Many events took place in the year 2015. Here we are providing you the top 20 most important events that happened last year and can be asked in the forthcoming exams as current affairs in the General Awareness section.
1. NITI Aayog replaced Planning Commission
On 1 January 2015, union government set up National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog replacing the 65-year-old Planning Commission, to provide a critical directional and strategic input into the development process.
The NITI Aayog is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It evaluates the implementation of programs, and focus on technology upgradation and capacity building. The NITI Aayog is not same as the Planning commission, as it has some major changes.
The Deputy Chairman has been replaced by a CEO and a Vice-Chairperson. There is a provision that the appointments will be done by the Prime Minister. Arvind Panagariya has been appointed as the first Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog. The Aayob will also be having a governing council comprising of Chief Ministers and Lieutenant Governors.
2. Agni V and Astra missiles launched successfully
India launched three missiles in 2015. These missiles are Agni V, Astra, and Aakash.
Agni-V: It was launched on 31st January 2015 from a canister from Wheeler Island, Odisha coast. It’s an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) “Surface-to-Surface” with a range of 5000-8000 kms.
Astra: It was launched on 20th May 2015 from a “Su-30 MKI” fighter jet at the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur (Odisha). It’s an active radar homing beyond-visual-range “Air-to-Air” missile with a range of 60-80 kms.
Akash: On 10th July 2015 Akash missile was inducted into the Indian Air Force here by Defence minister Manohar Parrikar. It’s a medium range “surface-to-air missile” with a range of 30-35 km.
3. Union budget presented
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley presented the union budget 2015 by Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha on 28th February 2015. The key points of the budget were as follows:-
LPG subsidy will be transferred to consumers directly.
Allocation of Funds for different Ministerial Sectors: – Defence sector – Rs.246727 crore, Education sector – Rs.68968 crore, for rural development – Rs.79526 crore, for rural jobs – Rs.34699 crore.
Tax exemption for ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ and ‘Clean Ganga Fund’, corporate tax reduction from 30% to 25%, new law against black money, Gold Monetization Scheme.
Five ultra-mega power projects each of 4,000 MW to be set up.
AIIMS-like institutes to be set up in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
The Railway Budget was also presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. The budget was mainly based on the key theme of Swachch Bharat Mission, Make in India and Digital India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Major announcement of the budget includes Investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore,
Major announcement of the budget includes Investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore, “operation 5 minutes”, Bio-toilets and airplane-type vacuum toilets in trains, Surveillance cameras, ladies compartments, Wi-Fi in more stations, Centrally-managed Rail Display Network, Four Railway Research Centers etc.
4. Andhra Pradesh’s new capital introduced
In April 2015 Chief Minister M. Chandrababu Naidu announced Amravati as the new capital of the state. The purpose of making Amravati the new capital is the hope that the state would acquire the name, fame, and glory which is associated with it.
It is located on the southern banks of the River Krishna in Guntur and Krishna districts, covering an area of 217.23 sq. km., within the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 22nd October 2015, laid the foundation stone at Uddandarayunipalem village of Guntur district in the presence of Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Telangana, Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao, the Japanese minister of economy trade and industry, Yosuke Takagi, and the Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry, S. Iswaran.
5. Bharat Ratna Award
India’s highest civil award Bharat Ratna was presented to educationist and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya on March 30, 2015, and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on April 3, 2015.
The Bharat Ratna Instituted in 1954 to recognize exceptional service/performance of the highest order, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
Madan Mohan Malviya is a founder of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha(1906) and Banaras Hindu University and served as the university’s vice-chancellor from 1919 till 1938.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was elected nine times to the Lok Sabha, twice to the Rajya Sabha and served as the Prime Minister of India for three terms and as the Minister of External Affairs during 1977-79. He was also awarded as the “Best Parliamentarian” in 1994.
6. IRNSS 1-D and GSAT-6 satellites were launched by ISRO
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched two satellites in 2015; IRNSS 1-D and GSAT-6.
