Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 10 - APRIL - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 10 - APRIL - 2016
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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

10-APRIL- 2016

 

ICC ANNOUNCED WORLD T20 MEN AND WOMEN TEAMS OF THE TOURNAMENT

The ICC announced the teams of the tournament for the men’s and women’s ICC World Twenty20 2016 that finished at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The teams were announced under chairmanship of Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager – Cricket.

Indian player Virat Kohli was chosen as captain of the men’s side while Stafanie Taylor of the West Indies was named to lead the women’s line-up.

The men’s team contained four players from England, two players each from India and the West Indies, and one each from Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and South Africa which included the twelfth player.

The women’s team comprised four players from New Zealand, two players each from Australia, England and the West Indies, and one player each from Pakistan and South Africa.

The two teams are (in batting order):

Men

1. Jason Roy (England)

2. Quinton de Kock (South Africa, wicketkeeper)

3. Virat Kohli (India, captain)

4. Joe Root (England)

5. Jos Buttler (England)

6. Shane Watson (Australia)

7. Andre Russell (West Indies)

8. Mitchell Santner (New Zealand)

9. David Willey (England)

10.Samuel Badree (West Indies)

11. Ashish Nehra (India)

12. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)

Women

1. Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

2. Charlotte Edwards (England)

3. Meg Lanning (Australia)

4. Stafanie Taylor (West Indies, captain)

5. Sophie Devine (New Zealand)

6. Rachel Priest (New Zealand, wicketkeeper)

7. Deandra Dottin (West Indies)

8. Megan Schutt (Australia)

9. Sune Luus (South Africa)

10. Leigh Kasperek (New Zealand)

11. Anya Shrubsole (England)

12. Anam Amin (Pakistan)

PRESIDENT PRANAB MUKHERJEE PRESENTED NATIONAL GEOSCIENCE AWARDS 2014

The President of India Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Geoscience Awards - 2014 at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

The annual awards are presented to honour individuals and team of scientists for their outstanding contributions in the field of fundamental or applied Geosciences, Mining and Allied areas.

For the year 2014, Prof. Ashok Kumar Singhvi was conferred with the highest honour National Geoscience Award for Excellence for his outstanding contributions in the field of sedimentary technologies.

Along with him, 32 other geoscientists were being given the awards in 13 disciplines including Mining Technology, Basic Geosciences, Geo-Information System, etc.

Recipients of National Geoscience Awards 2014

About National Geoscience Awards Scheme

• These are the prestigious awards in the field of Geosciences in the country.

• These were instituted in 1966 by the Union Ministry of Mines as National Mineral Awards and rechristened as NGA in 2009.

• Any citizen of India who is a professionally qualified geo-scientist or engineer or technologist or academician with significant contribution in any field of earth sciences is eligible.

• Nominations are invited annually for NGA under three categories viz., NGA, National Geoscience Award for Excellence and Young Researcher Award which carry 200000, 500000 and 50000 rupees award money respectively.

• The selection of the awardees is a three tier process and the final round of selection is done by the Award Making Authority chaired by the Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Mines.

UNION MINISTRY OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP LAUNCHED TRANSNATIONAL SKILL STANDARDS

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Pratap Rudy launched Transnational Skill Standards in New Delhi.

On this occasion, 2 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between National Skill Development Council (NSDC) and Association of Colleges (UK) and NSDC and UK Awarding Organization City & Guilds and Pearsons Education.

These MoUs were signed to enable sharing of best practice, staff exchange and development of new models to increase employer engagement and investment in skills in India.

Features of Transnational Skill Standards

• Aim: It was launched with the aim to support Make in India and Skill India initiatives and to align domestic skill standards with that of best practices recognized globally.

• India-UK Partnership: These Transnational Skill Standards are benchmarked to United Kingdom across 82 identified job roles.

• India chose UK standards to benchmark Indian Skills standards since all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries recognize UK skill certification.

