Current Affairs April 2015 and 2016

Current Affairs April 2015

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                                                 Current Affairs - 1st April 2015

 

1. RBI penalises 16 Central Co-operative Banks (CCBs)

i. The Reserve Bank of India penalised 16 central cooperativebanks with a fine of Rs 5 lakh each for non-adherence of the KnowYour Customer and Anti-Money Laundering guidelines.

ii. The lenders were issued show-cause notices and the action wastaken after going through the responses.

iii. The penalties were imposed on these co-operative banks inexercise of powers vested in RBI under the provisions of Section47(A) read with Section 46 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949

2. India launched Operation Raahat to evacuate 4000Indian nationals from Yemen

i. Operation Raahat: massive air and sea operation to evacuateover 4000 Indians from Yemen

ii. Operation Raahat was in news on 1 April 2015 as India launcheda massive air and sea operation to evacuate over 4000 Indiannationals from Yemen. The operation will involve total of five shipsand four aircraft.

iii. The operation started after India got permission to dock itsoffshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra at the Aden harbor of Yemen. Inthe evacuation exercise, 350 Indian nationals were evacuated fromAden to Djibouti by INS Sumitra. The nationals will be flown to Indiain two Air Force C-17 Globemasters.

iv. The 350 evacuated people belong to different states of Indiaand they are Kerala (206), Tamil Nadu (40), Maharashtra (31), WestBengal (23), Delhi (22), Karnataka (15), and Andhra Pradesh/Telangana(13).

v. The complete rescue operation was overseen by Minister of Statefor External Affairs General (retd.) VK Singh.

vi. Beside INS Sumitra, two more Indian Navy Ships namely INSMumbai and INS Tarkash have also sailed for Yemen to take part inOperation Raahat. Two merchant vessels namely, Kavaratti and Coralwill also take part in the operation along with two 180-seater AirbusA320 planes.

3. Mustafa Kamal resigned from the post of President ofInternational Cricket Council

i. Mustafa Kamal on 1 April 2015 stepped down as the President ofthe International Cricket Council (ICC). He sent out the resignationletter to the ICC.

                                                   

ii. The Bangladeshi cricket administrator had succeeded Alan Isaacas the 11th President of the ICC in June 2014 for a period of twoyears.

iii. He has been associated with cricket for 30 years and servedcricket in different capacities. In 2012, he was named as theVice-President of the ICC for the term 2012-2014.

4. Rajasthan Government opened women milk bank JeevanDhara in Jaipur

i. Rajasthan Government on 31 March 2015 opened women milk bankJeevan Dhara in Jaipur. It was inaugurated by Health MinisterRajendra Rathore. The move is aimed at curbing the high infantmortality rate of Rajasthan.

ii. The state Government launched the bank in collaboration withNorwegian government and JK Lon Hospital.

iii. The bank would store milk from donating lactating mothersthat can be used for feeding infants who are deprived of it.

iv. The infants will get free of cost milk from lactating motherswho willingly donate it. The process of donation starts only afterthe donors are screened and medically tested for HIV, Syphilis,Hepatitis and other diseases. This is followed by pasteurization ofmilk that takes around three months.

v. First government owned woman milk bank was opened in Kolkataand Jaipur is the second in this series. However, the first mother’smilk bank in the State was started by a non-governmental organisation(NGO) in a government hospital in Udaipur.

vi. The infant mortality rate in Rajasthan, as per SampleRegistration System (SRS) 2012, stands at 49 per 1000 live births andthis is due to high non-availability of mother's milk on time.

5. Snapdeal acquires majority stake in RupeePower

i. E-commerce marketplace Snapdeal has acquired a majority stakein digital financial distribution platform RupeePower for anundisclosed amount.

                                                   

ii. Snapdeal’s entry into online financial services is a firstfor an e-commerce company in India. Following the deal, theSoftBank-backed Snapdeal will offer consumer loans through theRupeePower network. The online financial services market in India isestimated at Rs 4,500 crore.

iii. The latest development is part of Snapdeal’s $1-billionacquisition spree. Founded in 2011, RupeePower has partnered 12banks, including the State Bank of India, and non-banking financialcompanies.

6. Commerce Ministry releases Foreign Trade Policy

i. The commerce ministry announced its new Foreign Trade Policyfor the period 2015-2020.

ii. To address the infrastructural bottlenecks, complex proceduresand manufacturing hurdles, the new trade policy announced two newschemes -- Merchandise Exports From India Scheme (MEIS) and ServicesExports From India Scheme (SIES).

iii. The new trade policy will boost exports, create jobs whilesupporting 'Make In India' and 'Digital India'… Will focus ondefence, pharma, environment-friendly products and value-addedexports.

7. Kotak Mahindra-ING Vysya merger gets RBI approval

i. The merger deal between Kotak Mahindra Bank and ING Vysya Bankhas received the Reserve Bank's approval, which would create thecountry's fourth largest private sector lender.

ii. The scheme of amalgamation (of Kotak Mahindra Bank and INGVysya Bank) shall come into effect from April 1, 2015. Following themerger, all the tangible and intangible assets have been transferredto Kotak Mahindra Bank.

iii. The Rs 15,000 crore merger deal between Kotak Mahindra andING Vysya got the Competition Commission's approval in February.

8. Kyle Mills of New Zealand retired from all forms ofInternational Cricket

i. New Zealand pace bowler Kyle Mills announced his retirementfrom all cricket Wednesday, following Daniel Vettori in calling itquits after the World Cup final.

ii. Mills was consistently ranked among the world's top 10 one-daybowlers throughout his illustrious 14-year career, and for a longtime was ranked number one.

iii.  Mills represented New Zealand in 170 ODIs and took 240wickets to be the Black Caps' second highest wicket-taker in theshortened game behind Vettori, who took 297.

 

                                        Current Affairs - 2nd & 3rd April 2015

 

1. Odisha Government launched Aahar Scheme to providesubsidised food to urban poor

i. Odisha Government on 1 April 2015 launched a cheap meal schemeAahar for providing subsidised food to urban poor. The scheme waslaunched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the occasion of State’sFoundation Day, that is, Utkala Diwas.

ii. In the first phase, the scheme was launched in Bhubaneswar,Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Rourkela.

iii. As part of the scheme, Aahar outlets will be opened in thesefive cities. These outlets will serve meal comprising of Rice, Dalmaand Pickle at a subsidised rate of 5 rupees with financial assistancefrom three State run corporations and Tata Steel.

iv. Further under the scheme, each Aahar outlet will cater to onethousand people daily between 11 am and 3 pm.

2. Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approved Amaravathi ascapital of the State

i. Andhra Pradesh Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister N ChandrababuNaidu on 1 April 2015 approved that Amaravathi will be the newcapital city of the state. The capital will come up at Tullur inVijayawada-Guntur region of the state.

ii. The name of Amaravathi as state capital was finalised in viewof its historical, spiritual and mythological significance.

iii. Besides this, AP cabinet also approved the first phase of themaster plan prepared by Singapore government agencies and the newindustrial policy, which will accelerate industrialisation of thestate.

3. Vijay L Kelkar resigned from Tata Chemicals Board

i. Vijay L Kelkar, the Chairman of the 13th Finance Commission,resigned from the Tata Chemicals Board on 1 April 2015. He wasappointed on the Board of Tata Group firm on 30 May 2012.

ii. He is an Indian economist and academician who served as theChairman of the Thirteenth Finance Commission constituted by thePresident of India. He also served as Advisor to the Union Ministryof Finance (2002–2004), and is known for his role in economicreforms in India.

iii. He also served as Finance Secretary, Government of India1998–1999, and in 1999 he was nominated as Executive Director ofIndia, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka on the board of theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF).

iv. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highestcivilian award, in January 2011.

4. Sunita Tomar, the face of India's anti-tobaccocampaign, died

i. Sunita Tomar, the face of India’s anti-tobacco campaign, diedon 1 April 2015 at her native village in Bhind district of MadhyaPradesh. She was 28.

ii. In 2014, she shot a 30-second video titled Sunita highlightingthe devastating effect of smokeless tobacco. In the video she sharedher experience, which later was used by the government for itsanti-tobacco drive to warn people against consumption of smokelessgutkha and pan masalas.

iii. She teamed up with Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) to producethe video which tells about her struggle with oral cancer.

iv. Sunita was among the 60 percent oral cancer patients of Indiawho die within a year or two of their diagnosis because they turnedtoo late for treatment.

v. Every year in India some one million people die due to tobaccoconsumption and some 35 percent of adults use tobacco in some form orother form in India.

5. Indian-origin nurse Subadhra Devi Rai named for 2015International Achievement Award

i. Dr Subadhra Devi Rai, an Indian-origin Singaporean nurse, on 2April 2015 was named for the 2015 International Achievement Award bythe Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF) of theInternational Council of Nurses.

ii. She was named for the award for her work in the healthcaresector of women and refugees and will receive the award on 21 June2015 at a conference in Seoul.

iii. With this 51-year-old Rai became the first Singaporean to getthe prestigious biennial prize since its introduction in 1999.

iv. At present, she is a senior lecturer at the School of HealthSciences (Nursing) at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.

v. Rai began her career in Singapore where she worked in theintensive care unit following her general nursing training. She beganto focus on health issues concerning women and refugees in 1997during her time in Canada's Edmonton Centre for Survivors of Tortureand Trauma.

6. Union Government launched FAME-India scheme to boostelectric, hybrid vehicle sales

i. Union Government on 1 April 2015 launched Faster Adoption andManufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – IndiaScheme.

ii. The scheme was launched with an aim to boost sales ofeco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the NationalMission for Electric Mobility.

iii. The scheme envisages providing 795 crore rupees support till2020 for the manufacturing and sale of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Characteristic Features of FAME – India Scheme

--> It envisages providing demand incentivesto electric and hybrid vehicles from two wheelers to buses in rangeof 1800 rupees to 66 lakh rupees
--> Focusareas of the scheme will be technology development; demand creation;pilot projects; and charging infrastructure
-->Depending on technology, battery operated scooters and motorcycleswill be eligible demand incentives ranging between 1800 rupees to29000 rupees
--> In three-wheeler theincentives will range from 3300 rupees and 61000 rupees
-->In four-wheeler segment incentive ranges from 13000 rupees and 1.38lakh rupees
--> In case of Light CommercialVehicles (LCV) incentive ranges from 17000 rupees to 1.87 lakhrupees
--> In case of buses the incentiveranges from 34 lakh rupees to 66 lakh rupees
--> TheDepartment of Heavy Industries will be nodal department for thescheme.

 

                                        Current Affairs - 4th & 5th April 2015

 

1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Give it Upcampaign

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Give it Up campaign. Thecampaign was launched at the annual energy-focussed summit UrjaSangam 2015.

                                                 

ii. The campaign seeks to extort the better off sections ofsociety to forego their liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidy, whichwould be utilised in providing subsidised LPG connections to thepoor.

iii. The Prime Minister asked companies and banks to encouragetheir employees to give up the subsidy on LPG. The Give it Upcampaign should be taken up on the lines of Swacch Bharat and BetiBachao, Beti Padhao initiatives.

2.  K.N. Tripathi sworn in as Governor of Mizoram

i. West Bengal and Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi tookadditional charge of Mizoram .

ii. He was sworn in as 16th Governor of Mizoram on 4 April 2015.

iii. Justice Michael Zothankhuma of the Gauhati High Courtadministered oath of office to him at Raj Bhavan in Aizawal.

iv. Tripathi was given additional charge of Mizoram after UnionGovernment had sacked then Governor Aziz Qureshi.

3.  Pedro Cateriano Bellido appointed as PrimeMinister of Peru

i. Pedro Cateriano Bellido was appointed as Prime Minister of Peruby the President Ollanta Humala.

                                               

ii. He will replace Ana Jara, who had lost a confidence vote andwas sacked by Peruvian Congress amid allegations of corruption.

About Pedro Cateriano Bellido

--> Prior to this appointment, he was servingas Peru’s Defence Minister and was appointed in July 2012,Cateriano, by profession is a lawyer and is specialized inconstitutional law.
--> He was member of thePeruvian parliament from 1990 to 1992. Cateriano also had served asdeputy justice minister from 2001 to 2002. He also teaches law at theUniversity of Lima.

4. Mariyam Asif Siddiqui, Muslim girl won Bhagwad Gitacontest

i. Mariyam Asif Siddiqui, a 12-year-old Muslim girl in March 2015won the first position at the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita Champion League.She won the prize for explaining the teachings of the Bhagwad Gita.

ii. Siddiqui who studies in Class 6 of Cosmopolitan High School atMira Road near Mumbai won the contest from among 4500 students of 195schools.

iii. Mariyam said she learned from Bhagwad Gita that humanity isthe biggest religion in this world.

Shrimad Bhagwad Gita Champion League

--> Shrimad Bhagwad Gita Champion League wasan inter-school competition. It was organised by the InternationalSociety for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in March 2015.
-->The English version of the holy book was given to students for amonth for preparation purpose for explaining the teachings of theholy book. The competition included recitation of the Gita in Englishalong with a written test.

5.  Malli Mastan Babu, India's ace mountaineerpasses away

i. Malli Mastan Babu, one of India’s top mountaineers passedaway. His dead body was recovered in the Andes Mountains betweenArgentina and Chile after  he went missing on 24th March, 2015during an expedition to Cerro Tres Cruces Sur.

ii. Babu was regarded as the fastest “7 summiteer” that isfastest mountaineer to climb summits in all seven continents fromIndia.

iii. In 2006, he had famously scaled 7 summits of the world inrecord 172 days.

iv. He was the first Indian mountaineer to summit the tallest peakin Antarctica, Mt Vinson Massif. He was also the first person fromAndhra Pradesh to scale the Mt Everest.

v. Babu hails from Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh and was a2000-2002 IIM Kolkata pass out. He also had a degree from IITKharagpur.

6. Minor planet named after former Chess grandmasterVishwanathan Anand

i. The Indian Chess grandmaster, Viswanathan Anand adds anotherfeather in his cap with a minor planet being named after him. Theplanet was discovered back in 1988 but had not been formally nameduntil recently.

ii. The minor planet, now known as Vishyanand, was previouslyidentified as planet 4538.

iii. With this privilege, Anand joins former world chess championsAlexander Alekhine and Anatoly Karpov who have had a similar honourbestowed on them.

7. FM Global released Global Resilience Index 2015Report

i. The Index offers powerful insights to help business executivestarget their investments towards more reliable returns and to protecttheir customers from unforeseen disruption.

ii. Out of the 130 countries and regions assessed Norway toppedthe list in terms of business resilience and Venezuela came at last.

iii. The Index used nine core drivers that are categorized intothree factors namely Economic Productivity, Risk Quality, and SupplyChain to assess business resilience of the countries or regionssurveyed.

India’s position in the Index

--> India has been placed at the 119thposition in the 2015 Index compared to 112th rank it secured in the2014 Index.
--> India is ranked at the 115thposition in the Economic Productivity category that takes intoaccount GDP per capita, political risk and oil intensity. This rankis same as in the Index 2014.
--> In the RiskQuality factor, India is placed at the 109th position from 113th rankin 2014 which took into account exposure to natural hazard, Qualityof natural hazard risk management and Quality of fire riskmanagement.
--> In the Supply Chain category,which takes into account control of corruption, Infrastructure andlocal supplier quality, India has improved its rank from 100thposition in the year 2014 to 89th position.
-->According to the report, despite India’s huge economic potential itis placed at the 119th position because one third of its populationis still living below the poverty line-–one of the highestincidences outside sub-Saharan Africa.

