General - Current Affairs for July, 2016

General Current Affairs for July, 2016

Month wise coverage of General Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

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  • Month & Year   
▼ Centre announces formation of DDMC-Disha   [07-29-16]

Centre announced the formation of District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee to be named Disha for effective development and coordination of central government programmes.

  • These Committees will regulate 28 schemes and programmes of Ministries such as rural development to promote synergy and convergence for greater impact of programmes such as Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.

▼ National Smart Grid Mission launches training programmes in collaboration with USAID   [07-29-16]

India’s National Smart Grid Mission/NSGM with the assistance of USAID launched the series of training programmes aimed at capacity building of utility personnel in development of India’s smart grid infrastructure.

  • Programme is aimed to ensure at least 10 percent of personnel from 14 of India’s state utility companies are trained in smart grid functions.
  • The three day training programme will use the Basic Smart Grid course under USAID’s partnership to advance clean energy programme to built utility capacity on smart grid components and apps.

▼ Shri Piyush Goyal launches induction programme of UVAs   [07-29-16]

Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines launched the induction programme of the Urban Vidyut Abhiyantas to be placed in state DISCOMS.

  • UVAs are missionaries of technology, and will be taking forward a movement towards better power.
  • Ministry of Power has taken up this innovative experiment of placing young professionals called UVAs to discos to monitor IPDS with better synergies and coordination among stakeholders.
  • UVAs have 3-15 years experience in project management, distribution franchisee, infrastructure sector to be positioned in every Discom.
  • Urban flagship programme IPDS/ Integrated Power Development Scheme has a total outlay of INR 65424 crore and under the scheme, state governments are working under the centre to ensure 24/7 power for all.

▼ Chandigarh to become Model Solar City   [07-29-16]

There is a master plan for making Chandigarh a Model Solar City under Development of Solar Cities Programme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

  • The solar city cell has also been established.
  • UT administration in the city empaneled 48 solar power aggregators on the basis of which any resident of Chandigarh can install Rooftop Solar Power plant and avail 30 percent subsidy.

▼ Conference on NPS in CABs organised   [07-29-16]

A conference on the implementation of the National Pension system in Central Autonomous Bodies was organised by PFRDA.

  • It was held on 27th July 2016 at New Delhi.
  • Prime objective of the conference was to understand concerns of Central Autonomous Bodies not registered yet for NPS
  • Presently, NPS has more than 1.3 crore subscribers with total Assets Under Management of more than INR 1.37 lakh crore

▼ TRAI releases consultation paper on consumer grievance redressal   [07-29-16]

Telecom sector in India has grown massively in the previous decade and subscriptions have crossed 1 billion.

  • Subscribers are filing large number of complaints for TSPs and individual consumer grievance redressal is outside TRAI licensing conditions for TSPs.
  • A consultation paper presents an overview of the current consumer grievance redressal mechanism and its efficacy.
  • It also seeks views on grievance redressal and alternatives such as appointment of Telecom Ombudsman.

▼ BRICS MSME Round Table and Seminar on Services held   [07-29-16]

2nd meeting of the micro, small and medium enterprises Round Table and Seminar on Services was held on July 28, 2016 in Agra.

  • The 5 nation BRICS grouping meet was moderated by Joint Secretary Department of Commerce Dammu Ravi.
  • The deliberations focused around regulatory framework and institutional structure of MSMEs.

▼ National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 proposes Open Sky Air Service Agreement with SAARC Nations   [07-29-16]

As per the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, Government of India will enter into an Open Sky Air Service Agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations and countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5000 km radius.

  • Unlimited flights above the existing bilateral rights will be permitted directly to and from major airports as notified by the Government.
  • Points of call at all other airports will be honoured till these are renegotiated.

▼ AAI initiates process for C-ATFM at 6 metro airports   [07-29-16]

Airports Authority of India has initiated a process for installation of Central Air Traffic Flow Management (C-ATFM) at 6 metro airports- Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

  • Supply Installation Testing and Commissioning of First phase of the project has been awarded an estimated cost of INR 107 crores.
  • It is for the purpose of balancing demand and capacity at airports and airspaces.

▼ Union Home Minister Rajnath felicitates Hindi professor at First Cultural Dialogue Series   [07-29-16]

Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh lauded the contribution of Professor Namvar Singh, noted Hindi literature writer and thinker.

  • He felicitated the Professor at the First Cultural Dialogue Series held by IGNCA under Ministry of Culture.
  • Special issue of Bahuvachan, a journal of Mahatma Gandhi Antarashtriya Vishvavidayala and a book called Namvar Singh- Safar 90 Sal Ka was brought out by the IGNCA.

▼ Railway passengers can avail accident cover of INR 10 lakh from IRCTC   [07-29-16]

Railway passengers booking tickets through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation can avail travel accident cover of INR 10 lakh at a premium of one rupee.

  • IRCTC CMD AK Manocha indicated the insurance cover is besides the compensation provided by the railways in cases of accidents to valid ticket holders.
  • Insurance will offer coverage against death, injury and disabilities caused due to accidents.

▼ WHO declares Brazil to be measles free   [07-29-16]

WHO has declared Brazil free of measles after no case of the disease was registered in the last year.

  • WHO will issue a certification for the eradication of measles to Brazil.
  • Brazil saw no domestic cases of measles from 1985 to 2000 though it broke out in 2013 in Pernambuco and Ceara.
  • WHO worked alongside Pan American Health Organisation to stamp out the disease.
  • Global measles deaths have decreased by 79 percent according to WHO from 546,800 in 2000 to 114,900 in 2014.
  • WHO is a specialised agency of the UN concerned with International public health established in 1948.

