the Union Government following his selection by the Selection Committee constituted under Department Of Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.

About Sujoy Bose

• Bose has extensive international experience in the infrastructure sector, including experience in raising funds from international investors.

• At present, Bose works as the Director and Global Co-Head of infrastructure and natural resources at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank group.

• He has been associated with the IFC for last 24 years.

• He holds an MBA from Rice University and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from St Xavier's College, Kolkata, India.

About National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

• NIIF is a quasi sovereign wealth fund announced in 2015 budget with a corpus of around 40000 crore rupees.

• NIIF was incorporated as a company under the Companies Act, 2013, duly authorized to act as investment manager.

• It was constituted with an aim to finance the requirements of India’s infrastructure sector, mainly through foreign investment.

• The government has already signed pacts with investors from Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Russia for the NIIF.

SWEDEN INAUGURATES WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC ROAD

Sweden inaugurated a test stretch of an electric road. With this, the country has become one of the first countries in the world to conduct tests with electric power for heavy transports on public roads.

The test was conducted on parts of road E16. It involved a current collector on the roof of the truck cab feeding the current down to a hybrid electric motor in the truck.

Key facts related to the test stretch of the road

The tests will continue up through 2018.

They will provide knowledge of how electric roads work in practice.

It will offer a glimpse on whether the technology can be used in the future.

The experiment is based on the government’s goal of energy efficiency and a fossil fuel-free vehicle fleet by 2030. It will also contribute to strengthening Sweden’s competitiveness.

Three government agencies are partially funding the project. They are:

• Swedish Transport Administration: It is a government agency responsible for long-term infrastructure planning for all kinds of transport, i.e. road, rail, shipping and aviation. It owns, constructs, operates and maintains all state-owned roads and railways and operates a large number of ferry services.

• Swedish Energy Agency: It works for the use of renewable energy.

• Vinnova: It is the Swedish government agency that administers state funding for research and development.

PM NARENDRA MODI LAUNCHES PROJECTS FOR 20 SMART CITIES IN PUNE

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched several projects for 20 Smart Cities in Pune under the Smart City Mission.

The Projects were launched exactly a year after Union Government launched the flagship Smart City Mission in June 2015 by releasing the Mission Guidelines.

Highlights of the Projects

• Projects were launched in 20 cities selected in the first batch of mission through a city challenge competition.

• Pune stood second in the selected cities.

• Projects launched in Pune include slum rehabilitation, street and pedestrian walkway, modern buses with alternative fuels, traffic demand modelling project and city common mobility card.

• Ahmedabad has launched sewage treatment plant, housing project, smart learning in municipal schools.

• Bhubaneswar, which topped the list in the city challenge, has launched a railway multi-modal hub, traffic signalisation project and urban knowledge centre.

• In New Delhi Municipal Council, a mini-sewerage treatment plants, 444 smart class rooms, WiFi, smart LED streetlights, city surveillance, command and control centre were launched.

• The 20 selected cities would be linked through video conferencing.

Other Launches

• PM Modi also inaugurated the Make Your City SMART contest aimed at continuing citizen participation in the planning. Suggestions and designs suggested by the citizens will be incorporated by respective smart cities.

• A Smart Net Portal was also inaugurated to enable the cities under different urban missions to share ideas and source solutions for various issues during the implementation of various missions.

Background
• The Smart Cities mission, a project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was launched in June 2015 with the government releasing the guidelines and mission statement for the 100 Smart Cities project.

• The mission was allotted a budget of 48000 crore rupees for five years.

RBI PUBLISHES PAYMENT AND SETTLEMENT SYSTEMS IN INDIA: VISION-2018

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the “Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision-2018”. The vision reiterates the aims of building a “less-cash” society by encouraging greater use of electronic payments by all sections.

The objective is to ensure that a robust payments infrastructure is established in the country to increase accessibility, availability, interoperability and security.

Contours of Vision-2018

The broad contours of Vision-2018 revolve around 5Cs – Coverage, Convenience, Confidence, Convergence and Cost.

Coverage: Enabling wider access to a variety of electronic payment services

Convenience: Enhancing user experience through ease of use and of products and processes

Confidence: Promoting integrity of systems, security of operations and customer protection

Convergence: Ensuring interoperability across service providers

Cost: Making services cost effective for users as well as service providers

Four strategic initiatives to achieve 5Cs

To achieve these, Vision-2018 will focus on four strategic initiatives such as responsive regulation, robust infrastructure, effective supervision and customer centricity.

