Daily GK Updates - 18th June 2015 Important Current Affairs

1. Union Cabinet gives nod to introduction of Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015
i. Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved introduction of Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 in coming session of Parliament.
ii. The Bureau will perform its functions through a Governing Council consisting of President and other members.
iii. Mandatory certification regime: Empower government to bring mandatory certification regime for articles, processes or services which it considers necessary.
iv. Simplified conformity assessment schemes: In order to allow ease of doing business, the bill allows multiple types of simplified assessment schemes. It includes Self Declaration of Conformity (SDOC) against any standard which will give multiple simplified options to manufacturers.
v. Mandatory hallmarking: provisions related to compulsory hallmarking of precious metal articles. Strengthening penal provisions: It will help for better and effective compliance of law and enable compounding of offences for violations.

2. Kirk Kerkorian, billionaire Las Vegas mogul passes away
Kirk Kerkorian billionaire Las Vegas mogul and casino tycoon passed away after a brief illness. He was 98.
ii.  Kirk Kerkorian was born on 6 June 1917 as Kerkor Kerkorian in California, US to Armenian immigrants. Apart from being casino tycoon he was Hollywood tycoon and had diversified investments in airlines and auto industry. Initially, he had worked as skilled aviator and had flown dangerous missions of delivering warplanes from Canada to Britain during World War II.
iii. Later, he had opened a charter flight business serving gamblers wanting to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas more quickly than a 10-hour drive. Kirk Kerkorian had founded MGM Resorts International and was its largest shareholder till his date.
iv. He had first made his fortune in the 1950s and 1960s in Las Vegas, the desert gambling capital and had built the world’s biggest hotel in Las Vegas.
v. He also made fortune by investing in the automobile industry such as Chrysler in 1990s and General Motors and Ford in the 2000s.

3. Archana Ramasundaram appointed as Director of National Crime Records Bureau
Archana Ramasundaram was appointed as the Director of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), New Delhi. Ramasundram is an IPS officer of 1980-batch of Tamil Nadu cadre.
ii. Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet on 17 June 2015 approved her posting to NCRB by curtailing her tenure as Additional Director of the CBI, New Delhi.
iii. Ramasundaram joined the CBI as its Additional Director in May 2014. Prior to her appointment in CBI, she was serving in Tamil Nadu as the DGP and Chairperson of Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board.
iv.  The Department of Personnel and Training has temporarily upgraded the post of Director of NCRB to that of Director-General of Police for a period of two years.

4. Japan's Parliament passed a Bill to lower voting age from 20 to 18
Parliament of Japan (Diet) on 17 June 2015 passed a bill to lower the voting age from 20 to 18. The bill that seeks revision of the public office election law was passed by the House of Councilors (upper house) after being approved in the House of Representatives (lower house).
ii. The legislation will come into effect during the 2016 Upper House Election and will add about 2.4 million new potential voters to Japan’s current voting population of 104 million.
iii. The passage of the bill follows a law passed in 2014 that sought to lower the voting age to 18 years in 2018 for national referendums on the Constitution.
iv. Last time, Japan lowered the age of voting from 25 to 20 and gave voting rights to women in 1945 after the World War II.

5. Sharad Pawar re-elected as President of Mumbai Cricket Association
Veteran leader of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar was on 17 June 2015 re-elected as the President of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
ii. In the biennial polls held for the post, Pawar defeated Vijay Patil by 34 votes to retain the president's post.
iii. Former Indian cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar along with Ashish Shelar was elected as Vice-President of the MCA. He defeated Pratap Sarnaik who got 124 votes compared to 195 seats secured by Vengsarkar.
iii. Nitin Dalal was elected as Treasurer who defeated Mayank Khandwala for the post.
iv. The polls saw the Pawar-Mahaddalkar panel winning 15 of the 17 managing committee posts whereas Patil's Cricket First panel, which was formed in 2013, suffered as severe blow by winning just two seats.

