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PIONEER CURRENT AFFAIRS

PIONEER CURRENT AFFAIRS

  1. Microsoft appoints Sriram Rajamani as MD of India Research Lab.

Microsoft on 11 August 2016 announced the appointment of Sriram Rajamani as the new Managing Director (MD) of its India Research Lab.

The appointment is effective from 1 August 2016.

Rajamani replaced Chandu Thekkath, who previously worked as Managing Director of the lab for two years.

Who is Sriram Rajamani?

  • Rajamani is a renowned computer scientist.
  • He holds a proven research and managerial track record spanning 17 years in Microsoft’s research organisation.
  • He has expertise in programming language design, security and privacy, cloud security and probabilistic programming.
  • Prior to joining the India lab, he headed the software productivity tools group within Microsoft’s Redmond research lab.
  • He is a PhD holder in Computer science from University of California.

August CA eBook

About Microsoft Research Lab India

  • Microsoft Research Lab India was founded in January 2005.
  • It is located in Bengaluru.
  • The lab conducts long-term basic and applied research in different areas, such as cryptography, security, and algorithms etc.
  • Microsoft Research India also collaborates extensively with research institutions and universities in India and abroad to support scientific progress and innovation.

 

  1. Assam becomes first state to ratify The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014.

The Assam Assembly on 12 August 2016 passed a resolution to become the first state to ratify The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 8 August 2016 and by the Rajya Sabha on 3 August 2016.

Provisions of the Bill

  • The GST will have two components keeping in mind the federal structure of India: the Central GST (CGST) and the State GST (SGST).
  • For goods and services that pass through several states, or imports, the Centre will levy another tax, the Integrated GST (IGST).
  • Alcohol for human consumption has been kept out of the purview of GST.
  • It empowers the centre to impose an additional tax of up to 1% on the inter-state supply of goods for two years or more. This tax will accrue to states from where the supply originates.
  • Initially, GST will not apply to (a) petroleum crude, (b) high speed diesel, (c) motor spirit (petrol), (d) natural gas and (e) aviation turbine fuel. The GST Council will decide when GST will be levied on them.
  • Tobacco and tobacco products will be subject to GST. The centre may also impose excise duty on tobacco.
  • Parliament may provide for compensation to states for revenue losses arising out of the implementation of GST for up to 5 years, based on the recommendations of the GST Council.
  1. CCEA approves proposal of R&D project for development of AUSC Technology for Thermal Power Plants.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 10 August 2016 approved a proposal of research and development (R&D) project for development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) Technology for Thermal Power Plants.

The estimated cost of the project is 1554 crore rupees. BHEL will be provided one time budgetary support of 900 crore rupees spread over a period of three years for implementation of the project.

Key Facts

  • This will enable domestic industries to design, manufacture and commission higher efficiency coal fired power plants with indigenously developed technology and manufacturing processes.
  • This will be the first time that large power plant equipment will be manufactured with advanced technologies, but without any technological Collaboration and Licensing Agreement with foreign companies.

Environmental Benefit

  • The technology will help in reduction of CO2 emission at source combined with 20% saving in coal consumption compared to a sub-critical plant. At present, the power generation from coal contributes to about 38% of CO2 pollution in the atmosphere.

Consortium of Proposal for AUSC technology

A Consortium of three Government Entities proposed a R&D project for development of AUSC Technology for Thermal Power Plants of future, envisaging reduced coal consumption as well as Carbon Di-Oxide (CO2) emission. The three entities and their contribution includes

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) – 270 crore rupees
  • Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research (IGCAR) – 234 crore crore rupees
  • National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) – 50 crore rupees

Department of Science and Technology (DST) is the fourth contributor and it will invest 100 crore rupees in the project.  Balance amount of 900 crore rupees will be contributed by Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) as grant.

  1. HUPA approves construction of over 37000 houses for urban poor.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) on 11 August 2016 approved construction of 37013 houses for the urban poor in Karnataka and Haryana with an investment of 1491 crore rupees.

These houses will be developed with central assistance of 569 crore rupees.

The project was approved by the inter-ministerial Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee, chaired by HUPA Secretary Nandita Mukherjee.

The total investment in construction of these houses would be to the tune of about 1491 crore rupees.

City-wise details of houses to be built are:

Karnataka: 36254 houses for the economically weaker sections would be constructed in Karnataka with an investment of 1468 crore rupees.

12371 dwelling units will be constructed in eight cities, namely Gadag-3630, Bengaluru (Basavangudi)-1699, Bidar-1500, Mysuru-1355, Bellary-1188, Raichur-1050, Vijaypura-1028, Padmanabhanagar (Bengaluru)-895 and Bagalkot-784.

These units will be constructed under Affordable Housing in Partnership component of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) for rehabilitation of slum dwellers.

Another 23883 houses will be built in 207 cities and towns in Karnataka for urban poor under the Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban). Union government will provide a total assistance of 558 crore rupees for construction of these houses for urban poor in Karnataka.

Haryana: 759 houses would be built in Haryana at a cost of 23 crore rupees. It will be developed in 11 slum colonies of Yamunanagar-Jagadhari under Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban) at a total cost of 23 crore rupees. Central government will provide an assistance of 11 croroe rupees in this regard.

Slums to benefit from construction of these houses are in Harinagar, Lajpat Nagar, Mishra colony, Mukherjee Park, Tirath Nagar, Madhuban colony, Bhagirath colony, Jammu colony, Hamida colony and Burla colony.

  1. Legendary Pakistani cricketer Hanif Mohammad passes away.

Hanif Mohammad, the original ‘Little Master,’ passed away on 11 August 2016 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was 81.

Hanif was diagnosed with the cancer in 2013, for which he received treatment in London.

About Hanif Mohammad

  • Born on 21 December 1934, Hanif Mohammad was a Pakistani cricketer.
  • He played for the Pakistani cricket team in 55 Test matches between 1952–1953 and 1969–1970.
  • At his peak, he was considered one of the best batsmen in the world.
  • He played at a time when there was very little Test cricket being played by Pakistan, with just 55 Test matches in a career spanning 17 years.
  • He was trained by Abdul Aziz, an Afghan cricket player, who had earlier played in Ranji Trophy for Jamnagar.
  • The highest of Hanif’s Test centuries was a famous 337 made against West Indies in a six-day test at Bridgetown in 1957/58. It remains the longest innings in Test history.
  • He is known to have played the slowest test innings when he scored 20 off 223 balls at a strike rate of 8.968
  • He was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968.
  • In January 2009, he was named along with two other Pakistani players, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, among the inaugural batch of 55 inductees into the ICC’s Hall of Fame.

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