Current Affairs of 16 October 2015

1. RBI formed Financial Inclusion Fund with Rs. 2000 crore corpus
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has established Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) with Rs. 2000 crore corpus expanding reach of banking services. This fund will support the developmental and promotional activities covered under the financial inclusion initiatives. 
Key facts 
FIF has been established as a single entity (fund) by merging Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) and Financial Inclusion Technology Fund (FITF). It will provide support for funding the setting up and operational cost for running financial inclusion and Literacy Centres. One of its major objective will be enhanced investment in Green Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution. It will be administered by the reconstituted Advisory Board constituted by Union Government and will be maintained by NABARD. Contribution to FIF would be from the interest differential in excess of 0.5 per cent on Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) and Short-Term Cooperative Rural Credit (STCRC) deposits. These deposits are held on account of shortfall in priority sector lending kept with NABARD by banks.

2. PESB recommends M K Surana to head HPCL
The Public Enterprises Selection Board has recommended M K Surana for the post of Chairman and Managing Director of HPCL.
Surana is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Prize Petroleum Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of HPCL and is in the business of hydrocarbon exploration and production.
The PESB's recommendation will have to be ratified by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet. The recommended name will also require clearance from the Central Bureau of Investigation and Chief Vigilance Commission.
If Surana's name is approved he will take charge after Nishi Vasudeva, the current Chairman and Managing Director of HPCL retires in March 2016.
Surana was among the 12 people interviewed by PESB for the post. Most of the people interviewed were from HPCL including four Executive Directors.
Surana is a qualified mechanical engineer with certifications in project management and a Masters degree in Finance Management.

3. Egypt, Japan, Ukraine elected as non-permanent UNSC members
The UN General Assembly has elected Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for two-year terms beginning January 1 next year.
The new members, elected in one round of voting here yesterday, will serve until December 31, 2017.
The five overall seats available for election in 2015, distributed regionally, were: two seats for the African Group (currently held by Chad and Nigeria); one seat for the Asia-Pacific Group (currently held by Jordan); one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (currently held by Chile); and one seat for the Eastern European Group (currently held by Lithuania).
The Western European and Others Group is contesting no seats this year, as its two seats (currently held by New Zealand and Spain) are up for election every even calendar year.
The five permanent Council members, which each wield the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The non-permanent members that will remain on the Council until the end of 2016 are Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela.
India has led the charge among developing nations to press for reform of the Security Council to make it more representative and in line with the realities of the 21st century.
Last month, the 193 member General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution to commence negotiations in the 70th session of the UNGA on Security Council reform on the basis of a text that would have the positions of various nations on the increase in the number of permanent and non-permanent seats and use of veto in a reformed Council.
Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Each of the Council’s members has one vote. Under the Charter, all UN Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.

4. Malaysia proposed to invest 30 billion US dollars for urban development in India
The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) of Malaysia  proposed to invest 30 billion US dollars in urban development and housing projects in India.
The redevelopment of New Delhi Railway Station adjoining area as a mini-smart city is proposed to be taken up with an investment of about 24 billion US dollars. CIDB also proposed to take up a Green City Project at Garhmukhteshwar in Uttar Pradesh involving housing and Ganga cleaning projects with an investment of about 4 billion US dollars. 
The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) of the Union Ministry of Urban Development will be associated with these projects. 
CIDB is a Malaysia based government agency which has so far implemented various construction projects overseas with an investment of 24 billion US dollars since its inception in 1995 and projects worth 8 billion US dollars are still under execution.

