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DAILY GK -- JANUARY 2016 -- 91 TO 150

91. Oil Ministry launches e-initiative to improve LPG customer service
i. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has launched an online initiative to seek suggestions from LPG consumers across the country, which will help in providing efficient and friendly service. 
ii. Two online discussion forums - Citizen-Friendly Services and Increasing LPG Coverage in the Country - have been launched and are available on and, an official press statement said. 

iii. The initiative is part of steps being taken to observe 2016 as the 'Year of LPG Consumers'. 
iv. "LPG consumers/ citizens are requested to participate and share their thoughts on the respective forums online. Valuable suggestions/ comments are welcome and will be considered for improving the customer oriented services related to LPG coverage and delivery," it said.

92. President promulgated Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 7 January 2016 promulgated the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
ii. These amendments will help is dealing with the loopholes of the Enemy Property Act, 1968 and ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and they do not revert back to the enemy subject or enemy firm.
iii. Once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death and others.
iv. The law of succession does not apply to enemy property. There cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act. 
v. The Union Government enacted the Enemy Property Act in the year 1968 that provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the custodian. The Union Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country. In addition, there are also movable properties categorized as enemy properties.

93. Bhanumurthy is new COO of Wipro
i. A couple of days after naming Abidali Neemuchawala its new chief executive, Wipro, India's third largest information technology company, has made a few changes to its organisation structure.
ii. The Bengaluru-headquartered company has elevated company veteran Bhanumurthy B M as its chief operating officer (COO) and president apart from handing over a new role to G K Prasanna, who is presently heading Global Infrastructure Services as president and chief executive.

iii. Bhanumurthy, who joined Wipro in 1992, is presently the president and chief executive of business application services (BAS), the largest business line in the company which accounts for almost a half of its overall revenues. In his new role, all the services lines including BAS, global infrastructure services, product engineering services, analytics, application management services and business process services would report to Bhanumurthy.
iv. Under the new structure, Prasanna would head a newly created business unit, marketing, innovations and technology (MIT) as the president. MIT will comprise of the offices of the chief technology officer, chief information officer, marketing, strategic engagements (Advisor Relations and sales enablement functions) among others.
v. This new unit would focus on non-linear growth engines, products and platform-based services, integrated solutions, research, and new technologies, the company said confirming the developments.

94. Sri Lankan parliament begins process to adopt new Constitution
i. Sri Lankan parliament today began a process to formulate a new constitution with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presenting a resolution to set up Constitutional Assembly of all members for the purpose.
ii. In a special session today, Wickremesinghe moved the resolution in parliament to set up Constitutional Assembly (CA) of all members and a steering committee of 17 members to draft the new constitution.
iii. “We will have the whole parliament formulating the constitution unlike the previous instances when the constitutions were drafted outside parliament,” he said. The new constitution will replace the current executive president headed constitution adopted in 1978.
iv. The resolution noted that there shall be a Committee of Parliament referred to as the “Constitutional Assembly” which shall consist of all MPs, for the purpose of deliberating on, and seeking the views and advice of the people, on a new constitution for Sri Lanka, and preparing a draft of a Constitution Bill for the consideration of Parliament in the exercise of its powers under Article 75 of the Constitution.
v. A Steering Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairman), Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice, and not more than 11 other Members of the Constitutional Assembly will be appointed by the Constitutional Assembly.
vi. President Maithripala Sirisena in his address said the time has come to formulae a new constitution in keeping with the demands of the 21st century. He warned that extremist elements both in the south and the north may try to scuttle the process.
v. He denied opposition’s accusations that the new constitution is being drafted to please the international community based on their advise. Sirisena, since coming to power, has reduced his presidential powers and strengthened key areas of governance by setting up independent commissions on police, judiciary elections and public service.

95. Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis clinch Brisbane International title
i. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis carried the dominance of 2015 into the new season, winning their sixth consecutive title by lifting the WTA Brisbane trophy, here on Saturday. The top seeds quelled the challenge of German wildcards Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 6-1 in mere 69 minutes.
ii. Sania and Martina, the world number one team, have now stitched a 26-match winning streak together, which has brought them six titles in a row at the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing, WTA Finals and now here.
iii. It is the longest winning streak since Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci's 25 in a row in 2012. Sara and Roberta had won five titles in a row, at Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, the French Open and 's-Hertogenbosch.
iv. The Indo-Swiss pair drew the first blood by breaking the rivals in the second game but the joy was short-lived as Kerber and Petkovic reeled off four straight games to take a 4-2 lead in the opening set.
v. The top seeds controlled the game better in the second set, racing to a 3-0 lead by breaking their rivals in the second game. It was a cakewalk for them from there, losing only one game before closing the match in their favour.

96. Urjit Patel re-appointed as RBI Deputy Governor for Three Years
i. Union Government on 8 Janury 2016 re-appointed Dr Urjit R Patel, as Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), for a second three-year term.

ii. Patel who joined RBI on 11 January 11, 2013 had headed a committee that paved the way for the proposed monetary policy committee. Patel, a doctorate from Yale University, also had a stint at IMF.
iii. Patel is the fourth deputy governor and the other three are HR Khan, R Gandhi and SS Mundra. The re-appointment of Patel assumes significance as in recent past, none of the deputy governors got a second term.

97. 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas held in New Delhi
i. The 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) was held in New Delhi. The event was inaugurated by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and attended by Priti Patel, MoS for Employment, United Kingdom.
ii. Apart from the main event in New Delhi, the day was celebrated by the MEA, across the world, through its missions/posts abroad.

iii. On this occasion, Sushma Swaraj announced that the government is considering Aadhaar cards to non-resident Indians (NRIs) and allowing women workers to Gulf countries only through the government agencies to ensure they were not duped by recruiting agents or firms.

98. President of India inaugurates 88th Annual Conference of Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan
i. The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the three day long 88th annual conference of Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan today (January 10, 2016) at Ranchi, Jharkhand. 
ii. Speaking on the occasion, the President said he had been closely involved with the organization for the last three decades. He said the great traditions of Bengali literature, language and culture originated from the period of 'Charyapada' a Bengali compilation that was discovered by the noted scholar, Haraprasad Shastri in Nepal in 1907.

99. Book titled MARU BHARAT SARU BHARAT authored by Jain Acharya Maharaj released
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 10 January 2016 released a book titled “MARU BHARAT SARU BHARAT “(My India Noble India) written by Jain Acharya Ratnasundersuriswarji Maharaj.
ii. This is the 300th book of Ratnasundersuriswarji Maharaj. The book release function was organized by Sahitya Satkar Samiti of Ratnatrayee Trust in Mumbai.
iii. The book, My India, Nobel India, will be available in four languages - English, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi.
iv. The author through his book has highlighted various social evils, deficiencies prevailing at individual level, and also expressed his anger about those evils.

100. Nepal elected as UNICEF’s executive board member for 2016-2018
i. Nepal on 9 January 2016 was elected to the UNICEF executive board, representing the group of Asia-Pacific countries for the term 2016-2018. Nepal's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Durga Prasad Bhattarai, was also unanimously elected vice-president to the Bureau of the Executive Board of the UNICEF for 2016.
ii. Nepal recently completed its terms as a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 2013-2015 and as vice-president from Asia-Pacific region at the executive board of United Nations Development Programme/United Nations Population Fund/United Nations Office for Project Services for the year 2015.

