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201 to 292 -- DAILY GK DECEMBER 2015

201. China launched DAMPE satellite to shed light on mysterious dark matter
i. China on 17 December 2015 launched the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Satellite to shed light on mysterious dark matter.
ii. It was the country's first space telescope and launched on a Long March 2-D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
iii. The purpose of the satellite is to search for smoking-gun signals of dark matter, invisible material that scientists say makes up most of the universe's mass.
iv. The satellite will be place in a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 500 kilometers to observe the direction, energy and electric charge of high-energy particles in space.
v. The satellite was nicknamed "Wukong" after the Monkey King with penetrating eyes in the Chinese classical fiction Journey to the West.

202. National Mathematics Day observed to commemorate birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan
i. India on 22 December 2015 celebrated National Mathematics Day. The day was observed to commemorate the birth anniversary of great Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
ii. On this occasion, India and UNESCO agreed to work jointly in spreading the joy of mathematics and knowledge to students and learners across the world.
iii. To this end, Conferences on the “Zero” at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, as well as at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore were held in recognition of Aryabhata’s role in the invention of zero. The conferences brought together academics, mathematicians and teachers to explore and discuss key associated concepts.
iv. The declaration to observe 22 December as National Mathematics Day was made by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 26 February 2012 at Madras University on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Ramanujan.
v.  Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887 in Erode district of Tamil Nadu. He died at a young age of 32 years on 26 April 1920. Ramanujan made important contributions in number theory, infinite series, mathematical analysis, and making formulas and equations.

203. New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum announced retirement
i. New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum on 22 December 2015 announced retirement from all forms of international cricket. He will retire after the two home test series against Australia, which will begin in February 2016.
ii. At present, the batsman and wicket-keeper, is New Zealand’s captain in all three forms of the international game viz., tests, ODIs and twenty20. 
iii. In ODIs, he made his debut as a 20-year-old batsman in 2001 against Australia at Sydney. He made his test debut against South Africa in 2003 and has played 99 tests so far. He scored 6273 test runs with 11 hundreds, including the only triple century by a New Zealand batsman, and 31 half-centuries at an average of 38.48. He scored double Test Century against Pakistan in Sharjah in November 2014 and in the process scored the fastest test century by a New Zealander.
iv. In ODIs, he scored 5909 runs from 254 matches. They include 5 centauries and 31 half-centauries. He is the first and so far only player to have scored two Twenty20 International centuries and 2000 runs in T20 Internationals. In Indian Premier League, he played for Chennai Super Kings in 2014 and 2015 and picked up by Rajkot for 2016 and 2017 editions. He successfully lead the team to their first ever ICC Cricket World cup final in March 2015 in which Australia won by 7 wickets.

204. Andy Murray won 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award
i. Andy Murray of the UK on 20 December 2015 received the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in London. The Scottish tennis-player was presented the award by Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan.
ii. Murray was chosen for the award after a public vote in which he received 361446 of the 1,009,498 votes cast. The voting was based on performance of sports personalities in 2015.
iii. For Murray, it was the second award in three years. He received the previous award in 2013. In November, he led Great Britain's tennis team to a first Davis Cup victory after a gap of 79 years. He reached the final of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of both Wimbledon and the French Open. He finished the year second in the world rankings and won all 11 of his Davis Cup rubbers, including three in the final against Belgium.
iv. BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award is the annual sports award presented by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The winner is the sportsperson, judged by a public vote, to have achieved the most that year. 

205. Rajya Sabha passed Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015
i. Rajya Sabha on 22 December 2015 passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015. With this passage, the bill awaits the President’s nod to be qualified as an act as it was already passed by the Lok Sabha on 7 May 2015.
ii. Most importantly, the Bill permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences. Also, any 16-18 year old, who commits a lesser (serious) offence, may be tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21 years.
iii. The Bill replaces the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.  It addresses children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.

iv. Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be constituted in each district. The JJB will conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether a juvenile offender is to be sent for rehabilitation or be tried as an adult. The trial of the case will take place accordingly by the board which will consist of psychologists and social experts.
v. During the passage of the bill, inside and outside the parliament differing views were expressed on the provisions of the bill especially on whether juveniles should be tried as adults.
vi. The provision of trying a juvenile committing a serious or heinous offence as an adult based on date of apprehension could violate the Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (requiring that laws and procedures are fair and reasonable).
vii. The Standing Committee, which examined the bill, observed that it was based on misleading data regarding juvenile crimes and violated certain provisions of the Constitution.

206. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar approved Patna Metro Rail project
i. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 22 December 2015 approved much anticipated Patna Metro Rail project's proposal. The state government will now send the proposal for the union government's clearance.
ii. The proposal for the metro rail project was approved at a meeting, which was called to review the performance of the state urban development department at Patna. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Patna Metro Rail project will be presented to the state cabinet for approval soon.
iii. In 2014, the Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) submitted the DPR on the project to the Bihar government, reducing the project estimates to 14000 crore rupees from 17000 crore rupees earlier.
iv. The Metro proposal aims at two corridors in the first phase covering a total distance of 31km. The first corridor will run east to west over 14.5 Kilometres from Mithapur bus stand to Saguna Mor via Bailey Road and Patna Junction.
v. The second north-south corridor will run from Patna Junction to the proposed bus stand at Bairiya on Patna-Gaya road via Ashok Rajpath, Gandhi Maidan and Rajendra Nagar Terminal over 16.5km. A corporation on the lines of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will be formed for monitoring the construction of the project in Patna.

207. Union Cabinet approved Lucknow Metro Rail Project Phase-1A
i. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 December 2015 approved the Lucknow Metro Rail Project Phase-1 A. To be developed at an expenditure of 6928 crore rupees, the project will cover a length of 22.878 km with 22 stations.
ii. Out of the total route length of 22.878 km, elevated route will be 19.438 km while underground route length will be 3.440 km with total 19 elevated and three underground metro stations. The metro train will ply between Chowdhary Charan Singh Airport and Munshi Pulia.
iii. The project will cost 6928 crore rupees of which the Union Government will give 1300 crore rupees in form of equity and subordinate debt.
iv. The project will be implemented by the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), which will be reconstituted into a 50:50 jointly owned company of Union Government and Government of Uttar Pradesh.

208. Philippines became first Asian country to approve world's first-ever dengue vaccine
i. The Philippines on 22 December 2015 became the first Asian country to approve the sale of the world's first-ever dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

ii. The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration approved the dengue vaccine for the prevention of disease caused by all four dengue types in individuals from 9 to 45 years old living in endemic areas. Earlier on 9 December 2015, Dengvaxia, manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, secured its first regulatory approval in Mexico.
iii. The Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) approved Dengvaxia for the prevention of disease caused by all four dengue virus serotypes in preadolescents, adolescents and adults, 9 to 45 years of age living in endemic areas.
iv. The COFEPRIS approval of Dengvaxia is based on results from an extensive clinical development program involving over 40000 people of different ages, geographic and epidemiological settings, and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds living in 15 countries.
v. Sanofi is a French multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Paris, France. It was founded in 1973 as subsidiary of Elf Aquitaine. The company engages in the research and development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical drugs principally in the prescription market.

209. CCEA approved 3000-crore rupees scheme for integrated development and management of fisheries
i. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 22 December 2015 gave its approval for implementation of an umbrella scheme for integrated development and management of fisheries. The scheme will be implemented at an outlay of 3000 crore rupees, for a period of five years.
ii. It will cover development and management of inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) towards realizing Blue Revolution.
iii. The scheme aims development and management of fisheries and aquaculture sector to ensure a sustained annual growth rate of 6 to 8 percent. It will be implemented in all the States including North East States and Union Territories.

210. Zimbabwe announced to adopt Chinese currency Yuan
i. Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa on 21 December 2015 announced that the country has planned to adopt the Chinese Yuan as legal tender. It will be done in return for debt cancellation worth 40 million dollars in the second week of December 2015.
ii. As per the decision, Yuan will be a function of trade between China and Zimbabwe and acceptability with customers in Zimbabwe. 
iii. China has become the largest investor in Zimbabwe, which has been shunned by the West over its human rights record and is struggling to emerge from a deep 1999-2008 recession that forced the government to ditch its own currency in 2009.
iv. In the last five years, Zimbabwe has received more than one billion dollars in low interest loans from China, which is Harare's second largest trading partner after South Africa. China has been accused of exploiting the continent's vast mineral and energy resources at the expense of local people.
v. Earlier also to stabilize its hyperinflation crisis, the nations has adopted foreign currencies, mostly the US Dollar and South African Rand, as legal tender. This adoption helped the country to boost its economy.

211. RBI created Dedicated Helpline for guiding Start-ups in India on Forex Matters
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 22 December 2015 created a dedicated helpline (Email) for start-ups in India in order to offer assistance on Forex matters to them for undertaking cross-border transactions within the ambit of the regulatory framework.
ii. While seeking guidance on the helpline, the enterprises will be asked to provide complete information to the Reserve Bank and mention the specific issues on which they need guidance from the Bank in relation to the Foreign Exchange Management regulations. 
iii. This will enable the personnel attending the helpline to offer timely and effective information. Generally, Start-up enterprises undertake a wide range of cross-border transactions including those related to investment. 
iv. Cross-border transactions of resident Indians are subject to the regulatory regime provided by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.

