GK Eduwrap – Weekly – 13th April 2015 to 18th April 2015

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National:

1.  Lt. General (retd) Hanut Singh, the recipient of the Mahavir Chakra and hero of 1971 Indo-Pak war, died on 11 April 2015 in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He was 82. Singh, who was famous as Sant General died, while meditating.

2. Union Home Ministry notified amendments to the Governors (Allowances and Privileges) Rules, 1987 and named these rules as Governors (Allowances and Privileges) Amendment Rules, 2015.

Main Highlights:
• The Governors can leave the State for a private visit to a foreign country or within India only after receiving the due approval of the President except in emergent or extraordinary circumstances.
• The requests for permission to travel outside the State will have to be sent to President Secretariat anywhere between two weeks (for domestic visit) and six weeks (for foreign visit) before the date of travel.
• It bars Governors to stay in their respective states for at least 292 days in a year.
• The Governor cannot undertake such visits even under any emergent or extraordinary circumstance. In such cases, the governors will have to provide details of the circumstances and compelling reasons why it was not possible to obtain prior permission.
• The intimation to the President Secretariat in emergency circumstances shall be given as soon as the programme is finalised.
• It also says that the duration of visits in extraordinary circumstances cannot exceed 20 percent of the days in calendar years.
• The Governors shall also obtain clearance under the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA clearance) and Political clearance before undertaking any official foreign visit.
• The Governors shall endorse the copies of communications to President Secretariat related to visit outside their State to the Prinicipal Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Home Minister.
• The rules also say that frequency of visit to the home State shall also be avoided or limited.

3. The National Food Security Act would be implemented from July 1, 2015 in Jharkhand.

4. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed ban on all construction activities in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) that do not follow the guidelines provided by the then Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2010. The directive was delivered by a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, NGT chairman, in order to check growing menace of air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

5. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first ever Songs and Dances of Northeast event in New Delhi. The purpose of the event is to showcase the various facets of Northeast to people living outside Northeast.

Key features of Songs and Dances of Northeast
• It denotes a series of events planned by the North-Eastern Council (NEC) and Union Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) with an aim to attract investors and visitors to the region.
• A series of events will be held by rotation in different parts of the country in the coming months.
• Each event will be held in collaboration with one of the eight States of the region.
• The present event was organised in collaboration with Meghalaya.
The theme of events in this series will be determined on the basis of the characteristics of whichever State is hosting the event and the city in which it is being held.
• The necessary financial resources will be provided by the NEC.

6. The Supreme Court (SC) of India directed all the private hospitals in the country to provide for full and free medical treatment to acid attack victims. The verdict was delivered by a social justice bench of the court comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) Laxmi vs Union of India filed under the Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The recent order is in addition to its earlier orders aimed at providing justice, relief and rehabilitation to acid attack victims.

Earlier orders of the SC are
• Amendment of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) by inserting a special section to deal with issues related to acid attacks. In effect, the Union Government inserted the Section 357C into the IPC in February 2013.
• Fixing 3 lakh rupees as minimum compensation to the acid attack victims.
• Imposing complete ban on over-the-counter sale of acid.

The verdict assumes significance in the back drop of 309 cases reported in 2014 as against 66 and 85 cases reported in 2013 and 2012 respectively.

7. India was designated to chair the ninth meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) council to be held for two days starting from 10th June 2015. The scheduled meeting will be held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates.

About IRENA
• IRENA was established on 26th January 2009 as an intergovernmental organization to supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.
• It serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy.
• It has 140 members including India, which is a founder-member of the organization.
• IRENA has two main governing structures-IRENA Assembly and IRENA Council.
• The IRENA Assembly takes decisions at the macro level and gives overall policy direction to IRENA.
• The IRENA Council is the main Governing Body of the Agency, which is responsible for implementing decisions of the Assembly.
• The Director-General of IRENA is Adnan Z. Amin, a national of Kenya.

8. Surface-to-Surface nuclear-capable Dhanush ballistic missile was successfully test-fired from a naval ship off the Odisha coast. The missile is a naval variant of India’s indigenously-developed Prithvi missile. The missile was fired from an Offshore Patrolling Vessel (OPV) of Indian Navy by the Strategic Force Command (SFC).

9. The state legislature of Oklahoma passed a bill that allows use of nitrogen gas (nitrogen-induced hypoxia) as a method of execution. The bill was passed by the legislature without a single dissenting vote. The bill now awaits the signature of the governor’s signature to become a law. With Governor’s nod, Oklahoma will become the first state in the United States that will allow use of nitrogen for execution.

