Daily Current Affairs- 31st August 2016
1. NPCI launches Bharat Bill Payment System pilot project.
1. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a pilot project for Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) with 26 Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs).
2. In the first phase, BBPS will cover repetitive payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and Direct-to-Home (DTH).
3. BBPS is the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mandated system which will provide interoperable bill payment services to customers. It is an integrated platform connecting banks and non-bank entities in bill aggregation business like billers, payment service providers, retail bill outlets etc.
4. As on date, 62 entities have received in-principle approval from RBI to function as Operating Units (OU), out of which 52 are banking entities and 10 are non-banking entities.
5. NPCI functions as the authorised Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU). It will undertake clearing and settlement activities related to transactions routed through BBPS.
2. Gujarat becomes first state to distribute 2 crore LED Bulbs under UJALA
1. Gujarat in the last week of August 2016 has become the first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme.
2. The state achieved the milestone in only 96 days. Over 42 lakh households have benefitted from the scheme.
3. The distribution of 2 crore LED bulbs has led to an annual energy savings of 259 crore kWh, which is equivalent to lighting up 5 lakh Indian homes for an entire year. Besides, Gujarat has also benefitted from daily CO2 emission reduction of 5000 tonnes.
4. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India, is distributing approximately 2 lakh bulbs daily in Gujarat.
3. Aishwaryaa R Dhanush appointed as UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India
1. United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri on 29 August 2016 announced the appointment of Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush as UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India.
2. Film director, classical dancer and writer, Aishwaryaa will help raise awareness of UN Women’s core messages of gender equality and women’s empowerment across India. The act will boost the organisation’s efforts to close the gender gap and achieve a more equal world – a Planet 50-50 – by the year 2030.
3. With this, Aishwaryaa joins the esteemed list of Farhan Akhtar, Sania Mirza, Emma Watson, Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway, who have teamed up with UN Women to work for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
4. Union Cabinet approves dissolution of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited
1. The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for dissolution of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited (CIWTC).
2. CIWTC was incorporated on 22 February 1967 under the Companies Act 1956 by the Union Government. It was incorporate after government took over the assets and liabilities of the erstwhile River Steam Navigation Company Limited under a scheme approved by the Calcutta High Court.
3. Due to inherent limitation and infrastructure bottle necks, the operations of CIWTC could never become viable and company has been incurring losses since inception. The Company has only five employees at present.
5. CRPF decides to appoint P V Sindhu as Commandant and brand ambassador
1. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), India’s largest paramilitary force, on 29 August 2016 decided to appoint ace badminton player P V Sindhu as its brand ambassador.
2. CRPF will also bestow the honorary rank of Commandant on the Olympic silver medallist.
3. The force has moved a formal proposal in this regard to the Union Home Ministry. After getting required sanctions, Sindhu will be honoured and presented the rank badges and camouflage combat fatigues of the CRPF at a ceremonial event.
4. A Commandant rank in the CRPF is equivalent to the position of a Superintendent of Police (SP).
6. West Bengal to be renamed as Bangal in Hindi and Bengal in English
1. The West Bengal State Assembly passed a resolution to change the name of the state from West Bengal to Bangla in Bengali, Bengal in English and Bangal in Hindi.
2. The resolution was moved by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee under rule 169 of the rules of procedures of the House. The resolution was passed by a voice vote.
3. However, the move to change the name was opposed by the opposition Congress, BJP and Left Front.
In Bengali, the state is currently referred to as Paschim Banga or Paschim Bangla.
4. In 2011, the State Government had sent a proposal to the Union Government for renaming West Bengal as Paschim Bango. However, the proposal never received a green signal.
7. Cabinet approves permanent residency plan for foreign investors
1. In a bid to woo greater foreign investments, India has decided to grant Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors who meet the minimum investment and employment generation criteria.
2. The Union Cabinet,approved the scheme which will allow foreign investors who qualify for PRS status and his/her family multiple entry into the country for 10 years without any stay stipulation, exemption from registration requirement and the right to purchase one residential property for dwelling purposes.
3. In order to avail this scheme, the foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of ₹10 crore within 18 months or ₹ 25 crores within 36 months. Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians every financial year
4. The spouse and dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for employment visa) and undertake studies in India.
5. While the PRS will be granted for ten years, it can be reviewed for another ten years if the PRS holder does not come to adverse notice.
8. Sony Pictures Networks to acquire TEN Sports for $385 mn
1. Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) today announced that SPN and its affiliates have entered into definitive agreements to acquire TEN Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEE) and its subsidiaries for $385 million (Rs 2,600 crore).
2. The completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.
3. The acquisition will add South Asia’s leading sports network to SPN’s existing portfolio of channels.
4. The TEN Sports channels being acquired include TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3, TEN Golf HD, TEN Cricket, and TEN Sports that operate in several countries, including the Indian sub-continent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, West Asia and Caribbean.
5. TEN Sports holds broadcast rights to major cricket boards (South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe).
9. Ratan Tata, Nilekani, Kelkar join hands for micro-financing
1. After putting his stamp on the Indian start-up space, industrialist Ratan Tata is now setting up a micro-finance company to provide credit to the unserved segments. Former Finance Commission Chairman Vijay Kelkar and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani have also joined him in the new venture, Avanti Finance.
2. The venture will apply for Reserve Bank of India registration in the “coming days”. The company will start operations before the financial year-end. Both Tata and Nilekani are bringing investments from capital they earmarked for philanthropy, and any gains will be reinvested for philanthropic causes. “Avanti will be a platform to impact the poor through credit at individual and community levels to create a lasting improvement in their livelihoods and standard of living, ushering prosperity.
10. Anuradha Rao is MD, CEO of SBI Mutual Fund
1. SBI Mutual Fund has appointed Anuradha Rao as its Managing Director and Chief Executive.
2. Prior to this, Rao was Deputy Managing Director at SBI handling New Business Portfolio. She has also worked as the Chief General Manager of personal banking at the bank.
3. Some of the key assignments handled by her include developing the home loans and real estate businesses at SBI.
4. She took charge from Dinesh Kumar Khara, who has been appointed Managing Director of State Bank of India (Associate & Subsidiaries).
5. SBI Mutual Fund, which has established itself amongst the top five fund houses in the country, has an assets base of ₹1,19,878 crore as on June 30.