212. CCEA approved investment of 5000 crore rupees into ONGC Videsh
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 22 December 2015 gave its approval for investment of 5000 crore rupees by Oil and Natural Gas Company Limited (ONGC) into the equity share capital of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) by conversion of existing loan of equivalent amount into equity.
ii. The approved investment will strengthen the capital base of ONGC Videsh. It will enhance the ability of ONGC to undertake overseas Exploration and Production (E&P) business, thereby improving the energy security of the country.
iii. With this investment, the equity base of OVL will rise to 15000 crore rupees. All the loan ONGC had given to OVL was at zero interest.
iv. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) is a multinational oil and gas company. It was founded on 14 August 1956 by Government of India (GoI). It is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of the GoI, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
v. ONGC Videsh is a Miniratna Schedule A Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) of the Government of India. It is the wholly owned subsidiary and overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited. It was incorporated as Hydrocarbons India Pvt. Ltd. on 5 March 1965 to carry out exploration and development of the Rostam and Raksh oil fields in Iran and undertaking a service contract in Iraq.

213. Pawan Kumar Agarwal appointed as CEO of FSSAI
i. Senior IAS officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal was on 22 December 2015 appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
ii. He succeeded Yudhvir Singh Malik, who was shifted as Additional Secretary in Niti Aayog in September 2015. Malik is believed to be the man behind the ban on global giant Nestles popular noodle brand Maggi, which has now been removed.
iii. Prior to Pawan Kumar Agarwal's appointment, FSSAI Chairman Ashish Bahuguna was holding the additional charge of FSSAI CEO. 
iv. Pawan Kumar Agarwal is a 1985 batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre. He is presently serving as the Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

214. Winners for the 2015 ICC Awards announced
i. The International Cricket Council (ICC) on 23 December 2015 announced the winners for the 2015 ICC Awards in Dubai, the UAE. The awards were based on performance of individuals and teams, both men and women, between 18 September 2014 and 13 September 2015.

ii. Among the 10 awards announced, the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year were conferred on Australian captain Steve Smith. With this announcement, Smith became the fourth Australian and 11th overall to win the prestigious award named after former West Indies cricketer Sir Garfield Sobers.
iii. During the voting period, the 26-year-old from New South Wales finished as the leading run-scorer in Tests with 1734 runs in 25 innings of 13 matches at an average of 82.57. This included seven centuries and six half-centuries.

  • Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year - Steven Smith (Australia)
  • ICC Test Cricketer of the Year - Steven Smith (Australia)
  • ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year - AB de Villiers (South Africa)
  • ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year - Meg Lanning (Australia)
  • ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year - Josh Hazlewood (Australia)
  • ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year - Khurram Khan (UAE)
  • ICC Twenty20 International Performance of the Year - Faf du Plessis (South Africa)
  • ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year - Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)
  • David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year - Richard Kettleborough
  • ICC Spirit of Cricket Award - Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)

215. FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee banned Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini from football for 8 years
i. The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee on 21 December 2015 banned FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Vice-President and member of the Executive Committee of FIFA and President of UEFA Michel Platini.
ii. They were banned for eight years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level.
iii. The ban came into force immediately. Blatter and Platini have also been fined 40000 US dollar and 80000
US dollar respectively.

iv. The Ethics Committee of football's global governing body that suspended the duo was chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert. The decision was made in the wake of payment of 20 lakh Swiss Francs (CHF) which was transferred to Platini by Blatter in February 2011.

216. International Tennis Federation announced winners of 2015 World Champions
i. International Tennis Federation (ITF) on 22 December 2015 announced winners of 2015 World Champions. The awards were conferred on the basis of players’ performance in the 2015 season. They will receive their awards at the 2016 ITF World Champions Dinner on 31 May 2015, in Paris, during Roland Garros.

Men’s World Champion - Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
Women’s World Champion - Serena Williams (the USA)
Men’s Doubles World Champions - Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) & Horia Tecau (Romania)
Women’s Doubles World Champions - Martina Hingis (Switzerland) & Sania Mirza (India)
ITF Junior World Champions - Dalma Galfi (Hungary) & Taylor Fritz (the USA)
ITF Wheelchair World Champions - Jiske Griffioen (Netherlands) & Shingo Kunieda (Japan)

217. RBI extended deadline to exchange pre-2005 notes to 30 June 2016
i. The Reserve Bank of India on 23 December 2015 extended the deadline for exchanging pre-2005 currency notes of various denominations by another six months to 30 June 2016. The decision to extend the deadline was notified by the apex bank in a statement issued in Mumbai.
ii. RBI in an official statement said that the notes can be exchanged for their full value. It has also clarified that all such notes continue to remain legal tender. Soliciting cooperation from members of public in withdrawing these banknotes, it also urged them to deposit the old design notes in their bank accounts or exchange them at a bank branch convenient to them.

iii. Earlier on 25 June 2015, the Reserve Bank had set the last date for public to exchange pre-2005 banknotes notes as 31 December 2015.
iv. The Reserve Bank pointed out that it is standard international practice not to have currency notes from multiple series in simultaneous circulation. The Reserve Bank will continue to monitor and review the process so that the public is not inconvenienced in any manner.

218. North India's first cable bridge inaugurated at Basohali town of J&K
i. The Basohali town which is located in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir was in news on 24 December 2015 as the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dedicated the first cable-stayed bridge of North India to the nation.

ii. The 592-metre bridge was constructed over river Ravi on Dunera- Basohli-Bhadharwah road. It would provide close connectivity between three northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. It is fourth of its kind in India and first in North India and Jammu and Kashmir. 
iii. It was constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO) at a cost of 145 crore rupees. The work on the cable stay bridge of the state was started in May 2011 and its completion is expected to boost the connectivity and tourism in the area.

219. India’s first indigenously designed & built warship INS Godavari decommissioned
i. India’s first indigenously designed and built warship Indian Navy Service (INS) Godavari was on 23 December 2015 decommissioned in Naval Dockyard Mumbai. It was commissioned into the Navy on 10 December 1983.
ii. With her decommissioning, INS Godavari (F-20) will complete its full life cycle, meeting all responsibilities and duties assigned, proving the success of Indian ship design and construction. It was the lead ship of her class of three guided-missile frigates of the Indian Navy. The other two warships are INS Ganga and INS Gomati.
iii. Godavari class frigates were armed with potent surface to surface and surface to air guided missiles. She was also among of the first frigates in the world capable of carrying two Sea King helicopters (well known as the ‘Flying Frigate’, because of its integral firepower and sensor suite). Over the 32 years of the service, it was successfully deployed in numerous operations.
iv. They operations include Operation Jupiter – 1988 (Sri Lanka), Operation Shield and Operation Bolster - 1994 (de-induction of Indian Army from Somalia) and Patrol of Gulf of Aden (PoG) – 2009, 2011 (anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden).
v. In 1988, in an operation called ‘Operation Cactus’, India successfully thwarted a coup d’état against Maldivian Government. Godavari and Betwa intercepted and arrested the mercenaries, who tried to flee Male onboard the Merchant Vessel Progress Light.

220. OPEC released 2015 OPEC World Oil Outlook
i. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on 23 December 2015 released the 2015 OPEC World Oil Outlook (WOO). First published in 2007, the WOO offers a thorough review and assessment of various scenarios related to the medium and long-term development of the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry.

ii. As per the report, oil and gas, combined, are expected to supply around 53 percent of the global energy demand by 2040. Global energy demand is set to increase by almost 50 percent in the period to 2040, with the overall energy mix continuing to be led by fossil fuels at almost 78 percent.
iii. Medium-term oil demand is revised upward, compared to the WOO 2014, rising above 97 million barrels a day (mb/d) by 2020. Oil demand is projected to be at 110 mb/d by 2040.
iv. Non-OPEC liquids supply increases from 56.5 mb/d in 2014 to around 60 mb/d in 2020, a downward revision of 1 mb/d compared to the WOO 2014. By 2040, non-OPEC liquids supply falls below 60 mb/d. OPEC crude expands by 10 mb/d to a level of 40.7 mb/d by 2040 – an increase of 1 mb/d compared with 2014 publication.
v. The long-term value of the OPEC Reference Basket is assumed to rise from more than 70 US dollars per barrel in 2020 to 95 US dollars per barrel by 2040 (both in 2014 dollars). At the global level, oil-related investment required to cover future demand for oil over the forecast period 2015–2040 is estimated at almost 10 trillion US dollars, in 2014 prices.

221. Indian American Rakesh K Jain selected for US National Medal of Science 2015
i. Indian American professor Rakesh K Jain was on 22 December 2015 selected for the National Medal of Science 2015 of United States (US). Jain is a professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Tumour Biology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
ii. He will receive the honour along with 16 other winners of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation at a White House ceremony in 2016. Professor Jain holds a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology- Kanpur.
iii. Prof. Jain is regarded as a pioneer in the area of tumour micro-environment and widely recognized for his seminal discoveries in tumour biology, drug delivery, in vivo imaging and bioengineering. His work includes uncovering the barriers to the delivery and efficacy of molecular and nano-medicines in tumours and developing new strategies to overcome these barriers.
iv. A mentor to more than 200 students from over a dozen different disciplines, he has received 75 awards from engineering and medical professional societies and institutions. He is a member of all three branches of the US National Academies- the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
v. he National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering.