10. The Union Government rejected the Odisha Government proposal to grant mining license to South Korean steel major Posco which needed mining license for its proposed 12 billion US dollar mega steel plant at Paradip in Odisha.

11.  A painting titled Tree of Life was gifted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to French President Francois Hollande during his visit to France from 9th April to 12th April 2015. The painting reflects traditional societal respect for nature in India and tree as a divine gift central to human life is a recurring element in Indian artistic practice. The Tree of Life, with multiple roots and branches like a banyan tree, is a motif for a tree’s benevolence, fruit, seeds, shelter, healing, procreation and regeneration faculties that sustain life and clean the environment. The painting is the work of Bhaskar Mahapatra, an Odisha artist and the art form is pigments on silk which he has been practicing for last thirty years along with rest of his family. He works from his home in the heritage crafts village of Raghurajpur. Bhaskar Mahapatra, who has been honoured by Lalit Kala Akademi, is inspired by his training and expertise in palm leaf painting and pattachitra.

12. India and France signed 20 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and Agreements to give new impetus to bilateral co-operation between the two nations. The two nations signed agreements covering the fields of Defence and Nuclear Energy, Space, Economic relations, Railways, Energy, Tourism, Science and Technology, Skill Development and Ayurveda. The MoUs and Agreements were signed during visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to France between 9 April and 12 April 2015.

13. Thane (Mumbai), Maharashtra was named as the National Earth Hour Capital 2015. It was named so after it emerged as winner among the three finalists from India viz., Thane, Rajkot and Pune, in the Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) 2015 conducted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

14. Gujarat government has launched Industrial Tourism Package to promote its development by showcasing its major industrial installations which have earned global acclaim for state. It is a first of its kind initiative India, offered by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL) in collaboration with Ahmedabad based Akshar Travels Pvt Ltd.

The tour package is called as Industrial Tour of Gujarat will cover some of the major industrial attractions of the state. It includes Tata Nano plant in Sanand, Amul Dairy in Anand, Alang ship breaking yard in Bhavnagar and Pipavav port near Amreli. It will also include Mrbi-based ceramic industry, Tata Chemicals factory in Mithapur, Asia’s biggest Ajanta clock factory, Reliance Refinery in Jamnagar. The package will also take tourists to salt pans near Okha and Kadi in Mehsana, which has the highest number of cotton gins in Asia.

15.  A statue of Mahatma Gandhi here has been defaced by a group of people who threw buckets of white paint on it amid racist taunts. The incident occurred yesterday when the group came in a car at about noon and threw buckets of white paint on the statue and surrounding plaques detailing Gandhi’s history in South Africa.

16. India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) became operational at Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat. It became operational after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled the rules and regulations for this global financial hub.

17. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) commissioned 600 MW unit of a thermal power project for the Dainik Bhaskar Power Limited (DBPL) at Dhabra in Janjgir Champa district of Chhattisgarh. The commissioned unit is the second unit of DBPL’s 2 × 600 MW power project. The first 600 MW Unit was commissioned in 2014. With this commissioning of second unit, BHEL’s cumulative installed capacity has increased at 11,400MW in Chhattisgarh and accounts for 68 per cent share of the total installed capacity in the state.

18. Union Government has brought into force the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 along with the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014. In this regard, notification to effect from 13th April 2015 was issued by the Union Law Ministry.

Composition of NJAC:
• As per Article 124A, NJAC is a 6 member constitutional body.
• Consisting of Chairman- Chief Justice of India (CJI).
• Members- Two senior most Judges of the Supreme Court, the Union Minister of Law and Justice and two eminent persons.
• Two eminent persons will be nominated by committee led by Prime Minister of India, the CJI, and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People.

As per 124B, functions of NJAC are:
• Recommend persons for appointment as CJI, Judges of SC, Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts.
• Recommend transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges HCs from one HC to another HC.

19. Mobile commerce platform Paytm inked memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National Centre for Trade Information (NCTI) to promote Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). As per MoU, Paytm will offer a virtual marketplace platform for NCTI members and will extend its services and enable them to sell online.

20. Haryana government decided to give status equivalent to state Cabinet Minister to yoga guru Ramdev. Earlier in January 2015, state government had appointed him as its brand ambassador to promote yoga and ayurveda.

