Today’s Current Affairs 29 August 2016

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— Current Affairs 29 Aug 2016 —


Daily | Current Affair Updates | 7-Minute-Read | By-Raksha | PDF Version



A complete dose of current affairs for the whole day. Categories listed are given as below:

— IMPORTANT DAYS —

– 29th August – National Sports Day:

  • National Sports Day in India is celebrated on August 29 to mark hockey legend Dhyan Chand’s birthday.
  • Dhyan Chand, considered as the greatest player in hockey, played a key role in India’s three consecutive Olympic triumphs in 1928, 1932 and 1936. Notably, the government gives away awards such as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dronacharya Awards on this day.

— NATIONAL —

– Centre certifies 10 towns as ‘Open Defecation Free’

  •  The Ministry of Urban Development has certified 10 towns — five towns each in Maharashtra and Telangana — as ‘Open Defecation Free’ (ODF), an official statement said on Monday.
  • With this, the Ministry has begun the process of third party verification of ODF claims by towns under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). It received ODF claims of 11 towns independently verified by the Quality Council of India and certified ten.
  • A ward or city can be declared as ODF if, at any point of the day, not a single person is found to be defecating in the open, the statement added. The verification process includes self declaration by the city and on intimation of the same by the respective urban local body or State, the Ministry gets such claims verified in 30 days based on assessment of service level status (construction and availability of household, community and public toilets) and independent observations by the third party.

– Maharashtra, Haryana ratify GST Bill

  • Maharashtra and Haryana today ratified the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) passed by the Parliament taking to 11 the number of states which have passed the landmark tax reform.
  • Besides Maharashtra and Haryana, nine states — Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Nagaland, have already ratified the Bill.
  • The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 on GST was passed by Parliament recently and it needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can notify the GST Council which will decide the new tax rate and other issues.
  • The government has set April 1, 2017 as target for rolling out GST, considered as the biggest tax reform. The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly ratified the GST at a special one-day session of the state legislature in Mumbai.

– GST: A high standard rate would impact prices and hamper acceptance:

  • In a historical move for the country, the 122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was unanimously passed by Parliament this session.
  • Widely believed to be the most important tax reform since 1991, the GST will transform India into a unitary market, lower transaction and logistics costs, spread the tax net wider and propel investments and growth.

– President re-promulgates Ordinance to amend Enemy Property Act:

  • President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday night re-promulgated an Ordinance to amend the Enemy Property Act (Eviction of Unauthorised Occuants Act of 1971 pending ratification by Council of States (Rajya Sabha).
  • The original Ordinance was promulgmated on January 7 this year. It was passed by the Lok Sabha in January and was subsequently referred to Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.
  • The third Ordinance incorporating the amendments suggested by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee was promulgmated by Mr. Mukherjee on May 31.

– John Kerry arrives in India for 2nd Indo-US strategic dialogue

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here on Monday to participate in the 2nd Indo-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to be held on Monday, where terrorism emanating from Pakistan and other important issues, including economic matters like visas, will be discussed.
  • During the Dialogue, to be co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with Kerry and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the entire gamut of cooperation between the two countries will be taken up.
  • The co-chairs will be accompanied by a high-level inter- agency delegation on both sides. During the day-long meeting, Sitharaman will discuss bilateral trade and investment related matters with her US counterpart Pritzker.
  • India-US CEO forum meeting is also scheduled. From Indian side, Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry will co-chair the India-US CEO Forum meeting.
  • About Indo-Us Dialogue: The Dialogue was elevated into a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India in January 2015. The first S&CD was held on September 22, 2015 in the US. The two-way trade between the countries stood at about $109 billion last year.

– Tourism Ministers of BRICS nations to meet in MP:

  • The Tourism Ministers of BRICS countries will meet in Madhya Pradesh’s temple city Khajuraho for a two-day long conference from September 1.
  • During the conference, several presentations will be made and group discussions on Inter-Regional Tourism Promotion will be held. Further, a session on implementing technology and innovation in the sector will be held along with various cultural programmes.

– Govt may relax ‘creamy layer’ norms for OBCs:

  • The Social Justice Ministry is working on proposals to relax the annual income limit of ‘creamy layer’ OBCs to Rs.8 lakh against the present Rs.6 lakh limit, according to reports.
  • Around 27% seats in government jobs and educational institutions are currently reserved for OBCs having an annual income below Rs.6 lakh. Reportedly, only 12-15% of the quota gets utilised now.

– Mufti launches Centre’s UJALA scheme in J&K:

  • Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has launched the Centre’s UJALA scheme in the state with the distribution of LED bulbs to the people.
  • Under the scheme, consumers can buy five LED bulbs at Rs.20 each by showing monthly electricity bills or ID cards. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the National LED programme in 2015.

