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DAILY GK --JANUARY 2016 -- 151 TO 200

151. Start up India: This is the beginning of big bang start up boom in India, says Softbank CEO
i. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday kick-started Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious Start-Up India mission at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. The Start Up India mission to be unveiled on Saturday envisages technology business incubators and research parks.
ii. The Human Resource Development Ministry and the Department of Science and Technology have agreed to partner in an initiative to set up over 75 such startup support hubs in the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and NIPERs or National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research.

iii. Organised by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), along with other key Indian startup ecosystem players, the Startup India, Standup India initiative aims to celebrate the country's entrepreneurial spirit, and create a strong ecosystem for fostering innovation and startups in India.
iv. The event was inaugurated by finance minister Arun Jaitley, and was attended by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, and the Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha. Around 40 top CEOs and startup founders and investors from Silicon Valley attended the event as special guests, and take part question and answer sessions at the event.

152. Narendra Modi initiative has Kochi’s ‘Startup Village’ plotting more success
i. Four years ago, an idea took root in Kerala’s business capital of Kochi in the hope of attracting the best entrepreneurial minds among youngsters and creating successful start-ups. Startup Village (SV), as it was called, was a nascent idea then that drew not much attention.

ii. But today, on the cusp of the launch of a nationwide campaign that aims to spawn startups across the country, Startup Village in Kochi sits pretty with a list of grand accomplishments and a grander vision.
iii. In April 2012, Startup Village commenced operations as India’s first public-private technological business incubator with the aim of creating at least 48 startup companies in five years. However, within three and a half years, it achieved its targets, becoming home to over 70 startups in typical incubation mode.
iv. After its successful first phase, officials at SV are now excited about their next phase of expansion in which they aim for complete digitization of the incubation process right from filing applications to mentoring, resource allocation and final graduation. The target is to support 10,000 startup teams in the next five years.
v. The ‘Startup India’ campaign that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches on Saturday will be an added boost, top officials at SV told IndianExpress. Incubators like Startup Village have found favour among the administration at a time when startup companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola have made it big and entered the billion dollar club. With a young and aspiring demographic, many believe India can very well be the hotbed for enterprising startups that can contribute to national GDP as well as provide labour.

153. Chinese President Xi launches Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
i. China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in which India and 56 countries have joined as founding members, was formally opened here today by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
ii. “This is a historical moment,” Xi said addressing the ceremony of the bank, which along with the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is expected to expand infrastructure financing, rivalling the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

iii. An Indian delegation headed by Dinesh Sharma, additional Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, attended the opening ceremony. In all 57 countries have joined as founding members, while the US and Japan have stayed out. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will address the founding conference of the AIIB council later today.
iv. The bank was formally established in Beijing on December 25, 2015. Chinese Finance Minister, Lou Jiwei, was elected as the first Chairman of the AIIB council. China’s former Finance Minister, Jin Liqun, was elected the first AIIB president.
v. With authorised capital of $100 billion and subscribed capital of $50 billion, Beijing-based AIIB will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction, and logistics as well as education and healthcare.
vi. China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders, taking a 30.34 per cent, 8.52 per cent, 6.66 per cent stake respectively in the newly formed bank. The opening of the AIIB marked a milestone in the reform of the global economic governance system, Lou said in an interview earlier.
vii. The AIIB will work together with multilateral development banks, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, to facilitate Asian infrastructure construction and sustainable development, Lou said.

154. World Bank to be anchor investor in Rail Development Fund: Prabhu
i. The World Bank would be the anchor investor in the new Railway Development Fund, which would be used to fund the modernisation of Indian Railways, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said.

ii. “We have decided to work with the World Bank on creating a Railway Development Fund. This was already initiated. But now, we have taken it forward,” Prabhu said here yesterday after his meeting with World Bank officials. Noting that the World Bank would be anchor investors in this new fund, along with other co-investors, Prabhu said, “This fund would be kick-started soon as there is unanimity in the World Bank leadership”.
iii. He also said the World Bank leadership has realised that based on the performance in the past one year, Indian Railways is in the “right direction”. However, Prabhu did not divulge the size of the fund, but indicated that it would be the largest ever provided by the World Bank to the Indian Railways. Prabhu is here to attend a World Bank meeting on transportation. During his stay in the US capital, he also met officials of the International Finance Corporation, the US Transportation Secretary Anthony Renard Foxx, and some of the think-tanks.
iv. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) would look into the possibility of revenue generation through non-railway operations, he said. “To help us in monetisation issues, bringing in the global best practices. Globally, railways get 30-40 per cent of their income from non-railway operations. In India it is not even two per cent. So this is going to be a challenging time, particularly when Indian Railways would have to bear the additional burden of the Pay Commission,” he said.
v. During his meeting with Secretary Foxx, the two leaders decided to create an umbrella agreement with the Department of Transportation about the transportation sector in general. “Today we also agreed to make a Railways-specific umbrella agreement with the Transport Department, which would help to work on many things,” Prabhu said.

155. Flipkart ties-up with Mahindra for KUV100 online bookings
i. Online marketplace Flipkart has tied up with auto major Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd to exclusively launch the latter's newest SUV- KUV100. Consumers can book the SUV on Flipkart from January 18th, 2016.
ii. Anil Goteti, Vice President - Business, Flipkart said, "Online today is a must have strategy for all players to respond to the growing demand of their customers who are spread across different cities and towns in the country. First time in the automobile category, this exclusive tie-up will allow Mahindra access Flipkart’s extensive reach and network to connect with their customers and provide them the ease to book Mahindra KUV100 online.”
iii. Flipkart launched Automobiles as a category last month with a vision to change the way vehicles are bought in India. The association with Mahindra is another step in that direction. The two entities have come together to deliver superior customer experience with assured in-a-month delivery. Flipkart currently also offers a wide range of automotive accessories as part of its endeavour to become a destination for all automotive needs.
iv. Designed in-house and engineered at Mahindra's world class research and development facility, the Mahindra Research Valley at Chennai, KUV100 is targeted at the youth and first time car buyers.
v. An indigenously developed monocoque SUV, the KUV100 will have many firsts to its credit including the first ground up petrol engine offering from Mahindra. In fact, all research & development activities for this compact SUV were aligned with global standards of quality, technology, testing norms, regulations and emissions from the very start.

