Today’s Current Affairs 24 August 2016



— Current Affairs 24 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:



– UPSC may soon revise the age criteria for the civil services entrance examinations

  • The Indian government may soon revise the age criteria for the civil services entrance examinations, widely considered one of the most prestigious in the country,
  • A UPSC-appointed committee has recommended to the government that the upper age-limit for appearing in the examinations such as the IAS and IPS be reduced to 26 years from the current 32 for general category students over the next 5-7 years. Over the years, the age limit for the general category has gone up from 24 years to 32 in the year 2014.
  • The panel headed by former education secretary B S Baswan, was appointed by the Narendra Modi government in August last year to change the overall system of the civil services examination, one of the most exclusive and stringent nationwide. However, nothing has been mentioned about the age criteria for SC/ST, for whom the upper age limit is 37 years.

– Indian Navy analysing Scorpene sensitive data leak

  • an Australian newspaper had just reported the leakage of key operational details of India’s newest submarines, the Scorpene, apparently from the French shipbuilder, DCNS, which is the vendor for India’s six Scorpenes.
  • The report in The Australian says: “the DCNS documents detail the most sensitive combat capabilities of India’s new $US3 bn ($3.9bn) submarine fleet and would provide an intelligence bonanza if obtained by India’s strategic rivals, such as Pakistan or China.”
  • It added that the source of leak is not from India. Each page of the leaked documents, which are available on The Australian’s website, is annotated in red with the stamp: “Restricted Scorpene India”.

– Govt launches E-Library ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya’ an online library for Persons with disabilities

  • The government today launched Accessible E-Library ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya’ for Divyang under Prime Minister’s Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar and Thawar Chand Gehlot jointly launched the e-library at a fucntion in New Delhi.
  • Sugamya Pustakalaya is an online library for Divyang and houses publications across diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats.
  • Books are available in Accessible formats for people with visual impairment and other print disabilities.
  • Over 2 lakhs books in diverse languages will be there. The online library has been created in collaboration with National Institute of Visually Handicapped, member organisations of Daisy Forum of India and Bookshare.

– Krishna Pushkaram river festival concludes with grand display of Pavitra Harati

  • The once-in-12-year Krishna Pushkaram river festival at the Pavitra Sangamam ghat near Ibrahimpatnam in Vijayawada came to a close yesterday with a grand display of Pavitra Harati, cultural performances that reflected the traditions of Andhra Pradesh, and a spectacular show of pyrotechnics.
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Union Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu and Suresh Prabhu, Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamy of Avadhoota Datta Peetham (Mysuru), and Olympic medallist P.V. Sindhu and her coach P. Gopi Chand were special guests on the occasion.
  • Barring a few incidents of drowning, and the road accident on the skew bridge in Vijayawada on the final day the 12-day river festival came to an end. Officials estimated that about 1.92 crore pilgrims participated in the pushkaram.

– President of India inaugurates CII-IIEST conference on “Enabling Make in India through Industry Academia Innovation Platform”

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a CII-IIEST Conference on the theme of “Enabling Make in India through Industry Academia Innovation Platform” in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India’s external sector has remained steady with current account deficit improving to 1.1 percent of GDP in 2015-16 from 1.3 percent in the previous year.
  • The challenges in global economic conditions notwithstanding, India has registered a growth rate of 7.3 percent in the calendar year 2015. The industrial sector has posted a growth of 7.4 percent in the last financial year, with the manufacturing sector growth returning even better figures of 9.3 percent.

– Odisha cabinet approves startup policy

  • Odisha Cabinet has approved the Odisha Startup Policy 2016 .
  • The aim is to promote entrepreneurship for start-up ventures with provision of govt incentives.
  • The policy will chart out a roadmap to place Odisha among the top three investment destinations in the country by 2020.
  • It will constitute a 25cr rupees Startup Capital Infrastructure Fund to provide monthly assistance to young entrepreneurs

– Maharashtra, first state to sign an agreement with the Civil Aviation Ministry to develop 10 non-functional regional airports

  • Maharashtra has became the first state to sign an agreement with the Civil Aviation Ministry to develop 10 almost non-functional regional airports/airstrips helping move closer to reality the Centre’s ambitious regional connectivity plan.
  • The fully subsidised Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) seeks to cap ticket prices so as to make flying more affordable and accessible to the common man.
  • The RCS is part of the ambitious National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 cleared by the Cabinet on June 15.
  • The agreement was inked in the presence of Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Maharashtra Chief Minister

– Suresh Prabhu commissions new rail line in AP

  • Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu commissioned a new railway line between Nandyala and Yerraguntla yesterday.
  • Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said this railway line was a dream of former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao as he represented Nandyala in Lok Sabha.
  • It was inaugurated through a remote video link from Vijayawada in the presence of state ministers and others. The 123-km railway line was built at a cost of 967 crore rupees and connects Kurnool and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh.