101. International Kite festival started in Ahmedabad
i. Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on 10 January 2016 inaugurated the 28th edition of International Kite Festival at Sabarmati River front in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The Kite festival of Gujarat marks Uttarayan, the day when winter begins to turn into summer, according to the Indian calendar.
ii. The five-day annual event saw participation of about 98 foreign kite flyers from 28 different nations and 55 participants from 8 different states and 28 kite flyers from Gujarat.
iii. While inaugurating the festival, Chief Minister Patel claimed that the festival has boosted the kite-making industry along with attracting foreign tourists in Gujarat. She also said that in last one decade the business of kite making has grown from 100 crore rupees to 700 crore rupees.
iv. The international kite festival is simultaneously organized in other cities of the state including Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Porbandar, Mandvi, Botad, Surendranagar, and Modhera.
vi. Uttarayan is the sign for farmers that the sun is back and that harvest season is approaching which is called Makara Sankranti. This day is considered to be one of the most important harvest days in India.

102. 11th World Hindi Day observed on 10 January
i. The 11th World Hindi Day was celebrated on 10 January 2016. To mark the occasion, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) through its missions/posts abroad and the Department of Official Language (Rajbhasha) conducted special events to spread the greatness of the language.
ii. The day was first observed on 10 January 2006. And, it is in addition to the National Hindi Divas that is being celebrated annually on 14 September. National Hindi Divas is celebrated to mark the day, 14 September 1949, on which the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi written in Devanagari script as the Official Language of the Union.

103. Noted Hindi writer Ravindra Kalia passed away
i. Noted Hindi writer and journalist Ravindra Kalia passed away on 9 January 2016 in New Delhi. He was 78. Kalia had been suffering from liver cirrhosis. The writer is known for his works like Nau Saal Chotti Patni and Ghalib Chutti Sharab.
ii. The former Bharatiya Jnanpith director, Kalia was also the editor of several literary magazines, including Naya Gyanodaya. Born on 11 November 1938 in Jalandhar, Punjab, Kalia was mainly famous for writing stories, novels, memoirs and satires.
iii. The writer had been honoured with Uttar Pradesh (UP) Premchand Memorail Award, UP Sahitya Bhushan Award, UP Lohia Award, Punjab Government’s Shiromani award and Pdumlal Bakshi Award of Madhya Pradesh Government.

104. 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards announced in California
i. The 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced on 11 January 2015 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the US. These annual awards honour the best in Motion Pictures and Television for the year 2015.
ii. The Revenant won the Best Motion Picture – Drama while best Actor and best Director Awards were conferred to Leonardo DiCaprio and Alejandro Inarritu for the same movie. Brie Larson won the best actress award for ‘The Martian’ Movie.

105. ‘Stand-up India’ drive in the offing: Arun Jaitley
i. The Centre is planning to launch a "Stand-up India" drive to promote entrepreneurship among women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, according to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
ii. He was speaking here on Sunday at the inaugural of the three-day Partnership Summit jointly hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the State Government. He said the Start-up India drive launched by the Centre had received tremendous response and "now we are planning a Stand-up India drive."
iii. He explained to the audience that the programme envisaged special assistance to women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to promote entrepreneurship. He said each bank branch in the country would have to give at least one loan to a woman, SC and ST entrepreneur to set up units.
iv. "There are 1.5 lakh branches in the country and we are sure the programme will make a big impact as the Mudra loan scheme did," he said.

106. British singer Singer David Bowie dies at 69
i. British singer-songwriter David Bowie has died at the age of 69 after battling cancer for 18 months.
ii. “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief,” read a statement posted on the singer’s official social media accounts.
iii. Bowie had turned 69 just two days ago. He is survived by two children Duncan Jones and Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra Jones and wife Iman.
iv. One of the most influence musical artistes of his generation, Bowie is known for his camelion-like qualities as a performer that often blurred the lines between genders in an illustrious career that spanned four decades.
v. The musician, whose full name was David Robert Jones, was born in Brixton, UK on January 8, 1947.

107. ICC announces MoneyGram as Event Partner; signs 8-year deal
i. The ICC and MoneyGram International, a leading global provider of money transfer services, today announced an eight-year deal which confirms MoneyGram as an event partner for ICC events from 2016-2023.
ii. A media release by ICC stated, “The ICC and MoneyGram recently completed a successful five-year partnership, which began with the ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010, concluding with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
iii. “In the current eight-year cycle, the alliance promises to reach greater heights, as the ICC will stage an impressive 17 tournaments, including six majors — two ICC World Twenty20 tournaments, two editions of the ICC Champions Trophy and two ICC Cricket World Cups.”
iv. Commenting on the partnership, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said:“I am delighted that MoneyGram International has decided to continue to support cricket by extending its partnership with the ICC.
v. “The extension says much about the value of our events at which we continue to strive to create an unforgettable experience for fans from all around the world. Sponsors are the lifeline for any sport and on behalf of the ICC, I thank MoneyGram for their continued support.”

108. Maria Teresa de Filippis, first female Formula One driver, died
i. Maria Teresa de Filippis, the first woman to compete in a world championship Formula One grand prix, passed away on 8 January 2016 in Italy. She was 89.

ii. De Filippis participated in five World Championship Grands Prix; however, she scored no championship points. Although she remained largely unsuccessful in her Formula One racing career, she is remembered as a pioneer in motor racing, a sport dominated by men.
iii. Born on 11 November 1926 in Naples, Italy, de Filippis began her racing career at the age of 22. She won her first race, driving a Fiat 500 on a 10 km drive between Salerno and Cava de' Tirreni.
iv. She took part in various motor racing events, including hill climbing and endurance racing, before being given the chance to drive in Formula One. She finished second in a sportscar race supporting the 1956 Naples Grand Prix, driving a Maserati 200S.
v. On 18 May 1958, she was given the opportunity to enter the Monaco Grand Prix, the second round of the 1958 Formula One season, in one of the 250Fs.

109. Stanislas Wawrinka won third consecutive Chennai Open title
i. Stanislas Wawrinka on 10 January 2016 won his Chennai Open title. In the summit clash at the Nungambakkam tennis stadium of Chennai, he defeated Croatian Borna Coric 6-3, 7-5. This is the fourth Chennai Open title for the Swiss player and the third consecutive win, who first won it in 2011.
ii. He extended his run of dominance in Chennai to a 12-match win streak, including 24 consecutive sets won.
iii. The Swiss completed the first three-peat in tournament history, becoming the ninth different active player to do so at an ATP World Tour event.
iv. The 30 year old notched his 12th tour-level crown overall and eighth on hard courts.With this win, Wawrinka lifted the cup and got the award money of 75700 US dollars and got away with 250 ATP ranking points.

