Daily GK Update 25th February 2016, Important Current Affairs

1. Union Cabinet approves $150 million Credit for Chabahar Port Development
Union Cabinet approves $150 million Credit for Chabahar Port Development
i. The Union Cabinet has approved 150 million dollars credit for Development of the strategically important Chabahar Port in Iran.
ii.  In this regard, the Union Ministry of Shipping had forwarded the proposal for provision and operationalization of credit from EXIM Bank. 
iii. Union Cabinet also has authorized Union Ministers of Finance, Shipping and External Affairs to approve the final contract with Iran and for resolution of any issue arising in implementation of the project. 
iv. Union Ministry of Shipping to form a Company in Iran for implementing the Chabahar Port Development Project and related activities.

2. All About Railway Budget 2016-2017

i. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his second rail budget this year.
ii. He kept the fares unchanged.  In his budget speech, he said that for this budget he owes its inspiration to vision of PM Modi who said: "My vision is to make railways backbone of India’s progress & economic development."
iii. He outlined the 3 pillars of strategy - raise new revenues, raise productivity and efficiency and revamp the processes.
iv. He also said that the Core objective is to become engine of economic growth, create employment and provide customer service.
v. Here are the highlights of the Rail Budget 2016: The Capital plan of Rs 1.21 lakh crore. Operating ratio kept at 92% FY17 as against 90% in current year. To generate revenues of order of Rs.1,84,820 cr next year which is a 10.1% higher than revised target of current year.Railways will get Rs 40,000 crore budgetary support from the government etc.

3. India extends $1 million aid to cyclone-hit Fiji
i. Cyclone-hit Fiji will receive one million dollars as immediate assistance from the Indian Government.
ii. This was announced by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
iii. Fiji has been struck by “Cyclone Winston” which brought with it wind gusts of 325 kilometres per hour and sea and ocean waves up to 12 metres high.
iv. The area’s crops and several villages have been flattened completely by the natural calamity.
v. So far, 29 people have reportedly died and many others have been shifted to evacuation centres.

4. Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee sworn-in as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court

i. Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee has sworn-in as the 28th Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka. Ii. He was administered oath to the office as per provision of Article 219 of Constitution by the Governor Vajubhai R. Vala in a ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan, Bengaluru. 
iii. Prior to this appointment, he was officiating as Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka since June 2015.

5. Union Govt To Introduce Coal Linkage Auction Policy For Power Corporation
i. Union Govt to introduce coal linkage auction policy for power corporation which did not have such coordinations with Coal India Ltd.
Union Govt To Introduce Coal Linkage Auction Policy For Power Corporation 5

ii. Anil Swarup, Coal Secretary said that the current surplus stock with Coal India Ltd (CIL) was a temporary phenomenon.
iii. CIL take several steps for implementing further process :  Reduction in import of thermal coal, Improved fuel supply levels, Better evacuation of pit head coal stock, Restructuring of debt for power distribution companies had been initiated.
iv. Secretary told that six months large states distribution companies would come under the UDAY scheme for restructuring of their debts and unleash demand for coal.
v. Coal import has already gone downby 16per cent in the April-January period, which has resulted in Rs. 20,200 crore savings for the government.

6. Union Cabinet gives nod to incentivise cashless transactions

i. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of steps for promotion of cashless payments (transactions) through cards and digital means.
ii.  In this regard, various short and medium term measures have been approved for implementation by the Government Departments, Ministries and Organisations. 
iii. The essential feature of the approved proposal include Steps for withdrawal of surcharge, service charge, convenience fee on digital payments or card imposed currently by various Government organisations.
iv. Introduction of appropriate acceptance infrastructure for cashless payments in Government organisations. 
v. Rationalisation of the merchant discount rate (MDR) on telecom service charges and card transactions for digital financial transactions to promote mobile banking.

