Current Affairs Current Affairs - 24 May 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 24 May 2018

General Affairs 

Kumaraswamy Takes Oath Amid Opposition Show Of Unity In Karnataka
  • Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy today took oath against the backdrop of Karnataka's imposing Vidhan Soudha in the presence of more than a dozen non-BJP leaders from across the country. Mr Kumaraswamy, who had patched up with the Congress at the last minute last week to block the BJP, had been keen to turn the event into a springboard for opposition unity that his party, Janata Dal Secular hopes, would hold till next year's Lok Sabha elections. Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi, who were seen to have bent backwards to give Mr Kumaraswamy the lead role in the government, were there. So were chief ministers Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrababu Naidu along with Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.

    Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

    Mr Kumaraswamy, who was sworn-in along with his deputy G Parameshwara, said he will take the trust vote on Friday. The JDS-Congress alliance leaders had brought its legislators to the venue since they have been isolated in city hotels to ensure they aren't poached before the test of strength in the assembly.

    Having turned his swearing-in ceremony into a show of opposition unit, the Chief Minister suggested that a lot was riding on the success of the alliance government. "I have to be very careful," he said, about running the coalition government.

    Of the many non-BJP leaders who had travelled to Bengaluru for the swearing-in, Mr Kumaraswamy said they weren't just here for him. "The leaders have not come here to support me but to give a message that there will be a big change in 2019," he said.

    The event was high on symbolism. The swearing-in ceremony was the first joint public appearance by Uttar Pradesh's bitter rival-turned-allies, Akhilesh Yadav and Dalit powerhouse Mayawati shared the stage. Akhilesh Yadav warmly greeted her and later, stood next to her, waving to the cheering crowds. Mayawati, who has promised to continue her alliance for next year's Lok Sabha elections, had a pre-poll alliance with JDS in Karnataka.

    The Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav team in Uttar Pradesh and the Congress-JDS alliance in Karnataka stands for the kind of new friendships that HD Kumaraswamy would like to see in the rest of the country.

    The many photo-ops and the bonhomie among the parties on stage, however, is no indicator that other rival non-BJP parties too will come together. West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee and CPM's Sitaram Yechury were there and at one awkward moment, even came face to face. They politely greeted each other, shook hands and walked away.

    The Congress-JDS were quick to form an alliance after the state election threw up a hung assembly, with Mr Kumaraswamy as their head. Together they have 117 members, enough for an outright majority.

    The Congress will have 22 ministers and the JDS 12, Congress' KC Venugopal said, adding that they would be sworn-in after the floor test slated for Friday.
    The post of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker will be evenly divided - the Speaker will be from the Congress, his deputy will be from the Janata Dal Secular. The Congress has named Ramesh Kumar for the job, the JDS is yet to name its candidate.

    BJP's BS Yeddyurappa, who was Karnataka chief minister for just two day before he quit ahead of a trust vote on Saturday, today predicted the Congress-JDS alliance won't last "even three months".

Virat Kohli Accepts Minister's Challenge, Does Spider Plank; Tags PM Modi
  • A day after he was named in a fitness challenge by Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, captain of the Indian cricket team Virat Kohli duly accepted and named three people for the challenge - one of them being Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Rajyavardhan Rathore, on Tuesday, tweeted a video of himself doing pushups, and urged people to shoot a video of their "fitness mantra" and share it. Along with India's star batsman, the Information and Broadcasting Minister also challenged actor Hrithik Roshan and badminton player Saina Nehwal to join in.

    Virat Kohli, who is known for his strict fitness regime, started the video by saying he accepted Mr Rathore's challenge and that he would do his favourite core exercise. He proceeds to do twenty spider planks. "Try that out," he says as the video ends.

    "Now I would like to challenge my wife @AnushkaSharma , our PM @narendramodi ji and @msdhoni Bhai for the same," he wrote on his tweet, responding to the Olympic medalist.

    Rajyavardhan Rathore started his original video saying he was inspired to make the fitness challenge seeing PM Modi, who he praised for being able to juggle a hectic schedule "effortlessly".

