Current Affairs Update – 7th-8th July, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 7th and 8th July, 2016. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains & UBI PO PGDBF Exams 2016.
Current Affairs at a Glance – 7th-8th July, 2016
  1. The State Bank of India (SBI) on 1 July 2016 launched SBI
    Mingle, a social media banking platform for Facebook and Twitter users
    .
    The platform was launched by SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, on the
    occasion of 61st State Bank Day that is observed on 1
    July every year
    .
  2. SIDBI on Friday entered into a
    partnership with private sector lender Yes Bank to guarantee 75% of loans of up to Rs 15
    crore
    extended to energy efficiency projects under a World Bank
    initiative
    .
  3. In a first-of-its-kind move in
    the country, Kerala has introduced a ‘fat tax’ on
    the consumption of junk food items like pizzas and burgers sold through branded
    restaurants
    . The newly-elected LDF government imposed 14.5% tax on
    branded restaurants selling items like tacos, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches,
    among others.
  4. The National Association of Software and
    Services Companies (NASSCOM)
    on 7 July 2016 unveiled India’s
    first Centre of Excellence focused on Internet of Things (CoE- IoT) at its Startup
    Warehouse in Bengaluru.
  5. Rajasthan in the first week of
    July 2016 became the first state in the country to introduce minimum wages for
    part time workers
    .
  6. India and South Africa on Friday inked three Memoranda of Understanding
    and one Programme of Cooperation to take their “partnership in progress”
    one more step forward.
  7. The Telecom Regulatory Authority
    of India (TRAI) on 5 July 2016 launched MySpeed mobile application for measuring real
    time mobile Internet speed of consumers.
  8. India and Mozambique on 7 July
    2016 signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in areas of drug
    trafficking, pulse trading and sports
  9. Water Resources Minister Uma
    Bharti on 7 July 2016 inaugurated 231
    projects under the Namami Gange Programme
    . The projects were
    inaugurated from Haridwar, Uttarakhand in various locations in different states
    namely Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and
    Delhi.
  10. The second phase of Haritha Haram programme
    of Telangana
    government was
    launched in the state on 8 July 2016.
  11. Union Minister of Road Transport
    & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on 1 July 2016 launched the National Green
    Highways Mission (NGHM)
    in New Delhi. Under this initiative, plantation
    drive on 1500 km of National Highways was launched at a cost of about 300 crore
    rupees
    .
  12. India was placed at 91st position in the
    Networked Readiness Index (NRI)
    2016
    that was released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) on 6 July
    2016.
  13. South African writer, filmmaker
    and photographer Lidudumalingani Mqombothi on
    5 July 2016 won the 17th edition of prestigious Caine Prize 2016 for his short
    story Memories We Lost. 
  14. 1982 batch IAS officer Deepak Singhal was on 6 July 2016 appointed as the
    Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh
    .
  15. Russian President Vladimir Putin
    in July 2016 signed the “anti-terrorist” legislation adopted by the lower and
    upper houses of parliament in June 2016. This anti-terror amendment is dubbed as Big Brother by US intelligence contractor turned privacy
    activist Edward Snowden
    .
  16. Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar
    was named a ‘Gymnaste de Classe Mondaile’

    (World class gymnast) by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). With
    this, she also became the first-ever Indian gymnast to receive the honour. She is the first woman in the gymnast history to land the
    Produnova
    , one of the most dangerous vaults.
Finance/Banking/Industry –
SBI launches social media banking platform SBI Mingle
  • The State Bank of India (SBI) on
    1 July 2016 launched SBI Mingle, a social media banking platform for Facebook
    and Twitter users.
  • The platform was launched by SBI
    Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, on the occasion of 61st State Bank Day that is
    observed on 1 July every year.
Highlights of SBI Mingle
  • It will allow SBI’s customers to
    access various banking services via these social platforms.
  • To avail services from this
    platform, customers will have to register for it through a simple one time
    registration process using either their social account number or their
    ATM/Debit Card details.
  • After registering they can
    undertake the various banking facilities available on the platform.
  • Currently, SBI services such as
    balance enquiry, mini statement, funds transfer within SBI as well as
    inter-bank and beneficiary management services are available for Facebook.
  • On Twitter, customers using
    hashtags can find out their account balance and view mini statements.