21. India was elected to four important United Nations (UN) agencies. These agencies are United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Program (WFP), Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) and the Governing Council of UN-Habitat.

22. The fourth Lighthouse Museum of India will be opened at Kannur, Kerala to promote lighthouse tourism. The other three lighthouses museums have been set up at Alappuzha in Kerala and Chennai and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.

23. Union Government plans to push for Green Bonds to meet its target to install 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power and 60000MW of wind power by 2022 for which it needs 200 billion US dollars. Green Bonds or Climate Bonds are fixed-income financial instruments (bonds) linked to climate change solutions. These bonds are either dollar or rupee denominated and are relatively a new asset class.

24. World Economic Forum (WEF) released a report titled Urban Development Recommendations for India under the Future of Urban Development and Services (FUDS) Initiative. The report has been written in collaboration with Accenture. The report highlights the importance of wider private-sector participation to bridge the urban infrastructure and services funding gap of 110 billion US dollars, which is widening due to India’s rapid urban population growth.

25. India-Germany Joint Statement was released with an aim to upgrade and further strengthen the Strategic Partnership between the two countries. The Joint Statement was released after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hannover and Berlin. PM Narendra Modi is on a three-day visit to Germany. As part of the statement, the two nations agreed to take proactive steps to advance collaboration in the areas of manufacturing, skill development, urban development, environment, railways, cleaning of rivers, language and science & technology.

26. Meenakshi Madan Rai sworn in as the first lady judge of the Sikkim High Court. Her oath of the office was administered by the Governor Srinivas Patil at Ashirwad Hall at Raj Bhavan in Gangtok.

27. Justice AR Dave of the Supreme Court of India (SC) recused himself from five-judge Constitutional bench that was to hear a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014. The act replaces the two-decade-old collegium system of judicial appointments with the NJAC.

28. Renowned film director and actor of Assam Bidyut Chakraborty died on 15th April 2015 in a private nursing home in Guwahati after brief illness. He was 55.

29. Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decided to rename Tourist Visa on Arrival-Electronic Travel Authorization (TVoA-ETA) scheme as e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme. MHA decided to change the name of the scheme after it observed that the name of the scheme (TVoA-ETA) created confusion among tourists and also it had received requests of name change from some Indian embassies.

In the present scheme of things, tourists presumed that the Visa was granted on their arrival; however, the pre-authorization of Visa to foreigners was given prior to travel. The new name eTV scheme was chosen after the committee constituted for the purpose conducted a contest on mygov.in and selected e-Tourist Visa (eTV) as the appropriate new name. The committee comprised of officers from Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and Bureau of Immigration (BoI).

About Electronic Travel Authorization (TVoA-ETA):

The Union Government launched Tourist Visa on Arrival enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (TVoA-ETA) on 27th November 2014. The scheme was launched for 44 countries at nine airports to facilitate short duration international travellers. Under the scheme, pre-authorisation of Visa to foreigners was given prior to travel, under which a foreign tourist was required to apply for a visa online. The visa authorities were supposed to process the application and send an electronic travel authorization, or simply e-visa, via e-mail to the applicant within 72-hours.

30. The 45-day long annual fishing ban in the territorial waters of Eastern Coastal Zone of the country including Andaman & Nicobar Islands was enforced on 15th April 2015. The ban will help to safeguard fish in their breeding season and increase the fish catch. During this period of ban, the fishermen with mechanized boats are barred from venturing out into the sea for fishing till mid-night of 31st May 2015. With imposition of this ban, the fisheries authorities have stopped issuing tokens for fishing.

31. Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation constituted a Task Force on Interlinking of Rivers (ILR). It will look into the issues relating to Interlinking of Rivers in the country. The task force will be chaired by ex-UPSC member and advisor to the Gujarat Chief Minister BN Navalawala and constitutes of experts and senior officials.

32. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the Vividh Bharati Service of Delhi on FM Mode in a function held at premises of New Broadcasting House of All India Radio (AIR). The service will be available on 100.1 Megahertz frequency.

33. Ri Su Yong, the Foreign Minister of North Korea, visited India. He was on a three-day visit to India and this was the first-ever visit of a foreign minister of North Korea to India. He visited India on an invitation of Sushma Swaraj, the Minister of External Affairs of India.

34. Indian Railways is on track to take the e-auction route for the first time for redevelopment of stations through public-private partnership (PPP).