156. World Bank released report titled World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends
i. The World Bank on 14 January 2016 released a report titled World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends in Washington DC, the USA. The report explored the impact of the internet, mobile phones, and related technologies on economic development across the world including India.
ii. Further, it concluded that potential gains from digital technologies are high, but often remain unrealized and proposed policies to expand connectivity, accelerate complementary reforms in sectors beyond information and communication technology (ICT), and address global coordination problems.
iii. In relation to India, the authors of the report that included Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of World Bank appreciated the Aadhaar scheme as it saved 1 billion US dollars by bringing down corruption.
iv. The world’s offline population is mainly in India and China, but more than 120 million people are still offline in North America and the digital divide within countries can be as high as that between countries. Worldwide, nearly 21 percent of households in the bottom 40 percent of their countries’ income distribution don’t have access to a mobile phone, and 71 percent don’t have access to the internet.
v. The increased connectivity has had limited effect in reducing information inequality. For example, there are more contributions to Wikipedia from Hong Kong, China, than from all of Africa combined, despite the fact that Africa has 50 times more internet users. Digital technologies, apart from resulting in economic benefits, influenced the participation of women in the labor force, the ease of communication for people with disabilities, and the way people spend their leisure.
vi. By overcoming information barriers, augmenting factors, and transforming products, digital technologies can make development more inclusive, efficient, and innovative.

157. Delhi-based writer Ankita Anand won the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize for work on Khap panchayats
i. An independent Delhi-based writer Ankita Anand on 14 January 2016 won the European Commission's prestigious Lorenzo Natali Media Prize for 2015 in Asia and the Pacific amateur category.
ii. She earned the award for her sensitive portrayal of life for young women facing the threat of the diktat of khap panchayats in Haryana with the title Stirrings beneath the peepul published in the journal The Equator Linel.
iii. Arison Tamfu, an editor for the Cameroon Journal, won the Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize for a critical investigative report on how UN Climate change negotiations that are calling on nations to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy are going to affect the development of African communities living where the resources are found with the title Africa’s billions might be buried forever.
iv. It is organized by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development since 1992. It is awarded to journalists for outstanding reporting on development and poverty eradication. The Prize is divided into two distinct categories: amateur and professional journalism. An independent jury will identify one winner per category and per region.
v. The Regions are Africa, the Arab world and the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe. Each winner of the prize will be granted 5000 Euros. The Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize of an additional 5000 Euros will be awarded to one of the winners.

158. Dr Jancy James selected for Prof MV Pylee Award for the Distinguished Academician of India
i. Dr Jancy James, the first woman Vice Chancellor of Kerala, was on 15 January 2016 selected for the Prof MV Pylee Award for the Distinguished Academician of India. The award was instituted by Cochin University of Science and Technology in the name of MV Pylee. He is an Indian scholar, educationist and management guru and widely regarded as the father of management education in Kerala.
ii. The award is given for excellence in teaching and research and contribution to academic community. It carries an amount of 1 lakh rupees and a citation.
iii. Dr Jancy James is an established author, literary critic, researcher and translator. She is the former Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University and founder Vice Chancellor of Central University of Kerala.
iv. She served as member of Kendra Sahitya Akademi and as the National President of the Comparative Literature Association of India. She is a post-doctoral Commonwealth Fellow in University of Warwick, UK and also worked as a Faculty Research Fellow in Toronto University, Canada.
v. She was a member of the Indian delegation at the Indo-US Higher Education Summit at Washington under the Obama-Singh Initiative in 2011.

159. India's Dinesh Sharma elected to Board of Directors of AIIB
i. India’s Dinesh Sharma on 17 January 2016 was elected to the 12-member board of directors of the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). A secret ballot for the post was held on 16 January 2016.
ii. It is the first Board of Directors of AIIB in which 57 nations are founding members including India. The inaugural meeting of the board of the governors of the AIIB was held in Beijing after its formal launch. The meeting approved by-laws, rules and codes of conduct for the bank.
iii. Union Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley is the designated governor of the AIIB from the country. However, he was represented by Sharma at the meeting. Sharma is currently serving as the Additional Secretary of Ministry of Finance.

iv. AIIB holds authorised capital of 100 billion US dollars and subscribed capital of 50 billion US dollars. It will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare.
v. China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 percent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 percent followed by Russia with 5.93 percent and Germany with 4.5 percent. On 16 January 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched AIIB, which is seen as a rival to the US-led World Bank, in Beijing.
vi. Despite opposition from Washington, US allies including Australia, Britain, German, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea have agreed to join the AIIB in recognition of China's growing economic influence.

160. NITI Aayog collaborated with IDFC for Enterprise Survey of Manufacturing Firms
i. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog on 17 January 2016 announced that it collaborated with the IDFC Bank Ltd to conduct an enterprise survey of manufacturing firms.
ii. The primary objective of this Survey is to assess the business regulatory environment in each State and Union Territories (UTs) and identify policy and regulatory hurdles faced by businesses in the States/UTs.
iii. It will include start-ups across all States and UTs. It will bring out a comprehensive analysis and report on State-level performance.
iv. It will complement the governments Make in India initiative by taking stock of issues faced and providing impetus for State-level reforms that will make it easier to do business in India. It will suggest measures needed to foster competitive and cooperative federalism.

161. Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as first female President
i. Opposition candidate of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen on 16 January 2016 won a landslide victory in Taiwan's presidential election, making her the island's first female president.
ii. Tsai's commanding victory brings to power DPP, which supports Taiwan's formal independence from China, a red line for Beijing, which claims the island as its territory. Her victory brings the biggest mandate ever won by a DPP president. It is the second-ever victory for the DPP since Taiwan split with China in 1949.
iii. In the 2016 general elections, DPP led by Tsai emerged victorious with 56 percent of the total vote share. She defeated Eric Chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party that secured 31 percent vote share. Chu also made the announcement of quitting as KMT head. Taiwan's Premier Mao Chi-kuo also resigned.
iv. Born on 31 August 1956 in Taipei, Taiwan, Tsai graduated from the College of Law, National Taiwan University in 1978. She obtained a Master of Laws at Cornell University Law School in 1980 and then a Ph.D. in law at the London School of Economics in 1984. Upon her return to Taiwan, she taught law at Soochow University School of Law and National Chengchi University both in Taipei, Taiwan.
v. She served as consultant for the Mainland Affairs Council and the National Security Council. She also led the drafting team on the Statute Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau. In 2000, she was given the high-profile appointment of chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council.

