Current Affairs of 18 February 2016

Daily Current Affairs contains all major news that occurs National and International Level.It will helpful for those students who are preparing for Bank Exams- IBPS/SBI/PO/Clerk exam , SSC Exams and all other competitive exams .

Current Affairs of 8 December 2015

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1. Moody’s pegs India’s GDP growth at 7.5% in 2016, 2017
1. Indian economy will grow at 7.5 per cent in 2016 and 2017 as it is relatively less exposed to external headwinds, like China slowdown, and will benefit from lower commodity prices, Moody’s Investors Service said.
2. The firm, however, warned the generally robust economic environment is constrained by “banks’ balance sheet repair and elevated corporate debt, and corporate pricing power being limited by the impact on food price inflation and household budgets of two consecutive droughts.”
3. In its report ‘Global Macro Outlook 2016-17 — Global growth faces rising risks at time of policy constraint’, Moody’s said growth will fail to pick up steam over the next two years as the slowdown in China, lower commodity prices and tighter financing in some countries weigh on the economy.
4. Together with Turkey and China among the G20 emerging markets, India benefits from lower commodity prices: in 2014, net commodity imports amounted to 5.9 per cent of India’s GDP, compared with net exports worth 1.3 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 4.3 per cent for South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia respectively.

2. YES Bank, UltraCash partner to launch payments service
 1. Private sector lender YES Bank has partnered UltraCash Technologies to launch payments processing through sound waves.
2. UltraCash utilises a patent-pending technology, through which payment data is securely transferred from one device to the other, using unique ultra high frequency sound waves.
3. This partnership will enable Ultracash to issue YES Bank-sponsored mobile wallets and employ YES Bank’s immediate payment service (IMPS) payments platform to enable processing of instant proximity transactions
4. UltraCash’s sound wave technology enables mobile payments to be done without the need for Internet connectivity using any of the options, such as bank accounts and cards.
5. Besides, UltraCash will issue YES Bank-branded digital wallets to consumers to aid quicker, seamless and friction-free payments.

3. David Shulman won Israel Prize for Religious Studies for Research on India 
1. Renowned Indologist Professor David Shulman  was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for Religious Studies for his breakthrough research into the literature and culture of southern India.
2. Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett approved the recommendation of the prize committee, headed by Professor Shaul Shaked.
3.  David Dean Shulman is an Indologist and regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the languages of India. His research incorporates many fields, including the history of religion in South India, Indian poetics, Tamil Islam, Dravidian linguistics and Carnatic music.

 4. Tata Motors, Bharat Forge tied up for $11 billion Indian Army’s FICV Programme
1. The abbreviation FICV was in news in the second week of February 2016 as Tata Motors, Bharat Forge and the USA-based General Dynamics tied up for defense bid under Future Infantry Combat Vehicle programme.
2. The FICV Programme involves development of compact combat vehicles for the Indian Army that will replace Russian-designed BMP (Sarath BMP-II) series armed vehicles that are in operation since 1980.
3. The nearly 10 billion US dollar project is touted as India’s largest indigenous defense program.
4. The FICV is an amphibious, tracked, armoured vehicle and will be operated by a crew of 3 members consisting of the commander, gunner and driver with an additional capacity to carry 7 fully equipped infantrymen. The weight of the vehicle will be kept at around 20 tonnes so that it can be transported by air and other means in combat zones.

5. Apple to set up Technology Development Centre in Hyderabad
1. Apple Inc. in the second week of February 2016 announced setting up of a Technology Development Centre (TDC) in Hyderabad, Telangana. For Apple, it will be the first TDC outside the USA.
2. With this announcement, Apple joined other big technology firms like Microsoft, Google and Facebook that focused on Hyderabad to expand their operations in Asia.
3. The centre will be set up at an estimated investment of 25 million US dollars and occupy 250000 square feet in Tishman Speyer's WaveRock facility.
4. The proposed TDC is of strategic value as, at present, Apple Inc. is the world’s largest mobile technology company and India is the world's fastest-growing smart phone market.

6. Amazon launched Tatkal initiative for small businesses
1. E-commerce giant Amazon launched Amazon Tatkal, an initiative that enables small and medium businesses (SMBs) to go online and sell products on Amazon.
2. Amazon Tatkal offers registration, imaging and cataloguing services as well as basic seller training, all in about 60 minutes.
Starting with New Delhi, Amazon Tatkal will gradually pass throughout the nation, engaging with thousands of entrepreneurs, artisans, manufacturers and sellers and help them sell online on the spot.
Key highlights of Amazon Tatkal
• Amazon Tatkal is a specially designed studio-on-wheels offering a suite of launch services including registration, imaging and cataloguing services, as well as basic seller training mechanisms.
• It will enable thousands of interested sellers to start selling on Amazon in real time and experience the benefits of launching an online business.
• Amazon Tatkal will visit seller-dense pockets across multiple cities in the country and engage with local businesses over the next several months.