110. Union Railway Ministry inaugurated Implementation of E-enabled Track Management System
i. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on 11 January 2016 inaugurated implementation of E-enabled Track Management System (TMS) and Mobile Application of TMS on Indian Railway at Rail Bhawan in New Delhi.
ii. Indian Railways brought in these initiatives to bring efficiency and effectiveness in management practices which involve handling of huge volumes of data statistics as well as dynamic analysis of various measurement and defects and planning, deployment of large resources.

iii. Along with these two initiatives, the minister also inaugurated pilot implementation of Track Inventory Management System on Northern Railway to track materials inventory, construction and track machines organization in entire 225 units of Northern Railway.
iv. It is an important milestone in promoting e-working in civil engineering department of Indian Railways. It is implemented on all the 68 divisions of Indian Railways. With the implementation of this system, various activities of Track Inspection, Monitoring and Maintenance came on IT platform. It is the first of its kind Organization Wide Asset Management IT Application.
v. It is designed for decentralization of data capturing and speedy information dissemination along with centralized data keeping and analysis. It will eliminate more than 100000 manual record keeping registers and make the area of working almost paperless. It provides alerts in the form of Short Message Services (SMS) and E-mails to all concerned officials right from Junior Engineer in field upto the Railway Board.
vi. Database and application servers are established in CRIS Data Center at Delhi. Required infrastructure like Netbooks/mini laptops along with requisite Internet connectivity/mobile data cards provided to all Junior and Senior Engineers.

111. ADB to fund $840-m corridor between Vizag, Chennai
i. The Asian Development Bank will extend a $625 million loan to the proposed $840 million Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor, according to Teresa Kho, Country Director – India, ADB. She said the industrial corridor, meant to boost manufacturing activity and help economic growth of the hinterland, will have four nodes: Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Gannavaram-Kankipadu, and Yerpedu-Srikalahasti.
ii. The building blocks of the corridor would be node-centred development and trade and transport. The VCIC, she said, was anchored on nearly 800 km of National Highway 16, which was highly congested. Arterial roads would have to be developed. The VCIC would be part of the proposed East Coast Economic Corridor, from Kolkata in West Bengal to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, Kho said, addressing a plenary session, ‘Sunrise Andhra Pradesh: turning aspirations into reality’, at the CII Partnership Summit now underway here.
iii. M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister, said the Housing and Urban Development Corporation would help build Andhra Pradesh’s capital at Amaravati with an assistance of Rs. 7,500 crore. Naidu said a metro rail was under consideration for Visakhapatnam, while tenders would be invited for one in Vijayawada.
iv. He and Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha emphasised that the Centre would provide assistance to Andhra Pradesh. They pointed out that like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the State had an able and decisive leader in Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. Thanks to this, Andhra Pradesh would be at the forefront of India’s economic growth, he said.
v. Outlining his vision for Andhra Pradesh’s development, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said this time around his strategy would be to go in for inclusive growth.

112. Constro 2016 to focus on 'Smart City' concept
i. The 2016 edition of the Constro exhibition will be held in Pune from January 14-17 and will focus on the Smart City concept. Organised by the Pune Construction Engineering Research Foundation (PCERF), this is the 14th edition of the bi-annual event which is one of the biggest international fairs on construction machinery, materials, methods and projects.
ii. Shrikant Nivasarkar, President, PCERF, said, “In view of Government’s mission of creating 100 smart cities, ‘Constro 2016’ will focus on two themes: 'Emerging Technologies for Smart City’ and ‘Skill Development'.”
iii. The exhibition will provide an insight of the current state of the modern city and the measures that need to be taken to create a smart city. It will consist of six pavilions, and 250 stalls with a special focus on featuring the tools and materials connected with skill development.
iv. The other highlights include a seminar series and a display and demonstration of wall & floor tiling and bricklaying by Parshuram Naik, a bronze medallist who won the Bricklaying Medallion of Excellence in Brazil.

113. Telangana became first State to make gender education compulsory at graduate level
i. Telangana became the first State in India to introduce compulsory gender education at the graduate level. In this regard, the state in second week of January 2016 introduced a bilingual textbook titled, Towards a World of Equals. The book was introduced on a pilot basis in engineering colleges affiliated to the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU-Hyderabad).
ii. The book discusses gender in its composite form without limiting itself to crime against women. The book attempts to cover information on unacknowledged women writers of Telangana to problems of sex selection and women’s work in politics and economics.
iii.  It also touches upon complex subjects like female-centric history and male-female relationships. The book is structured in simple language and form to suit under-graduates. The book discusses different strands of women’s movements across the world, introducing students to political movements of Afro-American, Caribbean, African, Dalit and minority women.
iv. The book is coupled with a collection of visual teaching tools which include documentary films. The book is being taught over 14 weeks in a semester at the rate of two classes per week.

114. Ashish Saraf appointed as Airbus Group’s vice president
i. Airbus Group on 11 January 2016 announced the appointment of Ashish Saraf as Vice-President - Industry Development, Strategic Partnerships and Offsets.

ii. Saraf will look over the Group's existing Make in India initiatives and conceive new ones for all the businesses of Airbus Group India with the aim to increase their industrial footprint in the country. The move comes close on the heels of Airbus Group uniting its Divisions in India under a single company.
iii. Ashish Saraf holds an extensive experience in offsets, industrial relations, greenfield start-up development and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining Airbus Group, he was the India head of the Tata Sikorsky joint venture since 2010. He led Sikorsky's industrialisation and strategic partnerships in India.
iv. He started his career with Dassault Systems and Deloitte Consulting. He is an alumnus of the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune and the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Nagpur.

115. RINL inked MoU with Andhra Pradesh Government for investment of 38500 crore rupees
i. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, on 11 January 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh government.
ii. The MoU envisages investment of around 38500 crore rupees to take up various projects at Visakhapatnam. The deal was signed during the 22nd CII Partnership Summit & 1st Sunrise AP Investment Meet, which is being held in Visakhapatnam.
iii. The investments by RINL will include expansion capacity of Vizag Steel to 7.3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) with a modernisation that may cost approximately 3600 crore rupees. At an investment of 3400 crore rupees, construction of Coke Oven Battery and other projects are also expected to be modernised.
iv. The overall investment figure of 38500 crore rupees also includes further total expansion capacity of RINL to around 11.5 MTPA to 12 MTPA. The company will also spend 6100 crore rupees on a slurry pipeline and pellet plant in a joint venture with NMDC & others.
v. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, also known as Vizag Steel, is an Indian government-owned steel producer. The company is based in Visakhapatnam. It has been awarded the Navaratna status, with accompanying autonomy of operations, due to its strong financial performance.
vi. The plans for a steel plant in Visakhapatnam were announced in 1971 by then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. Originally, intended as a plant of the state-owned Steel Authority of India Limited, RINL was established as a separate company in 1982.

116. Illumina, Bill Gates & Jeff Bezos launched startup GRAIL to develop blood-based cancer tests
i. Illumina, the world’s largest DNA sequencing company, on 10 January 2015 announced the launch of the startup named GRAIL to develop blood-based cancer tests. The company was launched in association with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo’s venture fund Bezos Expeditions and Arch Venture Partners.
ii. The company will develop blood tests that cost 1000 US dollars or less for detecting many types of cancer before symptoms arise. The test, which is also called as liquid biopsy, will use high-speed DNA sequencing machines to scour a person’s blood for fragments of DNA released by cancer cells.
iii. All the partners in the startup raised around 100 million US dollars among themselves, in which Illumina will have the majority stake holder. The newly developed tests are expected to reach the market by 2019. GRAIL will operate from San Diego in California, the USA.