162. NASA launched SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket with Jason-3 Ocean-monitoring satellite
i. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 17 January 2016 successfully launched SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in the USA.
ii. The rocket carried the ocean monitoring satellite Jason-3 on board. The satellite will examine the topography of the ocean floor to help study effects of climate change or human-induced changes on the ocean.
iii. It is the fourth mission in U.S.-European series of satellite missions that measure the height of the ocean surface. It is also expected to help the USA in better forecasting of hurricane forecasting and marine navigation.
iv. It will extend the time series of ocean surface topography measurements (the hills and valleys of the ocean surface) begun by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite mission in 1992 and continuing through the currently operating Jason-1 and Jason-2 missions. The Jason-1 and OSTM/Jason-2 missions were launched in 2001 and 2008 respectively. These measurements provide scientists with critical information about circulation patterns in the ocean and about both global and regional changes in sea level and the climate implications of a warming world.
v. The primary instrument on Jason-3 is a radar altimeter. The altimeter will measure sea-level variations over the global ocean with very high accuracy (as 1.3 inches or 3.3 centimeters, with a goal of achieving 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters).

163. Former Sikkim Governor Ventrapragada Rama Rao passed away
i. Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Sikkim Governor Ventrapragada Rama Rao passed away on 17 January 2016 in Hyderabad after prolonged illness. He was 80. Rao, who was suffering from severe lung infection, is survived by his wife, son and daughter-in-law.
ii. Born on 12 December 1935, Rao was a lawyer by profession and practised at the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He also played a pivotal role in trade union litigations and served as President, Employees and Workers Unions of several State and Central Public Sector Undertakings and Corporations, such as AP State Finance Corporation, South Central Railways Employee Union and more.
iii. In 1965, he joined Jana Sangh as a member and went on to serve as a Member of the National Executive of Bharatiya Jana Sangh for many years. Moving into Bharatiya Janata Party from erstwhile Jana Sangh, he went on to serve as State Unit President for Andhra Pradesh for two consecutive terms.
iv. He was elected to Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Council from Hyderabad Graduates' Constituency for four consecutive times in 1966, 1972, 1978 and 1984. In October 2002, he was appointed by President of India as the Governor of Sikkim. He served as Governor of Sikkim from 2002 to 2007.

164. SBT launches online platform for KSEB bill payments
i. State Bank of Travancore (SBT) has teamed up with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to provide customers of the state utility online facility for remittance of electricity charges. Jeevandas Narayan, Managing Director, SBT, and M Shivasankar, Chairman, KSEB, jointly announced the launch of the facility at a function here.

ii. Present on the occasion were E.K. Harikumar and S. Adikesavan, Chief General Managers, SBT, and B Nina, Director (Transmission), KSEB.
iii. The online system facilitates immediate credit of remittance through the SBT internet banking platform free of any additional charges, a spokesman for SBT said.
iv. This will enable consumers to pay their monthly bills without going to the KSEB offices. They will get confirmation of the remittance from the bank as well as KSEB.
v. The facility will be helpful for NRIs abroad who need not entertain worries of disconnection due to default of bill payment, the spokesman added.

165. Mindtree appoints Ravanan as CEO, Natarajan as executive chairman
i. ndtree has appointed Rostow Ravanan as the CEO and managing director, and Krishnakumar Natarajan as the executive chairman of the company. Subroto Bagchi has stepped down as executive chairman but will continue on the Board as a non-executive director. All the changes will be effective April 1.
ii. Apurva Purohit, independent director and chairperson of the nomination and remuneration committee of the Board said, "This is the culmination of a year-long succession planning exercise that the Board had undertaken after carefully considering several candidates. We are very happy with the process and the outcome.
iii. We believe that Mindtree with a stellar management team is fully ready for the opportunities and the challenges ahead. The Board recognizes and thanks Subroto for his invaluable contributions and inspirational leadership".
iv. Ravanan, 44, is a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India and alumni of Harvard Business School. In April 2014, he stepped out of his role as chief financial officer and took over as head for Europe, service lines and key accounts. "I am very honored and humbled at being named to lead one of the most valuable and respected IT services companies.
v. Natarajan incoming executive chairman said, "Mindtree is on a strong footing today to explore newer opportunities that take us to a different orbit in the years ahead. I would be focusing my energies towards making Mindtree a significant global player by the year 2020."

166. Exim Bank inks MoU with AP Govt for promoting exports
i. Exim Bank of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for promotion of exports from the state.

ii. The MoU was signed by Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman and Managing Director of the bank, and Shamsher Singh Rawat, Secretary and Commissioner for Industrial Promotion, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
iii. Exim Bank seeks to support exporters having operations in Andhra Pradesh in achieving higher exports by facilitation of market linkages through its market advisory services, which will assist in identifying suitable partners.
iv. Besides, it will help develop skills through capacity building workshops, help exporters’ participation in select trade fairs and exhibitions, and through research activities.
v. Exim Bank would also use its strong institutional linkages that it has developed over the years with institutions in advanced markets like the US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, EU, etc, and facilitate technology transfer to the technology-seeking enterprises in Andhra Pradesh.
vi. "With its presence through a Regional Office in Hyderabad, the bank is desirous of further extending funding facilities to exporters from the State so as to provide them opportunity to access the global market,’’ it said in a release issued here on Monday.

167. Somnath Temple to invest in Gold Monetisation Scheme
i. The Somnath Temple is all set to become Gujarat’s first temple to deposit its idle gold in the Gold Monetisation Scheme as its trustees including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have given their nod to invest the yellow metal reserves in the scheme.
ii. The trust has around 35 kg of gold and will deposit the gold which is not in day-to-day use of the temple. The decision was taken during the recently held meeting of trustees at Modi’s residence in Delhi on January 12, said the trust secretary P K Lahiri, who is also one of the trustees of the Somnath Temple, situated in the Gir-Somnath district.
iii. “During the meeting, all the trustees have agreed to the proposal of depositing the gold, which is not in day-to-day use of the temple, in the Gold Monetisation Scheme,” said Lahiri. According to him, the trust is having around 35 kg of gold, which is either in the form of pure gold or ornaments.
iv. Now, the management will segregate the pure gold from the whole lot to finalise the quantum of gold which can be deposited. “We don’t have a huge amount of gold. Majority of the gold is used for decoration on day-to-day basis in the temple. Thus out of that 35 kg of gold, we will separate pure gold which can be deposited under the scheme,” said Lahiri.
v. Other trustees of the Somnath Temple trust include former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who is also the chairman of the trust, veteran BJP leader L K Advani, Harshvardhan Neotia and JD Parmar. All these six trustees were present during the meet.

