Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 29 - SEPTEMBER - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 29 - SEPTEMBER - 2016
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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

29- SEPTEMBER - 2016

:: NATIONAL ::

SIKKIM AND HIMACHAL PRADESH BEST PERFORMERS IN SWACHH BHARAT MISSION

  • Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh have the maximum percentage of villages that are ‘Open Defecation Free’ according to the criteria of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • While the northeastern State scores a hundred per cent, as per the current tally, Himachal Pradesh scores 55.95 per cent.
  • Other better performing States with village-level achievements are Haryana and Meghalaya with just over 41 per cent each, Gujarat (37.58 per cent), Maharashtra (28.33 per cent), Chhattisgarh (24.91 per cent) and Rajasthan (23.83 per cent).
  • Kerala, which leads in overall household toilet coverage as per Swachh Bharat surveys, is in the list with only 19.92 per cent, indicating that declarations play a role in the overall assessment.
  • Besides these, the other States identified by the Mission trail the rest with lower coverage. The total number of districts declared ODF in the country stand at 23.
  • For purposes of assessing performance, the Swachh Bharat Mission considers both individual household latrine coverage and ODF.
  • Three cities in Karnataka — coastal Mangaluru, Udupi and Mysuru — have been declared “open defecation free” this week in the survey conducted among 75 cities across the country under different population categories.
  • Mysuru scored again, after it topped the list of “clean cities” for two consecutive years. A recent survey of 476 cities had also declared Mangaluru the third cleanest in India.

AFTER INDIA’S SNUB TO SAARC SUMMIT, IT IS LIKELY TO BE CANCELLED

  • The SAARC summit of 2016 will be cancelled. The confirmation from Nepal, the current SAARC Chair, came hours after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan decided, like India, to stay away from the summit scheduled for November in Islamabad.
  • Nepal had not taken any decision as it is the SAARC Chair and will have to follow proper official procedure before announcing the cancellation.
  • The leaders of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan do not want to share the dais with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
  • India argued that the SAARC rules are clear that the summit meeting cannot be held if one member withdraws.
  • Like India that cited “cross-border terrorist attacks in the region” as a reason for boycotting the summit, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan too expressed similar concerns in their official notes to Kathmandu.
  • The cancellation will be unprecedented as four members have cited “terrorism” , “interference” and “imposed violence” while withdrawing from the summit.
  • In the past, summits were postponed after quiet consultation but this time, major members of the regional grouping openly cited terrorism emanating from Pakistan as the reason for non-participation.

GOVT IS THINKING ABOUT PLAN OF SAARC MINUS PAKISTAN

  • India is going ahead with its plan for ‘SAARC minus Pakistan’ instead. The fact that India did not pull out alone but that Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also did so, citing the same reason, was a significant step in that direction for the grouping.
  • Motor vehicle movement agreement, railway linkages, and the SAARC satellite programme for which all SAARC countries apart from Pakistan have signed up.
  • With Afghanistan, which cannot be accessed by land, the two governments have discussed a separate “air corridor” for cargo.
  • A bigger articulation of that vision is expected in mid-October, when India hosts the BIMSTEC outreach summit on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Goa.
  • The initiative for Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal is expected to see proposals on transport as well as electricity and broadband connectivity being discussed.
  • Another grouping of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka met for the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme in Delhi to release the first SASEC Operational Plan 2016-2025.
  • SASEC’s lead financier, Asian Development Bank (ADB), has already approved about 40 infrastructure and IT projects worth about $7.7 billion.
  • India’s push for a South Asian isolation of Pakistan is also driven by the fact that it received less than expected support on the world stage and at the UN General Assembly for the Comprehensive Convention on International Terror (CCIT).
  • However, Pakistan continues to receive support from several other countries outside of the SAARC, most notably China, and also has a new relationship with Russia that conducted its first ever military exercises in Pakistan just days after the Uri attack.
  • Iran too sent four naval warships to the Karachi port to participate in a Passage exercise (PASSEX) this week.

UNION CABINET GAVE GO AHEAD FOR PARIS CLIMATE DEAL

  • The Union Cabinet gave the go-ahead for ratifying the Paris climate deal on October 2, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement at the BJP’s national executive meeting.
  • Post-ratification, India will have to conform to the United Nations-brokered agreement to ensure that global temperatures do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels.
  • The country will have to provide continuously a detailed inventory of its emissions to the U.N. Secretary-General and ensure that its growth trajectory is significantly reliant on clean energy.
  • The ratification requires India to submit a document giving details of its action plan, called the Nationally Determined Contributions, to the U.N. Secretary General.
  • The Environment Ministry is still in the process of receiving sector-wise plans from various arms of government and industry on how its commitments are to be met.
  • There are two conditions for the Paris treaty to come into effect from 2020 — at least 55 countries have to accept and ratify it and at least as many countries responsible for at least 55 per cent of the world’s pollution must be covered.
  • As of September 28, 61 countries had ratified it and 47.79 per cent of the pollution target had been met.
  • With India, which is responsible for 5.8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratifying the deal, the Paris agreement would still be short of the 55 per cent target. The European Union has indicated that it will ratify the deal before October 7.

:: INTERNATIONAL ::

JEFFREY DELAURENTIS TO BECOME FIRST US AMBASSADOR TO CUBA IN 50 YEARS

  • The United States has tapped Jeffrey DeLaurentis, America’s top diplomat in Havana, to become the first official Ambassador to Cuba in five decades.
  • Mr. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a thaw in relations in December 2014. The two countries restored full diplomatic relations in July 2015.\
  • Since then, Washington and Havana have taken once-unthinkable steps to mend ties after more than half a century of enmity.
  • Mr. Obama has visited Cuba and relaxed portions of the U.S. embargo imposed since 1962. Mr. DeLaurentis is already in Havana and previously worked in Bogota and at the United Nations.
  • But his nomination, which requires Senate confirmation, is likely to face stiff opposition in Congress, where Cuban-American lawmakers have sought to garner local support by opposing Mr. Obama’s policies.

:: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY ::

PAKISTAN SUFFERS HEAVILY DUE TO PROBLEMS WITH INDIA

  • Pakistan suffered a loss of about $7 billion in 2014 by importing items from other countries at a higher cost instead of sourcing them from India, according to a study by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
  • The think-tank in the study, to be released this week, found out that the loss was substantial considering Pakistan’s GDP (nominal, 2015) was only about $270 billion.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to chair a meeting to review trade ties between India and Pakistan on Thursday.
  • Significantly, the RIS study’s findings are in line with the theme of Modi’s recent speech at Kozhikode (Kerala), where he called upon the people of Pakistan to fight a war on unemployment, poverty and illiteracy.
  • Many products that Pakistan imported from third countries were at least three times more costly than the price of the same item from India in export markets, it added.
  • Pakistan is a net-importing nation with a trade deficit of $22 billion in 2015. In 2015, it imported around $44 billion, while it exported only items worth $22 billion. India-Pakistan trade is far below potential and negligible.
  • Trade between both the nations in 2015-16 was just $2.6 billion, while according to various estimates the annual bilateral trade has the potential to surpass $20 billion if both countries cooperate and remove barriers and restrictions.
  • Currently, most of the trade happens indirectly through Dubai, Singapore, port of Bandar Abbas (Iran).

CBEC GETS NOD FOR PROJECT SAKSHAM

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a Rs.2,256 crore outlay for ‘Project SAKSHAM’, an initiative under CBEC to bolster the information technology network for the new GST regime that the government intends to roll out.
  • CBEC’s IT systems need to integrate with the GSTN for processing of registration, payment and returns data sent by GSTN systems to CBEC, as well as act as a front-end for other modules like audit, appeal and investigation.
  • There is no overlap in the GST-related systems of CBEC and GSTN.

:: IMPORTANT DETAILED NEWS ::

HARYANA CM MANOHAR LAL KHATTAR DECLARES CHARKHI DADRI AS 22ND DISTRICT

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced Charkhi Dadri as the 22nd district of the state.

The state CM made the announcement at a public rally in Dadri in Bhiwani district. He also announced that developmental projects worth 112 crore rupees had already been completed in the Dadri assembly segment during the two year tenure of his government.

On the other hand, Khattar also inaugurated nine development projects worth 45 crore rupees in Dadri.

About Charkhi Dadri

Charkhi Dadri is a district in Bhiwani district in the state of Haryana.

The town was made by joining the villages of Charkhi and Dadri after urban development.

Charkhi Dadri is on NH 148 B (Narnaul-Bathinda ) pass through the city.

It is located in southern Haryana 110 kilometres from the national capital of New Delhi.

PRIYESHA DESHMUKH WINS BRONZE IN WORLD DEAF SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Hearing-impaired Indian shooter Priyesha Deshmukh won the bronze medal in her first-ever international competition at the first World Deaf Shooting Championships.

The Championships was held in Kazan, Russia from 7 September to 15 September 2016.

Deshmukh won the bronze in the 10m air rifle category.

The shooter won the medal after scoring 180.4 points.

Deshmukh had qualified for the medal round after scoring 404.9 in the qualification round.

Deshmukh has been winning national gold in her the handicapped category since last three years. However, the World Deaf Shooting Championships is her maiden international participation.

Ukraine's Svitlana Yatsenko won the gold in the Championships while Serbia's Gordana Mikovic clinched the silver.

VIRAT KOHLI APPOINTED AS BRAND AMBASSADOR OF PUNJAB NATIONAL BANK

Indian test skipper Virat Kohli was appointed as Brand Ambassador of state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB). Kohli has been an Account Holder of the bank since the age of 16 years.

Since its inception in 1895, PNB has been people's bank serving millions of customers throughout India. Over the years, the Bank has established itself as a major player in Indian banking space.

Background
The bank undertook this move to improve its image which has taken a hit due to rising bad loans.

For the first quarter that ended in June 2016, the bank's profit declined by a 58 percent to 306 crore rupees on account of mounting bad loans. During the quarter, provision towards non-performing assets (NPAs) jumped almost three-fold to 3620 crore rupees from 1291 crore rupees.

The Gross NPAs rose significantly to 13.75 percent at the end of June 2016 from 12.9 percent in the year-ago period.

CHINA AND RUSSIA CONDUCT NAVAL EXERCISES JOINT SEA-2016 TO IMPROVE SECURITY

The Chinese and Russian navies concluded Joint Sea-2016, eight days of naval exercises, in the South China Sea.

The Joint Sea-2016 was launched as a sign of growing cooperation between their armed forces against the backdrop of regional territorial disputes.

The exercises was conducted following a spike in tensions after Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected China’s claims in the South China Sea and slammed it for causing environmental damage there.

Key highlights of Joint Sea-2016

The Joint Sea-2016 included ships, submarines, ship-borne helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, along with marines and amphibious armoured vehicles who will conduct live-firing exercises.

Tasks included defensive and rescue drills, anti-submarine exercises and the simulated seizure of an enemy island by marines from both sides.

Compared with previous years, the 2016 drill focused more on confrontational capacity such as surface warships, submarines and land-based defences. Use of an advanced command system made communication between the two navies smoother.

It was also the first time the China-Russia joint exercise had been held in the South China Sea.

 

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