Current Affairs Update – 15th April, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the important current affairs of 15th April, 2015.

Finance/Economy/Banking
Wholesale prices
declined 2.33% in March

  • Wholesale prices declined at a faster-than-expected annual
    rate of 2.33 per cent in March, their fifth straight fall, on the back of
    tumbling oil and manufacturing prices, Government data showed on Wednesday.
  • The data compared with a 1.95 per cent year-on-year fall
    forecast by economists in a Reuters poll and a provisional 2.06 per cent
    decline in February.
  • The reading for January wholesale price inflation was
    revised to -0.95 per cent from -0.39 per cent earlier.

PSUs Sign Six Pacts
at Hannover Messe to Boost ‘Make in India’
  • Public sector firms, including BHEL, Instrumentation Ltd and
    HMT, have firmed up six MoUs with companies from Germany, Switzerland, Russia
    and Bulgaria for scaling up Indian manufacturing in high-tech areas.
  • The Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed yesterday
    at an event organised by engineering exporters’ body EEPC India at the ongoing Hannover
    Messe fair in Germany.
  • Power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) inked
    a pact with Russian Joint stock company INTMA for upcoming projects in Russia
    and Kazakhstan.
  • While Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Ltd and
    Bulgaria-based Milkotronics Ltd signed an MoU to manufacture milk analyzers in
    India, Instrumentations Ltd and German firm KE Kauer Engineering inked an
    agreement for production of control valves.
  • Three MoUs were signed by Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT), the
    release said. HMT inked pact with Switzerland-based Num Controls for
    manufacturing of CNC controls, systems and drives.
  • It also signed pacts with FT Machine Tools, Germany, for
    collaborating on flow forming machines and Enit GmbH for total engineering
    solutions.
  • India is a partner country at the Hannover Messe 2015 fair,
    which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor
    Angela Merkel.

ICICI Bank, Bangalore
Metro offers smart card
  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank tied up with
    Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to launch ICICI Bank Unifare Bangalore Metro
    card to offer debit and credit card benefits to commuters.
  • Co-branded with MasterCard, the smart card uses Near Field
    Communication (NFC) technology and offers the commuters dual benefits of an
    ICICI Bank credit or debit card and BMRCL’s smart card, called Namma Metro
    Smart Card. “It has a unique auto recharge facility of loading Rs. 200 when the
    balance drops below Rs. 100. This auto recharge facility eliminates the need to
    wait in queues at ticket counters and vending machines,” ICICI bank said in a
    statement.
  • Commuters can redeem reward points accumulated on their card
    for free metro rides, get 15 per cent discount on metro fare, 2.5 per cent fuel
    surcharge waiver across HPCL pumps with transaction swiped on an ICICI Merchant
    Services’ machine discounts on dining bills at select restaurants among others.
  • Both existing and new credit or debit card customers can
    apply for this card, the bank said.

NCR Corp launches
cloud-based ATM software
  • ATMs and service provider NCR Corporation introduced a
    self-service banking channel, Android operating system – Kalpana software – an
    enterprise and cloud-based software platform that moves ATM software and
    operations to the cloud.
  • The software has been designed to eliminate malware, to
    enable deployment of new devices and ATM services and reduce operating costs up
    to 40 per cent. “It is more secure than traditional ATM software because all
    software updates are originated and controlled at the server level,” the
    company said after launching it globally.
  • At present, the US-based ATM provider has 47 per cent market
    share in India and 28 per cent share globally.
  • NCR Corp expects the India ATM industry to grow over 200 per
    cent in the next five years. Dastur expects the number of ATMs to increase to
    4.40 lakh by 2019 as against 1.93 lakh at present.

Business
MoUs & Deals –
Satya Nadella Tops
Global CEO Pay Chart
  • With a pay package of USD 84.3 million (Rs 525 crore) a
    year, technology giant Microsoft’s Indian-origin chief Satya Nadella has
    emerged as the top-paid CEO in the US, as per a new list.
  • The Equilar 100 CEO Pay Study, an analysis of CEO salaries
    at the 100 largest public US companies as measured by revenue, was last year
    topped by Oracle’s Larry Ellison, who has been now pushed by Nadella to the
    second position.
  • Another Indian-origin CEO, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, is ranked
    19th with USD 19.08 million. Legendary investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire
    Hathaway is ranked last at 100th position with a total compensation of USD
    464,011 million.

Temasek acquired
InnoVen Capital India for 300 crore rupees
  • Singapore-based investment firm Temasek on 14 April 2015
    acquired InnoVen Capital India, formerly known as SVB India Finance, for 300
    crore rupees.
  • With this acquisition, Temasek announced its entry into the
    venture debt segment.
  • InnoVen Capital India will be independently managed with a
    reconstituted board of 5 members, comprising Madhabi Puri Buch, former chief
    executive officer of ICICI Securities, as chairperson.
  • Temasek has assets under management to the tune of 177
    billion US dollar as on 31 March 2014, and has actively invested across sectors
    like financial services, telecom, media, technology, life sciences, consumer
    and real estate.