7. Paani Foundation joined hand with Maharashtra Government for water conservation
1. Paani Foundation, a not-for-profit company, started by Actor Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao was in news . The foundation came into news after Khan and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that it will work with the state government to solve the water crisis in the state.
2. Paani Foundation is a not-for-profit company whose main objective is to bring about a change in outlook about water conservation. It will communicate, impart knowledge and bring a change in outlook at the grassroots level about water conservation and watershed management.
3. Operation of the foundation is led by Satyajit Bhatkal who is its CEO, while Khan’s ex-wife Reena Dutta is COO.

8. Odisha Government to introduce self-certifying scheme for industries to set up units
1. Odisha government  decided to introduce a self-certifying scheme for non-hazardous industries. 
2. This scheme will ease the process of doing business in the state by shortening the inspection process at the initial levels required for non-hazardous industries to set up units.
3. The decision in regard to the scheme was taken at a high-level meeting in Bhubaneswar, presided over by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi. 
4. The Chief Secretary suggested the Labour and ESI Department to expedite the process for notifying the self-certification scheme. The department was also asked to simplify the compliance process to Labour and Factories Act as a step for facilitating setting up of more industrial units and creation of more jobs.

9. Jharkhand and Adani Group inked MoU to set up thermal power plant
1. The Jharkhand government and Adani Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for investment of 15000 crore rupees in the state to set up a 1600 MW capacity thermal power plant.
2. The MoU was signed between Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and Rajesh Adani, managing director, Adani Group during the Jharkhand Investors Summit at Make In India Week in Mumbai.
3. The Adani Group has entered into an agreement with Bangladesh Power Corporation to provide it energy and the proposed plants in Jharkhand will help the company to supply power to Bangladesh.
4. The proposed plants will be set up in Godda and Sahibganj districts of the state.The Jharkhand government announced that it is expecting a total investment of over 62000 crore under various Make in India projects.
5. The biggest investment to the state has been committed by the Adani Group which will invest 50000 crore rupees for power and fertiliser manufacturing plants.

10. Union Cabinet gave in-principle approval to LIGO-India project to study gravitational waves
1. The Union Cabinet  gave in-principal approval to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) - India project to study gravitational waves.
2. The approval coincided with the announcement of international scientists in February 2016 about the detection of gravitational waves in the LIGO facilities located in the USA.
3. LIGO-India is a part of the IndIGO (Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations) initiative and seeks to move one Advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India.
Features of LIGO-India Project
• It will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory in India in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the USA that is run by Caltech and MIT.
• It will involve constructing eight kilometer long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain.
• The project will bring unprecedented opportunities for scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier.
• It will bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for the Indian industry.

11. Union Cabinet approved Trade Facilitation Agreement
1. Union Cabinet approved Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It approved the Notification of Commitments, its ratification and acceptance of the Instrument of Acceptance of Protocol of TFA to the WTO Secretariat.
2. India is the 71st country to give nod to the agreement that seeks to ease customs procedures to boost commerce.
3. As per the Trade Facilitation Agreement adopted by the WTO on 27 November 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, the TFA shall enter into force for the notified members (107 countries) upon acceptance by two-third WTO Members.
4. Besides, Union Cabinet also approved the constitution of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF). NCTF will facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the Agreement and it will be set up under the Joint Chair of Secretary, Department of Revenue and Secretary, Department of Commerce.

12. Union Government launched ENVIS portal
1. The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has launched Environment Information System (ENVIS) portal and mobile application. It was launched on the sidelines of the national interaction-cum-evaluation workshop for Environment Information System. 
2. ENVIS Portal ( runs parallel with the objectives of Digital India which works on improving the digital literacy in the environment sector and deliver services digitally. It will play important role integrating network of ENVIS centres.
3. ENVIS is central sector Scheme of the MOEFCC implemented since 1982. The purpose of the scheme is to integrate country-wide efforts in environmental information collection, storage, collation, retrieval and dissemination.

13. Japan launches ASTRO-H satellite to study black holes
1. Japan has successfully launched ASTRO-H space observation satellite to probe mysterious black holes. The satellite was launched by H2A rocket after it had successfully lifted off at the Tanegashima Space Centre. 
2.  ASTRO-H satellite has been developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in cooperation with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and others.
3. It will orbit earth at an altitude of about 580 kilometres and observe X-rays emanating mainly from black holes and galaxy clusters. It is cylindrically shaped and is 14 meters long and weighs 2.7 tonnes. It is the heaviest scientific satellite Japan has worked on. It will help unravel the mysteries of the universe.

14. Renowned Malayalam writer Akbar Kakkattil passes away

1. Renowned Malayalam writer Akbar Kakkattil passed away in Kozhikode, Kerala due to cancer. He was 62. He was known for giving birth to a new genre in Malayalam literature and his works are known for their unique narrative style which has an undertone of unfailing humour.