8. Saina Nehwal ends runner-up at Malaysia Open

i. Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal bowed out of the Malaysia Openbadminton championship following a semifinal defeat in a thrillingthree-set game against tournament top seed Li Xuerui of China inKuala Lumpur.

ii. World number one Saina squandered a one-game advantage as shelost 21-13 17-21 20-22 to world number three Li in a gruellingsemifinal that lasted one hour and eight minutes at Putra Stadium.

iii. Saina, who won the India Open Super Series last week, onceagain failed to come good against Xuerui, who has now beaten theIndian nine times in 11 meetings.

 

                                             Current Affairs - 6th April 2015

 

1. Mumbai: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar undocksfirst Scorpene submarine

i. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar launched the country's firstindigenously-built Scorpene submarine at the Mazagaon Dockyard Ltd inMumbai.

ii. The Scorpene is part of the ambitious Project 75 of IndianNavy's submarine programme, undertaken with French collaboration,which will include six such vessels joining the fleet over the nextfew years.

                                                

iii. The submarine is expected to be commissioned by September2016.

iv. Presently, Indian Navy has 14 conventional diesel-electricpowered submarines which include 10 Russian Kilo Class and fourGerman HDW class vessels.

2. Myntra to shut website from 1 May; to be availableas a mobile app only

i. After closing its mobile website last month, online fashionretailer Myntra is now moving to an app-only strategy by shuttingdown its desktop website.

ii. Myntra, which was acquired by Flipkart last year for a sum ofRs 2,000 crores claims that around 85 percent of all users come tothe site via the app anyway, and that around 63 percent of allpurchases happen on the app.

iii. Myntra is on course to complete Rs 2,000 crore in sales orgross merchandise value (GMV) for the current financial year.

3. Delhi airport bags Golden Peacock National QualityAward

i. Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has bagged theprestigious Golden Peacock National Quality Award for the year 2015.

ii. The award highlights the best in class quality process that wehave been building up at DIAL over the years, which have broughtsignificant results and many awards and accolades.

                                                 

iii. The award will be presented to DIAL by the UAE Minister forculture, youth and development Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan ata specially organized presentation ceremony to be held in Dubai onApril 20.

iv. Golden Peacock Awards were founded by the Institute ofDirectors, India in 1991 and are globally regarded as a benchmark ofcorporate excellence.

v. The National Quality Award Scheme was instituted to encouragetotal quality improvements in both manufacturing and serviceorganizations in India.

4. India to host fifth meeting of SAARC healthministers

i. Indian will host the fifth meeting of SAARC health ministersnext week to deliberate on key issues including HIV/AIDS, preventionof communicable and non-communicable diseases and to strengthencollaborations amongst the nations.

ii. The meeting will deliberate on a road map for strengtheningcollaboration among SAARC countries on a number of issues andchallenges faced by them.

iii. The health ministers will also discuss adoption of the "DelhiDeclaration" affirming their commitment to work together inidentified areas and further strengthen health collaboration withagreed road map and timelines, in the meeting scheduled to take placeon April 8.

5. PM Modi launches national air quality index

i. In a concerted effort to tackle the menace of air pollution,Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India's first Air QualityIndex. The index will be operational in ten Indian cities to startwith.

ii. The air quality index will inform the public about the levelof pollution in the air on a daily basis in real-time.

iii. "Environment protection and development can go hand inhand," Prime Minister said while speaking on the launch event,in New Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan.

6. MoU inked for construction of BR Ambedkar memorialat Indu Mills land

i. A three party MoU was signed between Union Ministry ofTextiles, Maharashtra government and National Textile Corporation fortransfer of land for construction of the memorial for Dr BabasahebAmbedkar memorial in Mumbai.

ii. The MoU was signed in the presence of Prime Minister NarendraModi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union textileminister Santosh Gangwar in New Delhi.

iii. The memorial will be constructed on the site where the lastrites of architect of the Indian Constitution, Bharat Ratna DrAmbedkar were performed after he had died on December 6, 1956.

7. Miami Open 2015 - Winners

Men’s Singles Title : World No. 1 and Serbianace tennis player Novak Djokovic has won the 2015 Miami Open Men’sSingles Title. In the final match he defeated Britain’s AndyMurray.

Women’s singles Title : World No. 1 andAmerican ace tennis player Serena Williams has won the 2015 MiamiOpen Women’s singles Title. In the final match she defeated Spain’sCarla Suárez Navarro.

Men’s doubles Title : American Bob Bryan andMike Bryan pair has won the 2015 Miami Open Men’s doubles Title. Inthe final match they defeated Vasek Pospisil (Canada) and Jack Sock(US) pair.

Women’s doubles Title : India’s Sania Mirzaand Switzerland’s Martina Hingis pair has won 2015 Miami OpenWomen’s doubles Title. In the final match they defeated Russianpair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

 

                                              Current Affairs - 7th April 2015

 

1. World Health Day 2015 observed globally

i. World Health Day (WHD) 2015 was observed globally on 7 April2015. The theme for the year is "From farm to plate,make food safe."

                                                  

ii. The theme was selected by the World Health Organisation (WHO)to bring focus on growing global burden of food borne diseases andunderscore the need for coordinated cross-border action across theentire food supply chain i.e. from farm to plate.

iii. The day is celebrated every year since it was firstcelebrated in 1950 to mark the anniversary of the WHO formation in1948.

2. RBI keeps Key Rates unchanged

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the repo rate unchanged at7.5% in its monetary policy review. Along market expectations,Raghuram Rajan also kept the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 4%.

ii. Rajan kept policy rate unchanged awaiting clarity on impact ofunseasonal rains on food inflation even as he wanted banks to pass onbenefits of previous two rate cuts.

iii. The RBI will await the transmission by banks of itsfront-loaded rate reductions in January and February into theirlending rates. Transmission of policy rates to lending rates has nottaken place so far despite weak credit off take and the front loadingof two rate cuts, said RBI.

3. Dronavalli Harika wins bronze in World Women’schess championship

i. Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika won the bronze medal alongwith Swedish Grandmaster Pia Cramling by virtue of making it to thesemi-finals of World Women's chess championship.

ii. Harika lost to the eventual winner Mariya Muzychuk of Ukrainein the semi-finals.

iii. Muzychuk bagged the title after defeating Russian NatalijaPogonina 2.5-1.5 in the four-game final. She had earlier defeated topseeded Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy in the quarters.

4. Rajeev Shukla appointed as Chairman of IPL GoverningCouncil

i. Rajeev Shukla on 6 April 2015 was re-appointed as the chairmanof the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Governing Council by the Boardof Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

ii. His appointment came just a day before the opening ceremony ofthe IPL-8 in Kolkata.

iii. Former Union Minister and Congress leader Shukla was the IPLchairman till 2013 when he resigned from the post in the aftermath ofthe IPL spot-fixing scandal.

iv. Sourav Ganguly was a new entrant to the IPL Governing Councilwhile the senior national selection committee led by Sandeep Patilwas retained for another season. Team India Director Ravi Shastrialso remained in the IPL Governing Council.

5. Pratap Singh, an Indian-origin schoolboy, wonInstitute of Physics Prize for his Cosmic-ray project

i. An Indian origin school boy Pratap Singh, 15, in the UK hasbeen chosen for a prestigious prize this year for the Institute ofPhysics (IOP) Prize, that carries 500 pounds sterling and a trip to anational physics-related activity.

ii. Pratap Singh was given the award for carrying out a verifyingexperiment on the effect of Albert Einstein’s theory of specialrelativity.

iii. He was presented the award at the Bing Bang Fair held at theNational Exhibition Centre (NEC) Birmingham

6. Xiaomi to partner with Snapdeal and Amazon, no moreexclusive to Flipkart

i. Chinese phone maker Xiaomi ended its exclusive partnership withFlipkart and joined hands with new online partners Amazon andSnapdeal to sell its products in the country.

ii. Xiaomi's India head Manu Jain announced these new partnershipson Twitter and tweeted that customers can now purchase Mi productsfrom Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, The Mobile Stores and Airtel Indiastores.

iii. The company has just completed five years of operations inthe country.

7. Dena Bank inked MoU with Life Insurance Corporation

i. Dena Bank on 6 April 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India to provideinsurance cover to all Aadhaar-linked savings account holders of thebank in the age group of 18 to 50 years.

                                                  

ii. The insurance cover will be provided under the PrimeMinister’s Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJBY) scheme.The scheme will come into effect from 1 June 2015.

iii. The bank said that people who join the scheme beforecompleting 50 years can continue to have the risk of life cover up tothe age of 55 years.

8. Yuvraj set to begin new innings as businessman withYouWeCan Ventures

i. Cricketer Yuvraj Singh is set to start his new innings asbusinessman with YouWeCan Ventures, aiming to support youngentrepreneurs by investing in startups across sectors.

ii. Yuvraj will put about INR 50 crore - mostly his own money -over a period of 3-5 years in the fund, YouWeCan Ventures. The fundis expected to raise around INR 300 crore from other investors duringthe period.

iii. YouWeCan Ventures will mainly fund startups in sportsproducts, healthcare, travel and tourism, services and fashion,e-commerce and hospitality. The plan is to offer seed capital rangingfrom INR 10 lakh to INR 25 lakh.

 

                                             Current Affairs - 8th April 2015

 

1. Mayilsamy Annadurai appointed as Director of ISROSatellite Centre (ISAC)

i. Mayilsamy Annadurai is appointed as Director of ISRO SatelliteCentre (ISAC), Bengaluru.

ii. He took over as Director, ISAC from Dr SK Shivakumar whosuperannuated on 31 March 2015.

iii. As the Director of ISAC he will oversee development ofsatellite technology and implementation of satellite systems forscientific, technological and application missions.

iv. Before the present appointment he had been the ProgrammeDirector of Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) and SmallSatellite Systems (SSS) at the ISAC since 2011.

2. SBI, ICICI, HDFC Bank heed Raghuram Rajan's call,cut base rate

i. State Bank of India was the first off the block to impress theregulator by reducing its base rate, forcing private sector peersHDFC Bank and ICICI Bank to follow suit as they took heed of RBIgovernor Raghuram Rajan's stern message to ensure transmission ofmonetary policies.

ii. State Bank of India lowered its base rate by a token 15 basispoints — from 10% to 9.85%. HDFC Bank lowered its base rate by 15bps to 9.85%, while ICICI Bank cut it by 25 bps to 9.75%, the lowestin the industry now.

iii. SBI's new base rate is effective from April 10, while HDFCBank's will come into effect from April 13. ICICI Bank said itsexisting floating rate customers will get the benefit of the new ratefrom April 10, while new borrowers will get it from July 1.

iv. HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank have also reduced deposit rates by 25bps for medium-term deposits of up to Rs 1 crore.

3. Prime Minister launched MUDRA Bank under PM Jan DhanYojana to fund small entrepreneurs

i. PM Narendra Modi launched the Rs 20,000 cr Micro UnitsDevelopment Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank and said , “the aim ofthe bank is to fund the unfunded small entrepreneurs and tostrengthen savings habit in the country”.

ii. MUDRA Bank will provide credit of up to Rs 10 lakh to smallentrepreneurs and act as a regulator for ‘Micro-FinanceInstitutions’ (MFIs).

iii. The roles envisaged for MUDRA include laying down policyguidelines for micro enterprise financing business and registrationof MFI entities as well as their accreditation and rating.

iv. MUDRA is to be set up through a statutory enactment. It wouldbe responsible for developing and refinancing through a PradhanMantri MUDRA Yojana.

v. MUDRA would also partner with state/regional level coordinatorsto provide finance to “Last Mile Financiers” of small/microbusiness enterprises.

4. Snapdeal acquires FreeCharge

i. Online marketplace Snapdeal acquired India’s fastest growingmobile transaction platform FreeCharge.

ii. With this acquisition, Snapdeal has become India’s largestmobile commerce firm with 40 million users and the largest mobiletransactions base for any company.

                                                      

iii. Now Snapdeal can offer wide range of services and productsincluding financial services, mobile recharge and utility payments toits growing user base.

5. Narendra Modi announces compensation for farmers

i. Coming to the rescue of farmers hit by unseasonal rains andhailstorm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced higher compensationfor crop damage and eased criteria for them to avail governmentsupport.

ii. Modi said criteria of 50 per cent crop damage for providingcompensation to affected farmers has been reduced to 33 per centwhich will help more farmers to get compensation for their crop loss.

iii. Following Mr. Modi's footsteps the Reserve Bank hasinstructed banks to restructure loans of farmers whose crops havebeen damaged by the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

iv. In its first bi - monthly monetary policy on  7th April2015, the RBI said that the adverse impact of unseasonal rains andhailstorms in March is still unfolding.

6. World Cup heartache fades as fresh IPL season starts

i. The Indian Premier League (IPL), with its heady cocktail ofcricket, money and glamour, begins its eighth edition on 8th April2015. The T20 tournament brings together the superstars of the gamein an epic festival of club cricket at its best.

ii. The first and final match of IPL 2015 will both be played atthe Eden Gardens. The title clash will take place on May 24.

iii. Yuvraj Singh - bought by Delhi for Rs 16 crores - is the mostexpensive player in the tournament. His amount is 3.5 crores morethan even that of Dhoni.

 

                                               Current Affairs - 9thApril 2015

 

1. President appoints Dr Nasim Zaidi as chief electioncommissioner

i. President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed the senior-mostElection Commissioner, Dr Nasim Zaidi, as the next Chief ElectionCommissioner (CEC).

ii. Zaidi will assume the charge of office of the chief electioncommissioner with effect from April 19, after the incumbentHarishankar Brahma will retire on April 18.

iii. A 1976 batch IAS officer, Dr Zaidi has worked in the CivilAviation Ministry for a long time.

2. PM Narendra Modi departs on a nine-day visit tothree nations

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flies out today for his visit toFrance, Germany and Canada, in which he plans to take his "Makein India" push to Eurozone's two biggest economies.

ii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nine days abroad will be thelongest overseas visit that he will be undertaking after becomingPrime Minister eleven months ago.

iii. The focus of the visit is to shore up as much foreign directinvestment (FDI) and technological expertise as he can for theBJP-led NDA Government's pet projects: Make in India, Smart Cities,Clean India, Skill Development, Defense, Energy Security, Railways,Roads and Ports Management.

3. Liu Xiang, former Olympic 110m hurdles champion,retired

i. China's Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Liu Xiang, one ofthe country's biggest sports stars, has retired.

ii. The 31-year-old won the country's first Olympic men'sathletics gold in the 110m hurdles in Athens in 2004 and added aworld title in 2007.

                                                      

iii. He also held the world record in 2006 with a time of 12.88seconds.

iv. Liu has been affected by an Achilles problem ever since itcaused him to pull out of his first heat at the 2008 BeijingOlympics.

4. RBI notifies hike in FDI cap in insurance sector to49%

i. The Reserve Bank notified government's decision to raiseforeign direct investment (FDI) limit in the insurance sector to 49per cent from the present 26 percent.

ii. As per the notification, FDI up to 26 percent will be underautomatic route and beyond 26 percent and up to 49 percent will beallowed with the approval of Foreign Investment Promotion Board(FIPB).

iii. The RBI notification is in tune with March 2015 decision ofDepartment of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) regardingoperationalisation of increased FDI limit in the insurance sector.