117. Binny Bansal appointed as CEO of Flipkart
i. India's biggest e-commerce company, Flipkart, on 11 January 2016 announced the promotion of current Chief Operating Officer Binny Bansal to the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). On the other hand, Sachin Bansal, who has been the CEO since inception, will now take on the newly-created role of Executive Chairman.
ii. The major restructuring of its top management will see Mukesh Bansal report to Binny. Mukesh will continue to be chairman of Myntra, which he co-founded, and head Flipkart's commerce platform. He has also been given additional responsibility of the overall ads business.
iii. The current ads business head Ravi Garikipati will report to Mukesh. Binny Bansal is an Indian Software engineer and Internet entrepreneur. In 2007, he co-founded the e-commerce platform Flipkart with Sachin Bansal.
iv. Before co-founding Flipkart, Binny was previously employed with Amazon for 9 months. Prior to joining Amazon, he was rejected by Google twice. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering.

118. Kullu Folk Dance Finds Place in Guinness Book of World Records
i. The colourful Kullu folk dance (Nati), which saw participation of 20,000 dancers during Kullu Dussehra festival on October 26 last year, has entered the Guinness book of world records. In the Nati, 10,000 men and women attired in traditional Kullu dress performed at Dhalpur Ground during Kullu Dussehra festival on October 26 last year.
ii. The jamboree of over 20,000 people danced to spread the message of 'Beti Hai Anmol' (Girl child is precious). The Guinness Book authorities were informed about the show and the entire programme which lasted about an hour was monitored.
iii. The intimation regarding recording the event in Guinness Book was received today by Kullu Deputy Commissioner, Rakesh Kumar, the man behind the show.
iv. Kanwar confirmed the information and said that it was possible due to initiative and enthusiasm of the people who participated enthusiastically in the programme, rehearsed for days and made it successful.
v. Similar folk dance was performed last year (2014) also in which 8,600 dancers participated and it was recorded in Limca book of World records.

119. Balkrishna Garg conferred with 2015 Harikrishna Devsare Baalsahitya Award
i. Veteran hindi poet Balkrishna Garg was on 8 January 2016 conferred with the 2015 Harikrishna Devsare Baalsahitya Award in New Delhi. He received the award for his Baa Geet, which is a collection of poems for children.

ii. The award was presented by Sahitya Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari and National Book Trust (NBT) Chairman Baldeo Bhai Sharma.
iii. It was the second award to be conferred since its inception in 2014 and consists of a cash prize of 75000 rupees, a shawl and a citation.
iv. The award was instituted in the memory of Harikrishna Devsare, a renowned Hindi writer known for his work in the field of children’s literature, who passed away in 2013.

120. Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi wins Ballon d'Or award for world's best player for fifth time
i. The Barcelona and Argentina forward finished ahead of Ronaldo and Brazil forward Neymar as he scooped the award for the fifth time overall, having previously won it four years in a row from 2009 to 2012. Messi helped Barcelona to a Spanish league, domestic cup and Champions League treble plus the Club World Cup and also led Argentina to the Copa America final, where they lost to Germany.
ii. "It's incredible, much more than anything I dreamed of as a kid," said Messi as he received the award. "I want to thank my team-mates, without them none of this would have been possible." Barcelona's Luis Enrique was voted coach of the year.
iii. United States World Cup winner Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the final against Japan, was named women's player of the year. Ronaldo ended last season trophyless with Real Madrid, although he helped Portugal qualify for Euro 2016.
iv. Neymar won a treble alongside Messi at Barcelona but had a less happy time with Brazil, receiving a four-match international ban after he was sent off during the Copa America. Brazilian footballer Wendell Lira received the Puskas Award for best goal of the year, for his bicycle kick goal for Goianesia against Atletico-GO in March 2015.

121. Kerala Declared First State to Attain Total Primary Education
i. Vice President Hamid Ansari today declared Kerala as the first state in the country to attain 'Total Primary Education', and described the achievement as 'historic.' "I believe that the date today is as historic for Kerala as April 18, 1991, the day Kerala was declared to be a fully literate state," he said.
ii. "Kerala has set a model for the rest of the country to follow," the Vice President said. Noting that the achievement was another feather to the state's educational cap, he said the state was marking the successful culmination of its 'Athulyam' programme aimed at ensuring Total Primary Education in Kerala -- equivalent to Standard IV of formal education.

iii. "This is the fructification of the continuing efforts under the Total Literacy Campaign through the well-planned and executed post-literacy activities and the Continuing Education Programme by the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) under the Government of Kerala," he said.
iv. Ansari also said this remarkable educational achievement was a result of the enlightened political leadership of Kerala, the dedication of its public functionaries and the people of state who have come to value the importance of education. The declaration marks the culmination of the second phase of the 'Athulyam' Class 4 equivalency programme -— for people aged between 15 and 50 —- run by KSLMA.
v. Ansari said Kerala achieved progress in social and other sectors mainly due to the importance it gave for education. The impressive march of Kerala on the education and various other socio-economic fronts has been due to what Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has called "the constructive and combative roots of its historical background", he said.
vi. He lauded the contribution of religious reformers such as Sree Narayana Guru and other social organisations such as Nair Service Society, Muslim Educational Society (MES) and Christian missionaries, saying they also helped in inculcating and sustaining spread of education as a social movement.

122. Book titled Jawaharlal Nehru and The Indian Polity in Perspective released by Hamid Ansari
i. The book titled Jawaharlal Nehru and The Indian Polity in Perspective was released by Hamid Ansari on 12 January 2016 by the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
ii. The focus of the book is on the role of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, on shaping the polity of modern India.
iii. The book was edited by Prof Alexander and with contributions from eminent persons like Justice K T Thomas, Dr Rajan Kurukkal, Dr B Vivekanandan, M G Radhakrishnan and others.
iv. It was published by T M Varghese Foundation.

123. CII Partnership Summit 2016 concluded in Vishakhapatnam
i. The 22nd edition of Confederate of Indian Industry (CII) Partnership Summit -cum-Sunrise Andhra Pradesh Investment Summit was concluded on 12 January 2016 at Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
ii. The summit was held in cooperation with the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India. The summit, which commenced on 10 January 2016, was organised to showcase investment opportunities in Sunrise Andhra Pradesh.
iii. Medical devices manufacturing park will be established in Andhra Pradesh with a potential investment of 20000 crore rupees. Andhra Pradesh became first state to release retail policy. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh to set up naval facility in Vishakhapatnam.
iv. Union government announced the sanction of greenfield petrochemical complex and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) in Visakhapatnam and a Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) in Vijayawada.

