Current Affairs 19th-20th July 2015

India issued joint statement with which country on bilateral cooperation - Myanmar

  A joint statement was issued by India and Myanmar on bilateral cooperation after the conclusion of the first meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) in New Delhi. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Foreign Minister of Myanmar U Wunna Maung Lwin co chaired this meeting and also another second meeting is scheduled to be held in Myanmar in year 2016.
Following were important highlighs of this bilateral cooperation :
  • Both the countries agreed that negotiations should be conducted to enable early conclusion of the bilateral MoU on Movement of People across the Land Border.
  • First meeting of the India -Myanmar Joint Boundary Working Group, with a mandate to address all outstanding boundary issues, would be held in New Delhi at the earliest.
  • A joint survey by officers of the two Foreign Ministries is expected to be undertaken to inspect the earth blockage site on Ti-Ho (Tizu) river on India-Myanmar border to inspect the efforts made by local authorities of Mizoram to remove the debris and restore the normal course of river.
  • It was also agreed that Investments by Indian companies in areas like ports, power, agro-industries, forest products, mining, construction industry, consumer goods, highways, oil & gas, plantation, manufacturing, hospitality and ICT would be specifically encouraged.
  • Also trail runs of Imphal-Mandalay Bus Service will be held at the earliest. 

Nelson Mandela International Day was observed on - 18th July

Among the Important Days, On 18th July 2015, Nelson Mandela International Day was observed across the globe. This day was observed to honour the former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela (1918-2013).
Important to mention here that this day was observed first time this year after UN General Assembly resolution of November 2009.

Who was recently inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame - Amelie Mauresmo

On 18th July 2015, Two-time Grand Slam winner and former number one tennis player of France Amelie Mauresmo was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
She won two Grand Slam titles in 2006 season, first at the Australian Open and then at Wimbledon. In total she won 25 singles titles.
Important to mention here that She is also first woman to coach a top male tennis player as she is coach of Scottish professional tennis player Andy Murray.

Name of the Indian-origin person who received honorary fellowship from University of Central Lancashire - Shiv Pande

On 17th July 2015, Shiv Pande who is an Indian origin doctor was honoured with fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) of the UK for his contribution to the community as a general practitioner and medical educator.
Shiv Pande who has obtained MBBS and MS (General Surgery) degrees in India then he moved to UK in 1971. 
Apart from this he also received Most Excellent order of the British Empire (MBE) from the Queen in 1989.

Kerala tourism's Muziris heritage project bagged which prestigious award - PATA award

On 18th July 2015, Kerala Tourism's Muziris Heritage Project was awarded with 2015 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) award in the Heritage & Culture category.
Kerala Tourism's Muziris Heritage Project is one of the biggest heritage conservation projects of modern India. Though actual award will be given on 8th September 2015 in Bangalore.
The Muziris Heritage Project intends to conserve and to showcase the culture of 3000 years or more for posterity.
Do You Know : 
PATA Award is sponsored by the Macau Government Tourism Office and it is given in recognition of the achievements of 25 separate organizations and individuals. Main focus of PATA is to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region. 

Dr Bisheshar Pradeep passed away, he was a - Noted Urdu writer

On 19th July 2015, Dr Bisheshar Pradeep passed away. He was a noted Urdu fiction writer. He was 80 years old. He is best known for his fiction writing "Afsana Nigari".
In 1996 he was awarded with "Urdu Hindi Sahitya Akademi Award" for his work and also won a national level award for his book "Surkh Gulab".

Who took charge as new Chairperson of DCW - Swati Maliwal

On 20th July 2015, Swati Maliwal took over as new Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). She succeeded Barkha Shukla whose tenure ended in July 2015.
Swati Maliwal who is an Aam Aadmi Party leader is an RTI Activist and also wife of AAP leader Navin Jaihind.

Current Affairs 18th July 2015

 RBI signed Special Currency Swap Agreement - Central Bank of Sri Lanka

A Special Currency Swap Agreement was signed between Reserve Bank of India and Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
As per this agrrement, Central Bank of Sri Lanka can draw up to 1.1 billion US dollar for a maximum period of six months. This special arrangement is in addition to the existing Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for the SAARC Member Countries.

V Ramakrishna passed away, he was - Telugu playback Singer

Image result for V Ramakrishna passed away, he was - Telugu playback Singer Noted Telugu playback singer V Ramakrishna died at the age of 68. He sang about 5000 songs in his four decade long carreer.

