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Current Affairs - 23 June 2016

General Affairs 

Isro's PSLV-C34 Rocket Puts Into Orbit Record 20 Satellites
  • SRIHARIKOTA, ANDHRA PRADESH:  India on Wednesday morning successfully put into orbit its own Cartosat earth observation satellite and 19 other satellites, including one belonging to the Google company Terra Bella.
    With this India successfully completed yet another multiple satellite launches in a single rocket mission.
    "The PSLV rocket has done its job. We have current generation Cartosat satellite," A.S.Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said soon after the launch.
    "One of the main aspects of the launch is the shutting down and the restarting of the rocket's fourth stage twice. This time we did as a trial-restarting of the engine. We did a trail in an earlier PSLV rocket," said S. Somanath, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
    The rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle's (PSLV) main cargo was India's 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation with a design life of five years.
    This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B.
    The other 19 satellites weighing totally around 560 kg are from US, Canada, Germany and Indonesia as well as one satellite each from Chennai's Sathyabama University and College of Engineering, Pune.
    The entire mission was over in around 26 minutes.
    The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications.
    According to Isro, the 110 kg SkySat Gen2-1 belonging to Terra Bella, a Google company, is a small earth imaging satellite capable of capturing sub-metre resolution imagery and high definition video.
    The Planet Lab's Dove Satellites are also earth imaging satellites. A total of 12 Dove satellites each weighing 4.7 kg were carried in this mission inside three QuadPack dispensers, Isro said.
    The PSLV rocket also put into orbit the 85 kg M3MSat from Canada. The technology demonstration mission is jointly funded and managed by Defence Research and Development Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.
    The other satellites that were launched are: 120 kg LAPSN-A3 of Indonesia, the 130 kg BIROS, from German Aerospace Centre, Germany and the 25.5 kg GHGSat-D, Canada.
    Exactly at 9.26 a.m. the PSLV rocket standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 320 tonne tore into the morning skies with fierce orange flames at its tail.
    Gathering speed every second the rocket raced towards the heavens amidst the cheers of the Isro officials and the media team assembled at the rocket port here.
    At the rocket mission control room Indian space scientists at Isro were glued to their computer screens watching the rocket escaping the earth's gravitational pull.
    Just over 17 minutes into the flight, the PSLV rocket ejected Cartosat at an altitude of around 515 km.
    It was followed by the two other Indian satellites -the 1.5 kg Sathyabamasat from Sathyabama University that would collect data on green house gases and the 1 kg Swayam satellite from College of Engineering, Pune, to provide point-to-point messaging services to the HAM radio community.
    Soon the other satellites were put into orbit.
    It was the first time that Isro is launching 20 satellites with one rocket.
    In 2008, the Isro had launched 10 satellites with the PSLV rocket.
    With the success of Wednesday's rocket mission, India has successfully launched 74 satellites for international customers.

100 Per Cent FDI In Defence Threat To National Security: Anand Sharma
  • SHIMLA:  Former Union commerce minister Anand Sharma today said allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence meant "surrendering" to the pressure of the US lobby, a threat to national security and India's foreign policy.

    He said the decision came just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US.

    "Allowing 100 per cent FDI in defence means India's defence sector is thrown mostly into the hands of American companies. The national interests have been ignored," the Congress lawmaker told reporters in Shimla.

    He said the decision would have an adverse impact on the ongoing indigenous defence research in the country.

    Mr Sharma also said easing FDI norms in the health sector would impact the domestic industry.

    Mr Sharma explained that the FDI was permitted by the previous Congress government in greenfield projects only where new facilities were to be established with 100 per cent FDI.

    But for brownfield projects, where the acquisition or takeover of existing pharmaceutical industry was required, 100 per cent was allowed only after government's consent.

    "I fail to understand why the preconditions imposed by the previous UPA government that were necessary to protect the interests of the country and its people have been changed. It is clearly the pressure of US lobby which has been pushing for removal of these preconditions," Mr Sharma added.

    He asked the government to explain why 100 per cent FDI was allowed both in greenfield and brownfield projects.

    The liberalised FDI regime announced by the central government on Monday permits up to 100 per cent foreign equity in the defence sector as India looks ahead to increasing indigenous manufacturing in defence under the 'Make in India' programme.

    Mr Sharma further accused the Modi government of carrying out a vendetta against political rivals in its two years of rule.

