Current Affairs April 2016 - Vikalp Education

Online Vikalp, Current Affairs, Current Awareness, General Awareness, Aptitude Classes, Daily News, General Knowledge, General Awareness For All Competitive Exam, current affairs quiz,current affairs in india, current affairs about sports, current affairs and gk, current affairs about india, current affairs daily quiz, current affairs dairy, current affairs education, Top News, Breaking News, Latest News

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Current Affairs - 30 April 2016

by , in

General Affairs 

PM Modi's US Congress Address Opportunity To Boost Ties: American Lawmaker
  • PM Modi's US Congress Address Opportunity To Boost Ties: American LawmakerWASHINGTON:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to a joint meeting of the US Congress will be an opportunity to energise efforts to improve bilateral ties, top American lawmakers from across the political divide have said.

    Reflecting the strong bipartisan support to the India-US relationship, the lawmakers welcomed the decision of the House Speaker Paul Ryan to invite Modi to address the joint meeting.

    "Speaker Ryan's decision to invite Prime Minister Modi to address Congress demonstrates the growing commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership between the US and India," said Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn in a joint statement.

    Mr Warner from the Democratic Party and Mr Cornyn from the Republican Party are co-chairs if Senate India Caucus, the only country specific caucus in the US Senate.

    "As a key security partner with a flourishing economy, a thriving relationship with India presents tremendous opportunities to reach our joint economic and strategic goals.

    Prime Minister Modi's visit presents an opportunity to energise efforts to improve bilateral ties between our two countries," Mr Warner and Mr Cornyn said after Mr Ryan told reporters that he has invited Modi to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8.

    In fact, PM Modi would be the first foreign leader to address a joint meeting of the Congress after Ryan became the Speaker last year.

    "This will be the first joint meeting of this speakership. We certainly look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi in the United States Capitol this summer, I believe it's June 8th," Mr Ryan said.

    "India is the most populace democracy and soon it's going to be the most populace country. The friendship between our nations is a pillar of stability in a very, very important region. This address presents a special opportunity for us to deepen our ties with our ally, India," he said.

    "It is a chance to hear from the prime minister on how we can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity," Mr Ryan said.

    Congressman Brad Sherman welcomed Ryan's decision. "I am pleased that India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be able to address a Joint Session of Congress this year," he said.

    "In 2014, I led the effort, and was joined by more than 80 of my colleagues, in trying to encourage then-Speaker John Boehner to invite President Modi to give such an address shortly after he had assumed office," Mr Sherman said.

    Following the letter of 80 US lawmakers, the then Speaker Boehner in a letter had invited Modi before his September 2014 Washington DC visit to address a joint meeting of the US Congress.

    Number Of Indian Students In US Jumps 31 Per Cent
    • Number Of Indian Students In US Jumps 31 Per Cent
      WASHINGTON:  The number of Indian students in American universities and colleges is nearing two lakh as latest official data released today said that they now number over 194,000, a jump of more than 31 per cent in one year.

      "The number of F&M students from India studying in the US grew from 148,360 in March 2015 to 194,438 in March 2016, an increase of 31.1 per cent," according to the latest 'SEVIS by the Numbers', a quarterly report on foreign student trends prepared by Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

      There are nearly 1.2 million international students with F (academic) or M (vocational) status studying in the US. SEVIS is part of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

      Based on data extracted from SEVIS March 7, international student enrolment at US schools increased 6.2 per cent compared to March 2015.

      In March, there were 8,687 US schools with SEVP certification to enrol international students, a three per cent decrease from the previous year, ICE said in a release. According to the report, 82 per cent of F and M students from India pursue degrees in a STEM field. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

      "More STEM students are from India than any other country," it said.

      On the other hand, 69 per cent of all F & M students who pursue mathematics and statistics coursework are from China, it said.

      ICE report said 40 per cent of international students studying in the US, equalling almost 479,000 individuals, were enrolled in STEM coursework.

      Approximately 417,000 international students from Asia pursued STEM studies, an increase of 17 per cent since March 2015, it added.

      In March, more than 75 per cent of the M (vocational) student population was male.

      Sixty-four per cent of M students majored in transportation and materials moving, with a focus on air, ground or marine transportation.

      Among US schools, New York University, the University of Southern California, Northeastern University, Columbia University and the University of Illinois rank one through five for schools with the highest international student populations. More than 10,000 international students were enrolled at each school in March. As many as 77 per cent of all international students are from Asia.

      The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students included: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico.