▼ Union Cabinet approves establishment of new AIIMS in Bhatinda, Punjab   [07-28-16]

Union Cabinet chaired by PM Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for the establishment of a new AIIMS at Bhatinda, Punjab under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.

  • The institution shall have a hospital with capacity of 750 beds which will include Emergency/Trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, Private Beds and ICU Speciality & Super Speciality beds. In addition, there will be an Administration Block, AYUSH Block, Auditorium, Night Shelter, Hostels and residential facilities.
  • The cost of the project for establishment of the new AIIMS in Bhatinda shall be Rs. 925 crore.
  • New AIIMS will provide super speciality health care to the population.
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana was first announced in August 2003 with the objective of correcting regional imbalances.
  • Under the scheme, AIIMS has been established in Raipur, Rishikesh, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur and Patna. AIIMS Rae Bareilly is currently under progress while three more AIIMS in Nagpur, Kaylani and Mangalagiri have been sanctioned.

▼ PM Narendra Modi salutes CRPF personnel on 77th anniversary   [07-28-16]

On the 77th anniversary day of CRPF, PM Modi saluted the personnel for fortitude and key role in security system.

  • CRPF came into existence in July 1939.
  • It became a police force on enactment of CRPF Act December 1949.
  • It has completed 76 years of operations.
  • The Force has grown into a massive organisation with 235 Bns, (including 203 executive Bns, 5 Mahila Bns, 10 RAF Bns, 10 CoBRA Bns, 5 Signal Bns and 1 Special Duty Group, 1 Parliament Duty Group), 42 Group Centres, 20 Training Institutions, 3 CWS, 7 AWS, 3 SWS, 4 Composite Hospitals of 100 bed and 17 Composite Hospitals of 50 bed.

▼ Cochin Shipyard Limited signs MoU with GoI   [07-28-16]

Cochin Shipyard Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of India for the financial year 2016-2017.

  • MoU comprises performance evaluation parameters and targets for Cochin shipyard for the coming year.
  • MoU will be reviewed by the Shipping Ministry on a regular basis and the performance of the PSU will be evaluated as per certain criteria towards the close of the financial year.

▼ Ricoh India’s Chairman and Director Tetsuya Takano resigns   [07-27-16]

A week after the revelation that accounts were falsified, Ricoh India announced Chairman and Director Tetsuya Takano has resigned from the company.

  • Company has appointed Ian Peter Winham as the Director/Chairman with immediate effect.
  • Winham joined the Ricoh group in EMEA in 2002 as CFO.
  • He was appointed executive VP, CIO and CFO of Ricoh Europe in 2007.
  • Comany’s India MD and CEO Manoj Kumar resigned from the board in April after being asked to go on leave following an audit in the company by the committee.

▼ BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue held in Patna   [07-27-16]

BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue was held in Patna on 26th July 2016.

  • Patna is the capital city of Bihar.
  • Delegation discussed issues beyond quotidian diplomacy.
  • Delegation also discussed the role of BRICS in international governance, ongoing cooperation at BRICS Forum and reflection on areas of convergence among BRICS.
  • BRICS is a grouping that brings together 5 major world economies and is home to 43 percent of the world population.

▼ CCMB signs MoU with SCIC   [07-27-16]

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology a premier institute under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has signed a long term MoU with Sickle Cell Institute Chattisgarh(SCIC) an autonomous institute in Raipur.

  • Sickle cell anaemia is a serious disorder of haemoglobin metabolism and prevails in states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha and Chattisgarh.
  • This is an inherited form of anaemia where the body lacks healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to different parts.
  • MoU combines clinical skills of SCIC with the molecular biology expertise and genetic testing experience of CSIR-CCMB under which both institutes will strive to lower burden of sickle cell anaemia in Chattisgarh.

▼ Ministry of Railways signs MoU with CII   [07-27-16]

An MoU was signed between Ministry of Railways and Confederation of Indian Industry to evaluate the green initiatives and rate the performance of industrial units of Indian Railways which are pursuing environmentally sustainable practices.

  • Final Report on Passenger Feedback Survey at major Railway Stations for Cleanliness Ranking was e-released on 26th July, 2016.
  • MoU was signed amidst the announcement of the Rail Minister’s Budget news.

▼ Trade between India and Pakistan pegged at USD 339.43 million in 2016-2017   [07-27-16]

Trade between India and Pakistan reached USD 339.43 million during the first two months of the 2016-2017 fiscal.

  • Exports during April-May stood at USD 278.75 million and imports were aggregated at USD 60.68 million.
  • Two countries had moved towards full trade normalisation on the basis of September 2012 roadmap till recently.
  • In September 2012, it was agreed Pakistan would remove all trade restrictions through Wagah Attari border, transition to MFN (non discriminatory) status to India by December 2012.
  • India and US have held consultations in May under the aegis of WTO dispute settlement mechanism on higher visa fee issue.

▼ World’s largest Yazidi temple set up in Armenia   [07-26-16]

A huge Yazidi temple is under construction in a small Armenian village, intended as a symbol of resilience for a persecuted religious tradition.