168. French President declares economic emergency
i. French President Francois Hollande has declared what he called “a state of economic emergency” and says it’s time to redefine France’s economic and social model.
ii. The first measures he proposed are relatively modest, and he said they would not “put into question” the 35-hour workweek. He did not seek to assume any new emergency powers.
iii. The measures included a loosening of some worker-friendly measures to encourage companies to hire, and new training for half a million workers.

169. Delhi Acers defeated Mumbai Rockets to clinch Premier Badminton League title
i. Delhi Acers on 17 January 2016 emerged victorious over Mumbai Rockets by 4-3 in the summit clash to clinch the Premier Badminton League (PBL) title. The match was held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi.
ii. Tommy Sugiarto, men's doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, and Rajiv Ouseph won their respective matches as Delhi grabbed the trophy and a winner's cheque of 3 crores rupees.
iii. Premier Badminton League is a franchise league, managed and commercially owned by the Badminton Association of India. PBL was earlier named Indian Badminton League (IBL) when it was founded in 2013.
iv. IBL was later rechristened to Premier Badminton League before the start of 2nd Season in 2016. The objective of the tournament is to bring top Indian players along with International players on the same platform.
v. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar is the brand ambassador of the league.

170. UNWTO released World Tourism Barometer
i. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on 18 January 2016 released the World Tourism Barometer, which reviewed trends in tourism at the regional and global level for 2015 and enumerated prospects for 2016.
ii. As per the publication, international tourist arrivals grew by 4.4 percent in 2015 to reach a total of 1184 million in 2015. In numbers, around 50 million more travelers were recorded in 2015 compared to that 2014.
iii. 2015 marks the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4 percent or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010. The tourist arrivals, in 2015, were largely influenced by exchange rates, oil prices and natural and manmade crises in many parts of the world.

iv. Growth in advanced economy destinations (5 percent growth) exceeded that of emerging economies (4 percent), boosted by the solid results of Europe (5 percent). By region, Europe, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific all recorded around 5 percent growth in 2015.
v. Arrivals to the Middle East increased by 3 percent, while in Africa points to an estimated 3 percent decrease mostly due to weak results in North Africa, which accounts for over one third of arrivals in the region.
vi. Based on the current trend and this outlook, UNWTO projects international tourist arrivals to grow by 4 percent worldwide in 2016. Among the world’s top source markets, China, with double-digit growth in expenditure every year since 2004, continues to lead global outbound travel.

171. Draft report of R V Easwar Committee to simplify Income-tax Act, 1961 released
i. Union Ministry of Finance on 18 January 2016 released the draft report of Justice R V Easwar (Retd) Committee to simplify the provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961.
ii. The draft recommendations of the 10-member committee contain 27 suggestions for amendments under the Income-tax Act, 1961 and 8 recommendations for reform through administrative instructions.

iii. Amendment to Section 255(3) to enhance the monetary limit for Single Member Bench (SMC) cases before the Tribunal to rupees one crore from the present rupees 15 lakhs. Amendment to Section 254(2) to reduce the time-limit for rectification of orders of the Tribunal from the present four years to 120 days. Deletion of section 143(1D) – Avoiding undesirable delay in issue of refunds
iv. Tax deduction at source (TDS) rates for individuals and Hindu undivided families (HUFs) to be reduced to 5 percent as against the present 10 percent. Proposal for certain amendments in rule 30 and 31 in relation to time and mode of payment of TDS and filing of statement of TDS under the provisions of section 200
v. The RV Easwar Committee was constituted on 27 October 2015 to study and identify the provisions/phrases in the Income-tax Act, 1961. The committee was also mandated to suggest measures to improve the ease of doing business, reduce litigation and accelerate the resolution of tax disputes.

172. Renowned film-maker Lakshman Rao Mohite alias Geethapriya died
i. Renowned Kannada lyricist and film-maker Geethapriya died of cardiac arrest on 17 January 2016 in Bengaluru. He was 84 and survived by wife, son and two daughters.
ii. Lakshman Rao Mohite was born on 15 June 1931 and became famous his pen-name Geethapriya. He penned lyrics for over 250 songs in Kannada and directed 40 films including one Hindi film.
iii. He wrote his first song for Sri Rama Pooja film in 1954 and became director through Mannina Maga, starring Rajkumar in 1968. The movie bagged National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada and State awards.
iv. The Karnataka government honoured him with the Puttanna Kanagal Award in 1986 in recognition to his contribution to the Kannada film industry. He was also received the Dr. B. Saroja Devi National Award and Sandesha Awards in 2012.

173. World Bank to fund 20 million US dollar for reconstructing Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
i. In a global first, the World Bank in third week of January 2016 decided to extend an assistance of 20 million US dollar to help reconstruct the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP), which got devastated during cyclone Hudhud in October 2014, in Visakhapatnam.

ii. It is the very first time in the history of the World Bank that it is directly involved in a zoo. The decision is a new addition in the portfolio of the bank as part of its ever-expanding work on urban regeneration.
iii. The funding is a part of the 370 million US dollar Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project for which the bank is extending assistance of 250 million US dollars from 2015-2020.
iv. The four coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and East Godavari are expected to get 20 million US dollar for forest restoration and disaster prevention measures.
v. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park is situated amidst Kambalakonda Reserve Forest in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The park is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. It was declared open to the public on 19 May 1977.

174. SBI offers loans for women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme
i. The ‘MUDRA' loan for women entrepreneurs or Boutique Finance for Women Entrepreneurs – a special loan scheme under Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana – has been launched for catering to the financial needs of women entrepreneurs.

ii. Under the scheme, State Bank of India too has come forward to participate and provide loans to help women entrepreneurs in West Bengal who are engaged in various handicraft activities. One such camp was organised by the bank, earlier this month., according to a release issued by the bank.
iii. Around 80 women entrepreneurs received sanctioned letters for loan, SBI said.
iv. Loans are being provided at a concessional rate of interest. Loans up to Rs. 10 lakh will be provided under the scheme without any collateral security. A maximum loan amount of Rs. 50 lakh can be availed under the scheme.