    He condemned the government for victimising and insulting the Congress chief ministers in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and toppling the government in Arunachal Pradesh.

    "The prime minister and the BJP dreams of 'Congress-mukt Bharat', which will never come true. Time will tell. The Congress party has a history of 131 years and it has seen ups and downs, defeats and victories. The party is committed to its ideology so that the political balance is maintained in the country," Mr Sharma said.
    "They are showing as if the development of India has started just two years ago," he said.

    Mr Sharma also said the situation in the country was bad and exports have come down drastically.

    "The NDA government promised to create two crore jobs every year, but in reality no new jobs have been created and people have lost their jobs due to the policies of the Modi government," Mr Sharma said.

    He said the economy of the country was going down, there are no investments, employment is not being generated, people are losing jobs in the manufacturing industry, but the BJP-led NDA government claims that the country has scaled new heights in the two years of PM Modi's rule.

    "This is ridiculous. The prime minister has visited 36 countries in two years. What benefits have India drawn internationally from his visits is not yet clear," Mr Sharma added.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley To Attend AIIB Annual Meet In Beijing
  • NEW DELHI:  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will tomorrow embark on a five-day visit to China, where he will attend the first annual meeting of the board of Governors of the $100-billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

    During his stay in Beijing, the finance minister will also hold talks with Chinese investors and bankers to seek investment in infrastructure and other sectors in India, a Finance Ministry statement said.

    Mr Jaitley will participate in the first annual meeting of the Board of Governors' of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on June 25 and 26 in Beijing, it said.
    The minister will participate in different sessions of the two-day AIIB meeting including the session on 'Infrastructure and Global Economic Growth' and 'Financing Green Infrastructure: The Role of MDBs' among others.
    BRICS nations Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa founded the AIIB to boost infrastructure investment in Asia.
    Mr Jaitley will also hold a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Lou Jiwei on June 27. He will also participate in the 8th India-China Financial Dialogue.
    The finance minister will arrive in the national capital on June 28, after completing his five day official visit to China.

After US, France Asks Members Of Nuke Club NSG To Back India's Bid
  • NEW DELHI:  Amidst stiff opposition by China to India's entry into NSG, France today strongly backed New Delhi's case, saying it will bolster global efforts against nuclear proliferation and asking the members states to take a "positive decision" in the Seoul plenary meeting.

    A key member of the 48-nation grouping, France also asserted that India's participation in nuclear control regimes will help better regulate the export of sensitive goods, whether they are nuclear, chemical, biological, ballistic or conventional materials and technologies.

    "France considers that India's entry into the four multilateral export control regimes (NSG, MTCR, The Australia Group, The Wassenaar Arrangement) will bolster international efforts for combating proliferation.

    "India's participation in these bodies will help better regulate the export of sensitive goods, whether they are nuclear, chemical, biological, ballistic or conventional materials or technologies.

    "In line with its active and long-standing support to India's entry to the NSG as a full-fledged member, France calls on its members, who are meeting on 23 June in Seoul, to take a positive decision," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    The Ministry also mentioned that strategic partners since 1998, France and India share common goals regarding the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.

    These goals were reaffirmed during the visit of the President of the French Republic to India, from 24 to 26 January 2016, it added. The French President was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations here.

    Yesterday, the US White House had in a statement said India was "ready" for NSG membership and asked participating governments to support India's application at the plenary session of NSG in Seoul starting tomorrow.

    China maintains opposition to India's entry, arguing that it has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, it has been batting for its close ally Pakistan's entry if NSG extends any exemption for India.

    India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.

Hillary Clinton's Lead Over Donald Trump Narrows To 9 Points
  • NEW YORK:  Democrat Hillary Clinton's lead over Republican rival Donald Trump has slipped by about five percentage points since mid-June, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday, bringing the race for the White House to within nine points.

    The poll showed that 44.5 per cent of likely voters supported former secretary of state Clinton while 35.5 per cent backed businessman Trump. That compares with 46.6 per cent support for Clinton and 32.3 per cent for Trump on June 12, a date that marked her widest lead for the month.

    Trump has focused much of his energy in recent days on the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida by a U.S.-born gunman pledging allegiance to ISIS terrorists. Trump vowed to ban people from entering the United States from countries with links to terrorism against America or its allies.