    The BJP government has always been an advocate of fitness and has promoted Yoga extensively. The NaMo app has many 3D videos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi doing a number of asanas.

India Ranks 145th In Healthcare, Behind China, Bangladesh, Bhutan: Study
  • India ranks 145th among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare. It is behind its neighbours like China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, according to a Lancet study.

    The Global Burden of Disease study, however, mentioned that India has seen improvements in healthcare access and quality since 1990.

    In 2016, India's healthcare access and quality scored at 41.2 (up from 24.7 in 1990).

    "Although India's improvements on the healthcare access and quality HAQ index hastened from 2000 to 2016, the gap between the country's highest and lowest scores widened (23 4-point difference in 1990, and 30 8-point difference in 2016)," the study stated.

    It said that Goa and Kerala had the highest scores in 2016, each exceeding 60 points, whereas Assam and Uttar Pradesh had the lowest, each below 40.

    India lags behind China (48), Sri Lanka (71), Bangladesh (133) and Bhutan (134) while its health index was better than those of Nepal (149), Pakistan (154) and Afghanistan (191).

    The five countries with the highest levels of healthcare access and quality in 2016 were Iceland (97.1 points), Norway (96.6), the Netherlands (96.1), Luxembourg (96.0), and Finland and Australia (each with 95.9).

    The countries with the lowest scores were the Central African Republic (18.6), Somalia (19.0), Guinea-Bissau (23.4), Chad (25.4), and Afghanistan (25.9).

    According to the study, India performed poorly in tackling cases of tuberculosis, rheumatic heart diseases, Ischaemic heart diseases, stroke, testicular cancer, colon cancer and chronic kidney disease among others.

    Subnational inequalities were particularly pronounced in China and India, although high-income countries, including England and the US, also saw considerable local gaps in performance, it said.

    "The study stated large disparities in subnational levels of personal healthcare access and quality emerged for several countries, especially China and India.

    "These results emphasise the urgent need to improve both access to and quality of health care across service areas and for all populations; otherwise, health systems could face widening gaps between the health services they provide and the disease burden experienced by local communities," it said.

    The study used an index to measure the quality and accessibility of healthcare, based on 32 causes of death which should be preventable with effective medical care. Each of the 195 countries and territories assessed were given a score between 0-100.

    For the first time, the study also analysed healthcare access and quality between regions within seven countries: Brazil, China, England, India, Japan, Mexico, and the US.

    The study found that China and India had the widest disparities in healthcare access and quality with 43.5 and 30.8 point differences, respectively.

    Japan had the narrowest differences with 4.8 points.

    In 2016, the global average healthcare access and quality score was 54.4, increasing from 42.4 points in 2000.

    Disparities between countries remained similar in 2016 and 2000, with a 78.5 point gap between the best and worst performing countries in 2016 (18.6 in the Central African Republic and 97.1 in Iceland), compared with 79.3 points in 2000 (13.5 in Somalia and 92.8 in Iceland).

F-16 Production Can Make India Fighter Jet Export Hub: Lockheed Martin
  • Global aerospace giant Lockheed Martin today said its proposal to manufacture custom-built F-16 fighter jets in India will make the country an export hub and give it access to an estimated $165 billion fighter aircraft market over the next few decades.

    Eyeing India's lucrative defence market, the American aerospace major said F-16 production would place India at the centre of the world's largest fighter aircraft ecosystem, creating "unmatched" 'Make in India' opportunities and export potential.

    Vivek Lall, vice president, Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin said the F-16 Block 70 being proposed to India will be the most technologically advanced and capable F-16 fighter jet ever produced.

    "F-16 exports could begin within five years of establishing production in India. Depending on when India makes its selection, more than 200 F-16s could be exported from India, Mr Lall told news agency PTI.

    The F-16 Block 70, he said, brings the most modern avionics, a proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modernised cockpit, advanced weapons, longer range with conformal fuel tanks, the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) and an advanced engine with an extended service life.

    Block 70 mission systems are completely new and leverage technologies from the F-35. Northrop Grumman's advanced APG-83 AESA radar on the F-16 Block 70 provides F-16s with 5th Generation fighter radar capabilities by leveraging hardware and software commonality with F-22 and F-35 AESA radars, he said in response to a question.