5. Sumit Mazumder is the new president of CII

i. Sumit Mazumder, Chairman & Managing Director, TIL Limited,has been elected as the President of CII for the year 2015-16. He succeeds Mr Ajay Shriram as the new President.

ii. TIL is the manufacturer of India’s largest range of materialhandling equipment in technical collaboration with world leaders –Manitowoc Crane Group, USA; Hyster (a part of NACCO MaterialsHandling Group, USA) etc.

iii. Mazumder is also the Executive Chairman of TIPL (TractorsIndia Pvt. Ltd.).  The company is a distributor for Caterpillar,USA, in India, Nepal and Bhutan for earthmoving, construction, miningequipment and power systems.

6. Gopaldas Neeraj, Uday Pratap Singh conferred withSahitya Shiromani Samman of Uttar Pradesh

i. Uttar Pradesh Government conferred Sahitya Shiromani Samman onnoted Hindi poet Gopaldas Neeraj and veteran Hindi litterateur UdayPratap Singh.

ii. Along with the award, the duo was given a cash prize of 21lakh rupees.

iii. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav conferred theaward on Neeraj and Singh. Yadav also announced that Neeraj will begiven Rashtra Ratn-Sitara-e Hind award for his lifelong service toHindi literature.

iv. Beside this, Yadav also unveiled the poetry book of Gopal DasNeeraj named Geetsri in Lucknow.

7. Indian-origin Sim Bhullar makes NBA history

i. Gursimran 'Sim' Bhullar became the first player of Indiandescent to play in the high-profile National Basketball Association(NBA) league as he made his debut for Sacramento Kings.

ii. The 22-year-old came on with 16 seconds remaining in theKings' 116-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the SleepTrain Arena.

iii. The 7-foot-5-inch Canada-born had signed a 10-day contract tojoin the Kings' roster.

 

                                            Current Affairs - 10th April 2015

 

1. Thane named as National Earth Hour Capital 2015 byWWF

i. Thane in Mumbai, Maharashtra was named as the National EarthHour Capital 2015 on 9 April 2015. It was named so after it emergedas winner among the three finalists from India viz., Thane, Rajkotand Pune, in the Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) 2015 conducted byWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF).

ii. For its city mobility plan and solar and waste-to-energyinitiatives, Pune received a special mention from the jury. Rajkotwas felicitated for the city’s performance in the field ofrenewable energy.

Actions of Thane city administration that helped Thane tobe named as the National Earth Hour Capital 2015 includes

• Mandatory use of solar water-heating systemsfor municipal buildings
• Solutions such aswind-solar hybrid systems
• Use of solar energyfor lighting and air-conditioning
• Cities planfor solar rooftop net metering-based power generation and regularenergy audits
• Energy Service Company (ESCO)project like

a) Energy-efficient street lighting
b) Commissioning of abio-methanation plant to treat municipal solid waste and generateelectricity
c) Three cyclic switching units for optimal use ofstreetlights

2. India elected to four United Nations agencies

i. India was elected to four important United Nations (UN)agencies on 8 April 2015. These agencies are United NationsChildren’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Program (WFP), Commission onCrime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) and the GoverningCouncil of UN-Habitat.

ii. India was elected to these bodies at the Coordination andManagement Meeting (CMM) of UNECOSOC (the United Nations Economic andSocial Council) held at the UN headquarters in New York, USA.

iii. India was elected by acclamation, which is a form of electionthat doesn’t use a ballot.

3. India successfully test-fired Dhanush ballisticmissile

i. Surface-to-Surface nuclear-capable Dhanush ballistic missilewas successfully test-fired on 9 April 2015 from a naval ship off theOdisha coast.

ii. The missile is a naval variant of India’sindigenously-developed Prithvi missile.

iii. The missile was fired from an Offshore Patrolling Vessel(OPV) of Indian Navy by the Strategic Force Command (SFC).

iv. SFC is a part of India's Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) whichis responsible for the management and administration of the country'stactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.

4. State legislature of Oklahoma passed a bill thatallow use of nitrogen gas for executions

i. The state legislature of Oklahoma on 9 April 2015 passed a billthat allows use of nitrogen gas (nitrogen-induced hypoxia) as amethod of execution. The bill was passed by the legislature without asingle dissenting vote.

ii. The bill now awaits the signature of the governor's signatureto become a law. With Governor’s nod, Oklahoma will become thefirst state in the United States that will allow use of nitrogen forexecution.
 
iii. The supporters of the bill claim thatpoisoning through nitrogen-induced hypoxia is more humane andpainless way to die. It also does not require any medical expertise.

5. Union Government rejected Odisha government proposalto grant mining license to Posco

i. The Union Government on 9 April 2015 rejected the OdishaGovernment proposal to grant mining license to South Korean steelmajor Posco which needed mining license for its proposed 12 billionUS dollar mega steel plant at Paradip in Odisha.

ii. In response to the proposal, the Union Government asked OdishaGovernment that Posco, like others, will have to take part in theopen auction to get Khandadhar or any other mines.

iii. Union Government rejected the state government’s proposalin accordance to the Amendment of Mining and Minerals Development andRegulation (MMDR) Act, 1957 that was passed by the Parliament inMarch 2015. The amendment says that all leases shall be grantedthrough auction by competitive bidding, including e-auction.

iv. Earlier, Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha,requested the Union Government to exempt Posco from the auctionprocess.

v. The request was made in respect to the commitments that wasmade to the company by the Union and State governments. Posco waspreviously promised by the Odisha government for the Khandadhar ironore mine in Sundergarh district for its mega steel plant.

 

                                           Current Affairs - 11th April 2015

 

1. April 11: National Safe Motherhood day

i. Every year on 11 April, National Safe Motherhood day is beingobserved across India.

ii. Main Objective of the day is:

--> To create awareness on proper healthcareand maternity facilities to pregnant and lactating women.
-->It also seeks to create awareness about the institutional delivery,reducing anemia among women and better pre and post natal health careare necessary for mothers.

                                                   

iii. It should be noted that safe motherhood also means to ensurethat all women receive the care they need to be safe and healthythroughout pregnancy and childbirth.

2. NGT imposed ban on air pollution causingconstruction activities in National Capital Region

i. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 10 April 2015 imposed banon all construction activities in the National Capital Region (NCR)that do not follow the guidelines provided by the then Union Ministryof Environment and forest in 2010.

ii. The directive was delivered by a bench headed by JusticeSwatanter Kumar, NGT chairman, in order to check growing menace ofair pollution in the NCR.

3. Bharat Hari Singhania takes over as JK OrganisationPresident

i. Delhi-based JK Organisation has appointed Bharat Hari Singhaniaas its new president.

ii. He succeeds Gaur Hari Singhania, who died in February.

iii. Bharat Singhania has been with the organisation for more thanfive decades. He is the chairman of JK Paper, JK Lakshmi Cement andother group companies, apart from being on the board of JK Tyres andother companies and entities of the organisation.

4. Greenpeace India's license suspended

i. The Indian government announced it has "temporarily"suspended the registration of Greenpeace India under the foreigncontributions law for "under-reporting" such funding it andconducting transaction of such funds without informing theauthorities as required by the law.

ii. Along with the 180-day suspension, the ministry of homeaffairs froze all seven bank accounts of the organisation and servedit a show-cause notice seeking explanation why its license should notbe cancelled.

5. India's first IFSC becomes operational at GIFT City

i. India's first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) atGujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City in Gandhinagar districtof Gujarat became operational today and Finance Minister Arun Jaitleyunveiled rules and regulations for this global financial hub.

ii. Jaitley also attacked the previous UPA government for being"lethargic" in giving permission to the IFSC.

iii. The regulations are aimed at creating a vibrant IFSC on thelines of those in Dubai and Singapore and check the flight of tradingin rupee and Indian securities to such offshore financial hubs.

6. India to chair 9th IRENA meet in Abu Dhabi

i. India has been designated to chair the ninth meeting of theInternational Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Council. The meeting isscheduled to be held in June in Abu Dhabi.

ii. India is a founder Member of the IRENA. The body is anintergovernmental organisation that supports countries in theirtransition to a sustainable energy future.

iii. IRENA has two main governing structures. IRENA Assembly takesdecisions at Macro level and gives policy guidance to IRENA.

iv. IRENA Council which is the main governing body of the agencyresponsible for implementing various decisions of the assembly.

7. Apurvi Chandela wins Bronze in ISSF Rifle and PistolWorld Cup

i. Commonwealth Games gold medal winning Indian shooter ApurviChandela today qualified for next year's Olympic Games after notchingup the 10m air rifle bronze in the ongoing ISSF World Cup(Rifle/Pistol) in Changwon, Korea.

                                                      

ii. Apurvi shot a total of 185.6 in the finals, to finish behindPejcic Snjezana of Croatia, who won gold, and Ivana Maksimovic ofSerbia, who clinched the silver medal.

iii. Pejcic eventually finished with a score of 209.1 to Ivana's207.7 at the end of the gold medal match up. There were three Olympicquota places to be bagged in the event.

 

                                               CurrentAffairs - 12th April 2015

 

1. 17 Agreements signed between India and France duringPM Narendra Modi’s visit

i. India and France on 11 April 2015 signed 17 agreements invarious fields during Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s visit toFrance.

                                          

ii. They were signed in presence of Indian PM and his counterpartFrench President Francois Hollande after they had held wide-rangingtalks in Paris.

Some of key agreements signed are

a. MoU between Larsen and Tubro and AREVA- Itaims at improve the financial viability of the Jaitapur Nuclear plantproject by reducing cost by increasing localization. It will alsoenable France to transfer of technology to India for development ofindigenous nuclear energy industry in India.
b.Pre-engineering agreements (PEA) between NPCIL and Areva- Itintends to bring clarity on all technical aspects of the plant. Itwill help all parties including AREVA, Alstom and NPCIL to fix theirprice and optimise all provisions for risks (still included at thisstage) in the costs of the project.
c. MoU between CNESand ISRO on Megha Tropiques satellite- It extends MoU fortwo more years of joint project for sharing and use of data from thesatellite. The satellite was launched in October 2011 on board ofIndian launch vehicle PSLV.
d. MOU between ISRO, CNES andONERA- It proposes cooperation in the areas of satelliteremote sensing, satellite communications and satellite meteorologyand others field.
e. MoU between Union Sports Ministry andFrench Ministry of Sports- It envisages cooperation andexchange of experiences in the fields of sports medicine andinstitutional cooperation.
f. Railway protocol betweenUnion Railways Ministry and French National Railways (SNCF)-It seeks to establish cooperation between Indian and French Railwaysfor semi-high speed rail and station renovation.
g. Otheragreements signed between both nations in the fields of economy,energy, culture, tourism, conservation, Ayurveda, skill developmentand science and technology. Note- NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation ofIndia), CNES (French National Centre for Space Studies), ISRO (IndianSpace Research Organisation).

2. Yuki Bhambri wins $15,000 ITF Futures tournamenttitle

i. Yuki Bhambri on 11 April 2015 has won the 15,000 US Dollar ITFFutures tournament title. In the final he recorded a straight-set winover Dzmitry Zhyrmont of Belarus played at Karshi, Uzbekistan.

ii. Bhambri defeated his rival with Bhambri with 6-2 6-4 score.This win has pocketed 27 ranking points on Bhambri which will takehim to a rank between 215 and 220. It was also Yuki’s 10th ITFFutures singles title.

iii. This win also has ensured Yuki’s entry into the French Openqualifying event which will be the Clay Court Grand Slam that willbegin on the19 May 2015.

About ITF Futures tournament title

--> ITF Futures tournament title is a seriesof professional tennis tournaments held around the world.
-->These tournaments are organized by the International TennisFederation (ITF).
--> This title representsthe lowest rung of the men’s professional tennis ladder.
-->These tournaments are incorporated into the ATP rankings which helpsyoung professionals to progress on to the ATP Challenger Tour andthen in ATP World Tour.  

3. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates ‘Songs andDances of the North East’ festival

i. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated first Songs and Dancesof the North East, a cultural festival in New Delhi.

ii. The day long festival was organized by Government of Meghalayaand sponsored by the North Eastern Council (NEC).

                                                  

iii. The purpose of festival is to showcase the culture of India’snortheast region and highlight the immense contribution made by thepeople of the region in nation building.

iv. This festival will be held by rotation in different parts ofthe country as part of the series of events planned by NEC and UnionMinistry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER).   

v. All eight States of the northeast region will collaborate tohost the festival in different parts of the country with an aim toattract investors and visitors to the region.

4. Arun Kumar Jha appointed as CEO of Khadi and VillageIndustries Commission (KVIC)

i. Arun Kumar Jha was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

ii. The decision in this regard was taken on 10 April 2015 by theDepartment of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Union Ministry ofPersonnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

iii. As the CEO of KVIC, he will oversee the day-to-dayfunctioning of the commission and report about its activities to theUnion Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

iv. Before this appointment, he had been working as the DirectorGeneral of National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small BusinessDevelopment (NIESBUD) functioning under the Union Ministry of MSME.

v. Jha is a 1985-batch Indian Economics Service (IES) officer.

5. Asteroid 316201 named after Malala Yousafzai

i. Asteroid 316201 was named as ‘316201 Malala’ after theyoungest Nobel laureate and girls’ education campaigner MalalaYousafzai.

ii. The asteroid was named after her by Amy Mainzer, astronomer atNASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, United States underthe International Astronomical Union rules.

iii. In 2010, Mr. Mainzer had discovered the asteroid which wasknown as 316201. As a discoverer of the asteroid he had owned therights to name it.

iv. Asteroid 316201 Malala is located in the Main Belt betweenMars and Jupiter. It orbits around the Sun every 5.5 years and ismore-than 2 mile wide.

6. Lewis Hamilton wins Chinese Grand Prix of FormulaOne

i. Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton from Britain on 12April 2015 won Chinese Grand Prix of Formula One on the ShanghaiInternational Circuit in China. This was his second win of the seasonand his fourth Chinese Grand Prix win.

ii. It was also Lewis Hamilton’s overall 35th Grand Prix win.

iii. In Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton was followed by teammate NicoRosberg at second place.

7. Jitu Rai wins bronze at ISSF World Cup

i. Ace Indian shooter Jitu Rai on 12 April 2015 won a bronze medalin the 10m air pistol event at the International Shooting SportFederation (ISSF) World Cup in Changwon, South Korea.

                                                   

ii. Rai won the bronze medal after he scored 181.1 points in thefinal and had missed out for the gold medal shoot-out by 0.4 points.

iii. Jitu Rai after winning won silver in the 50m Free Pistolevent in 2014 at the World Championships in Granada, Spain hadqualified for the 2016 Olympics.

 

                                           Current Affairs - 13th April 2015

 

1. Larsen & Toubro inks MoU with AREVA

i. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has announced signing amemorandum of understanding (MoU) with AREVA of France forco-operation to maximise localisation of the EPR nuclear power plantto be built at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.

ii. This partnership will add new dimensions to the capabilitiesof India’s manufacturing sector in the nuclear business.

iii. AREVA will transfer technology to utilise the forgingcapabilities of L&T Special Steels and Heavy Forgings (a jointventure with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.).

2. Modi inaugurates German industrial fair

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened on Sunday the HanoverMesse, the world’s largest industrial fair, alongside GermanChancellor Angela Merkel.

ii. India is the partner country of this year's trade fair, whichbrings together about 6,500 exhibitors from 70 nations.

                                                 

iii. Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe andtotal bilateral trade between the two countries was valued at 16.08billion euro (17 billion dollars) in 2013. There are currently morethan 1,600 Indo-German business collaborations and 600 Indo-Germanjoint ventures in operation.

