Daily GK Update: 17th October, 2015 Important Current Affairs

1. Civil Aviation Minister inaugurates International Civil Helicopters Conclave 2015
i. Union Minister of Civil Aviation Sh. P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated the International Civil Helicopters Conclave 2015 in New Delhi today. Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr Mahesh Sharma was also present on the occasion. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony Shri Raju called upon all stakeholders to come up with new ideas to give a boost to the civil aviation sector as a whole, and the helicopter industry in the country in particular.

ii. He said that a new Civil Aviation Policy is in the process of being drafted. Once it is ready, response and comments of stakeholders will be sought, so that a vibrant and forward looking policy can be put in place. The minister also said that the facility of flying should not be restricted to only the privileged people in the country. We should put policies in place so that flying becomes affordable and reaches the masses.
iii. Speaking on the occasion MoS Civil Aviation, Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr Mahesh Sharma stressed upon the need to increase helicopter services to the North Eastern and hilly areas of the country where road connectivity is a major problem. He talked about the need to create Helihubs in Delhi and Guwahati to facilitate smooth navigation of helicopters.
iv. Shri Raju also inaugurated an exhibition on Safety Management System, Multi Mission Utility and Regional Air Connectivity. He launched the Corporate logo of Pawan Hans Limited and released a coffee table book on the occasion. The conclave marks the 30th anniversary of Pawan Hans Limited. It is a one day event with three technical sessions.
2. GR Chandak appointed as Director of CDFD
i. G R Chandak, has been appointed as the Director, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad, under the Department of Biotechnology.
ii. A group leader at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, here, Chandak received his MD in Biochemistry from Benaras Hindu University and PhD from Osmania University.
iii. His research interests include genetic understanding of complex disorders of pancreas,  type 2 diabetes etc.  His group has identified novel genes associated with chronic pancreatitis and showed its genetic basis to be different in Indians from that in the Europeans.
iv. He has published close to 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Nature  Genetics, Lancet etc. He is a member of Science Akademi's and an Adjunct Group  Leader at Genome Institute of Singapore.
3. M.K. Surana appointed new HPCL CMD
i. M.K. Surana will be the new chairman and managing director of Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL), India’s third largest oil marketing company. The Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) selected Surana for the top job at HPCL after interviewing a dozen candidates. Surana, 53, is currently the chief executive officer of Prize Petroleum Co. Ltd, the upstream oil exploration arm of HPCL.
ii. He will replace Nishi Vasudeva on her retirement at the end of March 2016. PESB in a notification said it interviewed 12 candidates including HPCL director (HR) P.K. Joshi and State Trading Corp. of India Ltd (STC) chairman Khaleel Rahim. Four HPCL executive directors—S.P. Gupta, G.S. Ganesh, S. Jeyakrishnan and Ajit Singh were the other candidates interviewed.
iii. The non-controversial and low-profile Surana was selected after PESB in the first round of interviews on 6 August found none of the nine candidates appearing suitable for the job. Those appeared for the interview in August included Joshi. Surana had not appeared for the interview then.
iv. Surana is executive director with HPCL since September 2012 who has been posted as chief executive officer at Prize Petroleum. A mechanical engineer, he is a refineries man and had served as the general manager of projects for the Vishaka Refinery of HPCL.
4. Nepal Elects First Woman as Parliament Speaker
i. Nepalese lawmakers today elected the country's first woman speaker of Parliament following formation of a new government after promulgation of the Constitution. Parliament unanimously elected UCPN-Maoist lawmaker Onsari Gharti Magar as the Speaker of the House.
ii. Nepal's Constituent Assembly was converted into the legislative Parliament after the promulgation of the Constitution on September 20 following which K P Sharma Oli was elected as the new prime minister defeating incumbent Sushil Koirala in a contest which became necessary after parties failed to forge a consensus amid violent protests over the country's new Constitution.
iii. Ms Gharti was elected unanimously to the post after Nepal Workers and Peasants Party withdrew the candidacy of its lawmaker Anuradha Thapa Magar. With the victory, Ms Gharti became the first woman to lead the legislative body in Nepal's parliamentary history. Earlier she had served as Deputy Speaker in Parliament.