124. Lenovo to launch new smartphone under Google’s Project Tango
i. The term Project Tango was in news in the second week of January 2016 as Lenovo, a Chinese multinational computer technology company, announced that it entered into a partnership with Google for the project.

ii. As part of the partnership, Lenovo will launch a new smartphone that can “see” and map out surroundings without external signals like satellite-based global positioning system (GPS).
Features of Google’s Project Tango.
iii. It gives a mobile device the ability to navigate the physical world, similar to how we do as humans, without using GPS or other external signals. The project was unveiled by Google in June 2014 and has features like motion tracking, depth perception, area learning that are based on 3D technology.
iv. It brings a new kind of spatial perception to mobiles and tablets by adding advanced computer vision, image processing, and special vision sensors. The project works on various Android device platforms that run C, Java, and Unity.
v. It is an open project in the sense that it allows technology partners and developers community to develop to create new user experiences.

125. Employees Provident Fund Organization won the National Award on e-Governance 2015-16
i. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization won the National Award on e-Governance 2015-16 for launching the Universal Account Number (UAN). The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions will present the award in the 19th National Conference on e-governance to be held in Nagpur on 22 January 2016.
ii. The EPFO bagged the national award in the ‘innovative use of technology in e-governance’ category and the retirement body will get a cash prize of 200000 rupees.
iii. UAN is an e-initiative of EPFO, launched in July 2014. In this initiative, all active employees are provided a universal number which can be linked to various provident fund account numbers provided to them while working in different organisations
iv. Statistically, 5.65 crore employees in 457000 organisations were allocated with UAN till November 2015. A single account number can be used through all of workers’ employments with various organisations. It enables the employees to switch their provident fund deposits automatically, when they change their job, just by providing UAN to the new employer.
v. It also allows employees to have access to their provident fund account to view their balance and deposits on the portal, without going through the Employer. National Awards for e-Governance are presented every year to recognize and promote excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives.

126. Conference of QCG on Afghan Peace & Reconciliation held in Islamabad
i. Conference of Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) on Afghan Peace and Reconciliation process was held in Islamabad on 11 January 2016. The purpose of the conference was to explore ways to create consensus for talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan's government.
ii. The conference was participated representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US. The group will again meet in Kabul on 18 January 2016 to hold discussions on a roadmap.
iii. The joint statement released after the discussions emphasised the immediate need for direct talks between the representatives of the Afghanistan government and representatives from Taliban groups. The talks for peace process aims at preserving Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
iv. The four-nation group was set up in 2015 to expedite the process of reconciliation in the war-torn country after decades of bloodshed. The first round was held in July 2015 but the process was suspended in the same month after news of Taliban Chief Mullah Omar's death was announced.
v. The group also reiterated their commitment to the realization of objectives expressed in their statement from the quadrilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad on 9 December 2015.

127. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group signed MoU to set up naval facility in Vishakhapatnam
i. Reliance Defence Ltd, a unit of Anil Ambani led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd led on 10 January 2016 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh Government to set up a world class naval facility in the state.

ii. The announcement regarding the MoU was made at Andhra Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam.
iii. The proposed facility will be established with an initial investment of 5000 crore rupees. And, it will be setup on the East Coast of India at Rambilli, which is 70 kilometers south of Visakhapatnam.   
iv. Earlier, in March 2015, Reliance acquired the Pipavav shipyard on West Coast in Gujarat. These two facilities will build submarines and aircraft carriers and also provide services including maintenance and refitting of ships.

128. Amitabh Bachchan made honorary life member of Mohammedan Sporting
i. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan on 12 January 2016 was bestowed honorary life membership of Kolkata’s soccer outfit Mohammedan Sporting. Sporting president Sultan Ahmed handed over the club’s life membership to Bachchan.

ii. Bachchan was also invited to be the chief guest of the club’s 125th anniversary gala event to be held later in 2016. Mohammedan Sporting Club was founded in 1891 at Kolkata. It is one of the oldest and leading football clubs in India. At present, the club plays in the I-League 2nd Division and premier division of Calcutta Football League(CFL).
iii.  It was the first Indian club to win CFL in 1934 and continued their run till 1938 season. Before Independence, numerous triumphs against British teams earned the club huge support from every section of Indian society.
iv. The club also became the first Indian club to win the Durand Cup in 1940. After Independence, the club also became the first Indian club to win on foreign soil by lifting the Aga Khan Gold Cup in 1960. Mohammedan Sporting along with Mohun Bagan A.C. and East Bengal F.C. are tagged as the Big Three.

129. 20th National Youth Festival inaugurated in Naya Raipur
i. The 20th National Youth Festival was on 12 January 2016 inaugurated by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari at Rajyostav Sthal in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh to mark the National Youth Day.

ii. The five day long annual festival is celebrated by the Union Government in partnership with a state government on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. For the 20th National Youth Festival, Chhattisgarh was chosen as the partner state with the theme India Youth for Skill, Development and Harmony.
iii. It is an annual gathering of students being jointly organised by Chhattisgarh Sports and Youth Welfare Department, Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangthan and National Service Scheme. The festival will see the participation of over 6000 youths from across the country except West Bengal.
iv. It will see contests in 18 different disciplines, including folk dance, folk song, drama, classical music, classical dance, extempore etc. For the first time in the youth festival, para-trooping would be displayed by the Indian Army along with weapons and explosives used during war.
v. It comprises a Youth Parliament where representatives of student unions and Universities would discuss key issues of the country particularly on the theme-India Youth for Skill, Development and Harmony.
vi. The conclave, which is held annually during the festival, saw the participation of various ministries and companies. In the conclave, the participants discussed issues related to skill development such as public private participation, reforms in skills for industrial development and improving livelihood in rural India through Skill India.

130. Indra Nooyi becomes ‘most generous graduate’ of Yale School of Management
i. The prestigious Yale School of Management will name its deanship in honour of PepsiCo’s India-born CEO Indra Nooyi as she gifted an undisclosed amount to her alma mater, becoming the school’s biggest alumni donor and the first woman to endow a deanship at a top b-school.
ii. Yale did not disclose the amount gifted by Nooyi but said her “landmark gift” to endow the deanship of the school and inaugurate an innovation fund has made her the “most generous graduate” of Yale School of Management in terms of lifetime giving to the school. She is also the first woman to endow the deanship at a top business school, the school said in a statement yesterday.
iii. The PepsiCo chairman, who graduated from the school in 1980, credited her experience at the school for “forever” altering “the course of my life” and said her gift “pales in comparison with the gift that Yale gave me the fundamental understanding that leadership requires an expansive worldview and a deep appreciation of the many points of intersection between business and society.”
iv. “Business issues are never just business issues, and my most ardent hope is that this endowment will teach future generations of leaders that the most successful companies of tomorrow will do more than make money,” she said in a statement.
v. “They will make a difference and create shareholder value by improving the quality of life in every market in which they operate,” she said. Nooyi joins several prominent persons of Indian-origin who have donated generously to US universities.
vi. In October last year, Nooyi’s sister and Grammy-nominated musician Chandrika Tandon and her husband Ranjan had made a 100 million dollar gift to the New York University’s School of Engineering, one of the largest philanthropic gifts by a member of the Indian-American community. In 2010, Harvard Business School had received a gift of USD 50 million from Tata Companies.
vii. Industrialist Ratan Tata had attended the School’s Advanced Management Programme in 1975. The gift will also be used to inaugurate the Fifth Decade Innovation Fund, which is named in recognition of the fact that the school is entering its fifth decade; the first class entered the Yale School of Management in 1976.
viii. The fund is an ambitious initiative designed to advance the school’s aim of developing leaders with the broad global mindset and multi-disciplinary approach to business that is needed to succeed in 21st-century capitalism. It will be open to additional substantial contributions that can help the school develop the technology and other infrastructure to support these and future initiatives.