  • The temple is being built in Aknalich, about 35km from Yerevan, the Armenian capital.
  • 7 domes will surround a central arched roof, crowned with a gold-plated sun.
  • At 25m height, it will be built from Armenian granite and Iranian marble and house a 200 sq. m prayer hall.
  • Called Quba Mere Diwane, this will be the largest Yazidi temple in the world.

▼ SBI signs MoU with IRCTC   [07-26-16]

Country’s largest PSU bank SBI has signed an MoU with IRCTC for detailed promotion of railway ticketing activities including online ticketing and unreserved ticketing systems.

  • As per the MoU, the signatories “will jointly explore areas of cooperation and draw up a detailed plan for promotion of rail ticketing activities.”
  • Both parties are desirous of working together to provide improved Internet ticketing services to the customers of Indian Railways in the field of Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) and Internet-based e-ticketing system.

▼ Women allowed to join and serve TA in railway engineer regiment and honorary commissions   [07-26-16]

Women can join and serve in the Territorial Army in the railway engine regiments and also considered for honorary commissions, the Centre told Delhi HC.

  • Government had submitted this in an affidavit filed before the Bench seeking a hearing of the PIL seeking recruitment of women in TA.
  • TA is an organisation of volunteers who receive military training to be mobilised for the country’s defence in the event of an emergency.
  • No discrimination was indicated during the selection procedure, eligibility criteria and terms of service, said the Centre.

▼ Karnataka Bank Ltd initiates solar lighting project for rural students   [07-25-16]

Karnataka Bank Ltd has initiated a programme to provide solar lights in non electrified areas in rural parts of the state.

  • Bank ltd in association with the Manipal based NGO Bharatiya Vikas Trust has taken up the initiative under the Corporate Social Responsibility programme.
  • Close to 100 students from Udupi district have been provided solar lights under this solar light scholarship programme

▼ Conference entitled Made in Afghanistan held in New Delhi   [07-25-16]

Conference titled Made in Afghanistan was recently held in Delhi to promote Afghan products and boost trade ties between the two countries."

  • The theme of the 2 day long event was “Made in Afghanistan: Harnessing the Economic Potential”
  • It helped to strengthen Indian Afghan relations in terms of trade, commerce and investment opportunities.
  • MoU was signed between FICCI Flo and Afghanistan Women Business Federation during the event.
  • Traders from Afghanistan also displayed their products and offerings

▼ INS Viraat to be decommissioned soon   [07-25-16]

Aircraft carrier INS Viraat has sailed for essential repairs and dry docking at the Cochin shipyard.

  • INS Viraat also known as the Grand Old Lady among Indian naval officers will be decommissioned later this year.
  • The second aircraft carrier of the nation, INS Viraat has spend 29 years under the Indian tricolour and 27 years with the Royal Navy.
  • It holds the Guinness Record for being the oldest serving warship.
  • INS Viraat was known in the Royal Navy as the HMS Hermes.
  • It was commissioned into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.

▼ First Green Train corridor free from human waste discharge launched   [07-25-16]

To contribute to the mission Swachch Bharat Abhigyan launched by India’s PM, Ministry of Railways has taken the initiative to provide human discharge free bio-toilets in all coaches. The Ministry has also inaugurated the First Green Train Corridor Rameswaram to Manamadurai free from human waste discharge.

  • The Rameswaram Manamadurai track of 114 km was identified to make it a Green Train Corridor free from human waste discharge.
  • After Rameswaram Manamadurai, the other tracks to be made free from human waste discharge from trains include Oklha-Kanalas, Probandar-Wansjaliya and Jammu-Katra.

▼ Online jeweller Caratlane has elevated two of the senior most employees as co-founders   [07-25-16]

Online jeweller Caratlane has elevated two of its senior most employees as co-founders namely Avnish Anand and Gurukeerthi. G. Both are senior vice presidents and will now be co-founders of Caratlane along with Mithun Sacheti.

▼ Murrel declared Telangana state fish   [07-22-16]

Telangana state has declared Murrel or Channa Striatus as the state fish and the seventh state icon for the government for different species.

  • Other icons include Blue Jay (State Bird), Tanner’s Cassia (State Flower), Mango (State Fruit), Prosopis Cineraria (State Tree), Kabbadi (State Sport) and deer (State Animal).
  • The government also issued guidelines to regulate aquatic fish culture like Tilapia to conserver the indigenous diversity in Telangana water bodies.

▼ NHAI rolls out cashless payment mechanism FASTag   [07-22-16]

National Highways Authority of India has rolled out a cashless payment system FASTag at fee plazas on national highways.

  • It offers near non stop movement of vehicles through fee plazas and convenience of cashless payment of toll fee with nationwide interoperable Electronic Fee Collection Service.
  • As per the joint study report 2011-2012 carried out by Transport Corp of India and IIM Kolkata estimated annual cost of delay to Indian economy was INR 27000 crore each year.
  • FASTag is operational on 335 fee plazas on national highways across the nation and saves time, cash and fuel.

▼ Government launched website on transforming India   [07-22-16]

Government has launched a website on Transforming India by the Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology and Law and Justice.

  • The website will yield information in user friendly format enabling citizens to view content in the form of infographics, performance dashboard, e-books, videos, daily news corner and engage with the content by comments and sharing the content through social media.
  • Website is aimed at promoting accountability in critical national initiatives.
  • Website acts as a repository of information on major decisions and policies.
  • Key facets of the website promote accountability in major national initiatives acts as a repository of major polices and decisions and provides central platform for transformational changes.

