Current Affairs of 17 September 2015

1. Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi awarded with 2015 Nansen Refugee Award by UNHCR
Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi was awarded with the 2015 Nansen Refugee Award by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Asifi dedicated her life to bring education to refugee girls in Pakistan.
Aqeela Asifi was awarded for her brave and tireless dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan. Despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, Asifi guided a thousand refugee girls through their primary education.
Asifi is a former teacher who fled from Kabul with her family in 1992, finding safety in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandana. She was dismayed by the lack of schooling for girls in the village. But she was determined to give these girls a chance to learn and with time she convinced the community and began teaching just a handful of pupils in a makeshift school tent. 


2. RBI granted In-principle Approval to 10 Applicants for Small Finance Banks
Seeking to promote financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)  
granted in principle approval to 10 entities to set up small finance banks. These small finance banks will provide basic banking services to small farmers and micro industries. 
The in-principle approvals were granted under the Guidelines for Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the private sector issued on 27 November 2014.

The approval granted includes 
• Au Financiers (India) Ltd., Jaipur
• Capital Local Area Bank Ltd., Jalandhar
• Disha Microfin Private Ltd., Ahmedabad
• Equitas Holdings P Limited, Chennai
• ESAF Microfinance and Investments Private Ltd., Chennai
• Janalakshmi Financial Services Private Limited, Bengaluru
• RGVN (North East) Microfinance Limited, Guwahati
• Suryoday Micro Finance Private Ltd., Navi Mumbai
• Ujjivan Financial Services Private Ltd., Bengaluru
• Utkarsh Micro Finance Private Ltd., Varanasi

The approval has been granted within a month of the RBI giving nod to 11 entities for launching Payments Banks. The RBI statement said that the in-principle approval will be valid for 18 months to enable these entities to comply with the requirements under the guidelines on Small Finance Banks.
On being satisfied that the applicants have complied with the requisite conditions laid down by it as part of in-principle approval, the RBI would consider granting them a licence for commencement of banking business under Section 22(1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Until a regular licence is issued, the applicants cannot undertake any banking business.
The small finance banks can provide basic banking services like accepting deposits and lending to the unbanked sections such as small farmers, micro business enterprises, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.

3. International Day of Democracy observed with the theme Space for Civil Society
The International Day of Democracy was observed on 15 September 2015 across the world with the theme Space for Civil Society.
The theme was chosen to highlight the fact that space for civil society organizations is shrinking in a range of countries covering every continent in recent years.
It is evident from the fact that some Governments have adopted restrictions that limit the ability of NGOs to work or to receive funding.
As the civil society is at the core of the democratic values and practices, the theme is a reminder to Governments to work together with civil society for achieving common goals for a better future.

4. 21st International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer observed across the world
21st International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer was observed across the world on 16 September 2015. The theme and the slogan for the year 2015 are 30 Years of Healing the Ozone Together and Ozone: All there is between you and UV respectively.
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer that was signed on 22 March 1985.
On this day, States were invited to devote the Day to promote activities in accordance with the objectives of the Protocol and its amendments.

5. Apus Group tied-up with mobile advertising network InMobi
Apus Group, one of the world’s biggest Android application development companies, on 15 September 2015 tied-up with the Indian mobile advertising network InMobi.
With this tie-up, Bengaluru-based InMobi will share its expertise to help Apus establish a larger footprint in India and increase its user base. In return, the Beijing-based Apus will help InMobi monetise its platform by giving access to over 200 million users across the Apus user system. 
The cooperation will include local brand building, user base growth, monetization and relevant product technology.

6. Nepal’s Parliament approves new Constitution
Nepal’s Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution after seven years of painstaking efforts and deliberations. The new constituent was passed by a 507-25 vote in the 601-seat Constituent Assembly (CA) after the voting and is due to come into effect on 20 September 2015. The lawmakers of CA from Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and UCPN- Maoist supported the draft constitution. It should be noted that this is fifth constitution enacted by Nepal. The previous four constitutions were enacted in 1959, 1962, 1990 and 1999.

