General Awareness--current happenings
Cabinet approves setting up of 3 new AIIMS: The Cabinet on 7 October 2015 approved the setting up of three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Nagpur (Maharashtra), Mangalagiri (Andhra Pradesh) and Kalyani (West Bengal). The new establishments, as announced by Finance Minister ArunJaitley during the 2015-16 Budget, are being introduced under the Pradhan MantriSwasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) at a cost of Rs. 4,949 crore.
Government clears Air Force control system: The Centre, in September 2015, cleared the proposal for a nearly Rs. 8,000-crore project for IAF’s Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS), which aims at integrating all ground and air censors. Once the system is in place, the air headquarters will get a composite air situation picture since it will be integrating Air Force, Army, Naval and civilian radars.
NSSO releases 68th round data on status of education and vocational training in India: National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) on 22 September 2015 released the data of 68th Round on Status of Education and Vocational Training in India. This report is based on the employment and unemployment survey conducted in the 68th round of NSS during July 2011 to June 2012. As per the NSSO data,
· 18.2 percent of households in rural areas and 5.9 percent in urban areas do not have a single literate member in the age-group 15 years and above who could read and write a simple message with understanding.
· Literacy rate among persons of age 7 years and above was 74.7 percent in 2011-12 of which 70 percent were in rural areas and 86 percent in urban areas.
· The male and female literacy rate in rural areas was 79.1 percent and 60.6 percent respectively. In urban areas, the literacy rates were 91.1 percent for males and 80.3 percent for females.
· Among persons of age 15 years and above, only 2.4 percent had technical degrees or diplomas or certificates. The proportion was 1.1 percent in rural areas and 5.5 percent in urban areas.
Census 2011 data on households with or without educational level of matriculation and above released: The Registrar General & Census Commissioner of India on 24 September 2015 released the Census 2011 data on Households with at least one member aged 15 years and above by Household Size. The data shows an increase of 10 percent in the decade 2011-2011 over the decade 1991-2001.
Census 2011 data
· Around 122.9 million, which is 49.5 percent of the total households in India, with at least one member of age 15 years and above, had one matriculate or more in the decade 2001-2011. During the decade 1991-2001, there were 39.4 per cent of households in India with at least one matriculate and above.
· The number of households with at least one graduate and above was 41.4 million (16.7 per cent) in India in 2011. There were around 23.6 million (12.2 per cent) households with at least one graduate and above in 2001.
· There are 21.9 million (8.8%) households with at least one female graduate and about 33.2 million (13.4%) households with at least one male graduate and above.
Government allows blood transfer between banks, fixes exchange price for surplus plasma: To ensure better utilization of blood and its components, especially after the outbreak of fevers such as Dengue leading to scarcity, the Ministry of Health, in October 2015, allowed transfer of blood between blood banks. It has also fixed the exchange price of surplus plasma at Rs. 1,600/ litre, but not in cash.
· The decision was taken by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on the recommendation of the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC).
· NBTC, under the Ministry, is the apex body that formulates policy matters pertaining to the organization, operation, standards and training of a sustainable and safe blood transfusion service for the country.
· NBTC was set up under the directions of the Supreme Court.
National war memorial, museum to be constructed in 5 years: The Union Cabinet, on 7 October 2015, approved the construction of a National War Memorial and a National War Museum. The estimated cost of the project, which will be designed by an “international consultant”, is pegged at Rs. 500 crore and it will be completed in five years. A long-standing demand of the Armed Forces, the memorial and museum will be constructed Princess Park near India Gate in New Delhi.
Government launches National Ranking Framework: Union Minister for Human Resource Development SmritiIrani on 29 September 2015 launched the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) document for educational institutions along with its web portal. It will enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions on the basis of a set of objective parameters and a transparent process.
Rameswaram included as 498th town under AMRUT: Union Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu on 15 October 2015 declared that former President Dr. Abdul Kalam’s birth place Rameshwaram has been included in Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for providing basic urban infrastructure. The announcement was made on the occasion of 84th birth anniversary of Dr. Kalam at a programme organised at DRDO.
Central Victim Compensation Fund set up with 200 crore rupees: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on 14 October 2015 introduced a scheme called Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF) with an initial amount of 200 crore rupees. The scheme aims at enabling support to victims of various attacks, such as rape, acid attacks, human trafficking and women killed or injured in the cross border firing.
Government approves performance linked payment for CIL officers: The Union Government on 14 October 2015 gave a green signal to payment of Performance Related Pay (PRP) to executives and non-unionized supervisors of Coal India Ltd (CIL) and its subsidiaries.
