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Daily GK Updates 21st February, 2016

Daily GK Updates 21st February, 2016:

MP, Rajasthan set up SPV for implementation of Smart City Plans
i. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Government have set up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) for the implementation of Smart City Plans. 
ii. SPVs have been set up for five cities – Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan.
iii. These cities are among the first batch of 20 winners of Smart City Challenge Competition held by the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The Ministry will release 200 crore rupees for each of the 20 selected cities only after SPVs are set up. 

Smart Cities Project 
The Smart Cities mission is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that seeks to improve infrastructure and service delivery of selected cities through application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and e-governance. Urban local Bodies (ULBs) and State Governments will play a key supportive role in the development of Smart Cities. 

Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) 
  • SPVs must be registered under the Companies Act, 2013 to ensure timely, cost-effective and efficient execution of smart city projects with operational freedom. 
  • They will ensure that the qualities of the outcomes of these smart city projects are benchmarked against global standards. 
  • SPVs shall have 50:50 equity that will held by the states and respective urban local bodies. Private equity is also allowed but the management control will rest with the Governments only. SPVs will be headed by a CEO and shall approve, sanction and execute the projects besides mobilizing resources from various sources.  

Swachh Himachal Padhai bhi, Safai bhi campaign launched 
i. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) has launched ‘Swachh Himachal – Padhai bhi, Safai bhi’ campaign in Dharamsala. 
ii. With this unique campaign, HPCA became the first cricket association in the country to work towards Swatch Bharat Abhiyan initiated by the Union Government. 

Key facts 
  • The campaign aims at involving youth to promote good health and sanitation in urban and rural areas in the Himalayan state. Its objective is to showcase Himachal’s beauty as India’s cleanest and greenest state.
  • Under it, the sport of cricket will be linked with Swatch Bharat Abhiyan and youth’s will be termed as Swatch Captain and teachers as Swatch Coach. 
  • They will start cleanliness drive with the help of students from universities, educational institutes and then in their local neighborhood.

India, Nepal ink seven Agreements 
i. India and Nepal have signed seven agreements for cooperation in various fields. 
ii. These agreements were signed at a summit meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli in New Delhi. 
iii. This is first official foreign visit of K.P. Sharma Oli after he became Prime Minister of Nepal. 

Signed Agreements are 
  • MoU on Post-earthquake reconstruction assistance: It deals with utilization of US 250 million dollars Grant component India’s Assistance package for Post-earthquake reconstruction assistance of Nepal. 
  • MoU on strengthening of road infrastructure in Nepal: It will enable speedy implementation of remaining work on 17 Roads in Terai area of Nepal. 
  • MoU in the field of performing arts: Singed between Nepal Academy of Music and Drama and Sangeet Natak Academy. It aims to enhance relations in the field of performing arts between both countries. 
  • Letters of Exchange on Transit Routes: (i) Operationalization of Vishakhapatnam Port. (ii) Transit between Nepal and Bangladesh through Kakarbitta-Banglabandh corridor. 
  • Letters of Exchange on Rail Transport: (i) Rail transit facility through Singhabad for Nepal’s Trade with Bangladesh. (ii) Rail transport to and from Vishakhapatnam. 
  • Inauguration of Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar transmission line: Initial supply of 80 MW from Nepal to India. It will be later augmented to 200 MW by October 2016 and 600 MW by December 2017. 
  • Establishment of Eminent Persons Group (EPG): It will comprise 8 members with each country nominating 4 members. Its mandate would be to review bilateral relations and recommend measures including institutional frameworks in order to enhance bilateral ties.

Vibrant North East event concludes in Guwahati 
i. The three-day long Vibrant North East event concluded in Guwahati, Assam. 
ii. It was inaugurated on 18 February 2016 by Union Minister Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur. 
iii. It was the second edition of the event jointly organized by the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) and ASSOCHAM. 