5. Jharkhand signed GCA with GAIL for construction of Urja Ganga Jagdishpur-Haldia Pipeline
The Government of Jharkhand and GAIL (India) Limited  inked a Gas Cooperation Agreement (GCA) for creation of Natural Gas and City Gas Distribution infrastructure. The infrastructure will assist the construction of Urja Ganga Jagdishpur-Haldia Pipeline project in the state.
The project aims at connecting eastern India to the national natural gas grid.
As per the terms of agreement, GAIL will set up a 174 kilometres main line and 166 kilometres spurlines in Jharkhand as part of the 2050 kilometres Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline project linking Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The pipeline will pass through six districts, Bokaro, Giridih, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, East Singbhum and Ranchi.
After completion, the pipeline can also be used to provide Natural Gas as fuel to the Steel Authority of India plant in Bokaro and fertilizer plant at Sindri.
The agreement will also assist the establishment of pipeline connectivity from the seven Coal Bed Methane (CBM) blocks awarded in the state to various consumption centres.

6. World Food Day observed with the theme Social Protection and Agriculture
World Food Day (WFD) was observed across the world on 16 October 2015 with the theme Social Protection and Agriculture. The day is observed with an aim to raise public awareness about hunger challenges and encourage people worldwide to take action in the fight against hunger.  
The theme aims to underline the role social protection plays in reducing chronic food insecurity and poverty by ensuring direct access to food or the means to buy food. Social protection is, moreover, a viable alternative for stimulating agricultural production and local economic activity.
The theme particularly reflects WFOs (World Farmers Organisation) intention to highlight important agriculture-related issues, drawing attention to achievements in rural development and encouraging agricultural food production.

7. President Pranab Mukherjee concluded his 3-nation tour to Jordan, Palestine and Israel
President Pranab Mukherjee on 15 October 2015 concluded his 3-nation tour to Jordan, Palestine and Israel. During his 6-day visit, which took place from 10 October to 15 October 2015, President Pranab signed various agreement and MoUs with three nations to boost the bilateral ties.
During his visit, he also met the leaders of the three nations namely President and Prime Minister of Israel Reuven Rivlin and Benjamin Netanyahu respectively, His Majesty King Abdullah-II Ibn Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, President and Prime Minister of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas and Rami Hamdallah respectively.
During this tour, he stayed in Jordan (10 to 12 October 2015), Palestine (12 to 13 October 2015) and Israel (13 to 15 October 2015). Mukherjee’s visit to these three countries was the first ever visit by an Indian President. 
Major Highlights of the visit
• President invited Israel to participate in the transformation of India and sought Israel’s participation in Digital India programme.
• He was conferred honorary doctorate by Hebrew University in Jerusalem, University of Jordan and Al-Quds University, Palestine.
• The president extended invitation to the countries to invest in India and also sought steps to further deepen the ties.
• The accompanying academic delegation exchanged Memoranda of Understanding in all the three places. 
• A road and a roundabout in Ramallah, Palestine named after India as Sharia-e-Al-hind (India road) and Midan-e-Al-hind (India roundabout) were inaugurated. 
• President inaugurated a street named after Mahatma Gandhi in Amman, Jordan. 
• Six agreements/MoUs signed with Jordan on trade and economic, and investment cooperation
• India gave 5 million US dollars grant to Palestine as Budgetary assistance
• Ten agreements/MoUs including Double Taxation Avoidance & Cultural Exchange signed with Israel

8. Supreme Court declares NJAC unconstitutional
Supreme Court has declared National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 and 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014 unconstitutional and void. Ruling in this regard was given by five-judge Constitutional Bench of SC headed by Justice J S Khehar on a petition were filed by Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and others. SC bench has held that Collegium system will remain operative which was established by its earlier ruling of in 1993 for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. The petitions had challenged the new law on the selection and appointment of judges mentioning that it is unconstitutional and aimed at hurting the independence of judiciary.

9. Shah Rukh receives honorary doctorate from Edinburgh University
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has received an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Shah Rukh received the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University Chancellor HRH The Princess Royal in Edinburgh.
The 49-year-old “Chennai Express” star, who has appeared in more than 80 films, was presented with the degree in recognition of his outstanding record of philanthropy, altruism and humanitarianism and his global reach as an actor.
His charitable work includes bringing solar power to rural villages in India, creating a children’s ward at a Mumbai hospital and supporting relief funds to assist areas devastated by tsunamis.

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