    "F-16 production in India would indeed be exclusive something that has never before been presented by any other fighter aircraft manufacturer, past or present," he said.

    Noting that there are approximately 3,000 operational F-16s flying today with 25 leading air forces, including the US Air Force, he said the demand for new production of F-16s remains strong.

    Many air forces are actively engaging with Lockheed Martin about the prospect of procuring new F-16s. We see F-16 production opportunities totaling more than 400 aircraft, including aircraft for the Indian Air Force, Mr Lall said.

    He also said that the worldwide demand for F-16 sustainment personnel, maintenance, fuel, consumables, spares, repairs, and operations totals an estimated $165 billion over the next 30 years.

    "Several hundred F-16s will remain operational through 2050 and beyond as structural and avionics modifications continually increase the capability and lethality of the F-16," he argued.

    Noting that with the 'Make in India' initiative maximising the transfer of production hardware, it's reasonable to assume India will produce F-16 hardware spares, Mr Lall said Lockheed Martin has already met with approximately 100 suppliers in India about potential F-16 opportunities.

    It is continuing to engage with those companies and many other potential Indian industry partners, he added.

    "In addition to reaching out to Indian suppliers we have not worked with before, we've also been closely engaged with our current F-16 suppliers, many of whom have extensive experience in India," he said.

    Lockheed's F-16 industry partners include GE, Terma, Honeywell, Fokker, Israeli Aerospace Industries, Elbit, UTC, Terma, Eaton, Moog, and Parker. "These are global industry leaders with international portfolios and industrial partnerships, he said.

    Hundreds of Lockheed Martin products and technologies have been successfully transferred and co-produced in India through enduring international partnerships, he said.

    Lockheed Martin has helped develop fighter industry ecosystems around the world for the F-16 and F-35, he said adding that there is incredible possibilities for Indian private industry in this regard.

    "The Lockheed Martin-Tata F-16 partnership is without equal. Only Lockheed Martin's global experience and success establishing defence ecosystems in six countries, combined with the strength and integrity of Tata, can deliver the advanced defence capabilities and industrial benefits to truly propel India's military and defence industrial base into the future," he said.

    Of the view that India's initiatives to expand defence manufacturing to private sector creates exciting opportunities for private industry, he said the F-16 provides unmatched opportunities for Indian companies of all sizes, including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and suppliers throughout India.

    "We are looking to establish enduring relationships with Indian industry win-win partnerships that will strengthen India's and America's economy and India-US strategic ties for the next half century and beyond," he said.

    On April 18, Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL), a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Lockheed Martin, inaugurated India's first-of-its-kind metal-to-metal bonding facility at Adibatla in Hyderabad.

    The new 4,700 square-meter metal-to-metal bonding facility adds a new cutting-edge capability to the Indian aerospace industry and enables TASL to use this technology across manufacturing programmes for complex aerostructures manufacturing and increased indigenisation, which directly supports the Government of India's 'Make in India' initiative, Mr Lall said.

    The new facility and capacity expansion creates new job opportunities for skilled workers in India's manufacturing sector and provide on-the-job training, which supports the Government of India's Skills India initiative, he said.

Ocean, Jungle Explosions New Risks From Hawaii Volcanic Eruption
  • Lava from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano is exploding as it pours into the ocean, shooting rock fragments that are a danger to boaters. Inland, where molten rock is burning through jungle, methane explosions are hurling boulders while toxic gas is reaching some of the highest levels seen in recent times.

    These were new risks geologists warned of on Tuesday as Kilauea's 19-day eruption showed no sign of easing, with repeated explosions at its summit and fountains of lava up to 160 feet (50 m) from giant cracks or fissures on its flank.

    Lava edged towards a geothermal power plant on Tuesday after destroying an old warehouse near the facility, County of Hawaii Civil Defense said.

    Workers at the closed Puna Geothermal Venture, which provided around 25 percent of electricity on Hawaii's Big Island, worked to cap the last of three pressurized wells to reduce the risk of an uncontrolled release of toxic gases should they be inundated by lava.
    hawaii volcano
    A lava fountain is observed from a helicopter flight over the Fissure 22 in Kilauea.

