Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 14 - APRIL - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 14 - APRIL - 2016
Thursday, 14 April 2016 04:53

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

14 - APRIL - 2016

 

UNION CABINET APPROVED TO IMPLEMENT NATIONAL HYDROLOGY PROJECT

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval to implement of the National Hydrology Project.  It will be a central sector scheme with a total outlay of 3679.7674 crore rupees.

The Project includes 3640 crore rupees for National Hydrology Project (NHP) and 39.7674 crore rupees for National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC) to be taken up in two stages.

It also provides for establishment of NWIC as an independent organization under the control of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR).

The NHP will help in gathering Hydro-meteorological data which will be stored and analysed on a real time basis and can be seamlessly accessed by any user at the State/District/village level.

The project envisages to cover whole India, where as the earlier hydrology projects covered only 13 States.

The components of the proposal are:

a) In Situ Hydromet Monitoring System and Hydromet Data Acquisition System.

b) Setting up of National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC).

c) Water Resources Operation and Management System

d) Water Resources Institutions and Capacity Building

The NHP will result in the improvement of:

1. Data storage, exchange, analysis and dissemination through National Water Informatics Centre.

2. Lead time in flood forecast from 1 day to at least 3 days

3. Mapping of flood inundation areas for use by the disaster management authorities

4. Assessment of surface and ground water resources in a river basin for better planning & allocation for PMKSY and other schemes of Govt. of India

5. Reservoir operations through seasonal yield   forecast,   drought management, SCADA systems, etc.

6. Design of SW & GW structures, hydropower units, interlinking of rivers, Smart Cities.

7. Fulfilling the objectives of Digital India.

8. People Centric approach:  The programme envisages ultimate aim for water management through scientific data collection, dissemination of information on water availability in all blocks of the country and establishing of National Water Information Centre.

The automated systems for Flood Forecasting is aimed to reduce water disaster ultimately helping vulnerable population.

It is people and farmer centric programme as information on water can help in predicting water availability and help farmers to plan their crops and other farm related activities.

Through this programme India would make a place among nations known for scientific endeavours.

Elucidation on the impact of the Project:

a) Development of real time flood forecasting and reservoir operations in a manner that does not result in sudden opening of gates which inundates the area down below;

b) It will facilitate integrated water resource management by adopting river basin approach through collation and management of hydro-meteorological data.  This will also help in water resource assessment – as surface as well as ground water, for water resource planning, prioritize its allocations and its consumptive use for irrigation;

c) It will help in providing real time information on a dynamic basis to the farmers about the ground water position for them to accordingly plan their cropping pattern;

d) This will also help in promoting efficient and equitable use of water particularly of ground water at the village level;

e) This will also provide information on quality of water

Background

The National Hydrology Project (NHP) is intended for setting up of a system for timely and reliable water resources data acquisition, storage, collation and management.

It will also provide tools/systems for informed decision making through Decision Support Systems (DSS) for water resources assessment, flood management, reservoir operations, drought management, etc.

NHP also seeks to build capacity of the State and Central sector organisations in water resources management through the use of Information Systems and adoption of State-of-the-art technologies like Remote Sensing.

The MoWR, RD&GR adopted a paradigm shift in the management of water resources of the country by adopting a river basin approach, in order to efficiently use and manage water resources of the country; adequacy of data, resource assessment, decision support systems, etc. are a prerequisite for allocation and prioritization of this fast depleting resource.

KENTO MOMOTA AND RATCHANOK INTANON WON 2016 YONEX SUNRISE INDIA OPEN BADMINTON TITLES

Kento Momota of Japan won men’s singles title at the 2016 Yonex-Sunrise India Open badminton championship.

In the final match held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi, he defended the title by defeating Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 21-15 21-18.

Earlier, in an another match, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon won the women’s singles title by defeating Xuerui Li of China.

Winners of other titles

• Men’s Doubles: Gideon Markus Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia

• Women’s Doubles: Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan

• Mixed Doubles: Kai Lu and Huang Yaqiong of China

GOJAVAS APPOINTED AMITABH COOMAR AS CEO

Logistics firm GoJavas appointed Amitabh Coomar as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The appointment of Coomar came after the departure of Vijay Ghadge, who was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company.