▼ ECI has provided importance to enrolment of eligible citizens, unveiled new motto for 2016   [07-21-16]

Election Commission of India has given utmost importance to enrolment of eligible citizens and assist electors to reach and cast votes in a hassle free way through Polling Stations.

  • No voter to be left behind is the motto of the ECI for the year 2016.
  • NERP or National Electoral Roll Purification programme was launched across the country with intensive verifications by the field functionaries and stakeholders to enhance the purity and fidelity of the Electoral Rolls and standardisation of PS for electors to be able to reach these easily.

▼ NCD Global Survey report released by WHO   [07-21-16]

The World Health Organisation on 18th July 2016 released a report of the 2015 NCD Global Survey.

  • The report highlights the need to intensify national action to meet global targets to protect people from diseases such as cancer, diabetes and lung diseases.
  • Global survey assessing national capacity for the prevention and control of NCD has shown countries making remarkable progress.
  • Sustainable Development Goals agenda includes a target to reduce premature deaths from NCD by 30 percent by 2030.
  • Globally, 4 NCDs which are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases show these as the largest cause of death in people under 70 years.
  • 91 percent of the countries responded to the survey.

▼ India extends UN (Privileges and Immunities Act) 1947 conferring legal immunity to the kind enjoyed by foreign missions and diplomats   [07-21-16]

India has extended the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1947 which confers legal immunity akin to the kind enjoyed by foreign missions and diplomats to the International Finance Corporation and its reps and officials.

  • IFC, one of the affiliates of the World Bank addressed development challenges faced by the private sector in developing nations
  • IFC website indicates that the financial products enables companies to manage and broaden access to foreign and domestic capital markets.
  • The aim is to unlock private sector investment essential for businesses to expand and jobs to be created as well as growth and special focus on infrastructure, manufacturing, agribusinesses, services and financial markets.
  • Among international institutions covered under the UN (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1947are International Civil Aviation Organisation, World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, UNESCO and IMF.
  • Among the privileges conferred under the Act include exemption from direct taxes, customs duties and prohibitions and restrictions on imports and exports in respect of articles imported or exported by the UN for official use and immunity from personal arrest or detention and seizure of personal baggage.

▼ Union Cabinet approves establishment of new AIIMS in Gorakhpur, UP   [07-21-16]

Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has given approval for the establishment of a new AIIMS at Gorakhpur, UP under the PMSSY or Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surkasha Yojana.

  • Cost of the project for the establishment of the new AIIMS in Gorakhpur will be INR 1011 crore.
  • Institution shall have 750 beds including Emergency Trauma Beds, AYUSH beds, Pricate Beds and ICU Specialty and Super Speciality Beds.
  • Establishment of the new AIIMS will serve the purpose of providing super speciality health care to the population while creating a large pool of doctors and health workers in the region for primary and secondary level institutions being created under National Health Mission.

▼ Turkey’s President declares three month emergency following failed coup attempt   [07-21-16]

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three month state of emergency following a botched coup attempt declaring he would rid the virus of subversion and carry out mass arrests.

  • Measure would counter threats to the nation;s democracy.
  • Security measures could facilitate longer detentions for close to 10,000 people who have been rounded up since loyalist security forces and protestors stopped the rebellion.
  • State of emergency announcement will now have to be published in state gazette.
  • Turkey imposed Emergency rule in the SE in 1987 allowing officials to set up curfew, issue research and arrest warrants and restrict gatherings- it was lifted by 2002.

▼ Ministry of Tourism estimates FTAs and FEEs from tourism   [07-20-16]

The following findings were arrived at by the Ministry of Tourism which compiles FTAs and FEEs on the basis of data received from BOI:

  • FTAs during June 2016 were 5.50 lakhs as against FTAs of 5.12 lakhs during the month of June 2015 and 5.02 lakhs in June 2014.
  • There has been a growth of 7.3 percent in June 2016 over June 2015.
  • FTAs during the period January-June 2016 were 41.86 lakhs with a growth of 8.9 percent as against FTAs of 38.45 lakh with a growth of 3.7 percent in January-June 2015 over 2014.

▼ SVEEP portal launched in Hindi along with Matdata Mahowsav documentary and document    [07-20-16]

SVEEP portal is a web based app accessible to the CEO and other stakeholders and all other stakeholders and serves as a window for easy accessibility of numerous initiatives of the Commission such as Online Voter Competition and NVSP. The EC also launched Matdata Mahotsav Document and a film on the Matadaata Mahotsav which was held in Central Park from 14th - 17th January, 2016.

  • The Mahotsav was the first of its kind.

▼ C-DOT launches world’s first open standards based M2M communications platform   [07-19-16]

Centre for the Development of Telematics, which is a state run telecom R&D company has developed and demonstrated the world’s first open standards based machine to machine communications platform.

  • M2M is a worldwide standards initiative backing this programme.
  • The world’s first open one M2M complaint middleware platform was internationally showcased.
  • This is interoperable according to C-DOT ED Vipin Tyagi.
  • M2M is a commonly referred cellular network driven remote communication between entities or machines for automation needs
  • Application varies from smart home systems and appliances to connected vehicles
  • Encrypted and authenticated technology platform in concordance with standards is critical adding this approach will encourage entrepreneurs and innovators.
  • Middleware solution will facilitate M2M space in India and the rest of the world and develop ecosystems in synchronising of related services on a single open platform

▼ Country’s first industrial park launched in Uttarakhand for women entrepreneurs   [07-18-16]

The first industrial park of its kind for women entrepreneurs was launched by Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat of the Federation house to attract women business leaders and encourage them to initiate startups in the state.