iv. Ms Gharti was backed by the ruling coalition, consisting of CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic and some fringe parties. The main opposition Nepali Congress had also extended support to her candidacy.
5. AMFI elects Leo Puri as chief
i. The Association for Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), the industry body for mutual funds, on Friday elected Leo Puri of UTI AMC as its new Chairman and retained A Balasubramanian as Vice-Chairman. The former chairman had been Sundeep Sikka of Reliance AMC.
ii. In a board meeting in Mumbai on Friday, the mutual fund body also decided to improve the representation of smaller fund houses in the decision-making process. “Henceforth, all important meetings with SEBI and the Ministry of Finance will have a representative from smaller AMCs,” said the CEO of a fund house requesting anonymity.
iii. The 13 lakh crore mutual fund industry is comprised of 44 fund houses, whose individual assets under management range from 1.7 lakh crore to as less as 30 crore. Over time, the business models of the large and small AMCs have diverged considerably while the representation at AMFI had always largely been in favour of larger AMCs.
iv. Usually, the CEO added, only representatives from the top 10 fund houses would be part of delegations to the regulator or the government. The new resolution passed by AMFI now ensures that a representative from a smaller fund house will also be part of such a delegation hereon.
6. Mumbai metro users can recharge their smartcards on Paytm
i. Paytm, a leading mobile commerce platform, has tied up with the Mumbai metro to offer online ticketing and recharges on the ‘Paytm platform’.
ii. With this initiative, Paytm has further widened its bouquet of offerings to consumers and added another use case for the Paytm wallet.
iii. With this initiative, Paytm has further widened its bouquet of offerings to consumers and added another use case for the Paytm wallet.
iv. This facility is available across the Paytm app, website and mobile site and is seeing significant traction among the Mumbai travellers. Paytm is also promoting this offer aggressively among their customer base in Maharashtra.
v. "Recharging a Metro Card online is a frequent need, and we believe our consumers will find it very useful", Shankar Nath, Sr. Vice President, Paytm, said in a statement.
7. PM Narendra Modi says India proud to host India-Africa Summit
i. Ahead of the India-Africa Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India was proud to host the event which reflects a desire by the two sides to engage more intensively for a better future. In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said India’s engagement with Africa has been scaled up and trade has been growing remarkably in recent years.
ii. “India is proud to host @indiafrica2015. The Summit reflects India & Africa’s desire to engage more intensively for a better future,” he tweeted. “India’s relations with Africa are historic. India is a major investor in Africa & trade has been growing remarkably in recent years,” he said.
iii. Representatives of 54 African nations including heads of state and government of around 40 countries and powerful African Union are expected to participate in the four-day India-Africa Summit beginning here on October 26.
iv. The Prime Minister said in another tweet that the “Level of engagement for @indiafrica2015 has been tremendously scaled up. Several African leaders will join us”
8. Prasoon Joshi gets award
i. Bank of Baroda has conferred poet, lyricist and advertising guru Prasoon Joshi with Maharaja Sayajirao Bhasha Samman.
ii. The bank said in a statement that the award, in memory of Bank of Baroda’s founder Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad-III, was given to Joshi for his outstanding contribution in promoting Hindi.
9. China launches new communication satellite for HK firm
i. China today put into orbit a new communication satellite in a commercial mission by the Long March-3B carrier rocket from the southwestern Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.
ii. Developed using China’s homegrown DFH-4 platform for the Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Company Ltd, ‘APSTAR-9’ is designed to stay in service for at least 15 years. It will replace its predecessor ‘APSTAR-9A’, which was launched in 1998 with a designed mission life of 15 years also.
iii. With the new satellite, APT’s ‘APSTAR’ fleet will be able to cover some three quarters of global population in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia to provide TV transmission and transponder, data and satellite communication services.
iv. Today’s launch is the 214th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC).


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