IRNSS 1-D – On March 29, 2015, ISRO launched the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) -1D on board its workhorse PSLV-C27 from Sriharikota. It is the fourth satellite in the series of seven navigation satellites.
GSAT-6 – On August 28, 2015, ISRO launched GSAT-6, on Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) D6, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It is the largest satellite antenna introduced by ISRO and utilized for a five spot beam over the Indian mainland.
7. RuPay debit card initiated by Indian Railways
Indian Railways, on 24 March 2015 launched “RuPay”, a pre-paid debit card service to book tickets, do shopping and pay service bills. The service was resolved under a partnership with the Union Bank of India and the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
Like Visa and Master Card, RuPay is India’s own card payment gateway network, which provides an alternative system for banks to provide a debit card service.
The card is a first-of-its-kind in the market as both virtual as well as physical cards are being issued to customers in two variants and can be made available from UBI offices or through IRCTC online.
8. “Give It Up” campaign initiated
On 27 March 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Give It Up” campaign with a purpose to exhort the better off sections of society to forego their cooking gas subsidy.
It was launched on the occurrence of annual energy-focused summit Urja Sangam 2015. On the occasion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged people with healthy income to give up their LPG subsidy, which will help the government in reducing expenses and increasing subsidies for the actual poor.
9. Padma Awards announced
Padma award is one of the highest civilian awards in India, given in three categories namely Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shree.
Last year Padma awards were announced on 24 January 2015. President Pranab Mukherjee announced the prestigious award to 104 personalities from various fields which include arts, social works, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. The list of the awardees includes 9 Padma Vibhushan, 20 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri.
BJP leader L K Advani, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal were conferred with Padma Vibhushan.
10. MUDRA Bank introduced
On 8 April 2015, PM Narendra Modi introduced a Rs. 20000 crore Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank.
It is a public sector financial institution in India that provides loans at low rates to micro finance institutions and non-banking financial institutions which then provide credit to MSME’s.
At the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the aim of the bank is to fund the unfunded small entrepreneurs and to strengthen the savings habit in the country.
11. Three social security schemes launched
On 9 May 2015, PM Narendra Modi launched three magnificent social security schemes in Kolkata. These three schemes are “Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)”, “Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)” and “Atal Pension Yojana (APY)”.
Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY): PMSBY provides a one-year accidental death and disability insurance (renewable) of Rupees Two Lakh to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18 to 70 years for a premium of Rs. 12/- per annum per subscriber.
Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY): PMJJBY offers a renewable one year life cover of Rupees Two Lakh to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18 to 50 years, covering death due to any reason, for a premium of Rs.330/- per annum per subscriber.
Atal Pension Yojana (APY): APY emphasizes on the unorganized sector and provides subscribers a fixed minimum pension of Rs. 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 or Rs. 5000 per month starting at the age of 60 years, depending on the contribution option exercised on entering at an age between 18 and 40 years.
12. First International Yoga Day was celebrated
United Nation declared 21 June 2015 as International Yoga Day.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the proposal of celebrating Yoga Day on 21 June, in the United Nation General Assembly.
This year the proposal was accepted and 192 countries universally celebrated this day. PM Modi performed Yoga on Rajpath and called it as Yogpath.
13. Digital India Project
On 1 July 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Digital India Project. It is a scheme of Government of India.
It aims to connect all gram panchayats by broadband internet, promotion of e-governance and transformation of India into a connected knowledge economy.
On this day PM Modi shared his vision of a Digital India, where advancements in technology and connectivity will make an impact on all aspects of governance and improve the quality of life of citizens.
14. Cochin International Airport became fully solar powered
The Cochin International Airport became first in the world to operate completely on solar power on 18 August 2015.
To celebrate this a function has been organized by Kerala Government and on this occasion Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the 12 MWp solar power plant, comprising 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres near the cargo complex.
15. India’s first space observatory “Astrosat” launched
On 28 September 2015, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched its first steadfast multi-wavelength space observatory “Astrosat” into space, in addition to six satellites for Canada, Indonesia, and the United States.
Astrosat is similar to the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, to some extent, but is 10 times smaller.
