Current Affairs Update – 23rd to 25th January, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs from 23rd to 25th January, 2016. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016.




Current Affairs at a Glance – 23rd to 25th January, 2016

  1. India and France on 24 January 2016 inked 16 agreements at the India-France Business Summit in Chandigarh.
    The Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) covered a wide range of sectors like
    urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.
  2. Union Government on 25 January 2016 launched Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG cylinders. The booking can
    be done through the unified web portal www.mylpg.in which is available in 13
    languages.
  3. US News and World Report, WPP’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton
    School of the University of Pennsylvania on 20 January 2016 released the inaugural Best Countries report, a
    joint rankings and analysis project at the World
    Economic Forum, Davos. Germany is
    viewed as the best country in the world
    followed by Canada and the United
    Kingdom. India is ranked as the 22nd
    best country in the World
    . India has
    the No. 1 upcoming economy
    .
  4. Superstar Rajinikanth, founder of the Reliance empire late Dhirubhai Ambani, Art of Living founder Sri
    Sri Ravi Shankar and media
    baron Ramoji Rao have been chosen for Padma
    Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian award, this
    year.
  5. Maharashtra’s first Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant
    was commissioned on 24 January 2016 in Hingna village of Mouda Taluka in Nagpur district
  6. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 23 January 2016 hoisted the largest flag of the country
    atop the tallest pole at Pahari Mandir in Ranchi, Jharkhand
    .
  7. The Andhra Pradesh Government on 22 January 2016 launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme to
    support the tribal women in their quest for livelihood.
  8. The “Harry Potter” author J
    K Rowling
    is to receive the
    PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award
    , PEN America told The
    Associated Press on Monday.
  9. India’s Ace Shuttler, PV Sindhu on 24 January 2016 won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold
    Badminton
    title. In the final clash at Penang, she defeated Scotland’s
    Kirsty Gilmour 21-15, 21-9.
  10. Nation on 24 January 2016 observed the
    9th National Girl Child Day
    .
  11. 6th National Voters’ Day (NVD) was observed across the country on 25 January 2016 by the Election
    Commission of India.
  12. Famous Malayalam film actress Kalpana Ranjani died on 25 January
    2016 in Hyderabad. She was 51 and famously known as Kalpana.



Finance/Industry/Economy –
Union Government launched Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG
cylinders

  • Union Government on 25 January
    2016 launched Sahaj Scheme for online booking of LPG cylinders. The booking can
    be done through the unified web portal www.mylpg.in which is available in 13
    languages.
  • The facility was launched by
    Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharmendra
    Pradhan. He said that the government is targeting to add 10 crore new LPG
    connections by December 2018 to the existing 16.5 crore connections.

ONGC received environmental nod for 53000 crore rupees KG basin project

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation
    (ONGC) on 22 January 2016 received environmental clearance from the Ministry of
    Environment and Forests for drilling 45 developed wells in the Krishna Godavari
    (KG) basin in Andhra Pradesh. The total cost of the project is estimated at
    53000 crore rupees.
  • ONGC is planning to drill 45
    development wells and set up a Floating Production Storage and Offloading
    (FPSO) facility, among others. The project will be implemented in the northern
    discovery area of NELP-I offshore block KG-DW N-98/2.
  • It is expected that the proposed
    development drilling and subsequent development of fields will lead to
    production of 51.33 billion cubic meters of gas over a period of 16 years and
    26.71 million cubic meters of oil in 12 years.

Maharashtra govt approves off-grid energy policy
  • Maharashtra Cabinet on Monday
    approved integrated solar off-grid energy policy to encourage use of new and
    renewable energy. The policy aims to enhance use of green energy to preserve
    environment and curb the burgeoning issue of waste disposal.
  • The policy envisages use of more
    solar products, bio gas and bio fertiliser plants in housing societies,
    government and private offices and other establishments. Decentralised micro
    grid projects will be initially set up in two non electrified villages on pilot
    basis in two years on 100% government subsidy.
  • The government will give 20%
    subsidy for the generation of 50 Mw (10 MW each year) on private properties.
  • Further, additional Rs 500 crore
    will be spent on promoting solar cookers in government and private
    organisations while Rs 16 crore are earmarked for the generation of 4,000
    kilowatt through bio gas.