    The race at the site marked the latest challenge facing authorities during what geologists call an unprecedented, simultaneous eruption at Kilauea's summit and from giant fissures 25 miles (40 km) down its eastern side.

    "Fissures near Puna Geothermal Venture are active and producing lava slowly flowing onto the property," Civil Defense said in a statement. "This activity has destroyed the former Hawaii Geothermal Project site," it said referring to the warehouse.

    An explosive eruption at the Kilauea summit at 3:45 a.m. (9:45 a.m. EST) sent ash to a height of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) over Hawaii's Big Island, civil defense said. Communities southwest of the summit were dusted with ash, said National Weather Service meteorologist John Bravender.

    On the volcano's east flank, nearly two-dozen fissures are producing 15,000 tons a day of toxic sulfur dioxide, a level "much higher than seen in recent times," Bravender said.

    More violent phase 

    The Puna district's geothermal plant has been closed since shortly after lava began erupting on May 3 through newly opened fissures in the ground running through neighborhoods and roads in an area near the community of Pahoa.

    About 3 miles (4.8 km) to the east of the plant on the coast, noxious clouds of acid fumes, steam and fine glass-like particles billowed into the sky as lava poured into the ocean from two lava flows.

    At least 47 homes and other structures have been destroyed by nearly two dozen fissures in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, and a man was seriously injured on Saturday by flying lava. Around two thousand people have been forced to evacuate, and many others have voluntarily left their homes.

Business Affairs

Petrol, diesel prices: OMCs rake in bumper profits as common man pays through the nose
  • Even as the clamour grows for a cut in central excise duty to bring down skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices, the oil marketing companies (OMCs) seem to have got the most bang for their buck ever since the Modi government came to power. While the rise in fortune for the OMCs in the past four years was mainly on account of lower crude oil prices, the common man was left out from the party as the government had hiked tax levies on fuel on several occasions.

    A peep into the profits of these downstream companies give an idea as to how their financials have improved. Just yesterday, Indian Oil Corp, country's largest fuel retailing giant, reported 40 per cent jump in the March quarter net profit on the back of higher refining margin and inventory gains. Its net profit rose to Rs 5,218 crore in the January-March period compared with Rs 3,720.62 crore in the same quarter of the preceding fiscal year.

    While HPCL, another state-owned OMC, recorded a drop of 4 per cent in its March quarter profit, the overall FY18 net profit was highest ever for the company at Rs 6,357 crore. The profits for the financial year 2017-18 have more than double from what HPCL made in 2014-15, the same year when PM Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister.

    For Inidan Oil Corporation, India's largest company by revenue, the windfall is even more staggering. IOC's profits have jumped more than four times since FY 2015. During 2017-18, IOC's net profit was at an all time high of Rs 21,346 crore on a turnover of Rs 5.06 lakh crore.

    Though the government-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited or BPCL is yet to announce its quarterly earnings, its profit after tax had shot up to Rs 8039 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 5085 crore in 2014-15.

    A part of this bonanza could be due to the new refineries which are way more efficient. Also, with rising consumption of fuel, the volumes or the overall refining capacity of OMCs have gone up. To meet the rising demand, IOC alone is planning to invest Rs 70,000 crore to raise its oil refining capacity by about a quarter by 2030.

    Despite the astounding profits that OMCs have made in the last few years, fuel prices for consumers have gone from bad to worse. Excise duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014. After moving to daily revision of fuel prices in June last year, the government had cut basic excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre in October last year.

    However, the current situation appears bleak for oil producing firms. With global crude oil prices hovering around $80 a barrel this year, state-run upstream companies like ONGC and Oil India Ltd (OIL) are fearing a possible return of under-recovery sharing system as the Modi government looks for ways to placate fuming middle class ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

    According to Moody's Investors Service, ONGC and OIL could be asked to bear a part of government's fuel subsidy for oil, if prices stay above $60 per barrel for the fiscal year ending March 2019. The credit rating agency added that the government is unlikely to reverse fuel pricing deregulation because of its committment to reforms.