Ministry of Shipping to develop 78 lighthouses as tourism centers: The Ministry of Shipping along with the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, on 13 October 2015, launched a programme to develop 78 lighthouses in the country as centres of tourism under Public Private Partnership (PPP). The lighthouses are in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Government launches KISAN project and hailstorm app for crop damage: The Union Government on 5 October 2015 unveiled KISAN Project [C(K)rop Insurance using Space technology And geoiNformatics] of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. The project will use satellite and drone-based imaging and other geospatial technology to get timely and precise data on crop yields.
Second phase of Mission Indradhanush launched: The Union Government on 5 October 2015 launched second phase of the immunization programme, Mission Indradhanush, focusing on 352 districts. The second phase aims at achieving more than 90 per cent full immunization in the country by 2020. The mission targets to cover all children below 2 years of age and pregnant women with full immunization against seven vaccine preventable diseases.
Government launches Accessible India campaign: Social Justice and empowerment minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot on 24 September 2015 launched the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) that focuses on building accessible government buildings for persons with disabilities (PwDs).
Union Cabinet approves setting up of ISLRTC: The Union Cabinet on 22 September 2015 gave its green signal for setting up of Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC). ISLRTC will be set up as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It will function under the umbrella of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
MoU for Swavalamban health insurance scheme for disabled persons signed: The Trust Fund for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, under the Department of Empowerment of People with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MOSJ&E), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the New India Assurance Company Limited on 21 September 2015.
India and the world
Air India to launch non-stop flight to San Francisco: On 27 September 2015, when Prime Minister, NarendraModi met with IT giants in California, Air India announced that it will launch a three-times-a week non-stop connection between Delhi and San Francisco from December 2, 2015.
India is an important partner, says Merkel: German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel who witnessed the fusion of German engineering and Indian IT at the Bosch facility in Bengaluru on 6 October 2015 said that India is an important partner for Germany to renew its products and services and to be on the vanguard of technology. It was the first visit of a German Chancellor to India since 2001. India and Germany on 5 October 2015 signed 18 MoUs in various sector including renewable energy, skill development and culture.
Government approves RCE for Kaladan multi modal project in Myanmar: The Union Cabinet on 14 October 2015 gave its approval for the Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of 2904.04 crores rupees for the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project in Myanmar. The project will connect Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India-Myanmar border.
Government approves framework for cooperation in blue economy with Seychelles: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 7 October 2015 gave its ex-post facto approval to the protocol for cooperation in the field of blue economy. India and Seychelles signed the protocol to this effect on 26 August 2015 during the visit of the President of Seychelles James Michel to India.
Portugal signs MoU on establishment of Nalanda University: Portugal on 9 October 2015 became the first European country to sign MoU on the establishment of Nalanda University. With this, it became the 17th country overall and the fourth outside the East Asia Summit to do so. The revived university is located at Rajgir in Nalanda District in Bihar.
India funds $5 million grant to Palestine as budgetary assistance: India on 12 October 2015 granted a cheque of 5 million US dollars to the Palestinian government as a budgetary support. The grant was handed over by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Palestine.
India signs contract for micro-light aircrafts with Pipistrel: India on 12 October 2015 signed a deal, worth 105.5 crore rupees, with Pipistrel, a Slovenian firm, for 194 micro-light aircraft to be used by Indian Air Force, the Navy and the National Cadet Corps (NCC). The Indian version of the aircraft will be renamed as Garuda.
1st Indo-Africa ICT Expo launched in Nairobi: Indian Government in conjunction with ICT Authority of Kenya, India’s Telecom Export Promotion Council (TEPC) and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on 28 September 2015 launched the 1st Indo-Africa ICT Expo in KICC, Nairobi.
SC favours levy of ‘pollution charges’ on commercial vehicles: The National Green Tribunal’s order imposing pollution charges, along with toll tax, on commercial vehicles crisscrossing Delhi may be nullified, with the Supreme Court, on 9 October 2015, virtually agreeing with the plea in this regard, saying its order would “override’ all the existing ones. Reserving its order for pronouncement, a three judge bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said this decision would be effective for four months and the government and others, if affected, may come later for modification.
SC refuses to modify order restricting use of Aadhaar cards: In a jolt to the Centre, the Supreme Court on 7 October 2015 refused to modify its interim order and allow bodies such as the RBI and SEBI and some States to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for welfare schemes other than the public distribution system (PDS) and LPG schemes.
SC declares NJAC as unconstitutional: The five-judge Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court (SC) in a collective order on 16 October 2015 ruled that 99th Constitutional Amendment Act and the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 is unconstitutional and void. It also upheld the Collegium system that existed before the NJAC as operative. Collegium System was established by the SC in 1993 for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
SC asks Centre and AP government to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong Refugees within 3 months: The Supreme Court (SC) of India on 17 September 2015 directed the Union and Arunachal Pradesh Governments to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees within three months. The two refugees migrated to India from Bangladesh in 1964-69 and settled in the state.
