Daily GK Update 13th January, 2016 Important Current Affairs

1. Kerala Declared First State to Attain Total Primary Education
i. Vice President Hamid Ansari today declared Kerala as the first state in the country to attain 'Total Primary Education', and described the achievement as 'historic.' "I believe that the date today is as historic for Kerala as April 18, 1991, the day Kerala was declared to be a fully literate state," he said.
ii. "Kerala has set a model for the rest of the country to follow," the Vice President said. Noting that the achievement was another feather to the state's educational cap, he said the state was marking the successful culmination of its 'Athulyam' programme aimed at ensuring Total Primary Education in Kerala -- equivalent to Standard IV of formal education.
iii. "This is the fructification of the continuing efforts under the Total Literacy Campaign through the well-planned and executed post-literacy activities and the Continuing Education Programme by the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) under the Government of Kerala," he said.
iv. Ansari also said this remarkable educational achievement was a result of the enlightened political leadership of Kerala, the dedication of its public functionaries and the people of state who have come to value the importance of education. The declaration marks the culmination of the second phase of the 'Athulyam' Class 4 equivalency programme -— for people aged between 15 and 50 —- run by KSLMA.
v. Ansari said Kerala achieved progress in social and other sectors mainly due to the importance it gave for education. The impressive march of Kerala on the education and various other socio-economic fronts has been due to what Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has called "the constructive and combative roots of its historical background", he said.
vi. He lauded the contribution of religious reformers such as Sree Narayana Guru and other social organisations such as Nair Service Society, Muslim Educational Society (MES) and Christian missionaries, saying they also helped in inculcating and sustaining spread of education as a social movement.

2. Book titled Jawaharlal Nehru and The Indian Polity in Perspective released by Hamid Ansari
i. The book titled Jawaharlal Nehru and The Indian Polity in Perspective was released by Hamid Ansari on 12 January 2016 by the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
ii. The focus of the book is on the role of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, on shaping the polity of modern India.
iii. The book was edited by Prof Alexander and with contributions from eminent persons like Justice K T Thomas, Dr Rajan Kurukkal, Dr B Vivekanandan, M G Radhakrishnan and others.
iv. It was published by T M Varghese Foundation.

3. CII Partnership Summit 2016 concluded in Vishakhapatnam
i. The 22nd edition of Confederate of Indian Industry (CII) Partnership Summit -cum-Sunrise Andhra Pradesh Investment Summit was concluded on 12 January 2016 at Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
ii. The summit was held in cooperation with the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India. The summit, which commenced on 10 January 2016, was organised to showcase investment opportunities in Sunrise Andhra Pradesh.
iii. Medical devices manufacturing park will be established in Andhra Pradesh with a potential investment of 20000 crore rupees. Andhra Pradesh became first state to release retail policy. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh to set up naval facility in Vishakhapatnam.
iv. Union government announced the sanction of greenfield petrochemical complex and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) in Visakhapatnam and a Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) in Vijayawada.

4. Lenovo to launch new smartphone under Google’s Project Tango
i. The term Project Tango was in news in the second week of January 2016 as Lenovo, a Chinese multinational computer technology company, announced that it entered into a partnership with Google for the project.
ii. As part of the partnership, Lenovo will launch a new smartphone that can “see” and map out surroundings without external signals like satellite-based global positioning system (GPS).
Features of Google’s Project Tango.
iii. It gives a mobile device the ability to navigate the physical world, similar to how we do as humans, without using GPS or other external signals. The project was unveiled by Google in June 2014 and has features like motion tracking, depth perception, area learning that are based on 3D technology.
iv. It brings a new kind of spatial perception to mobiles and tablets by adding advanced computer vision, image processing, and special vision sensors. The project works on various Android device platforms that run C, Java, and Unity.
v. It is an open project in the sense that it allows technology partners and developers community to develop to create new user experiences.