– President Pranab Mukherjee to present national sports awards at Rashtrapati Bhawan- 4 Khel Ratnas awarded in a year for the first time:

  • President Pranab Mukherjee will give away the national sports awards at Rashtrapati Bhawan today on the occasion of National Sports Day. The day is celebrated to honor legendary hockey player, Major Dhyan Chand Singh who was born on 29th August, 1905.
  • AIR correspondent reports that Rio Olympics Silver Medalist PV Sindhu, Bronze medalist Sakshi Malik, Gymnast Dipa Karmakar and Shooter Jitu Rai will be conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awards.
  • The Award is given for the most outstanding performance by a sportsperson over a period of four years. Six coaches will be honoured with Dronacharya Awards.
  • Arjuna Award was also given to 15 sportspersons which included the likes of Olympian runner Lalita Babar, cricketer Ajinkya Rahane, boxer Shiva Thapa and wrestler Vinesh Phogat.

– HRD Minister Javadekar inaugurates IIT-Dharwad:

  • Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has inaugurated IIT Dharwad (Karnataka), which had started functioning from August 1 with 120 students from a temporary structure.
  • “I assure that the IIT in Dharwad will become a model for other IITs in the country,” Javadekar said. The institute, spread across 470 acres, will be mentored by IIT-Bombay for the next three years.

W. Bengal Assembly passes resolution to change State’s name

  • The West Bengal Legislative Assembly today passed a resolution proposing that the State’s name be changed to ‘Bangla’ in Bengali or ‘Bengal’ in English. The resolution was moved by the State Parliamentary Affairs Minister
  • The matter will now be sent to the Centre for being placed before Parliament. West Bengal had earlier made a failed attempt to rename the state as ‘Paschimbanga’.

– One Liner Updates:

— INTERNATIONAL —

– 1.25 bn Indians will always stand by Myanmar: PM

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held bilateral talks with Myanmar President Htin Kyaw, assuring him that 1.25 billion Indians will always stand by Myanmar as partners and friends.
  • “Myanmar is special for us. It holds a unique position in India’s neighbourhood,” he said. This is the first top-level engagement between the two nations since Myanmar’s new government took over.

– India, US targeting trade worth $500 bn:

  • India and the US are targeting to increase their bilateral trade to $500 billion from the current $100 billion annually, a PwC and Indo-American Chamber of Commerce report stated.
  • Further, 10 sectors including defence will strengthen India’s position as a global business hub, it added. With activities at record levels, India will remain a preferred investment destination, an official said.

– North Korea warns US over ‘deliberate provocations’:

  • North Korea warned the United States and South Korea against “deliberate provocations” by aiming their lighting equipment at its guard posts in the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas.
  • North Korea threatened to aim fire at the lighting equipment claiming it threatened its troops’ safety. Notably, hostile acts are banned in the demilitarised zone under a 1953 armistice.

– China launches state-owned aircraft engine maker:

  • China has merged smaller businesses with over 96,000 employees to launch a $7.5 billion state-owned aircraft engine maker, to focus on designing and testing aircraft engines, Chinese state-run media said on Sunday.
  • Earlier, Chinese aircraft used engines made by Rolls-Royce among others. This reportedly is aimed at developing competitive Chinese products and services for international markets.

– Turkish army kills 35 civilians in Syria:

  • 35 civilians were killed and 70 others injured in shelling and air strikes by the Turkish military in Syria.
  • 25 Kurdish militants also killed in the air strikes. Turkey’s army and its allies have also reportedly taken control of at least four villages and one town from Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria yesterday.
  • Turkey’s State news agency Anadolu said that the dead militants were members of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD).

– Russia lifts ban on charter flights to Turkey:

  • Russia has lifted its ban on charter flights to Turkey, according to the Russian government’s website. Russia had banned such flights after a Russian air force jet was shot down by the Turkish military last November.
  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has since apologised for the incident and the leaders of the two countries have reportedly started restoring bilateral ties.

– China starts cargo train service to Russia:

  • China has launched a cargo train service to Russia in an attempt to improve trade and commerce with the country.
  • This will reportedly save 30 days in transport time compared to shipping services and will cost 20% of standard air transportation. This is a part of China’s multi-billion dollar project to revive the ancient Silk Route.