175. Jayalalithaa launches Amma Call Centre
i. In an initiative aimed at quick delivery of government services, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today launched a round-the-clock call centre for ensuring fast response to grievances. The ‘Amma Call Centre’, which will work all through the year, was launched by the Chief Minister here through video-conferencing.
ii. Jayalalithaa is fondly addressed as ‘Amma’ (mother) by her supporters and her government is already running many initiatives named after her, including the hugely popular ’Amma Canteens’ which provide subsidised food, and ‘Amma Mineral Water’, among others.
iii. The latest initiative was aimed at ensuring quick response to people’s grievances where in they can dial toll-free number ’1100’ at any point of time in the day, a government release here said. The Chief Minister’s Special Cell is already involved in addressing people’s issues by referring petitions and letters to departments concerned and this is an effort to further quicken the process, it said.
iv. The details of the callers and the issues reported by them would be registered on computer and referred to the relevant department for action through e-mail, SMS and telephone, it said, adding, the callers will also be informed of the details through SMS like which department and official their issue had been referred to. “The action taken on the grievance will also be shared with the caller through SMS,” it said.
v. Equipped with latest technology like Computer Telephony Integration and Voice Logger System, the centre will initially handle up to 15,000 calls a day, with 138 operators recruited for the purpose. Their numbers will be expanded based on the requirement, the release added.

176. International Kolkata Book Fair on Jan 27
i. The 40th edition of the International Kolkata Book Fair – the world’s largest non-trade fair – is all set to bring to life a slice of history. The history of: Kolkata’s love affair with books. In a first of its kind, the Publishers and Booksellers Guild – organisers of the International Kolkata Book Fair – will organise a ‘heritage walk’ that takes the person through the 39-year-old journey of the fair.
ii. According to Sudhangshu Dey, Director, Publishers & Booksellers Guild, the walk will see installations depicting the landmark achievements of the book-fair including the inception of the Guild at the iconic (India) Coffee House of Kolkata – a favourite haunt of intellectuals and book lovers in the city.
iii. “The heritage walk will be organised within the fair grounds. The idea is to connect the younger generation with the fair. This is our first year with such an experiment. Based on the response, we might look at different variations in the coming years,” Dey told BusinessLine.
iv. Incidentally, the fair is also expected to go hi-tech this year. An application (mobile app) that can be downloaded on smart-phones to locate the book stalls. Around 600 (book) stalls and 200 ‘little magazines’ will be there in the 40th edition of the fair. This apart, special shuttle buses will ply to and from the fair grounds to the nearest point in central Kolkata.
v. Special arrangements have also been made with taxi-aggregrator, Ola. The taxi aggregrator will be given space to park its vehicles at the fair car parking lot.

177. HaloSource appoints Tamal Chaudhuri as India head
i. HaloSource Inc., a clean water technology solutions company trading on London’s Alternative Investment Market, has appointed Tamal Chaudhuri as General Manager, heading up the company’s India operations.
ii. He will be responsible for driving all aspects of the company’s business in the region. India is a key geographic region for the company, where it has a long-standing relationship with Eureka Forbes and most recently signed a supply agreement with Panasonic India Pvt Ltd.
iii. Chaudhuri has 29 years experience in senior roles in the consumer durables industry and joins HaloSource from water heater and purifier company A.O. Smith India Water Products Pvt Ltd. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics from Presidency College, Kolkata. He has also completed the ‘Executive Program in Leadership’ at Stanford Graduate Business School, USA.
iv. In a statement, Martin Coles, CEO and President of HaloSource, said, “This is an exciting time for HaloSource in the rapidly growing water purification market in India, a key market for HaloSource. We continue to build our base of strong industry partners, such as Eureka Forbes and Panasonic, together with a number of other partners who deploy our industry-leading HaloPure technology in their devices and make a difference to the lives of millions every day.
v. We are pleased to welcome Tamal as head of our operations in India. His deep knowledge, extensive sector expertise, established network and proven track record in delivering value in the region will be invaluable to continue to drive the rapid growth of our business in India.”

178. World’s oldest man dies at 112 in Japan
i. The world’s oldest man, Yasutaro Koide, died today at the age of 112 in central Japan, a local official said. Koide, born just months before the Wright brothers made their first successful flight, died in hospital in the central Japanese city of Nagoya, where he had lived for many years, said the city official.
ii. The super-centenarian, recognised as the world’s oldest male at 112 last year, died of heart failure and pneumonia, the official added. Koide, a former tailor who was born on March 13, 1903 in Fukui prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, received a certificate from Guinness World Records confirming the achievement after another Japanese man who was just a month older died in July.
iii. Asked about the key to longevity, Koide had reportedly said: “The best thing to do is avoid overwork and live with joy.” Japan is known for the longevity of its people and around a quarter of its population of 127 million is aged 65 or older.
iv. It was not immediately clear who would succeed Koide as the world’s oldest male. Currently, the world’s oldest person is American Susannah Mushatt Jones who is 116 and was born on July 6, 1899, according to the Guinness World Records website.

179. The Eagles' guitarist Glenn Frey passed away
i. Glenn Frey, a founding member and guitarist of the Eagles, one of the most popular and commercially successful artists of the 1970s, passed away on 18 January 2016 in New York, the USA. He was 67. Frey succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.
ii. Glenn Lewis Frey was best known as a founder member of rock band the Eagles. During the 1970s, he played guitar with the band, as well as piano and keyboards. He was also one of the primary singers of the Eagles. He sang lead vocals on songs such as Take It Easy, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Tequila Sunrise, Already Gone, Heartache Tonight, and so on.
iii. The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. The band holds five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number one albums.
iv. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone 's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The band was ranked number 75 on the magazine's 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

180. Guenter Butschek appointed as CEO and MD of Tata Motors
i. Guenter Butschek was on 18 January 2016 appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of India's biggest auto maker Tata Motors' Group.
ii. He was appointed after post of Managing Director of Tata Motors was vacant for two years since the death of Karl Slym on 26 January 2014 after falling from a hotel building in Bangkok. He is expected to join the company by 15 February 2016.
iii. Butschek will lead all operations of Tata Motors in India and in international markets including South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and South Africa. However, Jaguar Land Rover would continue to be managed by its Chief Executive Officer and Director, Ralf Speth, who is also on the Board of Tata Motors.
iv. He joins Tata Motors after his stint as the Chief Operating Officer at Airbus and Member of the Group Executive Committee. Prior to Airbus, He worked at Daimler AG in international automotive management for more than 25 years.
v. He handled the sections like production, industrialization and procurement. He held position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Beijing Benz Automotive, a joint venture between Daimler AG and Beijing Automotive Industrial Holding in Beijing, China as his last role in the company.