3. German Nobel laureate Guenter Grass dies at age 87

i. Guenter Grass, the Nobel-winning German writer who gave voiceto the generation that came of age during the horrors of the Nazi erahas died. He was 87.

ii. Grass was lauded by Germans for helping to revive theirculture in the aftermath of World War II and helping to give voiceand support to democratic discourse in the post war nation.

iii. Grass made his literary reputation with “The Tin Drum,”published in 1959. It was followed by “Cat and Mouse” and “DogYears,” which made up what is called the Danzig Trilogy after thetown of his birth, now the Polish city of Gdansk.

4. SBI Cuts home loan rate by another 10 bps for newbuyers

i. State Bank of India (SBI), has cut the interest rate for newhome loans by another 10 bps, to 9.9 per cent.

ii. In effect, the interest rate for new home loans will bereduced by 25 bps. For the existing ones, 15 bps is the reduction.

iii. The move comes amid the RBI directive that an interest ratedifferential will not be allowed if customer profiles are similar.

5. Sania seals historic world no. 1 rank withCharleston title

i. Sania Mirza created history by becoming the first female tennisplayer from India to achieve the world number one rank in doubles.

ii. Sania achieved her stupendous title win at the WTA FamilyCircle Cup with partner Martina Hingis.

iii. The top-seeded Indo-Swiss pair defeated Casey Dellacqua andDarija Jurak 6-0 6-4 in just 57 minutes in the lop-sided final of the$731,000 clay court event.

iv. Before Sania, only Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi hadachieved the top rank when they dominated men’s doubles circuit inthe last 90s.

6. Gujarat government launches industrial tourism toshowcase development

i. In a first of its kind initiative in the country, Gujaratgovernment is promoting a tour package covering major industrialinstallations which have earned global acclaim for the state.

ii. Some of the major attractions of this recently launched tourpackage include a visit to Tata Nano plant in Sanand, Pipavav portnear Amreli, Alang ship breaking yard in Bhavnagar and Amul Dairy inAnand.

iii. The package, called Industrial Tour of Gujarat, has beenoffered by city-based Akshar Travels Pvt Ltd, official partner ofstate-run tourism agency Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL),which is promoting the tour on its website.

 

                                            Current Affairs - 14th April 2015

 

1. North Korean foreign minister Ri Su Yong to visitIndia

i. North Korea’s top diplomat, Ri Su-yong, arrived in India on arare visit where Delhi hosted the meet.

ii. Ri became the first North Korean foreign minister to visitIndia in at least 25 years.

                                                

iii. In New Delhi, Ri met with his counterpart, Indian ExternalAffairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. According to reports, the twodiscussed North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and regionalsecurity issues, including the stability of the Korean peninsula.

iv. In addition to Swaraj, Ri met with Indian Vice President HamidAnsari. Ri’s trip to India comes ahead of Indian Prime MinisterNarendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Seoul, South Korea, which isexpected in May.

2. Retail inflation drops to 3-month low of 5.17% inMarch

i. Easing of food prices, mainly milk and vegetables, pulled downthe March retail inflation to 3-month low of 5.17 per cent.

ii. The retail inflation as measured by Consumer Price Index was5.37 per cent in February, and 5.19 per cent in January.

iii. It was 8.25 per cent in March last year.

iv. To calculate the CPI, price data are collected from selectedtowns by the field operations division of NSSO and from selectedvillages by the Department of Posts.

3. Haryana govt to give cabinet minister status to BabaRamdev

i. The BJP government in Haryana has decided to give the status ofcabinet minister to yoga guru Ramdev, who was earlier made thestate’s brand ambassador to promote yoga and ayurveda.

ii. The government’s decision was announced on Monday byeducation minister Ram Bilas Sharma, who said the state governmentwould also honour Ramdev at a function at Indradhanush Auditorium inPanchkula on April 21.

iii.  Recently, government announced to make yoga compulsoryin all schools and equip all sports stadiums in every district with ayoga centre. Municipal bodies and Huda would construct yoga practicehalls in their areas of jurisdiction. Special coaching of physicaleducation teachers in yoga will be organised.

4. China quashed bid of Taiwan to become full member ofAIIB

i. The Chinese Government on 13 April 2015 quashed the bid ofTaiwan to become a full member of the Asian Infrastructure InvestmentBank (AIIB) for lack of appropriate name.

ii. The Chinese Government said that it would welcome Taiwan inthe future but under a different name.

iii. Taiwan made a last-minute application to join the AIIB as afounding member on the deadline day of 31 March 2015 under the nameof Chinese-Taipei. The name was used by the International OlympicCommittee and the Asian Development Bank.

iv. Taiwan hoped that joining AIIB as a full member would help itspush for regional economic integration and participation ininternational trade organisations.

v. Taiwan will now seek to join the bank as an ordinary member,instead of a founding member.

vi. The AIIB was proposed by China for the rapidly growing Asianregion. China is putting up nearly 50 billion US dollars to helpcapitalize the bank, which is meant to fund infrastructure projectsin rapidly growing Asia. At least 21 countries signed the memorandumof understanding in October2014, establishing the bank. BesidesChina, the list includes India, Thailand and Singapore amid others.

5. FM transmission of Vividh Bharati launched

i. The popular ‘Vividh Bharati’ services of All India Radio(AIR) will now be available to listeners in and around Delhi onmobile handsets with the launch of FM transmission of the channel.

ii. Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, wholaunched the FM transmission, also delivered a message to thelisteners of the channel, saying Vividh Bharati services would reachpeople within a range of 60-65 km with much clarity at all times inall weather conditions.

                                                     

iii. Vividh Bharati offers a mix of film music, skits, short playsand interactive programmes. It is known to have the largestcollection of film and non-film songs in the country.

iv. Mobile applications of all channels that are livestreamed byAIR like Vividh Bharati, FM Gold, FM Rainbow, Urdu service andseveral regional channels, will also be made available.

6. Mahatma Gandhi statue in Johannesburg defaced

i. Johannesburg in South Africa was in news as on 13 April 2015 astatue of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced by a group of people calling hima racist. The group had placards that read: Racist Gandhi must fall.

ii. The statue in Johannesburg is believed to be the only one inthe world showing Gandhi as a young lawyer in his court robes.  

iii. The statue is on a public transport hub square which wasrenamed Gandhi Square because the offices in which he practiced lawduring his stay in the city are on the periphery of the square.

7. Following consumer backlash, Flipkart pulls out ofAirtel Zero

i. Following popular outrage against net neutrality violations to“internet apartheid”, e­retailer Flipkart pulled out of thecontroversial Airtel Zero preferential access platform.

ii. Flipkart was one of the partners in the Airtel Zero platformwhich allowed Airtel's subscribers to access select websites andservices for “zero data charges”, as long as owners of thesewebsites/services paid Airtel.

iii. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a six-member panelhas been constituted by the telecom department to submit itsrecommendations regarding the same by early next month.

8. India’s GDP growth rate to reach 8% by 2017: WorldBank

i. The World Bank has predicted a GDP growth rate of 8 per centfor India by 2017 and said that a strong expansion in the country,coupled with favourable oil prices.

ii. In India, GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.5 per centin fiscal year 2015/16. It could reach 8 per cent in FY 2017/18, onthe back of significant acceleration of investment growth to 12 percent during FY 2016-FY 2018.

iii. The report shows that households in the region stand to gainfrom lower oil prices, both directly through lower energy spendingand indirectly through faster growth.

 

                                             Current Affairs - 15th April 2015

 

1. Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai sworn in as first ladyjudge of Sikkim HC

i. Meenakshi Madan Rai sworn in as the first lady judge of theSikkim High Court. Her oath of the office was administered by theGovernor Srinivas Patil at Ashirwad Hall at Raj Bhavan in Gangtok.

ii. Rai is also the third High Court judge who hails from thesmall border state.

iii. This appointment of Rai as the judge of the Sikkim High Courthas helped the state to get its full strength of three judges after agap of about one year.

2. Zomato acquires cloud-based data firm MaplePOS

i. Online restaurant guide Zomato announced the acquisition ofMaplePOS, a cloud-based point of sale product for restaurantsdeveloped by a group of techies from Delhi.

ii. Gurgaon based Zomato has already renamed the MaplePOS productto 'Zomato Base' which will help the company and its restaurantpartners to manage business into online orders and payments.

iii. MaplePos, a sale product offers various features ofrestaurants such as inventory and menu management, and has in-builtpayment solution to accept debit and credit card payments.

3. Stanford Researchers created a Smartphone Batterythat charges in only one minute

i. Researchers at Stanford University created a smartphone batterythat charges in only one minute. The project was published on 6 April2015. Stanford University chemistry professor Hongjie Dai is the leadresearcher of the project.

ii. The battery invented is the first high-performance aluminumbattery which is fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive.

iii. The researchers placed the aluminum anode, a graphite cathodeand an ionic liquid electrolyte inside of a polymer-coated pouch. Theelectrolyte is essentially a salt that is liquid at room temperatureso it is safe.

iv. An aluminum-ion battery generally consists of two electrodes,one negatively charged anode made of aluminum and a positivelycharged cathode. The aluminum-ion battery could eventually replacemany of the lithium-ion and alkaline batteries used in manySmartphones today.

4. Wholesale prices contract 2.33% in March

i. India's wholesale price index-based inflation (WPI)provisionally stood at -2.33 per cent for March, government datashowed on Wednesday. This compares with -2.06 per cent for Februaryand 6 per cent for the same period last year.

ii. This is the fifth consecutive month of deflation in wholesaleprices, a clear reflection of lower commodity prices.

iii. Earlier Consumer Price Index-based (CPI) inflation for Marcheased to 5.17 per cent, the lowest in three months.

5. Fourth Lighthouse Museum of India to be opened atKannur, Kerala

i. The fourth Lighthouse Museum of India will be opened at Kannur,Kerala to promote lighthouse tourism. The Directorate General ofLighthouse and Lightships (DGLL) announced on 14 April 2015 to openthe museum by the end of April 2015.

ii. The other three lighthouses museums have been set up atAlappuzha in Kerala and Chennai and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.

iii. DGLL has set up the Kannur lighthouse museum adjacent to thehistoric Kannur lighthouse in Payyalmbalam beach, a few kilometresaway from Kannur town. The museum will depict the story of itsevolution and history.

iv. A gigantic optic, used in Lakshadweep Lighthouse during the1885-1962 period, a 19th century double-wick lamp of KannurLighthouse, a huge fog-bell used to alert shipmen and a deep-sea buoyare some of the exhibits to be displayed at the Kannur lighthousemuseum.

v. A number of drawings of the structure and form of Kannurlighthouse in different periods will also be an added attraction.

6. New visa scheme renamed “e-Tourist Visa”

i. Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has renamed Tourist Visaon Arrival-Electronic Travel Authorization scheme (TVoA-ETA) toe-Tourist Visa with effect from 15 April 2015.

ii. With this ambiguities faced by foreign tourists especially byscheme’s nomenclature VoA, presuming that they would be grantedvisa on arrival upon landing will be removed.

                                                      

iii. e-Tourist Visa Scheme is a pre-authorization of Visa toforeigners that being given prior to travel. TVoA-ETA was launched inNovember 2014. It had enabled Electronic Travel Authorization to 44countries at nine airports across India.

7. Union Government forms task force to expedite workon inter-linking of rivers

i. Union Government on 14 April 2015 constituted a task force oninterlinking of rivers in the country.

ii. The Task Force will be chaired by former Secretary of Ministryof Water Resources B N Navalawala and comprises experts and seniorofficials.

Terms of References of Task Force:

* Consider alternative plans in case ofinfeasible links in the present National Perspective Plan (NPP) apartfrom examining the existing links which are laid out as per the NPPunder both Himalayan and Peninsular components.
*Facilitate interlinking of intra-basin and intra-stateRivers, along with that of inter-state and inter-basin links.
*Suggest different means of funding mechanisms for theinterlinking of rivers project.
* Provideguidance norms of appraisal for individual projects in respect ofeconomic viability, environmental impacts, socio-economic andpreparation of resettlement plans.
* Devicesuitable mechanisms in order to bring speedy consensus among thestates.
* To implement the interlinking ofRivers, propose suitable organizational structure.

 

                                            Current Affairs - 16th April 2015

 

1. MoU to set power plant in Kazakhstan between BHELand Russian firm INTMA inked

i. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), an engineering andmanufacturing company announced that it has inked a Memorandum ofUnderstanding (MoU) with a Russian company named INTMA with an aim toset up a gas-based power project in Kazakhstan as well as furtherboost its presence in the CIS countries.

ii. BHEL, currently executing 23 major projects in 16 countrieshas set its footprint in over 75 countries.

iii. INTMA is one of the leading general Engineering Procurementand Construction contractors (EPC) in Russia and Kazakhstan.

2. Indian Prime Minister Modi inks uranium deal, talkstrade with Stephen Harper

i. Canada and India have signed with a series of agreements andpromises that will send Canadian uranium to the South Asian nation,liberalize visas for Canadian travellers, “soon” ratify along-awaited foreign investment deal and lay a road map to completestalled trade talks.

ii. Under an agreement signed between Modi had Harper, CamecoCorporation will supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium over fiveyears to India for $254 million.

                                                 

iii. The two countries also decided to strengthen defence andsecurity cooperation and decided to cooperate to stabilise the AsiaPacific region. Modi also announced Electronic Visa Authorisation fortourist visa for Canadian nationals.

iv. Canada's Stephen Harper returns 900-year-old Khajuraho templesculpture to PM Narendra Modi

v. The sculpture, known as 'Parrot Lady', was handed over byHarper to Modi yesterday in accordance with 1970 UNESCO Convention.

3. Janata Parivar announces merger

i. Leaders of six Janata Parivar parties announced their decisionto merge into one larger entity.  Mulayam Singh Yadav will thehead new party

ii. The new party will have a strength of 15 members in the LokSabha and 30 in the Rajya Sabha.

iii. With 30 MPs, the new party will be the third largest blocbehind the Congress (68) and the BJP (47) in the Rajya Sabha, wherethe Modi government continues to be in a minority.

iv. In the Lok Sabha, the party will have 15 MPs, making it theeighth largest party in the House.

4. Asia Cup 2016 to be played in T20 format

i. Asia Cup 2016 is set to undergo a radical change and will be aTwenty20 competition instead of the 50-over game.

ii. It would be revamped to include more Associate nations and togive some practice prior to the T 20 World Cup .

iii. The tournament would then revert to a 50-over tournament in2018 ahead of the 2019 World Cup in England and be played as a T20competition again in 2020.

5. Sachin Tendulkar elected as member of Laureus SportsAcademy

i. Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was inducted as one of thefive new members into the prestigious Laureus Sports Academy in aglittering annual award ceremony at the Shanghai Grand theatre.

ii. Besides Tendulkar, retired Chinese professional basketballplayer Yao Ming, Kenyan long-distance runner Tegla Loroupe, Chinesegymnast Li Xiaopeng and former Chinese short track speed skater YangYang were the other athletes to be inducted into the Laureus academy.

iii. Tendulkar, who made his ODI debut against Pakistan way backin 1989, retired from the format after the Asia Cup in 2013 aftercompleting a century of international hundreds.