Zomato acquires
cloud-based restaurant POS product MaplePOS

  • Restaurant search app Zomato has announced acquiring
    MaplePOS, a cloud-based point of sale product for restaurants.
  • Renamed as Zomato Base, it has a functional Android-based
    POS system that uses custom hardware for better reliability and customization.
  • It offers restaurants features such as menu and inventory
    management, and has a built-in payment solution to accept debit and credit card
    payments. With this acquisition, Zomato claimed it will be better placed to
    provide business-focused solutions for restaurants, which in turn, will help
    the company offer highly differentiated services to the end consumer.

Online hotel booking
in India to hit $1.8 bn by 2016: Google
  • Online hotel bookings in the country will touch USD 1.8
    billion by 2016, as more and more Indians turn to the Internet for finalising
    travel plans, according to Google.
  • Consumer confidence to do online hotel bookings is on the
    rise in India, with an estimated 8.4 million Indians likely to book hotels
    online by 2016. The online hotel booking Industry will be worth USD 1.8 billion
    from the current USD 0.8 billion.
  • One of the biggest factors for this sizzling growth is the
    convenience the Internet offers while carrying out the transaction.

Reports/Indexes
IMF released World
Economic Outlook April 2015 Update
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 14 April 2015 released
    World Economic Outlook (WEO) April 2015 Report. The report is titled Uneven
    Growth: Short-term and Long-term Factors.
  • Global growth is forecasted at 3.5 percent in 2015 and 3.8
    percent in 2016 which is in line with forecasts made in the January 2015 WEO
    Update. Also the global growth rate in 2015 is broadly same as it was in 2014.

Growth in advance
economies will rebound
  • Global growth in 2015 will be driven by a rebound in
    advanced economies supported by the decline in oil prices.
  • In advanced economies, growth is projected to strengthen in
    2015 relative to 2014, but in emerging market and developing economies it is
    expected to be weaker.

Projection about
India
  • India’s growth is projected to strengthen from 7.2% in 2014
    to 7.5 % in 2015 and 2016.
  • For the first time since 1999, India’s growth rate may
    eclipse China’s and there is increasing divergence in the growth paths of the
    two countries.
  • India is trying to shift from consumption to investment led
    growth at a time when China is going opposite way.

               
India Slips to 89th
Place in Global Networked Readiness Index
  • India has slipped six places to rank 89th on a global
    Networked Readiness Index, showing a “widespread” weakness in its
    potential to leverage information and communications technologies for social
    and economic gains.
  • While Singapore has replaced Finland on the top of the
    143-nation list, prepared by World Economic Forum (WEF), it has called for
    improvement in India’s business and innovation environment, infrastructure and
    skills availability.
  • However, India has been ranked on the top globally on a
    sub-index for competition and affordability.
  • Overall, India was ranked 83rd last year, and even better at
    68th position in 2013.
  • WEF said India’s weakness is widespread, falling in the
    bottom half of seven of the 10 pillars of the index.
  • In the top 10, Singapore is followed by Finland, Sweden, the
    Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the US, the UK, Luxembourg and Japan, which
    has climbed an impressive six places year-on-year to 10th position.

World
India, EU Strike New
‘Digital India’ Partnership
  • India and the European Union (EU) today forged a new digital
    partnership and discussed potential for collaboration in the fields of
    technology and innovation besides cooperation to create smart cities.
  • The first India-EU Strategic Dialogue Series, organised by
    UK-based policy platform India Inc. Alongside key players like Microsoft and
    McKinsey, focussed on ‘Delivering Smart Communities’ as part of the Narendra
    Modi government’s Digital India drive.
  • The Digital India Roundtable, supported by Tata Consultancy
    Services (TCS) and Germany-based IT solutions entity SAP, focussed on the
    potential of India-EU collaboration in the field of technology and innovation
    as well as in creating smart cities.

Canada to Supply
Uranium to India From 2015

  • Canada today agreed to supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium
    to energy-hungry India from this year under a USD 254 million five-year deal to
    power Indian reactors as the two countries decided to set in motion a new
    strategic partnership.
  • The agreement for uranium supply, which came two years after
    protracted negotiations following the 2013 civil nuclear deal between India and
    Canada, was signed after comprehensive talks Prime Minister Narendra Modi had
    with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.
  • Cameco Corporation will supply 3,000 metric tonnes of
    uranium over five years to India at an estimated cost of USD 254 million and
    the supply will start from this year, a top official said.
  • Canada is the third country to supply uranium to India after
    Russia and Kazakhstan. The supplies will be under the International Atomic
    Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

Delhi Declaration on
Public Health Challenges adopted at 5th SAARC Health Ministers meet
  • The 5th meeting of SAARC Health Ministers was held on 8
    April 2015 in New Delhi. The meet ended with the adoption of Delhi Declaration
    on Public Health Challenges.
  • The declaration focuses on issues common to member nations
    of South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). These issues
    include universal health coverage, improving health regulatory systems,
    preparedness for emerging and re-emerging diseases and the challenges posed by
    antimicrobial resistance and non-communicable diseases.