Sidbi partners Yes Bank for loan guarantee under World Bank scheme
  • Sidbi on Friday entered into a
    partnership with private sector lender Yes Bank to guarantee 75% of loans of up
    to Rs 15 crore extended to energy efficiency projects under a World Bank
    initiative.
  • The state-run Sidbi expects to
    provide credit guarantee to more than 500 projects and mobilise financing of up
    to $127 million through the tie-up.
  • A memorandum of understanding was
    signed between Sidbi and Yes Bank under the Partial Risk Sharing Facility
    (PRSF) for financing energy efficiency projects programme sponsored by the
    World Bank, Sidbi said in a statement.
  • The Small Industries Development
    Bank of India (Sidbi) is the project execution agency whereas Yes Bank claims
    to be the first Indian lender to be empanelled for the programme.
  • Sidbi will extend the guarantee
    for securing up to 75% of the loan amount of up to Rs 15 crore extended by the
    bank to MSMEs under this programme.
Kerala becomes first Indian state to impose 14.5% ‘fat tax’ on junk
food
  • In a first-of-its-kind move in
    the country, Kerala has introduced a ‘fat tax’ on the consumption of junk food
    items like pizzas and burgers sold through branded restaurants.
  • The newly-elected LDF government
    imposed 14.5% tax on branded restaurants selling items like tacos, pizzas,
    burgers, sandwiches, among others. The announcement was made by state finance
    minister Thomas Isaac as a part of the newly-elected LDF government’s first
    State Budget presentation after being elected to power.
  • Multi-national fast food chains
    like McDonalds, Pizza etc. are set to be hit on the back of the new tax
    imposition.
  • Meanwhile, the state government
    has also made consumption of ready-to-eat chapatis dearer with the introduction
    of 5% tax on wheat products in packets. Along with this, 5% tax has been
    imposed on packaged basmati rice and coconut oil. Disposable glasses made out
    of plastic are set to be taxed at a whopping 20%.
NASSCOM unveils India’s first Centre of Excellence on Internet of
Things
  • The National Association of
    Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on 7 July 2016 unveiled India’s first
    Centre of Excellence focused on Internet of Things (CoE- IoT) at its Startup
    Warehouse in Bengaluru.
  • The centre was launched in a bid
    to encourage start-ups to come up with tech solutions centred on Internet of
    Things (IoT).
Highlights of the Centre
  • The centre is a joint initiative
    between the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY),
    Education and Research Network (ERNET) and NASSCOM.
  • It is also supported by
    Accenture, Cisco, Intel, HCL Technologies, Qualcomm, TCS and L&T Technology
    Services, among others.
  • It will function as an enabler of
    funding, accelerating, and mentoring for start-ups in this area.
  • The CoE laboratory, along with
    the Nasscom 10000 Startups Warehouse, has the capacity to incubate up to 40
    start-ups.
Rajasthan becomes first state to introduce minimum wages for part-time
workers
  • Rajasthan in the first week of
    July 2016 became the first state in the country to introduce minimum wages for
    part time workers.
  • The Labour Department of
    Rajasthan has also issued a notification in this regard.
  • As per the notification, it
    becomes mandatory to pay 50% of the prescribed a day minimum wage to a person
    who works for less than four hours in a day.
  • With the notification, part time
    workers now come under the Minimum Wages Act 1948.
India, South Africa ink four pacts to take partnership in progress
forward
  • India and South Africa on Friday
    inked three Memoranda of Understanding and one Programme of Cooperation to take
    their “partnership in progress” one more step forward.
  • Ministry of External Affairs
    spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted “India-South Africa: Partners in
    Progress – The two countries announce MoUs/Programme in four areas of
    cooperation.”
  • The three Memoranda of
    Understanding are in the fields of ICT (Information and Communications Technology);
    Tourism and Grassroots Innovation in Science and Technology (S & T). A
    Programme of Cooperation in Arts and Culture was the fourth bilateral agreement
    between the two sides after delegation-level talks held in the presidential
    boardroom at the Union Building in Pretoria.
Google acquires Paris-based startup Moodstocks
  • Search Giant Google on 6 July
    2016 acquired Moodstocks, a startup based out of Paris that develops
    machine-learning based image recognition technology for smartphones.
  • Moodstocks’ application
    programming interface (API) for developers are described as the Shazam for
    images. With this acquisition, Moodstocks’ API and SDK will be discontinued
    soon.