131. PMO sets up panel to fast-track bullet trains
i. The Prime Minister’s Office has constituted a committee under Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog, to hasten the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor, meant for bullet trains between the two cities.
ii. The panel will interact with the Japanese counterpart for taking the next step in implementation. The Railway Board chairman, secretary in the department of expenditure, foreign secretary and secretary (industrial policy) will be part of the panel.
iii. Officials said the Railway Board head will look after all issues related to overall operation and technical issues. The economic affairs secretary will look after all issues related to the financial outlay and his industrial policy counterpart the Make in India component of the trains.
iv. The Cabinet’s approval for the high-speed line was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Panagariya. Also approved was a suggestion to consider allowing private operators on the 508-km line.
v. The Panagariya panel had favoured Japan over China due to the low-cost funding up to 80 per cent of the cost proposed by Japan International Cooperation Agency, at a 0.1 per cent interest rate (50-year repayment), apart from a commitment for technology transfer and local manufacturing for a specified period.
vi. It had suggested Indian Railways run the corridor for an initial five years, after which private operators could be allowed. Bullet trains are run by state-owned agencies in France and Germany. The Japanese system was handed to private companies after two decades of operation.

132. Cabinet approves crop insurance scheme PMFBY
i. The union cabinet on Wednesday approved the crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) to boost the farming sector and ensure farmers' welfare. "The new Crop Insurance Scheme is in line with One Nation - One Scheme theme. It incorporates the best features of all previous schemes and at the same time, all previous shortcomings/weaknesses have been removed," said a ministry of agriculture statement.

ii. Under PMFBY, the farmers are required to pay a uniform premium of two percent for all Kharif crops and 1.5 percent for all Rabi crops while it is five percent for annual commercial and horticultural crops.
iii. "The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the government to provide full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities," the statement said.
iv. With no upper cap on government subsidy, even if the balance premium is 90 percent, the government will bear it. The earlier practice of capping the premium rate has been done away with as it resulted in low claims being paid to farmers, the statement said.
v. "This capping (premium rate) has now been removed and farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction," the statement added.
vi. To enable faster claims payment, the government intends to encourage use of technology and smartphones to capture and upload data on crop harvesting and also deploy remote sensing to reduce crop cutting experiments.

133. WHO declares world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak over
i. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced today that the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged west Africa for two years was over after Liberia, the last affected country, received the all-clear. “Today the World Health Organisation declares the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia and says all known chains of transmission have been stopped in West Africa,” the UN health agency said.

ii. WHO stressed though that “the job is not over,” warning “more flare-ups are expected.” “We need to remain engaged,” Peter Graaff, WHO director responsible for Ebola response, told reporters. One of the most feared diseases in the world, Ebola killed more than 11,000 people across west Africa after it surfaced in southern Guinea in December 2013.
iii. At its peak, the tropical haemorrhagic virus devastated Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, scything lives and dealing a hammer blow to weak economies and fragile health systems. The announcement came 42 days — the equivalent of two incubation periods of the virus — after the last Ebola cases in Liberia were tested negative. Liberia, the country worst hit by the outbreak with 4,800 deaths, discharged its last two patients from hospital — the father and younger brother of a 15-year-old victim — on December 3, 2015.
iv. The outbreak infected almost 29,000 people and claimed 11,315 lives, according to official data. But the real toll is suspected to be much higher, with many Ebola deaths believed to have gone unreported. Fighting stigma and resistance to containment measures were among the many challenges facing Ebola workers on the front line.
v. Today marked the third time that Liberia has been given the all-clear. The country was the first of the three to be declared free of human-to-human Ebola transmission in May, only to see the virus resurface six weeks later. Liberia was officially credited with beating the epidemic for a second time in September before another small cluster of cases emerged.
vi. The WHO came under fire for its sluggish response to the epidemic, which local healthcare systems were woefully underequipped to handle. Over 500 healthcare workers died in three west African countries in the eye of the outbreak.

134. Sikkim Becomes India's First Fully Organic State
i. Sikkim has become India's first fully organic state by converting around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into sustainable cultivation. "We have achieved fully-organic status in the end of December. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally announce this at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok on January 18," said Sikkim Organic Mission's executive director Dr Anbalagan.

ii. He said around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land was gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.
iii. It was 12 years ago in 2003 when the Pawan Chamling-led government decided to make Sikkim an organic farming state through a declaration in the legislative assembly. Later the entry of chemical inputs for farmland was restricted and their sale banned. Farmers therefore had no option but to go organic. Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers as it tries to strike a harmonious balance with a complex series of ecosystems.
iv. In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation and environmental protection, agriculture secretary Khorlo Bhutia said. Sustainable farming will also help in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production, he said.
v. Besides it will also boost the tourism industry in the tiny landlocked Himalayan state. Resorts have already been marketing themselves as completely organic where tourists can pluck, cook and relish fresh organic food from their kitchen gardens.

135. SBI launches dedicated branch for start-ups in Bengaluru
i. State Bank of India launched its wealth management offering and inaugurated a dedicated branch for start-ups here today. While the wealth management service 'Exclusif' is targeted at the fast-growing affluent segment in the country, 'SBI InCube' -the branch for start-ups - would offer advisory services to the budding entrepreneurs under one roof, SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya told reporters here.

ii. Initially, SBI InCube would not be providing loans, but give start-ups financial management services, she said. However, the bank would love to give them loans when they turn more mature than, Bhattacharya said. "Actually funding could be done when they become a little more mature or they have sufficient number of orders for scaling the companies. Surely, then they can become good candidates for funding," she said. 
iii. Asked whether SBI would help start-ups to raise funds from equity market, she said, as of now, it is not the bank's part of the mandate. 'SBI InCube' would be useful tostart-ups because they need financial management advice apartfrom providing financial help. "We still believe we will be useful to the start-upsthough we are not giving them financial help, becausefinancing is not the only thing that start-ups need. What theyreally need is a lot of financial management advice. So, wehope this kind of service will help them a lot," she said. 
iv. To a query, SBI Managing Director (National Banking Group) Rajnish Kumar said after Bengaluru, the bank isthinking of launching the project in Pune and NCR, as much of start-up activities are taking place in these three centres. Talking about the partnerships, Bhattacharya said the bank has been in touch with its mentors including former Infosysians Mohandas Pai and Nandan Nilekani who are guiding iton needs of start-up companies. 
v. On SBI Exclusif, Bhattacharya said it proposes tobring to customers a completely different and new approach tointeracting with the Bank. The customers will have access to a dedicated Relationship Manager to take care of all theirbanking and investment needs. Further, customers will have access to the best products across categories from market leading institutions as the bank has introduced an open platform, Bhattacharya said.

