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June 16, 2016

16th June 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-Cha arrives in New Delhi on a three day visit to India.
    • He will hold discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17 on a wide range of issues including Defence, Security, Science and Technology and improving people-to-people contacts.
    • Trade and attracting investments from Thailand will be high on the agenda.
    • India will also seek Thai participation in its Make-in-India initiative.
  • The US Senate has passed an amendment which calls for enhanced military cooperation with India and encourages joint military operations between the countries. 
    • The amendment approves engagements for "developing threat analysis, military doctrine, intelligence collection", among others. 
  • A 50-member foreign delegation from 20 countries will visit India to take part in the ‎International Yoga Day (21st June 2016)‬.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Taiwan for cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sector.

National Affairs
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the 2 day ‘Rajasva Gyan Sangam’, the first joint annual conference of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC)
    • The conference will also be attended by the top brass of Income Tax department. 
    • Important Note : CBDT is responsible for collecting direct taxes, CBEC recovers the indirect taxes.
  • Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar today announced that the state government will plant two crore saplings of 450 species on July 1, in an effort to create awareness about the environment. 
  • India is implementing a project to provide unique identification cards to persons with disabilities.
    • The move is aimed at creating a database that lets the government track their education and employment status. 
    • Note : The first Central University for Disability Studies and Research will be set up in Kerala.
  • Haryana government has banned the sale of correction fluid and paint thinner in bottles, saying strict action will be taken against violators. 
    • Note : The chemicals were reportedly being misused as intoxicating substances or drugs.
  • The Karnataka government today banned Electronic cigarettes in the state. 
    • The decision was taken on the recommendation of a committee on cancer prevention.
  • The Centre today cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of activist Teesta Setalvad's NGO, the Sabrang Trust, after finding irregularities with how it utilised its funds. 
    • The move blocks the organisation from receiving any foreign funding.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of 15 years contract for undertaking exploration and other developmental activities related to Poly-Metallic Sulphides (PMS)
    • The exploration and other developmental activities has been allotted in the area of 10,000 sq km in parts of Central and South – West Indian Ridges (SWIR), located in the Indian Ocean.
  • The Union Cabinet has also given its approval for India’s membership of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) consortium
    • The MoU will enable India To get engaged with internationally renowned experts with profound expertise in different aspects of scientific drilling
    • These experts will accomplish India in deep drilling and associated investigations in Koyna region.

Business & Economy
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today gave in-principle approval to the Common Service Centres (CSCs) in rural areas to collect payments for services like electricity, water and gas. 
    • The facility will be rolled out within around three months.
    • Note : CSCs are physical facilities meant for the delivery of e-services of the government in rural and remote locations.
  • Insurance regulatory body IRDA today issued draft guidelines for the public listing (IPO) of insurance firms. 
    • Currently, no insurance firm in India is publicly listed. 
    • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier proposed the listing of four state-owned general insurance firms. 
    • Further, private players like HDFC Life and ICICI Prudential had earlier announced their plans of going public.
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off India's first time-tabled freight train, named ‘Cargo Express’, from Delhi to Bengaluru. 
    • The move aims to reduce the delay and uncertainty over the time schedule for delivery of goods. 
    • Earlier, passenger trains in the country used to get preference over goods trains for transportation across busy routes.
  • The Government tpoday increased the buffer stock of pulses by over five times from 1.5 lakh tonnes to 8 lakh tonnes
    • The stock will be created by direct procurement from farmers at market prices. 
    • Further, it will be released to the states at a subsidised rate of ₹120/kg, as opposed to the prevailing market price of over ₹170/kg.
  • The Bank of Japan today decided to keep the interest rates on the current accounts held by financial institutions unchanged at (-)0.1% and kept the annual target for expanding the monetary base at 80 trillion yen ($764 billion).
  • The US Federal Reserve today decided to keep the key interest rates steady at 0.25-0.5%
    • Further, the growth forecast for 2016 and 2017 was brought down by 0.1% to 2%
  • The Centre has decided to import pulses from Myanmar and Africa to beef up buffer stocks to check its price rise.
    • The government also decided to enhance the buffer stock of pulses from 1.5 lakh tonnes to 8 lakh tonnes.

  • Gregory Rabassa (94), prominent literary translator, passed away.
    • Rabassa is known for his translations of several well-known Latin American writers, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortazar, Octavio Paz, Clarice Lispector and Jorje Amado.
  • Henry McCullough (72), who is a Northern Irish guitarist, vocalist and songwriter in Paul McCartney’s band Wings, passed away.
  • Veteran Tamil film director AC Tirulokachandar (85), who had directed over 60 movies including Tamil, Telugu and some Hindi films, passed away today.
  • Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President Anjan Dutta (64) passed away. 
    • He had held the Transport, Industry and Commerce, and Public Enterprises portfolios in former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's cabinet.

New Appointments
  • DBS Bank India has appointed Niraj Mittal as the Managing Director and Head of Institutional Banking for the country.
  • IAS officer Dr. M Beena, has been appointed as Managing Director of the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA), a statutory body of the Kerala Government.
  • Online budget accommodation company Stayzilla has appointed Chandramouli Gopalakrishnan, former director of products at Goibibo, as Vice-President of products, soon after it named former Twitter director Pankaj Gupta as Chief Product Officer.
  • Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, has been elected as the Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Awards & Honors
  • Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist Margaret Atwood was chosen for the prestigious Pen Pinter Prize for the year 2016
    • She will formerly receive the award at a public event scheduled to be held on 13 October 2016 at the British Library.
  • Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana has been declared the best eatery at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2016
    • Last year’s winner, El Cellar de Can Roca, dropped to second place.
    • Note : New Delhi's Indian Accent restaurant was ranked number 87
  • Corinthians boss Tite was named as the new coach of Brazil, succeeding Dunga, who was sacked after the team’s humiliating exit from the Copa America.
  • Former Indian off-spinner and qualified coach M Venkataramana has been appointed as Coach of Take Solutions, one of the eight teams that successfully bid for a franchise of the Tamil Nadu Premier League which is to begin in August this year.
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