222. 30th National Consumers Right Day observed
i. 30th National Consumers Right Day was observed across India on 24 December 2015. The day provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.
ii. The Consumer Protection and Action Committee (CPAC) celebrated the day by distributing complaints forms, information brochures and other consumer rights literature freely to the public.
iii. The day is being observed annually on 24 December, since the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted on 24 December1986. The Consumer Protection Act was enacted with the objective of providing better protection of consumer’s interest.
iv. The act provides effective safeguards to the consumer, against various types of exploitations and unfair dealings, relying mainly on compensatory rather than a disciplinary or preventive approach.The act applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted, which covers the private, public and cooperative sectors. It also provides speedy and inexpensive adjudication. The Act envisages the promotion and protection of rights of consumers such as Right to Safety, Right to be informed, Right to Choose and Right to be heard.

223. Idea became third mobile operator to launch 4G services in India
i. Idea Cellular on 23 December 2015 became the third mobile operator in India to launch 4G services in India. Earlier, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India had launched 4G services in India.
ii. Idea, the third largest mobile operator in terms of revenue and subscriber base, launched the 4G services across 75 towns in the 4 telecom circles of South India, namely Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
iii. Idea customers with 4G devices in these 75 towns can now start experiencing superfast speeds by simply upgrading their existing SIM cards to new 4G SIM cards.
iv. The company intends to roll out of 4G Services in 6 more Telecom service areas from January to March 2016 and seeks to expand 4G footprint to 750 towns by June 2016 across 10 Telecom circles.
v. Idea Cellular currently holds 1800 MHz 4G spectrum in these 10 Telecom circles which cover 50% of telecom market but over 60% of Idea’s gross revenue.

224. Gautam H Bambawale appointed as India's High Commissioner to Pakistan
i. Gautam H Bambawale was on 23 December 2015 appointed as the High Commissioner of India to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He is presently serving as the Indian ambassador to Bhutan.
Bambawale will succeed TCA Raghavan, who will retire at the end of December 2015.
ii. Bambawale is an Indian Foreign Service officer of 1984 batch. Before serving in Bhutan, he was the Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Union Foreign Ministry Headquarters from December 2009 to July 2014.
iii. In the past, Bambawale has worked in Germany, US and China. He became the first Consul General of India in Guangzhou, China, in 2007.

225. Bihar Government banned 15-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on Patna roads
i. Bihar government on 23 December 2015 banned 15-year-old diesel vehicles from plying in the Capital, Patna. The decision was taken in view of increasing pollution.
ii. The decision was made during the review meeting of the environment and forests department under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The execution was pending since October 2013, when the state transport authority had reached a decision regarding this.
iii. The Chief Minister also instructed State Machinery to chalk-out a plan to control pollution. He said there will also be restriction on burning of plastic and solid waste.
iv. The Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) on 14 December 2015 sent an advisory to the Chief Secretary stating that the air quality index of Patna crossed 400 in November-December 2015. It said that the rise broke all its past record. 
v. Index is an assessment of the air quality taking into account eight pollutants - PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 10 micron), PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 micron), nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, ammonia and lead.

226. UN adopted resolution to observe 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day
i. The United Nations General Assembly on 22 December 2015 adopted a resolution to observe 5 November every year as World Tsunami Awareness Day. The creation of the day is aimed at raising awareness among people in the world of the dangers of tsunami and stressing the importance of early warning systems in order to mitigate damage.
ii. The proposal was first suggested by the Japanese Government after the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015.
iii. Japan suffered heavy losses as a result of tsunamis, most recently the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011. It claimed over 15000 lives, disrupted the nuclear power industry and left many thousands homeless.
iv. On 26 December 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami claimed some 230000 lives which had its epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It affected lives and the natural environment in six countries in the region including India, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Thailand and Maldives.

227. Biocon launched generic version of hepatitis-C drug Harvoni in India
i. Biocon Limited on 24 December 2015 launched the generic version of hepatitis – C drug in the Indian market. The generic version of the drug named Harvoni will be sold under the brand name CIMIVIR-L.
ii. The generic drug Harvoni is an improved version of Gilead’s hepatitis-C drug Sovaldi or sofosbuvir and will come in fixed-dose combination of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir of 90mg and 400mg, respectively.
iii. The sale of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir combination was recently approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), which is being manufactured in India under a license from Gilead.
iv. Harvoni has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis-C genotype-1 infection and it has shown high cure rates of around 90 percent.
v. Earlier in the year 2015, Biocon entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences to manufacture and market chronic hepatitis-C medicines, including Sovaldi and Harvoni, for India and 91 other developing countries by paying 7 percent royalty on sales.
vi. According to Biocon, the CIMIVIR-L, a once-a-day oral therapy, will offer a convenient, effective and safe alternative to people infected with the Hepatitis-C virus (HCV).

228. Lok Sabha passed The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015
i. The Lok Sabha on 22 December 2015 passed The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The Bill will allow doubling of wage ceiling for calculating bonus of factory workers.
ii. The Bill seeks to amend the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. The Bill 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 7 December 2015. It seeks to raise the eligibility limit for payment of bonus from a salary of 10000 rupees to 21000 rupees a month.
iii. It seeks to raise this calculation ceiling of bonus to 7000 rupees per month or as per the minimum wage notified for the employment under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (whichever is higher).
iv. It seeks to mandate prior publication of rules made by the Union Government in the Official Gazette to allow for more public consultation. It will have retrospective effect and will come into force on 1 April 2015.

229. Modi inaugurates new Afghan Parliament built by India in Kabul
i. Prime Minister Modi received a warm embrace and welcome by Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in Kabul where he arrived on Friday for delegation-level bilateral talks and for inaugurating the new Afghan Parliament building. Calling India and Afghanistan’s friendship antiquated and “bound by a thousand ties”, Ghani thanked India for its “valuable assistance” as Afghanistan weathers “hard times”.

ii. “Pleased to welcome PM Modi to Kabul. Though, India & Afghanistan need no introduction, we are bound by a thousand ties… We have stood by each other in the best and worst of times,” Ghani tweeted.
iii. Delegation-level bilateral talks between the two countries were held at Dilkosha Palace, the Afghan presidential office. Modi later inaugurated the Afghan parliament building that was constructed by India at a cost of USD 90 million. The Prime Minister also addressed the two houses.
iv. Ghani and Modi toured the parliament building and arrived at the main session hall in the presence of the guests, including member of the Afghan parliament, Khaama press reported.

230. IndianOil, Oil India sign MoU with Rosneft
i. Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India Ltd have signed a memorandum of understanding with Russian national oil company Rosneft for cooperation in geologic survey, exploration and production of hydrocarbons in select onshore areas in Russia.

ii. The MoU document was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia. In all, 16 agreements were signed between Indian and Russian firms in the field of nuclear energy, hydrocarbon, defence and other sectors.
iii. “The MoU document lays the foundation for a long-term partnership between IndianOil, OIL and Rosneft. As a first step, the parties have agreed to examine the possibility of cooperation in respect of the Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha LLC asset,” an official statement from IndianOil stated.
iv. “Implementation of the terms of the agreement signed will give additional impetus to the development of one of the largest oil assets in East Siberia,” the statement added.

231. Veteran actress Sadhana passes away in Mumbai
i. Yesteryear Hindi film actress Sadhana, known for popularising the fashionable Sadhana cut (fringe haircut), passed away in Mumbai at the age of 74, according to reports.
ii. Known for memorable films, such as Love in Shimla, Parakh, Waqt, Woh Kaun Thi, Mera Saaya, Geeta Mera Naam among others, Sadhana was known for her on-screen simple looks as well glamour quotient, and is closely associated with some of the most memorable Hindi film songs during the 1960s.
iii. Sadhana was said to be ailing for some time and had been operated for a lesion in her mouth last year.
iv. “RIP Sadhana aunty...Your legacy of beauty, poise and utmost grace....will live on forever...”, tweeted Karan Johar, well-known Hindi film producer and director.

232. Reliance Defence signs $6 billion pact with Russian arms firm as Modi visits Moscow
i. Reliance Defence said on Thursday it had signed a manufacturing and maintenance deal potentially worth $6 billion with Russia's Almaz-Antey, the maker of an air defence system that sources said the Indian military was poised to buy.
ii. The partnership between the Indian firm controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani and the Russian firm was announced as Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a trip to Moscow aimed at strengthening defence ties.
iii. Earlier this week, Indian defence ministry sources said the government had cleared the purchase of five S-400 air defence systems that are estimated to cost about $4.5 billion in a bid to modernise the country's defences against airborne attacks.
iv. India is forecast to spend $250 billion over the next decade to upgrade its military and Modi's government wants a greater role for Indian state and defence firms. Reliance is forging close ties with Russia to jumpstart its ambitions to develop a defence business from scratch. It said it had also discussed joint implementation of modernisation, repair and overhaul of Almaz-Antey systems already in service in India.
v. The company also plans to bid for contracts for local manufacture of helicopters, submarines and ships. Earlier this month, Ambani's Reliance Infrastructure took sole management control of Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co which has built patrol vessels for the Indian navy.