Responsive Regulation: Involve all stakeholders to promote twin objectives of enhanced coverage with interoperability of the payments system and convenience with security for the end-users in sync with emerging developments and innovations.

Robust Infrastructure: Aim is to increase the accessibility, availability, interoperability and security of the payment systems.

Effective Supervision: Aims to strengthen the resilience of the Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs) and System Wide Important Payment Systems (SWIPS) in the country. This also envisages setting up appropriate oversight framework for new systems and augmenting the data reporting and fraud monitoring systems.

Customer Centricity: Envisages streamlining the customer grievance redressal mechanism, focus on building customer awareness and education, and initiate customer protection measures.

Expected Outcomes of Vision 2018

With continued efforts and based on Vision 2015-18, following five outcomes are expected from Vision 2018:

• Continued decrease in the share of paper-based clearing instruments

• Consistent growth in individual segments of retail electronic payment systems viz. NEFT, IMPS, Card transactions, mobile banking, etc.

• Increase in registered customer base for mobile banking

• Significant growth in acceptance infrastructure

• Accelerated use of Aadhaar in payment systems

How it is going to benefit?

With increasing use of technology-based innovative payment products, the strategic initiatives under Vision-2018 are expected to reduce paper-based instruments significantly. It will lead to accelerated growth in mobile banking and other modes of electronic payments.

Background

The RBI has periodically put forth its vision for payment and settlement systems in India, which enunciates the Bank’s objective to migrate to electronic payments and to ensure that the payment systems in India are safe, secure, authorised, efficient and accessible. The previous Vision document covered the period 2012 to 2015.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR ZUBAIDA BAI WINS UN HONOUR FOR CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE

Zubaida Bai, Indian social entrepreneur, was named among the top 10 Local SDG Pioneers for 2016.

The 2016 Local SDG Pioneers is a part of the United Nations Global Compact’s Making Global Goals Local Businesscampaign.

The Local SDG Pioneers programme seeks out individuals who are demonstrating how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can enable business to unlock economic, social and environmental gains for the world.

Other nine 2016 Local SDG Pioneers are:

• Kerry Adler: Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of SkyPower Global, Canada

• Farzana Chowdhury: Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Green Delta Insurance Company Limited, Bangladesh

• Xiaohui Liang: Chief Researcher, Office for Social Responsibility of China National Textile & Apparel Council, China

• Claus Stig Pedersen: Head of Corporate Sustainability of Novozymes, Denmark

• Dina Sherif: Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder of Ahead of the Curve, Egypt

• Sonia Consiglio Favaretto: Press and Sustainability Managing Director of BM&FBOVESPA S.A., Brazil

• Patrick Ngowi: Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Helvetic Group, Tanzania

• Ulisses Sabará: President of Beraca, Brazil

• Ulysses Smith: Attorney at Linklaters LLP, USA

Who is Zubaida Bai?

Zubaida Bai is an Indian social entrepreneur and engineer.

She founded ayzh, a social enterprise which provides technology solutions to rural women.

In 2009, she was named a TED Fellow.

In 2011, her design for JANMA, a clean birth kit, was selected by INDEX Awards as one of 61 products globally designed to improve life.

About United Nations Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is an initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.

It is a principle-based framework for businesses. It states ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.

The UN Global Compact was announced by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in an address to the World Economic Forum on 31 January 1999.

It was officially launched at UN Headquarters in New York on 26 July 2000.

INDIA GETS HUGE HELP FROM WB FOR SOLAR PROJECT

  • The World Bank announced $ 1 billion in support of India’s ambitious solar generation plans, its largest financing of solar projects for any country in the world.
  • The projects now under preparation include solar rooftop technology, infrastructure for solar parks, bringing innovative solar and hybrid technologies to the market, and transmission lines for solar-rich States.
  • The commitment includes an agreement for a $ 625 million grid-connected rooftop solar programme for financing the installation of at least 40 megawatts of solar photovoltaic installations.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim, who is on two-day trip to India, discussed the emphasis the multilateral institution is laying on accelerating India’s renewable energy push.
  • “India’s plans to virtually triple the share of renewable energy by 2030 will both transform the country’s energy supply and have far-reaching global implications in the fight against climate change,” he said.
  • According to him, India had become a leader in implementing the promises made in Paris for COP21 and the efforts against global warming.