35. The government is set to give a major push to the e-tourist visa scheme by extending it to 31 more countries and allowing foreign tourists to avail of the facility at seven more airports by 15th of June. Among the countries that will benefit from the latest extension are the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Malaysia, Tanzania and Argentina.

36. India and Belarus agreed to enhance their bilateral ties especially in the field of trade and economy. The agreement was reached during the meeting of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. He also met with President Pranab Mukherjee.

37. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Russian company INTMA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a gas-based power project in Kazakhstan. According to the MoU, the two parties will endeavour to assist each other in the implementation of the deal.

38. Canada has agreed to supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium to India under a $254 million five-year deal to power Indian atomic reactors. The agreement for uranium supply was signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper after comprehensive talks in Ottawa, Canada.

39. India and Canada signed a nuclear agreement on supply of uranium to India. The agreement was signed between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. PM Modi is on a three-day official visit to Canada, which is the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 42 years.

40. The Delhi Government launched the third phase of the Mass Deworming Programme. The third phase aims to cover over 3.7 million children from 3032 schools and 11500 anganwadis as part of this statewide campaign.

41. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a miniature painting titled Guru Nanak Dev to Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Modi was on an official visit to Canada from 14 April to 16 April 2015. The painting is the work of Virendra Bannu, a Jaipur-based artist, who is the seventh generation artist in his family.

International:

1. Asteroid 316201 was named as ‘316201 Malala’ after the youngest Nobel laureate and girls’ education campaigner Malala Yousafzai. The asteroid was named after her by Amy Mainzer, astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, United States under the International Astronomical Union rules. In 2010, Mr. Mainzer had discovered the asteroid which was known as 316201. As a discoverer of the asteroid he had owned the rights to name it. Asteroid 316201 Malala is located in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter. It orbits around the Sun every 5.5 years and is more-than 2 mile wide.

2. German Nobel laureate novelist Guenter Grass passed away on 12 April 2015 in Berlin. He was 87. Grass is recognized for his efforts to revive German culture in the aftermath of World War II and also had given voice and support to democratic discourse in the post war Germany.

3. International Monetary Fund (IMF) released World Economic Outlook (WEO) April 2015 Report. The report is titled Uneven Growth: Short-term and Long-term Factors.

Global growth is forecasted at 3.5% in 2015 and 3.8% in 2016 which is in line with forecasts made in the January 2015 WEO Update. Also the global growth rate in 2015 is broadly same as it was in 2014.

Projection about India:
• India’s growth is projected to strengthen from 7.2% in 2014 to 7.5 % in 2015 and 2016.
• For the first time since 1999, India’s growth rate may eclipse China’s and there is increasing divergence in the growth paths of the two countries.
• India is trying to shift from consumption to investment led growth at a time when China is going opposite way.

4. Former Prime Minister of Nepal, Surya Bahadur Thapa died on 15th April 2015 in Gurgaon, Haryana. He was 87. Thapa, who was suffering from cancer for some time, was undergoing treatment at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon.

5. The fifth meeting of the foreign ministers of the group members of Normandy Group was held on 13th April 2015 in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Normandy Group or Normandy Quartet is a group of four countries including Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine. The group was formed to facilitate a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing conflict between the Ukraine Army and pro-Russia forces in the Donbass region of Ukraine. It was formed on 6th June 2014 after an informal meeting of the four heads of state on the sidelines of commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.

6. Over 120 people were killed and 1281 were injured while celebrating the Songkran Festival of Thailand. Songkran festival is a traditional New Year Eve celebration of Thailand. It is also known as Thailand Water Festival. It is originally celebrated as a way for the Thai people to sprinkle water on their family members and elders for good fortune and pay their respects to images of the beloved Buddha.

7. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced, in Johannesburg in South Africa, by a group of people calling him a racist. The group had placards that read: Racist Gandhi must fall.

6. The Chinese Government quashed the bid of Taiwan to become a full member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for lack of appropriate name.

7. Parliament of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada, passed a legislation that equates Communism with Nazism (nationalist-socialist) and banned both the regimes. The law even banned the public use and propaganda of their symbols.

8. The Tennessee House of Representatives voted to make Andrew Jackson’s Bible as the official book of Tennessee, a US state. Now, the Bill will go to Senate for being passed and if it is passes in Senate then it will become an Official book of the state.