6. Odisha State Co-op Bank launches Bank on Wheels
i. Intervening directly  the Odisha  State  Co-operative Bank is going to launch the ‘Bank on Wheels’ to help farmers get loans on their doorstep. Twenty vans with ATM facility will move around 20 remote and tribal pockets in Keonjhar, Koraput, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh and Sambalpur districts for the purpose.
ii. The Centre has provided Rs 6 crore, at the rate of Rs 30 lakh for each vehicle, to agriculture department for the scheme under Rashtriya Krishi Bikas Yojana.
iii. Anyone can withdraw money from the mobile ATMs though the scheme is meant for farmers

7. Union Cabinet approves Solar Power capacity target to 1 lakh MW under JNNSM by 2022
i. Union Cabinet approved increasing India’s solar power capacity target under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) to 1 Lakh Mega Watt (MW) by 2022.
ii. 1 Lakh Mega Watt (MW) target principally will comprise of 40,000 MW from Rooftop and 60,000 MW through Large and Medium Scale Grid Connected Solar Power Projects.
iii. After meeting this ambitious target, India will become one of the largest Green Energy producers in the world by surpassing several developed countries.
iv. These projects will help in generation of additional 2000 MW capacity of Grid-connected solar power projects and create employment of about 12,000 people in rural and urban areas. It will also help to reduce about 3.41 Million Tonnes (MT) of carbon emissions into the open environment every year.

8. Union Government decided to increase number of work days under MGNREGA in drought hit areas
i. The Union Government on 17 June 2015 decided to increase the number of workdays under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) from 100 days to 150 days in drought-affected areas of the country.
ii. The decision to increase the wage days in drought-affected areas was taken as Government is expecting an increase in demand for wage-based employment due to drought affecting regular agricultural activities in some places.
iii. Earlier in February 2014, previous government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the number of workdays under MNREGA was increased from 100 days to 150 days for tribal areas who have received land rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

9. CEA-led committee to suggest GST rates, report likely in two months
i. A committee headed by the Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) will recommend the possible rates of Goods & Services Tax (GST), slated to be introduced from April 1 next year.
ii. The setting up of two committees to facilitate implementation of the new indirect tax regime. The other will be a Steering Committee under the co-chairmanship of the Additional Secretary in the Revenue Department and Member Secretary, Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers.
iii. The CEA-led committee will recommend possible tax rates under GST that would be consistent with the present level of revenue collection of the Centre and States.
iv. While making recommendations, this Committee would take into account expected levels of growth of economy, different levels of compliance and broadening of tax base under GST. The Committee would also analyse the sector-wise and State-wise impact of GST on the economy.

10. ‘Op DOGA’ to secure Yoga Day event
i. Foolproof security arrangements made at the venue of the International Yoga Day event on Rajpath this weekend have been dubbed ‘Operation DOGA’ – a combination of the words, dog and Yoga - in line with the magnitude of the deployment of security dogs for the purpose.
ii. As the venue around India Gate-Rajpath will be visited by close to 40,000 people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi this Sunday, its peripheries and core areas have already been handed over for security checks to an undisclosed number of canine troops.
iii. The ITBP, nominated as the national ‘centre for excellence’ for sniffer and police dogs training, has put on job a special breed of Belgian Shepherd, ‘Malinois’, who gained prominence across the world after they reportedly participated in the strike of the U.S. Navy SEAL commandos on Al-Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden.

11. Beno Zephine becomes first 100% blind officer in IFS
i. The 25-year-old from Chennai was informed by the external affairs ministry on Friday that she has been inducted into the Indian Foreign Service, the first 100 per cent visually-challenged person to gain entry into the 69-year-old service.
ii. Former diplomats have hailed the decision to allow 100 per cent visually challenged people into the service.
iii. She was working as a probationary officer for state bank of India.

12. Aakar Patel appointed as Executive Director of Amnesty International India
i. Journalist and writer Aakar Patel appointed as Executive Director of Amnesty International (AI) India on 18 June 2015. He will head AI India’s operations and its efforts to end human rights abuses in India and worldwide.
ii. Patel as the organization’s chief political advisor, strategist and spokesperson will give direction to its goal of being an independent, effective, and deep-rooted organization in India.

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