– One Liner Updates:

— BANKING —

– ‘RBI, Sebi should intervene to stop SBI merger’:

  • The State Bank of Travancore Employees Union on Monday urged the Centre not to go ahead with the merger of SBT and other associate banks with SBI, and asked RBI and SEBI to intervene.
  • The government should consider the views of the people, and the stakeholders, the union stated. The SBI had earlier approved the merger with its associate banks.
  • The Union also decided to intensify its agitation with a relay hunger strike in September last week at Delhi, Raj Bhavan march in October and Parliament Maha dhara in

– One Liner Updates:

 

— BUSINESS AND ECONOMY —

– India to grow at 7.6 per cent in FY’17: RBI

  • The economy is likely to expand at 7.6 per cent. Overall GVA (gross value added) growth is projected at 7.6 per cent in 2016-17, up from 7.2 per cent last year,” RBI said in its Annual Report 2015-16.
  • A better than anticipated agricultural performance and the possibility of allowances under the 7th Pay Commission’s award being paid out in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 provide upsides to this projection, it said.
  • On the other hand, a rise in the implicit GVA deflator, as Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation hardens, will operate as a statistical downside, RBI said. The effects of Brexit on the Indian economy have been relatively muted, including the immediate impact on equity and foreign exchange markets, it added.
  • The effects of Brexit on the Indian economy have been relatively muted, including the immediate impact on equity and foreign exchange markets, it added. Yet, in view of the linkages to the UK and the euro area, spillovers through trade, finance and expectations channels cannot be ruled out as events unfold, it said.

– Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani to start microfinance company

  • Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Vijay Kelkar, former finance secretary and chairman of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd and the architect of Aadhaar, are joining hands to start a microfinance institution (MFI).
  • Avanti will apply to the Reserve Bank of India for registration and is expected to start operations before the end of the financial year
  • Tata and Nilekani are investing in setting up this microfinancier from their respective philanthropic capital and “any gains will be reinvested in philanthropic causes”.

– Big Bazaar’s e-commerce platform to shut down:

  • Future Group-owned online platform to buy Big Bazaar products, ‘Big Bazaar Direct’ is shutting down next week following losses, the Group’s Founder and CEO Kishore Biyani has confirmed. “I attempted e-commerce four times in my life.
  • We started FutureBazaar way before Flipkart. We lost Rs.300-350 crore in business. Then, we created Big Bazaar Direct…We lost there as well,” said Biyani.

– Tata launches research alliance with global institutes:

  • Indian conglomerate Tata Group has launched a collaboration with leading academic universities including Ivy League Yale and Harvard, which will focus on research and application in fields like network science, and healthcare.
  • Tata will provide funds worth over $25 million for this. “We are engaging with the best research institutions… to enable sustainable market development”, Tata stated.

– Bharti Airtel cuts 3G and 4G prices by up to 80%:

  • Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has slashed its 4G and 3G mobile internet charges by up to 80% to as low as Rs.51 per GB under a special scheme.
  • These prepaid packs are live in Delhi and will get launched across circles by August 31, a company statement read. Notably, this comes ahead of the upcoming commercial launch of Reliance Jio.

– LIC to fill posts for 2 MDs, yet to name chairman:

  • State-owned life insurer LIC, which is yet to name a chairman after the incumbent SK Roy in June announced surprise retirement two years ahead of his tenure, is looking at selecting two MDs for which eight EDs have been called for interviews.
  • The top LIC management consists of the chairman and three MDs. Currently, there are two managing directors – VK Sharma and Usha Sangwan – as the government is yet to name the replacement for SB Mainak, who retired early this year.

– Morgan Stanley sees 40 million users of Reliance Jio next fiscal:

  • Remaining bullish overall on Reliance Industries BSE 0.83 %, leading merchant banker Morgan Stanley says it expects the Jio 4G telecom services to grow to 40 million subscribers in the next fiscal and add $2 billion in revenues, with a positive cash flow by 2019-20.
  • “We expect Reliance Jio to generate more than $2 billion revenues in 2017-18 with revenue market shares of 2 per cent in voice and 19 per cent in data, leading to a 6 per cent overall revenue market share,” Morgan Stanley  Research said in its latest report.

– One Liner Updates:

— APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGN—

– Rajinikanth’s daughter appointed U.N. Women’s advocate for Gender Equality

  • Announcing the appointment of noted filmmaker and actor Rajinikanth’s daughter Aishwaryaa Dhanush as United Nations Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India,
  • She joins elite club that includes actor-director Farhan Akhtar, tennis star Sania Mirza and Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway
  • “Aishwaryaa will help raise awareness of U.N. Women’s core message of gender equality and women’s empowerment across India, boosting the organisation’s efforts to close the gender gap and achieve a more equal world — a Planet 50-50, by the year 2030,” a release here said.