9. Pakistan and Russia agreed to hold first-ever joint military exercises as a part of their enhanced defence cooperation. The agreement was reached during the meet held in Moscow between Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Asif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

10. United Nations (UN) peace envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar resigned. He was serving as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy for Yemen since 2012.

11. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented ancient Indian sculpture Parrot Lady to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was presented with the sculpture during his official visit to Canada.

Sports:

1. Indian shooter Jitu Rai won Bronze medal in the 10-meter Air Pistol Men final at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Rifle/Pistol World Cup held in Changwon, South Korea. The Gold medal of the event was won by Jin Jongoh of South Korea and Silver medal was won by Nuang Ye Tun of Myanmar. Jin Jongoh is five-time Olympic medallist and the reigning World Champion. It was the fourth world cup medal for Jitu.

2. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis, the top-seeded Indo-Swiss pair of Tennis on 12 April 2015 won the 731000 US dollar WTA Family Circle Cup doubles title. In the title clash played at Charleston in the United States, the duo defeated Australian-Croatian pair of Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak 6-0, 6-4. This was third consecutive team title for the Indo-Swiss pair. Earlier, they won the Miami Open Tennis women’s doubles title on 5 April 2015 and Indian Wells Open title on 21 March 2015. With this win, Sania Mirza also became the first female tennis player from India to achieve the world number one rank in doubles. Sania is also first female player from the country to win Grand Slam tournaments. Before Sania, only Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhuapthi had achieved the top rank when they dominated men’s doubles circuit in the last 1990s.

3. New Zealand won the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men’s hockey tournament. In the final clash played at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia, New Zealand defeated World Champions Australia 3-1. New Zealand won the title for only the second time since the inception of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition in 1983. New Zealand’s first victory came in 2012 against Argentina. On the other hand, Australia had won the cup in 1983, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

4. Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang retired on 7th April 2015. Xiang, the first man from China to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field, announced his retirement due to injury.  He won the Gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 110m hurdles track event. For this Olympic gold he equaled the then world record of 12.91. Later in July 2006, he improved the world record to 12.88 seconds in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also won the Gold medal at the 2007 IAAF World Championships.

5. Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton from Britain won Chinese Grand Prix of Formula One on the Shanghai International Circuit in China. This was his second win of the season and his fourth Chinese Grand Prix win. It was also Lewis Hamilton’s overall 35th Grand Prix win. In Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton was followed by teammate Nico Rosberg at second place.

6. Yuki Bhambri has won the 15,000 US Dollar ITF Futures tournament title. In the final he recorded a straight-set win over Dzmitry Zhyrmont of Belarus played at Karshi, Uzbekistan. Bhambri defeated his rival with Bhambri with 6-2 6-4 score. This win has pocketed 27 ranking points on Bhambri which will take him to a rank between 215 and 220. It was also Yuki’s 10th ITF Futures singles title.

7. Indian shooter Apurvi Chandela won Bronze medal in the 10-metre air rifle event at the (International Shooting Sport Federation) ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Changwon, South Korea. She won the bronze after she shot score of 185.6 in the qualifying fifth final round.

8. Brijbhushan Sharan Singh was on 11 April 2015 re-elected as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for a four-year term. As the president of the WFI he will guide the General Council of the federation and set the policy tone in order to achieve the objectives enshrined in the WFI Constitution.

9. Former South African cricketer Allan Donald resigned as the bowling coach of South Africa Cricket team.

10. Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal today regained the number one position in international rankings after China’s Li Xuerui dropped a couple of rungs to third in the latest list issued today.

11. Sachin Tendulkar was elected as member of prestigious Laureus Sports Academy. He was named as member at the 16th Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Shanghai, China. He was elected along with retired Chinese professional basketball player Yao Ming. With this, the total number of members of Laureus Sports Academy reached 52.Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid are the other Indian cricketers to have received this recognition. Besides, former FC Barcelona and Spain star Carles Puyol was named as the Laureus Ambassador.

Economics:

1. The country’s economy will grow at 7.9% this fiscal and 8.4% in FY 2016-17, on the back of policy reforms, spurt in domestic demand and lower inflation, according to foreign broking firm Morgan Stanley.

2. Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), the retirement fund body suspended the 1000 rupees minimum monthly pension scheme from April 2015. The end of the minimum monthly pension provided under Employee Pension Scheme (EPS)-95 will hit about 32 lakh pensioners.

3. Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) raised the transaction limit in exchange traded currency derivatives to 15 million US dollars for both foreign and domestic investors without having any underlying exposure. Earlier, the limit was 10 million dollars.