Clarity on constitutional status was sought by SC Judge on - Chief Justice of India

Supreme Court's Justice Kurian Joseph sought a clarification from the Union Government on the constitutional status of the Chief Justice of India. 
The question was raised during the hearing of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014.
The six-member NJAC, chaired by the Chief Justice, gives equal status to the executive and judiciary in the appointments and transfers of judges in the higher judiciary including the Chief Justice of India.
As per the clarification sought by Justice Kurian, the basis of ambiguity on the constitutional role of the Chief Justice lies in the fact that the Schedule 3 and Article 124 of the constitution address him/her with two different designations.
While in the Schedule 3, which deals with forms of oath and affirmations, the Chief Justice takes oath as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, as per the Article 124 the President’s Warrant of Appointment identifies him/her as the Chief Justice of India.
As per Justice Kurian, the clarity on the role of the Chief Justice is of paramount importance in deciding the validity of the NJAC Act, 2014 as it relegates him/her to one among the six members of the commission since no veto powers provided to the NJAC chairperson. 

Sohra Marathon was held in - Meghalaya

Image result for Sohra Marathon was held in - Meghalaya
Second Sohra Marathon 2015 was held in Meghalaya. Chief Minister Mukul Sangma flagged off this Marathon. The marathon, named after the Cherrapunji’s historical name Sohra, started and ended at Mawkdok crossing through 13 destinations. 
Do You Know : 
This marathon was named after Cherrapunji's historical name Sohra.

Current Affairs 17th July 2015

India-Canada Civil Aviation Pact was approved by - Union Government

Union Cabinet approved MoU between India and Canada in the field of Civil Aviation. This MoU was inked with an aim to enhance the experience and technical knowledge in the field of Civil Aviation between India and Canada.
Under the MoU, an appropriate platform shall be formalized for exchange of views on the possibilities of fostering economic cooperation between the two countries in the areas of civil aviation and there will be a cooperation programme in the areas of safety of aircraft operations and related issues that will provide more up-to-date knowledge to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana was launched by - PM Narendra Modi

, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana in New Delhi with an aim to impart skill training to 24 lakh youth during 2015-16 with focus on first time entrants to the labour market and class 10 and class 12 drop outs.
These are the main highlights of this programme : 
  • It will be covering 24 lakh persons and skill training would be based on the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and industry led standards.
  • Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will be implementing this scheme through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) training partners.
  • Skill training would be on the basis of skill gap studies conducted by the NSDC for the period 2013-17 and focus of the training would be on improved curricula, better pedagogy and better trained instructors.
  • The average monetary reward 8000 rupees per trainee will be given to trainees on assessment and certification by third party assessment bodies.

Rs 671 crore penalty on 4 state-run insurance companies was imposed by - CCI

Penalty of 671.05 crore rupees was imposed on four Public Sector Insurance Companies for manipulating the bidding process initiated by Government of Kerala for selecting insurance service provider for Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna for the years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. The beneficiaries of the schemes were BPL and poor families.
These four companies and their penalties are  : 
  • National Insurance (162.80 crores rupees)
  • New India Assurance (251.07 crores rupees)
  • Oriental Insurance (100.56 crores rupees) and 
  • United India Insurance (156.62 crores rupees)

DoT released report on Net Neutrality by - A K Bhargava committee

, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) released A K Bhargava committee report on Net Neutrality. A K Bhargava committee which was a six member committee was appointed in January 2015 in this regard.
Following are the highlights of this report :
  • Legitimate traffic management practices may be allowed but should be tested against the core principles of Net Neutrality. Further, Improper (Paid or otherwise) Prioritization may not be permitted.
  • India specific Net Neutrality approach should be formulated by taking into account international best practices that serve specific needs of the country.
  • The primary goals of public policy in the context of Net Neutrality should be directed towards achievement of developmental aims of the country by facilitating Affordable Broadband, Quality Broadband and Universal Broadband for its citizens.
  • User rights on the Internet need to be ensured so that Telecom or Internet Service Providers do not restrict the ability of the user to send, receive, display, use, post any legal content, application or service on the Internet, or restrict any kind of lawful Internet activity or use.
  • Over-the-top (OTT) application services should be actively encouraged and any impediments in their expansion and growth should be removed.
  • There should be a separation of application layer from network layer as application services are delivered over a licensed network.
  • Specific OTT communication services dealing with messaging should not be interfered with through regulatory instruments.
  • In case of OTT VoIP international calling services, a liberal approach may be adopted. However, in case of domestic calls (local and national), communication services by TSPs and OTT communication services may be treated similarly from a regulatory angle for the present.
  • Content and application providers cannot be permitted to act as gatekeepers and use network operations to extract value in violation of core principles of Net Neutrality, even if it is for an ostensible public purpose. In this regard, the committee expressed its objections to Facebook’s
  • In order to deal with the complexities of the new digital world, a think-tank with best talent may also be set up. 