Besides, Jai Vohra, an IIT-Kharagpur and ISB Hyderabad alumnus, will now head the company's Strategy and Planning functions.

Who is Amitabh Coomar?

Coomar holds a post graduate diploma in business management from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Before joining the corporate world, he served the Indian Army for almost 12 years.

Before GoJavas, he served as the Divisional Manager, Brand Marketing, at ITC, Kolkata.

NASA ASTRONOMERS DISCOVERED SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE WEIGHING 17 BILLION SUNS

The astronomers at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) discovered a supermassive Black Hole which weighs about 17 billion times the mass of Sun.

It was discovered in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the universe and it may indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought.

The discovery was published in the journal Nature.

The lead discoverer is Chung-Pei Ma, a University of California-Berkeley astronomer and head of the MASSIVE Survey, a study of the most massive galaxies and supermassive black holes in the local universe, whereas the lead author is Jens Thomas of the Max Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany.

Main finding of the discovery

• The newly discovered supersized black hole resides in the center of a massive elliptical galaxy, NGC 1600, located in a cosmic backwater, a small grouping of 20 or so galaxies.

• It is located about 200 million light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Eridanus.

• The amount of stars pushed away by this black hole equals 40 billion suns, comparable to ejecting the entire disk of our Milky Way galaxy.

• Unlike other galaxies, wherein the galaxy bulge is proportional to the mass of the black hole, galaxy NGC 1600 has a relatively sparse bulge in relation to the discovered black hole’s mass.

How the discovery was made?

The presence of the massive black hole was made through measuring the velocities of stars near it, which are strongly influenced by the gravity of the black hole. The velocity measurements give us an estimate of the black hole’s mass.

The velocity measurements were made by the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the Gemini North 8-meter telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.  GMOS spectroscopically dissected the light from the galaxy’s center, revealing stars within 3000 light-years of the core.

However, these stars were found to be moving in a straighter path away from the core suggesting that they had ventured closer to the center and had been slung away, most likely by the twin black holes.

This observation was supported by the images taken by the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) of Hubble telescope. The NICMOS images revealed that the galaxy’s core was unusually faint, indicating a lack of stars close to the galactic center.

A star-depleted core distinguishes massive galaxies from standard elliptical galaxies, which are much brighter in their centers.

25 MINISTRIES/DEPARTMENTS OF UNION GOVERNMENT SIGNED MOU ON IMPRINT INITIATIVE

Twenty-five Ministries and Departments of the Union Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT) initiative.

The MoU is aimed at avoiding duplication of efforts of various Ministries and Departments under the IMPRINT initiative.

Features of IMPRINT initiative

• It is multi-disciplinary, multi-partner and multi-goal oriented national programme aimed at technology development covering all engineering disciplines, steered by all IITs and IISc.

• It aims to synergize with all the major initiatives of the Government of India like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Namami Gange, Skill India, Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Swachch Bharat Mission, etc.

• Imprint India is a 1000 crore rupees project, which aspires to:

a) Identify areas of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation

b) Direct scientific research into identified areas

c) Ensure higher funding support for research into these areas

d) Measure outcomes of the research effort with reference to impact on the standard of living in the rural/urban areas

• The Imprint India will focus on 10 themes and each will be coordinated by one IIT/IISc. The themes are -

1) Health Care - IIT Kharagpur

2) Computer Science and ICT – IIT Kharagpur

3) Advance Materials – IIT Kanpur

4) Water Resources and River systems – IIT Kanpur

5) Sustainable Urban Design – IIT Roorkee

6) Defence – IIT Madras

7) Manufacturing – IIT Madras

8) Nano-technology Hardware- IIT Bombay

9) Environmental Science and Climate Change – IISc, Bangalore

10) Energy Security – IIT Bombay

Role of various Ministries

Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) would be responsible for the following

• Laying down the Policy for implementation

• Coordination with the other departments

• Resolving the difficulties in implementation

• Meeting 50 percent cost of the project cost

The other Departments and the Ministries would be responsible for –

• Defining the requirements of research for inclusion in the IMPRINT programme

• Participating in the Apex Committee meetings for selection of the projects

• To review the progress of the projects from time to time as a part of the Apex Committee

Background

The IMPRINT initiative was launched on 5 November 2015. As part of the initiative, an Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) was set up as a single window mechanism to shortlist research projects by leading research and technology institutes. It will also approve funds for the same.