Here are some scientific objectives related to this mission : –
Understand the high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes.
Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars.
Study star birth regions and high energy progressions in star systems.
Discover new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky.
Deep survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region.
16. India played an important role in 21st Paris Climate Summit
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015.
It was the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP). India also took part in the conference.
India played a very effective role in the climate summit from the view of developing countries. India’s view was definite on the issue of emissions that it was not going to agree to any binding agreement because India’s per capita carbon emissions were 1.7 metric tons in 2010 and remained below the global average of 5 metric tons.
According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), among the top 10 emitters, India was at the bottom for per capita emissions.
17. India, US, and Japan combined exercise
The 19th edition of the exercise was conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 14 -19 October 2015.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force also took part in the exercise, along with the Indian Navy and the US Naval Forces.
Sailors assigned to Surface Warfare Mission Package, Detachment 4, currently embarked aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), train with the Indian Navy in an 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat during a visit, board, search and seizure drill as part of Exercise Malabar.
18. New projects & schemes were started
The government of India has launched many projects and schemes to help the Digital India programme and to make the education system stronger. These plans include “E-Sahyog” Pilot Project, E-Pathshala, Saransh, Shaala Siddhi Portals/ Mobile APPS etc.
“E-Sahyog” Pilot Project: To promote the Digital India initiative of Government of India, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched “e-sahyog” pilot project on in the Income Tax Department 27th October, 2015.
This programme will provide an online mechanism to resolve mismatches in Income-tax returns of those assesses whose returns have been selected for scrutiny, without visiting the Income Tax Office. It’ll reduce the compliance cost of small taxpayers.
E-Pathshala, Saransh, Shaala Siddhi Portals/ Mobile APPS: On 7th November, 2015 Human Development Minister Smriti Irani launched e-Pathshala, Saaransh, and National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation Framework (Shala Siddhi) on the occasion of conference on Information and communications technology (ICT) in School Education at New Delhi. All these programmes are web portals and mobile apps.
19. Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice Bill 2015
The Rajya Sabha approved the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2015 on 22 December 2015, which was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha on 7th May 2015.
The Women and Child Development Minister Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that the Juvenile crime is rising very fast in the country and the Juvenile Justice Bill 2015 will control the rise in the crime.
20. Approval to Greenfield Airports
The Union Civil Aviation Ministry on 28th December 2015, had given sanction to four Greenfield airports in two states of our country.
Three of these four Greenfield airports will be in Andhra Pradesh and one at the international airport at Dholera (Gujarat). In Andhra Pradesh, Greenfield airport will be developed under “PPP Model” at Nellore and Kurnool districts.
Some other talking points which were in the news:
Settlement in One Rank One Pension (OROP): A group of ex-servicemen, led by Lt. Gen. Raj Kadyan, former Deputy Chief of Army Staff, met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 26th November, 2015 and expressed willingness to compromise further on the One Rank One Pension (OROP) demand. He compromised by saying that the notification issued by the government on November 7, 2015 implementing OROP is fine in the long term.
According to the notification on OROP it was said that the personnel who opt to get discharged on their own request from now on, will not be eligible to gain the benefits of OROP. This actually made a difference between those who have chosen PMR (Premature Retirement) in the past and those who will do so in future.
Repo Rate cut down three times by RBI: “Repo rate is the discount rate at which banks borrow from RBI“. Reduction in repo rate will help banks get money at a cheaper rate. Last year RBI cut the repo rate three times to take economy to a rising path. The first reduction was done on 15th January, 2015 from 8% to 7.75%, second on 4th March, 2015 from 7.75% to 7.50% and finally on 2nd June, 2015 from 7.50% to 7.25%.
The final reduction in the repo rate to 7.25 percent was predicted by 35 of 48 analysts polled by Reuters.
According to Dr. Raghuram Rajan, the reduction in repo rate was necessary because the investment was very weak and needed a solid pick-up. The chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian also appreciated the step made by Dr. Rajan and said that the cut in repo rate indicated that the economy was still in need of a “policy support” as it recovered.