    Hardline national security proposals have helped Trump win increased support from voters in the past, including after the shootings in San Bernardino, California and Paris late last year.

    Clinton responded to the Orlando attack by calling for increased intelligence gathering and air strikes on ISIS forces, while warning against demonizing American Muslims. She has also criticized Trump's positions on foreign policy and the economy, saying a Trump presidency would be a "disaster".

    The June 17-21 poll of 1,100 likely voters has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3.4 percentage points.

Business Affairs 

Action against tax defaulters whose names made public by I-T: FM Arun Jaitley
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the I-T department would take penal actions only against those wilful defaulters whose names have been made public by the tax authorities.
    "The names of the wilful tax defaulters have been published by I-T department. There are about 63 names, subject to verification. These include persons who are not traceable. Action will be taken against them," FM Jaitley said.
    The Minister further said that it would be wrong to club the names of wilful defaulters with those against whom the tax department has disputes.
    The Income-Tax department regularly comes out with list of tax defaulters with a view to naming and shaming them.
    The list, which is posted on the website of the tax department, includes names of the defaulting individuals or entities, their last known addresses, PAN numbers, amount of arrears, last known source of income and the assessment years for which they have not paid their due taxes.
    Referring to Tuesday's reports that officials would go after tax defaulters using the provisions of arrest, detention and auctioning of attached assets, "totally wrong".

    SEBI eases currency derivatives rules
    • Stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India relaxed currency derivatives rules on Wednesday, allowing participants to continue to hold on to their open position limits even if total open interest in a currency pair falls at a stock exchange.
      Market participants will, however, have to gradually bring down their open positions to comply with applicable limits within a time period specified by the stock exchanges, the SEBI said.
      Earlier, market participants had to reduce their open position limits in proportion to the drop in total open interest.
      The government allows market participants to have open position of up to 15 per cent of the total open interest, or $100 million gross open limit for USD/INR pair, whichever is higher.
      For banks, the position limit is 15 per cent of total open interest or $1 billion, whichever is higher.

      Raghuram Rajan and Nikesh Arora: A tale of two exits
      • So, Raghuram Rajan didn't get a second term (rather, a 2 year extension) and Nikesh Arora didn't get the top job at Softbank. Both exits remind you of the adage: there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip. But look at the subtle similarities.
        Rajan would have been put off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting he would take a call on his extension in August. Mind you, for the term ending on September 4! It was enough indication he wasn't required. After all, even the labour law mandates a notice period of 1-3 months; Arora was clearly upset his boss Masayoshi Son had a change of heart about elevating him to the CEO's post. Son instead said he was too young to retire at 60, and that he needed 5, maybe 10, years to cement what he set out to do at Softbank. And he didn't want to keep Arora a CEO-in-waiting for an indefinite period of time.
        When Governor Rajan joined the RBI, the industry wondered whether the accomplished academician would lose his way or will make any impact on the bureaucratic, monolithic RBI. When Arora joined Softbank in a surprise announcement, many wondered whether his brash, no-nonsense demeanour would go down well in the polite, quiet and compliant Japanese boardrooms.
        Governor Rajan had a trial by fire fending off barbs by maverick politician and economist Subramanian Swamy who constantly attacked his economic policies and his US Green Card, alleging he didn't have allegiance to India (Rajan clarified he was an Indian passport holder and an Indian citizen); Arora had his own set of trials and tribulations when a body of Softbank investors asked for his removal as Softbank's president and heir apparent for alleged conflict of interest in investments, underperformance and "poor business decisions" (though an internal committee of Softbank exonerated Arora of any wrongdoing).
        Rajan may have endeared himself to the masses with his plainspeak, but didn't go down well with his political masters. Arora endeared himself to a host of investee companies with his insightful interventions, his ability to connect the dots and his globe-trotting networking and deal-making, but couldn't convince Son to let go of the top job in his favour.
        Rajan leaves RBI when WPI inflation is at 0.8 per cent against 7 per cent when he took over, CPI at 5.8 per cent versus 10.5 per cent; forex reserves are at $363 billion against $276 billion; and Sensex is near 26,000 versus 20,000 when he joined; and his reform measures have left an indelible mark on India's banking sector. Ironically, Arora also leaves in the month in which Softbank has garnered a cash pile of $20 billion - the biggest ever in its history - by encashing a part of its holding in Chinese e-tailer Alibaba and exiting Finnish game developer Supercell by selling it to China's Tencent (the deal was announced alongside the announcement of Arora's exit).
        Governor Rajan leaves the job with a broken heart and a hard lesson about the fabled Indian bureaucracy and its twisted politics. Arora - who has made no bones about his aspiration for the top job - leaves Softbank with a broken heart as well as a "minor loss" in exiting his $482 million investment in Softbank shares by selling them over to Son. There's a lot to be unearthed about the circumstances of the two high-profile exits.