  • Event was organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation/ FLO.
  • FLO was set up in 1983- it has its HQ in New Delhi.

▼ Le Corbusier’s work honoured by UNESCO   [07-18-16]

Structures included as world heritage sites by Le Corbusier include Maison Guiette, in Antwerp, Belgium, the National Museum for Western Art in Tokyo among others.

  • The famous Swiss French architect has been immortalised and is famous for his vision of the house as a machine for residing in.
  • He was born Charles Edouard Jeanneret at Le Cahux De-Found, Switzerland.
  • He adopted the surname Le Corbusier from his material grandfather Lecorbusier.
▼ TRI-NETRA system to be installed in locomotive pilots to help drivers   [07-18-16]

TRI-NETRA system shall be made of high resolution optical video camera, high sensitivity infra-red video camera and additional radar based terrain mapping system.

  • The three components of the system shall act as the three netras or eyes of the locomotive pilot.
  • TRI-NETRA is designed to see the terrain in inclement weather by combining images captured by the three sub systems to create a composite video image to be displayed on the computer monitor in front of the Loco Pilot.

▼ MDR-TB found in Sikkim, Mumbai   [07-18-16]

The virulent Beijing strain was found in multi-drug resistant TB cases in Sikkim and Mumbai.

  • Doctors have found the strains from TB patients indicate 95 percent are drug resistant.
  • Mumbai is India’s TB capital.
  • Genome sequencing of strains found in TB patients in Mumbai has displayed a lot of drug mutation making the case difficult to treat.

▼ India’s merchandise exports rise after 18 months by 1.27 percent   [07-18-16]

India’s merchandise exports rose after 18 months by 1.27 percent Y-O-Y to USD 22.57 billion.

  • The gulf between exports and imports widened to 8.11 billion as exports rose 30.68 billion.
  • In May, the deficit stood at USD 6.27 billion.
  • Full quarter deficit stood at 19.23 billion down from USD 32.22 billion during the same quarter in the previous year.
  • The RBI released services data indicating that the country’s net services export was pegged at USD 5.53 billion for May and 11.24 for the first two months of the financial year.

▼ Operation Sankat Mochan launched to rescue Indian nationals from war torn Sudan   [07-18-16]

MEA has launched the operation entitled Sankat Mochan to evacuate Indian nationals from war torn South Sudan.

  • Gen. VK Singh headed to South Sudan’s Juba to rescue 300 Indians there heading a team.
  • India has put in place an evacuation plan for nationals from South Sudan which has seen escalated violence due to conflict between pro and anti government supporters.

▼ Railways signs JV agreement with Haryana   [07-18-16]

Railways has signed a joint venture agreement with Haryana for expanding rail network in the state at a more rapid pace.

  • National transporter has taken initiative for formation of joint ventures with states to expedite implementation of rail projects.
  • JV companies will now be responsible for identifying projects, land acquisition and possible financing along with government funding and monitoring.
  • Each joint venture will have an initial paid up capital of INR 100 crores in association with the quantum of projects to be initiated.
  • Railways initial paid up capital will be limited to INR 50 crore for every date.
  • Further infusion of the fund or equity for the purpose of projects should be done following the approval of the project as well as its funding at the level of relevant competent authority.
  • 17 states have consented for the formation of such companies and 8 of these have signed MoUs with railways

▼ Two sites in Bihar accorded Heritage status by UNESCO   [07-18-16]

UNESCO has declared Bihar’s much awaited site-ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara- a world heritage site close to 98 km from Patna with the inclusion of Nalanda making it the second UNESCO Heritage site after Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya.

  • Nalanda is one of the most ancient universities of the Indian subcontinent engaged in the organised transmission of knowledge over 800 years.
  • Historical development of this site provides evidence of the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions in this state.

▼ Terrorist kills 84 in Nice, Paris   [07-18-16]

Nice citizens were the victims of a terror attack, when a terrorist at the wheel of a heavy truck slammed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in French city Nice.

  • President Francois Hollande said that France was “filled with sadness by this new tragedy. There’s no denying the terrorist nature of this attack.”
  • Driver identified by the police as a 31-year-old Tunis born Frenchman also opened fire before officers shot him dead and was wanted by the police in connection with crimes like theft and violence.
  • ISIS claimed responsibility on 16th July 2016 for the terror attack by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel who used a hired lorry to kill 84 people in a Bastille day rampage.
  • The attacker carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition nations fighting IS

▼ Indian Navy’s ocean going sailboat Mhadei returns to home port   [07-15-16]

Indian Navy’s only ocean going sailboat, Mhadei has returned to the homeport in Goa.

  • A team of six young women registered a historic first when they returned to Goa from Mauritius.
  • Skipper of the vessel was Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi.
  • The all women crew of Mhadei has been under training by first Indian to solo circumnavigate the globe Cdr. Dilip Donde.

▼ Peru government declares Zika health emergency across Northern half of the country   [07-15-16]

The Peru government on July 13, 2016 has declared Zika health emergency across the northern half of the nation.