6. BHEL commissioned 600 MW thermal unit of OP JindalThermal Power Project

i. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) on 16 April 2015successfully commissioned the fourth 600 MW thermal unit of the OPJindal Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) Extension at Tamnar inRaigarh district of Chhattisgarh.

ii. In last three months, BHEL has added three units of 600 MWaggregating to 1800 MW capacity in Chhattisgarh.

iii. Scope of work of BHEL under the contract includes design,engineering, manufacture, supply, erection, testing and commissioningof Steam Turbines, Generators and Boilers, along with associatedAuxiliaries and Electricals, besides state-of-the-art Controls &Instrumentation (C&I) and Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs).

7. RBI allows differential interest rate on deposits

i. The Reserve Bank of India said banks will have the discretionto offer differential interest rates based on whether the termdeposits are with or without-premature-withdrawal-facility, subjectto conditions.

ii. All term deposits of individuals (held singly or jointly) ofRs. 15 lakh and below should, necessarily, have premature withdrawalfacility.

iii.  For all term deposits above Rs. 15 lakh banks can offerdeposits without the option of premature withdrawal as well.

8. Agni-III missile test-fired successfully by SFC

i. India on Thursday successfully test-fired nuclearweapons-capable Agni-III ballistic missile from the Wheeler Islandoff Odisha coast. Although the missile has a strike range of morethan 3,000 k.m.                

                                                       

ii. it was tested for a lesser range, in today's mission.

iii. Agni-III is one of the sophisticated and accurate missiles ofits class and has already been inducted into armed forces.

iv. It is capable of carrying a payload weighing 1.5 tonnes to adistance of more than 3,000 k.m.

 

                                            Current Affairs - 17th April 2015

 

1. India to grow at 7.5 % in 2015: Moody’s

i. A week after it revised its outlook on India to ‘positive’from ‘stable’, international credit rating major Moody’s peggedIndia’s growth at 7.5 percent for 2015.

ii. Low inflation rate has enabled the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)to cut interest rates by 50 basis points in early 2015 which hashelped in easing pressure on the private sector.

iii. Moody’s Analytics is of the view that “India’sstate—owned companies are notoriously inefficient, with significantbureaucracy and endemic corruption.

2. Modi Xi among Time's most influential people

i. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who entered office thisyear on the promise of reviving the country’s economy, is thewinner of this year’s reader poll for TIME Person of the Year.

ii. In the final tally, Modi received more than 16% of the almost5 million votes cast.

iii. Readers from more than 225 countries in total participated,with U.S. votes leading the pack at 37%, followed by India at 17% andRussia at 12%.

iv.  Mr. Modi was named by TIME among the 100 mostinfluential people in the world in its annual list on Thursday, withU.S. President Barack Obama penning a flattering profile of him.

3. Pakistan, Russia to hold first-ever joint militaryexercises

i. Pakistan and Russia have agreed to hold first-ever jointmilitary exercises as part of their enhanced defence cooperation, ina sign of increasing bonhomie between the Cold War-era adversaries.

ii. The agreement was reached during a meeting in Moscow betweenPakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and his Russian counterpartSergei Shoigu.

iii. Asif is on an official visit to Moscow to attend a regionalsecurity conference. He held talks with the Russian defence minister,during which the two ministers agreed to increase militarycooperation in training and import of arms and equipment.

4. UN Peace Envoy Jamal Benomar Resigns

i. United Nation (UN) peace envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar hasresigned, after losing support from Gulf countries for his mission inthe conflict-riven nation.

ii. His resignation comes after UN Security Council adopted aresolution calling for the swift resumption of peace talks and an endto violence in Yemen.

iii. The adopted resolution adopted calls on the Huthis towithdraw from Sanaa and all other areas they have seized.

5. RIL Reclaims Tag of Most Profitable Indian Firm

i. Reliance Industries regained its status as the most profitableIndian company after posting an 8.5 per cent rise in consolidated netprofit for the March quarter.

ii. The operator of the world's biggest refining complex reporteda net profit Rs 6,381 crore for the three months to March, 2015.

iii. RIL had lost its crown as India's most profitable firm tooutsourcing giant TCS in the December quarter.

iv. TCS, which announced its March quarter numbers on Thursday,reported a net profit of around Rs 5,900 crore (including one-timebonus for employees).

6. Obama to honour Satya Nadella with 'Champion ofChange' award

i. US President Barack Obama plans to honour Microsoft'sIndian-origin CEO Satya Nadella with the 'Champions of Change' awardfor bringing about change within his company to support workingfamilies.

                                                  

ii. Before being named CEO in February 2014, 47-year-old Nadellaheld leadership roles in both enterprise and consumer businessesacross the company.

iii.  the White House released a Middle Class Tax reporthighlighting his budget proposals to help those 44 millionmiddle-class Americans.

iv. The 'Champions of Change' programme was created as anopportunity for the White House to feature individuals doingextraordinary things to empower and inspire members of theircommunities.

7. Mohan Kumar appointed as new Indian Ambassador toFrance

i. Senior diplomat Mohan Kumar, currently India's top envoy toBahrain, has been appointed the next Ambassador to France to succeedArun Kumar.

ii. A 1981-batch IFS officer, Mohan Kumar is expected to take uphis assignment shortly.

iii. The official announcement for Mohan Kumar's appointment comessix days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France.

 

                                           Current Affaris - 18th April 2015

 

1. World Heritage Day 2015 observed globally

i. World Heritage Day was observed across the world on 18 April2013. The day is observed with an aim to create awareness among thepeople to conserve and protect the valuable assets and culturalheritage across the world.

ii. The day marks the necessity of protecting the historicalmonuments and sites located in every part of the world by makingcollective efforts at international level.

                                               

iii. The first world Heritage Day was celebrated on 18 April 1982by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) inTunisia and was approved in 1983 by UNESCO.

iv. The 2015 World Heritage Day also marked 50th anniversary ofICOMOS.

2. World Hemophilia Day 2015 observed globally withtheme Building a family of support

17 April: World Haemophilia Day

i. World Haemophilia Day was observed globally on 17 April 2015with theme Building a family of support. The dayprovides an opportunity to talk to your extended family and friends,colleagues, and caregivers to raise awareness and increase supportfor those living with an inherited bleeding disorder.

ii. Hemophilia day was established in 1989 with the support of theWorld Federation of Hemophilia (WFH). The date of 17 April was chosento honor Frank Schnabel the founder of WFH, whose birthday falls onthe same date.

3. PM Narendra Modi's visit to Canada generatedbusiness worth 1.6 billion dollars

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Canada has generatedbusiness worth more than 1.6 billion Canadian dollars, according toofficial figures released by the Harper government in Toronto.

ii. Sixteen commercial agreements and announcements were made byCanadian and Indian companies and organisations during Prime MinisterModi's visit.

iii. Harper and Modi welcomed the progress made on negotiating aBilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement andagreed to intensify discussions to finalise all outstanding issues.

iv. agreement involving Saskatchewan-based Cameco will see thecompany supply India with over seven million pounds of uranium overthe next five years.

4. SEBI bars 129 entities, suspects money laundering

i. Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) barred MishkaFinance and Trading and 128 other entities from the securitiesmarket.

ii.  These entities are estimated to have shown fictitiouscapital gains to the tune of Rs.254 crore and just 29 of them madeunlawful gains to the tune of Rs. 92 crore on an investment of justRs. 2 crore.

iii. SEBI has suspended trading in nearly 30 listed companies forsuch violations while action has been taken against more than 500entities, including promoters and others, for tax evasion of overRs.3,000 crore.

5. Vishal Sikka appointed as University AdvisoryProfessor at ECNU

i. The East China Normal University (ECNU), one of the prestigiousuniversities in China, announced the appointment of Dr. Vishal Sikka,Chief Executive Officer of Infosys, as Advisory Professor.

ii. Professor Shijun Tong, CCP Secretary of ECNU, formallyconferred the Advisory Professorship to Mr Sikka.

iii. East China Normal University, commonly referred to as ECNU,is a comprehensive research university in Shanghai, China.Established in 1951,it is the first national normal university of thePeople's Republic of China.

6. Hinduja brothers win Asian Business Leader of theyear award

i. NRI industrialists Hinduja brothers – S P Hinduja and G PHinduja – have won the Business Leader of the Year 2015 award atthe prestigious 5th Asian Awards for their outstanding achievement inthe field of business.

                                               

ii. Receiving the award, Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Group G PHinduja said this year his group has been winning one or two awardevery month and “each award keep us going and put moreresponsibility on our shoulders to do better.” He received theaward from Lord Karan Billimoria.

iii. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan also received an award foroutstanding achievement in cinema while Sri Lankan cricketer KumarSangakkara, who scored four consecutive centuries in the recent WorldCup, won an award for achievement in sports.

iv. The Asian Awards honouring Asian Excellence is founded bybusinessman Paul Sagoo.

6. Vankadarath Saritha joined as first woman bus driverof the DTC

i. Vankadarath Saritha was in news as on 17 April 2015 she becamethe first woman bus driver of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).

ii. She is a 30-year-old driver from Nalgonda in Telangana. Shehas been posted in day-time duty at the Sarojini Nagar depot and willstart working officially from 20 April 2015.

iii. Saritha started her career as an autorickshaw driver and hasworked as a bus driver earlier in Hyderabad too. Before gettingselected for the DTC, she was working as a taxi driver in Delhi.

iv. The recruitment of Saritha into DTC will lessen the gap ofgender inequality.

7. Two Indians named 2015 Yale World Fellows in US

i. Two Indians are among 16 people named by Yale University as its2015 World Fellows, the signature global leadership developmentinitiative at the prestigious US institution.

ii. Zeena Johar, SughaVazhvu Healthcare Founder and journalist andauthor Rahul Pandita are the Indians who are named by the university.

iii. Johar founded SughaVazhvu Healthcare (SVHC) and IKP Centrefor Technologies in Public Health (ICTPH) to create a primary- caredelivery network through rural clinics.

iv. New Delhi-based Pandita has reported extensively aboutconflicts in Iraq and Sri Lanka and is known for his reportage onMaoist insurgency in central and eastern India, and on the turmoil inKashmir.

 

                                            Current Affairs - 19th April 2015

 

1. Andhra Pradesh Government inks MoU with IISL Companyto replace streetlights in 13 municipalities with LED lights

i. Andhra Pradesh Government has signed a Memorandum ofUnderstanding (MoU) with the IISL Company to replace the existingstreetlights in 13 municipalities with LED lights in the state.

ii. MoU was signed by Minister for Municipal Administration andUrban Development P. Narayana and IISL’s representatives inAmaravati, the new capital state.

iii. As per the agreement, IISL will maintain replace and maintainLED streetlights in the 13 municipalities for seven years.

iv. The all existing streetlights in all the municipalcorporations and municipalities will be changed to LED streetlightsin a phased manner.

v. By installing LED streetlights, state government aims to reducethe power consumption by 50 per cent.

2. Vijender Gupta appointed Leader of Opposition inDelhi Assembly

i. Vijender Gupta was appointed the leader of opposition (LoP) inthe Delhi assembly on 16 April 2015 with immediate effect. DelhiAssembly Speaker has recognized him as LOP as per Section 2 of theLeader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of the NationalCapital Territory ( NCT) of Delhi (Salary and Allowances) Act, 2001.

ii. Gupta is one of three legislators of Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), which has greatest numerical strength as opposition party inthe legislative assembly.

iii. Prior to this he was leader of the house of the party inopposition in the house.

iv. In February 2015 Assembly election, BJP had won three seatswhich is less than one-tenth of the total strength of 70 of the Delhiassembly. While, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had won 67 seats.

v. Gupta is a former BJP state president. In 2015 Assemblyelection he had won from Rohini constituency by defeating AAPcandidate C.L. Gupta by around 5,000 votes.

3. Maharashtra government sets up task forces onagriculture development and poverty alleviation

i. Maharashtra government on 18 April 2015 set up a task force onagriculture development and poverty alleviation to address theissues.

ii. It will be 12-member panel for agriculture development andwill be headed by the state’s additional chief secretary(Agriculture).

iii. Task force for poverty alleviation - State government alsohas set up another task force for poverty alleviation. It will beheaded by principal secretary (Social Justice Department).

4. SC appoints CBI SP Vivek Priyadarshi as head of teamprobing IPL scandal

i. Supreme Court has appointed Vivek Priyadarshi to head aninvestigating team to further probe the Indian Premier League (IPL)season 6 spot-fixing and betting scandals.

ii. Decision in this regard was taken by a SC bench comprisingJustices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifulla. The bench took this decisionon the recommendation of a three member panel headed by former ChiefJustice of India (CJI) RM Lodha which was appointed in January 2015.

5. Ashish Jakhar from Haryana sets National Youthrecord in hammer throw

i. Ashish Jakhar from Haryana on 17 April 2015 set a nationalyouth record in boys’ hammer throw event and won gold medal in the12th National Youth Athletics Championships held in Bambolim, Goa.

ii. In this event, Ashish had hurled 5kg ball-and-chain at recorddistance of 72.04 metres in a second throw which made a nationalyouth record. In his opening throw he had hurdled at a distance of71.92 metres.

iii. With this, he broke the previous national record of 70.35metres which was set by Haryana’s Sukhdev Singh in 2009.

6.  Punjab government approves release of Gharialsin Sutlej and Beas rivers to promote eco-tourism

i. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on 17 April 2015approved release of Gharials in Sutlej and Beas rives in the state topromote eco-tourism. Initially, 10 Gharials (last surviving speciesof the family Gavialidae) will be released in the Harike WildlifeSanctuary as a part of ‘Gharial Recovery Action Plan’.

                                                   

ii. Decision in this regard was taken after recommendations of theState Board for Wildlife. Union Ministry of Environment Forests andClimate Change (MoEFCC) also had given permission for release ofGharials under Section 12 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

About Gharial

--> The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is alsoknown as the gavial. It is a fish-eating crocodile and belongs to oneof the three crocodilian species found in the IndianSub-Continent.
--> It is listed in Schedule Iof Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
-->It is also listed as Critically Endangered in the International Unionfor Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.
-->In historic times it was present in Indus River system, includingBeas and Sutlej rivers, indicating healthy river system.

7. RVNL Sings MoU with Private Sector Dighi PortLimited for Rail Connectivity

i. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 18 April 2015between Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) and Dighi Port Limited.

ii. The MoU will facilitate construction of 34 km of railway linkbetween Roha and Dighi Port in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Theproject cost is estimated around Rs. 723 crore.

iii. It was signed in the presence of Union Railway MinisterSuresh Prabhu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inMumbai.

iv. Dighi Port is the first non- major private sector seaport inMaharashtra located on the banks of Rajapuri Creek in Raigad districtover 150 km from Mumbai.

8. International Paralympic Committee derecognisesParalympic Committee of India

i. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended theParalympic Committee of India (PCI) for indefinite period.

ii. IPC’s this move comes after PCI had provided shoddytreatment to athletes during the National Para-AthleticsChampionships held in Ghaziabad from March 20 to 22, 2015.

iii. This is second time PCI has been suspended by PCI. With thissuspension, Indian para-athletes will not be able to participate inany IPC-sanctioned competition, including 2016 Paralympic Games atRio de Janeiro. In this regard, Union Sports Ministry also has issueda show cause notice to PCI.

iv. This notice was issued based upon enquiry conducted by SportsAuthority of India (SAI). SAI in its enquiry had reported that thesports venue did not have proper facilities to conduct NationalChampionship and also lacked allied facilities required fordifferently abled athletes.

 

                                              Current Affairs - 20th April 2015

 

1. Kerala government launched Subodham project to endliquor abuse

i. State Government of Kerala on 19 April 2015 launched Subodhamproject, to help people in the state to overcome addiction to liquor.

ii. The project was launched by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy andArt of Living Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravishankar in Kochi.