Accordingly, at a meeting held on 14 December 2015, the IMG decided to sign a formal MoU among all participating Ministries/Departments for achieving coordination, prioritization and synergy among all the schemes/projects/programs.

SUPREME COURT RECALLED ITS JUDGEMENT DECLARING NEET UNCONSTITUTIONAL

  • Admitting to have acted too hastily, the Supreme Court recalled its 2013 judgment declaring the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) unconstitutional.
  • Earlier SC disqualified the NEET, a single common entrance test system for MBBS, BDS and post-graduate medical courses.
  • SC said in that judgement that NEET is an interference in the right of the State and private medical colleges to administer, the court agreed without elaborating that its decision required re-consideration.
  • The NEET was meant to end rampant corruption in medical admissions, especially payment of huge capitation fees or donations in private colleges.

GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES POSSIBILITY OF SIMULTANEOUS ELECTIONS WITH EC

  • Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke in favour of holding simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, a group of ministers, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh discussed the proposal with Election Commission.
  • The GoM included Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda and Minister of State (PMO) Jitendra Singh.
  • The GoM asked EC officials to explore the possibility of holding simultaneous polls.
  • The GoM also wanted the EC’s response on modernising the electronic voting machines (EVMs). Since the number of voters has increased in the last decade, the GoM asked EC officials to take stock of the surge in demand.
  • The two companies — Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL) — have been asked to study and examine the revamping of EVMs before the next general elections in 2019.
  • The proposal for initiating e-ballots for NRIs was also discussed.
  • During BJP’s national office bearers meet, the Prime Minister had spoken in favour of simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.
  • In that meeting, the Prime Minister also referred to the 78th report of the parliamentary standing committee of Law and Justice that had been asked to go into the issue in detail. The report was submitted in December 2015.

US PRESIDENT ADMITS LACK OF PLANNING AFTER FALL OF QADHAFI WAS A BIG MISTAKE

  • Barack Obama says the biggest mistake of his presidency was the lack of planning for the aftermath of the fall of late Libyan leader MuammarQadhafi, with the country spiralling into chaos and grappling with violent extremists.
  • Reflecting on his legacy in an interview aired, Mr. Obama said his “worst mistake” was “probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya”.
  • Since the downfall of Qadhafi, who was killed in a popular uprising, Libya descended into near-anarchy, ruled by rival militias vying for power.
  • Mr. Obama also reflected on some of the best moments of his tenure as President — due to end in January — in the interview.
  • “Saving the economy from a great depression” was his biggest accomplishment, he said. As for the best day in the White House? “The day that we passed health care reform,” Mr. Obama said.

RESEARCHERS CAME UP WITH EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT ZIKA VIRUS CAUSES BRAIN DEFECT

  • Researchers have now produced evidence of how Zika virus causes brain defect in babies. Several cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect in which the brain fails to grow properly, continue to be reported in Brazil following the outbreak of Zika virus, first detected in the country in May 2015.
  • To study how the virus causes birth defects in babies, the researchers used human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to make neural stem cells (NSC), neurospheres and brain organoids.
  • How quickly the neural stem cells get infected with Zika virus became clear when the researchers detected it just 24 hours after they were exposed.
  • The researchers used the virus-infected neural cells and cultured them as neurospheres (a culture system composed of free-floating clusters of neural stem cells).
  • While those cells not infected with the virus generated normal neurospheres, the virus-infected neural cells generated neurospheres with abnormalities. At the end of six days, the virus killed most of the neurospheres.
  • To further investigate the impact during neurogenesis, organoids were exposed to the virus and followed for 11 days.
  • To check if dengue virus, a flavivirus with similarities to Zika, caused similar effect on neurogenesis, the researchers infected human neural stem cells with dengue virus 2 (DENV2).
  • After six days, significant difference in cell viability was seen between dengue-infected calls and Zika-infected neural stem cells.
  • The dengue-infected cells were similar to the normal cells and there was no reduction in growth of dengue-infected organoids at the end of 11 days.
  • However, further studies are needed to characterise the consequences of Zika infection during different stages of foetal development.