  • Emergency was declared after 102 people were infected by the virus, 34 of which are pregnant women.
  • States under emergency include Amazonas, Cajamarca, Huanuco, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Loreto, Piura, San Martin, Tumbes, Ucayali and Lima.
  • Zika is from the Ugandan forest where the virus originated and named after it.
  • It was declared a public health emergency by WHO on February 1, 2016

▼ World’s oldest papyrus unveiled in Egypt   [07-15-16]

Items from the 4th dynasty of King Khufu or Cheops as he is known for whom the Great Pyramid of Giza was built as a tomb include the world’s oldest papyrus.

  • Egyptian museum in Cairo has displayed the oldest papyrus dating back to 4500 years, detailing lives of pyramid builders.
  • Papyrus were discovered in the year 2013 in the port of Wadi el-Jarf located 74 miles from the city of Suez.

▼ Uttarakhand launches app for Kumaon region   [07-15-16]

Following the success of its mobile application in Garhwal, the Uttarakhand police on 14th July launched an application for six districts of Kumaon region.

  • Via this app, the police intends to bridge the gap with the people and provide them with information at the touch of a smartphone.
  • The 7 key features of this app are tenant verification, reporting of crime incidents, information of lost and found, data on corruption, domestic aid and employee verification as well as altering police about traffic jams and details of wanted criminals.
  • Application is extremely helpful for women.

▼ An electricity connection within 15 days of application made mandatory   [07-15-16]

GoI has made it easier to get electricity connection with an electricity connection within 15 days of application as part of the steps taken in the previous two years to ease the process of getting connections.

  • Ministry of Power has undertaken several reform measures to ease the process of Getting Electricity over a period of the previous two years.
  • Measure taken will benefit industry and citizens alike.
  • DERC has taken the necessary changes to permit low tension connection up to 150 KVA and rationalise the tariff for the same in 2015.

▼ Proposed Kerala Bank to be full fledged bank and not NBFC   [07-15-16]

Proposed Kerala Bank, an ambitious project by CPI(M) - LDF government will function as a full fledged bank and not a non-banking financial institution.

  • Proposed bank has great potential in view of the merger of the State Bank of Travancore with SBI.
  • Kerala FM has allocated INR 10 lakh to set up a committee to prepare directions and recommendations in this regard.

▼ Centre to increase the SSI eligibility limit and exemption limit   [07-15-16]

Centre will increase the small scale industry eligibility limit for manufacturers of jewellery articles from INR 12 crore to INR 15 crore and raised SSI exemption limit from INR 6-10 crore in a financial year.

  • Requirements will also be simplified for maintenance of records and other compliance procedures for the nominal excise duty of 1 percent (without input and capital goods credit) or 12.5 percent (with input tax credit) on jewellery articles imposed in the Budget this year.
  • These include no requirement to submit any ground plan of the premises for the purpose of excise registration.
  • For the upcoming festive season, government has increased SSI eligibility to help jewellers tide over difficult periods.

▼ NBAGR accords registered breed status to Kendrapara sheep   [07-14-16]

National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources in the first week of July 2016 accorded registered breed status to the Kendrapara sheep.

  • This is part of the research of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (FARD).Department and researchers of Odisha Livestock Resources Development Society and College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry of OUAT,
  • The Kendrapara sheep carries a rare gene mutation during a year-long research.
  • The genetically rare status will help to boost conservation effort to protect the sheep. Earlier, Odisha’s two buffalo and four cattle breeds were also registered at national level by NBAGR.
  • This is the 42nd sheep breed to be registered in India

▼ Marine Commandos Unit commissioned called INS Karna   [07-13-16]

Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Chief of the Naval Staff commissioned the Marine Commandos Unit as ‘INS Karna’ in a solemn ceremony held at the Naval Base at Bheemunipatanam on 12 July 2016.

  • MARCOS are a special op force of international repute.
  • Special Forces have conducted numerous independent missions of direct action, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as recovery operations.
  • The commissioning of INS Karna, has added a new base to the Special Forces of the Indian Navy as they deploy to safeguard the nation’s vast maritime interests.

▼ National Research Centre for Banana to be set up in Bihar   [07-12-16]

The National Research Centre for Banana would be set up at Goraul in Bihar’s Vaishali district. Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh announced this, who was accompanied by Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan,

  • As per reports, the centre will be set up soon as the land for setting up banana research centre was allotted when Jitan Ram Manjhi was the Chief Minister.
  • Bihar is the 12th largest state of India.

▼ Indian software companies association NASSCOM announces second leg of Code for Next Billion   [07-12-16]

Indian software companies association NASSCOM has announced the second phase of the six month development programme called Code for Next Billion.

  • The programme is aimed at encouraging internet innovation along the developer community in the country.
  • This recently concluded the first round which comprised 10 startups.
  • NASSCOM has partnered with social media giant Facebook for introducing the Leaders Building for the Next Billion programme.
  • Program invests in developers who are building mobile apps to launch large scale innovation for new internet users.

▼ Zakir Naik banned in Bangladesh, televangelist linked to Dhaka attacks   [07-11-16]

Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik has inspired some of Dhaka attackers leading the Bangladesh government to ban telecast of his channel Peace TV across the country.

  • Naik has connections with Lashkar e Taiba and other terror organisations in Pakistan

▼ Indian summer monsoon rainfall influenced by IOD: National Institute of Oceanography Goa   [07-11-16]

Indian summer monsoon rain is influenced by a system of oscillating sea surface temperatures known as Indian Ocean Dipole in which the Western Indian Ocean becomes warmer and colder than the eastern part of the ocean.

Existence of three types of IOD indicate that to determine the effects of monsoon rainfall, each of these three types have to be considered.