Subodham Aims at

• To wipe out the menace of substance addictionfrom society
• To free one lakh people eachyear from alcohol addiction, through comprehensive, systematicawareness campaigns
• The project seeks toachieve the ambitious target of making the state totally alcohol freeover the next ten years.

2.  Yechury is new CPI(M) chief

i. Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury was elected the fifthgeneral secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

ii. To ensure a smooth transition by averting a vote, Mr. Pillai’scandidature was withdrawn paving the way for the unanimous electionof the 91-member CC, after which Mr. Karat proposed Mr. Yechury forgeneral secretary which was unanimously accepted.

iii. Three party veterans — two former Chief Ministers, V.S.Achuthanandan from Kerala and Budhhadeb Bhattacharya from WestBengal, and Nirupam Sen have been dropped from the CC.

3.  BHEL commissions 250-MW thermal unit inJamnagar

i. State-owned power equipment maker BHEL has commissioned a250-mw coal-based thermal power plant in Gujarat.

ii. The unit has been commissioned at the Gujarat StateElectricity Corporation Ltd's (GSECL) Sikka thermal power station(TPS) by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), on EPC (engineering,procurement and construction) basis, the company said in a regulatoryfiling today.

iii. Sikka TPS is located near Jamnagar, an industrial town inGujarat.

iv. Two units of 120 mw each, supplied and executed earlier byBHEL are already in operation at Sikka. Another 250 mw unit,presently under execution at Sikka TPS, is also in an advanced stageof commissioning.

4.  Navy launches stealth destroyer INSVisakhapatnam

i. The Indian Navy launched ’Visakhapatnam’, the first ofstealth destroyers under the P15-B project.

ii. The warship is 163 metres in length and has a displacement of7,300 tonnes.

                                                     

iii. The ship is the first of the four follow follow-up order ofthe Kolkata class warships.

iv. The total cost of the project is little over Rs 29,600 crore.

5.  ICICI launches NFC-enabled payment service‘Tap-n-Pay’

i. ICICI Bank in collaboration with Tech Mahindra launched apayment service ‘Tap-n-Pay’ based on the near-fieldcommunications (NFC) technology, enabling customers makeover-the-counter payments without using cash.

ii. It can be used for merchant payments by merely tapping aNFC-enabled mobile phone or a tag on the counter.

iii. For making payments, the user will have to bring the NFC tagor the mobile phone near a device at the merchant’s facility andthe amount will automatically get debited from the prepaid account.

6. Lewis Hamilton cruises to Bahrain GP win, Raikkonensecond

i. Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain GrandPrix for the second year in a row with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen backon the podium to deny Mercedes another one-two finish under thefloodlights.

                                                  

ii. The Briton's flying pole-to-flag victory at the desert trackwas his third win in four races this season and 36th of his career.

iii. He increased his lead over Rosberg in the standings to 27points. The Briton now has 93 points to the German's 66.

7. Chhurim Sherpa, first woman to climb the Everestsummit twice in a week

i. Chhurim Sherpa, first woman to climb the 8850 metre (29035feet) Mount Everest summit twice in a week was in news on 19 April2015. Sherpa was in news as during her third ascent to Mount Everestshe will take a cricket bat and two jerseys of deceased Australiancricketer Phil Hughes.

ii. The belongings of Hughes are being carried to the summit as amark of tribute to the player. He died in November 2014 after he washit on the back of his head by a ball while batting during a domesticmatch in Sydney.

iii. Chhurim under this expedition will carry the items to the topand back to Kathmandu, where they will be kept at the Australianembassy.

iv. Chhurim Sherpa is a Nepali mountaineer, who became the firstwoman to climb Mount Everest twice in the same season, a feat whichwas verified by the Guinness Book of World Records in March 2013. Sheaccomplished this feat in 2012, by climbing Everest on 12 May 2012and 19 May 2012.

8.  Former Bengal U-19 captain Ankit Keshrisuccumbs to on-field injury

i. In another tragic on-field incident after Phillip Hughes' deathlast November, a promising Bengal batsman Ankit Keshri on passed awayowing to an injury sustained during a Cricket Association of Bengal'ssenior one-day knock-out match.

ii. The 20-year-old, a talented right-hander, had captained theBengal U-19 team in Cooch Behar Trophy and was in the 30-member IndiaU-19 probables list for the 2014 Colts World Cup in the United ArabEmirates.

iii. Keshri was not a part of the playing XI and was the 12th manof the side in the fateful match. He came to replace Railways Ranjiall-rounder Arnab Nandi, who had taken a break.

 

                                            Current Affairs - 21st April 2015

 

1. Ninth Civil Services Day was observed across Indiaon 21 April

i. Ninth Civil Services Day was observed across India on 21 April2015. The day is observed by all Civil Services to re-dedicate andre-commit themselves to the cause of the people.

ii. To mark the Day, a two-day programme was organised by theDepartment of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances began from20 April 2015.

iii. A series of Panel Discussions was organised at the VigyanBhawan. The Ninth Civil Services Day focuses on Minimum Government,Maximum Governance with specific sectoral emphasis on Social Sector,Housing, Employment & Skill Development and Agriculture.

iv. On this occasion, all officers of Central and StateGovernments are honoured for excellence in public administration. ThePrime Minister will confer the Awards to winners of outstandinginitiatives in Public Administration for the years 2012–13 and2013-14.

v. The award will be present in three categories. Under thisscheme of awards instituted in 2006, all the officers individually oras group or as organization are eligible.

2. China Readies $46 Billion for Pakistan Trade Route

i. Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to unveil a $46 billioninfrastructure spending plan in Pakistan that is a centerpiece ofBeijing’s ambitions to open new trade and transport routes acrossAsia and challenge the U.S. as the dominant regional power.

ii. The plan will be known as the China Pakistan EconomicCorridor.

                                               

iii. China sees a historic opportunity to redraw the geopoliticalmap by succeeding where the U.S. has largely failed.

iv. A cornerstone of the project will be to develop the Pakistaniport of Gwadar, a warm-water port run by the Chinese on the doorstepof the Middle East.

3. Bharatiya Mahila Bank inks MoUs with LIC, New IndiaAssurance

i. Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd has entered into MoUs with New IndiaAssurance Company Ltd and Life Insurance Corporation of India toprovide insurance cover to its accountholders.

ii. The insurance covers are being provided under the PradhanMantri Jan Suraksha Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri JeevanjyotiBima Yojana schemes respectively.

iii. The insurance option is voluntary and comes at a premium ofRs. 12 for the PM Jan Suraksha Bima Yojana and Rs. 330 for the PMJeevanjyoti Bima Yojana.

iv. The age eligibility under the former is 18-70 years and underthe latter 18-50 years. The enrolment period under the schemes willbe from June 1, 2015, to August 31, 2015.

4. Egypt President Morsy jailed for 20 years

i. An Egyptian criminal court sentenced ousted President MohammedMorsy to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012.

ii. The case stems from violence outside the presidential palacein December 2012. Morsy’s supporters attacked oppositionprotesters, sparking clashes that killed at least 10 people.

iii. 12 Brotherhood leaders and supporters, including Mohammedel-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian, also were sentenced to 20 years inprison.

5. Neeraj Kumar appointed as Chief Adviser ofAnti-Corruption & Security Unit of BCCI

i. Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar was on 20 April2015 appointed as chief adviser of the Board of Control for Cricketin India’s (BCCI) Anti-Corruption & Security Unit (ACSU). Hewill have a term of one year, that is, till 2016.

ii. Kumar succeeded Ravi Sawant.

iii. His appointment was made during Governing Council Meeting ofthe Indian Premier League (IPL) chaired by IPL chairman Rajeev Shuklain New Delhi.

iv. Neeraj Kumar is a 1976 batch IPS officer of the AGMU cadre.Earlier, he has served as the Delhi Police commissioner for 13 monthsi.e. from June 2012 to July 2013.

v. In 2013, Delhi Police under Kumar's leadership arrestedcricketer S Sreesanth along with domestic spinners Ankeet Chavan andAjit Chandila for allegedly getting involved in spot-fixing duringthe sixth edition of the IPL.

6. Japan maglev train breaks world speed record again

i. A Japanese magnetic levitation train has broken its own worldspeed record, hitting 603km/h (374mph) ina test run near Mount Fuji.

ii. The train beat the 590km/h speed it had set last week inanother test.

                                                    

iii. Japan is known for its shinkansen that run on steel rails,but has been investing in maglev technology which it is hoping tosell overseas.

iv. Central Japan Railway (JR Central), which owns the trains,wants to introduce the service between Tokyo and the central city ofNagoya by 2027.

7. Former Odisha Chief Minister J.B Patnaik passes away

i. Former Governor of Assam and three-time Chief Minister ofOdisha Janaki Ballav Patnaik passed away in a private hospital atTirupati in Andhra Pradesh.

ii. He was born in Puri district on January 3, 1927. He was ChiefMinister of Odisha from 1980 to 1989 and again from 1995 to 1999.

iii. He was also the Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly from2004 to 2009.

iv. Mr. Patnaik, who started his career as a journalist, was aSanskrit scholar and wrote several books.

8. Nasim Zaidi assumed charge as Chief ElectionCommissioner of India

i. Nasim Zaidi on 19 April 2015 assumed the charge as ChiefElection Commissioner (CEC) of India. He succeeded Hari ShankarBrahma, who had retired on 18 April 2015.

ii. With this, Zaidi became India’s 20th CEC. He will be thesole member of the three-member Election Commission till thegovernment fills up the two vacant posts of election commissioners.He will have tenure of two years as he will attain the age of 65 inJuly 2017.

iii. Nasim Zaidi is a 1976 batch IAS officer from the UttarPradesh cadre. He had served as the Director General of CivilAviation (DGCA).

9. Indian Railways launched E-Samiksha to monitor railprojects online  

i. With an aim of monitoring implementation of various ongoingprojects including Rail Budget proposals, railways today launchedE-Samiksha, an online monitoring mechanism.

ii. Now each and every project implementation can be monitored onreal-time basis, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here afterlaunching the system.

iii. Designed by NIC, the software is currently being used byCabinet Secretariat, PMO and other Ministries for monitoring progressimplementation of various programmes and follow-up of meetings.

iv. Apart from budget-related projects, the E-Samiksha can also beused for monitoring the infrastructure target and board meetingfollow-up.

10. Novak Djokovic won Monte Carlo Masters title ofTennis

i. Novak Djokovic of Serbia on 20 April 2015 won his secondMonte-Carlo Masters title of Tennis. In the final clash played atMonte-Carlo, Monaco, Djokovic defeated Tomas Berdych of CzechRepublic 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

ii. With this win, 27-year-old Djokovic also became the firstplayer to sweep the opening three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 eventsof a season. The previous two titles were won at Indian Wells andMiami.

iii. This was 17th straight win for the world No.1 and a 23rdMasters Crown in total, which equals with Roger Federer for second onthe titles list.

 

                                             Current Affairs - 22nd April 2015

 

1. International Mother Earth Day observed with themeIt’s Our Turn to Lead

i. International Mother Earth Day was observed globally on 22April 2015 with the theme It’s our turn to lead.

                                                  

ii. The theme highlights the need for change and seeks to informthe communities and leadership that action needs to be taken onclimate by promoting a goal of environmental awareness throughdeveloping sustainable initiatives and galvanizing every human topledge Acts of Green.

iii. This is the 45th anniversary of the Earth’s Day, the yearwhen the world leaders will pass a binding climate change treaty inParis in December 2015. The treaty will be adopted to make sure thefuture of Earth, our planet and the survival of life on it.

2. Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand declared asIndia's 48th Tiger Reserve

i. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on 21 April2015 accorded final approval to Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand asIndia's 48th Tiger Reserve. With this notification, Uttarakhand gotits second tiger reserve after the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

ii. The notification was announced by Uttarakhand Chief MinisterHarish Rawat while releasing logo of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve.

iii. The Rajaji National Park that came into existence in 1983 isspread across three districts of Uttarakhand namely Haridwar,Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal in an area over 820 square km.

iv. The park is a home to 315 bird species, 40 species of reptilesand fish and 400 Asian elephants.

v. The park was named after the last Governor-General ofindependent India, C Rajagopalachari, popularly known as Rajaji. C.Rajagopalachari was one of the first recipients of India's highestcivilian award Bharat Ratna in 1954.

3. Indira, Rajiv names dropped from two Hindi awards

i. The BJP-led NDA government has dropped the names of formerPrime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi from two awards forpropagating Hindi.

ii. The ‘Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Puraskar’ and ‘Rajiv GandhiRashtriya Gyan-Vigyan Maulik Pustak Lekhan Puraskar’, launched morethan two decades ago, have given way for ‘Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar’and ‘Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar’.

iii. The two awards have been discontinued by the Union HomeMinistry, which instead launched two new schemes for doingoutstanding work for promoting the progressive use of officiallanguage.

4. Pakistan confers Nishan-e-Pakistan on Chinesepresident Xi Jinping

i. Pakistan conferred the Nishan-e-Pakistan, its top civilianaward, on Chinese President Xi Jinping, lauding his "outstandingcontribution in the promotion of the relationship between the twocountries".

ii. President Mamnoon Hussain conferred the award on 61-year-oldXi during a ceremony held at the President's House.

                                                 

iii. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,federal ministers, members of the National Assembly and Senate, thethree service chief and the Chinese delegation.

iv. The award was given for Xi's contribution in promoting China'srelationship with Pakistan. Xi, also the General-Secretary of theruling Communist party, was given a warm welcome on his arrival inthe President's House in a traditional horse carriage.

5. World Bank established Pollution Management andEnvironmental Health program

i. World Bank on 18 April 2015 established Pollution Managementand Environmental Health (PHEM) program. The program was officiallylaunched on Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day in Washington, D.C.

ii. The 45 million US Dollar PMEH program will initially run from2015 to 2020 and focus primarily on air quality management incountries facing rapid urbanization and strong needs for pollutionabatement measures, but also tackle water and land pollution.

iii. In particular, the program will focus on air qualitymanagement in five major urban areas in India, China, Egypt, Nigeriaand South Africa.

6. H.L.Dattu to head NJAC

i. The six-member NJAC headed by the Chief Justice of India H.L.Dattu will be constituted by the center.

ii. National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) is a bodyresponsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higherjudiciary in India.

iii. The Commission is established by amending the Constitution ofIndia through the ninety-ninth constitution amendment vide theConstitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 passed by the LokSabha on 13 August 2014 and by the Rajya Sabha on 14 August 2014.

7. Sesa Sterlite renamed as Vedanta Ltd

i. Metals and mining conglomerate Sesa Sterlite has changed itsname to Vedanta Ltd to better align with its international identity —Vedanta Resources.

ii. Sesa Sterlite is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, UK.

iii. The company produces and processes oil and gas, zinc, lead,silver, copper, iron ore, aluminium and commercial power and ispresent in India, South Africa, Namibia, Ireland, Australia, Liberiaand Sri Lanka.

iv. Cairn India, Hindustan Zinc Ltd and BALCO are the subsidiariesof the company.

 

                                               Current Affairs - 23rdApril 2015

 

1. Union Cabinet approves lowering of age of Juvenilesfrom 18 to 16 years for heinous crimes

i. Union Cabinet has approved lowering of age of juveniles fromeighteen to sixteen years for heinous crimes. Decision in this regardwas taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi.

ii. The cabinet also approved to introduce Amendment to theJuvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014. Thisamendment will propose and add special provisions to tackle heinousoffences like murder and rape committed by juveniles in the age groupof 16-18 years.