4. German financial group Deutsche Bank has been fined a whopping $8.4 million by Dubai’s top regulator for committing “serious contraventions” in its dealings.

Appointment:

1. Bharat Hari Singhania became the president of JK Organization. He succeeded Gaur Hari Singhania who died on 4th April 2015. The JK Group is 125-year-old and has footprint in 100 countries. It has overseas manufacturing operations in Indonesia, Mexico, Romania, Belgium, Portugal and the UAE.

2. Arun Kumar Jha was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

3. Dr. Mohan Kumar was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to France. He is a 1981-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.

4. Vijender Gupta was appointed the leader of opposition (LoP) in the Delhi assembly with immediate effect.

Science & Technology:

1. Ayurvedic formulations like Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) powder and Sidh Makardhwaj are effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes irreversible joint damage. This was revealed by a study conducted by All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The pilot prospective study titled Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder & Sidh Makardhwaj) in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients was published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research on 2 April 2015.

2. Major Indian Steel Companies signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Union Ministry of Steel for setting up of Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) in New Delhi. The primary objective of SRTMI is to promote collaborative Research and Development (R&D) programmes between the ministry and steel industries in priority areas of national importance in the steel sector.

3. Researchers at Stanford University created a smartphone battery that charges in only one minute. Stanford University chemistry professor Hongjie Dai is the lead researcher of the project. The battery invented is the first high-performance aluminum battery which is fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive.

4. India today successfully test fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a strike range of more than 3,000 km from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.  The Agni-III missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system. With a length of 17 metres, the missile’s diameter is 2 metres and launch weight is around 50 tonnes. It can carry a warhead of 1.5 tonne which is protected by carbon all composite heat shield.

5. Finish telecom network equipment maker Nokia announced acquisition of French telecom network firm Alcatel- Lucent. This merger will create the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment’s that powers mobilephone networks by surpassing Ericsson and Huawei.

Important Days:

1. 11th April 2015 was observed as National Safe Motherhood Day across India.

2. 13th April 2015 was remembered for Jallianwala Bagh incident. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (also known as the Amritsar Massacre) was one of the saddest events. On 13th April 1919 people gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh to peacefully protest the arrest of two leaders Dr. Satyapal and Dr. Saifuddin, despite a curfew being declared. The protest, however, was not a non-violent one. On the order of General Dyer, the troops fired on the crowd for ten minutes resulting in the death of about 1000 people and injuring an equal number. To save themselves, people resorted to jumping into a nearby well and it is said that 120 bodies were recovered from here after the massacre.

Mergers & Acquisition:

1. Royal Dutch Shell Plc acquired BG Group for about 70 billion US dollar. The deal would vault Shell far ahead of rivals like Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp. in the race to build market share for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The deal marks the most aggressive step yet in the competition to be the world’s dominant supplier of LNG.

2. The food retail arm of the diversified Godrej Group, Godrej Nature’s Basket joined hands with Amazon for selling its products through the e-commerce giant’s platform in India.

3. Singapore-based investment firm Temasek acquired InnoVen Capital India, formerly known as SVB India Finance, for 300 crore rupees. InnoVen Capital India will be independently managed with a reconstituted board of 5 members, comprising Madhabi Puri Buch, former chief executive officer of ICICI Securities, as chairperson.

Awards & Recognition:

1. Professors Susanta Lahiri and Kattesh V. Katti received Hevesy Medal Award 2015 for their outstanding contributions in the fields of radio and nuclear chemistry. The awards were presented to them at the Tenth International Conference on Methods and Applications of Radio-analytical Chemistry held in USA.

2. Microsoft’s Indian-origin CEO Satya Nadella was honoured with the White House Champions of Change. He is one of the 12 local Champions of Change who were honoured for their exemplary leadership. Champions of Change honour is given to those who support working families and help make change in their companies or communities.

3. Professor Susanta Lahiri was awarded prestigious the Hevesy Medal Award 2015. The award was presented to him for his outstanding contributions in heavy ion induced radioisotope production, converter targets, tracer packet technique and green chemistry.

Death:

1. Former Czech Republic Prime Minister Stanislav Gross passed away. He was 45. Stanislav Gross was the youngest PM of Czech Republic and was elected in July 2004 at the age of 34. He had led the Social Democrat government as PM for one year i.e. till 2005.

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