Key facts 
  • Vibrant North East was organised in association with Union Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and Union Food Processing Ministry.
  • Rural banking, Make in North East and Horticulture and food processing etc. were the key areas of Vibrant North East. 
  • The event severed as a common powerful platform for the developmental projects and initiatives in the Northeast India. 
  • Around 500 young farmers had undergone an orientation course at the expo. Seminars, business meet and exhibitions were also organized during the event. Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP), ISRO, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) also had participated in exhibition.

Faustin Archange Touadera wins 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic 
i. Faustin Archange Touadera has won the 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic (CAR) held on 14 February 2016. 
ii. He had contested as an independent candidate in this election and secured 62.7 percent or 695,000 valid votes.
iii. He defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent or 413,000 votes.
iv. Faustin Archange Touadera is well-respected former mathematics professor. He had served as former Prime Minister of ex-president Francois Bozize from January 2008 to January 2013. 
v. Central African Republic is one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries. In early 2013, it had suffered the worst crisis in its history when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters in a coup had toppled President Francois Bozize.

ISRO successfully test cryogenic engine of GSLV Mark 3 rocket 
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted hotbed test of the indigenously developed high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) of the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM3) rocket for the upper stage. 
ii. The long-duration test was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu and lasted for 640 seconds. It  was conducted with Mixture Ratio Controller (MRC) in a closed loop mode. 

Key facts 
  • The CE20 uses Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants and generates power of approximately 2 MW. 
  • It has been developed indigenously by Mahendragiri based Liquid Propulsion System centre (LPSC). 

Earlier Tests 
CE20 engine already has undergone two short-duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance. In 2015, the first developmental engine completed different hot tests in various operating regimes. In the next the engine will be vacuum tested in the high altitude test facility as part of the flight acceptance test.

Five hot Jupiter like planets discovered 
i. Scientists have discovered five new Jupiter-like planets that are similar in characteristics to our solar system’s biggest planet. 
ii. The newly discovered planets were designated as WASP-119 b, WASP-124 b, WASP-126 b, WASP-129 b and WASP-133 b. They orbit very close to their host stars and hot compared to Jupiter. 

Key facts 
  • These planets were discovered by researchers from Keele University in UK by using Wide Angle Search for Planets-South (WASP-South) instrument. 
  • Orbital periods of these planets vary from 2.17 to 5.75 days and their radii is between one to 1.5 Jupiter radius. Their masses range from 0.3 to 1.2 the mass of Jupiter. 
  • Their host star has a similar mass to the Sun of our solar system but it is much older based analysis of its effective temperature and density. 
  • WASP-124 b: It less massive than Jupiter and has orbital period of 3.4 days and a much younger parent star. 
  • WASP-126 b: It has the lowest-mass. It has low surface gravity and is a good target for transmission spectroscopy. It is brightest star of among the five. 
  • WASP-129 b: It is similar in size to Jupiter and has the longest orbital period. Its surface gravity is also high compared to other known hot Jupiters. 
  • WASP-133 b: It has the shortest orbital period. It is slightly bigger Jupiter. 
  • WASP-South instrument is an array of eight cameras observing selected regions of the southern sky. It studies five stars showing planet-like transits in their light curve.

Christine Lagarde appointed as MD of IMF for a second term
i. Christine Lagarde (60) from France has been appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund for a second five-year term. 
ii. She was sole candidate nominated for the post and was re-nominated by IMF’s Executive Board decision taken by consensus. Her new term will start on 5th July 2016 till 2021. 
iii. Ms. Lagarde for first time was appointed MD in 2011 after IMF Board had initiated selection process on merit-based and transparent process. She was first woman to head the top post of IMF since its inception in 1944. 

About Christine Lagarde 
  • Prior to her appointment at the IMF in 2011, she had served as Minister of Finance and Minister for Foreign Trade of France. 
  • She is anti-trust and labour lawyer and had served as partner with the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie. 

About International Monetary Fund (IMF) 
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, facilitate international trade, secure financial stability, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty around the world. 
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C. 
  • Managing Director of IMF: She is the chief of the IMF’s operating staff and is also Chairman of the 24-member Executive Board. She is assisted in carrying out her responsibilities by 4 Deputy MDs and about 2,700 staff from 147 countries.

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