1. Bankruptcy Bill passed in Lok Sabha
i. The Lok Sabha has passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill 2016, which is seen as a “transformational” legislation that will help to improve India’s ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index.
ii. It aims to defuse the crisis of the looming bad loans in the banking sector and also to cover individuals, companies, and partnership firms.
iii. The bill proposes setting up of an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Fund.
2. Railway minister launches new train services for J&K
i. Railway Minister of India Suresh Prabhu remotely flagged off two new train services for Jammu and Kashmir from the Rail Bhawan in New Delhi.
ii. These trains will ply on the Banihal-Baramulla-Budgam route.
iii. The rail line in the Kashmir Valley was constructed in a phased programme with the Railway gradually commissioning rail sections in different stages. The rail-link from Banihal to Katra, connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, is expected to be completed by 2020.
3. Andhra Pradesh Harita-Priya Agriculture Project wins 2016 WSIS Prize
i. Harita-Priya Agriculture Project of Andhra Pradesh has won the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2016 prize in the e-Agriculture category.
ii. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary-General Houlin Zhao announced the prize in Geneva. The project is developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in Anantpur district, Hyderabad.
iii. Harita-Priya (Harmonized Information of Agriculture, Revenue and Irrigation for a Transformation Agenda – Precision Technology for Agriculture) project is meant to collect very specific climate data from farms and give farmers personalized information through SMS. The data is used to create advisories and alerts on irrigation schedules and pests and plant diseases.
4. Cabinet apprised IT agreement between India and Qatar
i. The Union Cabinet has apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Qatar for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information Communication Technology (ICT).
ii. The Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi has taken the decision on this cooperation. Earlier, in March, 2015, both the countries has signed this MoU than later ratified by both the countries on 1st January, 2016 and 12th January, 2016 respectively.
iii. The MoU covers, active cooperation and exchanges between the private entities, capacity building institutions, Governments and other public organisations in the field of Telecom and IT.
5. SBI launches card-less payment solution for offline transactions
i. The country's largest bank, State Bank Of India has launched a mobile payment solution that will enable customers to make digital payments at offline stores by scanning a QR (quick response) code on their smartphones at merchant outlets.
ii. Private lenders ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have already introduced the mVisa application for their customers.
iii. The service is launched in Bangaluru with a sizable number of merchants and will soon expand into other cities. The service will be available to all SBI credit card, debit card and net banking users. The Bank customers can simply download the latest version of SBI Anywhere application from Google Play Store.
6. ICICI first Indian bank to partner with New Development Bank
i. The largest private sector bank of India, ICICI bank has become the first financial institution in the country to tie up with the New Development Bank to explore opportunities around bond issuance, co-financing, treasury management and human resources.
ii. The decision to consider each other as preferred partner to work in the aforementioned areas has been taken by the head of New Development Bank, Mr. K V Kamath.
ii. This MoU would help NDB in exploring bond issuance opportunities in the Indian and international bond markets, particularly in rupee-denominated bonds.
7. Snapdeal acquires TargetingMantra
i. E-commerce marketplace Snapdeal has acquired Gurgaon-based predictive marketing technology startup TargetingMantra for an undisclosed amount.
ii. The startup company is founded by Saurabh Nangia and Rahul Singh in March 2013 which helps manage customer life cycle through personalization, targeting and big data analytics.
iii. In 2014, TargetingMantra raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by 500 Startups and others.
8. Zimbabwe to print own version of US dollar
i. Zimbabwe is all set to introduce its own version of US dollars in order to ease a cash shortage in the country.
ii. The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya has stated that the bank will introduce the note of $2, $5, $10, and $20, which will hold the same value as their US dollar counterparts.
iii. Earlier in 2009, Zimbabwe introduced the US dollar after ditching its own currency following sustained hyperinflation. Since then Zimbabweans have been using the dollar. The new notes will come in circulation within the next two months.
9. Google partners Idea for direct carrier billing
i. Google has entered into a partnership with telecommunications major Idea Cellular to offer direct carrier billing in India.
ii. Idea users would now be able to make purchases on Google Play Store directly through their postpaid and prepaid accounts.
iii. Costs for the same will be charged through monthly bills and phone balance respectively.
10. Indian professor wins Commonwealth short story regional prize
i. Indian author and Social Science professor from India Prashar Kulkarni has won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for 2016, in the Asia region for his "politically grounded, funny" fiction ‘Cow and Company’ about four men in search of a cow.
ii. The short story was adjudged the ‘best piece of unpublished short fiction in English’ from Asia and will receive 2500 pounds prize.
iii. Now Mr. Kulkarni will complete with winners from other four regions- Africa, Cananda and Europe, Carribbean and the Pacific for the 5000 pounds grand prize. The prize for this will be announced at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica in June 2016.
11. Sudhir Yadav Is New Tihar Director-General
i. Sudhir Yadav, the 1985 batch IPS officer of the Delhi police, was appointed as the new Director-General (DG) of Tihar.
ii. An order issued by the Lt Governor announced Yadav's appointment as the next DG of Tihar.
iii. Earlier, he served as Special Commissioner of the Delhi police. Yadav had earlier served as DGP of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2013. Earlier, the government had appointed JK Sharma as new DG of Tihar on April 19, but the order was nullified as the government had not sought prior approval of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung before the appointment.
12. Kumar Rajesh Chandra Appointed Aviation Security Wing Chief
i. Senior IPS officer Kumar Rajesh Chandra has appointed as chief of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the aviation security wing of the government, over 3 years after the post fell vacant.
ii. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the name of Chandra, a 1985 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre, for appointment to the post of Director General (formerly known as Commissioner of Security Civil Aviation) in the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training.
iii. He has been appointed in the place of IPS officer G S Malhi, who had completed his tenure as BCAS chief in November 2012. The crucial post was lying vacant since then.
13. Musician Angelique Kidjo honoured with Amnesty International top human rights award
i. Renowned musician Angelique Kidjo along with three inspirational African youth activist movements have been declared the joint winners of the prestigious Amnesty International top 2016 human rights award.
ii. The award will be shared between the singer and the activist groups Y’en a marre from Senegal, le Balai Citoyen from Burkina Faso and Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) from DRC. All will be honoured at the awards ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, on 28 May.
iii. Last year it was awarded to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and American singer-songwriter Joan Baez.
14. Rohit Sharma unveils India's first sports expo
i. Indian batsman Rohit Sharma has inaugurated India's first sports expo in Pune.
ii. It is the first sports expo being held in the country organised by city-based Steps Sports Entertainment Private Limited and will be open for public till May 8.
iii. It is organised to showcase various products and modern technologies for fitness and sports by Indian as well as multinational brands.
15. India finish fourth in junior shooting World Cup
i. The Indian squad ended their campaign at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Cup with a creditable fourth place finish in the medal’s table.
ii. The Indian juniors had an overall tally of three gold, four silver and three bronze medals in the competition which ended on Thursday.
iii. Italy topped the medals tally with seven gold, four silver and one bronze in their kitty. Russia were second with five gold, six silver and nine bronze while Germany finished third with five gold, three silver and three bronze medals. A total of 585 shooters from 48 countries participated in the event, but only 24 countries made it to the medals table.