MHA AGAINST PROPOSAL OF BUSINESS VISITORS TO GET VISA-FREE ENTRY

  • Ministry of Home Affairs has informed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that they were against a proposal to allow “visa-free” entry to business visitors and tourists from eighteen key countries, including China.
  • Electronic tourist visa on arrival (eTV), it said, was granted within 48 hours of an application being received in almost 87 per cent of the cases.
  • Normal tourist visas, which were valid for six months, were issued within three days in 90 per cent of the cases.
  • The PMO had, a few days ago, held an inter-ministerial meeting to review a Cabinet note from the Commerce Ministry on dispensing with the visa requirement for business visitors and tourists from countries belonging to the BRICS and the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries.
  • MHA was also liberalising the visa regime and was expected to increase the duration of long-term visa from one year to five years, said the official.
  • The demand was increasing by the day and 4.5 lakh eTVs were issued in the last one year.
  • At present, foreigners were granted tourist visa on arrival for 30 days, while a normal tourist visa can be obtained for 6 months.

‘STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN’ REPORT FOR 2016 RELEASED BY UNICEF

  • The success of the newly-introduced transformative education programme, which has led to the establishment of an integrated school and an elementary one in each village panchayat of Rajasthan was highlighted in report.
  • ‘State of the World’s Children’ report for 2016 released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
  • The preliminary results of the schools are encouraging, with a six per cent increase registered in enrolment in comparison with the last year. Moreover, vacancies for teachers have reduced from 60 per cent to 33 per cent in the same period.
  • The two categories of schools, promoted by the State government’s Education Department, are Adarsh Vidyalayas for classes I to XII and UtkrishtaVidyalayas for classes I to VIII.
  • The existing senior secondary and middle schools have also been converted into schools under the new category.

COUNTRIES URGED SRI LANKA TO DO MUCH MORE FOR RECONCILIATION

  • In their response to the comments made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN Human Rights Council, the countries urged the island nation to see to it that the commitments made last October were carried out.
  • The U.K., one of those which sponsored the resolution, underscored the importance of “a comprehensive approach” in dealing with the past, restoring confidence in state institutions, and developing a just political settlement for all people.
  • The United States, another sponsor of the motion, wanted Sri Lanka to make “continued tangible steps” towards setting up “credible justice, accountability, and reconciliation mechanisms.”
  • The government should “continue taking steps” to build the confidence of communities and normalise life in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Expressing hope that the ongoing process of constitutional reforms would result in the crucial basis for “a nation that acknowledges its ethnic and cultural diversity and for achieving reconciliation,” the Scandinavian country also wanted the Sri Lankan government to work hard to “keep the tight time schedule” for the process.

CHINA BLAMES US FOR TRYING TO DRIVE WEDGE BETWEEN REGIONAL COUNTRIES

  • China slammed the US for trying to drive a wedge among regional countries in response to remarks by a U.S. official in New Delhi on India’s unsuccessful bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the South China Sea issue.
  • Reacting to comments in New Delhi by U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said: “In the plenary meeting in Seoul, India’s accession was not on the agenda”.
  • He added that the Seoul conference, instead, discussed “technical, political and legal” issues concerning the accession of countries, which had not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • Mr. Shannon had said in an apparent reference to China’s role that, “We understand that in a consensus-based organisation, one country can break consensus. But in order to do so it must feel comfortable that it will not be isolated.”
  • Regarding the South China Sea, Mr. Hong pointed out that China was “strongly dissatisfied” with the assertions by the U.S. official, who had said that Beijing was indulging in “madness” through its behaviour in these waters.
  • Mr. Hong countered: “The remarks made by the U.S. official tries to drive a wedge between regional countries, confuse right from wrong and are extremely irresponsible.”

CORE SECTOR GREW BY 2.8 PERCENT

  • Eight core sectors of the economy posted a 2.8 per cent year-on-year growth in May, the slowest pace since 2.9 per cent in January, due to a decline in output of refinery and steel products.
  • These eight sectors — comprising almost 38 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) — had recorded an 8.5 per cent growth in April, which was the highest since 8.54 per cent in November 2014.
  • The low growth in May was on account of a contraction in output of crude oil (- 3.3 per cent versus 0.8 per cent growth in May 2015) and natural gas (- 6.9 per cent, versus - 3 per cent in May 2015) in addition to a very marginal expansion registered by refinery products (1.2 per cent versus 7.8 per cent in May 2015).
  • The core sector output had gone to the negative growth territory in November 2015 when it shrank by (-) 1.3 per cent.
  • When core sector recorded an 8.5 per cent growth in April, the highest since 8.54 per cent in November 2014, experts had pointed out that it was becoming difficult to expect a one-to-one correspondence between core sector growth and overall IIP.
  • The IIP for April shrank (-) 0.8% — the first IIP contraction in three months.
  • The cumulative growth of the core sector during April to May in FY’17 was 5.5 per cent as against 2.1 per cent during the same period in the previous fiscal.