• The Transnational Standards will highlight the gaps in Indian Standards against the UK standards. To cover the gaps, those intending to migrate, will undergo bridge training.

• The Further Education Colleges (FE) of the United Kingdom will partner with Indian Training Providers to impart training on bridge courses.

• FE Colleges will set up Skill Academies of Excellences in the identified sectors in India.

• The training will be provided in several economic activities including agriculture, life science, healthcare, capital goods, textiles, hospitality, information technology, etc.

• Advantages: Transnational Skill Standards will support international mobility of Indian workforce and also prepare them to work in international companies having their operations in the country.

• These standards are expected to bring more quality in vocational education which will open more avenues for employment across countries for the youth.

BLACKSTONE INKED AGREEMENT WITH HEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE TO ACQUIRE 60% STAKE IN MPHASIS LIMITED

Blackstone India, the Indian arm of global private equity fund Blackstone Group entered into a definitive agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to buy a majority stake in Mphasis Limited.

Mphasis is a leading information technology services provider offering applications, business process outsourcing and infrastructure services. This deal represents the largest acquisition by Blackstone in India.

As part of the agreement, Blackstone will buy 60.5 percent stake in Mphasis that is currently owned by Hewlett Packard.

Blackstone will pay a purchase price of 430 rupees per share and based on the open offer subscription, the purchase price consideration will vary between 5466 crore and 7071 crore rupees.

About Mphasis Limited

• It has deep vertical expertise in Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector and strong portfolio focus on New Generation Services including Digital solutions.

• It serves marquee customers across the globe including 6 top global banks, 11 out of 15 top mortgage lenders, and 3 top global insurance companies.

• The company has roughly 24000 employees across 16 countries.

• It is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India.

About Blackstone

• It is a US-based company and one of the world’s leading investment firms.

• Its asset management businesses, with over 330 billion US dollars in assets under management, include investment vehicles focused on private equity and real estate on a global basis.

• It has been investing in India since 2005 and has committed to investments over 6 billion US dollars in private equity and real estate.

PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI LAUNCHED STAND UP INDIA SCHEME

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Stand Up India Scheme to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes and Women entrepreneurs.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister also inaugurated a Kaushal Kendra (Skilling Center) under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna in Noida.

The Scheme is intended to facilitate at least two projects per bank branch, on an average one for each category of entrepreneur. It is expected to benefit at least 2.5 lakh borrowers within 36 months.

Highlights of the Stand Up India Scheme

• It provides for refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with an initial amount of 10000 crore rupees.

• It will create credit guarantee mechanism through the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).

• It will provide support for borrowers both at the pre loan stage and during operations.

• Its focus is on handholding support for both SC/ST and Women borrowers.

• The aim is to leverage institutional credit structure to reach out under-served sectors of the population by facilitating bank loans repayable up to 7 years and between 10 lakh rupees- 100 lakh rupees for greenfield enterprises in nonfarm sector set up by such SC, ST and Women borrowers.

• The loan under the scheme would be appropriately secured and backed by a credit guarantee through a credit guarantee scheme for which Department of Financial Services would be the settler.

• The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC) will be the operating agency for the loan.

• Margin money of the composite loan would be up to 25 percent.

MADHUKAR GUPTA COMMITTEE CONSTITUTED TO SUGGEST WAYS TO STRENGTHEN SECURITY ALONG INDO-PAK BORDER

The Union Government constituted a high-level committee to suggest ways to strengthen the border protection along the border with Pakistan. It will also address the issue of gaps and vulnerability in border fencing along Indo-Pakistan border.

The committee will be headed by former Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and will submit its report in three months.

The mandate of the committee is to study all types of gaps in fencing and all other vulnerabilities in the International Border on Indo-Pakistan Border. It will suggest comprehensive approach to fix the gaps in fencing and other vulnerabilities on interim and permanent basis.