Anti-Sterlite protests claim 11 lives: All you need to know about Tuticorin stir
  • Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin is facing intense protests from the residents and environmentalist over its decision to double the capacity of its smelter from 400,000 to 800,000 tonnes per year. The protesters want the Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin shut as, they allege, it does not comply with environmental laws and dumps copper slag in river. The protesters claim that the plant is polluting ground water in their area. The agitators in Tuticorin have been going on for over 100 days but violence erupted on Tuesday after agitators went on the rampage, prompting an open fire from the police. So far, 11 people have been killed in the clash.

    Why did the police open fire?

    The state government on Tuesday said that its actions - baton charge and firing - were taken under 'unavoidable circumstances'. It claimed that about 20,000 protestors took out a procession towards the district collectorate and the copper plant with the intention of picketing them but later resorted to violence. "To bring the violence under control, under unavoidable circumstances, police had to take action. To maintain law and order additional police personnel have been sent to Tuticorin," the government said in a statement. 

    What are the environmental concerns related to the factory?

    Environmentalists say that the Sterlite Copper's Tuticorin smelter is a major source of pollution. Ever since the company started its operations, it faced various cases from environmentalists. It is also claimed that the plant poses risk to the local fishing industry. In 2013, the National Green Tribunal had shutdown the operations in Tuticorin for over two months after residents complained of emissions that led to breathing problems.

    Who is the owner of Sterlite Copper?

    Sterlite Copper is a unit of Vedanta Limited formerly known as Sesa Sterlite Limited/Sesa Goa Limited. Sterlite Copper consists of copper smelter, refinery, sulphuric acid plant, phosphoric acid plant, and copper rod plant at Tuticorin in southern India and a refinery and two Copper Rod plants at Silvassa in western India. The company operates a 400,000-tonne per annum capacity plant in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.

    What does Sterlite Copper say?

    Sterlite Copper CEO P Ramnath in an interview to Business Today said that the protestors are under the wrong impression that the plant is polluting. In fact, the plant has been operating within all the specified parameters for the last several years, he said. "It is currently shut down as it is under regular maintenance. So, all the more, there was no reason for them to start this and there was no immediate trigger also since the plant was shut down for maintenance. Therefore clearly, they were incited into this by nefarious elements," Ramnath added.

    What is the current status of Sterlite Copper's Tuticorin plant?

    Sterlite Copper factory in Tuticorin district is currently non-functional and the company is awaiting approval from the authorities to resume operations at the site. The facility has been shut since March 27 when the company took up annual scheduled maintenance. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has rejected the company's application to renew the licence to operate the plant beyond March, 2018.

    How will the shutdown of plant affect the industry?

    The shutdown of the plant since April will cost dearly as it accounts for nearly 35 per cent of primary copper consumed within the country. Prices will rise and shortfall will have to be met with imports.

    What next?

    The Madras High Court today stayed the expansion plan of Sterlite Copper and ordered the company to stop construction of a new smelter with immediate effect. The Court further said that the application for renewal of environment clearance for copper smelter plant-2 project shall be decided by the competent authority on or before 23 September. In a separate development, the Central government has asked the state government to give the details of the incident at Tuticorin.

OYO checks into China, opens 8 hotels in Shenzhen: report
  • Much has been said about Chinese companies looking at India as the Promised Land and rapidly gaining a footprint in the country. But over the past two years, it is slowly turning into a two-way street with Indian startups like InMobi, Patanjali, Pocket Aces and more foraying into the world's second-largest economy.

    The latest to join this bandwagon is online hotel aggregator OYO. Citing sources The Economic Times said that OYO has launched its services in Shenzhen, one of the busiest and fastest growing container ports in the world, with eight hotels boasting a room count of around 400. The Gurugram-based firm has reportedly also hired 60-70 employees to run its China operations in the country, and the the number of hotels as well as the headcount are likely to go up "substantially" over the next few months.