181. Ronnie O'Sullivan defeated Barry Hawkins to win sixth Snooker Masters title
i. Ronnie O'Sullivan on 17 January 2016 won his sixth Snooker Masters title after defeating Barry Hawkins 10-1 in the final at the Alexandra Palace in London. O'Sullivan had previously won the event in 1995, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2014, equalling the record set by Stephen Hendry.
ii. Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan is an English professional snooker player. He is one of the most successful players in the sport's modern era. He is regarded by many commentators as the most naturally gifted player in snooker history, and is frequently described as a genius. He is also noted for his mercurial temperament and for his ambivalent relationship with the sport, from which he has repeatedly threatened to retire.
iii. He made his first century break at the age of 10. His first maximum break came at age 15. He turned professional in 1992 and soon earned the nickname The Rocket because of his rapid playing style.
iv. He achieved his first major professional success when he won the 1993 UK Championship at the age of 17 years and 358 days, making him the youngest player ever to win a ranking title. He is also the youngest player to have won the Masters.
v. He holds the record for the most competitive century breaks, with 807. He also holds the record for the most ratified maximum breaks in professional competition and for the three fastest competitive maximum breaks, the quickest in 5 minutes and 20 seconds.
vi. The Masters is a professional invitational snooker tournament. The tournament is held every year since 1975. It is the second longest running tournament behind the World Championship. It is one of the Triple Crown events. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious tournaments on the circuit.

182. PSLV-C31 successfully launched IRNSS-1E satellite
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 20 January 2016 successfully launched the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) 1-E satellite. The satellite will provide navigation, tracking and mapping services to the Indian sub continent.
ii. The satellite is the fifth of the IRNSS constellation. It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on-board the PSLV-C31. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C31 was the 32nd consecutively successful mission of the PSLV. The 'XL' configuration of PSLV was used for this mission.

iii. This is the eleventh time ‘XL’ configuration was flown, earlier ten being PSLV-C11/Chandrayaan-1, PSLV-C17/GSAT-12, PSLV-C19/RISAT-1, PSLV-C22/IRNSS-1A, PSLV-C25/Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, PSLV-C24/IRNSS-1B, PSLV-C26/IRNSS-1C, PSLV-C27/IRNSS-1D, PSLV-C28/DMC-3 and PSLV-C30/ASTROSAT  missions.
iv. IRNSS-1E, weighing 1425 kg, is the fifth of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS. IRNSS-1A, 1B and 1C and 1D, the first four satellites of the constellation, were successfully launched by PSLV in July 2013, April 2014, October 2014 and March 2015 respectively.
v. The navigation payload of IRNSS-1E will transmit navigation service signals to the users. This payload will be operating in L5-band and S-band. A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite.
vi. It is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. It would provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Services (SPS), which will be provided to all users, and Restricted Services (RS) that will be provided to authorised users only.

183. Andhra Pradesh Government reconstituted the Commission for Backward Classes
i. Andhra Pradesh Government on 18 January 2016 reconstituted the Commission for Backward Classes with immediate effect. AP Commission for Backward Classes (APCBC) will be a two member commission with Justice KL Manjunath, (Retd.) as its chairman and Member Secretary, APCBC as the other member.
ii. The Chairman of APCBC shall hold office for a term of three years from the date of assumption of office. The Commission was not constituted since, 24 September 2011, when the previous commission term expired.
iii. In compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court in Mandal Case (Indra Sawhney Vs Union of India 1992) to set up permanent B.C. Commissions, the Andhra Pradesh Commission for Backward Classes was constituted under the A.P. Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 and started functioning from 31 March 1994.

184. Veteran journalist Aroon Tikekar passed away
i. Senior journalist and scholar Aroon Tikekar passed away on 19 January 2016 in Mumbai. He was 72. Tikekar, who has written over 20 books, passed away due to breathing-related complications.

ii. Aroon Tikekar worked as a college teacher for some years. Then, he became the Language and Literature Expert and Acquisitions Specialist at the US Library of Congress Office in New Delhi.
iii. His career in newspapers started with a job as Reference Chief with the Times of India. As Archival Research Chief at the Times of India, he was responsible for writing the official history of the 150 years old newspaper.
iv. From 1991 to 2002, he worked as an editor of the Marathi newspaper Loksatta. He is also the recipient of several literary and journalism awards.
v. In June 2010, as President of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, he inaugurated the Observer Research Foundation's Maharashtra@50 Study Centre. In October 2010, he lashed out against the University of Mumbai's decision to drop Rohinton Mistry's controversial book Such a Long Journey from its syllabus.

185. BSE launches algorithm trading test
i. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Ltd has launched a new service for algorithm trading test facility for investors on its derivatives and equity platform. The new service has been launched in partnership with Mumbai based Symphony Fintech Solutions Pvt Ltd and is free-of-cost for market participant.
ii. Enable all market participants to test their trading algorithms in different trading segments including equity, equity derivatives and currency derivatives segments. Help members to test their trading strategies based on the live market data feed during market hours and also from historical market data.
iii. Algorithmic trading in financial markets refers to transaction orders generated by using advanced mathematical models that involve automated execution of trade. It uses mathematical models and software codes to make transaction decisions on exchanges and execute them at high speed.
iv. This technology-driven trading enables traders to take advantage of any profit making opportunities arising in the market much before a human trader can even spot them.

186. Maharashtra government inks MoU with Tata Trust for skill training of youth
i. Maharashtra Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tata Trust for a skill training programme for the youth in the state. This programme has been undertaken under the state government’s ambitious Kushal Maharashtra, Rojgaryukt Maharashtra initiative.
ii. Tata Trust will train around one lakh youths in the state in order to make them employable. It will set up skill development and vocational training centres in 10 districts across the state.
iii. The Trust will also set up virtual classrooms in 100 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in Maharashtra. It will improve infrastructure these of ITIs.

