Current Affairs of 21 August 2015

1. Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He was administered the oath of office by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo. 
Wickremesinghe, a lawmaker since 1977, had served the country as its Prime Minister on three occasions. He held the post from 1993-94, 2002-2004 and since January 2015.
Apart from this, immediately after the swearing-in, the General Secretaries of the two main parties in the country, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in the parliament and form a National Government.

2. Greek PM Alexis Tsipras resigned and called for snap polls
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a televised address to the nation announced his resignation . He submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked for the earliest possible election date.
41-year-old Tsipras, who was elected as the Prime Minister in January 2015, said that he felt a deep moral obligation to lay his action before the judgement of the Greek people.
Tsipras resigned with an aim to defend the massive bailout of 86 billion-euro (96 billion dollars), which Greece received from the creditors. This third bailout to the country since 2010, led to rebellion within his left-wing Syriza party.

3. Union Government launched web portal Vidya Lakshmi for Students Seeking Educational Loans
The Union Government  launched a web portal named Vidya Lakshmi ( for the benefit of  students seeking Educational Loans.
It is the first portal of its kind that provides single window for students to access information and make application for educational loans provided by banks as well as for government scholarships.
The Portal was developed by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-Gov) under the guidance of Department of Financial Services under Union Ministry of Finance, Department of Higher Education under Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

4. Book titled Mrs Funnybones authored by Twinkle Khanna released
The book titled Mrs Funnybones: She’s Just Like You and a Lot Like Me authored by former Bollywood actress Twinkle Khanna was released . Mrs. Funnybones is about how a modern woman looks at India and how India looks back at her.
Full of wit and delicious observations, Mrs Funnybones captures the life of the modern Indian woman who organizes dinner each evening, even as she goes to work all day, who runs her own life but has to listen to her Mummyji, who worries about her weight and the state of the country. 
The book is the bigger version of Twinkle Khanna’s super-hit column Mrs Funnybones.  She is a popular columnist and her contributions can be seen in The Times of India and DNA After Hrs. 

5. Bangladesh becomes 1st country to receive funds from UN for Solar Home Systems
Bangladesh has become the first country in the world to receive funds from United Nations for its fast growing Solar Home Systems. In this regard, UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) has issued carbon credits (CC) worth 3.56 million US dollars to two Bangladeshi organisations. The two organisations are Grameen Shakti: Founded by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus with an aim to take clean solar power systems and communication technology to villages. Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL): It state-owned development financial institution in Bangladesh. It finances and promotes infrastructure and renewable energy projects in the country. The Solar Home Systems of Bangladesh is supported by various international organisations like Global Environment Facility (GEF) and World Bank. Under this enviro-friendly initiative, around 6 million systems have been installed in Bangladesh covering over 10% of its 160 million population. This system has become key source electricity for lighting, running TVs & fans and charging mobile phones by using renewable energy in rural households of Bangladesh

6. Government Issues Norms for Selection of CEOs and MDs of Smaller PSU Banks
After the irk raised due to appointment of two private sector bankers to head Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank the government has issued norms for selection of MDs and CEOs in Mid and Small Public Sector Banks (PSBs) on 20 August 2015. The guideline was issued after the approval by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) for selection of MDs & CEOs in Public Sector Banks (PSBs) other than five large Public Sector Banks. 
As per the guidelines: 
The top post in the PSBs would be filled from the existing pool of executive directors (EDs) or deputy managing directors (DMDs) in state-owned banks with a remaining service period of 2 years. Henceforth the private sector executives would not be the part of the selection process of top management in the public sector banking space. 
The DMDs of IDBI Bank, the EDs of nationalised banks and MDs of associate banks of SBI who have one year of service experience as ED/DMD/MD and who have two years of service left are entitled for post of MD & CEO. 
Other than five large PSBs, for the remaining banks hiring will be conducted from the pool of executive directors of the public sector banks itself. For the five large banks viz. Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India,Canara Bank and IDBI Bank there will be a separate procedure for selection Selection Methodology: The section will be done by the interaction of the candidates with three panels of the sub-committee of the Appointments Board, where the candidates will be rated out of 100 marks. 50 marks to be awarded for Annual Performance Appraisal Reports (APARs) of five years and 50 marks assigned on the basis of performance during interaction with the sub-committee. 
Eligibility criteria for executive directors of the nationalized banks: For the post of executive director the General Managers of nationalized banks and CGMs of associate banks of SBI who have risen from the associate banks service who have two years of experience of service are eligible. Note: There are total 27 PSBs in India – 19 Nationalised banks + 6 State bank group (SBI + 5 associates) + 1 IDBI bank (Other Public Sector-Indian Bank) = 26 PSBs + 1 Bhartiya Mahila Bank.

7. Cochin Airport becomes world’s first to operate completely on Solar Power
Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) of Kerala has become the first airport in the world to fully operate on solar power. It achieved this feat after Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chand officially commissioned the 12 MWp solar power plant near the cargo complex of airport.

8. HP Government launches RISHTA project
Himachal Pradesh Government has launched Rajiv Gandhi Illuminating Scheme for Hill Town Advancement (RISHTA) project, which is an efficient smart LED based street lighting project. With this Himachal Pradesh becomes first state in North India to do so. It was launched by State Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from the capital city of Shimla. 
About RISHTA project 
The scheme is also known as Centralized Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) Smart Street Lighting Scheme for Urban Local bodies which implements LED based street lighting project. This project is being implemented by collaboration of state Urban Development Department and Energy Efficient Services Limited (EESL). Investment: For this project EESL will invest all the capital upfront to implementation of Project. Municipalities will pay back this investment to EESL over a period of 7 years from energy and cost savings that will accrue as a result of installation of energy efficient LED lights. In this project total of 63,484 street lights will be replaced with LEDs in all the Urban Local Bodies to achieve 45 to 55 percent energy savings.

9. Former Gujarat Finance Minister Sanat Mehta passes away
eteran Congressman and former Finance Minister of Gujarat, Sanat Mehta, breathed his last at his residence in Vadodara.
Mehta, 90, had suffered a massive cardiac arrest on Tuesday late evening, following which he was admitted to a private hospital and kept on ventilator support till Thursday morning.
A prolific writer and newspaper columnist, Mehta has been a renowned expert in financial matters and a popular politician with clean image. He also contributed an article, “Development is in the blood of Gujaratis: The state is known for its entrepreneurial spirit” in the inaugural issue of BusinessLine’s Ahmedabad edition on May 25, 2013.

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