    To remind you, last September, OYO has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding ("MoU") with the China Lodging Group to facilitate and strengthen collaboration in order to build a global market leading hospitality business. Under the MoU, both parties were to explore opportunities for mutual collaboration in various fields like knowledge and technology sharing, strategic alliances - including but not limited to local sourcing and procurement and joint loyalty programs - and investments. To start off, the leading Chinese multi-brand hotel group had made a $10 million equity investment in OYO to become a minority shareholder (less than 5 per cent), just a week after the latter raised $250 million in a round led by Japan's SoftBank.

    "We are very excited about this partnership - both in terms of potential opportunities and existing synergies through our complementary strengths and capabilities," OYO founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal had said at the time, adding "Addressing consumers in India and China - two of the world's fastest-growing markets - through our combined strengths opens up a very large and significant growth opportunity."

    This latest move by OYO seems to be proof of that. However, the daily maintained that China Lodging Group's involvement is still unclear. What's clear is the big bet OYO has placed on foraying east. It has also launched operations in Indonesia's capital Jakarta with three hotels, after previously setting up a presence in Malaysia and Nepal through its brands OYO Rooms, OYO Townhouse and OYO Home. That's not to say that OYO is not looking West. Next on the cards is United Arab Emirates. The five-year-old company is reportedly slated to begin operations in Dubai next month.

    The aggressive global expansion is matched by OYO's domestic game plan. "Our target is to grow from 70,000 keys to 1,80,000 keys by December next year," Agarwal had said last December. In other words, the company is targeting a 157 per cent jump in its hotel rooms in the country. Its network currently spans over 230 Indian cities. In March this year, in order to broaden its portfolio and proceed towards the stated target, OYO also notched up its first major acquisition, Chennai-based service apartment company Novascotia Boutique Homes. The latter is now known as OYO Silverkey.

    OYO is also fast moving towards turning profitable. In December, the company had claimed that it had narrowed its losses by 27 per cent to Rs 363.7 crore in 2016-17, mainly on account of a high degree of operating leverage in the business model.

Railways jobs! Over 9,000 vacancies; applications open in June
  • Indian Railways has invited applications for over 9,739 jobs of constables and sub-inspectors in Railway Protection Force and Railway Protection Special Force. Of total 9,739 vacancies, 8,619 posts are for constables while 1,120 for sub-inspectors. The Railways will recruit total 4,403 male candidates and 4,216 female candidates as constables, while 819 male candidates and 301 female candidates as sub-inspectors.

    "Indian Railways releases more than 9,000 jobs for Constable and Sub Inspector posts in Railway Protection Force and Railway Protection Special Force, opening up new opportunities for youth (sic)," tweeted Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

    The online application will start on June 1 and will go on till June 30. The last date to make online fee payment is July 2 while offline the fee can be submitted until July 5. Total 10 per cent of the combined vacancies of male and female in each group are reserved for ex-servicemen (ESM). The Railways said the vacancies remaining unfilled in the ESM and female categories would be filled up by the male candidate.

    Eligibility criteria

    For the post of constables (executive), candidates should have passed Class 10 from a recognised board while their age should be between 18 and 25. Those applying for sub-inspectors posts must have completed graduation and their age should be within the 20-25 years age group. Those awaiting results of the final examination of the prescribed educational qualification should not apply, says the railway website.

    There's also a provision for relaxation of five years and three years in the upper age limit for SC/ST and OBC (non-creamy layer) candidates. No age relaxation is allowed to SC/ST/OBC-Non-creamy Layer (NCL) candidates applying against unreserved vacancies.

    Application fee

    For general category candidates, the application fee is Rs 500, while it is Rs 400 for those belonging to SC/ST, the ex-serviceman, female, minorities, and economically backward class.

    In case of general category, Rs 400 will be refunded by deducting bank charges on appearing in a computer-based test (CBT), while the fee of Rs 250 will be refunded in case of other categories on appearing in CBT, the railways said.

    Salary package and where to apply

    After clearing the physical criteria and the CBT, the selected candidates will be eligible for the salary given under Level 3 of 7th Central Pay Commission Pay matrix. The registration details for the posts of constables and sub-inspectors in RPF and RPSF are available on constable.rpfonlinereg.org and si.rpfonlinereg.org, respectively.