    PM Modi Made No Deal With Italy On AgustaWestland Case, Says Government
    • PM Modi Made No Deal With Italy On AgustaWestland Case, Says GovernmentNEW DELHI:  Rebutting allegations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had struck a deal with Italy on the multi-million dollar AgustaWestland chopper deal, the government on Friday issued a statement saying the central issue was corruption and any other effort to divert from it was "misleading".

      "Those who cannot see Prime Minister succeed even hint at him cutting a deal. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not cut any deal of any sort," said the government statement.

      The statement said that some had even sought to link one of the accused in the case with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Principal Secretary to PM Nripendra Mishra. "This is a totally baseless assertion, devoid of reason and logic, and indicative of malicious intent. In reality, there is no such connection," it said.

      It added that "it is indeed tragic that a small section of the Indian polity has attempted, 'unsuccessfully', to divert and defuse the public discourse on this matter".

      "In the matter pertaining to acquisition of AgustaWestland helicopters, the undisputed central issue that stands out is corruption, especially bribery... Any other line of assumption, approach and effort, as is being attempted in some quarters, is misleading, tries to hide the wrong-doers and is driven by instincts of self-preservation," it said.

      The deal for the helicopters, worth 3,600 crores and for the use of VVIPs, went off track in 2013 when Italy arrested the head of Finmeccanica, which owns AgustaWestland, for paying bribes to secure the deal. He was convicted earlier this month.

      Italy and India have separately investigated 30 million Euros as kickbacks for the AgustaWestland deal. While Italy has looked at who offered the bribes, the Indian government said this week "it is the identity of the bribe-takers that must be established". 

    Court Orders Framing Charges Against Naveen Jindal, Others In Coal Allocation Case
    • Court Orders Framing Charges Against Naveen Jindal, Others In Coal Allocation Case
      NEW DELHI:  A special court today ordered framing of charges against industrialist Naveen Jindal, former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao and 13 others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and other offences in a coal block allocation scam case.

      Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said "charges to be framed against all accused under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 and 420 of Indian Penal Code and under sections 13(1)(c), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act." The court, however, said charges would be formally framed against the accused later on.

      Apart from Mr Jindal and Mr Rao, the court also ordered to put on trial ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 11 others, who were chargesheeted by CBI in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Ltd (GSIPL) in 2008.

      Besides them, the other accused are - Rajeev Jain, Director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, Directors of GSIPL, Suresh Singhal, Director of New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, K Ramakrishna Prasad, Managing Director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg. These accused are currently out on bail.

      Besides them, five firms - JSPL, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd - are also accused in the case.

      Meanwhile, the court issued notice to CBI and 14 accused on a plea by Suresh Singhal for pardon and turning approver in the case.

      He filed the application on April 21, seeking to make a disclosure statement which was later on recorded by a magistrate and placed before the special judge in a sealed envelope.

      "Trial proceedings in this case would be appropriate to be conducted after adjudication of this issue," the court said and fixed May 11 for hearing submissions of CBI and the accused on Singhal's plea.

      The special court had earlier fixed today for pronouncing its order on framing of charges as the judge was busy with other official work.

      During arguments on framing of charges, CBI had alleged that ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, also accused in the case, had favoured JSPL and GSIPL in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

      CBI had also claimed that the accused had conspired with each other to get the allocation of the coal block in favour of the two Jindal group firms.

      Opposing CBI's contention, all the accused, including Mr Jindal, Mr Koda and Mr Rao, had said that there was no evidence which showed that they were in any conspiracy during the coal block allocation process.

      They had also denied the allegations levelled against them by CBI in its chargesheet.

      Mr Jindal, Mr Rao, Mr Koda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 11 others were chargesheeted by CBI in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of the coal block to JSPL and GSIPL.

    Enforcement Directorate Summons Former Air Chief SP Tyagi In Agusta Probe
    • Enforcement Directorate Summons Former Air Chief SP Tyagi In Agusta ProbeNEW DELHI:  The Enforcement Directorate or ED has summoned former Air Chief, SP Tyagi, next week in the money laundering case it is probing against him in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

      The agency had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Air Marshal Tyagi and 20 others in July 2014 in the Rs 3,600-crore deal to investigate charges of alleged kickbacks amounting to Rs 360 crore. Earlier this month, an Italian court said bribes worth 30,000 euros were paid by middlemen and top bosses of the Anglo-Italian firm.

      In March 2013, the CBI had registered a case in the deal. Based on the CBI complaint, ED officials had booked Air Marshal Tyagi, some members of his family, European nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke and four companies - Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland, Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix. The ED also booked two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia under the money laundering law.