RBI permitted CBS-enabled Cooperative Banks to issue ATM cards in tie-up with - A sponsor bank

 Reserve Bank of India given permission to Cooperative Banks with Core Banking Solution (CBS) to issue ATM cards/ATM-cum-debit cards in tie with a sponsor banks.
This decision was taken with an aim to to move towards a less-cash economy and with an aim to inculcate the habit of using electronic payment channels among bank customers.
Also, banks should set up their own arrangement for issuing cards, authorization of cards and customer support/redressal mechanism and ensure to provide uninterrupted services to their customers.
The RBI took the decision after it received representations from cooperative banks not having their own ATMs and sought permission to issue ATM-cum-debit cards to their customers in tie-up with banks having their own ATM network.

India and World Bank signed Financing Agreement for which project - Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project

 Financing Agreement for assistance of 250 million US dollars was inked between India and World Bank for Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project.
It is a loan for an implementation period of 5 years and Andhra Pradesh Government will be the implementing agency of project.
S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs and Onno Ruhl, Country Director (India) of World Bank signed this financing agreement.
It aims to increase the capacity of the State to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency.
Direct beneficiaries of the project will be populations of the affected coastal areas specifically the four heavily impacted districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari.
It will have seven components:
  • Resilient electrical network
  • Restoration of connectivity and shelter infrastructure
  • Restoration and protection of beach front
  • Restoration of environmental services and facilities and livelihood support
  • Capacity building and technical support for disaster risk management
  • Project implementation support
  • Contingency Emergency Response 

Current Affairs 16th July 2015

 Chairman of Narmada Valley Development Authority - Rakesh Sahni

Image result for Chairman of Narmada Valley Development Authority - Rakesh SahniRakesh Sahni was appointed as Chairman of Narmada Valley Development Authority. Rakesh Sahni is a retired IAS officer of 1972 batch. He retired after serving post of chief secretary of States. 
NVDA is a multidisciplinary organization of the Madhya Pradesh State Government headquartered at Bhopal. 

committee was constituted by RBI on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion - Deepak Mohanty Committee

 A committee to work out a five-year (medium-term) action plan for financial inclusion was constituted by RBI. This committee comprises total 14 members and is headed by RBI executive director Deepak Mohanty.
This committee has been formed to work towards spreading the reach of financial services to unbanked population.

World Youth Skills Day observed - 15th July

World Youth Skills Day was observed across the globe. This was the first time ever this day was observed as this was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 11 November 2014. The Assembly designated 15 July as the World Youth Skills Day in order to raise awareness about the importance of investing in youth skills development.
Several events were organised to mark this day.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched the National Skill Development Mission. He also unveiled the new National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015.

PGS-India, Soil Health Card and FQCS Web Portals were launched by - Union Agriculture Minister

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh launched three web portals which are Soil Health Card portal, Fertiliser Quality Control System (FQCS) portal and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) - India Portal.
These three portals are aimed for following purposes :
Soil Health Card Portal : This portal is designed for registration of soil samples, recording test results of soil samples and generation of Soil Health Card (SHC) along with fertilizer recommendations.
Fertilizer Quality Control System Portal (FQCS) : This portal is developed for processing of sample collection, testing and generation of analysis reports. The system will lead to automation of most of the manual activities and help in online tracking the status of the sample.
Participatory Guarantee System - India Portal : This portal is a process of certifying organic products which ensures agriculture production process in accordance with the standards laid down for organic products and that desired quality has been maintained.

India's oldest port was discovered at - Goa

Image result for India's oldest port was discovered at - GoaA team of scientists of National Institute of Oceanography discovered the remnants of a historically important port on Goa's Zuari river which is expected to be amongst the oldest signs of human trade on the central west coast. This port is supposed to be existed between 1000 to 3500 AD.