The government's move comes three months after terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed had breached the Indo-Pak border in Punjab and attacked the Pathankot airbase killing seven security personnel.

SUPREME COURT ORDERED VJAY MALLYA TO DECLARE HIS AND HIS FAMILIES ASSETS

  • The banks’ outright rejection of the offers by Vijay Mallya to partially repay the carrier’s debts led the Supreme Court to order him to disclose under oath assets existing in his name and those of his wife and children as on March 31.
  • A Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman gave Mr. Mallya time till April 21 to file the affidavit, which should include a complete list of all their properties both in India and abroad.
  • The court asked Mr. Mallya’s lawyers to get instructions and indicate when the businessman would be present in court.
  • The Bench agreed with the banks that Mr. Mallya’s presence was “necessary” for any meaningful negotiations to start.
  • It also agreed that he should pay in advance a “substantial amount” of his dues, estimated to be over Rs. 9,000 crore, to prove his bona fide.

FEES IN IITS INCREASED FOR GENERAL AND COMPLETELY WAVED OFF FOR SCS/STS

  • Studying at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is going to cost much more from the coming academic session as the Central government has decided to double the fee.
  • The annual tuition fees for undergraduate courses will be increased from Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 2 lakh.
  • However, there will be a total fee waiver for the differently abled and students of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the weaker sections.
  • The IITs are the most- sought-after institutes in India for engineering, as per the Indian government’s National Institute Ranking Framework.
  • The fee was last revised in 2013 under the UPA government from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 90,000. In 2008, the fee was increased from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000.

SOME RELIEF BY RAILWAYS TO LATUR DISTRICT

  • While announcing that two trains will carry 25 lakh litres of water to Latur from Miraj in the next 15 days, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse blamed the previous governments of the Congress and the NCP for the present situation.
  • Section 144 has been invoked in Latur to avoid riots over water as all sources have dried up. The city is allegedly getting water once in 20 days.
  • The Revenue Minister, however, refuted the allegations of migration, and said the government is committed to supplying water to the people.

PAKISTAN SUSPENDS PEACE PROCESS WITH INDIA

  • Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, who accused India of suspending Foreign Secretary-level talks, also raised the recent arrest in Pakistan of a former Indian naval officer accused of spying.
  • Mr. Basit told the press conference “The arrest of Kulbushan Yadav corroborates what Pakistan has been saying all along. We are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan.”
  • Mr. Basit’s comments came a day after an official from the Chinese Embassy defended China’s move to stop a diplomatic campaign by India at the 1267 Committee of the U.N. to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar.
  • Analysts said the sharp comments by the High Commissioner were unusual, and possibly an indicator of a growing civil-military divide in Pakistan.
  • Nawaz Sharif’s government is facing increasing pressure from the military which is trying to take control of foreign policy and nuclear issues.
  • The MEA said the High Commissioner had been contradicted by his own Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson who said the “countries are in contact” to work out dates for the Foreign Secretary talks.

INDIA IS SIXTH LARGEST MILITARY SPENDER IN 2015

  • India is the sixth largest military spender in 2015 having spent $51.3 billion even as the world spent $1,676 billion reversing a global trend which was on the decline since 2011., as per the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
  • India moved one rank up from last year accounting for 3.1 percent of global military expenditure.
  • Over a ten-year period from 2006-15 this represents a 43 per cent jump. India is also ahead of countries like France, Germany and Israel who happen to be among its top arms suppliers.
  • World military expenditure rose by 1 per cent in 2015, the report noted said it reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states.
  • On the one hand, spending trends reflect the escalating conflict and tension in many parts of the world; on the other hand, they show a clear break from the oil-fuelled surge in military spending of the past decade.
  • The U.S. remained by far the world’s largest spender in 2015 despite its defence expenditure falling by 2.4 per cent to $596 billion followed by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and U.K.
  • China’s expenditure rose by 7.4 per cent to $215 billion.

