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Current Affairs: 30th April 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by May 1st, 2015

1- India ranks 13th in generating electricity from nuclear source

India ranks 13th in generating electricity from nuclear sourceIndia ranks at 13th position in the world in terms of generation electricity from nuclear source. This information was given by Minister of State (MoS) Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply in the Rajya Sabha to an unstarred question.

As per the written reply

  • The ranking was based upon the data published by Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2014.
  • India’s current installed nuclear power capacity is 5780 MW. It is expected to increase to 10080 MW by 2019 on progressive completion of projects.
  • Union Government also has accorded sanction for two more projects with a total capacity of 3400 MW.
  • In future more nuclear power projects based both on indigenous technologies and with international cooperation are planned.
  • The total requirement of nuclear fuel i.e. natural uranium is over 5 five years is estimated to be around 5,940 tons.

It should be noted that India ranks 13th among the thirty one countries in the world which are generating electricity from nuclear source.

2- India, Japan ink action agenda to boost trade, investment

India, Japan ink action agenda to boost trade, investmentIndia and Japan have signed a Five-point action agenda to increase bilateral trade and investment between the two nations.

The action agenda was signed between Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa and Minister of State (independent charge) for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

The five-point agenda includes

  • Development of selected townships in India as Japanese industrial townships.
  • Promotion of investment and infrastructure development.
  • Further development and cooperation in IT sector.
  • Enhancing cooperation in strategic sectors.
  • Asia-Pacific economic integration.

This five-point action agenda is a follow-up of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in 2014 and will play important role in improving the trade relationship between India and Japan.

It also comes in line with Union Government’s flagship Make in India programme as it will further increase investments from Japan into the India’s manufacturing sector.

It should be noted that Japan is the fourth largest foreign direct investment (FDI) contributor to India. It’s major FDI interests is in automobiles, pharmaceuticals and services sectors which accounts for 7.46 per cent of total FDI equity inflows into India.

3- Union Government extends e-Tourist Visa scheme to 31 more countries

Union Government extends e-Tourist Visa scheme to 31 more countriesUnion Government has extended e-Tourist Visa scheme to 31 more countries with an effect from 31 May 2015.

In this regard, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a notification. With this the total number of countries under the scheme has gone up to 76.

The 31 countries are: Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Bahamas, Bolivia, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Cayman Island, Dominic an Republic, Dominica, Estonia, El Salvador, Ecuador, France, Grenada, Georgia, Haiti, Honduras,Vatican, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia,  Montenegro, Macedonia, Nicaragua,  Montserrat, St.Kitts & Nevis Paraguay, and Seychelles.

Background

India had launched e-Tourist Visa Scheme (as Tourist Visa on Arrival scheme) in November 2014. Initially during the launch only 45 countries were under ambit of the scheme.

Later in the phased manner, the scheme was extended to more countries. By the end of current financial year Government intends to extend the scheme to 150 countries.

4- Flipkart acquires mobile marketing firm Appiterate

Flipkart acquires mobile marketing firm AppiterateOnline marketplace Flipkart has acquired mobile marketing start-up Appiterate in order to strengthen its mobile platform.

The financial details of the acquisition deal were not disclosed. This acquisition comes in line with Flipkart’s ‘Mobile First’ focus which aims to increase its presence in the area of mobile technology.

Now the Appiterate’s mobile marketing automation platform will be integrated with Flipkart’s mobile app, in order to target it users base on their activity based on the app and website.

Tanuj Mendiratta is Co-founder & CEO of Appiterate and was founded in 2013. Its unique technology helps to validate new design or changes to an element on a webpage to improve the sales (conversion rate).

In the past, Appiterate had helped leading e-commerce firms to combine the power of mobile apps and big data. Its technology also had allowed the e-commerce firms to do one-on-one targeting of users though push notifications and in-app messages.

As a startup company, it has raised money from institutional investors like SAIF Partners and angel investors such as Greg Badros who was ex-VP of Product and Engineering at Facebook.

5- PropTiger.com acquires its rival Makaan.com

PropTiger.com acquires its rival Makaan.comReal estate portal PropTiger.com has acquired its rival Makaan.com to ramp up its presence in India’s secondary property market. After the acquisition both portals will run separately.

In this regard, Elara Technologies parent firm of PropTiger.com has entered into a transaction for an undisclosed amount with Makaan.com.

This acquisition will help PropTiger.com to create a comprehensive online real-estate platform in India which will offer end-to-end services to real estate developers, home buyers, property brokers, private equity investors and banks.

PropTiger is Noida-based firm founded in February 2011. It is backed by media magnate Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp. The News Corp had had acquired 25% stake in PropTiger as part of its strategy to expand presence in digital media.

Since 2011, through PropTiger’s platform around 12,000 homes worth $1.2 billion have been purchased.

While, Makaan.com was founded by entrepreneur and investor Anupam Mittal within People Group whose other digital ventures include Mauj Mobile and Shaadi.com.