Sensex falls 306 points, Nifty at 10,430; oil stocks end lower on likely burden of petrol, diesel price cut
  • The Sensex and Nifty closed lower today dragged by energy stocks such as Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) on rising concern that the government may ask state-owned oil firms to share the burden of higher petrol and diesel prices.

    The broader NSE Nifty closed 1.01 percent or 106 points lower at 10,430.35, while the benchmark BSE Sensex fell 0.88 percent or 306 points to 34,344.91. Both the indexes fell over 1 percent in the last hour of trading.
    SBI (3.56%) was the top Sensex gainer after the bank said worse of the bad loan situation was over in Q4 during its earnings announcement yesterday. 

     NTPC (0.82%) and L&T (0.55%) were the other Sensex gainers.

    Tata Steel (6.57%) , ONGC (4.75%) and Dr Reddy's (2.92%) were the top Sensex losers.

    Vedanta fell 6.23 percent to its lowest close since June 30, 2017, after a court halted the proposed expansion of Vedanta Resources Plc's copper smelter in Tamil Nadu. On Tuesday, 11 people were killed when police fired on protesters seeking closure of the plant on environmental grounds.

    Metal stocks were the top losers with the BSE metal index falling 3.93% or 534 points to 13,076 level.

    Oil and gas index was the second leading loser on BSE falling 3.45% or 491 points to 13,762 level after the government was said to be considering a decision to cut petrol and diesel prices which have hit all-time highs post Karnataka election results on rising brent crude prices.

    Drug firm Dr Reddy's Laboratories on Tuesday reported a 3.29 per cent fall in its consolidated net profit to Rs 302.2 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2018, mainly on account of continuing headwinds in the US.
    The company had posted a net profit of Rs 312.5 crore for the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, Dr Reddy's Laboratories said in a filing.
    Market breadth was negative with 1110 stocks closing higher against 1544 stocks ending lower on BSE. 123 stocks were unchanged. 

    Global markets
    Shares were mostly lower in Europe and Asia on Wednesday after President Donald Trump raised doubts that a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un planned for June 12 will take place as planned.
    France's CAC 40 dipped in early trading, down 1.2 percent to 5,573.71, while Germany's DAX slipped 1.4 percent to 12,983.87. Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.6 percent lower to 7,832.24. US shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.6 percent at 24,686. S&P 500 futures shed 0.7 percent to 2,706.70.

    Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 1.2 percent to finish at 22,689.74, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent at 6,032.50. South Korea's Kospi gained nearly 0.3 percent to 2,471.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.8 percent to 30,665.64, while the Shanghai Composite index shed 1.4 percent to 3,168.96.

    General Awareness

    Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT)
    • Context: The National Institute of Educational Research and Planning (NIEPA) is in the process of rolling out the National Resource centre, an initiative that is part of the Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT).

      About the National Resource Centre:

      The National Resource Centre is envisaged as a one-stop point for Indian academicians to enhance their research and teaching skills.
      The centre will enable college and university teachers to access a detailed database of academic resources, including lists of books, top journals and subject experts in their area of interest.
      It will also suggest a mechanism to higher education institutions to assess students’ satisfaction with teaching and research in the institutions, so that the faculty are able to figure out what students think about their college/university and make improvements.

      About PMMMNMTT:

      Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) is a Scheme launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

      The aim of the scheme to improve the quality of school and higher education by addressing comprehensively all issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation, professional development, Curriculum Design, Designing and Developing Assessment & Evaluation methodology, Research in Pedagogy and developing effective Pedagogy.

      The Mission proposes to have following components:

      Schools of Education (in Central Universities).
      Centres of Excellence for Curriculum and Pedagogy.
      Inter-University Centres for Teachers’ Education.
      National Resource Centre for Education.
      Centres for Academic Leadership and Education Management.
      Innovations, Awards, Teaching Resource Grant, including Workshop & Seminar, Subject Networks for Curricular Renewal and Reforms.

      What’s important?

      For Prelims: National Resource Centre and PMMMNMTT.
      For Mains: Need for cooperation among higher education institutions and its significance.

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