India –
TRAI launches Myspeed App to measure real time mobile internet speed
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority
    of India (TRAI) on 5 July 2016 launched MySpeed mobile application for measuring
    real time mobile Internet speed of consumers.
  • The idea behind the app is that
    customers should know about the experience of their as well as other networks
    in order to select the best mobile operator in their locality. This is the
    first application to be launched under the Digital India initiative which is
    directly trying to tackle the issue of poor data speeds.
Highlights of the portal
  • The MySpeed app is a free to
    download, and is currently available only for Android smartphones.
  • It takes up 23MB after it is
    installed on the phone.
  • The interface is clutter-free and
    easy to follow.
  • In terms of graphics, MySpeed
    looks pretty basic in comparison to the most popular speed testing app
    Speedtest.
  • It allows users to report poor
    mobile network to TRAI, which will eventually help the regulator assess the
    service quality of an operator.
India, Mozambique sign MoUs on drug trafficking, pulse trading and
sports
  • India and Mozambique on 7 July
    2016 signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in areas of drug
    trafficking, pulse trading and sports
  • These MoUs were signed between
    two countries at Maputo, Mozambique during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra
    Modi to Mozambique.
  • MoU on long term agreement for
    purchase of pulses
  • It will promote the production of
    Tur (Pigeon Peas) and other pulses in Mozambique to encourage trading of
    pulses.
  • It will also play an important
    role in augmenting domestic availability of pulses in India.
  • The contract will be valid for
    five financial years 2020-21 and pulses under it will be imported by India
    either through G2G or private channels nominated by two countries.
Other MoUs signed
  • MoU on cooperation in the field
    of youth affairs and sports.
  • MoU on reduction of drug
    trafficking and psychotropic substances and related materials.

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231 Projects under Namami Gange launched all over country
  • Water Resources Minister Uma
    Bharti on 7 July 2016 inaugurated 231 projects under the Namami Gange
    Programme.
  • The projects were inaugurated
    from Haridwar, Uttarakhand in various locations in different states namely
    Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi.
  • These projects involve
    modernization and redevelopment of Ghats and crematoriums, development of
    sewage infrastructure and treatment, afforestation, tree plantation, pilot
    drain project, interceptor drain project, trash skimmers and conservation of
    biodiversity.
Projects launched
  • 47 such projects were inaugurated
    at various locations in Dehradun, Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Haridwar
    and Chamoli districts of Uttrakhand.
  • 20 projects will be inaugurated
    at various locations in North 24 pargana, Nadia, South 24 pargana and Howrah
    districts of West Bengal.
  • 26 projects were inaugurated at
    various locations in Buxar, Vaishali, Saran, Patna and Bhagalpur districts of
    Bihar.
  • 112 projects under Namami Gange
    programme were inaugurated at various locations in Amroha, Bijnor, Hapur,
    Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Mathura, Allahabad, Varanasi, Farukhabad and Kanpur
    districts.
Second phase of Haritha Haram programme launched in Telangana
  • The second phase of Haritha Haram
    programme of Telangana government was launched in the state on 8 July 2016.
  • Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao
    participated in the plantation programme at Gundrampalli near Chityal in
    Nalgonda district by planting a Neem sapling.
  • Ministers, legislators, officials
    besides a large number of school children and MGNREGA workers have been asked
    to take up similar plantations across the state.
  • 2nd Phase of Haritha Haram
    programme
  • The two-week long Haritha Haram
    programme aims at planting 46 crore plants, including 25 lakh in Hyderabad, to
    improve green belt in the state.
  • The trees were planted over 163
    kms of highway by over a lakh of people on the first day of the programme.
  • As part of its five year
    programme to increase the forest cover in the state to 33 percent, the
    government has selected Hyderabad – Vijayawada highway as a pilot project to
    plant trees on either side of highways.
Union Government launched National Green Highways Mission
  • Union Minister of Road Transport
    & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on 1 July 2016 launched the National
    Green Highways Mission (NGHM) in New Delhi.
  • Under this initiative, plantation
    drive on 1500 km of National Highways was launched at a cost of about 300 crore
    rupees.
Besides, the minister also launched the following initiatives on
this occasion.
i. Guidelines for Implementation
ii. Vision Document
iii. Knowledge Reports of the
mission
iv. Adopt a Green Highway Program
v. Kisan Harit Rajmarg Yojana
vi. National Green Highways
Mission Mobile App
Key features of National Green Highways Mission
  • It was launched under the Green
    Highways Policy that was unveiled in September 2015 to actualize the vision of
    developing eco-friendly and green National Highways.