7. PNB declares 904 firms as wilful defaulters

i. State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has declared 904 borrowers who owed it a combined Rs.10,869.71 crore as of December-end as wilful defaulters.
ii. The bank added 140 companies to the list of wilful defaulters over the last quarter.
iii. At the end of September, 764 companies who owed the lender Rs.9,200 crore had been classified as wilful defaulters.
iv. The wilful defaulters to PNB are Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery, which owes Rs.900.37 crore, Forever Precious Jewellery and Diamonds (Rs.747.98 crore), Zoom Developers (Rs.410.18 crore), Nafed (Rs.224.26 crore) and S. Kumar Nationwide (Rs.146.82 crore).
v. The bank recently declared Kingfisher Airlines and its guarantors UB Holdings and Vijay Mallya as wilful defaulters. Kingfisher Airlines owes PNB Rs.1,500 crore.

8. Infosys Extends Vishal Sikka's Term By Two Years
i. India's second largest software exporter Infosys has extended the tenure of chief executive officer & Managing Director Vishal Sikka by another two years till the year 2021.
ii. Sikka was earlier appointed as MD & CEO till 2019. Official stating that his initiatives have helped the company to grow towards leadership position.
iii. Mr. Sikka was the first non-founder who was appointed as the CEO and Managing Director of the company.
iv. Under the leadership of Sikka, Infosys started delivering industry leading growth in the last couple of quarters.
v. Since he assumed office in August 2014 Mr Sikka has taken various measures to fuel growth. Some of the major measure includes leadership changes, employee retention measures, forming corporate venture fund.

9. Yes Bank wins inaugural Green Bond Award in UK
i. India’s leading private lender Yes Bank has been awarded inaugural Green Bond Pioneer Award at a ceremony held in London, United Kingdom. 
ii. Yes Bank was bestowed with this award in recognition for its pioneering efforts in the Green Bonds market including successful issuance of India’s first ever Green Infrastructure Bonds.

10. SBI launches new branch for e-commerce loans
i. Banking giant SBI has taken another leap in this space with the launch of SBI e-Smart SME, a working capital loan offering for sellers on ecommerce platforms.
SBI launches new branch for e-commerce loans

ii. With this development, sellers can apply for the loan online on the e-commerce platform and get instant sanctioning of the loan.
iii. This product uses proprietary platform data and surrogates information from public domain to assess the seller’s creditworthiness for loan sanctioning.
iv. The product was launched in partnership with ecommerce platform Snapdeal in the presence of bank’s chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya & Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl.

11. INS Arihant – India’s first nuclear submarine ready to operate
i. INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear armed submarine is now ready for full fledged operations.
ii. The submarine has passed several deep sea diving drills as well as weapons launch tests over the past five months.
iii. The formal induction into the naval fleet is only a political call away.
iv. The Arihant, which is the first of five nuclear missile submarines or SSBNs planned for induction, has also undergone deep sea dives off Vishakhapatnam where it was build.
v. A Russian diving support ship the RFS Epron that arrived on October has been accompanying the Arihant on its deep sea dives and launch tests.

12. India to induct women in combat roles : President
i. The Government has decided to induct women in all military combat roles in the future.
ii. The announcement has been made by President Pranab Mukherjee during the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
iii. The President said, “In our country, shakti is the manifestation of female energy. This shakti defines our strength.
iv. My government has approved the induction of women as short service commission officers and as fighter pilots in the IAF.
v. In the future, my government will induct women in all fighter streams of our armed forces.”

13. Rajendra Singh Appointed As First Non-Navy Officer To Head Coast Guard
i. Rajendra Singh appointed as first non-navy officer to head Coast Guard.
ii. This is the 1st time that the force will get a chief from its own internal cadre since it was set up in 1978 as the country's fourth armed force after the Army,
iii. Appointments Committee of Cabinet approved Rajendra Singh's appointment an order from the Department of Personnel and Training.
iv. Rajendra Singh is at present director General of coast  guard
v. This is the first time an officer who is not from the Indian Navy has been elevated to the position also he was Coast Guard cadre to be elevated to three-star officer.