233. Reserve Bank of India Invites Applications for Innovative Payment Solutions
i. India’s central bank The Reserve Bank of India has invited applications for “Payment System Innovation Awards” to encourage innovative solutions in the field of Payment and Settlement System. With this initiative, the RBI is hoping to transform the way transactions are processed in the world’s fastest growing emerging economy.
ii. Some broad areas which the contest will hope to cover are:
  • Payment security including fraud prevention
  • Customer convenience and cost reduction
  • Mobile payments
  • Acceptance/electronic payment infrastructure
  • Use of emerging technologies for payments

iii. The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), which is the technology arm of the RBI, will organize the competition. A panel of experts will shortlist the most innovative applications, and the best three will be rewarded with citations/prizes. The winners may also be given a chance to present their ideas/ technologies to the industry representatives.
iv. Among the most revolutionary technologies that are disrupting the payments sector is the blockchain technology, which is the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The blockchain is able to serve the crucial purpose of cutting down transaction costs while facilitating fast, reliable, and secure payments. The initiative by the central bank will also lend confidence to the cryptocurrency businesses in India as the regulator has often maintained a cautious stance on the digital currencies.
v. RBI has already issued new licenses to 10 small banks and 11 payment banks that would use technology to disrupt banking. India has been lagging behind in the fintech race, but similar initiatives may catapult the nation to a higher spot.

234.PM goes to Lahore, makes a Christmas date with history
i. With two unannounced stops, in Kabul and Lahore on Christmas day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rewrote the recent history of geopolitics in the region on Friday.
ii. Officials in Delhi and Islamabad told that Mr. Modi had telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from Kabul to wish him on his birthday, and during the call, made plans to travel to Lahore to wish him personally a few hours later.
iii. Mr. Modi meet PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on 25th December.
235.Bangladesh signs $12.65 billion deal with Russia for nuclear power plants
i. Bangladesh's state-run Atomic Energy Commission signed a deal with Russia to set up two nuclear power plants, each with 1,200 MW capacity, an investment totalling $12.65 billion.

ii. The Work will begin early next year at Ruppur in Iswardi, 160km (100 miles) from Dhaka, said Kamrul Islam Bhyian, spokesman for the ministry of science and technology.
iii. "Russia will finance up to 90 per cent of the total cost as credit with an interest rate of Libor plus 1.75 per cent," Bhyian told Reuters.
iv. Bangladesh will clear the total loan within 28 years with a 10-year grace period.Bangladesh finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said it would be the country's biggest power project.

236.Former Wicket-Keeper Syed Kirmani nominated for 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award
i. Former Indian Wicket-Keeper nominated for the 2015 Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Col. CK Nayudu Awards Committee. The meeting was held at the BCCI’s headquarters in Mumbai.
ii. Kirmani represented India at the international level between 1976 and 1986. His record includes 160 catches and 38 stumpings in tests and 27 catches and 9 stumpings in ODIs.
iii. The award was instituted by the BCCI in 1994 to celebrate the birth centenary of Col. Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu, the country’s first test captain.

237.India, Russia signed 16 pacts to deepen bilateral cooperation

i. India and Russia signed 16 Agreements/Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to deepen bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, security, technology, etc. The pacts were signed after the conclusion of the 16th India-Russia Annual Summit in Moscow.
ii. After the summit, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both the leaders issued a joint statement with the theme Shared Trust,New Horizons.
Some Agreements/MoUs signed were:
(1) Protocol amending the agreement on simplification of requirements for mutual travels of certain categories of citizens of the two countries.
(2) Protocol amending agreement between India and Russia on mutual travel regime for holders of Diplomatic & Official Passports.
(3) Cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering
(4) Plan for Cooperation between the Federal Customs Service of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, India and the Russian Federation for combating Customs violations in 2015 – 2017.

238.Indian-origin software engineer wins UK award
i. An Indian-origin software engineer named Nandagopal Lakshminarayanan has won a prestigious award in the UK for creating an innovative electronic smart key system which enables the creation and management of keys and locks that cannot be copied or picked. 
ii. He has been working as a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) associate at Lincoln Security Ltd for the past two years, won the Business Leader of the Future award at Innovate UK's 'KTP Best of the Best Awards 2015' at a ceremony in London.
239.World Bank to give $35mn to Pakistan for Indus River Basin
i. The World Bank has approved an additional financial assistance to Pakistan of $35 million to support improved management, planning and development of water resources in the Indus River Basin in Pakistan.
ii.This $35 million is in addition to the $38 million given earlier towards improvement of water resources management in the Indus River system, the Bank said.
240.Kusal Perera faces 4-year ban
i. Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kusal Perera is facing the prospect of a four-year ban after his B sample tested positive for a banned substance.
ii. "The ICC has informed that he faces a four-year ban, as his urine sample was tested positive in Qatar after the ICC had originally found it contained banned substance.
iii. Consequently Perera had to drop out of Sri Lanka's current tour of New Zealand. Sri Lanka lost the series 0-2. Perera is Sri Lanka's second player to flunk a dope test. Left-hander batsman Upul Tharanga was suspended for three months after testing positive for a banned substance during the 2011 World Cup.

241.Good Governance Day 25 December
i. Good Governance Day was observed on 25 December 2015 across the country. The day was observed to mark the birth anniversary of former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
ii. To mark the occasion, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare J P Nadda announced four new IT-based initiatives for providing citizen-centric health services.
iii.Good Governance Day was established in 2014 to honor former-Prime Minister Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the Indian people of accountability in governance.

242.Reliance, AlmazAntey to jointly develop air defence missile system 
i. Reliance Defence Limited and Russian AlmazAntey, have decided to work jointly on the entire range of AD Missile and Radar Systems that are required for Indian defence forces. The development comes alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Moscow.
ii. According to the release, vice chairman of AlmazAntey VF Medovnikov said that “Working with Reliance Defence will help us develop new directions for both companies to address future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces”.

243.Direct-selling FMCG firm Amway India announced Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar as its brand ambassador to promote Nutrilite range of the products
i. Amway India CEO Anshu Budhraja in her statement said that they needed a strong and credible face who could help people understand the role of supplementation in addition to balanced diet and exercise as part of leading a healthy lifestyle, that's why Farhan Akhtar was an obvious choice.
ii.Nutrilite is a leading brand of vitamins and dietary supplements. The brand contributes more than 50 per cent of Amway India’s turnover.

244.Action plan for ‘Start up India’ to be unveiled on Jan. 16
i. Seeking to boost entrepreneurship at the grassroots level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the action plan for ‘Start up India, Stand up India’ will be unveiled on January 16.
ii. Mr. Modi said the programme will focus on ensuring benefits reach the youth from the lowest strata of the society.
iii. He said the ‘Start up India, Stand up India’ campaign has brought in new opportunities for the youth.

245.Indian Oil Corp tops in 2015 Fortune 500 companies in India list
i. State-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has emerged as the country’s biggest company in terms of annual revenue as per an annual list of 2015 Fortune 500 companies in India. 
ii. IOC topped the list for consecutive sixth year with annual revenue of Rs. 4,51,911 crore. IOC was followed by Mukesh Ambani-led private sector Reliance Industries at the second place with a revenue of Rs. 3,82,565 crore. 
iii. Top ten companies 
  • Indian Oil Corp (IOC)
  • Reliance Industries
  • Tata Motors
  • State Bank of India (SBI)
  • Bharat Petroleum (BPCL)
  • Hindustan Petroleum
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)
  • Tata Steel
  • Hindalco Industries
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

246.Tech Mahindra launches contactless wallet MoboMoney
i. IT major Tech Mahindra has launched first of its kind ‘Tap N Pay’ contactless digital payment wallet MoboMoney for the Indian masses. 
ii. MoboMoney has been billed as India’s first commercial NFC ecosystem rollout that would allow consumers to convert cash into e-cash for making payments. 
iii. MoboMoney is a prepaid wallet issued in the form of a Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless tag that could be used to ‘Tap N Pay’ for goods and services.

247.Union Govt brings 376 drugs under the NLEM
i. The Union Government has added 106 drugs including that of HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Hepatitis C to the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). 
ii. In this regard, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s core committee has revised the NLEM. The committee was headed by V.M. Katoch, former secretary of Department of Health Research. 
iii. The revision includes addition of 106 essential medicines and deletion of 70 medicines. 
iv. With this total number of essential medicines in the list has gone up to 376 from earlier 348 medicines. This move will ensure their availability across the country at affordable prices. 
v. The new list takes cues from the World Health Organisation (WHO’s) 2015 list of essential drugs and medicines that satisfies the priority healthcare needs of people and ensure affordability.

248.Veteran Bollywood actress Sadhna passes away
i. Veteran Bollywood actress Sadhna Shivdasani (mononymously known as Sadhana) passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. She was 74. 
ii. She was renowned for his style statement and acting prowess in Bollywood in the 1960s and 70s. 

249.PM NaMo inaugurates new building of Afghanistan Parliament in Kabul
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new building of Afghanistan Parliament in the capital city Kabul built by India. 
ii. It was inaugurated during Narendra Modi’s first official visit to Afghanistan after becoming Prime Minister. 
iii. He also named one block of Parliament as Atal Block after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 
iv. Prime Minister also handed over 4 Mi-25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan Air Force symbolising a shift in India’s position on supplying ‘offensive’ equipment. 

250.Seychelles Govt allows India to build Naval Base on its Assumption Island
i. Seychelles government allowed India to build its first Naval Base on the Assumption Island in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) as a joint project between both countries. 
ii. In this regard, Seychelles government has allocated a plot of land on in its Assumption Island which will help to enhance mutual security along our western seaboard in IOR. 
iii. India’s first Naval Base project has acquired significance following China acquiring its first African naval base in Djibouti (near Horn of Africa) in November 2014.