– HRD ministry probe panel says Rohith Vermula was not from Scheduled Caste: Report

  • A judicial commission set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry to probe the suicide of Hyderabad Central University scholar Rohith Vermula has found that the 26-year-old student did not belong to the Scheduled Caste community,
  • The one-man probe panel headed by former Allahabad High Court judge A K Roopanwal was set up in January by then HRD Minister Smriti Irani to look into the issue. He submitted his report to the University Grants Commission in the first week of August, according to sources.
  • The finding that Vemula was not a lower caste or Dalit is of particular significance to Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and HCU vice-chancellor Appa Rao, as both were named in the FIR lodged by the police under the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act for abetting his suicide.

– MP Assembly ratifies GST Constitution Amendment Bill

  • In Madhya Pradesh, the state legislative assembly today ratified GST Amendment Bill. A special one-day sitting of the state legislative assembly was convened for ratification of the Bill.
  • State’s Law Minister Rampal Singh moved the GST constitution amendment bill in the house for the approval.
  • Initaiating the debate, finance minister Jayant Mallaiya said that Madhya Pradesh will benefit from the GST as it is basically a consumer state.
  • He said that the GST will simplify the tax structure accross the country and bring transparency in the tax system.

– Haryana CM announces Sakshi malik as brand ambassador for Beti Bachao, Beti Padao campaign

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal honoured Rio bronze medal winner Sakshi Malik at Bahadurgarh. Chief Minister awarded her 2.5 crore rupees and Commendation Certificate in the presence of Ministers and senior leaders.
  • Her coaches Mandeep and Kuldeep were also presented cheque of 10 lakh rupees each by the Chief Minister. Addressing the gathering Chief Minister announced Sakshi as Haryana’s brand ambassador for Beti Bachao, Beti Padao campaign.
  • He said that today is the happiest day for the state as the daughter has returned home after winning medal in Olympics. He said that she has made State and country proud.
  • Chief Minister announced that a sports nursery and a stadium would be set up at Mohra, native village of Sakshi in Rohtak district. The Chief Minister also said Government is ready to offer high level post to Sakshi.

– Meeting of BRICS ministers of Disaster Management concludes in Udaipur

  • The two-day meeting of Ministers of Disaster Management of BRICS countries concluded in Udaipur yesterday with the adoption of the Udaipur Declaration.
  • Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said that the BRIC nations have resolved to set up a dedicated Joint Task Force for Disaster Risk Management for regular dialogue, exchange, mutual support and collaboration among BRICS Countries. He termed the meeting as a new milestone in collaboration and cooperation among BRICS countries in the field of disaster management.

– Centre to provide employment opportunities to 1.4 lakh youths in J&K

  • In an effort to reach out to people of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre is in the process of providing employment opportunities to one lakh 40 thousand youths in the State by imparting various skill development courses. Some more youths will be provided jobs in security establishment.
  • AIR correspondent report that Home Ministry sources said nearly one lakh youths, who are mostly under-graduates, will be given various job oriented training under a Centrally sponsored scheme called Himayat in next five years.
  • The youths will be provided short-term training for at least three months, in a range of skills for which there is good market demand. At the end of the training, the youth are assured of a job.

– Maharashtra, Telangana sign pact for 3 irrigation projects

  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday signed a pact with his Telangana counterpart K. Chandrasekhar Rao for three irrigation projects to be constructed on Godavari, Pranahita and Painganga rivers.
  • Under the agreement, the two States would take up Tummidi Hatti, Medigadda and Chanaka-Korata projects.
  • Medigadda barrage: Telangana will build a barrage of 100 metre height and 16 TMC storage capacity at Medigadda. The barrage will help irrigate 18.19 lakh acres of land in six districts.
  • Tummadihatti barrage: It will be built on Pranahita River with a height of 148 metres and 1.8 TMC storage capacity. This will help in irrigation of two lakh acres of land in Adilabad district bordering Maharashtra.
  • Chanaka-Korata barrage: It will be built on Penganga River. It will have 213 metre height and 0.85 TMC storage capacity. It will irrigate land in Maharashtra and Adilabad district of Telangana.