Maharashtra’s first Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant
commissioned

  • Maharashtra’s first Solar Power
    operated Mini-Water Supply Plant was commissioned on 24 January 2016 in Hingna
    village of Mouda Taluka in Nagpur district. 
  • The Solar Pump Unit has been
    installed on experimental basis by Rite Water Solutions under the supervision
    of the Zilla Parishad authorities.
  • The plant will facilitate
    villagers to get pure water supply for a very low cost, which can easily be
    borne by the Gram Panchayat.

Key facts related to Solar Power operated Mini-Water Supply Plant
  • The system runs completely on
    solar power for which 1800 Watt panels have been installed.
  • It delivers 10000 Litres of
    purified water every day and the nitrate content from water is completely
    removed so as to prevent the ill effects on the health of villagers.

Union Government notified stricter standards for Sugar Industry to
minimise water pollution

  • Union Ministry Environment,
    Forest and Climate Change on 14 January 2016 notified stricter environment
    standards for sugar industries operating in various states in the country. The
    revised standards are to be implemented with immediate effect as they were
    aimed to minimise water pollution.
  • The revised standards will lead
    to improved operational performance of sugar industries through implementation
    of wastewater discharge standards and waste water conservation and pollution
    control management protocol.
  • Specific wastewater discharge
    standards were made stricter by limiting them to 200 litre per tonne of cane
    crushed against the earlier limit of 400 litre per tonne cane crushed which
    would result less consumption of raw water at operational level.
  • The final treated effluent
    discharge has been restricted to 100 litre per tonne of cane crushed and waste
    water from spray pond overflow, or cooling tower blow down to be restricted to
    100 litre per tonne of cane crushed.

India –
India-France inked 16 pacts including chopper venture

  • India and France on 24 January
    2016 inked 16 agreements at the India-France Business Summit in Chandigarh. The
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) covered a wide range of sectors like urban
    development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.
  • The agreements were signed in the
    presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois
    Hollande, who began his three-day visit to India.
  • Hollande is the Chief Guest at
    the 67th India’s Republic Day (26 January 2016) celebrations. He is the fifth
    French leader to be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, maximum
    number from any country so far.

The 16 agreements include
  1. MoU between AFD and Maharashtra
    on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development for
    development of smart city in Nagpur.
  2. MoU between AFD and the Union
    Territory of Chandigarh on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban
    development for development of smart city in Chandigarh.
  3. MoU between AFD and the Union
    Territory of Puducherry on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable
    development for development of smart city in Puducherry.
  4. Wind Power Development Agreement
    between EDF JV with SITAC RE India to jointly explore opportunities for
    development of wind based power project in India.
  5. MOU between EPI ltd – Dassault
    Systèmes in urban sector development.
  6. MOU between EPI-Egis – urban
    sector development.
  7. MOU between EPI- Schneider
    Electric – urban sector development.
  8. MOU between EPI-Thales – urban
    sector development.
  9. MOU between EPI-EDF – urban
    sector development.
  10. MOU between EPI-Alstom – urban
    sector development.
  11. MOU between EPI-SA CAN – urban
    sector development.
  12. MOU between EPI-Lumiplan ITS
    India Pvt Ltd – urban sector development.
  13. MOU between EPI-POMA – urban
    sector development.
  14. Agreement between CEA (the French
    Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Green Ventures – Solar
    photo voltaic projects in the Indian rural areas (Varanasi, U.P.).
  15. Agreement between CEA (the French
    Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Crompton Greaves – To
    explore opportunities in Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) System with storage function
    for Indian Airports.
  16. Mahindra-Airbus cooperation to
    create the new private strategic partner for helicopters within the Make in
    India initiative.

19th National e-Governance Conference concluded at Nagpur
  • The two-day long 19th National
    e-governance Conference with the title Transforming India was concluded on 22
    January 2016 in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
  • It is conference on e-Governance
    which provides a platform to policy makers, practitioners, industry leaders and
    academia, to deliberate, interact and recommend actionable strategies.
  • The 19th National conference was
    focused on strategies like GATI-Governance with Accountability Transparency
    & Innovation for citizen -centric services, financial inclusion-JAM &
    DBT, Urban Governance in smart cities plenary, Cyber security framework for
    citizen centric, decade of eGovernance-Way ahead, and Technology enabled
    education.