251. Reliance Jio launched 4G telecom service
i. Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) or Reliance Jio on 27 December 2015 launched 4G telecom service. The service was launched at the Reliance Corporate Park in Navy Mumbai to mark the birth anniversary of Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
ii. However, at present, it is limited to 85000 employees and their families of the company, while the commercial services are expected to begin by April 2016.

iii. It has three-pronged focus on broadband networks, affordable smart phones and the availability of rich content and applications. It offers a unique combination of telecom, high speed data, digital commerce, media and payment services.
iv. It provides data services with a speed up to 1 gigabyte per second. Under the project, around 2.5 lakh kilometers of fibre optic cables were laid to connect 18000 towns and around 1 lakh villages across the country.
v. It will offer broad band services to 10 crore mobile users and 2 crore households. Users will have the option to switch over to 5G services in future.

252. AP Government signed MoU with Microsoft India on technology initiatives
i. Government of Andhra Pradesh on 28 December 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft India on a range of technology initiatives. The MoU was signed after a meeting between the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella in Hyderabad.
ii. The purpose of the MoU is to improve use of information and communication technologies, drive digital inclusion and provide IT-based decentralised citizen services. The initiatives will help in checking school dropouts, improving agricultural productivity and providing better citizen services.
iii. By applying Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Advanced Visualization method, the company will provide technical knowledge to the AP Government and support building three proof-of-concept (PoC) solutions. The three PoC solutions are related to the fields of education, agriculture and eCitizen services.
iv. The PoC solutions will be built and deployed to address specific problems within each of the fields to achieve better outcomes for the State. For data gathering, analysis, predictive analysis and policy planning, the lab method will used by the Microsoft India.
v. State Government’s key IT executives will be trained on Microsoft technologies such as Cloud, Mobility and appropriate Microsoft Technology stack. The company will set up a Centre for Excellence (CoE) in Visakhapatnam.

253. Union Government announced 4 new IT-based initiatives for citizen-centric health services
i. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda on 25 December 2015 announced 4 new Information Technology-based initiatives to provide citizen-centric health services. The initiatives include three applications, namely, Kilkari, Mobile Academy and M-Cessation and a dedicated toll free number 1800-11–6666 which will provide round the clock counselling and treatment support services for TB patients.

ii. The initiatives were announced on the occasion of the Good Governance Day which is being celebrated annually to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
iii. Kilkari is an audio-based mobile service that delivers weekly audio messages to families about pregnancy, child birth and child care. Each pregnant woman and infant’s mother would receive weekly voice messages relevant to the stage of pregnancy or age of the infant. Those who are registered in Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS), a web- enabled name-based system to monitor and ensure delivery of full spectrum of services to all pregnant women and children, will be benefitted from the service.
iv. Mobile Academy is a mobile-based application aimed at providing training services to 9 million ASHAs. This will aid in enhancing their inter-personal skills. Once registered, ASHAs can access the 240-minute course via their mobile phones. They can then complete the standardized course at their convenience. Digital bookmarking technology enables ASHAs to complete the course at their own pace.
v. M-Cessation will be an IT-enabled tool to help tobacco users to quit tobacco. Built on a helpline concept, it will register beneficiaries on the basis of a missed call. The counselling would be done through a two-way SMS process, the Minister informed.

254. Former CJ of Karnataka & Kerala High Courts Justice VS Malimath died
i. Former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Kerala High Courts Justice V S Malimath died on 22 December 2015 at Manipal hospital in Bengaluru. He was 86-years old and survived by wife Prema Devi V Malimath, a son and four daughters.
ii. He was born on 12 June 12 1929, secured first rank in LL.B. and had a post Graduate Diploma in Public International Law from University of London in 1952. He commenced practicing in the High Court of Bombay in 1952 and later shifted to Bengaluru in late 1956.
iii. He was appointed as a Judge in the Karnataka High Court in March 1970. Subsequently, he was appointed as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court in 1984.
iv. Post retirement, he was appointed as Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). He served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). He headed the Committee on Reform of Criminal Justice System in India. He was the United Nations Representative to monitor human rights enforcement in Nigeria and Sri Lanka.
v. He served as an International Observer to oversee the Referendum in Sri Lanka. In June 2015, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Karnataka Border Protection Force by the Karnataka government.

255. Indigenously developed Air-to-Air missile Astra successfully test fired
i. Indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Astra, was on 25 December 2015 successfully test fired. The test was conducted by the Indian Air Force off the coast of Odisha near the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore.
ii. In addition to this air trial, the missile underwent successful ground based trials in early December 2015 near Pune. The tests were aimed at validating the ECCM (electronic counter-counter measure) features of the missile to overcome any jamming.
iii. After carrying out some more trials, including air launch trial with a warhead, the missile is expected to be inducted into the Air Force in 2016. Astra is India’s first beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is capable of engaging its target at ranges of 37 km or beyond. It has operational range of 60km. The all-weather missile has been indigeniously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
iv. It is a state-of-the-art missile in the sense that it travels at supersonic speed (4780 km/h), possesses Single Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) with active radar terminal guidance, uses smokeless propulsion system to evade enemy radars and has the capacity to engage in multi-target scenario.
v. It can reach up to 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when launched from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when fired from sea level. Apart from integrating the missile with Su-30, the missile will be mounted on other fighter aircrafts including Tejas (Light Combat Aircraft), Mirage-2000 and MIG-29.

256. ‘Make in India Week’ to start from Feb 13
i. Taking a cue from the biennial investor congregation - Vibrant Gujarat Summit - held every alternate year in Gujarat the Central Government is organising “Make in India Week” in Mumbai during February 13-18, 2016.

ii. The week-long event, being organised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will have investors meet for the manufacturing sector under Make in India. 
iii. Following the ambitious initiative of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to encourage investments in the manufacturing sector in the country, the government will conduct the 'Make in India Week' on the lines of three-day Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The event will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on February 13. 
iv. The meet will also discuss issues related to SMEs and start-ups. "We have interacted with entrepreneurs and they have raised valid issues faced by them. These include infrastructure, tax related issues, and demand to reduce compliance burden for small industries. They have given suggestions on how to resolve these issues," said Amitabh Kant, secretary, DIPP during a road-show for the event in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
v. He stated that the 'Make in India' initiative is aimed at increasing the share of manufacturing sector in the GDP from the current 15-16 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022. "This is a flagship event for forging global engagement with Indian industry in the form of partnerships and investments."

257. Karan Adani new CEO of APSEZ
i. Karan Adani, son of Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, has been appointed as the CEO of Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ) with effect from January 1, 2016. He will take over the top job from outgoing CEO Sudipta Bhattacharya, who is moving to the US as the CEO for North America, APSEZ said in a regulatory filing.
ii. The Board has accepted the “resignation of Bhattacharya as the CEO of APSEZ with effect from December 31, 2015”, it added. It also approved the “appointment of Karan, Executive Director (non—board position) as CEO of the company with effect from January 1, 2016,” the filing said.
iii. Karan, who looks after strategic development of Adani ports across India, has been involved in managing various port operations for the firm since 2009. “He aims to build the Group’s identity around an integrated logistics business model, backed by his sound understanding of new processes, systems and macro—economic issues”, the filing said.
iv. He is an economics graduate from Purdue University, the USA. Bhattacharya, in his new role, will be responsible for driving the significant emerging opportunities between India and the US, it said. Shares of APSEZ were up 1.10 per cent to Rs. 261.35 apiece in the afternoon trade at the BSE.

258. China amended One Couple, One Child Policy
i. China’s National People's Congress Standing Committee, country’s top law making body, on 27 December 2015 gave its approval to amending One Couple, One Child Policy. The amended policy, which will come into force on 1 January 2016, will lift the restrictions on couples from having only one child.
ii. The amended policy is aimed at balancing the country's population structure by allowing all couples to have two children. The amendment came after the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on 29 October 2015 issued a communiqué in this regard.
iii. The overhaul of the policy is in continuation of gradual relaxation of the policy in recent years. In 2013, couples were allowed to have a second child if either parent was an only child.
iv. As per an estimate, China has 140 million women of child-bearing age who have already raised a child. After the new law is adopted, about 90 million of them are expected to have a second child.
v. Further, the policy will mean total population with a peak around 1.45 billion in 2029 and is expected to result over 30 million more people in the labor force by 2050.

259. CRI Pumps bags export quality excellence award
i. Pump manufacturing major CRI Pumps has bagged 'Export Quality Excellence' award for the 11th time in a row.
ii. The Joint Managing Director of CRI Pumps, G Selvaraj, received the EEPC award given in recognition of the company's high quality and innovative pumping solutions from the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala, at an award ceremony held in Bengaluru last week.
iii. The company has, according to a release, retained its position of being the largest exporter of pumping equipment among Indian pump exporters. The company's has emerged as a turnkey solution provider across segments, including residential, industrial, agricultural, mining, and water treatment.

260. Wicked Ride launches utility bike rental service
i. Wicked Ride, a start-up founded in 2014 by Vivekananda H.R., Anil G and Varun Agni, has launched its brand ‘Apna Ride’ for utility bike rentals, targeted primarily at budget conscious bike enthusiasts.
ii. The service would be initially available at Bengaluru, Mysore and Jaipur and bookings can be done through
iii. While Wicked Ride would focus on renting high-end luxury bikes like Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Ducati and Royal Enfield, ‘Apna Ride’ would focus on utility motorcycles, electric bikes and scooters.
iv. “After successfully establishing Wicked Ride as a leader and pioneer in the luxury bike rental segment, we wanted to enter the utility bike rental segment and that’s how ‘Apna Ride’ was born,” said said Vivekananda H R, Co-founder, Wicked Ride.