– Saradha scam: ED Summons Nalini Chidambaram wife of P. Chidambaram

  • Enforcement Directorate has summoned Nalini Chidambaram, wife of former Union finance minister P Chidambaram in connection with the Saradha scam probe.
  • The central investigating agency has asked her to appear at the Kolkata office during the first week of September. It had earlier summoned her last year. Chidambaram had then sent her representative to the central investigation agency’s office.
  • Earlier this year, the CBI had named Nalini Chidambaram in the sixth supplementary chargesheet filed in the Saradha scam. She was named neither as witness nor accused, but as one privy to certain information on the controversial channel deal. The CBI said it might look into the information she was privy to “at a later stage”.

– Cabinet approves draft bill to ban commercial surrogacy

  • The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016, aimed at banning commercial surrogacy but permitting “altruistic” surrogacy under strict rules.
  • The draft Bill is aimed at safeguarding the rights of surrogate mothers. It will also regulate commissioning surrogacy in the country.
  • The draft law will now be introduced in the winter session of Parliament and referred to a parliamentary standing committee to facilitate consultation with a wider set of stakeholders.
  • After Implementation :
    • Only legally wedded heterosexual childless couples who are Indian citizens permitted
    • Foreigners, NRIs, live-in couples, homosexuals, single parents not allowed
    • Couples need to wait five years before applying for surrogacy; need to medically prove inability to have a child
    • 10 years of imprisonment, up to Rs 10 lakh fine for abandoning surrogate child, mistreatment of surrogate mother



– Italy earthquake : More than 120 killed

  • The 6.1 magnitude quake that struck at 3.36 a.m. was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including the capital Rome, where residents felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. First images of damage showed debris in the street and some collapsed buildings in towns and villages that dot much of the Umbrian countryside.
  • At least 120 people have been killed in a strong earthquake that struck central Italy early on Wednesday, levelling buildings in several towns as residents slept.

– Two-day SAARC Finance Ministers’ Conference begins in Islamabad

  • The two-day SAARC Finance Ministers’ Conference begins in Islamabad tomorrow to discuss cooperation in different sectors of economy.
  • The meeting is also expected to discuss the South Asia-Free Trade Agreement and devise a mechanism for promotion of regional trade.

– India is 7th wealthiest country

  • India has figured among the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world with a total individual wealth of $5,600 billion while the United States topped the chart.
  • According to a report by New World Wealth, India was ranked 7th ahead of Canada ($4,700 billion), Australia ($4,500 billion) and Italy ($4,400 billion), which came in at 8th, 9th and 10th slots, respectively.
  • The US is the wealthiest in the world in terms of total individual wealth held ($48,900 billion) while China stood second and Japan third, with total individual wealth of $17,400 billion and $15,100 billion, respectively.
  • Others in the top 10 club include the UK (4) with a total individual wealth of $9,200 billion, followed by Germany (5th, $9,100 billion) and France (6th, $6,600 billion).

– Dubai set to open world’s largest indoor theme park

  • The world’s largest indoor theme park is set to open in Dubai to lure back some of the tourists and residents who often flee abroad during the scorching desert summer.
  • In a sandy suburb beyond Dubai’s concrete jungle and pockets of artificially green spaces, IMG Worlds of Adventure’s boxy exterior belies a 140,000-sq. m air-conditioned cathedral of entertainment teeming with animatronic dinosaurs, roller coasters, Marvel superheroes and Cartoon Network characters.
  • Zombies pop out from dark corners of a haunted house and the Velociraptor coaster throttles passengers within a misty simulated rain forest dubbed the Lost Valley.

– U.S. Postal Service to issue Diwali stamp

  • The U.S. Postal Service on Monday said it will issue a Diwali postage stamp, meeting one of the long pending demands of Indian-American community here. The Diwali stamp is being issued as a “Forever” stamp, the U.S. Postal Service said in a statement.
  • The stamp design, unveiled by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), is a photograph featuring a traditional diya oil lamp lit in a sparkling gold background.
  • The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony will take place at the Indian Consulate in New York City on October 5, the USPS said. Hinduism was the only major world religion, for which the USPS had not issued a postage stamp.