136. Pilot project on DBT for kerosene to start soon: Pradhan
i. In order to cover more households under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, the union minister of state (Independent charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday informed that soon kerosene consumers would be able to get their subsidy directly into their bank accounts. The Centre will rollout a pilot project in 33 districts across the country, he said.

ii. "We are especially working to further the reach of LPG connections in tribal and rural areas. In the coming days, all needy people who buy kerosene will get subsidy amount directly in their bank. We will start pilot scheme in 33 districts across the country including seven districts in Gujarat," Pradhan informed here after meeting the State Government officials.
iii. In order to chalk out a plan for seamless implementation, Pradhan met state minister for civil supplies Bhupendrasinh Chudasama along with secretaries of the concerned departments and 7 district collectors from Gujarat.
iv. Pradhan maintained that Government of India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Department has the biggest Public Distribution System (PDS). "Daily 3 crore people in India visit petrol pumps, kerosene retailers, and LPG distributors to buy petroleum products. Government of India and various state governments are working on a detailed scheme to ensure smooth reach of petroleum products," he added.
v. The Ministry is currently focusing on increasing the reach of LPG connections in tribal and rural areas. In Gujarat, the pilot project of DBT scheme for kerosene will be taken up in seven districts having large tribal population. These districts will be Banaskantha, Chhota Udepur, Ahmedabad rural, Bharuch, Dang, Porbandar and Devbhumi Dwarka.

137. R Shivakumar appointed Chairman of Assocham Karnataka
i. R Shivakumar, Chairman of Kumar Group of companies, Bengaluru, has been appointed as the Chairman of Assocham Karnataka Regional Council, the new regional outfit of Assocham, New Delhi.
ii. S Babu, Chairman of Ashwin Precision Products, has been appointed as Co-Chairman of Assocham Karnataka Regional Council.
iii. The new revamped regional council of Assocham in Karnataka is expected to play a significant role in the development of industry and trade in the state.

138. Subhashini Vasanth honoured with Neerja Bhanot Award
i. Bengaluru-based activist Subhashini Vasanth on 13 January 2016 was honoured with Neerja Bhanot Award. She was presented the award for her endeavour to help people in distress and for empowering widows of martyrs and their families across the country. Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor presented the award to Vasanth at a ceremony held in Chandigarh.
ii. Subhashini Vasanth lost her husband Col Vasanth V, who was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra in 2008 for his selfless, supreme sacrifice while fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Since the death of her husband, she has been helping the families of martyrs.
iii. She started the Vasantharatna Foundation in memory of her husband. The foundation provides education scholarships, conducted empowerment programmes and outbound learning programmes for women and children. Subhashini is also a Bharatnatyam exponent known for her intense abhinaya and immaculate footwork. She and Veena Prasad have co-authored the biography of Col Vasanth, titled Forever Forty.
iv. The Neerja Bhanot Award is an award of recognition conferred once a year by the The Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust in India. It is awarded to an Indian woman, subjected to social injustice, who faces the situation with grit and determination and extends help to other women in similar distress.
v. The annual Neerja Bhanot Award was instituted in 1990 and named in honour of Senior Flight Purser, Neerja Bhanot, who saved hundreds of lives while sacrificing her own, during a Pan Am Flight 73 hijack at Karachi Airport in September 1986.

139. Sachin opens railway police safety drive
i. Master blaster and former captain of the Indian cricket team Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday launched two safety and awareness initiatives by the Mumbai Railway Police. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Tendulkar expressed concern over the number of fatalities on railway tracks each year and recalled an incident in his teenage years after which he had resolved never to cross railway tracks again.

ii. The two initiatives, SAMEEP (Safety Alert Messages Exclusively For Passengers) and B-SAFE, were launched at the Railway Police headquarters in Wadi Bunder by Mr Tendulkar and Railway Police Commissioner Madhukar Pandey.
iii. “SAMEEP is an effort towards instant communication with railway passengers in case of any eventualities. As part of this initiative, we aim to send out text messages to passengers about important developments or disruptions, safety advisories, updates about women’s security and accurate information about developments to dispel any rumours.
iv. B-SAFE is a prolonged multimedia awareness campaign to educate the public about various precautions they should take for safe commuting. The campaign will consist of putting up theme based posters across railway station platforms, distribution of pamphlets and awareness meetings of commuter associations, educational institutions, etc,” Mr Pandey said.
v. Mr Tendulkar said the number of deaths on the tracks was worrying. “The general feeling is that crossing railway tracks will save us five minutes. But this also means that we are breaking the law and risking our lives for the sake of five minutes,” he said.

140. UNICEF presented David Beckham with Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award
i. David Beckham on 12 January 2016 was presented with the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award at the sixth biennial UNICEF Ball in Los Angeles. Sir Elton John and David Furnish presented the award to Beckham at the event, honouring him for his tireless work to save and improve the lives of children around the world.
ii. Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005. In 2015, the footballer launched 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, making a personal commitment to use his voice, influence and connections to raise vital funds and rally for lasting change for children.
iii. The Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award is named after Danny Kaye, star of Hans Christian Andersen and White Christmas. Kaye was one of the world’s most beloved entertainers. He was the first ever celebrity representative for UNICEF, and was a Goodwill Ambassador from 1954 until his death in 1987.

141. DRDO successfully test-fired anti-tank missile Nag in Rajasthan
i. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the second week of January 2016 successfully test-fired Nag anti-tank missile at the Mahajan Field Firing Range in Rajasthan.
ii. The test was conducted during a night trial to validate the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch.
iii. During the test, the Thermal Target System (TTS) was used as target for the missile. The TTS simulated a target similar to an operational tank as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature.

iv. It is a third generation fire-and-forget and can be fired anti-tank missile. It can be fired during night and day as well. It is equipped with top attack capability to nullify the explosive reactive armour (ERA) of a battle tank. It weighs 42kg having 1.90m length and can be fired against both moving and fixed targets.
v. Besides HeliNa, a helicopter versrion, it has land, air-launched and man portable (weighing 14 kg) versions. To carry the land version, DRDO developed the NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier) for the army.
vi. Once inducted in the Armed Forces, the HeliNa missile will be integrated with the weaponised version of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, the light combat helicopter produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

142. ‘Sahayog – Kaijin 2016’: India and Japan joint Coast Guard exercise
i. The 15th edition of bilateral exercise by the Indian Coast Guard and its Japanese counterpart titled ‘Sahayog-Kaijin 2016’ has begun off the coast of Chennai, Tamil Nadu in the Bay of Bengal.
ii. Anti-piracy procedures, search and rescue operations and interoperability between the two forces and other areas of common professional interest. Japanese Coast Guard ship Echigo along with its integral helicopter is participating.
iii. It will also involve Indian coast guard ships like Samudra Pahredar, Rajkamal, Vishwast, Rajtarang, Hovercraft, C-415, C-417, one Dornier and one Chetak helicopter.
iv. Sahayog-Kaijin bilateral exercise is a part of the cooperative arrangements between two Coast Guards for the last 15 years. It is also as part of the memorandum on cooperation (MoC) signed between the two countries in 2006.
v. It is biennial bilateral exercise held once in two years and the venue would shift in both countries on alternate occasions.