261. Shiva Keshavan clinched silver at Asian Luge Championship
i. Shiva Keshavan on 27 December 2015 grabbed a silver medal in the 18th edition of the Asian Luge Championship held in Nagano, Japan. The first place was claimed by defending champion Hidenari Kanayama of Japan. On the other hand, South Korea's Kim Dong-hyeon grabbed the third place.
ii. Born on 25 August 1981, Keshavan is the posterboy of Indian winter sports. He is a five time Olympian and the first Indian representative to compete in luge at the Winter Olympic Games. He set a new Asian speed record at 134.3 km/h after beating the previous record of 131.9 km/h.
iii. In Asia Cup 2011, he grabbed the gold medal. In 2012, he set a new Asian track record at 49.590 seconds. He was offered to represent Italy in 2002, but refused.
iv. He holds the world record for youngest ever Olympian. He studied humanities and political science at the University of Florence and obtained a Master's degree in International relations from the University of Florence.

262. Union Government links LPG subsidy to income
i. Union Government has announced to link LPG subsidy to income of consumers in order to ensure that the subsidy benefits go to the targeted group. Henceforth, the LPG subsidy will not be available to LPG consumers if the consumer or his/her spouse has taxable income of more than ten lakh rupees.
ii. This income would be as per the previous financial year computed under Income Tax Act, 1961. This decision will be given effect to initially on self-declaration basis of LPG consumers while booking cylinders January 2016.

iii. This move will affect at least 60 lakh LPG consumers of the total 16.5 crore LPG consumers in the country and Government will save upto Rs. 113 crore from this decision.
iv. Earlier under the ‘Give it Up’ campaign many LPG consumers had given up their subsidy voluntarily but Government felt that consumers in the higher income bracket should get LPG cylinders at the market price. So far, 57.50 lakh LPG consumers have opted out of LPG subsidy voluntarily under the campaign that aims to ensure that the subsidy benefits go to the targeted group.

263. Ministry of Women and Child Development launches e-office
i. Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has introduced e-office, an initiative which will help provide efficient services to the people by digitizing more than 12,000 files. It was formally launched by WCD Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in New Delhi on the lines with the spirit of Good Governance initiative of Union Government.

ii. The e-office project of the Ministry was initiated in July, 2015 and more than 12,000 files of the Ministry have been digitized. Various modules of this e-office are Knowledge Management System, File Management System, Leave Management System and Tour Management System.
iii. Personnel Information Management System module of this e-office is likely to start from the 1 January, 2016. All the attached offices of the ministry are also going to come under the e-office platform.
iv. The e-office will result in substantial decrease of processing time which will directly affect the delivery mechanism of the WCD Ministry. It would also result in better accountability and transparency and will ultimately result in higher manpower efficiency.

264. 18th India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting held in New Delhi
i. The 18th Session of the India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held on 28 December 2015 in New Delhi. The session was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister of India (EAM) Sushma Swaraj and Ali Tayebnia, Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran.
ii. Both the leaders reviewed the progress in trade and economic cooperation and a number of related matters. They also discussed the possibilities in cooperation in railways, including by supply of rails, rolling stock and signaling.
iii. India stressed that connectivity afforded by Indian participation in Chahbahar Port will facilitate linking Afghanistan and Central Asia with India. The Iranian side suggested participation of India’s public and private sectors in development of Chahbahar Port and Chahbahar Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and in setting up industrial units in the FTZ.
iv. India emphasized the need for early completion of all necessary procedures for India’s participation in Farzad-B field and pointed out India’s desire to participate in other oil and gas explorations in Iran as well. They reviewed works related to India’s participation in Chahbahar – Zahedan -Mashhad railway line.
v. This is the first JCM since the conclusion of the Vienna Agreement. The agreement was reached between P5+1 countries and Iran on 14 July 2015 and paves the way for peaceful resolution of outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme.

265. Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler passed away
i. Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler died peacefully in his sleep on 27 December 2015 in California, US. He was 93. He was one of the America’s most influential cinematographers. He was best known for his work in films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and American Graffiti.
ii. He was born on 6 February 1922 in Chicago, US. He was known for his work on films like Coming Home and In the Heat of the Night. He had worked as director of photography on films including The Best Man and Mulholland Falls. He also produced and directed 1969’s Medium Cool.
iii. He was also recognised for his documentary work on the Emmy-winning Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang and Interviews with My Lai Veterans for which he won Academy Award.
iv. He won Oscar Awards for his films including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? (1966) and Bound for Glory (1976). He was first cinematographer to receive star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996.

266. Report of Vijay Kelkar Committee on Revisiting & Revitalizing PPP Model released
i. The Union Ministry of Finance on 28 December 2015 released the report of the Committee on Revisiting and Revitalising Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model. The 9-member committee was headed by former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar and submitted its report on 19 November 2015.
ii. The committee was constituted on 26 May 2015 to review the experience of PPP Policy and suggest measures to improve capacity building in Government for their effective implementation. More importantly, the committee recognized the PPP Model in infrastructure as a valuable instrument to speed up infrastructure development in India.
iii. Hence, it called for PPP contracts need to focus more on service delivery instead of fiscal benefits alone. The recommendations of the committee are of relevance to the overall growth of the economy as PPP projects have become the preferred mode to develop large scale infrastructure projects.
iv. At present, over 12007 PPP projects are under implementation across the country, involving about 7.2 lakh crore rupees worth of investment. 
v. The committee recommended the Government may take early action to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 which does not distinguish between genuine errors in decision-making and acts. This is necessary to make only malafide action by public servants punishable and not errors.
vi. The Committee strongly endorsed setting up of the “3PI” which can, in addition to functioning as a centre of excellence in PPPs, enable research, review and roll out activities to build capacity, etc.
vii. The committee advised against adopting PPP structures for very small projects, since the benefits of delivering small PPP projects may not be commensurate with the resulting costs and the complexity of managing such partnerships over a long period.

267. RBI released report of Deepak Mohanty Committee on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion
i. The Reserve Bank of India on 28 December 2015 released the Report of the Committee on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion. The committee was constituted on 15 July 2015 by the RBI with the objective of working out a medium-term (five year) measurable action plan for financial inclusion. The 14-member committee was headed by RBI Executive Director Deepak Mohanty.
ii. Banks have to make special efforts to step up account opening for females, and the Government may consider a deposit scheme for the girl child – Sukanya Shiksha - as a welfare measure. Given the predominance of individual account holdings (94 per cent of total credit accounts), a unique biometric identifier such as Aadhaar should be linked to each individual credit account.

iii. Account lined Aadhaar and the credit information should be shared with companies to enhance the stability of the credit system and improve access. To improve ‘last mile’ service delivery and to translate financial access into enhanced convenience and usage, a low-cost solution should be developed by utilisation of the mobile banking facility for maximum possible G2P payments.
iv. In order to increase formal credit supply to all agrarian segments, digitisation of land records is the way forward. This should be backed by an Aadhaar-linked mechanism for Credit Eligibility Certificates to facilitate credit flow to actual cultivators.
v. A scheme of ‘Gold KCC’ (kisan credit card) with higher flexibility for borrowers with prompt repayment records, which could be dovetailed with a government-sponsored personal insurance, and digitisation of KCC to track expenditure pattern. Encourage multiple guarantee agencies to provide credit guarantees in niche areas for micro and small enterprises (MSEs), and explore possibilities for counter guarantee and re-insurance.
vi. State Level Bankers Committees (SLBCs) are advised to focus more on inter-institutional issues, livelihood models, social cash transfer, gender inclusion, Aadhaar seeding, universal account opening, and less on credit deposit ratio which is a by-product. As a part of second generation reforms, the government can replace the current agricultural input subsidies on fertilisers, power and irrigation by a direct income transfer scheme.

268. Amitabh Kant got additional charge of CEO of NITI Aayog
i. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 28 December 2015 gave Amitabh Kant the additional responsibility of being Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, effective 31 December 2015.

ii. Kant will replace the incumbent NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar whose extended tenure will end on 31 December 2015. The IAS officer of 1980 Batch of Kerala Cadre, Kant is currently serving as Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). He is set to superannuate on 28 February 2016.
iii. The National Institution for Transforming India Aayog (NITI Aayog) is a Government of India policy think-tank. It was formed on 1 January 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to replace the Planning Commission.
iv. The Aayog aims at fostering involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India. One of the important mandates of NITI Aayog is to bring cooperative competitive federalism.

269. Renowned science-fiction writer George Clayton Johnson died
i. Popular science-fiction writer George Clayton Johnson, who penned the script for the first Star Trek episode, The Man Trap, passed away on 25 December 2015 due to cancer in Los Angeles, California. He was 86.
ii. Born on 10 July 1929 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Johnson debuted into the entertainment business in 1959 when he wrote the I’ll Take Care of You episode for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
iii. The renowned writer is also known for co-writing the novel Logan's Run with William F. Nolan, the basis for the MGM 1976 film. Besides, his television scripts for The Twilight Zone including Nothing in the Dark, Kick the Can, A Game of Pool, and A Penny for Your Thoughts earned him immense fame.
iv. Johnson was also the proprietor of Cafe Frankenstein, and co-created the comic book series Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology with cartoonist and author Jay Allen Sanford for Revolutionary Comics.