                                                  

iii.  The proposed bill will amend the Juvenile Justice Act,2000. The parent Act clearly defines and classifies offences asserious, petty and heinous and defines differentiated processes foreach classified category.

iv. While the amendments in the bill adds provisions that in casea heinous crime committed by a person between 16 and 18 years, willbe examined by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to assess if thecrime was committed as a child or as an adult.

2. ICICI Bank launched payment service Tap-n-Pay

i. Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI)Bank on 21 April 2015 launched Tap-n-Pay, a near-fieldcommunications-enabled payment service. The service was launched incollaboration with Tech Mahindra.

ii. To start with this service, bank has offered it at largecampuses of corporate offices. ICICI Bank and Tech Mahindra also areplanning to extend this service across the country.

Highlights of Tap-n-Pay Service

• This payment service is based on thenear-field communications (NFC) technology which will enable itscustomers to make over-the-counter payments without using cash.
•It will allow users to tap NFC enabled tag or mobile phoneat the merchant’s point-of-sale device to make payments.
•It is a prepaid account which will be available to customersof any bank by simply registering for it and transferring moneyonline from any bank account.
• ICICI Bankcustomers can also transfer money to the Tap-n-Pay account through anSMS.

3. Shah Rukh Khan honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke FilmFoundation Award

i. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was honoured with the DadasahebPhalke Film Foundation Award 2015 for his performance in the movieHappy New Year. The award ceremony was held in Mumbai.

ii. Actor Rajkummar Rao won the prestigious award for hisperformance in the critically acclaimed film Citylights, which wasreleased in 2014.

ii. Actress Huma Qureshi bagged an award for her memorableperformance in the movie Dedh Ishiqya.

iii. Bollywood actors Shreyas Talpade, Tiger Shroff, actress JayaPrada, singer Udit Narayan and Pankaj Udhas were also felicitatedwith the award.

4. Railway launches mobile app for paperless unreservedtickets

i. Moving ahead in line with digital India, railways launchedmobile application for paperless unreserved tickets.

ii. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu introduced from here the mobileapp for paperless unreserved ticketing for commuters in Egmore andTambram suburban sections in Chennai under Southern Railway zone.

iii. Developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS)"utsonmobile" - the paperless unreserved ticketing featurein mobile application aims to eliminate the need.

iv. The application provides necessary on-screen alerts to guidethe passenger during the booking process.

5. World Bank established Pollution Management andEnvironmental Health program

i. World Bank established Pollution Management and EnvironmentalHealth (PHEM) program. The program was officially launched on GlobalCitizen 2015 Earth Day in Washington, D.C.

ii. The 45 million US Dollar PMEH program will initially run from2015 to 2020 and focus primarily on air quality management incountries facing rapid urbanization and strong needs for pollutionabatement measures, but also tackle water and land pollution.

iii. In particular, the program will focus on air qualitymanagement in five major urban areas in India, China, Egypt, Nigeriaand South Africa.

6. IOC President Thomas Bach named ambassador ofHeForShe by UN Women

i. Thomas Bach, the president of International Olympic Committee(IOC), was on 22 April 2015 named as ambassador of HeForShe campaignby UN Women.

ii. HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equalityestablished by United Nations (UN) Women.

iii. The campaign was launched by the UN Women Global GoodwillAmbassador Emma Watson in September 2014. HeForShe encourages men andboys to join in on the fight for women's rights and gender equalityall over the glove. Their goal is to enlist one billion men and boysto become advocates for women's rights worldwide.

iv. Hundres of thousands of men have voiced their commitment togender equality, since the campaign's launch, and gave their fullsupport for the program.

v. In November 2014, Farhan Akhtar was named as UN Women'sGoodwill Ambassador for South Asia towards the empowerment of womenand girls. He serves as an advocate for HeForShe initiative inadvocating for gender equality and women's empowerment.

7. KPMG elected Lynne Doughtie as first women CEO andChairman

i. Accounting giant KPMG on 22 April 2015 elected company veteranLynne Doughtie as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman. Sheis the first women to be elected to this position.

ii. She was elected by KPMG partners for a five-year term whichwill start in July 2015.

iii. She will succeed John Veihmeyer, who has served as Chairmanand CEO since 2010 and simultaneously as Global Chairman of KPMGInternational since February of 2014.

iv. Currently, she leads KPMG’s Advisory business and she hasbeen at the company for three decades. She started at KPMG in 1985 asan auditor. Most recently, she led the firm’s US consulting branch,which has grown at 17% annual rate since she took over in 2011.

v. KPMG is one of the world’s leading professional servicesfirms, and the fastest growing Big Four accounting firm in the UnitedStates.

 

                                           Current Affairs - 24th April 2015

 

1. 24 April: National Panchayati Raj Day

i. National Panchayati Raj Day was observed across India on 24April 2015. The day is observed to mark the passing of theConstitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force witheffect from 24 April 1993.

                                              

ii. The Amendment institutionalized Panchayati Raj through theVillage, Intermediate and District levels Panchayats. This registersa defining moment in the history of decentralization of politicalpower to the grassroots level.

iii. On the day, the best performing Gram Panchayats and GramSabhas were honoured with Panchayat Sashaktikaran Award 2015 andRashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Award 2015.

2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has redefinedpriority sector loan norms

i. RBI has modulated PSL norms which stipulate that banksoperating in India must offer 40% of all loans to farmers, smallentrepreneurs and so-called weaker sections of society.

ii. The old norms had stipulated that 13.5% of agriculture loansshould be given to the farmers directly as crop loans and the rest,4.5%, could be indirect loans to the farm sector, to alliedindustries such as food processing and fertilizer. Now, RBI hasabolished the distinction between direct and indirect loans.

iii. RBI has introduced a sub-target within the 18% share ofagriculture. Banks must give 8% loans to small and marginal farmers.

iv. Social infrastructure, such as school and healthcarefacilities in smaller towns, and renewable energy have been includedin the basket of priority loans.

3. Rajya Sabha clears bill to protect rights oftransgenders

i. The Rajya Sabha, unanimously handed a personal member’s billto protect the rights of the group.

ii. The personal member bill supplies for the formulation andimplementation of a complete national coverage to guarantee generalimprovement and welfare of transgenders by the State.

iii. There are 58 clauses and 10 chapters in the Bill depictingdifferent aspects of transgenders life from childhood to oldage, sothat they are supported and integrated in the society.

iv. A National Transgender Welfare Commission and a specialtransgender court will also be set up.

4. Indian-American Vivek Murthy takes over as USSurgeon-General

i. 37-year-old Indian-American Vivek Murthy was sworn-in as the USSurgeon General by Vice President Joe Biden at a ceremony, becomingthe youngest-ever in-charge of the country's public health. Murthy,who took the oath on the Gita, is now the highest rankingIndian-American in the US President Barack Obama Administration.

ii. He succeeded Boris D. Lushniak who had served as SurgeonGeneral from 2013 to December 2014.

iii. The Surgeon General of the United States is the operationalhead of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) andthus the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in thefederal government of the United States.

iv. The U.S. Surgeon General is nominated by the President of theUnited States and confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate. TheSurgeon General serves a four-year term of office.

5. India among unhappiest countries in the world

i. People from countries as diverse as Bhutan and Pakistan aremuch happier than Indians, according to the World Happiness Report2015.

ii.  India is one of the unhappiest countries in the world.It ranks 117 out of the 158 countries surveyed for the report.

iii. In the South Asian region, the country fares better thanNepal (121st rank), Myanmar (129th), Sri Lanka (132nd) andAfghanistan (153rd).

iv. The top country in the list is Switzerland with a score of7.587; India is at 4.565.

6. Indo-French Naval exercise VARUNA commenced at Goa

i. The fourteenth edition of Indo-French Naval Exercise namedVARUNA-15 commenced on 23 April 2015 off the coast of Goa. The 10-daylong joint naval exercise will end on 2 May 2015.

ii. It is aimed at further deriving mutual benefit from theexperiences of the two navies and strengthening the bilateral tiesbetween India and France.

iii. The French Navy is represented by Aircraft Carrier Charles deGaulle, two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne,replenishment tanker Meuse and a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique2. The Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle is carrying its complementof fighter aircraft Rafale M, Strike Aircraft Super Etendard, E2CHawkeye AWACS and helicopters Dauphin and Alouette 3.

iv. The Indian Navy is represented by Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat,destroyer INS Mumbai, stealth frigate INS Tarkash, guided missilefrigate INS Gomati, replenishment tanker INS Deepak, submarine INSShankul and a few Fast Attack Craft. Aviation assets of the IndianNavy participating in VARUNA-15 include carrier-borne fighteraircraft Sea Harriers, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8 I andDornier along with integral helicopters Seaking 42B and Chetak.

7. GST moved in Lok Sabha

i. The long-pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill was moved inthe Lok Sabha for consideration amid stiff resistance by severalOpposition parties.

ii. The Bill seeks to establish a GST Council tasked withoptimising tax collection for goods and services by the State andCentre.

iii. The Council will consist of the Union Finance Minister (asChairman), the Union Minister of State in charge of revenue orFinance, and the Minister in charge of Finance or Taxation or anyother, nominated by each State government.

 

                                            Current Affairs -25th April 2015

 

1. World Malaria Day observed

i. World Malaria Day (WMD) was observed on 25 April 2015. Thetheme for the 2013-2015 campaign is Invest in the Future.Defeat Malaria.

ii. The day is observed to recognise the global efforts to controlmalaria. It is an occasion to highlight the need for continuedinvestment and sustained political commitment for malaria control andelimination

                                                  

iii. World Malaria Day was instituted by World Health Organization(WHO) Member States during the 2007 World Health Assembly.

iv. WMD is one of eight official global public health campaignscurrently marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along withWorld Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week,World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day andWorld AIDS Day.

2. Bank of India, New India and Star Union tie up forSocial Security Scheme

i. Bank of India has partnered with insurance companies New IndiaAssurance Co and Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance to roll out thegovernment’s social security insurance schemes.

ii. The New India Assurance and Star Union Dai-ichi Life InsuranceCompany will issue a group policy to the bank and the policy wouldstart on June 1, 2015 for one year. Enrolment is likely to start fromMay 1,

iii. An accountholder has to give auto-debit request form to thebank and will get acknowledgement- cum-certificate by the bankimmediately. The claim request will be forwarded through therespective bank branch for settlement of claim.

3. 7.9-earthquake leaves Nepal devastated

i. A massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck east of Pokhara inNepal on Saturday, causing widespread damage to buildings in thecapital Kathmandu and killing more than 100 people in the country.

ii. The US Geological Survey (USGS) initially said the temblormeasured at 7.7 but later upgraded it to 7.9-magnitude. It said thequake hit at 11:56 am local time (0611 GMT) at a shallow depth of 15km.

iii. The quake was followed by at least four aftershocks rangingin magnitude from 6.6 to 4.8.

iv. It was the worst quake in the Himalayan nation in over 80years, the world’s strongest earthquakes since 1900

v. Tremors were also felt in north and east India. The tremorswere felt in most cities, including Delhi, Guwahati, Patna, Ranchi,Kolkata and Jaipur.

4. Delhi govt to launch Labour Development Mission onMay 1

i. The Delhi government today announced that it will launch'Labour Development Mission' on May 1, aimed at ensuring payment ofnotified minimum rates of wages to all contractual workers in thenational capital.

ii. "The Delhi government is in the process of carrying out areview on the issue of contractual employees to finalise a policyframework," Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai said during a publichearing with contractual workers at Shah Auditorium.

iii. Rai also directed all employers, including contractors, toupload the details of their employees such as category, nature ofwork, bank account numbers, payment details etc on their websites.

iv. To ensure payment of notified minimum wages to workers andbring transparency in the system, the employers were also directed topay wages to workers by ECS/Cheque.

5. India delivers 3 Cheetal helicopters to Afghanistan

i. India has delivered three military choppers to Kabul weeksahead of the first visit by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to NewDelhi since taking over charge.

                                                

ii. Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh informed theParliament that India has already dispatched the three unarmedhelicopters to Kabul.

iii. The choppers are suited for operations from high altituderegions as well as areas with difficult terrain and unpreparedlanding areas, for which Afghan pilots and technicians have beentrained.

6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’sHealthcare Portal

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 April 2015 inauguratedIndia’s Healthcare Portal at the SAAARC Trade Mart in the GlobalExhibition on Services, in ITPO, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

ii. The portal is an authentic and dynamic information sourcewhich can effectively be used by any treatment seeker/potentialmedical tourist from across the globe.

iii. At present, the portal covers 124 accredited medicalfacilities which include 93 medical centres, 30 Ayurveda and Wellnesscentres and 1 special category centre. 74 facilities are located inTier I cites and the rest are in Tier II cities. The HealthcarePortal can be seen at www.indiahealthcaretourism.com

7. Japan set to host continental champions in 2015 and2016

i. FIFA confirmed that Japan will host the 2015 and 2016 editionsof the FIFA Club World Cup, the tournament that has been heldannually since 2005 among the champions of each member confederation.

ii. Japan has hosted six of the last 10 events, with the UnitedArab Emirates hosting in 2009-10 and Morocco hosting 2013-14.

iii. Brazil hosted the first edition of the tournament, playedunder a different format, back in 2000.

8. Paula Radcliffe to receive London Marathon LifetimeAchievement Award

i. World record holder Paula Radcliffe will receive the inauguralJohn Disley London Marathon Lifetime Achievement Award after shecompletes the 2015 London Marathon.

ii. The three-time winner will run what is expected to be herfinal competitive race at the 35th London Marathon.

iii. Radcliffe will be presented with the trophy by John Disley,who co-founded the event with Chris Brasher in 1981.

 

                                            Current Affairs- 26th April 2015

 

1. Another strong tremor hits Nepal

i. A powerful tremor measuring 6.7 magnitude struck Nepal again,according to US Geological Survey (USGS).

ii. The government has already declared emergency in affectedareas and announced a relief package of Rs.500 million.

iii. Tremors were also felt in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal,Assam and Jharkhand.

2. Marathi novelist Bhalchandra Nemade bags 50thJnanpith Award

i. Modi awarded the 50th Jnanpith Award to eminent Marathilitterateur Bhalchandra Nemade whose several books, including Kosalaand Hindu, have influenced Indian writing.

ii. He was presented award comprising of 11 lakh rupees and acitation plaque and a bronze replica of Saraswati by Prime MinisterNarendra Modi.

                                               

iii. Nemade's contribution rests in initiating Deshivad, a theoryof nativism that negated globalisation, asserting the value of awriter's native heritage, and language.

iv. Seventy-six-year-old Nemade hails from Jalgaon.

3. FIU detects over Rs. 7,800 cr black money

i. Government detected a whopping over Rs 7,800 crore of illegalmonies within the country and abroad during 2013-14 as the eliteFinancial Intelligence Unit (FIU) found all-time high cases ofsuspicious transactions in the country’s economic channels.

ii. The agency also received a total of 87,79,082 Cash TransactionReports (CTRs), 3,01,804 Counterfeit Currency Reports (CCRs) and80,616 Non-Profit Organisation Transaction Reports (NTRs).

iii. CTR is fund movement of the value of more than Rs. 10 lakh inone tranche or a series of transactions internally connected to eachother in either Indian currency or foreign in the country’s bankingor any other channel.

iv. A CCR pertains to an instance of usage of fake currency in anybank by an entity while NTRs pertain to filing of dossiers byNon-Governmental and non-profit organisations with regard to theireconomic operations.