– Egypt’s President to visit India next month

  • President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al Sisi will visit India from 1st to 3rd of next month. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Ministers, Officials and business leaders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral discussions with him.
  • President Al Sisi is expected to meet business leaders both of India and Egypt during the visit. President Pranab Mukherjee will host a Banquet in the honour of visiting dignitary.
  • Our correspondent reports that India and Egypt enjoy excellent relations marked by strong, traditional and civilizational ties and contribute towards peace and development in the world.



– Govt mulls ban on cash deals of over Rs 3 lakh: CBDT chief

  • The recommendation comes from the Special Investigation Team as part of its effort to clamp down on the use of black money in the economy
  • The government is examining a recommendation by the special investigation team (SIT) to ban cash transactions of over Rs 3 lakh to clamp down on black money, the top Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) official said.
  • SIT had also suggested an upper limit of Rs 15 lakh on cash holding. In case any person or industry requires holding more cash, it may obtain necessary permission from the Commissioner of Income Tax of the area, it had recommended.

– Anil Ambani’s son, Jai Anmol, joins Reliance Capital board

  • Jai Anmol Ambani, son of industrialist Anil Ambai, has been inducted as executive director on the board of Reliance Capital, making him a third generation member of the Ambani family to be at helm of affairs.
  • He would move in as an additional director after a two year stint in the finance company. Anmol, 24, has been working in various financial services businesses within Reliance Capital since 2014.

– Microsoft buys artificial intelligence startup Genee

  • Software giant Microsoft has bought a smart scheduling app Genee, as part of its effort to embed artificial intelligence (AI) to compete with the likes of Google Now and Apple.
  • The start-up, which was founded in 2014, will shut down its service on September 1. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by Genee founders Ben Cheung and Charles Lee, who will join Microsoft.
  • Genee specializes in using machine smarts to handle the time-sucking task of scheduling meetings.
  • It is unclear whether the duct will be integrated with any of Microsoft’s existing applications, but comments from the company suggest Genee’s expertise could be used across Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of products.



– P D Gupta appointed VC of Homi Bhabha National Institute

  • Eminent scientist P D Gupta was today appointed as Vice Chancellor of Mumbai-based Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI).
  • He has been appointed to the post for five years, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said
  • The HBNI is an aided institution of the Department of Atomic Energy and is a deemed to be university under the UGC Act.
  • The institute is dedicated to encourage pursuit of excellence in sciences (including engineering sciences) and mathematics in a manner that has major significance for the progress of indigenous nuclear technological capability.



– Four Indian films to compete at the 1st BRICS Film Festival

  • At the last BRICS Summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed a BRICS Film Festival and film awards.
  • the names of the films that will compete at the 1st BRICS Film Festival was announced. Four Indian films have made it to the list of 20 films in competition. Among them are Kaushik Ganguly’s ‘Cinemawala’, SS Rajamouli’s ‘Baahubali – The Beginning’, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Bajirao Mastaani’ and Ram Reddy’s “Thithi”. The festival will be held at Delhi’s Siri Fort auditorium complex from September 2 to 6.

– 2 Indian-American women named White House fellows

  • Two Indian-American women have been selected for the prestigious White House Fellow programme that offers first hand experience of working at the highest levels of the US federal government.
  • Astrophysicist Anjali Tripathi from California and physician Tina R Shah from Chicago are among the 16 White House Fellows appointed from across the nation for the year 2016-17, officials said.
  • Shah is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician-scientist focused on transforming healthcare delivery for patients with chronic diseases.



– Google rolls out Android 7.0 Nougat for Nexus devices

  • The latest OS comes with features that allow users to personalise their smartphones. For instance, users have access to around 1,500 emoticons built into Android. Of these, 72 are new. Quick settings controls give you access to bluetooth, WiFi and the flashlight. With this, users can control what tiles go where, and move them around to fit ones needs. Apps can tailor their content based on local settings. For instance, if someone speaks multiple languages, then search engines can show results in each of those languages.
  • Android 7.0 Nougat includes multi-window mode,  support for Vulkan (an advanced 3D rendering API) and Daydream (Google’s platform for mobile virtual reality).
    The new OS can better isolate and protect files for individual users on a device. Further, direct boot will help the device startup faster, and ensure that apps run securely even before the user unlocks his or her device when the device reboots.