      Mudra Banks to disburse Rs 1,80,000 cr in loans in 2016-17: Jayant Sinha
      • Minister of state for Finance Jayant Sinha said here on Wednesday that the government aims to disburse loans worth Rs 1,80,000 crore to small businesses through Mudra Banks in the current fiscal year.
        "Last year Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana gave loans worth Rs 1,20,000 crore. This year the aim is to give loans worth Rs 1,80,000 crore," Sinha said at the inauguration of a financial literacy camp.
        In a bid to boost the Mudra Yojana, facilitation centres will be providing assistance to new entrepreneurs, he said.
        As many as 3.5 crore people have been benefited by the Mudra Yojana so far, Sinha added.
        Further, a portal and mobile app for a loan origination system is in the pipeline to monitor the entire process and time taken for dispersal of the loan, he said.

        BSE warns against unauthorised offers for its unlisted shares
        • Ahead of its proposed initial public offering, Asia's oldest bourse BSE on Wednesday warned investors against unauthorised offers to purchase or deal in the shares of the exchange that are unlisted currently.
          BSE is expected to file IPO papers with market regulator Sebi next month to mop-up Rs 800 crore.
          The exchange's initial share-sale programme may hit the market this financial year.
          Warning investors against unauthorised offers, BSE said in a notice, "Certain persons and/or entities have been circulating communications soliciting offer to purchase/deal in the shares of the exchange while such shares are unlisted."
          It further said, "Such communications have not been directly or indirectly solicited or prompted by the Exchange, nor does the exchange endorse communications of such nature in any manner whatsoever. Any offer or solicitation pursuant to such communications should be carefully evaluated with respect to their legality as well as the risks involved in the same."
          The exchange said any person who chooses to participate in any transaction pursuant to such communications (whether as buyer or seller), "does so entirely at their own risk".
          The bourse plans to sell up to 30 per cent stake in its much-awaited initial public offering.
          The IPO could be a combination of an offer for sale and fresh issue, for up to a maximum of 30 per cent of the post-issue issued equity share capital of the company, subject to regulatory requirements, according to a notice of annual general meeting (AGM).
          BSE (formerly known as Bombay Stock Exchange) has already appointed Edelweiss Financial Services as the lead merchant banker and AZB & Partners and Nishith Desai Associates as legal advisors to the issue.
          Presently, Multi Commodity Exchange of India is the only listed bourse in the country.

        General Awareness

        International Yoga Day – June 21

          • International Day of Yoga or Yoga Day is being celebrated on21st June of every year and it has been celebrated annually from 2015. The Day for was declared by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014.