7. Union Government bans NSCN-K for 5 years
Union Government has banned Naga rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagaland- Khaplang (NSCN-K) for five years. The organisation has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. NSCN-K was has been banned following due legal process as it had unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire agreement with the Union government and perpetrated a string of terror attacks. In June 2015, it was involved in brutal killing of 18 soldiers of 6 Dogra Regiment in an ambush in Chandel district of Manipur.

8. India, Cambodia ink 2 MoUs for bilateral cooperation in Tourism, Mekong Ganga Project
India and Cambodia have signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of Tourism and another related to umbrella projects under Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative. These MoUs were signed in the presence of Indian Vice President M.Hamid Ansari and his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh. The second MoU for umbrella projects under Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative covers five Quick Impact Projects including 2 projects in Health care. 
1 project on Agriculture. 
1 project in Women’s Empowerment through Information and Communications Technology (ICT). 50,000 US dollars grant for the Cambodia-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (CIEDC) which was launched in February 2006.

9. Hangzhou City of China chosen to host 2022 Asian Games
Capital city of Zhejiang Province Hangzhou in East China has been chosen by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to host the 2022 Asian Games. Hangzhou was the only candidate city for the 2022 Asian Games i.e. XIX edition of games. This decision was taken by the OCA at its 34th Congress held in Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan. It will be the third Chinese city to host the Asian games following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010. Hangzhou is best known for the West Lake, a placid and tourist attraction. It is also home base of Chinese Internet (ecommerce) giant Alibaba.

10. Union Cabinet approves Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban mission for rural development
The Union Cabinet has approved Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban mission (SPMRM) for its ambitious bid to spur social, economic and infrastructure development in rural areas. In this regard, Union Government has earmarked over 5,000 crore rupees for the mission to develop 300 clusters over next three years across the country.
Key facts 
Aim: SPMRM through development of rurban growth clusters aims at catalyzing overall regional growth.
Twin objectives: 
It seeks to achieve of strengthening rural areas and de burdening the urban areas. Thus it seeks for balanced regional development and growth of the country by simultaneously benefiting the rural as well as urban areas of the country. 
The State Governments would identify the clusters which have latent potential for growth in accordance with the Framework for Implementation. 
This framework will be prepared by the Union Ministry of Rural Development. 
The clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with different population and follow administrative convergence units of Gram Panchayats. 
Plain and coastal areas must have population of about 25000 to 50000, desert areas, hilly or tribal areas must have 5000 to 15000. 
There would be a separate approach for selection of clusters in Tribal and Non-Tribal Districts. 
States government will prepare Integrated Cluster Action Plans for Rurban Clusters. It will be comprehensive plan documents detailing out the strategy for the cluster development. 

11. Union Cabinet approves 150 days employment under MGNREGA in the drought hit areas
Union Cabinet has approved 150 days employment per household under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the drought hit areas of the country. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Additional 50 days of unskilled manual work under the MGNREGA scheme will benefit people in drought-hit areas which are facing monsoon deficit affecting kharif crops and rural income. The move will enable state governments to provide additional wage employment to the rural poor from present 100 days in drought and natural calamities affected areas. Cabinet committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved setting up of committee to propose Exim bank scheme in order to offer concessional finance to companies bidding for infra projects abroad.

12. Hungary Declares state of Emergency over Refugee Influx
Hungarian Government has declared a state of emergency in its two regions of Csongrad and Bacs-Kiskun to cope with the influx of refugees. It was declared by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. This move could pave the way to bringing in Hungary’s military to patrol the frontier bordering Serbia to stop illegal influx. This declaration comes after more than 10,000 people claiming to be Syrian and Afghan refugees were detained by Hungarian police for illegally crossing the border from Serbia.


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