143. India’s Grid-linked solar generation capacity crosses 5,000 MW mark
i. Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced that India’s grid-connected solar power generation capacity has crossed the 5,000 Mega Watt (MW) mark. ii. Presently, Government has set an ambitious plan to achieve 175 Giga Watt (GW) of power generation capacity from renewable sources by 2022. It includes 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind.
iii. Under the National Solar Mission (NSM), Union Government increased the solar power generation capacity addition target by five times from 20,000 MW to 100 GW by 2022.

144. Union Government signed a loan agreement with World Bank for Neeranchal National Watershed Project
i. Union Government on 14 January 2016 signed a loan agreement with World Bank in New Delhi for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project.
ii. All 28 states which implement the watershed projects will benefit from this project. However, the nine states, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujrat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana will benefit more from the project as they are implementation of large number of watershed schemes in their states.
iii. The project was approved by the Union Cabinet in October 2015 with a total budget of 2142 crore rupees in which India would bear 1071 crore rupees and the rest 50 percent cost will be borne by the World Bank. It will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21).
iv. It will support the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana in hydrology and water management, agricultural production systems, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation.
v. Around 12 percent of the area of wasteland will be targeted through this project to make about 336 lakh hectares of land arable. The Minister said that the effective implementation of the scheme will go a long way in strengthening the economic conditions of the farming community.

145. Lagaan actor Rajesh Vivek Upadhyay died
i. Bollywood actor Rajesh Vivek Upadhyay died on 14 January 2016 due to a heart attack in Hyderabad. He was 66. Rajesh was mainly known for his roles in films like Lagaan and Swades.
ii. Born on 31 January 1949, Rajesh Vivek was best known for his role of the astrologer Guran in Lagaan and as the Postman/Postmaster in Swades. He was first introduced in film Junoon, which was directed by Shyam Benegal.
iii. He had also played role of Veda Vyasa, author of the Mahabharata in the popular TV series Mahabharat. He made his mark as a villain in the beginning with films like Veerana and Joshilay.
iv. He is also noted for his roles in the historic TV series Bharat Ek Khoj. His best acting was seen in the TV Serial Aghori which is his horror best.

146. Harry Potter actor Alan Rickman passed away
i. Actor Alan Rickman, known for films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, died of cancer on 14 January 2016 in London, England. He was 69.
ii. One of the best-loved and most warmly admired British actors of the past three decades, Rickman gained wider notice for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.
iii. Born on 21 February 1946 in Acton, London, Rickman was known for playing a variety of roles on stage and screen. His first big break was as the Vicomte de Valmont in the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.
iv. He played romantic leads like Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility and Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply. However, he often was praised for playing roles of numerous villains in Hollywood big-budget films, like German terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
v. In 1995, he earned a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of the title character in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.

147. Madhya Pradesh Government signed four MoUs with Singapore
i. Madhya Pradesh (MP) Government on 14 January 2016 signed four MOUs with Singapore to collaborate in urban planning, skill development, clean energy and food processing.
ii. The MoUs were signed in Singapore in the presence of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, who was on four day visit from 12 January 2016
iii. The MoU on setting up 1000 megawatt wind energy plant in western part of the state was signed between the Department of New & Renewable Energy and Singapore corporation unit, Sembcorp Green Infra Ltd.  It was the biggest of the investment proposals.
iv. The MoU covering urban planning was signed between the Directorate of Town & Country Planning and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise. The MoU on capacity building and skill training was signed between the Department of Technical Education and Skill Development and ITE Education Services of Singapore
v. The MoU covering food processing was signed between India’s LT Food Ltd and Singapore-based DSM Nutritional Products.
vi. Earlier, Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan was awarded with Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellowship for his contribution in development and international harmony. It was by awarded Fellowship Chairman Mr. Eddie Teo in Singapore on 13 January 2016.
vii. He is the fourth Indian to receive this fellowship. Previously, former vice-chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former union minister for investments Arun Shourie and chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh Chandra Babu Naidu had received this fellowship.

148. First 'Mahila Squad' Commissioned For High-Altitute Posts Of India-China Border
i. A freshly-trained contingent of 500 women personnel will become the first 'mahila' squad to be deployed in high-altitude posts along the India-China border. The squad was commissioned into the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) today in Panchkula.

ii. The women, in the rank of constable, were inducted in the border-guarding force after 44-weeks of training in battle craft and mountain survival and will now be sent to frontier areas for final acclimatisation before being deployed at ITBP posts along the 3,488-km Sino-India Line of Actual Control (LAC).
iii. These 'mahila' contingents are expected to be posted by March this year at about 20 forward locations of the ITBP situated at heights of between 8,000-14,000 feet, including at the 'Mana pass' border post, the last village on the Indian side in Uttarakhand.
iv. ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary, after reviewing the 'passing out parade' of the new personnel, asked them to exhibit the best skills that they have learnt during training to discharge their duties in some of the most difficult locations in the Himalayan ranges.
v. This is the first time that India is deploying women troops right at the front, one which is considered to be the most arduous and tricky given the harsh climatic conditions and extreme mountainous terrain along the India-China border.
vi. ITBP, raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression, has also begun creating logistical and residential facilities for its women personnel at these posts and it is expected to be completed by early March. The force plans to have women personnel make up at least 40 per cent of its strength at these forward posts.

149. Marat Safin inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame
i. The Russian Tennis Federation on 14 January 2016 announced that former World No.1 tennis player Marat Safin joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The official ceremony to induct Safin has been scheduled for 16 July 2016.

ii. The Russian tennis player was announced as a candidate for the induction into the Hall of Fame in October 2015 together with Belgium's Justine Henin, a former women's singles No.1 and seven-time major champion, and Helena Sukova from the Czech Republic, who won 14 major titles in doubles and mixed doubles.
iii. Marat Safin began his professional career in 1997. He held the No. 1 world ranking for a total of 9 weeks between November 2000 and April 2001. He won his first Grand Slam title at the 2000 US Open after defeating Pete Sampras.
iv. He became the first Russian man to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships.
v. The International Tennis Hall of Fame honours players and contributors to the sport of tennis. Martina Hingis became the first Global Ambassador for the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015.

150. Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis juggernaut continues, win Sydney International title
i. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis’ awe-inspiring run continued unabated as they lifted their second trophy of the season with the WTA Apia International title after clinching their 30th win a row, in Sydney on Friday.
ii. The triumph over Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic though was not without initial hiccups as the top seeds lost the first set meekly before eking out a 1-6 7-5 10-5 win in one hour and 13 minutes.
iii. The world number one team trailed 1-6 2-5 at one stage but they yet again came out unscathed, levelling the second set 5-5 and then sealed it to stretch it to a Super tie-breaker.
iv. The US open and Wimbledon champions raced to a 8-3 lead in the decider and clinched the issue comfortably to stretch their unbeaten run to an incredible 30 matches.

v. It was the 11th title together for the Indo-Swiss pair as continuing the good show from 2015 when they won 9 titles including the year-end WTA finale.

source:  - thanks

DAILY GK -- JANUARY 2016 -- 91 TO 150 Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 9:02:00 AM Rating: 5

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