187. India slips to 89th rank in global talent competitiveness: Report
i. Reflecting an acute shortage of skilled labour force and difficult business conditions, India has slipped 11 places to rank 89th on a global index of talent competitiveness, a list which has been topped by Switzerland.
ii. Switzerland is followed by Singapore, Luxembourg, the US and Denmark in the top five positions on the annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTC) released today by INSEAD business school in partnership with Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore.
iii. ndia’s ranking is worst among the five BRICS countries, with China leading the pack with a global rank of 48. Last year, India was ranked 78th on the index that measures a nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain. It is released every year on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting here.
iv. The improvement of India would have the greatest impact in terms of the pool of talent not only in the region but also globally

188. Union Government sanctioned 33000 crore rupees for infrastructure projects in Tamilnadu
i. Union Government on 19 January 2016 sanctioned 33000 crore rupees for the development of infrastructure projects in Tamilnadu.
ii. Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari announced the sanctioned amount and at his discretion, he announced additional 17000 crore rupees. With this, the total amount sanctioned was raised to 50000 crore rupees.
iii. The infrastructure projects include construction of Rail-Over-Bridges, upgradation of state highways into National Highways and major bridges in the state.
iv. Four-laning of 3 National Highways (NH) accounting a length of 105 kilometers and two flyovers in Marthandam and Parvathipuram, at an estimated cost of 2766 crore rupees. 39 NH projects for a length of 1974 kilometers at an estimated cost of 12000 crore rupees, which already are under progress.
v. 9 new NH projects for a length of 1300 kilometers at an estimated cost of 12500 crore rupees. 4 flyovers in Kanyakumari district in Ozhiginaseri, Vadaseri, Thuckalay and Chettikulam at a cost of 300 crore rupees.

189. Light combat aircraft, Tejas to fly at Bahrain Air Show
i. Country’s own fighter aircraft light combat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, will take part in the three-day Bahrain International Airshow starting from Thursday (January 21 to 23).
ii. “Two limited series production (LSP) aircraft will take part in the Bahrain International Air Show to enthral the visitors from various countries during the flying display through a series of aerobatic manoeuvres such as 8-g pull, vertical loop, slow fly past, barrel roll”, said T Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL.
iii. “It is important that indigenous aircraft fly outside India in international air-shows. HAL is proud to be associated with design, development and production of Tejas. We have set-up state of the art, environmentally controlled dedicated Division at Bengaluru for production of LCAs,” he added.
iv. Tejas is a single engine, light weight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. The Tejas light combat aircraft is a 4.5 generation aircraft with supersonic capability at all altitudes. It has the fly by wire, state of the art open architecture computer for avionics and better weapon and combat capability. With the advanced avionics, the pilot load is also reduced.

190. Cabinet approves new power tariff policy
i. The Cabinet today approved a new power tariff policy that aims at promoting clean energy, better regulation of discoms, and faster roll-out of investments.
ii. “The Union Cabinet today approved a new power tariff policy which will promote clean energy, support the Swachh Bharat programme, better regulation for discoms, and encourage faster roll-out of investments in the sector,” said a source after the Cabinet meeting here. Besides encouraging faster roll-out of investment, the new policy will reflect a concern for the environment and encourage renewable energy.
iii. It will also look to strengthen the regulatory mechanism so that discoms become more efficient and conscious towards their duties to consumers. In 2006, the Centre had approved the National Tariff Policy under the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003.
iv. Indicating that the policy will focus on clean energy, Power Minister Piyush Goyal had recently said: “Now that we have a challenge to add 1.75 lakh MW of renewable energy, we are also bringing in certain more elements in the tariff policy which will promote renewable energy.”
v. Under the policy, the power plants will have to use processed municipal waste water available in their vicinity (in 100 km radius). The proposed policy will bring in several unique aspects which have not been touched in the past. It will allow distribution companies to buy any amount of power produced from the waste.

191. Mamta Binani elected President of ICSI
i. Mamta Binani has been elected President of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) for 2016. She took charge on January 19. A commerce and law graduate and a fellow member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, Binani was the all-India topper in the Intermediate examinations of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, amongst all the lady candidates in India and had ranked 14th on an all-India basis.
ii. In the final examinations, she stood all-India first in the subject 'Company Law'. She has been practising as a Company Secretary for over 19 years now. Binani has been an empanelled trainer with ICICI Bank, and also with the mutual fund industry. She is also associated with the financial sector, the education sector, and is an experienced mentor and counsellor to young professionals and students. She also serves as an independent director on a few of the boards.
iii. She has been the Chairperson of the Eastern India Regional Council of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India in 2010.
iv. Binani was also the first CS to be conferred the 'Bharat Nirman Awards' in 2010.

192. Indian driver Jehan Daruvala won Lady Wigram Trophy motor race
i. Sahara Force India Academy racer Jehan Daruvala on 16 January 2016 won one of New Zealand's most prestigious events, the Lady Wigram Trophy. It was Daruvala’s maiden victory in Formula cars since making the switch from karting in 2015.
ii. In August 2015, Daruvala won Rookie of the Year at the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC series championships in the Netherlands.
iii. The Lady Wigram Trophy is a New Zealand motorsport race trophy formerly awarded to the winner of the Wigram Airfield race.
iv. It made up part of the Tasman Series and classes like Formula Holden, Formula 5000, Formula Pacific and Formula Three.
v. Formula 1 greats like Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Bruce McLaren were all former winners of the Lady Wigram Trophy.

193. Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra replace Aamir Khan as 'Incredible India' brand ambassadors
i. The selection of the two actors follows the Centre's decision to discontinue the contract of actor Aamir Khan, who had angered the BJP-led government with his remarks on perceived intolerance in the country. Khan had promoted Indian tourism for a decade as the brand ambassador.
ii. A number of multi-disciplinary icons, including famous sports personalities, were shortlisted by the tourism ministry to be the face of the 'Incredible India' campaign.

Other suggestions being considered include choosing a female personality as the mascot for the 'Atithi Devo Bhava' series which is part of the 'Incredible India' campaign to attract foreign tourists.
iii. Khan had late last year stirred a controversy after he expressed "alarm and despondency" over rising instances of intolerance in the country in the past few months and said that his wife (Kiran Rao) even asked if they should move out of India as she feared for the safety of their children.
iv. Defending Khan's exit from the campaign, senior bureaucrat Amitabh Kant had said the actor, by terming India an 'intolerant country', worked against his role as that of a brand ambassador.

