Current Affairs- 21 to 31st August 2016

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). In the first phase, BBPS will cover repetitive payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and Direct-to-Home (DTH).

2. Gujarat has become the first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme.

3. United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri announced the appointment of Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush as UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India.

4. The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for dissolution of Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited (CIWTC). 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.

5. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), India’s largest paramilitary force decided to appoint ace badminton player P V Sindhu as its brand ambassador. CRPF will also bestow the honorary rank of Commandant on the Olympic silver medallist.

6. 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.

7. 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. 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. 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.

8. Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) 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).

9. 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.

10. SBI Mutual Fund has appointed Anuradha Rao as its Managing Director and Chief Executive.

11. Eminent author Padma Sachdev was awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year 2015 for her autobiography 'Chitt-Chete' written in Dogri language.

12. India and the United States signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The logistics agreement will enable the forces of the two nations to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

13. India and Myanmar signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation and bilateral relations between the two countries. The pacts were inked after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Myanmar U Htin Kyaw in New Delhi. 

14. The National Sports Day is observed every year across India on 29 August to mark the birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand who was born on 29 August 1905. 

15. The Madhukar Gupta Committee on border protection submitted its report to the Home Minister Rajnath Singh.The panel has made a detailed study on threat perception, field visits and made a detailed recommendations pertaining to strengthening of border protection on Indo-Pakistan Border. It studied security and threats at Border States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu.

16. Bombay High Court ruled that women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali Dargah set in the heart of Mumbai.

17. India successfully tested its own scramjet or the air breathing engine with the launch of a big sounding rocket, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 

18. International Day Against Nuclear Tests was on 29 August 2016 . observed across the world with an aim to raise people’s awareness on the need to prevent nuclear catastrophes to avert devastating effects on humankind, the environment and the planet.

19. US President Barack Obama expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off Hawaii, creating the world's largest marine reserve.

20. NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft has successfully executed its first flyby of Jupiter, our solar system’s most massive planet. During its first flyby, Juno passed just 4,200 kilometres above the planet’s clouds. It was the closest contact ever achieved by a man-made probe with Jupiter.

21. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has announced that Unified Payments Interface (UPI) application has become operational. The application will allow customers to make easier real-time payments via digital means using smartphones.

22. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg from Germany has won the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix of Formula One. It was Rosberg’s overall tenth championship title of F1 in his career and the sixth win in the 2016 season.

23. Veteran Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan announced his retirement from international cricket.

24. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi launched Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses, POCSO e-box, in New Delhi.

25. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to set up a task force to prepare action Plan for the next three Olympics Games. The task force will be set up over the next few days.The task force will prepare a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sports persons in the Olympic Games to be held in 2020, 2024 and 2028. The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo.

26. Maharashtra Government has unveiled ambitious Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project in Mumbai. The 46,000-crore rupee ambitious project will create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state.

27. The Union Finance Ministry has constituted 11 members high-level committee to suggest steps to promote card payments with an aim to discourage cash transactions. The 11-member committee will be headed by Principle Adviser for social sector in NITI Aayog and former Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal.

28. Pakistan is going to host the 19th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit in Islamabad (capital city) and Murree on November 9 and 10, 2016. It will be the meeting of the head of states or head of government of the eight SAARC countries. Besides, nine observers of SAARC have also been invited to attend the Summit. 

29. The world’s first self-driving taxi service was launched in Singapore. This launch is significant as it offer technology demonstration that could revolutionize the future transport industry.

30. Cristiano Ronaldo won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for 2015-16. He won the award for the second time in three years.

31. G. Satheesh Reddy, Indian aerospace scientist, was conferred the first IEI-IEEE Award for engineering excellence 2015.

32. First Children's Court was inaugurated in Hyderabad. Moreover, it was also the first Children Court in South India. However, two other states Goa and Delhi have already got their child friendly court.

33. Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee was voted as the Hilton Asian Tour Golfer of the Month for July 2016.
34. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) constituted a five-member review committee to probe the shooters' Rio Games debacle. The committee will be headed by India's first and only individual Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra. The committee has been asked to submit the report within a maximum period of four weeks.

35. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to provide loans up to Rs 3 lakh at 7 per cent interest rate to Women Self-Help Group (SHG). This loan scheme must be provided under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)-Aajeevika scheme during 2015-16.

36. The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced to commemorate the joyous Hindu festival of Diwali with the launch of Forever stamp.

