GK Edu Wrap – Weekly – 22nd March 2015 to 28th March 2015

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National

1. Renowned water conservationist and environment activist Rajendra Singh has been conferred with 2015 Stockholm Water Prize

2. The 1st Counter-Terrorism Conference 2015 was held in Jaipur for three days from 19 March 2015 to 21 March 2015. It was organised by India Foundation in association with the Sardar Patel University of Police Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur at Jaipur in Rajasthan.

3. National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities was launched in New Delhi. The National Action Plan is a partnership between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability for skilling 2.5 million Persons with Disability (PwD) over seven years between 2015 and 2022.

4. Conference on Counter-Terrorism deliberated on CBRN Terrorism. The term CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) Terrorism was in news in the third week of March 2015. It was in news because CBRN terrorism is one of the sub-themes of Conference on Counter-Terrorism held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

5. Delhi High Court restrained Glenmark from manufacturing its anti-diabetes drugs Zita and Zita-Met.

6. Union Cabinet approved Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) to impart skill training to youth.

7. Union Cabinet approved 33% women reservation in police forces of all Union Territories.

8. Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has reconstituted the second State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) in Maharashtra.

9. Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has given coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) nod to the 6,000-MW Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.

10. Bard and Marathi folk legend Krishnarao Ganpatrao Sable passed away on 20 March 2015 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was 92.

11. Union Ministry of Health and Welfare launched Media Campaign for Mission Indradhanush. The media campaign includes a song composed by Bollywood lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar. The campaign was launched for creating awareness regarding the importance to fully immunize every child against all vaccine preventable diseases in the country.

12. Indian ecologist Madhav Gadgil and US Scientist Dr. Jane Lubchenco were named for the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 2015. They were named for the award for their leadership and engagement in the development of conservation and sustainability policies in the United States, India and internationally.

13. World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) 2015 was globally observed on 24th March 2015. The main sub-theme and message for the year 2015 is “Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone”.

14. The Supreme Court (SC) of India declared Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 as unconstitutional and struck it down. The section empowers law enforcement agencies to arrest those who post objectionable content online and provides for a three-year jail term.

15. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee awarded Certificate of Honour to eminent scholars of Sanskrit, Pali/Prakrit, Arabic and Persian. He also conferred the Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman to young scholars for the year 2014. These certificates were given at a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

16. Maharashtra Government announced that those involved in the sale of gutka in the state will be booked under Section 328 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), that is, sale of gutka will be made a non-bailable offence. The decision was announced by State Food and Drug Minister Girish Bapat in the State Legislative Assembly.

17. Indian author Amitav Ghosh was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. He is the only Indian among the 10 finalists shortlisted for the prize. 58-year-old, Ghosh was chosen for his contribution to the English language writing. Earlier in 2008, he was shortlisted for the prize his work Sea of Poppies but he missed the prize narrowly.

18.  The thirteenth state level philatelic exhibition of Gujarat postal circle or Gujpex-2015 was inaugurated by the Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad. The purpose of the exhibition is to showcase the beautiful world of stamps to general public especially to children and youth, to promote the hobby of Philately and to provide opportunity to philatelist to show case their valuable collections.

19. Three Immediate Support Vessels (ISVs) were commissioned in Indian Navy at the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) base in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

20. 18th round of talks between the Special Representatives of India and China on the Boundary Question was held in New Delhi. The India was represented by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China was represented Yang Jiechi, State Councillor of China.

21. Indian-American author Akhil Sharma won The Folio Prize 2015 for his novel Family Life. His novel Family Life was one among the eight books shortlisted from 80 works of fiction and was chosen as the best fiction published in the UK in 2014 by the 235 writers and critics who constitute the Folio Academy.

22. Artist Bharti Kher of India was conferred with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). This is the highest cultural award of France. She was awarded for her contribution in contemporary art landscape. Kher’s artworks span several mediums like painting, sculpture and installation.

23. Dalal Street Investment Journal (DSIJ) presented its sixth Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) Awards in New Delhi. The awards were given in recognition of performance excellence and their contribution to the economy.

24. Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the National Super Computing Mission. The mission aims at bringing the High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities within the reach of the scientific community by augmenting indigenous supercomputing infrastructure.

25. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI) platform. PRAGATI is a multi-purpose and multi-modal platform aimed at addressing grievances of common man. PRAGATI aims at simultaneously monitoring and reviewing Union Government programmes and projects as well as projects flagged by State Governments.

26. The Union Minister of Communications & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad felicitated the winners of the 2014 Web Ratna Awards. This was the third Web Ratna Awards that were given away at a ceremony held at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

27. India and Qatar signed six agreements to increase commercial and economic exchanges between India and Qatar. The deals have a special focus on the Make in India initiative.

28. The Supreme Court of India stayed the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) to quash the Army’s promotion policy for the rank of Colonel from January 2009. The 2009 promotion policy of Army is based on Command Exit Model (CEM).

29. The Union Ministry of Finance sanctioned 250 crore rupees to Andhra Pradesh to set up Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the implementation of the Polavaram Multi Purpose Irrigation Project. This amount is in addition to 100 crore rupees allotted for the project in the 2015-16 Union Budget.