Main highlights of
the Delhi Declaration
  • Agreed to strengthen cooperation on mutually agreed
    agreements for prevention and control of infectious diseases and for sharing of
    information in accordance with international health regulations
  • Agreed to strengthen capacities for surveillance and
    monitoring of disease, rapid response and expanding diagnostic facilities
  • Resolved to strengthen cooperation to promote availability
    and effective coverage of affordable vaccines including pentavalent vaccine and
    to also strengthen our response to make SAARC region polio free
  • Agreed to take appropriate coordinated action which may be
    required to be adopted by the Member States for prevention and control of
    Hepatitis which is a major public health issue in the region;

Fifth Normandy Group
Foreign Ministers meet held in Berlin
  • The term Normandy Group was in news because the fifth
    meeting of the foreign ministers of the group members was held on 13 April 2015
    in Berlin, the capital of Germany.
  • Normandy Group or Normandy Quartet is a group of four
    countries including Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine.
  • The group was formed to facilitate a diplomatic resolution
    to the ongoing conflict between the Ukraine Army and pro-Russia forces in the
    Donbass region of Ukraine.
  • It was formed on 6 June 2014 after an informal meeting of
    the four heads of state on the sidelines of commemoration of the seventieth
    anniversary of D Day in Normandy, France.
  • From time to time, the group reviews the progress in
    implementing the truce pact, which came into force on 15 February 2015. The
    pact was reached in the Belarusian city of Minsk between pro-Russia forces and
    Ukraine to end the conflict.

Stanford Researchers
created a Smartphone Battery that charges in only one minute

  • Researchers at Stanford University created a smartphone
    battery that charges in only one minute. The project was published on 6 April
    2015. Stanford University chemistry professor Hongjie Dai is the lead
    researcher of the project.
  • The battery invented is the first high-performance aluminum
    battery which is fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive.
  • The researchers placed the aluminum anode, a graphite
    cathode and an ionic liquid electrolyte inside of a polymer-coated pouch. The
    electrolyte is essentially a salt that is liquid at room temperature so it is
    safe.

Appointments
Mohan Kumar Appointed
New Ambassador to France

  • Senior diplomat Mohan Kumar, currently India’s top envoy to
    Bahrain, has been appointed the next Ambassador to France to succeed Arun
    Kumar.
  • A 1981-batch IFS officer, Mohan Kumar is expected to take up
    his assignment shortly, External Affairs Ministry said today.
  • The official announcement for Mohan Kumar’s appointment
    comes six days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France.
  • Arun Kumar has been appointed the country’s Ambassador to the
    US, replacing S Jaishankar.
  • Incidentally, before becoming Ambassador to Bahrain in 2010,
    Mohan Kumar served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Paris
    for three years.

Justice Meenakshi
Madan Rai sworn in as first lady judge of Sikkim HC

  • Meenakshi Madan Rai on 15 April 2015 was sworn in as the
    first lady judge of the Sikkim High Court. Her oath of the office was
    administered by the Governor Srinivas Patil at Ashirwad Hall at Raj Bhavan in
    Gangtok.
  • Rai is also the third High Court judge who hails from the
    small border state.
  • This appointment of Rai as the judge of the Sikkim High
    Court has helped the state to get its full strength of three judges after a gap
    of about one year.

Books
& Authors –
Vise President Hamid Ansari
Releases Book on Indian Diplomacy Through Three Decades
  • Vice President Hamid Ansari today released a book which is a
    collection of thoughts and ideas of 33 Indian diplomats during their years in
    foreign service.
  • India and the World – Through the eyes of Indian Diplomats
    has been edited by diplomat Surendra Kumar-founded Indo-American Friendship
    Association in 2010.
  • “The book has been very rightly described as a bouquet
    of 33 Flowers as it is a fair description of experiences of 33 distinguished
    diplomats and what has happened over the years since the foreign service
    began,” the Vice President said.
  • Commending the editor of the book, he hoped it will be read
    by young entrants in this service and the public at large.
  • The work representing three generations, those who joined in
    1950s, 1960s and in 1970s.

Obituaries
Assamese Filmmaker
Bidyut Chakraborty passes away
  • Renowned Assamese filmmaker and actor Bidyut Chakraborty
    breathed his last today in a private nursing home in Guwahati after brief
    illness.
  • He directed several Assamese movies including Raag-Biraag,
    Goon Goon Gaane Gaane, Dwaar. Chakraborty even won Indira Gandhi national award
    for Raag Biraag.
  • Apart from direction, Chakraborty acted in several Assamese
    movies and serials.
  • Assam film fraternity and civil society organizations has
    condoled the demise of Chakraborty. Last tributes are being paid to the
    departed soul by people from all walks of life.

Regards

Team ExamPundit

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