SC issues notice to Telangana Government on omission of 26 castes from OBCs list: The Supreme Court of India (SC) on 21 September 2015 issued notice to the Telangana government to state the reasons for omission of 26 castes from the state backward classes (BC) list.
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Justin Trudeau elected as the Prime Minister of Canada: Canada’s Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau was on 19 October 2015 elected as the Prime Minister of Canada after his Liberal Party won 189 seats, a majority of Parliament’s 338 seats. The party needed 170 to gain a majority.
Government nominates Anna Roy on board of Bank of India, IIFCL: The Government recently nominated Anna Roy, Joint Secretary in Finance Ministry, on the board of Bank of India (BoI) and India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).
Sourav Ganguly appointed President of Cricket Association of Bengal: Former Indian Cricket captain Sourav Ganguly was on 24 September 2015 appointed as the President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). The post had fallen vacant after the sudden demise of Dalmiya on 20 September 2015.
OmidKordestani appointed as Executive Chairman of Twitter: Former Google adviser OmidKordestani was on 14 October 2015 appointed as Executive Chairman of Twitter. He succeeded Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as Executive Chairman to take up the post of Chief Executive Officer of Twitter.
Jack Dorsey appointed as permanent CEO of Twitter: Popular micro-blogging site Twitter on 5 October 2015 announced Jack Dorsey as its permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The appointment of Dorsey, who is also the CEO of mobile payments company Square, marks his second stretch as Twitter’s CEO. He will handle both the jobs at once.
Jioji Konrote elected as Fiji’s President: Fiji’s Parliament on 12 October 2015 elected the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, JiojiKonrote, as the country’s next President.
KP Sharma Oli elected as the Prime Minister of Nepal: Veteran communist (Unified Marxist Leninist) leader KP Sharma Oli was, on 12 October 2015, elected as the Prime Minister of Nepal. He is the country’s first Prime Minister under the newly introduced constitutional system. He defeated incumbent Prime Minister SushilKoirala of the Nepali Congress.
Martin Winterkorn resigns as Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen: Martin Winterkorn on 23 September 2015 resigned as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Volkswagen. His resignation came following the revelation that the carmaker manipulated US diesel car emissions tests.
DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman retires: Ellen Kulman, chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DuPont, an American chemical company, on 5 October 2015 announced retirement from her positions effective 16 October 2015.
Ashok Vemuri resigns as CEO of iGate Corporation: The Infosys veteran Ashok Vemuri on 6 October 2015 resigned from his position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iGATE Corporation. iGATE is an IT services company, headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Founded in 1966, it currently operates in North America, Asia, Europe, Japan and Australia.
Rahul Rawail resigns from Oscar Selection Jury: Filmmaker Rahul Rawail on 23 September 2015 resigned from the Oscar Selection Jury. He resigned from his post citing differences with chairperson of the Jury AmolPalekar. He resigned following the selection of National award-winning Marathi film Court as India’s official entry for Oscars 2016 (88th Academy Awards) by the jury.
Syed ZahoorQasim: Renowned marine biologist Syed ZahoorQasim died on 20 October 2015 in New Delhi. He was 88. He is considered as the founder of Polar Biology in India and was part of the first Indian expedition to Antarctica in 1981-82.
Geoffrey Howe: Geoffrey Howe, Britain’s former treasury chief, died on 9 October 2015 due to a suspected cardiac arrest in Idlicote, England. He was 88. Howe, who administered Britain’s recovery from recession in the 1980s, was a champion of closer European unity. He was Margaret Thatcher’s longest-serving Cabinet minister.
Manorama: Legendary Tamil actress Gopishantha, popularly known by her stage name Manorama, died on 10 October 2015 due to multiple organ failure in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Ravindra Jain: Renowned music director and lyricist Ravindra Jain passed away on 9 October 2015 following a multiple-organ failure in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was awarded Filmfare Award for Best Music for Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985), Lata Mangeshkar Lifetime Achievement Award of Maharashtra Government and Padmashri in 2015.
Franky Tyson: One of the fastest bowlers of all time, former England cricketer Franky Tyson died on 27 September 2015 in Australia. Nicknamed Typhoon, Tyson emigrated to Australia in 1960.
Swami DayanandaSaraswati: Revered monk of the Hindu monastic order, Swami DayanandaSaraswati, died on 23 September 2015 in his ashram in Rishikesh. He was 85 years old. He was a renowned traditional teacher of Advaita Vedanta and also the founder of the ArshaVidyaGurukulam.
Yogi Berra: Baseball legend Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra died on 22 September 2015 at his home in New Jersey. He was 90.
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