Currently, it has around 200,000 active property listings in 50 Indian cities and relationships with 40,000 brokers.

6- Three super-Earths orbiting nearby star discovered

Three super-Earths orbiting nearby star discoveredScientists have discovered three planets orbiting a nearby star named HD 7924 that is only 54 light-years away.

These planets were discovered by Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope located at Lick Observatory in California and W M Keck Observatory, Hawaii.

They were traced out using the Doppler technique and the APT made crucial measurements of the brightness of HD 7924 to assure the validity of the planet discoveries.

Each of the discovered planets has mass 7 to 8 times that of Earth and complete their orbit’s in just 5, 15, and 24 days around HD 7924.

The first evidence of planets orbiting HD 7924 was found by the Keck Observatory in 2009 using the HIRES instrument installed on the 10-meter Keck I telescope.

Two additional planets orbiting HD 7924 were later discovered by Keck Observatory after additional observations and the campaign by the APF Telescope.

7- Veteran Marathi film and stage actress Bimba Modak passes away

Eminent Marathi film and stage actress, Shanta alias Bimba Modak of yesteryear passed away on 28 April 2015 in Pune. She was 97.

Modak, had entered into the film industry during the time when it was considered as taboo for women to work in cinema.

Her debut film was Chul aani Mul in 1946, which was directed by noted playwright and writer Vishram Bedekar.

Around the same time, she had earned a wide acclaim in both the art streams after she also had acted in her first role on the Marathi stage in Bhavabandhan. Some of her best films included In Min Sadetin and Un Paus.

She also had learned Natyasangeet from legendary Bal Gandharva’s musicals and had acted in the plays like Swayamwar, Manapaman and Saubhadra which had held sway over Marathi audience with their content based on mythology and classical music.

Awards: For her versatile acting talent, Maharashtra government had honoured her with lifetime award in 1980.

8- Dr. Pramod Patil and Dr. Ananda Kumar won 2015 Whitley Awards for wildlife conservation

Dr. Pramod Patil and Dr. Ananda Kumar won 2015 Whitley Awards for wildlife conservationTwo Indians, Dr. Pramod Patil and Dr Ananda Kumar have been awarded with the prestigious 2015 Whitley Awards for their contribution to wildlife conservation in developing countries.

Both of them received a Whitley prize worth 35000 pound along with seven other environmentalists at a ceremony in Royal Geographical Society, London.

Dr. Pramod Patil was awarded for his work to protect the iconic great Indian bustard (GIB) in the Thar Desert.

While, Dr Ananda Kumar received this award for developing innovative communication systems namely Elephant Information Network (EIN) has enabled human-elephant coexistence in southern India.

About Whitley Award

  • The Whitley Award was established in 1994 by Edward Whitley and given by the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN).
  • Every year, the award recognises and celebrates effective national and regional conservation leaders across the globe.
  • The award is also dubbed as Green Oscar.

9- Union Cabinet gives nod to amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its nod to amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988 by pursuing the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013.

The proposed amendments in the bill to amend parent Act mainly aim at laying down more stringent measures to tackle corruption.

It also seeks to fill in the perceived gaps in the domestic anti-corruption law as per the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

Key Amendments

  • Proposes more stringent punishment for the offences of bribery, both for the bribe giver and the bribe taker.
  • Enhances punishment from the minimum 6 months to 3 years and from the maximum five years to seven years.
  • Extends the protection of prior sanction for prosecution to public servants who cease to hold office due to retirement and resignation.
  • Non-monetary gratification is also be covered within the definition of the word gratification in the PCA 1988.

Background

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in August 2013. But the Bill was not passed in Rajya Sabha.

The amendment Bill incorporates the recommendations given by the 20th Law Commission headed by Justice (retd) AP Shah in its 254th Report in order to bring anti-corruption law in line with the UNCAC.

10- Seychelles becomes 161st member of World Trade Organisation

Seychelles becomes 161st member of World Trade OrganisationSeychelles, an archipelago of 90000 inhabitants became the 161st member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is one of the smallest nations among the WTO members.

This approval by WTO ended Seychelles 20-year long wait to become a member of WTO since it had applied for WTO membership in May 1995.

Seychelles also became the 33rd government to accede to the rules-based multilateral trading system through Article XII negotiations since the WTO was established in 1995.

The President of Seychelles, James Michel had signed the legal instrument for the island nation to the WTO on March 25, 2015 a day after the accession protocol was ratified by the Seychelles National Assembly.

As per the WTO rules, the 30-day countdown to its WTO membership was activated on March 27, 2015 and Seychelles officially became a WTO member on April 26, 2015.

It should be noted that the Protocol of Accession was signed by former Seychelles’ Minister of Trade, Finance and Investment Pierre Laporte and WTO Director General (DG) Roberto Azevedo.

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#Current Affairs  JANUARY , FEBRUARY ,  MARCH – Date-wise  |  2015

 

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