GK Eduwrap – 13th April 2015

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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