Daily GK Update 18th September, 2015 Important Current Affairs

1. Union Government launches PMKKKY for mining affected people
i. Union Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) for the welfare of people affected by mining related operations.
ii. The new scheme is meant to provide for the welfare of people and areas affected by mining related operations by using the funds collected by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).

iii. The aim is to mitigate the adverse impacts due to mining operation on the health and environment. It also seeks to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.
iv. It is to to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods to people in areas affected by mining.

2. Perumanna Grama Panchayat becomes first Panchayat in Kerala to declare a Water Policy
i. Perumanna Grama Panchayat in Kozhikode district of Kerala has become the first Panchayat in the State, to declare its own water policy. The water policy has been framed in the lines of the State government’s water policy declared in 2008.
ii. The policy was drafted with the help of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) Kunnamangalam.
iii. The policy notifies a 13-point action plan to ensure proper utilisation and conservation of water in the 18 wards of Panchayat. The first of the policy to increase water literacy in the panchayat through extensive water conservation and awareness programmes.
iv. The policy also seeks to make panchayat garbage free by 2020, thus eliminating water pollution completely. Under the policy, Water conservation committees will be formed at ward level as well as panchayat level.

3. Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi named for 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award
i. Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi has won the 2015 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Nansen Refugee Award.
ii. As a teacher, she has been recognised for her tireless and brave dedication to educate Afghan refugee girls in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan by overcoming the struggles of life in exile.
iii. Asifi is a former teacher who fled from Kabul, Afghanistan with her family in 1992 for finding safety in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandana in Pakistan.
iv. In the refugee camp she started teaching Afghan refugee girls by overcoming strict conservative cultural traditions which does not allow Afghan women to learn.
v. The award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian work and service of an individual, group or organization towards refugees, internally displaced or stateless people.

4. NASA may launch its Mars sample-return mission by 2022
i. A mission that could bring chunks of rock samples collected by NASA’s 2020 Mars rover back to Earth for analysis could launch as early as 2022, scientists say.
ii. NASA’s Ames Research Center has developed a draft proposal for the “Red Dragon” project which would see NASA team up with Elon Musk’s company SpaceX.
iii. The mission, which remains a concept at the moment and not an approved mission, would send Mars rock samples back toward Earth, where researchers could examine the material for possible signs of past life on the red planet.
iv. Mars is a cold and dry place today, but evidence gathered by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity and other spacecraft suggests that the planet was warmer and wetter, with lots of surface water, billions of years ago.
v. NASA aims to grab and cache samples from a potentially habitable environment with its next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in 2020. But the space agency does not yet have a firm plan or timeline for bringing this material back to Earth.

5. Krishnan Balakrishnan new CFO of GoAir
i. Wadia Group-promoted no-frills airline GoAir has appointed Krishnan Balakrishnan as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
ii. Balakrishnan has replaced Siddhartha Datta who quit the airline some time back to pursue other “interests,” GoAir said.
iii. Prior to moving to GoAir, Balkrishnan was holding the position of Vice President for fleet management at Naresh Goyal-owned full service carrier Jet Airways. He is the second senior executives to have parted ways with Jet Airways in the recent past as earlier its Chief Commercial Officer Raj Sivakumar also quit the carrier last month.
iv. Significantly, GoAir Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Prock-Shauer is also formerly from Jet Airways. Prock-Shauer had quit the airline in October 2009 after serving as its CEO for around six-and-a-half year.

6. Madhya Pradesh Government launched M-Shiksha-Mitra mobile app for teachers
i. To provide various services and teaching-related work to teacher in a simple and easy way, Madhya Pradesh Government in September 2015 launched M-Shiksha-Mitra mobile app. With this, Madhya Pradesh became the first state to develop such mobile app for teachers.
ii. The app developed by NIC that carries several facilities can be downloaded from Google Play Store in android mobile phone.
iii. Teachers can use Shiksha-Mitra mobile app to browse salary slip, funds sent to school under various heads, scholarships, different circulars and GPF statement easily. Through it, they can send SMS about their problem and know status of its redressal. The app will also be used for applying for leave and also e-attendance. Facility of free 200 SMSs has been given in the app. 
iv. The app can be logged onto by using user name and password issued for Education Portal. All principals, head masters, school in-charge persons and teachers have been directed to register their mobile number on education portal.

7. Union Finance Ministry launched NXT DIGITAL-Headend In The Sky platform
i. The Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley on 15 September 2015 launched the Headend In The Sky (HITS) digital platform initiative, under the brand name NXT DIGITAL promoted by Hinduja Group.
ii. The platform will provide viewers access to over 500 television channels of their choice be it international, national, regional and local; besides a host of other services like e-applications and TV everywhere. 
iii. Customers in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka will now have greater access to channels of their choice with other states soon joining in. The customers will now pay for what they want to see and it will also enable increase in revenues to the government due to full transparency.
iv. The Hinduja-Hits Network will serve Multi System Operators (MSOs) as well as Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and aims to tap the transition from analogue to digital mode of cable TV services under the government's Digital India initiative and Make In India mission. 
v. The NXT DIGITAL Broadcast Centre is a state-of-the-art next-generation MPEG-4 facility that has been designed and purpose-built to provide a variety of services to the cable distribution fraternity and their customers all across India.

8. EPFO increased maximum insurance cover to 6 lakh rupees
i. The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on 16 September 2015 increased the life insurance cover of its subscribers from 3.6 lakh to 6 lakh rupees.
ii. The central board of trustees (CBT), the highest decision-making body of the EPFO, also decided that the subscriber will not be required to serve continuous employment of one year in a company before being eligible for insurance benefit.
iii. About 40 million contributing members of the EPFO will be benefitted from the decision taken at the 208th CBT meeting in Hyderabad.
iv. The life cover, called Employees Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI), is paid to the family of the EPF subscriber in case of his/her demise.

9. Skeet shooter Mairaj Khan books Olympics quota
i. Veteran skeet shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan celebrated the biggest day of his 12-year career when he clinched a Rio Olympics quota place for India at the ongoing ISSF Shotgun World Championship here on Thursday.
ii. Mairaj started the second day of the men's skeet competition in ninth position with a score of 74 after the first three rounds of qualification. After two more qualifications on Thursday, he entered the final in sixth position with a total score of 122 out of a maximum possible 125.
iii. Given that all the first five shooters in qualification had already booked their Rio berths, Mairaj secured one of the two available quota places. The other seat went to Germany's Ralf Buchheim who ended his qualification round in eighth position with an identical score of 122.
iv. This is India's first quota place for the 2016 Olympics in the shotgun disciplines.
v. The 40-year-old Noida based Mairaj, who hails from Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, had previously won gold in the men's Team Skeet event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.


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