– China to send probe, rover to Mars in 2020

  • China has unveiled the designs of its Mars probe and rover to be launched in 2020 as it looks to catch up with India, US, Russia and EU to reach the red planet. China plans to send a spacecraft to orbit Mars, land and deploy a rover in July or August 2020, official media here quoted Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars mission as saying.
  • China’s attempts to send an exploratory probe to Mars, called Yinghuo-1, had failed in 2011, as it was declared lost and later burnt during re-entry

– China’s unmanned submersible sets new national record

  • China’s unmanned submersible has dived to a depth of 10,767 metres at the world’s deepest ocean point, setting a new record for the country to enable it to explore ocean beds for minerals and other natural resources.
  • This dive created a new record for China that also helps the country to enable it to explore ocean beds for minerals and other natural resources. The submersible named Haidou-1 set the record at the Mariana Trench in the West Pacific, the deepest area in the world, during a scientific expedition carried out between June 22 and August 12.

– First Tibetan-language search engine launched in China

  • China has launched its first Tibetan-language search engine ‘Yongzin’.  The search engine will serve as a unified portal for all major Tibetan-language websites in China. It has eight sections for news, websites, images, videos, music, encyclopedia, literature and forums.
  • The search engine will meet the growing needs of the Tibetan-speaking population and facilitate the building of Tibetan digital archives and the expansion of databases in the Tibetan language.

– FSS launches new authentication platform ‘FSS Access Control Server’ for online transactions

  • Financial Software and Systems (FSS), a payments technology and transaction processing company, has launched FSS Access Control Server, a secure authentication platform that supports 3-D Secure Protocol and enables Card issuers and acquiring banks to offer security to customers during online transactions.
  • The server is a Visa and MasterCard certified authentication platform, providing two-factor authentication, an additional layer of security for eCommerce and mCommerce transactions.
  • With FSS Access Control Server Card Issuers and Acquiring Banks can protect their customers from fraudulent usage of cards during transactions and increase both customer and merchant confidence.

– North Korea test fires new ballistic missile

  • North Korea today test fired a new ballistic missile. South Korea’s military said, it was launched from a submarine in the Sea of Japan, off North Korea’s eastern coast.
  • The test comes one day after the United States and South Korea launched joint military exercises on the peninsula.
  • Pyongyang had warned against the drills, threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear strike.
  • North Korea has test fired a number of ballistic missiles in recent months, and has also conducted nuclear tests.
  • Condemned by the international community, these resulted in the implementation of harsh new sanctions by the United Nations.



– Men’s team slips one place in FIH rankings

  • The Indian men’s hockey team slipped one place to sixth in the FIH rankings after a lacklustre show at the Rio Olympics while the women gained one position to be at 12th in the latest charts released on Tuesday.
  • Australia, which finished sixth at Rio, remained on top while newly crowned Olympic champion Argentina moved up five places to second.
  • On the women’s side, Great Britain’s shoot-out victory over the Netherlands saw it slinch the Olympic gold and move up to third spot, just behind top ranked the Netherlands and Argentina, which remained second despite a seventh-place finish at the Rio Games.

– Vikash Anand wins premier title in National Racing

  • Twenty-two year old Chennai lad Vikash Anand won a double to clinch the title in the MRF Formula 1600 category and a ticket for the Mazda Road to Indy shootout as the fifth and final round of the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Racing Championship.
  • Going into this weekend’s triple-header, Vikash and Karthik Tharani were locked on 138 points.
  • Anand began his campaign with a second place finish behind Tharani , but won both the starts to seal the championship.
  • Goa’s Keith Desouza topped the Indian Junior Touring Cars class with a crucial win which helped him finish on 199 points while his nearest rival Ananth Pithawala from Mumbai ended up on 191.

– Rio Paralympics 2016: Russia banned after losing appeal

  • Russia will not compete at next month’s Paralympics in Rio after losing an appeal against a ban imposed for state-sponsored doping.
  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) ban on all Russian competitors.
  • The IPC made the decision in light of the McLaren report, which detailed a state-sponsored doping programme operated by Russia.
  • The Paralympics begin on 7 September.
  • The IPC’s decision to ban the entire Russian team was proportionate in the circumstances, according to the CAS panel, which said it would publish the full grounds for its decision later.


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