INDIA TRYING TO AVOID EMBARRASSING EPISODE OF FIVE YEARS AGO ON IMMIGRATION

  • The U.S federal agencies that caught 10 Indians in a sting operation for allegedly defrauding the country’s immigration system are yet to move against the recipients of fraudulently obtained visas and other documents.
  • Meanwhile, Indian diplomats are trying to avoid the repeat of an embarrassing spectacle five years ago when Indian students trapped in the Tri Valley University scam were radio tagged to monitor their movement.
  • Indian diplomatic sources said they have not received any response yet from the State Department or the Department of Homeland Security to India’s request that the ‘students’ who have been involved in the sting operation should not be arrested or deported.
  • The 10 Indians among the 21 arrested by the U.S. agencies so far were middlemen who facilitated the transactions between visa seekers and the fake ‘University of Northern New Jersey’ set up by undercover agents of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Fresh documents released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey illustrate an elaborate racket to game the U.S. immigration system.
  • The visa seekers were already in the U.S. on student visas that were about to expire. The deal that the two sought involved two types of visas.
  • First, student visas that would allow the recipients Curriculum Practical Training or CPT, under the guise of which Promatrix would employ them. Second, H-1B visas through fake diplomas and transcripts provided by the fake university.
  • India’s contention is that if a fake U.S. university issues documents to a prospective student and the immigration department then issues him a visa, it reflects the loopholes in the U.S. system more than the criminality of the visa seeker.
  • In this instance, the ‘university’ itself is fake, but in many cases, there are legally functioning universities that enable such operation.
  • The counter to that argument is that in this case ‘students’ get into the university with the explicit understanding that they would not be attending classes.
  • Incidentally, the annual growth of Indian students in the U.S. in 2014 was the highest in recorded history, rising by 29.4 per cent compared with the previous year.
  • There were 132,888 Indians studying in U.S. schools in 2014, compared to 102,673 in 2013. China has the largest student contingent in the U.S. – 304,040 in 2014, which was an increase of 10.8 per cent from the previous year.

PANAMA PAPERS CONTINUE TO JITTER INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ARENA

  • Iceland’s new rightwing government was to take office, under fire from the start as the Opposition sought a vote of no-confidence and maintained calls for a quick election to be held.
  • The new Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson was chosen on Wednesday by his centre-right Progressive Party. He would replace Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who resigned amid mass protests over a hidden offshore account revealed in the so-called Panama Papers leak.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any “element of corruption” after a massive leak of confidential papers linked a close friend to a hidden $2 billion offshore empire, and he blamed the United States for orchestrating the scandal.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY SERVICES CLAIM LED BULBS COULD LEAD TO GOOD SAVINGS

  • Shifting to LED bulbs could save an average family around Rs. 4,000 a year on their power bills due to energy efficiency gains and lower replacement costs, according to Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), a government-run joint venture.
  • The company’s National Energy Efficient Fan Programme, is expected to help reduce household electricity bills and the country’s overall carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Taking an average of five bulb points per household and an assumption that five incandescent bulbs are replaced with LEDs, a household stands to have energy savings of 1.77 kWh per day and annually 649 kWh.
  • Considering average tariff as Rs.4/ kWh, an average household stands to save approximately Rs.2,550 annually.
  • These savings will proportionally increase for households with more light bulbs and for those located in States with higher power tariffs.
  • The average electricity tariff in Delhi, for example, is Rs. 6.82 per unit, which works out to an annual saving of Rs. 4,400 if five incandescent are changed to LED.
  • In addition, LED bulbs have the advantage of longevity — they do not need to be replaced nearly as much as incandescent or CFL bulbs are done.
  • The life expectancy of an LED bulb is 25,000 hours (around two years and 10 months), compared to 8,000 hours for CFL bulbs and 1,200 hours for incandescent bulbs.
  • Power Minister Piyush Goyal had repeatedly emphasised that the country would save 100 billion units of electricity a year by switching over to LED, which, he said, translated to a saving of Rs.40,000 crore across all households.
  • Switching to LEDs also helps the government meet its carbon dioxide emission reduction targets, since lower power consumption will eventually result in lower power production and hydrocarbon use .
  • According to the website of the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP), the government has sold 9.17 crore LED bulbs as of April 6, the utilisation of which would result in a reduction of 26,451 tonnes of carbon dioxide per day, or almost 10 million tonnes a year.
  • Under the Street Light National Programme, the government has converted 7,50,780 streetlights to LED, which, according to the programme website, has resulted in a saving of more than 2.72 lakh units of electricity per day.
  • There are 35 crore inefficient fans across the country. If all of these are replaced with 5-star rated energy efficient fans, the country will have an expected annual energy savings of 47 billion KWh with a reduction of over 12,250 MW of electricity load.