30. The Union Ministry of Finance and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan agreement for 300 million US dollars to improve road connectivity along the North Bengal-North Eastern (NB-NE) Region. The agreement was signed in New Delhi.

31. The Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal launched the e-CPMP (Electronic Coal Projects Monitoring Portal) for tracking projects that entail an investment related to coal. The portal has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC). It is an institutional mechanism to automate the entire tracking of issues related to stalled projects from submission of a new project to commissioning on time.

32. Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated a land customs station at the Indo-Myanmar border trade centre at Zokhawthar in Champhai district of Mizoram.

33. Delhi High Court (HC) became the first court in India to set up dedicated commercial courts within it to ensure speedy disposal of cases.

34. The Union Minister of State for Textile Santosh Kumar Gangwar announced a 430 crore rupees project for production of the Geo-textiles in the North Eastern region.

35. Union Ministry of Railways has constituted a Committee to review the existing Public Private Partnership (PPP) Cell in the Railway Board with former IAS officer Ajay Shankar as its head.

36. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi have been named among the 50 greatest leaders in the world by Fortune magazine in its annual list of “extraordinary” men and women transforming business, government and philanthropy.

International

1. Sarath Fonseka becomes Sri Lanka’s first field marshal.

2. World Water Day (WWD) 2015 was globally observed on 22 March 2015 with the theme Water and Sustainable Development. The theme for the WWD 2015 talks about how water links to all areas we need to consider creating the future we want.

3. Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman and founding father of Singapore died at the Singapore General Hospital. He was 91.

4. Katherine Viner has been appointed as editor-in-chief of The Guardian newspaper. She will be 12th editor-in-chief and the first woman to run the newspaper in its 194-year history. Viner will succeed Alan Rusbridger who is stepping down after 20 years and taking over as Chair of the Scott Trust which owns the Guardian.

5. Germanwings Airbus A320 plane crashes in French Alps, all 148 on board feared dead. The plane was travelling from the Spanish coastal city of Barcelona to the German city of Duesseldorf when it went down in the Barcelonnette area in southeastern France.

6. New York University (NYU) announced Prison Education Programme (PEP) to Educate US Prisoners. Indian-American New York University (NYU) Professor Nikhil Pal Singh will heads programme. The programme is a new initiative of New York University to bring college education to the inmates of a medium-security prison in New York State.

7. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS) to improve India’s rating on ease of doing business. The MoU aimed to enhance the ease of doing business and bring the rating of India amongst the top 50 countries from the present 142nd slot as per World Bank Report.

8. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) who released Trends in International Arms Transfers 2014 report, India is the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for 15 percent of global imports, with Russia being its majority supplier.

9. The United States (US) President Barack Obama agreed to slow the US military pullout from the war-torn Afghanistan, to keep 9800 troops in Afghanistan through the end of 2015.

10. Scientists at Australian National University (ANU) found the world’s largest asteroid impact zone in the Warburton Basin of central Australia. The findings were published in the March 2015 issue of Journal Tectonophysics. Dr. Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University (ANU) School of Archaeology and Anthropology was the lead author of the study.

11. Flight 4U 9525 of Germanwings Airbus A320, the budget carrier airline of Germany’s Lufthansa, crashed in the French Alps between Digne and Barcelonnette with 150 people on board.

12. China announced to shut down the last major coal-fired 845 megawatt (MW) power plant China Huaneng Group in Beijing by 2016. The aim of shutting down the plant is to cut pollution and replace it with gas-fired power plants.

13. Saudi Arabia launched a military operation including airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthi rebels, who drove out the Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. It launched the operation in coalition with nine other countries of the region.

14. Researchers at York University of Britain provided experimental evidence that stars may generate sound. The findings were published Physical Review Letters in March 2015. The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Researchers employed Hydrodynamics, which studies fluids in motion, to make the discovery. The technique used to observe the sound waves in the laboratory were similar to speed cameras deployed by polices.

15. Bangladesh has won the prestigious Women in Parliaments (WIP) Award for regional leadership in the South and Southeast Asia category for closing the gender gap in politics. The award was presented by WIP Global Forum at annual summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Economics

1. Online marketplace Amazon has launched a designer clothing store. It has partnered with the “Fashion Design Council of India” (FDCI) to pick talent from fashion schools, as well as established designers to sell on the portal.

2. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)  gave its nod to extend the PDS Kerosene and Domestic LPG Subsidy Scheme 2002 for a period of one year that is up to 31 March 2015.

3. India has become the third-largest steel producer in the world by overtaking United States (US) in first two months of year 2015. It was revealed in the Data compiled by World Steel Association (WSA).

4. The capital market regulator, Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Board approved SEBI (International Financial Services Centres) Guidelines, 2015. The guidelines for IFSCs aim to provide an enabling environment for setting up of capital market infrastructure like stock exchanges, clearing houses, depository services, etc., in such centres.

5. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) signed a 400 million US dollar currency swap agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The agreement is valid for a period of three years from the date of signing.