270. Globe Soccer Awards 2015 conferred
i. The Globe Soccer on 27 December 2015 presented the sixth edition of Globe Soccer Awards 2015 to the winners at a ceremony held in Dubai, UAE. Awarded for excellences in the field of football, Globe Soccer Awards are the first and only awards for the Best Club Director and the Best Agent of the Year.
ii. The awards conferred were based on the performance of the players and football clubs in 2015. Globe Soccer was created and built by BC Bendoni Consulting to facilitate intercontinental dialogue among the main players in the football world, with opportunities to meet and discuss for the game’s institutions, clubs, leagues and transfer market operators.
  • Best Player of the Year - Lionel Messi
  • Best President of the Year - Josep Maria Bartomeu
  • Best Club of the Year - F.C. Barcelona
  • Best Media Attraction in Football - F.C. Barcelona
  • Best Coach of the Year - Marc Wilmots
  • Best Agent of the Year - Jorge Mendes
  • Best Referee of the Year - Ravshan Irmatov
  • Best Academy of the Year - Benfica

271. Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik's Santa Claus sculpture featured in Limca Book of Records
i. Well-known sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik’s Santa Claus sculpture on 29 December 2015 found a place in Limca Book of World Records. Pattnaik claimed that he had created a 45 feet high sand Santa Claus at Puri beach on 24 December 2015, which was recognised as the largest sand Santa Claus as of today by the Limca Book of World Records.
ii. Pattnaik was assisted by 20 of his students from the Sudarsan Sand Art Institute of Puri to build the giant structure. It took him 22 hours to build the structure which will be on display till 1 January 2016.

iii. The artist had also created sculptures of Jesus and Mother Mary near Santa Claus. Pattnaik had already created eight world records registered with the Limca Book of World Records.
iv. Sudarsan Pattnaik is a world-renowned Indian sand artist from Odisha. Born on 15 April 1977, he self-taught himself the art of sand sculpture. He established The Golden Sand Art Institute which is first of its nature in India.
v. His sculptures include environmental crisis, famous festivals, national integrity and religious tolerance. He has represented India in 50 international Sand Sculpture championship and festivals all around the world and won 27 championship prizes for the country.
vi. In 2013, he won gold medal at Saint Peters Burg in 12th International sand sculpture competition at Russia. His sand sculpture on Black Taj Mahal earned him accolades all over the world. In 2014, he was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India.

272. Cabinet clears formation of JVs between Indian Railways and states
i. The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the formation of joint venture companies with various state governments to mobilise resources for undertaking rail infrastructure projects.
ii. The initial paid-up capital of the Ministry of Railways will be limited to Rs. 50 crore for each state. The joint venture companies would be formed with equity participation from the Ministry of Railways and the state governments concerned. Each joint venture will have an initial paid-up capital of Rs. 100 crore and based on the projects to be undertaken, further fund infusion would be done on approval of the project.
iii. The joint ventures will be allowed to form project-specific special purpose vehicles with equity holding from other stakeholders such as banks, ports, public sector undertakings, mining companies, and others.
iv. “This would ensure greater participation of state governments in implementation of railway projects, both in terms of financial participation as well as the decision-making process. This will also facilitate faster statutory approvals and land acquisition,” an official statement added.
v. Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved signing of various memorandums of understandings in the field of urban development. One such MoU is between SITNEF, Norway, and Central Public Works Department for cooperation in development of human resource capacity building and scientific research in recycling of construction and demolition waste in India.

273. WHO officially declared Guinea Ebola-free
i. The World Health Organization (WHO) on 29 December 2015 declared the end of Ebola virus transmission in the Republic of Guinea. The organization took the decision after observing that 42 days have passed since the last person confirmed to have Ebola virus disease and tested negative now.

ii. Guinea now enters a 90-day period of heightened surveillance to ensure that any new cases are identified quickly before they can spread to other people. The decision came after more than 2500 people died from the virus in the West African nation. With this, Liberia becomes the only country still counting down for an end to this ruinous epidemic.
iii. The end of Ebola transmission in Guinea marks an important milestone in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The original chain of transmission started two years ago in Gueckedou, Guinea in late December 2013.
iv. The outbreak later spread to neighbouring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone and ultimately travelled to seven other countries. The total number of people infected with Ebola eventually totalled more than 28000. And the number of people who died from the disease reached more than 11200.
v. In addition to the original chain of transmission, there have been 10 new small Ebola outbreaks between March and November 2015. These appear to have been due to the re-emergence of a persistent virus from the survivor population. This is for the first time that all three countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have stopped the original chains of transmission that were responsible for starting this devastating outbreak.

274. Online virtual science lab for school students
i. Students who have opted for the Science stream at the high school level, but have no access to physical labs now have the option to perform experiments in a virtual science-lab. Thanks to the educational technology initiative - “Online Labs” - developed by Amrita CREATE (Centre of Research in Advanced Technologies for Education) in association with CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing).
ii. OLabs or Online virtual Science Labs allows students to repeat the experiments as many times as they wish; it includes simulators, videos, animation, theory and quiz. It is based on the premise that lab experiments can be taught over the Net in a cost effective and efficient manner.
iii. According to Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita University – the initiative is aimed at helping students understand complex science concepts and build scientific temper. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology launched this elearning programme on Tuesday. Under this nationwide initiative, Amrita has set a target of preparing around 30,000 science teachers from across the country on how to use OLabs, so they can in turn help students perform experiments in a virtual lab.
iv. OLabs has been officially endorsed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as a teaching aid for all its schools. It is expected to be available in Hindi, Malayalam and Marathi and offered in both urban and rural schools.
v. Online Labs technology has an offline tablet-based component as well, which ultimately would allow the trained faculty to take the labs to remote pockets, where connectivity is still an issue. Amrita is hoping that in a span of three years at least 10000 schools across the country would be provided free access to OLabs. The Online Labs is said to have over 80,000 registered users already.

275. Ian Fraser Lemmy Kilmister, founding member of metal band Motorhead, died
i. Ian Fraser Lemmy Kilmister, founding member and singer in the British heavy metal band Motorhead, passed away on 28 December 2015 after battling cancer. He was 70. Popularly known as Lemmy, he played furiously on platinum-selling Motorhead albums like Ace of Spades , Overkill and Iron Fist.
ii. He was born in December 1945 in Staffordshire, England. He joined the English psych-rock band Hawkwind in 1971, but got kicked out several years later for abusing amphetamines drug. In response, he formed Motorhead in 1975.
iii. Motorhead has released 22 studio albums with Lemmy as its only constant member. His last album was Bad Magic in 2015. He was regarded as the godfather for rock n roll endurance and genres like thrash and speed metal.

276. Noted Gujarati writer Raghuveer Chaudhary selected for 51st Jnanpith award
i. Eminent Gujarati litterateur Raghuveer Chaudhary was on 29 December 2015 selected for the 51st Jnanpith award for his contribution to the Indian literature.
ii. The decision was taken in a meeting of the Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by noted scholar Namwar Singh. Other members of the selection board are Shamim Hanfi, Harish Trivedi, Suranjan Das, Ramakant Rath, Chandrakant Patil, Alok Rai, Dinesh Misra and Leeladhar Mandloi.
iii. Chaudhary is the fourth Gujarati litterateur to bag this prestigious award after Uma Shankar Joshi (1967), Pannalal Patel (1985) and Rajendra Shah (2001).
iv. Born in 1938 in Gujarat, Raghuveer Chaudhary is a novelist, poet, critic, a prominent figure on contemporary Gujarati literary scene and a Gandhian. His talent has been influenced by works of Govardhanram Tripathi, Kaka Kalelkar, Suresh Joshi, Prof Ramdarash Mishra and Prof GN Dickey.
v. He authored more than 80 books and some of his notable novels include Amrita, Venu Vatsala, Purvarang and Laagni Samjyaa Vinaa Chuuta Padvanu. He also had worked as a columnist for numerous newspapers such as Sandesh, Janmabhumi, Nirikshaka and Divya Bhaskar.
vi. He was a teacher at the Gujarat University until his retirement in 1998. He has received numerous awards including Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Trilogy Uparvaas in 1977.

277. China launched Gaofen-4 dual-use geostationary satellite
i. China on 29 December 2015 successfully launched Gaofen-4 Earth observation satellite toward a geostationary orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the south-western province of Sichuan. The Satellite was launched aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket.
ii. Launched as a part of the China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS), Gaofen-4 is located at the orbit 36000 kilometres away from the earth and moves synchronously with the earth.
iii. It can see an oil tanker on the sea with a huge CMOS camera, reaching the best imaging level among global high-orbit remote sensing satellites. It will be used for disaster prevention and relief, surveillance of geological disasters and forest disasters, and meteorologic forecast. It will offer optical spatial resolution of better than 50 metres and infrared sensing capabilities from geostationary orbit.
iv. It is designed to operate for eight years at an altitude of almost 36000 km above the Earth. The satellite was launched as a part of Gaofen project that aims to launch seven high-definition observation satellites before 2020. Gaofen-1, the first satellite of the project, was launched in April 2013.

278. Veteran singer Subir Sen passed away
i. Veteran singer Subir Sen passed away on 29 December 2015 due to lung cancer in Kolkata. He was 81. He is survived by his wife and a daughter. Sen was condemned to be clone of senior and talented Hemant Kumar. From the 1950s till the 1980s, the melodious singer had sung a number of hit songs. He had also sung duets with Asha Bhonsle and Lata Mangeshkar.
ii. A hit film Aas ka Panchhi marked the peak of Sen’s popularity. Similarly, Chhoti Bahen had several duets by him and Lata Mangeshkar which dominated the charts of the time.
iii. Some of Sen’s well-known songs include Aa ja re nain dware from the Dev Anand-Waheeda Rehman starrer Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Main rangeela pyar ka raahi in Chhoti Bahen.
iv. He was also known for his Bengali songs like Dhoronir pathey pathey, Monalisa tumi ki bolona and Saradin tomay cheye.