      The ED's investigations have focussed on tracking the alleged "bribe money" trail in the VVIP chopper deal that was scrapped. The Indian Air Force, under Air Marshal Tyagi, virtually allowed middlemen to call the shots in the controversial deal, ED investigations have revealed, according to documents.  

      The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after Italian authorities alleged that bribe was paid by the company to clinch the deal. The CBI's allegation against the former Air Chief is that he reduced the flying ceiling of the helicopter so that AgustaWestland was included in the bids.

    Business Affairs 

    Reliance Jio launch delay frustrating investors: Citi Group report

    • The excessive delay in Reliance Jio's commercial launch is frustrating investors, a Citi Group report said in New Delhi on Friday.
      "The ensuing delay could be testing investors' patience. It raises concerns of Jio further eroding its first mover advantage. The capital expenditure targets also continue to go up," the report said.
      The delay is expected to be on the account of the company's chase for "perfection", it said.
      "RIL (Reliance Industries Ltd) is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring Jio does not over-promise and under-deliver. The company now plans to fully integrate Reliance Communication's 800 MHz spectrum before the Jio launch (making it the only player with sub-1GHz pan-India LTE spectrum," the report said.
      "It (RIL) also plans to increase the coverage to 90 percent (from 70 percent) before the Jio launch," it added.
      The report, however, stressed that a 3-6 month delay in the recently announced core projects does not impact estimate earnings of the company materially, since a meaningful contribution is assumed to come only by FY18. 

      IndiGo's Q4 net profit rises marginally to Rs 579.31 crore

      • IndiGo's Q4 net profit rises marginally to Rs 579.31 croreBudget passenger carrier IndiGo on Friday reported a marginal rise in its net profit for the fourth quarter of 2015-16.
        According to InterGlobe Aviation, the mother company of IndiGo, the net profit during the quarter under review inched up by 0.3 percent to Rs 579.31 crore from Rs 577.33 crore in the like period of 2014-15.
        The low cost carrier's (LCC) total income from operations during Q4 rose by seven percent to Rs.4,090.67 crore from Rs.3,823.26 crore reported in the corresponding quarter of 2014-15.
        IndiGo flew 24.3 percent more passenger during the quarter under review. It ferried 0.89 crore passenger from 0.71 crore ferried in the like period of 2014-15.
        For the full financial year 2015-16, IndiGo reported an increase of 52.6 per cent in its net profit.
        The net profit stood at Rs.1,989.72 crore for the year ended March 31, 2016.
        The company's total income from operations in the period under review grew by 15.9 per cent to Rs.16,139.90 crore from Rs 13,925.33 crore in 2014-15.
        The LCC ferried 31.5 percent more passenger during 2015-16. The airline flew 3.31 crore passenger in the period under review from 2.51 crore ferried during 2014-15.
        The company's board recommended a final dividend of Rs.15 per share (face value of Rs.10 per share) for the financial year ended March 31, 2016, subject to the approval of shareholders in the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM).
        "In the quarter ended March 2016, IndiGo has announced a final dividend of Rs.15 per share. Including the interim dividend issued prior to the IPO," the company said in a statement.
        "IndiGo has distributed Rs.42.83 per share for the fiscal year 2016 based on the shares outstanding at the year end."
        The company's president and whole-time director Aditya Ghosh said that the company has started receiving A320neo aircraft.
        "The A320neo powered by Pratt and Whitney's fuel efficient geared turbo fan engines will enable us to structurally reduce our costs as fuel continues to be the single largest element of our cost structure," Ghosh said.

          RBI deputy governor R Gandhi calls for more green funding

          • Reserve Bank Deputy Governor R Gandhi said incorporating environmental concerns into commercial lending is a challenge in a country like India.
            The challenge before developing economies like ours is to mainstream green finances, so as to incorporate environmental impact into commercial lending, while simultaneously balancing the needs to economic growth and social development, he said at a conference on sustainable finance in New  Delhi.
            "We have to develop the instruments. We have to balance out the green development and economic development," he said speaking to the reporters.
            The new priority sector lending requirements announced bythe RBI include devoting money to social infrastructure and small renewable projects, which will help support the objective of sustainability finance, he said.
            The central bank also has been working on various other aspects, he said, adding a working group has been formed to look into it. Additionally, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has also worked out norms for raising money through green bonds, through which domestic financial institutions, like Exim Bank and Yes Bank have raised $1.1 billion in 2015, Gandhi added.