INDUSTRY NOT IN FAVOUR OF INCREASING MINIMUM MONTHLY INCOME OF CONTRACT WORKERS

  • Labour Ministry has proposed a minimum monthly income of Rs.10,000 for contract workers, evoking strong reactions from the industry.
  • The move will drastically increase the minimum wages of contract labourers from around Rs.6,000 per month that is paid to them in a few sectors at present.
  • According to the plan the employers will need to pay Rs 10,000 as minimum monthly income to contract workers for all kinds of work.
  • At present, employers give the fixed minimum wages to workers for 45 economic activities, as mentioned in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
  • Although there are varying estimate of contract labour employed at present, the VV Giri National Labour Institute, an autonomous body of the Labour Ministry, estimated in a study there were 3.6 crore contract labourers in the country.
  • However, out of them, only 60 lakh contract workers were covered under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.
  • The study also said that 30 per cent of all workers in private sector and around 32 per cent in the public sector are employed through contractors.
  • As per the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Central Rules, 1971, the wages of the contract labour shall be according to the minimum wage prescribed under Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and it should be at par with the regular workers in cases where the contract worker perform the same kind of work as the former.
  • Trade unions were divided on their move. While the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) appreciated the move, the Left-affiliated unions opposed it saying contract labour needs to be paid at par with regular workers
  • The issue of wages to contract labour has led to increasing labour unrest in the past. In 2008, Graziano Trasmissioni CEO Lalit K Chaudhary was killed in mob violence incited by contract labours of the factory and one of their demands was higher wages.
  • Even the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki had witnessed labour unrests due to various demands put forward by the contract labour including pay disparity.

GOVT PLANNING TO AMEND EPF SCHEME 1952 FOR SICK PSUS

  • The government will soon amend the Employees Provident Fund Scheme 1952 to enable loss-making public sector enterprises to continue to run their own PF scheme.
  • Under the current rules, loss-making and sick public sector enterprises and private companies which have been recording losses for three consecutive years, cannot operate their own PF trusts.
  • There are about 3,000 companies that manage employees’ savings worth nearly Rs. 2.74 lakh crore through such PF trusts to give the staff speedier and simpler access to their retirement corpus at a lower cost.
  • Public sector firms such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) also have their own PF trusts.
  • However, the PF trusts of firms incurring losses for three successive years are transferred to the state-run EPFO.
  • EPFO manages PF savings of about 4 lakh establishments with a corpus of Rs. 6.34 lakh crores as on 31, March 2015 and regulates the company-run PF trusts.
  • The proposed exemption for public sector undertakings or PSUs will benefit state power distribution companies making persistent losses and others such as MTNL which have been running at loss in the last five years.
  • But there’s no relief for private firms, including several multinational companies that suffer losses in their initial years in India.
  • Public sector undertaking, statutory bodies and corporations fall within ambit and scope of ‘State’ as defined in Article 12 of the Constitution and there is a sovereign protection of the Trust Fund.

 

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 11 April 2016 02:53