279. Ex Chief of Indian Army General Om Prakash Malhotra passed away
i. General Om Prakash Malhotra, former Punjab Governor and ex-Chief of Army, passed away on 29 December 2015 due to old age. He was 93. He is survived by his wife and two children. General Om Prakash Malhotra was the 13th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army from 1978 – 1981.

ii. He was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, in August 1922 and attended Government College in Lahore before being selected to join the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery.  He commanded different Artillery Regiments between November 1950 and July 1961.
iii. He was the Military Attache at the Indian Embassy in Moscow for over three years from June 1962. He served as the Ambassador of India to Indonesia from 1981 - 1984. He was appointed as the Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh from 1990 - 1991.
iv. He was also the President of the Equestrian Federation of India for nearly nine years. For his outstanding services to the nation and the Indian Army, he was honoured with Param Vishsist Seva Medal in 1976. In 1994, he was conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honours Causa) by the University of Jammu.

280. Indian Navy successfully test fires Barak-8 long range missile from INS Kolkata
i. In a boost to India’s maritime prowess, the Navy today successfully test-fired the nearly 70 KM range Surface to Air Missile Barak 8 from INS Kolkata, paving the way for installation of the system, developed jointly by India and Israel, on board country’s frontline warships. The Navy described the maiden firing of its newly developed Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR SAM) as a significant milestone in enhancing its anti-air warfare capability.
ii. The firing was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by INS Kolkata, wherein the missile successfully intercepted an aerial target at extended ranges, a statement by Navy said. Two missiles were fired yesterday and today on high speed targets, during naval exercises being undertaken in the Arabian Sea.
iii. Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. The firing trial of the LR-SAM has been jointly carried out by the Indian Navy, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries.
iv. Israel made MF-STAR radar system is capable of simultaneously tracking hundreds of airborne targets to a range of more than 250 KM. DRDL, Hyderabad, a DRDO Lab, has jointly developed this missile in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries. The LR-SAM has been manufactured by M/s Bharat Dynamics Limited.
v. With the successful proving of these systems, the Indian Navy has become part of a select group of Navies that have this niche capability, which would provide a fillip to India’s maritime operations. The firing trial of the LR SAM has been jointly carried out by the Indian Navy, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries. It is expected that India and Israel are likely to win orders worth billions of dollars for the multi-purpose Barak-8 missile system.
vi. A Barak-8 battery, including the Adir radar system made by IAI subsidiary Elta Systems, a command and control system, and the missile launchers, is already installed on the deck of Israeli Navy ship Lahav, from which the new interceptor was fired last week as part of a complete trial of the system.

281. HAL ties up with Russian firm Rostech to build 200 Kamov helicopters
i. Under the "Make in India" initiative, Russian firm Rostech State Corporation has tied up with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture 200 Kamov 226T light helicopters. The new fleet of Kamovs will replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
ii. The deal is estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to Press Trust of India report. It is believed Rostech will organise the production of the Kamov helicopters for at least 200 units.
iii. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The two leaders signed a deal for Russian Kamovs to be manufactured in India under the "Make in India" initiative. The agreement also proiveded for maintenance, operation and repair facility of the helicopters in India.
iv. Of the 181 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters held by Indian Army, 51 were approximately 40 years old and 78 were between 30-40 years old, Press Trust of India quoted a CAG report as saying. "Rostech's competitive advantage lies in the fact that we are ready to deal with not only the localisation of helicopters in India, but also offer our partners the localisation of production technology," Rostech's CEO said in an official statement.
v. The Kamov 226T helicopters have a unique capability of operating in dense urban areas to mountainous regions such as Siachen, a Hindustan Times report stated. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a helicopter production facility at Tumakuru in Karnataka on Sunday, Press Trust of India reported.

282. Rakhi Haldar, Kavita Devi bagged gold at National Weightlifting Championship
i. Rakhi Haldar and Kavita Devi on 29 December 2015 bagged gold in their respective weight categories in the Senior National Weightlifting Championships held in Patiala, Punjab.
ii. Haldar lifted 94 kilograms in the snatch and 119 kilograms in clean and jerk to come up with a total lift of 213 kilograms in Women's 69 kilograms to grab the gold medal. Lalchhanhimi bagged the silver with a total lift of 210 kilograms, while Rajwant Kaur finished with a bronze with an overall effort of 201 kilograms.
iii. In Women's 75 kilograms category, Devi lifted 95 kilograms in snatch and 122 kilograms in clean and jerk for a total of 217 kilograms to win the top medal. Sushila Panwar and Daljit Kaur bagged the second and third positions with lifts of 213 kilograms and 198 kilograms, respectively.
iv. On the other hand, V A Christopher clinched the gold medal in Men's 105 kilograms with an overall lift of 329 kilograms, while Laljit Singh accumulated 317 kilograms to settle for silver. Rashpal Singh, who also came up with a total lift of 317 kilograms, had to settle on a bronze.

283. Gujarat clinched maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy
i. Gujarat on 28 December 2015 clinched the Vijay Hazare Cricket Trophy. It is the first time that Gujarat won the trophy. In the final of the limited overs tournament, Gujarat defeated Delhi by 139 runs at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. The 2015–16 Vijay Hazare Trophy was the 14th season of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
ii. The Vijay Hazare Trophy is also known as the Ranji One Day Trophy.
iii. It was started in 2002–03 as a limited-overs cricket domestic competition involving state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates.
iv. From the tournament's inaugural edition during the 1993–94 season through to the 2001–02 season, no finals were held, and teams consequently played only within their zones, with no overall winner named.

284.Union Cabinet approves Raptor MoU for conservation of migratory birds of prey
i. The Union Cabinet has given its approval to sign Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia.
ii. This MoU is also called as the ‘Raptor MoU’ under the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). With signing it, India will become the 54th signatory to the MoU.
iii. About Raptor MoU

  • It is an agreement under Article IV paragraph 4 of the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) and is not legally binding on signatory parties.
  • The MoU seeks willingness of the signatory states for working for conservation of the raptor species and their habitats. 
  • The Raptors MoU extends its coverage to 76 species of birds of prey out and an action plan has been formulated that envisages the conservation action for Raptor species. 

285.Union Cabinet gives nod for India-Australia Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the India-Australia Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal that came into force on November 13, 2015. 
ii. The deal along with the administrative arrangement for implementing the accord will bolster India’s energy security by supporting the expansion of nuclear power in the country.

  • India and Australia had started talks on the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 2012 after Australia had lifted the long-standing ban on selling uranium to energy-starved India.
  • The cooperation agreement was signed between two countries in September 2014 to sell uranium as a nuclear fuel for peaceful power generation. 
  • India-Australia Nuclear Cooperation deal follows similar agreements signed by India with the US and France after western sanctions were lifted in 2008. 
286.CCEA approves Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme for textile sector
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved introduction of Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS) for technology upgradation of the textiles industry. 
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by CCEA meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 
iii. The ATUFS replaces existing Revised Restructured Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (RR-TUFS) to give a boost to textile sector under Make in India campaign. 

287.Union Govt approves constitution of 69 bridges on Trilateral Highway in Myanmar
i. The Union Cabinet has approved the construction of 69 Bridges including Approach Roads on the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar. 
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. These bridges will be constructed at a cost of Rs.371.58 crore and shall impart all weather usability to the TKK road section.

288.Union Govt unveils National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020
i. Union Government has unveiled National Biotechnology Development Strategy (NBDS) 2015-2020 to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub. 
ii. It was unveiled by the Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi.

289.BHEL commissions Prayagraj power project unit in UP
i. State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned a 660 MW unit of Prayagraj Super Thermal Power Project at Bara town in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh. 
ii. This is the first supercritical thermal unit to be commissioned in the state to achieve capacity addition on attaining full load. 
iii. It is Greenfield thermal power project is owned by Prayagraj Power Generation Company Limited (PPGCL), a subsidiary company of Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited. 
iv. Super-critical units are generally eco-friendly and more efficient thermal power plants as they consume less coal as fuel. 

290.Dr Gyanendra D Bandgaiyan appointed DG of National Centre for Good Governance
i. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on 30 December 2015 approved the appointment of Dr Gyanendra D Bandgaiyan as the Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance.
ii. He will be in the office for a period of three years which is extendable by another two years or up to 60 years of age, whichever is earlier.
iii. The 54-year-old Bandgaiyan is a former IAS officer of the Union Territories cadre. He hails from Madhya Pradesh.

291.Japan and South Korea reached Agreement on Issue of Comfort Women
i. Japan and South Korea on 28 December 2015 reached an Agreement on Issue of Comfort Women.
ii. The agreement was reached after a meeting between Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea in Seoul.
iii. It aims to resolve a decades-old dispute over Korean women who were used as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
iv. The agreement is considered as historic as the issue had been a bone of contention between the countries for decades.

292.Bjorn Isberg named as Tournament Director of 2016 Hockey India League
i. Sweden's Bjorn Isberg on 30 December 2015 was appointed as the Tournament Director of Coal India Hockey India League (HIL), the premier league for hockey in India.
ii. On the other hand, Muthukumar Balakrisnan from Malaysia was given the role of the Assistant Tournament Director in the 4th edition of the Coal India Hockey India League.
iii. Andy Mair from Scotland was named as the umpire's manager for the league.


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