          House panel for fixing upper limit for economy class airfares

          • A parliamentary panel on Friday recommended for fixing of an upper limit for the economy class airfares to curb the exorbitant air fares during the peak tourist seasons.
            The panel, headed by Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kanwar Deep Singh, also recommended to the ministry to ensure that airlines pass on the benefit of the 50 per cent reduction in jet fuel price to the consumers by way of slashing fares.
            The Committee also noticed the airfares are exorbitant during the peak tourist seasons which are also causing hindrance to passenger flow in the country.
            The Committee also recommends that, in view of the predatory charges levied by the airlines during peak times, the Government should fix an upper limit especially in the economy class of airfares so that there should not be unhealthy practice of raising fares exorbitantly by the airliners, the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture said in its 231st report, tabled in Parliament on Friday.
            Suggesting the Government for launching more flight to the Middle East (where a large number of Indian expats live) especially during the summer holidays to accommodate the peak season demand, the panel said that the Prime Minister in one of his visits to Middle East has already asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation to do something about such prices.
            Prime Minister had last August expressed concern over predatory pricing by the domestic carriers after he reportedly received a representation that airfares are high during the Onam festival that is celebrated in Kerala.
            The Committee received numerous complaints about high air fares and high charges levied by airlines and airports operators making it very expensive for the air travelers, the report said.
            The Committee received comments from the Ministry of Civil Aviation in this matter...Predatory pricing of airfare is hurting not only the individual passenger but country's economy as well. The explanation given by the Ministry of Civil Aviation is purely technical suggesting that they are unable to do anything under existing laws, it said. 

              Govt to conduct special audit of telecom companies: Ravi Shankar Prasad

              • Government will conduct special audit of telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular for three years to 2010-11, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday.
                "Government has decided to conduct special audit for three subsequent financial years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. The process is under way," Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
                Prasad said that the government conducted special audit of five major telecom companies in 2009 for financial year 2006-07 and 2007-08.
                "On the basis of this special audit demands for Rs 1,846.51 crore was issued. All the demands were challenged in the courts by telecom companies...these demands are subjudice till date," Prasad said.
                The Comptoller and Auditor General (CAG) has said that government has suffered a loss Rs 12,488.93 crore as six private telecom operators understated gross revenue by Rs 46,045.75 crore from 2006-07 to 2009-10.
                The financial impact due to understatement of gross revenue stood at Rs 1,507.25 crore for Reliance Communications, Rs 1,357.68 crore for Tata Teleservices, Airtel (Rs 1,066.95 crore), Vodafone (Rs 749.85 crore), Idea (Rs 423.26 crore) and Aircel (Rs 107.61 crore), the CAG said.

              General Awareness

              United Nation Chief Ban Ki Moon appoints Indian to University Council United Nation

                • Secretary-General – Ban Ki-Moon
                  Headquarters: New York
                  United Nations decided to includean Indian Academician in University Council to formulate its principles & policies, approve biennial Budget and work programme.
                  Tenure: Either three or six years
                  Total people appointed: 12 members including an Indian Academician named Radha Kumar.
                  About Radha Kumar:
                  • Aged 63, the Director General of New Delhi based think tank Delhi Policy Group
                  • Selected to the governing UN University CouncilRadha Kumar
                  • Specialist in ethnic conflicts, peacemaking and peace-building
                  Former Positions:
                  1. Director of the Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Jamia Milla Islamia University
                  2. Senior Fellow in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in the city
                  3. Three-member Group of Interlocutors appointed by the Government of India for Jammu and Kashmir
                  Functions of the UN University Council:
                  • Formulate the principles and policies of the University
                  • Governing the operations
                  • Consider and approve its biennial budget
                  • Work programme
                  Features of the Council:
                  Selected members of the council should serve with individual capacity and not as representatives of their country
                  • They should aim of achieving a geographic and gender balance in the fields of Academic, scientific, educational and cultural trends
                  The other members appointed to the UN University Council
                  • Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana Ernest Aryeetey
                  • Dean of Faculty of Law at National University of Singapore
                  • Simon Chesterman, lecturer at Harvard
                  • MIT Isabel Guerrero Pulgar of Chile
                  • Executive Director of Arab Reform Initiative Bassma Kodmani of Syria
                  • Dean of School of Public Policy and Management at China’s Tsinghua University Lan Xue

              Featured post

              Current Affairs - 16 December 2018

              General Affairs   Cyclone Phethai Gathers Over Bay Of Bengal, May Hit Andhra On Monday ...

              Copyright © 2016. Vikalp Education