6. TC Goyal, the Managing Director realty major DLF Limited, will retire on 31st March 2015. This was informed by the company in a filing to Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

7. American auto major Ford aims to triple exports from India over the next five years with its new USD 1 billion plant here becoming operational. The plant, the company’s second in the country, which was inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, will also double its production capacity in India.

8. Honda Cars India announced an investment of Rs 380 crore on its second plant at Tapukara in Rajasthan to expand production capacity.

Sports

1. Four teams that reached semifinal stage of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 are: South Africa, New Zealand, India & Australia.

2. Winners of 2015 Indian Wells Open Tennis Titles (BNP Paribas Open):

Men’s Singles Title: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic has won the Indian Wells Open Tennis Men’s Singles Title by defeating Switzerland’s Roger Federer by 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2. With this win Djokovic won his fourth Indian Wells Open title and overall 50th tour-level title.

Women’s Singles Title: Romania’s Simona Halep has won the Indian Wells Open Tennis Women’s Singles Title by defeating Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic by 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 score . It was Halep’s third WTA titles in 2015 apart from Shenzhen Open and Dubai Open.

Women’s Double Title: Sania Mirza (India) and Martina Hingis (Switzerland) pair have won Indian Wells Open Tennis Women’s Doubles Title by defeating Russian pair Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina by 6-3, 6-4 score. It was Sania Mirza’s second title of the season 2015 and 24th overall.

Men’s Double Title: Vasek Pospisil (Canada) and Jack Sock (US) pair have won the won Indian Wells Open Tennis Men’s Doubles Title by defeating Italian pair Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 6–4, 6–7 (3), 10–7.

3. Shivani Cherukuri of Andhra Pradesh entered the India Book of Records. She entered the list of records by scoring 388 points in the recurve segment in two distances, seven and five meters, at the Volga Archery Academy in Vijayawada. At the time of entering the India Book of Records, she was nine days less than three years.

Appointment

1. Renault Nissan Automotive India (RNAIPL) appointed Colin Macdonald as Managing Director (MD).

2. Wipro has appointed Rajan Kohli, senior vice president and global head of banking and financial services, as the head of its newly carved out business unit Wipro Digital.

3. Diplomat Vikas Swarup was appointed as an official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Swarup, a 1986 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, is also author of bestseller debut novel Q&A, on which the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire was based.

4. Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani was appointed as the Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Union Finance Ministry.

5. Vikramjit Singh Oberoi was appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the EIH Limited which runs the Oberoi hotels under the aegis of The Oberoi Group.

6. Ruth Porat has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of world’s largest search engine giant Google. She will succeed Patrick Pichette who had announced his retirement on 10 March 2015 and assume charge on 26 May 2015. As CFO of Google she will directly report to Larry Page, CEO and Co-Founder of Google.

7. Online food ordering platform Foodpanda has appointed Saurabh Kochhar, personalised printing startup Printvenue’s founder, as its India CEO and chief business officer for the company’s global operations.

8.  Wipro’s former banking products and solutions head Balasubramanian Ganesh has joined UK-based bank HSBC Holdings Plc as deputy global chief information officer (CIO).

Awards

1. Legendary Singer Lata Mangeshkar was presented with the Laadli Voice of the Century award. She was awarded at the sixth edition of the National Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity held at Mumbai, Maharashtra.

2. The Union Government announced that Shashi Kapoor was selected for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2014. The 77-year-old the veteran film actor and producer is the 46th Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner. The 2014 Dadasaheb Phalke award to Shashi Kapoor made him the third member of Kapoor family to receive the award after Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor.

3. The 62nd National Film Awards were announced in a press conference in New Delhi. The conference was addressed by Jury Chairpersons Shri Bharathiraja and Shri Kamal Swaroop. Click here to view the complete list of “62nd National Film Awards” Winners.

4. Veteran poet Gopaldas Neeraj awarded inaugural National Kavi Pradeep Samman. He was presented the award by Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Surendra Patwa at a function held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is among the renowned poets and authors in Hindi literature and also is a famous poet of Hindi Kavi Sammelan.

5. Novel titled Family Life written by Akhil Sharma won the Folio Prize for fiction for the year 2015. The author took 13 years to write this book. Family Life is an autobiographical story of an immigrant family floundering in America.

Technology

1. Twitter Samwad was launched by Union Government in association with social networking service Twitter that facilitates direct communication between leaders, government agencies and citizens. Through this, the government bodies can have a direct communication with citizens on a daily basis via Tweets and SMS on their mobile devices. The service was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meet with Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo in New Delhi. The service is aimed to boost the nation’s e-governance plans.

2. Indian Railways launched its own RuPay pre-paid card. The card will enable passengers to book their Rail tickets and do shopping using RuPay pre-paid debit cards. Card can be availed from either the Union Bank or the IRCTC. The transaction charge will be 10 rupees per ticket for booking a ticket through the card on the IRCTC portal.

3. India’s first Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe) was successfully operationalised for research in North Antarctica. PROVe has been indigenously built by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

4. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Curiosity rover found evidence of nitrogen on the surface of Mars. The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life.

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