  • The greening project has a huge
    potential to generate jobs and can prove to be a game-changer for agriculture
    and rural economy.
  • Greening of one km of highway
    provides employment to ten people. The initial launch on the 1500 km stretch will
    employ 15000 people.
  • The government has made it
    mandatory to set aside 1 per cent of the total project cost of any NH contract
    to a Green Fund corpus that will be used for plantation purposes.
Index & Lists –
India ranks 91 in Networked Readiness Index 2016
  • India was placed at 91st position
    in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) 2016 that was released by the
    Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) on 6 July 2016. The index was released
    as the part of the WEF’s Global Information Technology Report 2016.
  • It measures countries’ success in
    creating the necessary conditions for a transition to a digitised economy and
    society.
Highlights of the Networked Readiness Index 2016
  • It finds seven countries are
    excelling when it comes to economically benefiting from investments in information
    and communications technologies
  • Finland, Switzerland, Sweden,
    Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the US are leading the world when it
    comes to generating economic impact from investments in information and
    technology.
  • Singapore leads the Index
    followed by Finland, Sweden, Norway and the United States.
  • India (91st) was ranked the
    lowest among the BRICS countries- Russia (41st), China (59th), South Africa
    (65th) and Brazil (72nd).
Awards & Honors –
South African writer Lidudumalingani Mqombothi wins 2016 Caine Prize
  • South African writer, filmmaker
    and photographer Lidudumalingani Mqombothi on 5 July 2016 won the 17th edition
    of prestigious Caine Prize 2016 for his short story Memories We Lost. 
  • With this, Lidudumalingani was
    awarded with 10000 Euros and a month at Georgetown University in the US as a
    writer-in-residence.
  • The winning story explores a difficult
    subject of tackling schizophrenia. This is a troubling piece, depicting the
    great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape.
  • The Caine Prize is an annual
    literature prize awarded to an African writer of a short story published in the
    English language.
Appointments –
Deepak Singhal appointed as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh
  • 1982 batch IAS officer Deepak
    Singhal was on 6 July 2016 appointed as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh.
    Singhal succeeds 1978 batch officer Alok Ranjan, who retired on 30 June 2016
    after a three-month extension of service.
  • He will also hold additional
    charge of Principal Resident Commissioner of UP in New Delhi, and chairman of
    the Pradeshiya Industrial & Investment Corporation of UP (PICUP).
World –
New Tarantula species named after Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Scientists has named a newly
    discovered species of tarantula (a big hairy spider) as Kankuamo Marquezi after
    the famed Colombian novelist and 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Gabriel
    Garcia Marquez.
  • The species was discovered in
    large number in an isolated mountain range in Caribbean Colombia.  It was named after him as homage to the
    country where it was found.
  • It was discovered by a group of
    Uruguayan and Colombian scientists, led by Carlos Perefan from the University
    of the Republic of Uruguay.
Russian leader Putin signs ‘Big Brother’ law
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin
    in July 2016 signed the “anti-terrorist” legislation adopted by the lower and
    upper houses of parliament in June 2016.
  • This anti-terror amendment is
    dubbed as Big Brother by US intelligence contractor turned privacy activist
    Edward Snowden.
  • Critics say that the measures may
    cost billions to the internet and telecom companies.
  • Law enforcement agencies will be
    granted access to any user’s messages without any judicial oversight.
  • It boosts the surveillance powers
    for the security services by requiring communication providers to store users’
    calls, messages, photographs and videos for six months, and the Metadata for up
    to three years.
  • They will have to provide Federal
    Security Service (FSB) with access to this data and any necessary encryption
    mechanisms necessary to use it.
Sports –
Dipa Karmakar named World Class Gymnast by International Gymnastics
Federation
  • Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar was
    named a ‘Gymnaste de Classe Mondaile’ (World class gymnast) by the
    International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
  • In this regard, she received the
    official letter confirming the distinction from the federation on 6 July 2016.
  • With this, she also became the
    first-ever Indian gymnast to receive the honour.
  • She is the first woman in the
    gymnast history to land the Produnova, one of the most dangerous vaults.
Regards
Team ExamPundit