Current Affairs, News & Facts of 26 Feb 2016

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  • E-Tourist Visa Scheme extended to 37 more countries


    E-Tourist Visa Scheme extended to 37 more countries

    Ministry Of Home Affairs has extend e-tourist visa scheme to 37 more nations thus taking the total number of beneficiary countries under the scheme to 150.

    The countries added in the latest round of e-Tourist Visa scheme are :  Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote D'Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Namibia, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    What is E-Tourist Visa Scheme ?

    e-Tourist Visa Scheme (tourist visa on arrival) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), was launched on November 27, 2014. The e-Tourist Visa Scheme facilitates pre-authorization of Visa .

    Under the scheme,  an applicant registers for visa online and receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation.  On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.

    Facts and figures : Over 7.5 lakh visas have been issued since the e-tourist visa scheme was launched. Currently on an average, 3,500 e-Tourist Visas are being granted daily to foreign nationals. Till now the scheme has been extended to 113 countries at 16 Indian airports designated for providing e-Tourist visa service.

  • Lok Sabha passes Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016


    Lok Sabha passes Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016

    The Lok Sabha has passed Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that seek to grant voting rights to people in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal who became citizens of the country following the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.

    Under the 2015 Act, enclaves were exchanged between India and Bangladesh.  Enclaves are territories belonging to one country that are entirely surrounded by another country.  India transferred 111 enclaves to Bangladesh, and received 51 enclaves from Bangladesh on July 31, 2015

    Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 :

     (A) The bill seeks to amend two electoral laws : (i) Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1950  (ii) Delimitation Act, 2002, since these two acts regulates the allocation of seats to the Lok Sabha and state legislatures and decides the boundaries of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies.

    (B) The Bills aims to empower the Election Commission to carry out delimitation in areas that were affected by the enactment of the Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015. 

    (C) The RPA, 1950 and Delimitation Act, 2002  provide the Election Commission the responsibility to maintain up-to-date delimitation orders.  Delimitation orders specify the boundaries of territorial constituencies. 

    The Bill gives additional powers and responsibilities to ECI. It states that the Election Commission may amend the delimitation order to (i) Include in the relevant constituencies the Bangladeshi enclaves that were transferred to India. (ii) Exclude of relevant constituencies in the Indian enclaves that were transferred to Bangladesh.

  • Rajendra Singh appointed as the DG of Coast Guard


    Rajendra Singh becomes first non-navy officer to be appointed as DG of Coast GuardThe government has appointed Rajendra Singh as the Director General (DG) of Coast Guard, the country’s coastal protection force. This is the first time that an officer who is not from the Indian Navy has been promoted as the Chief of  Coast Guard since it was set up in 1978. 

    Traditionally top post was only held by three-star Naval officer. Decision in this regard was made by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet. He will replace Vice Admiral HCS Bisht who has been promoted as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command.

    About Rajendra Singh

     (A) Rajendra Singh is 1980 batch officer of the Indian Coast Guard. He is currently serving as the Additional Director General (ADG) of the Coast Guard. He was the first from the Coast Guard cadre to be elevated to three-star officer when the defence ministry approved his apppointment to his currnt post in in 2013. 

    (B) Before that officers of the Coast Guard could only rise to two-star rank.He has commanded each class of Coast Guard Ship in service, which includes the Interceptor Boat, Inshore Patrol Vessel, Fast Patrol Vessel, Offshore Patrol Vessel and Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel. 

    (C) During early 1980s, when smuggling in Indian waters was at its peak, he was actively involved in apprehending numerous maritime economic offenders. He has impeccable track record in the field of Operations, Administration, HR and Policy and Plans as well.

    Awards : He was awarded the Tatrakshak Medal (TM) by the President on Aug 15, 2002, in recognition of his distinguished service.

    About Indian Coast Guard

    The Indian Coast Guard is India’s statutory multi-mission paramilitary organization that  protects India's maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone. It was established on 18 August, 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent Armed force of India. It operates under the Ministry of Defence.

    • Established- 18 August, 1978 
    • Headquarters- New Delhi
    • Motto- We Shall Protect
  • WTO rules against india in solar case


    WTO rules against india in solar caseIndia has lost solar case against United States at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) ruled that India's domestic content requirement for National Solar Mission (NSM) were inconsistent with the international norms and discriminated against imported solar technology. 

    It should be noted that this was the second case where India has lost against the US in WTO. In June this year, India lost a case when the WTO ruled that the Indian ban on import of poultry meat, eggs and live pigs from the US was inconsistent with the global norms.

    What is this case about ?

    On January 11, 2010, India launched its national solar policy "Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission" with an ambitious target of generating 20,000 Mega Watts of solar power by 2022. 

    The US companies saw this as a great business opportunity for them but there was a hurdle for them as beside generating huge solar power the National Solar Mission also aimed at boosting the domestic solar industry therefore it was having certian clauses to promote domestic solar Industries so United States dragged India to WTO’s DSB in 2013 alleging that India's programme appears to discriminate against the US solar equipment by requiring solar energy producers to use locally manufactured cells and by offering subsidies to those developers who use domestic equipment.

