Current Affairs of 17 October 2015

1. AMRUT Action Plans for 81 cities approved with total project outlay of 5748 crore rupees
An inter-ministerial Apex Committee  approved State Annual Action Plans (SAAP) of 81 mission cities in 5 states-Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Mizoram under AMRUT for 2015-16.
The meeting of the committee was headed by Shri Madhusudan Prasad, Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development, which is the nodal ministry for implementation of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
As per the approved SAAPs, the Union, State governments and urban local bodies together will invest 5748 crore rupees. Out of this, Central assistance will be provided to an extent of 2440 crore rupees.
And, Out of the five states, Tamil Nadu with 27 AMRUT cities would invest 3249 crore followed by Madhya Pradesh (32 cities)-1,656 crore, Odisha (9 cities)-456 crore, Jharkhand (7 cities)-313 crore and Mizoram will invest 73 crore rupees in the lone mission city of Aizawl.

2. Governing Council of NIIF constituted under the chairmanship of Finance Minister
Union Ministry of Finance  constituted the Governing Council (GC) of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
The GC will be chaired by the Union Finance Minister and has following five members
• Secretary, DEA
• Secretary, Financial Services
• Arundhati Bhattacharya
• Hemendra Kothari
• T V Mohandas Pai
And, the GC was mandated to consider approval of guidelines for Investment of Trust property/Corpus of NIIF and parameters for appointment and performance of investment managers/ advisors among others.

3. Czech Republic defeated Russia to retain Fed Cup
The Czech Republic  successfully defended its Fed Cup crown after beating Russia in final day's play in Prague.
Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova emerged as the team’s hero as she not only won her singles rubber to tie the match at 2-2 but also returned to court after a break to secure another comeback victory in the finals of the deciding doubles.
• The victory marked a fourth Fed Cup success for the Czech Republic in five years.
• The country has won the Fed Cup nine times overall, including Czechoslovakia's five before its split in 1993.

4. FIFA banned Nepal football Chief Ganesh Thapa for 10 years for corruption
FIFA, the governing body of football,  banned Nepal's football chief Ganesh Thapa for 10 years for corruption.
The body also banned the president of the Laos federation Viphet Sihachakr for two years for bribery.
In the context of the 2009 and 2011 elections at the Asian Football Confederation congress, FIFA accused Thapa of committing various acts of misconduct, which includes the solicitation and acceptance of cash payments from another football official, for personal and family gain. FIFA's ethics committee also stated that he had specifically been bribed over elections for the FIFA executive committee in 2009 and 2011.
Earlier, it was revealed by The Associated Press that Thapa received an illegal gift of 100000 US dollars from Bin Hammam in 2009. The money was deposited into the personal bank account of Thapa’s son.
Apart from the ban, Thapa was fined 20000 Swiss francs by the ethics committee's adjudicatory chamber.
Sihachakr was banned for soliciting and accepting a payment from another football official around 2011 elections for the FIFA executive. He was fined 40000 Swiss francs.

5. Odisha implemented National Food Security Act, 2013 in 14 districts
National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 was implemented in 14 of the 30 districts of Odisha on 16 November 2015. In first phase, the Act will cover about 26.33 lakh families (i.e. 93.35 lakh people) of the state.  
The beneficiaries would get 5 kg of rice at 3 rupees or 5 kg of wheat at 2 rupees from PDS centres in the 14 districts.
In the first phase, the NFSA was launched in the districts of Angul, Bargarh, Boudh, Balangir, Deogarh, Gajapati, Jharsuguda, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sonepur. The second phase of the NFSA will be implemented in 16 other districts of the State from 1 December 2015.
The Food supplies and Consumer Welfare department has issued directives to the district administration to monitor the implementation of the NFSA and rectify irregularities, if any.

6. Siril Verma wins silver medal at 2015 World Junior badminton Championships
Ace Young Indian shuttler Siril Verma has won silver medal at the prestigious 2015 BWF World Junior badminton Championships. In the final match played at the Peruvian capital of Lima, the 15-year-old Siril lost to Taipei’s Chia Hung Lu Chia by 21-17, 10-21, 7-21 score. By winning silver medal, Siril has joined the elite list of Indians shuttlers such as Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, RMV Gurusaidutt, HS Prannoy and Sameer Verma who have won medals for India in the Junior World Championships. Presently, Siril is undergoing training at the Hyderabad based Pullela Gopichand Academy which trains India’s top badminton players.

7. Australian cricketer Mitchell Johnson retires from International cricket
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson (age 34) has announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket. He made this announcement after conclusion to the second Test match against New Zealand at WACA. With this, he has joined his fellow team mates who had recently retired from international cricket including Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers and Shane Watson.

8. ICICI Bank unlocks value in its insurance business
The increase in cap on foreign direct investment in the insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, earlier this year, has set the ball rolling for Indian promoters to offload some of their stake to their foreign partners.
ICICI Bank had on Monday, approved the sale of the bank’s 6 per cent stake in ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company — 4 per cent to Premji Invest & its affiliates and 2 per cent to Compassvale Investments Pte Ltd, an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore-based investment company, Temasek.
After the stake sale, ICICI Bank will hold about 68 per cent share in the life insurance company, while its joint venture partner, Prudential Plc, will continue to hold 26 per cent stake.
Less than a month ago, ICICI Bank had approved the sale of 9 per cent stake in ICICI Lombard to its joint venture partner Fairfax Financial Holdings.
Earlier this year, State Bank of India — India’s largest lender— had decided to dilute its stake in both life and general insurance businesses.
The bank’s executive committee had authorised the divestment of its stake in SBI Life Insurance by up to 10 per cent and had also decided to dilute its stake in SBI General Insurance from 74 per cent to 51 per cent in favour of its foreign partner Insurance Australia Group (IAG).

9. VHP patron Ashok Singhal dies
HP leader Ashok Singhal, who rose to prominence playing a leading role in the Ram Janambhoomi movement in the late eighties and after, died today at a private hospital here.
Singhal (89), who was admitted to Medanta Medicity hospital on Saturday last with complaints of acute breathlessness and other problems.
A bachelor and an RSS pracharak all his life, Singhal, adopted an aggressive style in the “kar sewak” campaign in the build up to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December, 1992.
A metallurgy engineering graduate from Banaras Hindu University, he pitch-forked the organisation in the Ayodhya Ram temple movement and sought to internationalise it by recruiting supporters and organising branches world wide. The overseas supporters contributed immensely to the VHP campaign.

10. Axis MF launches Children’s Gift Fund
Axis Mutual Fund today announced its new fund offer, the Axis Children's Gift Fund.
This is Axis' first goal-based investment option, the MF house said. Investments can only be made for a minor, represented by a parent or guardian.
According to the company, such an investment would be better than taking an education loan in the future for a child's education. The NFO comes with an optional lock-in period till the child turns 18 years old.
The open-ended balanced scheme will invest up to 60 per cent in equity and equity derivatives, a maximum of 55 per cent in debt and a maximum of 15 per cent in cash arbitrage. The minimum application amount is Rs. 5,000. The fund will be benchmarked against the Crisil Composite Bond Fund Index.

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