5. Employees Provident Fund Organization won the National Award on e-Governance 2015-16
i. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization won the National Award on e-Governance 2015-16 for launching the Universal Account Number (UAN). The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions will present the award in the 19th National Conference on e-governance to be held in Nagpur on 22 January 2016.
ii. The EPFO bagged the national award in the ‘innovative use of technology in e-governance’ category and the retirement body will get a cash prize of 200000 rupees.
iii. UAN is an e-initiative of EPFO, launched in July 2014. In this initiative, all active employees are provided a universal number which can be linked to various provident fund account numbers provided to them while working in different organisations
iv. Statistically, 5.65 crore employees in 457000 organisations were allocated with UAN till November 2015. A single account number can be used through all of workers’ employments with various organisations. It enables the employees to switch their provident fund deposits automatically, when they change their job, just by providing UAN to the new employer.
v. It also allows employees to have access to their provident fund account to view their balance and deposits on the portal, without going through the Employer. National Awards for e-Governance are presented every year to recognize and promote excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives.

6. Conference of QCG on Afghan Peace & Reconciliation held in Islamabad
i. Conference of Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) on Afghan Peace and Reconciliation process was held in Islamabad on 11 January 2016. The purpose of the conference was to explore ways to create consensus for talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan's government.
ii. The conference was participated representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US. The group will again meet in Kabul on 18 January 2016 to hold discussions on a roadmap.
iii. The joint statement released after the discussions emphasised the immediate need for direct talks between the representatives of the Afghanistan government and representatives from Taliban groups. The talks for peace process aims at preserving Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
iv. The four-nation group was set up in 2015 to expedite the process of reconciliation in the war-torn country after decades of bloodshed. The first round was held in July 2015 but the process was suspended in the same month after news of Taliban Chief Mullah Omar's death was announced.
v. The group also reiterated their commitment to the realization of objectives expressed in their statement from the quadrilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad on 9 December 2015.

7. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group signed MoU to set up naval facility in Vishakhapatnam
i. Reliance Defence Ltd, a unit of Anil Ambani led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd led on 10 January 2016 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh Government to set up a world class naval facility in the state.
ii. The announcement regarding the MoU was made at Andhra Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam.
iii. The proposed facility will be established with an initial investment of 5000 crore rupees. And, it will be setup on the East Coast of India at Rambilli, which is 70 kilometers south of Visakhapatnam.
iv. Earlier, in March 2015, Reliance acquired the Pipavav shipyard on West Coast in Gujarat. These two facilities will build submarines and aircraft carriers and also provide services including maintenance and refitting of ships.

8. Amitabh Bachchan made honorary life member of Mohammedan Sporting
i. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan on 12 January 2016 was bestowed honorary life membership of Kolkata’s soccer outfit Mohammedan Sporting. Sporting president Sultan Ahmed handed over the club’s life membership to Bachchan.
ii. Bachchan was also invited to be the chief guest of the club’s 125th anniversary gala event to be held later in 2016. Mohammedan Sporting Club was founded in 1891 at Kolkata. It is one of the oldest and leading football clubs in India. At present, the club plays in the I-League 2nd Division and premier division of Calcutta Football League(CFL).
iii.  It was the first Indian club to win CFL in 1934 and continued their run till 1938 season. Before Independence, numerous triumphs against British teams earned the club huge support from every section of Indian society.
iv. The club also became the first Indian club to win the Durand Cup in 1940. After Independence, the club also became the first Indian club to win on foreign soil by lifting the Aga Khan Gold Cup in 1960. Mohammedan Sporting along with Mohun Bagan A.C. and East Bengal F.C. are tagged as the Big Three.