  • Positive IOD leads to increased and above active rainfall while negative IOD leads to less rainfall and more monsoon break.

▼ Price bands for scrips to prevent illegal money flow proposed   [07-11-16]

India’s oldest stock exchange BSE has created numerous price bands for scrips on weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis for early dedication of illegal money flows.

  • In addition to daily price bands of 5,10 and 20 percent, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual price bands have also been created
  • Price bands can help identify potential inflow of large moneys in penny stocks through unusual movement in scrip price

▼ Government has slapped anti dumping duty on chemicals from 5 nations   [07-11-16]

Government of India has slapped anti-dumping duty on chemicals from 5 nations namely Iran, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and Taiwan.

  • The import restrictive tax has been imposed for 5 years by the Revenue Department on recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti Dumping and Allied Duties.
  • Import of chemicals from 5 nations will attract anti-dumping duty in the range of USD 83.08 per tonne to USD 168.76 per tonne
  • Department has also imposed anti dumping duty on the imports.
  • Chemical Purified Terepthalic Acid was being delivered to the country from five nations below the normal value
  • As a counter-measure, they impose duties under the multilateral WTO regime
  • Anti dumping measures are taken to ensure level playing field in the domestic industry

▼ Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation organised a 2 day workshop in New Delhi   [07-11-16]

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on July 8 and 9, 2016 organised a 2 day workshop for cleaning up 100 iconic places in the country starting with 10 in the first phase.

The following 10 places were the focus of the workshop:

  • CST, Maharashtra
  • Ajmer Sharif, Rajasthan
  • Golden Temple, Punjab,
  • Tirupati Temple Andhra Pradesh
  • Meenakshi Temple, Tamil Nadu
  • Kamakhya Temple, Assam
  • Jagannath Puri Odisha
  • Manikarnika Ghat, UP
  • Taj Mahal, UP
  • Vaishno Devi, J&K

▼ South Korea and the US indicated the deployment of THAAD anti-missile system against North Korea   [07-11-16]

South Korea and the United States indicated on Friday, July 8 2016 that they would deploy an advanced missile defence system in South Korea to counter the threat from nuclear armed North Korea.

  • This has drawn a sharp and swift protest from neighbouring country China.
  • The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence or THAAD anti missile system will be used for protecting the country against North Korea’ s growing military and nuclear capabilities.
  • North Korea’s continued development of ballistic missiles has necessitated this defence system.
  • This comes after the US Treasury Department blacklisted Kim Jong Un and 10 other leaders for human rights abuses.
  • North Korea has referred to this as a “declaration of war.”

▼ Actor plays gay role for first time in Star Trek   [07-11-16]

The actor playing Hikaru Sulu in the upcoming sci-fi film Star Trek Beyond has revealed that the character is openly gay and married in the new film.

  • Actor John Cho who plays the role of Sulu first made known by George Takei in the 1966 Star Trek television series has informed that Sulu, the helmsman of the USS Enterprise has a daughter with his married partner.
  • There is yet to be an openly gay film character in action blockbusters as a superhero.

▼ Women’s participation in labour force in India lessens: ILO   [07-11-16]

Level of participation of women in India’s job market is coming down, a matter of some concern according to a statement issued by ILO.

  • One of the issues is the question of gender and women’s participation in the labour market and that of women.
  • India is not the only country facing this problem, but the international comparison is pretty massive
  • IMF conducted a study in November 2015 which pointed to a gender gap of 50 percent in India compared to an average gap of 12 percent in the OECD countries.
  • Work profiles are changing due to globalisation, technological upgradation, geopolitical situations and collective responses and solutions need to be employed by stakeholders for this.
  • ILO is looking to bolster the role of women through promotion of social dialogue, global labour standards and international experience

▼ Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi gives in principle approval for TN port   [07-7-16]

Union Cabinet chaired by PM Shri Narendra Modi has provided in-principle approval for establishing a port on Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu.

  • SPV will be formed for development of this port with initial equity investment from three major ports in TN namely VO Chidambaranar Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust and Kamarajar Port Limited.
  • SPV will develop key infrastructure including connectivity links, construction of breakwater, dredging and reclamation.
  • There are few ports in the country which can handle global cargo and currently India loses INR 1500 crores of revenue every year.
  • Establishing the major port at Enayam will act as a major gateway container port for Indian cargo presently transhipped across India but also has become a transhipment hub for East-West trade route.
  • This will reduce logistics cost for exports and imports in S. India.

▼ Bombay, Madras HC to change names   [07-7-16]

The High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill 2016 will facilitate the changing of names of Bombay and Madras HC to Mumbai and Chennai.

  • HC of Bombay and Madras was named after cities where they were located.
  • There is no central law under which this proposal for change of names of HC can be addressed.
  • Bill would pave name change in HC of Bombay and Madras

▼ Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to start process to fix mobile data rules   [07-7-16]

TRAI will soon start a consultation process to fix “quality of service” rules for mobile data including average data speed for operators.

  • Regulator will also launch a mobile app for measuring real time internet speeds that consumers get
  • Data will be made available on TRAI Analytics portal.
  • Through the application, TRAI Myspeed App, TRAI will get real time data from customers. This will be put on TRAI Analytics Portal.
  • This will show mobile data speed of each operator within a given area on real time basis.
  • TRAI has issued service quality benchmarks for wireless data earlier but Sharma said telecom operators have complained law of physics does not guarantee a minimum speed that they can provide to consumers.
  • TRAI is an independent regulatory of the telecommunications business in the country. It was established on February 20, 1997 by a Parliamentary Act to regulate telecom services and tariffs in the country.
  • Earlier regulation of telecom services and tariffs were overseen by Central Government.
  • TRAI aims to grow telecom networks in India and emerging global information society

▼ World’s largest Charkha unveiled at IGI Terminal 3   [07-7-16]

The world’s largest Charkha/spinning wheel was launched at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi by MSME Union Minister for Kalraj Mishra on July 5, 2016.