India’s largest flag with tallest flagpole hoisted at Ranchi

  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
    on 23 January 2016 hoisted the largest flag of the country atop the tallest
    pole at Pahari Mandir in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
  • The flag is 66 feet in height, 99
    feet in width and hoisted on a 293 feet-tall pole.
  • The flag is crafted from
    parachute cloth and has enough clippings to ensure strong winds do not blow it
    away. The mast sits on around nine feet diameter pedestal fitted with rock
    anchors.
  • The project took more than 120
    workers and 40 days to put up the flag post, which cost an estimated 1.25 crore
    rupees, of which 44 lakh rupees was spent on the flag alone.
  • The site was earlier known as
    Phansi Tongri.

AP Government launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme for tribal
people
  • The Andhra Pradesh Government on
    22 January 2016 launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme to support the
    tribal women in their quest for livelihood.
  • The scheme was launched by Andhra
    Pradesh Minister for Social Welfare Ravela Kishore Babu.

Highlights of the scheme
  • The scheme seeks to reduce
    rampant infant mortality and child marriages among tribal people.
  • It is designed to provide a
    onetime financial assistance of 50000 rupees to each tribal woman who gets
    married.
  • The amount will be directly
    disbursed to the bank accounts of the beneficiary through District Tribal
    Welfare Office.

India Submitted first Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC
  • India on 22 January 2016
    submitted its first Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations
    Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • The report was submitted towards
    fulfilment of the reporting obligation under the Convention. As per the
    provisions of the Convention, countries need to periodically provide
    information in the form of their National Communication.

Highlights of the Biennial Update Report (BUR)
  • BUR contains national GHG
    inventory of India for the year 2010, prepared in accordance with the
    guidelines of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • The inventory covers six
    greenhouse gases- Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O),
    Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulfur Hexafluoride
    (SF6).

Reports –
Inaugural Best Countries report released at World Economic Forum

  • US News and World Report, WPP’s
    BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on 20
    January 2016 released the inaugural Best Countries report, a joint rankings and
    analysis project at the World Economic Forum, Davos.
  • The rankings evaluate 60 nations
    across 24 rankings lists on a wide range of criteria, from sustainability to
    economic influence.
  • Germany is viewed as the best
    country in the world followed by Canada and the United Kingdom. India is ranked
    as the 22nd best country in the World.

Main Highlights
  • Sweden is recognized as the most
    modern country, the Best Country to Raise Kids and the No. 1 nation for Green
    Living.
  • Denmark is named the Best Country
    for Women.
  • The United States is named the
    most powerful country
  • India has the No. 1 upcoming
    economy.
  • Germany is the best country for
    entrepreneurship,
  • Luxembourg is the most business
    friendly.
  • Italy is the country with the
    richest tradition
  • Brazil is the No. 1 nation to
    visit.
  • Canada tops the list of countries
    with the best quality of life.

2016 Best Countries Rankings
  1. Germany
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom

UNESCAP released World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016 report

  • The United Nations Economic and
    Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on 19 January 2016
    released World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2015 report. The report
    highlights that the world economy stumbled in 2015 and only a modest
    improvement is projected for 2016/17.

Highlights of the Report
  • Global growth is estimated at a
    mere 2.4 percent in 2015, marking a downward revision by 0.4 percentage points
    from the UN forecasts presented in 2015.
  • The world economy is projected to
    grow by 2.9 percent in 2016 and 3.2 per cent in 2017, supported by generally
    less restrictive fiscal and still accommodative monetary policy stances
    worldwide.

India in WESP 2016
  • India will be the fastest growing
    big economy in the world in 2016. The report has projected India’s growth rate
    at 7.3 percent in the year 2016 and 7.5 percent in 2017, which is slightly up
    from an earlier estimated 7.2 percent rate in 2015.

Awards & Honors –
Padma Vibhushan for Rajinikanth, Dhirubhai Ambani, Jagmohan

  • Superstar Rajinikanth, founder of
    the Reliance empire late Dhirubhai Ambani, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi
    Shankar and media baron Ramoji Rao have been chosen for Padma Vibhushan, the
    country’s second highest civilian award, this year.
  • Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor
    Jagmohan, former DRDO chief V K Aatre, cancer specialist and chairperson of
    Adyar Cancer Institute Dr V Shanta and eminent Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi
    dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi and classical vocalist Girija Devi and
    Indian—American economist Avinash Dixit have also been named for Padma
    Vibhushan on the occasion of this year’s Republic Day celebrations.
  • Noted actor Anupam Kher, singer
    Udit Narayan, former CAG Vinod Rai, chairperson of media group Bennett, Coleman
    & Co. Indu Jain, sports star Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal, spiritual
    leaders late Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Tejomayananda and former US
    Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill are among the 19 eminent people chosen for
    Padma Bhushan.
  • Industrialist Pallonji Shapoorji
    Mistry, Maruti Suzuki chairman R C Bhargava and eminent architect Hafeez
    Contractor also figure in the list of Padma Bhushan awardees.
  • Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, who
    was the prosecution counsel in the Mumbai terror attack case, actors Ajay Devgn
    and Priyanka Chopra get Padma Shri.