MONEY HELD BY INDIANS IN SWISS BANKS HAS FALLEN BY NEARLY ONE-THIRD

  • Money held by Indians in Swiss banks has fallen by nearly one-third to a record low of 1.2 billion franc (about Rs.8,392 crore) amid a continuing global clampdown on the famed secrecy wall of Switzerland’s banking system.
  • The funds held by Indians with banks in Switzerland fell by CHF 596.42 million to CHF 1,217.6 million at the end of 2015, as per the latest data released on Thursday by the country’s central banking authority SNB (Swiss National Bank).
  • This is the lowest amount of funds held by Indians in the Swiss banks ever since the Alpine nation began making the data public in 1997 and marks the second straight year of decline.
  • The funds held by Indians with Swiss banks stood at a record high of CHF 6.5 billion (Rs.23,000 crore) at 2006-end.
  • However, the quantum of these funds has been falling since then, except for in 2011 and in 2013 when Indians’ money had risen by over 12 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.
  • The total “amounts due to customers’ savings and deposit accounts” fell to CHF 425.8 million (from 1,378 million a year ago), while the money held through other banks incidentally more than doubled to CHF 270.4 million (from CHF 100.6 million).
  • The ‘other liabilities’ of Swiss banks towards Indian clients, which include funds held through securities etc, rose from CHF 297 million to CHF 510.4 million.

IMF SAYS BREXIT IS TOPMOST GLOBAL RISK

  • The International Monetary Fund said that Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union a week ago has created uncertainty that poses a major threat to the global economy.
  • “We see the uncertainty right now as probably the biggest risk to the global economy,” said IMF spokesman, calling on European leaders and other policymakers to take “decisive” actions that could lower the threat.
  • The European Union and Britain face negotiations on the Brexit that are expected to be difficult and protracted.
  • European Union leaders say that until Britain formally begins exit proceedings, no talks can begin — formally or informally — on resetting Britain’s ties with the EU, a process meant to last two years.

LCA TEJAS TO FINALLY JOIN AIR FORCE

  • Two indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft are set to join the Indian Air Force as part of the first squadron.
  • They will launch the new Squadron 45 ‘Flying Daggers’, which will get the remaining 18 aircraft including four trainers in 2018.
  • Sulur in Tamil Nadu has been chosen as the LCA base. The LCA project began in 1985 and the IAF planned to induct it in 1994 to replace the MiG-21s.
  • After long delays, the LCA achieved the first level of flight worthiness or Initial Operational Clearance in December 2013. The Final Operational Clearance is expected by this year-end.

NASA’S HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE HAS CAPTURED A SPECTACULAR FIREWORKS DISPLAY

  • NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a spectacular fireworks display in a small, nearby galaxy, which resembles a skyrocket.
  • A team of astronomers found that a firestorm of star birth is lighting up one end of the diminutive galaxy Kiso 5639.
  • The dwarf galaxy is shaped like a flattened pancake, but because it is tilted edge-on, it resembles a skyrocket, with a brilliant blazing head and a long, star-studded tail.
  • The current thinking is that galaxies in the early universe grow from accreting gas from the surrounding neighbourhood. It’s a stage that galaxies, including our Milky Way, must go through as they are growing up.
  • Hubble’s crisp resolution helped the team analyse the giant star-forming clumps in the galaxy and determine the masses and ages of the star clusters.
  • Hubble uncovered several dozen clusters of stars in the galaxy’s star-forming head, which spans 2,700 light-years across.
  • These clusters have an average age of less than one million years and masses that are three to six times larger than those in the rest of the galaxy.
  • Other star formations are taking place throughout the galaxy but on a much smaller scale.
  • The galaxy, located 82 million light-years away, has taken billions of years to develop because it has been drifting through an isolated “desert” in the universe, devoid of much gas.

THE SHOOTING WORLD CUP FINALS HAS BEEN ALLOTTED TO INDIA FOR 2017

  • The shooting World Cup Finals in pistol, rifle and shotgun has been allotted to India for 2017 by the International Shooting Sport Federation.
  • In a release issued, the National Rifle Association of India said that the allotment was made in the ISSF Executive Committee meeting in Moscow.
  • India has already been allotted a World Cup which will be staged at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, here in February. The World Cup Finals will also be hosted at the same venue in October.

 

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2016 03:30