9. 20th National Youth Festival inaugurated in Naya Raipur
i. The 20th National Youth Festival was on 12 January 2016 inaugurated by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari at Rajyostav Sthal in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh to mark the National Youth Day.
ii. The five day long annual festival is celebrated by the Union Government in partnership with a state government on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. For the 20th National Youth Festival, Chhattisgarh was chosen as the partner state with the theme India Youth for Skill, Development and Harmony.
iii. It is an annual gathering of students being jointly organised by Chhattisgarh Sports and Youth Welfare Department, Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangthan and National Service Scheme. The festival will see the participation of over 6000 youths from across the country except West Bengal.
iv. It will see contests in 18 different disciplines, including folk dance, folk song, drama, classical music, classical dance, extempore etc. For the first time in the youth festival, para-trooping would be displayed by the Indian Army along with weapons and explosives used during war.
v. It comprises a Youth Parliament where representatives of student unions and Universities would discuss key issues of the country particularly on the theme-India Youth for Skill, Development and Harmony.
vi. The conclave, which is held annually during the festival, saw the participation of various ministries and companies. In the conclave, the participants discussed issues related to skill development such as public private participation, reforms in skills for industrial development and improving livelihood in rural India through Skill India.

10. Indra Nooyi becomes ‘most generous graduate’ of Yale School of Management
i. The prestigious Yale School of Management will name its deanship in honour of PepsiCo’s India-born CEO Indra Nooyi as she gifted an undisclosed amount to her alma mater, becoming the school’s biggest alumni donor and the first woman to endow a deanship at a top b-school.
ii. Yale did not disclose the amount gifted by Nooyi but said her “landmark gift” to endow the deanship of the school and inaugurate an innovation fund has made her the “most generous graduate” of Yale School of Management in terms of lifetime giving to the school. She is also the first woman to endow the deanship at a top business school, the school said in a statement yesterday.
iii. The PepsiCo chairman, who graduated from the school in 1980, credited her experience at the school for “forever” altering “the course of my life” and said her gift “pales in comparison with the gift that Yale gave me the fundamental understanding that leadership requires an expansive worldview and a deep appreciation of the many points of intersection between business and society.”
iv. “Business issues are never just business issues, and my most ardent hope is that this endowment will teach future generations of leaders that the most successful companies of tomorrow will do more than make money,” she said in a statement.
v. “They will make a difference and create shareholder value by improving the quality of life in every market in which they operate,” she said. Nooyi joins several prominent persons of Indian-origin who have donated generously to US universities.
vi. In October last year, Nooyi’s sister and Grammy-nominated musician Chandrika Tandon and her husband Ranjan had made a 100 million dollar gift to the New York University’s School of Engineering, one of the largest philanthropic gifts by a member of the Indian-American community. In 2010, Harvard Business School had received a gift of USD 50 million from Tata Companies.
vii. Industrialist Ratan Tata had attended the School’s Advanced Management Programme in 1975. The gift will also be used to inaugurate the Fifth Decade Innovation Fund, which is named in recognition of the fact that the school is entering its fifth decade; the first class entered the Yale School of Management in 1976.
viii. The fund is an ambitious initiative designed to advance the school’s aim of developing leaders with the broad global mindset and multi-disciplinary approach to business that is needed to succeed in 21st-century capitalism. It will be open to additional substantial contributions that can help the school develop the technology and other infrastructure to support these and future initiatives.

11. PMO sets up panel to fast-track bullet trains
i. The Prime Minister’s Office has constituted a committee under Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog, to hasten the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor, meant for bullet trains between the two cities.
ii. The panel will interact with the Japanese counterpart for taking the next step in implementation. The Railway Board chairman, secretary in the department of expenditure, foreign secretary and secretary (industrial policy) will be part of the panel.
iii. Officials said the Railway Board head will look after all issues related to overall operation and technical issues. The economic affairs secretary will look after all issues related to the financial outlay and his industrial policy counterpart the Make in India component of the trains.
iv. The Cabinet’s approval for the high-speed line was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Panagariya. Also approved was a suggestion to consider allowing private operators on the 508-km line.
v. The Panagariya panel had favoured Japan over China due to the low-cost funding up to 80 per cent of the cost proposed by Japan International Cooperation Agency, at a 0.1 per cent interest rate (50-year repayment), apart from a commitment for technology transfer and local manufacturing for a specified period.
vi. It had suggested Indian Railways run the corridor for an initial five years, after which private operators could be allowed. Bullet trains are run by state-owned agencies in France and Germany. The Japanese system was handed to private companies after two decades of operation.


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