37. Akhlaq Ur Rahman (AR) Kidwai, who served as Governor of States including Bihar, West Bengal and Haryana, passed away on 24 August 2016 following a brief illness.

38. Forbes released the list of The World's Highest-Paid Actresses 2016. Jennifer Lawrence topped the Forbes magazine list for the second straight year with earnings of 46 million US dollars.

39. Colombian government and the rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a historic peace accord to end more than five decades of conflict.As per the terms of agreement, FARC will give up its armed struggle and join the legal political process.

40. Union Cabinet approved the signing of an agreement and the protocol between the India and Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.

41. Wrestler Sakshi Malik was named as Haryana’s brand ambassador for Beti Bachao, Beti Padao (save daughter, educate daughter) campaign in Haryana. Sakshi Malik had won bronze medal in wrestling at 2016 Rio Olympics in the 58 kg category. 

42. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of new Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Fiji. The Agreement is for updation of the existing ASA between the two countries which was signed in January, 1974.

43. The two-day meeting of Ministers of Disaster Management (MDM) . of BRICS countries concluded in Udaipur, Rajasthan with the adoption of the Udaipur Declaration. This was the second meeting and in the follow up of the first meeting of the BRICS MDM convened by the Russia in St. Petersburg in April, 2016.

44. The Union Government has launched Accessible E-Library . ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya’ for Divyang under Prime Minister’s Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan. It was jointly launched by Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar and Thawar Chand Gehlot at a fucntion in New Delhi.

45. Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra) announced that it completed 100 percent sale of Reliance Cement Company Private Limited (RCCPL) to Birla Corporation Limited.

46. India’s ace tennis player Sania Mirza was  topped the ATP Women’s Doubles Tennis rankings.

47. Singapore’s former president Sellapan Ramanathan died on 22 August 2016. He was 92.

48. President Pranab Mukherjee launched Akashvani Maitree (Moitree) Channel and its multimedia website in Bengali language for listeners in West Bengal, Bangladesh and the adjoining areas. Akashvani Moitree Channel is an initiative of Kolkata Akashvani Kendra. It will provide a platform for blending content both from India and Bangladesh and preserving Bengali culture.

49. Maharashtra Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop 10 airports as part of the Centre’s Regional Connectivity Scheme. 

50. Andhra Pradesh became the first state in the country to launch DNA Index System (DIS) for DNA (Deoxyribonucleac acid) profiling of criminals. The system uses the latest DNA technology tool (also known as RapidHIT DNA System) developed by IntegenX of United States.

51. Maharashtra became the first state in the country to draft its own internal security legislation The Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act (MPISA), 2016. The bill has been kept public responses for suggestions and objections. Later it will be presented to the legislature for approval.

52. India won the four-match test series against West India 2-0. Fifth day's play in the fourth test in Port of Spain was called off due to rain.The draw in the last and final test helped Pakistan to be number one position in ICC Test rankings displacing India.

53. Sanjeev Sanyal: The Ocean of Churn: How the Indian Ocean Shaped Human History book released

54. The International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) announced that the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup will be hosted in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

55. Legendary journalist George E. Curry, considered the ‘dean of black press columnists’, passed away on 20 August 2016 in Maryland, USA.

56. India has figured among the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world with a total individual wealth of USD 5,600 billion while the United States topped the chart.

57. The Minister of Culture and Communication, France, in the third week of August 2016 selected Kamal Haasan for the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight in the National Order Arts and Letters).

58. Subrata Banerjee, the former international umpire, passed away on 19 August 2016 in Kolkata. He was 71.

59. The world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge was opened to visitors in central China. The bridge connects two mountain cliffs known as the Avatar Mountains in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province.

60. President Indian Olympic Association (IOA) N. Ramachandran was awarded the Olympic Order for his outstanding services to the Olympic movement. The award was formally bestowed upon him by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach.

61. Hit by a cash crunch, e-commerce company AskMe has decided to shut shop, leaving 4,000 staffers jobless, while its majority investor Astro said it will appoint a forensic auditor to review the books of the start-up’s parent firm Getit.

62. Former CCI head Ashok Chawla will take over as Non-Executive Part-time Chairman of YES Bank from October as the lender has received approval from the Reserve Bank for this appointment.

63. Myanmar has officially announced to support for China’s ambitious One Belt and One Road (OBOR) connectivity initiative along the ancient Silk Road. It was announced in the joint statement released by both countries during official state visit of Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to China.

64. In a customer-friendly move, public sector lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) has made locker visiting facility free for its customers. Earlier, the customers were allowed 12 free visits at lockers in an year.