194. RBI asks banks to stop Rs 1,000 notes without security thread
i. The RBI today said it has received complaints about notes of Rs 1,000 denomination without the security thread being in circulation and has asked banks not to issue them in case these are found.
ii. “We have received complaints regarding banknotes in the denomination of Rs 1,000 printed by Currency Note Press, Nashik, on the paper (without security thread) supplied by Security Paper Mill (Hoshangabad),” an RBI spokesperson said.

iii. The Reserve Bank has informed all the banks in Mumbai region not to issue such notes if found in stock and to provide exchange value to the customer who approaches with such a note, if it is otherwise genuine.
iv. “We have also escalated the matter to the government,” the spokesperson said. The total number of such notes with public may not be more than 500 pieces, the spokesperson added.
So, in value terms these would be worth Rs 5,00,000.
v. Currency Note Press, Nashik is a Unit of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) under administrative control of the Finance Ministry.

195. Oscar for Indian-origin actor, producer Rahul Thakkar in technical category
i. ke every year, the world is excitedly awaiting the Oscar Awards this year. But before the Academy Awards are announced on February 28, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present 10 scientific and technical achievements during its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on February 13.
ii. These awards will specially interest Indian audiences this year because one of the awardees is of Indian origin. Rahul Thakkar will be presented with the Technical Achievement Award for his contribution to cinema through "groundbreaking design", as announced on the official Oscar Awards website.
iii. The award goes to "Richard Chuang and Rahul Thakkar for the groundbreaking design, and to Andrew Pilgrim, Stewart Birnam and Mark Kirk for the review workflows and advanced playback features, of the DreamWorks Animation Media Review System," the Academy said.
iv. "Over its nearly two decades of development, this pioneering system enabled desktop and digital theater review. It continues to provide artist-driven, integrated, consistent and highly scalable studio-wide playback and interactive reviews," the statement added.

196. PM Narendra Modi released book titled The Z Factor written by Subhash Chandra
i. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20 January 2016 released a book titled The Z Factor: My Journey as the Wrong Man at the Right Time in New Delhi.
ii. The book is the autobiography of the promoter of Essel/ Zee Group Subhash Chandra.
iii. It is a candid memoir of a ‘truly desi’ self-made businessman who came to Delhi at age twenty with seventeen rupees in his pocket.
iv. Now, Subhash Chandra has a net worth of 6.3 billion US dollars and annual group revenues of about 3 billion US dollars.

197. Union Cabinet approved MoU between India & UK on cooperation in governance reforms
i. The Union Cabinet on 20 January 2016 gave its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Kingdom on cooperation in governance reforms. The MoU, which was signed in November 2015, seeks to extend bilateral cooperation in public administration and governance reforms.
ii. It covers areas of cooperation such as sharing good governance practices in public administration, user led service design, reducing bureaucracy in service delivery and government process re-engineering. It will also cover reforms towards strengthening of social security, collaboration between Government and Industry on staff management, crisis and disaster Management and digital transformation of government among others.
iii. It will help in understanding the system of customer oriented public service delivery in UK with reference to rapidly changing environments in the area of public service management and enable in adapting some of the best practices in the Indian Public Service Delivery System, A Joint Working Group on Public Administration and Governance will be responsible for implementation of the MoU.
iv. The MoU facilitates India to learn best administrative practices from the UK which is renowned for its Right to Information Act, Ombudsmen and Citizen Charter initiatives in the field of public administration. The MoU is part of India’s efforts in seeking international collaboration for initiatives in good governance and administrative reforms.

198. CCEA approved setting up of over 5000 MW of Grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 20 January 2016 gave its approval for setting up over 5000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects on build, own and operate basis.
ii. The work will be implemented by Solar Power Developers (SPDs) with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under Batch-lV of Phase-ll of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). The total investments expected under the scheme is about 30000 crore rupees.
iii. This would help in creating additional 5000 MW capacity of Grid-connected solar PV power generation projects in four trenches of each 1250 MW capacity during four financial years - 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. It will also help in employment generation of about 30000 people in rural and urban areas with reduction of about 8.525 Million T of CO2 emissions into environment every year.
iv. Installation of 5000 MW Solar PV plants will generate about 8300 Million units per year, which caters power to almost 2.5 Million households. The Scheme will be implemented by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) as per the guidelines of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
v. SECI will prepare necessary bidding documents for inviting the proposals for setting up of projects on a competitive bidding through e-bidding. SECI will enter into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the selected developers and the Power Sale Agreement (PSA) with the buying entities.
vi. Requisite funds for provision of the VGF support will be made available to MNRE from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), operated by Ministry of Finance. Out of 5000 MW, some capacity in each tranche, will be developed with mandatory condition of solar PV cells and Modules made in India. This will be called the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) category and remaining will be in open category.

199. ISRO, Kuwait Institute signed MoU on cooperation in space exploration
i. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) on 20 January 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
ii. It will allow use of data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites by KISR for initiating a few research and application projects. It will also enable Training and Building and launching of remote sensing and communication satellites on commercial terms.
iii. It will provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing; satellite communication; satellite navigation and exploration of outer space.
iv. It will lead to developing a joint activity in the field of application of space technology for the benefit of humanity.
v. It will lead to setting up of a Joint Working Group from ISRO and KISR which will work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU.

200. SEBI released report of Narayan Murthy-panel on Alternative Investment Policy
i. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 20 January 2016 released the first report of the Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC) for comments from the stakeholders.
ii. The 21-member committee was constituted by the SEBI in March 2015, under the chairmanship of N R Narayan Murthy, to suggest measures for development of the alternative investment funds (AIFs) and startup eco-system in the country.
iii. For creating a favourable tax environment the panel recommended that exempted income of AIFs should not suffer tax withholding of 10 percent.
iv. Overseas investors in India-centric fund vehicles should not be subject to the indirect transfer provisions of the IT Act when they transfer their investments in an India-centric vehicle to another investor.
v. Provisions relating to investor diversification, control or management of portfolio companies, tax residence, arm’s length remuneration of fund  managers  and  annual reporting requirements under the  Section 9A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 should be amended.

vi. Make foreign direct investment in AIFs work efficiently by clarifying the rules for investment by non-resident Indian investors in AIFs on a non-repatriation basis.

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