RESEARCH SHOWS RIBOSE MAY HAVE FORMED ON COMETS

  • In a first, researchers have shown that ribose — a sugar that is one of the building blocks of genetic material in living organisms — may have formed in ice on comets.
  • The genetic material of all living organisms on Earth, as well as of viruses, is made up of nucleic acids, DNA and RNA.
  • Scientists have long wondered about the origin of these biological compounds.
  • Now, by simulating the evolution of the interstellar ice making up comets in the laboratory, French research teams have successfully obtained ribose — a key step in understanding the origin of RNA and of life.

ABDULLA YAMEEN THANKED INDIA FOR PROTECTING FROM CMAG ACTION

  • Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen has thanked India for “protecting” his country from possible punitive actions from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which had been asking Maldives to move towards genuine democracy.
  • “I am in India today to show my appreciation for the very steadfast way India has protected the Maldives from the CMAG.” Abdullah Yamen said.
  • The CMAG held an extraordinary meeting in February 24 and asked Maldives to create an “inclusive” country.
  • Mr.Yameen said his government was trying to achieve the same goal based on universal human rights and democratic principles, which were essential if his country had to provide employment to youngsters prone to radicalisation.
  • Maldives drew international criticism in November, 2015 after he declared national emergency ahead of a big wave of protests against his political opponents. The Emergency was withdrawn later.
  • Maldives has undergone a wave of crackdowns since September 28, 2015, when a bomb targeting Mr. Yameen went off in the Presidential yacht, injuring his wife.

NITI AAYOG IS WORKING ON SECTOR-BASED MEDIUM TERM PLANNING FRAMEWORK

  • NITI Aayog, the government’s policy think tank, is working on a sector-based medium-term planning framework.
  • The new planning framework could replace five-year plans, the last of which is set to end in 2016—17.
  • It was possible to synchronise with the finance commission cycle, the financial approval of schemes and projects of both the central and state government.
  • The current financial year, 2016-17, is the last year of the 12th five-year plan.
  • With the Planning Commission scrapped, the process for formulating a 13th five-year plan government has not been initiated, as a consequence of which the era of five-year plans is set to end in India this year.
  • While medium-term growth is dependent on past performance, long-term growth, on the other hand, can only be enhanced by structural reforms and improving the productive capacity of the economy, he said.
  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced in the Budget Speech that from the next financial year, the plan and non—plan distinction will be done away with for expenditure classification.
  • The government had constituted a committee for proposing a new format of budget statements and accounts.
  • The committee to be headed by Special Secretary Expenditure will co-opt state secretaries.
  • The primary units of appropriation at both central and state levels are being revisited to create a clear distinction between revenue and capital items of expenditure so that accounts can be prepared in a bottoms-up manner.

BANKERS HIT SWEET SPOT ON IPO PRICING AMID VOLATILITY

  • Companies and investment bankers seem to be getting the pulse of the market right more frequently when pricing shares meant for public issue.
  • Shares of most entities that listed on the stock exchanges in 2015 and 2016 have stayed above the issue price even as the broader market has declined.
  • According to stock exchange data, there have been 27 new listings since January 2015, and a little more than half — 15 to be precise — are trading above their respective issue prices.
  • While there are still 12 companies that, in 2015 and 2016, dipped below their issue price, the trend is in sharp contrast to the earlier years when almost 65 per cent of the newly-listed companies traded below their issue prices shortly after their debut.
  • This, even as the benchmark Sensex has lost 4.2 per cent this year, following a 5 per cent drop in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had also taken a tough stand on the pricing of shares at the time of IPO.
  • Specifically, only 42 out of 117 companies that made an IPO between 2008 and 2012 traded above their issue price at the end of that period. With SEBI cracking the whip, prices of shares from IPOs started doing better.
  • Investment bankers say that IPO pricing is also a function of broader market direction along with the expected investor sentiment on the sector and the company fundamentals.
  • Bankers also say that some amount of polarisation within the investment banking space has also led to this trend as most issues are being managed by leading domestic and foreign names that are typically known to be more cautious in pricing and due diligence.

 

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Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2016 03:23