J.K. Rowling to receive PEN award for literary service

  • The “Harry Potter” author is to
    receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, PEN America told The
    Associated Press on Monday.
  • Rowling will be presented her
    award May 16 at the literary and human rights group’s annual spring gala in New
    York. Previous winners include Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie and Tim Stoppard.
  • In its announcement Monday, PEN
    cited Rowling’s advocacy for free expression; her founding of the charitable
    trust Volant, which supports multiple sclerosis research and other causes; and
    her nonprofit organization Lumos, which works to reconnect institutionalized
    children with their families.

National e-Governance Awards 2015-16 conferred
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister
    Devendra Fadnavis on 22 January 2016 presented the National Awards for
    e-Governance for the year 2015-16 in Nagpur. These awards are given for the
    outstanding achievement in the field of e-governance.
  • The awards were conferred during
    the valedictory function of 19th National e-governance conference held in
    Nagpur on 21-22 January 2016.
  • Eighteen winners were awarded in
    12 categories.

Innovative Use of Technology in e-Governance
  • EPFO, (Employment Provident Fund
    Organization), Delhi under Ministry of Labour and Employment for its successful
    implementation of universal account number programme

Innovative use of GIS Technology in e-Governance
  • Maharashtra Remote Sensing
    Applications Centre, Nagpur

Jeevan Raksha Padak Awards 2015 announced
  • President Pranab Mukherjee on 25
    January 2016 approved the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards
    2015 on 50 persons.
  • These series of gallantry awards
    were instituted in the year 1961. These are given to a person for meritorious
    act of humane nature in saving the life of a person in cases like drowning in
    water, accidents, fire incidents, electrocution, natural calamities, rescue
    operation in mines etc.

The award is given in three categories, which are:
  •  i) Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak is awarded
    for conspicuous courage in saving life under circumstances of very great danger
    to the life of the rescuer.
  • ii) Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak is
    awarded for courage and promptitude in saving life under circumstances of great
    danger to the life of the rescuer.
  • iii) Jeevan Raksha Padak is
    awarded for courage and promptitude in saving life under circumstances of grave
    bodily injury to the rescuer.

Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak
  1. Ullas Unnikrishnan (Posthumous),
    Kerala;
  2. Munna alias Ramdars Sisodiya
    (Posthumous), Madhya Pradesh
  3. Ankit Kumar  Mishra (Posthumous), Uttar Pradesh

National Bravery Awards 2015 presented to 25 Children

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on
    24 January 2016 presented the National Bravery Awards to 25 children.
  • This award scheme was initiated
    by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) to give due recognition to the
    children who distinguish themselves by performing outstanding deeds of bravery
    and meritorious service and to inspire other children to emulate their
    examples.
  • It was in 1957 that two children,
    a boy and a girl were first rewarded for their presence of mind and courage by
    then Prime Minister Nehru. Since then ICCW confers these awards on children
    every year.
  • In 1987-88 ICCW instituted the
    Bharat Award for an exceptionally outstanding, meritorious and gallant deed.
    The other special awards include the Geeta Chopra and Sanjay Chopra awards
    (instituted by ICCW in 1978) and the BapuGaidhani Awards (instituted in
    1988-89).

Sports –
PV Sindhu won Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold Badminton title

  • India’s Ace Shuttler, PV Sindhu
    on 24 January 2016 won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold Badminton title. In
    the final clash at Penang, she defeated Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour 21-15, 21-9.
  • This was Sindhu’s second Malaysia
    Masters Grand Prix Gold title, having won it in 2013 as well.
  • With this, Sindhu has won five
    career Grand prix gold and first title of the year 2016.  She also completed a hat-trick at the Macau
    Open Grand Prix Gold in November 2015.
  • Only two women’s singles players
    (Saina Nehwal and Sung Ji-hyun) have more GP Gold title’s than Sindhu.