  • This is the world’s biggest charkha at the busiest airport to highlight India’s quest to foster a society with egalitarian values as demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • All other artworks at the terminal- Mudras, Regal Procession, Elephant statues, Surya Sculpture, Suryanamaskar and Warli Art among others are reflective of India’s cultural heritage.
  • The Charkha weighs 4 tonnes and is made from Burma teak wood.
  • WIth a width of 9 feet and a height of 17 feet as well as 30 feet in length, this Charkha was built in 55 days by 42 skilled carpenters hailing from Ahmedabad.

▼ Selfie elbow a major risk for avid selfie takers   [07-6-16]

Doctors have warned that capturing the perfect selfie puts avid selfie takers at risk of developing selfie elbow. Like tennis or golfer’s elbow, the addiction to causing a pain in the primary elbow and there has been a spurt in patients landing in the doctor’s office from this condition.

  • According to Jordan Metzi, a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery in the US, the problem is overuse
  • Akin to carpal tunnel and tendinitis, it has a repetitive nature of the task that causes the aches
  • Interface between technology and human body causes injuries

▼ China to host world’s biggest radio telescope   [07-4-16]

This telescope called FAST (500 Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope) is the size of 30 football fields and has been cut out of the mountain in the SW province of Guizhou.

  • Telescope tool 5 years to build and will commence operations in September
  • China aims to put an astronaut on the moon by 2036 and build a space station

▼ Multination exercise RIMPAC begins   [07-4-16]

Multi-nation exercise Rim of the Pacific Southern California 2016 has kicked off occurring in and around Southern California through August 4, 2016.

  • RIMPAC SOCAL held for the first time by Naval Surface Mine Warfare Development Centre permits US and partner nations to train together with sea and shore based commands
  • Participants will receive relevant and realistic training in amphibious operations, explosive ordinance disposal, mine warfare countermeasures and dive operations
  • There are 26 participating countries in this exercise including Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy and Japan
  • The theme of RIMPAC 2016 is “Capable adaptive partners.”

▼ India to host the world’s first Mixed Martial Arts Super Fight League from August 26 to Oct 1   [07-4-16]

India will be hosting the world’s first Mixed Martial Arts Super Fight League from August 26 to October 1- the league will feature 8 teams namely Delhi, UP, Mumbai, Haryana, Bangalore, Pune, Punjab and Goa.

  • The league will be a platform for Indian MMA players such as CJ Singh and Amit Roy
  • The team will have 9 Indian fighters and 3 international ones
  • Mixed Martial Arts is a full contact combat sport allowing striking as well as grappling

▼ Ancient megalithic tombs used by prehistoric humans 6000 years ago as an astronomical tool   [07-4-16]

Ancient megalithic tombs such as those used in the 6000 year old Seven Stone Antas in Portugal may have been the first astronomical tools used to watch skies millennia before telescopes were invented.

  • Astronomers are exploring the first astronomical observing tool potentially used by prehistoric humans 6000 years ago
  • The long narrow entrance passages to the ancient megalithic or stone tombs may have enhanced what early human cultures could see in the night sky

▼ Tejas, 4th generation fighter aircraft developed indigenously in the country launched   [07-4-16]

Tejas is a 4th generation fighter aircraft indigenously developed in a nation after technology gap of two decades of HF Marut by DRDO.

  • It was developed by LCA Tejas team at ADA, an autonomous DRDO society.
  • LCA attained close to 3200 flights, testifying to the reliability of the aircraft and its smooth race towards achieving FOC following attainment of IOC in December 2013
  • Action for induction of Tejas into IAF had been initiated
  • IAF has placed an order in 2006 for 20 Tejas aircraft in IOC configuration and another 20 aircraft in FOC configuration in 2010

▼ INS Tarasa, FOWJFAC for Indian Navy launched   [07-1-16]

The fourth in the series of Follow-on Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (FO-WJFAC) for the Indian Navy was launched on 30 Jun 16 at a ceremony at Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata which also designed the craft.

  • It is called INS Tarasa after an Andaman and Nicobar island.
  • These Follow-on Water Jet Fast Attack Craft are powered by the latest MTU engines, along with an advanced machinery control system and water jets and can attain a maximum speed of up to 35 Knots.
  • The indigenous CRN 91 Gun with Optronic Pedestal gives the ships the requisite firepower to undertake its role of patrolling at sea effectively.

▼ US designated Al Qaida in the Indian subcontinent as a foreign terrorist organisation   [07-1-16]

US on 30th June 2016 designated AQIS or Al Qaida in the Indian subcontinent as the regional branch of the global terror network as a foreign terror organisation and added it to chief Asim Umar on the lust of international terrorists

  • Announcement by the state department prohibits US citizens to engage in transactions with AQIS and Umar and the freezing of all property and interests in the US
  • In a video message in September 2014, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had announced the formation of AQIS to take the fight to India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • The group is led by Umar, a former member of US designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation Harakat ul-Mujahidin.