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August 21, 2015

21st August 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The Second Summit of FIPIC began in Jaipur today.
    • Leaders of 14 island nations from Indo-Pacific oceanic region have been attending to the meeting.
    • Note : India is hosting this summit for the first time. 
    • FIPIC - Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation.
National Affairs
  • Indian Railways has announced plans to set up 400 model stations across the country under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
    • A joint venture company will be set up between the Central and State Governments for implementation of this project.
    • 17 state governments have already agreed to float the company. 
    • The model stations will be set up on fifty-fifty cost sharing basis.
    • Railway Minister : Suresh Prabhu
  • The Centre has declared Second and Fourth Saturdays of a month as holidays for the bank employees
    • The government accepted the long-pending demand of employees, with effect from first of September.
    • Note : At present, all PSU and private sector banks work half-day on Saturdays. 
    • In case a month has five Saturdays, banks will be closed only on second and fourth Saturdays.
  • Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Rathore has inaugurated the three-day North East Film Festival 'Fragrances from the North East' in New Delhi today.
  • The Union tourism ministry will be conferring the title of 'Twin National Heritage Cities' to the temple towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar, the first instance of such a tag being given to any of the cities in the country. 
  • The government today announced that it has launched a website,, for students seeking educational loans.
    • Five banks including SBI, IDBI Bank and Bank of India have integrated their system with the portal.
    • Note : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech for 2015-16 had proposed to set up a fully IT based student financial aid authority to administer and monitor scholarships as well as educational loan schemes through Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram (PMVLK).
    • Vidya Lakshmi Portal is the first of its kind portal providing single window for students to access information and make applications for educational loans provided by banks as also government scholarships.

People in News
  • Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced he is resigning and has called an early election.
  • The Centre today extended the visa of Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen for one year.
    • She has been allowed to stay in India till August 2016.
    • Note
      • Ms Nasreen has been living in exile since 1994. 
      • She left Bangladesh in 1994 after receiving death threats from Islamic fundamentalists who claimed her works, especially 'Lajja', were meant to insult their religion

Business & Economy
  • The government will on Monday sell 10 per cent stake in Indian Oil corporation (IOC), the nation’s biggest oil firm, through an Offer For Sale (OFS) that can fetch about Rs 9,500 crore to the exchequer.
    • Presently, the government holds 68.57 per cent shares in IOC, the biggest oil refining and marketing company in the country. 
    • The stake sale in IOC will be the fourth disinvestment this fiscal.
  • Prasar Bharati, India's Public Service Broadcaster, and Digital Television Russia (DTR), a joint stock company of VGTRK (Russia Television and Radio) and Rostelecom JSC, today entered into an agreement for creating a cooperative platform for exchange and joint production of television programmes.
  • Bangladesh has became the first country to receive funds from the United Nations (UN) for its fast growing solar home systems. 
    • The UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) issued 395286 carbon credits worth 3.56 million US Dollar to two Bangladeshi organisations.
  • The government today issued norms for selection of MDs and CEOs in public sector banks (PSBs), other than the five large state-owned lenders and the hiring process will start next month.
    • As per the guidelines, the selection to the top job in the PSBs would be from the existing pool of executive directors (EDs) or deputy managing directors (DMDs) in state-owned banks with a remaining service period of two years.

Awards & Honors
  • Bangladesh novelist Zia Haider Rahman has won the James Tait Black award 2015.
    • He won this award for his debut novel In the Light of What We Know
  • History writer Balwant Moreshwar Purandare was conferred with the 'Maharashtra Bhushan award for the year 2015.

New Appointments
  • UNP (United National Party) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the 23rd Prime Minister of Sri Lanka today.
    • He was first elected to Sri Lankan Parliament in 1977. 
    • He has served as Prime Minister on three earlier occasions - from 1993 to 1994, from 2001 to 2004 and since January this year.
    • He is widely considered as a friend of India in diplomatic and political circles.

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