            Prime Minister of India proposed the date of June 21st which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shared the views of the importance of the Yoga around the world.
            Definition of Yoga: Yoga is a physical, mental, and/ or spiritual practice accredited mostly to India
            Focus: Promotion of global health, Harmony and Peace
            Aim: Encouraging the practice of Yoga & Meditation, creating awareness about Yoga & its benefits and taking up it in one’s day-to-day habits
            Prime Minister headed second International Yoga Day in Chandigarh with 30000 participants
            • Prime Minister along with 30,000 participants have joined to celebrate Second International Yoga Day on June 21st in order to treat diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension through the Yoga
            • Participants: Prime Minister, Defence Force Personnel, School children and other participants from all ages from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana
            • Venue: Chandigarh
            • Prime Minister and the participants performed various Yoga ‘asanas’ in a mass demonstration of ‘Common Yoga Protocol’
            • Prime Minister urged the participants to practice the Yoga in controlling the diabetesand he suggested starting campaign to create the awareness about Yoga
            • Expressing the benefits of Yoga, he stressed that Yoga is helping to get rid of diabetes and also helps it guarantees wellness
            President of India inaugurated 2nd International Yoga Day celebrations in Rashtrapati Bhavan
            • The 2nd International Yoga Day is being celebrated in Rashtrapati Bhavan along with 1000 participants.
            • Participants: President, Secretariat officers and personnel, their family members, members of Delhi Police, ITBP and scholars from IITs, IISERs and IISc Bengaluru
            • Organised by: Rashtrapathi Bhawan collaboration with Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga
            • They performed Yoga ‘Asanas’ as per Common protocol decided by Ministry of AYUSH
            Countries around World celebrated 2nd International Yoga Day
            • International Yoga Day is being observed by 193 countries around the World to mark day with full enthusiasm.
            • Venue: Times Square in New York
            • Over 1000 people participated to mark a day which has become a global festival
            • About 8.7 percent of United States citizen keeping Yoga as habit as per Yoga Journal Study and about 20 Million Americans Practice Yoga
            • Indian missions present in the world are observing the events at Indian High Commissions and Embassies
            • Indian Peacekeepers implemented 13 missions around the world also participated in the events.
            • 35 foreign missions participated in the Main yoga event in Chankyapuri, New Delhi, India
            • At the US embassy, American ambassador to India Richard Verma took part in the yoga day event.
            Isha Founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev headed Yoga session at UN on 2nd International Yoga Day
            • Spiritual leader and Isha foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev headed a yoga event at the UN on the event of the 2nd International Yoga Day
            • Theme: Yoga for the sustainable Development Goals
            • India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations stated earlier that Sadhguru would lead the yoga event at the United Nations headquarter
            • United Nations building was lighted up with Parvatasana on occasion of International Yoga Day
            Union Ministry of AYUSH released Yog Geet for 2016 International Yoga Day
            • The AYUSH Ministry released a Yog Geet in association with the celebration of the 2ndInternational Day of Yoga
            • Duration: 3 Min 15 Seconds
            • Language: Hindi
            • Written and Produced by: Deeraj Sarawat
            • Sung By: Gandhar TD Jadhav and Gatha Jadhav
            • Composed by: Sumanto Ray
            • The Yog Geet song was chosen vide a national level competition conducted by the AYUSH Ministry from 1000 entries
            • Union Human Resource Development Minister gave away prizes to winners of ‘1st Yoga Olympiad’
            • Union HRD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani delivered the 1st Yoga Olympiad prizes to winners in New Delhi
            • The Minister thanked and expressed the benefits of Yoga. And she announced that Yoga departments be revamped in 6 Central Universities.
            • A total of 322 students and their 80 teachers from 21 states/UTs were participated in the Yoga Olympiad Performance. In the four categories, a total number of 48 participants, 4 each for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were selected.
            Haryana’s Faridabad made a world record by gathering One Lakh Participants in International Day of Yoga Celebration
            • About One Lakh participants being participated in Haryana’s Faridabad to mark the International Day of Yoga setting a new world record
            • Delegates: Yoga Guru Ramdev, BJP President Amit Shah and Union MinisterKrishnan pal
            • BJP President stated that enthusiasm delivered by the people towards Yoga marked the victory of the Campaign to promote the Yoga
            • With the initiatives of Prime Minister People in 170 countries have adopted Yoga as a part of their lives and International Yoga Day is being celebrated in 193 countries
            Gujarat State made a New Guinness Book Record by practicing yoga with more than 1600 pregnant women
            • About 1632 pregnant women were participated in Gujarat’s Rajkot city and made a new Guinness Book record by practicing Yoga in the event of International Yoga Day
            • Venue: Rajkot, Gujarat
            • Earlier, the record was made by China, where more than 900 pregnant women had taken part in the yoga practice.
            India’s first Yoga Out Patient Department inaugurated in Jaipur
            • Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje launched the State’s first Outpatient and research centre for Yoga at Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur on occasion of the International Day of Yoga
            • Venue: Jaipur, Rajasthan
            • Inaugurated by: Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
            • Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) runs yoga OPDs in government hospitals in New Delhi
            PM Modi announces International Yoga Award and National Yoga Award
            • PM announced two yoga awards, one international and another one national that are to be given away on the occasion of International Yoga Day.
            • One will be for excellent contribution in the field of yoga internationally and the other for excellent contribution to yoga in the country.
            • A special committee will formulate the rules and decide the jury.

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