– Usain Bolt was appointed as ‘Chief Speed Officer’ by Digicel

  • Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has been appointed as the ‘Chief Speed Officer’ in a lifetime deal with Caribbean cell carrier Digicel.
  • Bolt will help Digicel market products, publicise partnership initiatives and hold mentorship sessions for young athletes. “They have been there for me since I was 17 years old and now we will be together forever”, Bolt said.

– One Liner Updates:

 

— AWARDS AND HONOURS —

– CSR: IIFCL bags national award for encouragement of sports

  • India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL) on Monday received the “Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar 2016”, the highest national award for encouragement of sports through corporate social responsibility.
  • President of India Pranab Mukherjee gave away this award, which carried a trophy and a citation, to S B Nayar, Chairman and Managing Director, IIFCL at a ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • As part of the CSR initiative, IIFCL has been supporting the training and development needs of badminton and archery athletes identified under the ‘Target Olympic Podium’ scheme of Sports Ministry.
  • P.V. Sindhu, Silver medallist at Rio Olympics 2016, is one of the Badminton athletes supported under IIFCL’s CSR initiative. Under the TOP scheme, IIFCL has committed Rs. 30 crore to create sporting champions, with a pledge to contribute Rs. 10 crore annually. This state-owned company has allocated 40 per cent of its total CSR budget annually to developing sports in the country.

– One Liner Updates:

 

— SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY —

– Apple iPhone 7 to be launched on September 7

  • It’s coming, finally. After months of speculations, leaks and rumours, the launch date for Apple’s newest iPhone has been finally announced.
  • The Cupertino-based tech giant has started sending out press invites for a product launch event scheduled for September 7, where the iPhone 7 (and maybe a new Apple Watch ) will be officially unveiled.
  • The invite features a bokeh-like rendering of the Apple logo against a black background and reads, “See you on the 7th. Please join us for an invitation-only event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 7, at 10:00 a.m.”
  • As is clear by the invite’s text, the event will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, which seems to have become Apple’s favourite venue for all its big product launches.

IIT Kanpur signs MoU with Tel Aviv University for cyber security

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) is gradually ramping up its cyber security research work in the campus and meticulously forging alliances with top institutions in the world.
  • In the latest development, IIT-K has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC) of Tel Aviv University. This would facilitate bi-lateral academic relationships, cooperative research and teaching projects in select fields.

– Driverless taxi firm eyes operations in 10 cities by 2020

  • A US software firm which chose Singapore for the world’s first public trial of driverless taxis hopes to be operating in 10 Asian and US cities by 2020, an executive said on Monday.
  • Doug Parker, nuTonomy’s chief operating officer, said the firm is eyeing tests by early next year in three other Asian countries which he declined to name.
  • The company last week kicked off the world’s first driverless taxi service in a limited trial for invited people in a Singapore research campus.
  • The Test Car: The current test car — a modified Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle — plies a 4.0 square km area with set pick-up and drop off points. Trips must be booked through the company’s smartphone app and are currently by invitation only.

– NASA ends year long Mars simulation on Hawaii:

  • NASA has ended its yearlong Mars simulation on Hawaii. A team of six people have completed a Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in near isolation for a year.
  • Since 29 August 2015, the group lived in close quarters in a dome, without fresh air, fresh food or privacy.
  • The NASA funded study run by the University of Hawaii is the longest of its kind since a Russian mission that lasted 520 days.

– Indian startup to launch smartphone at Rs.501:

  • Indian startup ChampOne Communications is launching a smartphone named ‘ChampOne C1’ at a price of Rs.501 through a flash sale on September 2.
  • However, the current price is for sales promotion only and once the device is launched nationwide, it will cost nearly Rs.8,000. It comes with 5-inch display, fingerprint sensor, 2 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal memory.

– One Liner Updates:

— SPORTS —

– Former hockey players protest, demands Bharat Ratna for Major Dhyan Chand:

  • As many as 100 former hockey players and former hockey federation members staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi yesterday, demanding Bharat Ratna for legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.
  • Speaking to media, Ashok Kumar, son of the legendary player, said his father was inspiration for a number of players who won Arjuna award, Padma award and Khel Ratna.

– One Liner Updates:

 

— OBITUARY —

– Anti-Putin journalist found dead on his birthday:

  • Russian journalist Alexander Shchetinin who has been critical of President Vladimir Putin was found shot in the head in his apartment in Kiev on his birthday.
  • Police said Shchetinin may have committed suicide as his apartment room was locked from the inside. Reportedly, the journalist is known for calling himself the President’s “personal enemy”.

– One Liner Updates:

 


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Current Affair 29 August 2016

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