14. RBI extends Currency Swap Arrangement with SAARC nations

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended currency swap arrangement to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations till mid-November 2017. 
ii. All 7 SAARC member countries including Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka can avail the facility. 
iii. Under the arrangement, RBI will be offering swap arrangement up to an overall amount of US 2 billion dollars both in foreign currency and Indian rupee. This move of RBI aims at enhancing economic cooperation and strengthening financial stability among the SAARC countries.

15. Indian Government to provide wi-fi at 25,000 spots in country
i. The Indian government has planned to set up wi-fi facilities at 25,000 spots in the country by March 2016.
Indian Government to provide wi-fi at 25,000 spots in country
ii. At present, the facilities are available at three hundred spots across India.
iii. The government is exploring to have such more wi-fi spots in near future.
iv. The government is laying optical fibre network in two lakh 50 thousand gram panchayats of the country to provide broadband facilities.

16. Afghanistan's National Women’s Cycling Team nominated for 2016 Nobel Peace Prize
i. The Afghanistan’s National Women’s Cycling Team has been nominated by a group of Italian MPs for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for their dedication.
ii. Afghanistan’s National Women’s Cycling Team is among the first Afghan girls to be riding bikes socially.
iii. They face enormous challenges to ride a bike but these women are challenging gender barriers, breaking one of the last taboos in the country for women.
iv. These women have used cycling to promote social justice and social stigma. They are opening the door to allow girls to ride bicycles for transportation.
v. It is the 1st Afghan women's team to compete on the international stage, at the Asian Cycling Championships in Delhi in 2013.

17. Mastercard to launch payments by selfie
i. Mastercard is launching new mobile technologies that will allow customers to authenticate their online purchases using selfies or fingerprints.
ii. The technology will be rolled out by big banks in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and some European countries over the next few months.
iii. People from around the world will be regularly using this authentication technology within five years, said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard.
iv. Mastercard plans to roll out the technology to the UK, US, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
v. Customers who want to try selfie authentication will have to download a special MasterCard app that will allow them to take a photo each time they make an online purchase. Their face (or fingerprint) will be scanned to prove that they — not hackers or thieves — are making a purchase.

18. Facebook launhced Telecom Infra Project
i. Facebook has announced the Telecom Infra Project, which will look at developing new and alternative technologies to build and deploy telecom infrastructure, with partners including Aricent, HCL Technologies, Intel, Nokia and T- Mobile.
ii. The Project is working on providing currently unserved rural communities with wireless network efforts.
iii. A pilot 4G network is already underway in the Philippines, and Facebook has a project in planning for the Scottish Highlands.
iv. TIP will focus on open designs for three areas of telecommunications hardware and software: access points, the backhaul network to connect them, and network core and management systems.
v. Facebook said TIP members will contribute designs in three areas- access, back haul, and core and management. TIP will apply the design principles of the Open Compute Project, which is a Facebook project to share data centre designs.

19. GVK Bio wins Global CSR Excellence & Leadership Awards
i. GVK Biosciences has bagged the Global CSR Excellence & Leadership Awards in the category of Best Environment-Friendly Project.
ii. The award has been given for its 'Go Green, Grow Green' plantation drive.
iii. The awards are constituted by the World CSR Congress every year on the World CSR Day.
iv. The awards are presented to companies who believe in the value of sustainable corporate social responsibility.
v. GVK Bio has obtained this recognition for its mega plantation drive conducted in July 2015.

20. Australia replaces India as world No.1 in ICC Test rankings
i. Australia has replaced India at the top of the world's test rankings in Cricket with a 2-nil test series victory over New Zealand in Christchurch.
ii. Captain Steven Smith and Joe Burns hit fifties on the final day as Australia achieved the target of 201 set by the hosts losing just 3 wickets in their second innings.
iii. Joe Burns was selected as man of the match for his 170 and 65 runs from both innings.
iv. New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum bid farewell test cricket.
v. The 34- years old wicket keeper batsman has scored over 6000 test runs at an average of 39.
Australia replaces India as world No.1 in ICC Test rankings


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