Izumo Takuto and Zhu Chengzhu won ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals
  • Japan’s Izumo Takuto and Hong
    Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu on 24 January 2016 became champions in the boys’ and girls’
    categories, respectively, in the 11Even Sports 2015 ITTF World Junior Circuit
    Finals at the Abhay Prashal Stadium, Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
  • The three-day event came to its
    conclusion when Takuto hardly dropped a sweat beating Carlos Vedriel from Spain
    4-0 in a one-sided final while Zhu overcame stiff resistance to beat Park Seri
    of Korea 4-2.
  • Each winner took home 3800 US
    dollars while the runners-up received 2100 US dollars each.

India won Blind T20 Asia Cup

  • India on 24 January 2016 won the
    first T20 Asia cup cricket for Blind. In the final clash played at Jawaharlal
    Nehru stadium of Kochi, India defeated Pakistan by 44 runs.
  • Batting first, India scored 208
    runs in 20 over whereas Pakistan was restricted to 164 runs in 18.2 over.
  • So far, Pakistan was unbeaten in
    this tournament and had defeated India by 19 runs in the group stages.

Days –
9th National Girl Child Day observed on 24 January

  • Nation on 24 January 2016
    observed the 9th National Girl Child Day. It is celebrated to spread awareness
    about the inequalities faced by the girl child in the country. It is observed
    on 24 January every year.
  • It was initiated by the
    government in 2008. Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has been
    taking different initiatives to address and reverse the trend of declining sex
    ratio in the country.

The Ministry has come up with some steps to contribute to the
upliftment of the girl Child.
Celebrate the birth of a girl
Child.
Take the Pride in daughters and
oppose the mindset related to Paraya Dhan.
Find ways to promote equality
between boys and girls.
6th National Voters’ Day observed with theme Inclusive and Qualitative
Participation
  • 6th National Voters’ Day (NVD)
    was observed across the country on 25 January 2016 by the Election Commission
    of India. The theme for the 6th National Voters’ Day is ‘Inclusive and
    Qualitative Participation’.
  • The Commission’s objective
    through NVD is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly
    eligible ones.
  • The National function of the NVD
    was held in New Delhi and presided over by President of India, Pranab
    Mukherjee.
  • On the occasion, the Chief
    Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi also released a book titled, ‘Belief in
    the Ballot’ and presented it’s the first copy to the President.

Appointments –
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won Presidential Election of Portugal

  • Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on 24
    January 2016 won the Presidential election of Portugal. Sousa, a centre-right
    Social Democrats candidate and a former journalist, won the election by
    securing 52 percent of votes.
  • The outcome is likely to help
    maintain political balance after the inconclusive parliamentary ballot in
    October 2015.
  • His closest rival, Socialist
    Antonio Sampaio da Novoa, conceded defeat after picking up around 23 percent of
    the vote. Left Bloc candidate Marisa Matias had 10 percent.

World –
Japan lifted nuclear sanctions on Iran

  • Japan on 22 January 2016 lifted
    sanctions on Iran, falling in line with major world powers. The announcement
    was made by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
  • The sanctions were lifted after
    the United Nations atomic energy agency confirmed on 16 January 2016 that
    Tehran has fully taken steps to curb its disputed nuclear programme.
  • The move will allow Japanese
    companies to pursue investment in Iran’s oil and gas industry.
  • Tokyo imported around 10 percent
    of Iran’s oil before introducing sanctions against Tehran. After the sanctions,
    this share fell to 5 percent and then reduced even further.

Obituaries –
Noted Malayalam film actress Kalpana Ranjani died

  • Famous Malayalam film actress
    Kalpana Ranjani died on 25 January 2016 in Hyderabad. She was 51 and famously
    known as Kalpana.
  • She has published her memoirs
    with the title Njan Kalpana

Eminent Tabla player Shankar Ghosh passed away
 
  • Eminent Tabla player Pandit
    Shankar Ghosh passed away on 22 January 2016 in Kolkata following a prolonged
    illness. He was 80.
  • He is survived by his wife
    Sanjukta Ghosh, a classical vocalist of Patiala gharana, a son, daughter-in-law
    and two grandsons.

Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly Nirmala Gajwani died
  • Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat
    Assembly and Social Activist Nirmala Gajwani passed away on 21 January 2016 in
    Rajkot, Gujarat. She was 87.
  • Gajwani was a reputed social
    worker and one of the leading lights of the Sindhi community in the state.
  • Gajwani was the first lady Deputy
    Speaker of Gujarat legislative Assembly.



Regards

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