  • Goverdhan Mehta awarded Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit


    Goverdhan Mehta awarded Germany’s Cross of the Order of MeritDr. Goverdhan Mehta, chemical scientist  and a well known researcher in Chemical Sciences has been conferred with Germany’s prestigious Cross of the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) Award. The award was bestowed upon him by Achim Fabig, the German Consul General in Chennai.

    About Goverdhan Mehta

     (A) Dr. Goverdhan Mehta, was born on June 26, 1943, in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.  He has served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad (UoH), from 1994 to 1998. He also had served as the Director of the IISc, Bengaluru (1998 to 2005) and was also President of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). 

    (B) Goverdhan Mehta is former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) from 1994 to 1998. He has authored more than 400 research papers. He also had served as the Director of the IISc, Bengaluru (1998 to 2005) and was also President of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). 

    (C) Currently he is National Research Professor and Lilly-Jubilant Chair Professor at the University of Hyderabad. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    About Cross of the Order of Merit

    Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany which is also known as Bundesverdienstkreuz (in German) was created by the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, on 7 September 1951.

    It is bestowed upon both Germans and foreigners for all kinds of outstanding services to the nation in the field of social, charitable or philanthropic work. It is the highest tribute paid to individuals for achievements in economic, social political or intellectual segment.

  • Union Cabinet approves USD150 million Credit for Chabahar Port Development


     Union Cabinet approves USD150 million Credit for Chabahar Port DevelopmentThe Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Shipping for provision and operationalisation of credit of USD 150 million from EXIM Bank for development of the strategically important Chabahar Port in Iran.

    The cabinet has also authorised the Shipping Ministry to form a company in Iran for implementing the Chabahar Port Development Project.

    In 2003, India and Tehran had agreed to develop Chabahar Port located off Iran's south eastern coast bordering with Pakistan but the project was delayed due to sanctions imposed over Iran’s atomic programme but in May 2015, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had visited Tehran where India and Iran signed a pact to develop the Chabahar port. 

    Importance of Chabahar Port

     (A) The Chabahar Port will facilitate the growing trade and investment with Iran and other countries in the region, notably Afghanistan and  provide opportunities to Indian companies to penetrate and enhance their footprint in the region.

     (B) The port will imporove  Afghanistan’s overall connectivity to the global world and boost its on-going reconstruction and humanitarian efforts. India will get unhindered sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan which open windows for new avenues.

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


    Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee sworn-in as Chief Justice of Karnataka High CourtJustice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee has sworn-in as the 28th Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka High Court. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala administered the oath to Mr. Mukherjee in a ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan as per the provisions laid down in Article 219 of the Indian Constitution. Prior to this appointment, he was officiating as Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka since June 2015.

    About Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee

    Mukherjee, who is a sixth-generation lawyer in his family was born on October 10, 1955. He obtained MA, LLB, from the University of Calcutta and started his legal profession in 1982 as an advocate and practiced in civil and writ matters. 

    He was elevated as Permanent Judge of the High Court of Calcutta on September 15, 2000 and transferred as Judge to High Court of Karnataka in April 2015.

  • Cabinet approves setting up of Atal Innovation Mission 


    Cabinet approves setting up of Atal Innovation Mission Central Government has given its approval for establishing  Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Self Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) in NITI Aayog, which will encourage innovations and entrepreneurship in the country. AIM and SETU would be established with an initial sum of Rs 500 crore and Rs 1,000 crore, respectively. 

    Establishment of AIM and AIM Directorate would result in implementation of Mission activities in a focussed manner. It's headquarter will be New Delhi. NITI Aayog will hire Mission Director and other appropriate manpower. 

    Government’s intention to establish the AIM and a mechanism to be known as SETU in NITI Aayog was announced during finance budget speech 2015-16, As a follow up of Budget announcement, NITI Aayog constituted an Expert Committee on Innovation and Entrepreneurship under the Chairmanship of Prof. Tarun Khanna. 

    Background : Union Finance Minister in his Budget Speech 2015-16 had announced the Government’s intention to establish the AIM and a mechanism to be known as SETU in NITI Aayog. The Committee in its report made wide ranging recommendations for the short-term, medium-term and long-term. The Committee also emphasized the need to establish clear systems to monitor implementation, execution, and impact. 

  • RBI extends Currency Swap Arrangement with SAARC nations


    RBI extends Currency Swap Arrangement with SAARC nationsRBI has extended the USD 2 billion currency swap arrangement to SAARC nations till mid-November 2017 with an aim to enhance economic cooperation and strengthen financial stability. The SAARC Swap Arrangement was offered by the RBI to SAARC nations on November 15, 2012.

    Under the arrangement, RBI is to offer swap arrangement up to an overall amount of USD 2 billion dollars both in foreign currency and Indian rupee. The facility will be available to all SAARC member countries including Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

    What is a Currency Swap? 

    A currency swap  is a foreign exchange derivative between two institutions that involves exchange of principal and interest in one currency for the same in another currency. For example a company based in Japan need to Indian Rupees and an company based in India needs to acquire Japanese yen than these two companies can sign swap currencies arrangement by establishing an interest rate, agreed upon amount along with a common maturity date for the exchange.


2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min

Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min