4. Ratan Tata picks up stake in Xiaomi

i. Iconic business leader Ratan Tata has acquired a stake inChinese handset maker Xiaomi, the first investment by any Indian inthe smartphone maker.

ii. Mr. Tata, who retired as head of over $100 billionconglomerate in December 2012 and currently serves as chairmanemeritus of Tata Sons, has emerged as a major venture capitalinvestor since his retirement.

iii. He has already made personal investments in homegrowne-commerce players like Snapdeal, Urban Ladder, Bluestone andCardekho.com.

iv. In December last year, Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion, valuing thefirm at $45 billion. Often touted as the ‘Apple of China’, thecompany has grown to become a major competition to global giants likeSamsung and Apple.

5. Bank of Baroda ties up with UAE Exchange for instantmoney transfer

i. Bank of Baroda, a leading Indian public sector bank, has tiedup with UAE Exchange to offer an instant cash transfer facility toNRI customers.

ii. UAE Exchange, a global remittance and foreign exchangecompany, serves over 7.9 million customers worldwide and currentlyhas over 750 branches across 32 countries.

iii. Following the agreement, customers can send money to theirdesired bank accounts in Bank of Baroda in India, within minutes.

iv. Bank of Baroda has a network of more than 5,000 branchesacross Europe, US, Africa, Asia and Australia and in financialcentres like New York, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

6. Anil Kapoor conferred with Master DeenanathMangeshkar Award 2015

i. Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor conferred with prestigious MasterDeenanath Mangeshkar Award 2015.

ii. He was presented the award by noted historian and writerBabasaheb Purandare. Apart from Anil Kapoor, veteran Marathi actorDilip Prabhavalkar was also bestowed with the prestigious MasterDeenanath Mangeshkar Award 2015.

iii. Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Award was instituted in 1999 inmemory of Dinanath Mangeshkar, father of Lata Mangeshkar.

 

                                           Current Affairs - 27th April 2015

 

1. India launched Operation Maitri in quake-hit Nepal

i. Operation Maitri: Massive air and roadoperation to evacuate Indians from earthquake hit Nepal

ii. India on 27 April 2015 launched a relief and rescue Operationnamed Maitri in earthquake hit Nepal. The operation will involve twodozen military aircraft and choppers along with bus services throughroad route.

iii. India also pressed nearly 1000 trained personnel of theNational Disaster Response Force (NDRF) into service after Nepal on25 April 2015 was struck by the worst earthquake in 80 years in whichmore than 2500 people were killed.

iv. Under the operation, more than 1000 people have been flownfrom Nepal.

2. Bharatiya Mahila Bank Wins The Asian BankerAchievement Award 2015

i. Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) has won The Asian BankerAchievement Award 2015.

ii. The award was presented to the BMB in the TechnologyImplementation category of Best Outsourcing Project (New Bank).

                                             

iii. Usha Ananthasubramanian, Chairman and Managing Director ofBMB received the award at a function held in Hongkong as a part ofThe Asian Banker Summit 2015.

iv. BMB is India’s first all-women public sector bank and wasformally launched on November 19, 2013. It's objective is to focus onthe banking needs of the women and promote economic empowerment.

3. Sangeeta Bhatia, Indian-origin scientist at MIT, wonthe 2015 Heinz Award

i. Sangeeta Bhatia, an Indian-origin scientist at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), on 26 April 2015 won theprestigious 2015 Heinz Award in the Technology, the Economy, andEmployment category. This was the 20th Heinz Award which is givenannually since 1993.

ii. Bhatia who developed artificial human microlivers for drugtesting was awarded for her work in tissue engineering and diseasedetection. Microliver is a miniature model organ that makes itpossible to test drug reactions efficiently and predictively, andcould eventually lead to an artificial human liver.

iii. Her team pioneered the fabrication of artificial humanmicrolivers, which are being used by many biopharmaceutical companiesto test the toxicity of drug candidates.

iv. At present, she is using microlivers in the lab to modelmalaria infection and test drugs that can eradicate malaria parasitescompletely. She aims to develop implantable liver tissue as acomplement or substitute for whole-organ transplant.

4. Government to amend Child Labour Prohibition Act

i. The government plans to push through an amendment to the ChildLabour Prohibition Act in the current session of Parliament, whichwill allow children below the age of 14 to work in select familyenterprises if it doesn't hamper their education.

ii. The bill will retain the proposal of a complete ban on childlabour in any organisation, big or small.

iii. Children between 14 and 18 years will not be allowed to workin hazardous industries. According to the labour ministry official,this provision is in conformity with the ILO convention

iv. India has seen a sharp drop in the number of child labourersin the last decade, down to 4.3 million from 12.6 million.

5. All MAT tax claims under DTAA to be settled in amonth

i. Central Board of Direct Taxes will settle all minimum alternatetax (MAT) matters of FIIs coming under the ambit of Double TaxationAvoidance Agreements within a month of filing of claims.

ii. The move is aimed at quickly resolving the controversial taxissue facing foreign portfolio investors.

iii. The Income Tax Department has sent notices in 68 cases toFIIs for payment of dues totalling Rs 602.83 crore towards MinimumAlternate Tax (MAT).

iv. Central Board of Direct Taxes said several FIIs, which havereceived income from transactions in securities, claim such income asexempt from tax under the DTAAs signed between India and theircountries of residence.

6. DIPP notifies 49 per cent FDI in pension sector

i. The government has raised the limit of foreign directinvestment in pension sector to 49 per cent in line with the FDI capin the insurance sector.

ii. In pursuance of the enactment of Insurance Regulatory &Development Authority Act, iv. 2013, government has decided to permitFDI in the pension sector.

iii. The FDI cap in the sector has been hiked to 49 per cent andthat includes foreign investment in the forms of FPI, FII, QFI, FVCI,NRI and DR.

iv. All investments in the pension sector, however, will have toabide by the pension sector regulator PFRDA.

7. BCCI to nominate Rohit Sharma for Arjuna award

i. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has nominatedRohit Sharma for the Arjuna award for 2015. Rohit has had anexcellent last year for India in international cricket.

                                                

ii. Since January 1, 2014, he has averaged 55.05 from 21 inningswith 3 centuries and 5 fifties, with the epic 264 his highest score.

iii. The decision to nominate Rohit was taken in the BCCI workingcommittee meeting in Kolkata.

 

                                           Current Affairs - 28th April 2015

 

1. Loretta Lynch sworn in as first black femaleAttorney General of United States

i. Loretta Lynch on 27 April 2015 was sworn-in as the UnitedStates' 83rd Attorney General, the first African-American woman toserve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

ii. She succeeded former attorney general Eric Holder, who leftthe position on 24 April 2015 after serving as Attorney General forsix years. Her name was confirmed five months after President Obamanominated her to succeed Eric Holder.

iii. 55-year-old, Lynch appointment as the Attorney General wasconfirmed by the Senate on 23 April 2015. Earlier, she served as theUS Attorney for the eastern district of New York, which encompassesmuch of New York City.

iv. Lynch is also the second female after Janet Wood Reno to serveas Attorney General of the US.

v. She is known for her work on high-profile anti-terror cases andhas a history of successfully prosecuting terrorists who plotted tobomb the New York subway and the Federal Reserve Bank.

vi. A Harvard graduate, Lynch is a daughter of a librarian motherand her father is a Baptist minister in North Carolina.

2. Chennai-born Raja Rajeswari is New York’s firstIndian-American woman judge

i. Chennai-born Raja Rajeswari has been sworn-in as a criminalcourt judge in New York by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

ii. She became the first India-born woman to be appointed a judgein New York City.

iii. Ms. Rajeswari, 43, who had migrated to the U.S. from Chennaias a teenager, previously worked with the Richmond County DistrictAttorney’s Office for her entire career in several bureausincluding Criminal Court, Narcotics, Supreme Court, and the SexCrimes Special Victims Bureau, where she last served as Deputy Chief.

iv. Currently, there are two male judges of Indian descent incivil court settings — Jaya Madhavan on the New York City HousingCourt in Bronx County, and Anil C. Singh of New York County SupremeCourt, 1st District.

3. 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Jolts Pakistan's Northwest

i. Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was hit by a 5.5magnitude earthquake, with the epicenter close to the border withTajikistan.

ii. Tremors were also felt in other regions such as Malakand andSwat, leading to fears among locals as it comes days after thedevastating Nepal earthquake, that has killed over 4000.

iii. The depth of the earthquake was 144 kilometres, according tothe meteorological department.

4. Yashwant Sinha honoured with Officier de la Légiond’Honneur by French Government

i. Former Union Finance Minister and veteran BJP leader YashwantSinha was on 25 April 2015 conferred with the Officier de la Légiond’Honneur (Officer of the Legion of Honour) in recognition of hisvaluable contribution to thought on international issues.

ii. This highest French civilian distinction was presented by theFrench Ambassador François Richier on behalf of the President of theFrench Republic

iii. As a Minister of External Affairs and Chairman of theIndo-French Parliamentary Friendship Group since its very inception(2009-2014), Yashwant Sinha contributed to the deepening of theIndo-French strategic partnership launched during the visit of AtalBihari Vajpayee in Paris in 1998.

iv. Created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honour isthe highest civilian award given by the French Republic foroutstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of therecipients. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Masterof the Order of the Legion of Honour.

5. Maharashtra collaborates with Israel on Smart Cities

i. In a key stride in collaboration between the State and Israel,Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Tel Aviv Mayor RonHuldai agreed to cooperate in building smart cities.

ii. Maharashtra has decided to create sustainable and friendlyurban spaces that integrate the use of technology, social media,community participation and e-governance to build smart cities ofMaharashtra like Nagpur, Mumbai, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nashik to aglobal standard.

                                              

iii. Mr. Fadnavis will attend an exhibition on agriculturaltechnology, Agritech Israel 2015,  and explore areas ofco-operation including in emergency preparations and crisesmanagement technologies.  

iv. Agritech Israel 2015 is one of the world's most importantexhibitions in the field of agricultural technologies.

6. Omar Hassan al-Bashir won the Presidential electionof Sudan

i. Incumbent President of Sudan Omar Hassan al-Bashir on 27 April2015 won the Presidential election of the country. He won anotherterm in office with 94 percent of votes.

ii. The election results were announced by the election officeafter four days of voting. The head of the country's electoralcommission said turnout was 46 percent.

iii. This win has extended Bashir’s tenure as President of thecountry for another five-year term. He had been in power in Sudansince 1989.

iv. The election has been boycotted by the opposition. It was alsocritisised by the European Union, United States, Britain and Norway,by terming that the country had failed to create a free, fair andconducive elections environment.

v. 71-year old Bashir is wanted by the International CriminalCourt on war crimes charges. He continues to defy The Hague’sarrest warrant in relation to his violent suppression of the conflictin Darfur.

vi. International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2010 issued an arrestwarrant against Bashir by charging him with crimes against humanity,war crimes and genocide during a violent suppression of rebellions inDarfur. However, the Sudanese government says that it does notrecognise the ICC.

7. Haryana announces Rs 1,092 crore farmer compensation

i. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announcedcompensation of Rs 1,092 crore to farmers affected by inclementweather conditions, to be disbursed by May 15.

ii. Of the total amount, Rs 720 crore will be provided by theCentre while rest will be provided by the state government.

iii.  3.17 lakh acres was hit with crop loss between 76 to100 per cent, 1.92 lakh acres with crop loss between 51 to 75 percent and 8.24 lakh acres between 25 and 50 per cent.

8. Magnus Carlsen of Norway won Shamkir ChessTournament

i. World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway won the Shamkir chesstournament held in Shamkir city of Azerbaijan on 26 April 2015. Hedefeated Azerbaijani Rauf Mamedov in the last and final round tofinish the tournament with 7 points.

ii. With this, Carlsen not only retained the title for the secondyear in succession but also earned 13 ELO points to top the worldranking with 2875 points.

iii. Besides, five-time world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand ofIndia in the last and final round drew with Fabiano Caruana of Italyto finish the tournament on second position with 6 points.

iv. With this, he not only earned 12 ELO points to reach 2803points but also reached second position in the world rankings. Thisis the first time since 2012 that Anand crossed the 2800 mark.

 

                                             Current Affairs - 29th April 2015

 

1. Delhi government gives nod to farmer scheme namedafter Gajender Singh

i. The Delhi government today gave approval for the setting up ofa farmer compensation scheme to be named after Gajender Singh, whoallegedly committed suicide during an AAP rally on April 22.

ii. The government has also decided to give job to a member ofGajendra's family and martyr status for him, as demanded by thefarmer's kin.

iii. The decisions were taken during a Cabinet meeting today,chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

iv. Singh, a 41-year-old farmer from Rajasthan, allegedlycommitted suicide by hanging himself from a tree during an AAP rallyagainst the land ordinance.

2. ISRO successfully tests indigenous cryogenic enginewith four-tonne capacity

i. An indigenous cryogenic engine, that will help India putsatellites of upto four tonnes in geostationary orbit, was testedsuccessfully at ISRO's propulsion complex at Mahendragiri inTirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu.

ii. The powerful version of the cryogenic engine was successfullyground tested at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC).

                                                 

iii. The test was conducted for 635 seconds and it was successful,Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre sources in Thiruvananthapuram.

iv. India has till now been dependent on foreign launch vehiclesto send heavier satellites to the required orbits.

3. 29 April: World Dance Day observed globally

i. World Dance Day or International Dance Day was observedglobally on 29 April 2015. It is observed with an aim to attract theattention of the wider public to the art of dance.

ii. part of celebrations, the President of the CID annually sendsthe official message for Dance Day which circulates in every countryaround the world.

iii. International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by theInternational Dance Council (CID) at United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris,France. CID is the official organization for all forms of dance inall countries of the world.

iv. Further, the date for observing Dance Day on 29 April is notlinked to a particular person or a particular form of dance, althoughit's also the day when the French dancer and creator of modern balletJean-Georges Noverre was born.

4. Flipkart acquires Appiterate

i. Online marketplace Flipkart has acquired Delhi-based mobileengagement and marketing automation company Appiterate.

ii. Appiterate started as an A/B testing product for native mobileapps later on expanded into a full-fledged mobile marketingautomation platform.

iii. Post the acquisition, Appiterate's mobile marketingautomation platform will be integrated into Flipkart’s mobile app.

5. Union Cabinet approves Atal Mission for Rejuvenation

i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Moditoday approved Central Government spending of about one lakh crore onurban development under two new urban missions over the next fiveyears.

ii. The Cabinet has approved the Smart Cities Mission and the AtalMission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation of 500 cities(AMRUT) with outlays of Rs.48,000 crore and Rs.50,000 crorerespectively.

iii. Under the Smart Cities Mission, each selected city would getcentral assistance of Rs.100 crore per year for five years. SmartCity aspirants will be selected through a ‘City ChallengeCompetition'.

iv. Smart City Action Plans will be implemented by Special PurposeVehicles(SPV) to be created for each city and state governments willensure steady stream of resources for SPVs.

6. World Women Chess: Harika wins silver, bronze forHumpy

i. D Harika and Koneru Humpy came up with fine individualperformances to win silver and a bronze respectively.

ii.  Indian eves finished fourth in the women’s world teamchess championship.

                                           

iii. China was beaten in the final round by Georgia, who finishedthe event with an impressive 17 points to clinch the gold medal.Georgia drew just one and won the remaining eight matches in thisround-robin contest.

7. Novelist Siddhartha Gigoo won 2015 CommonwealthShort Story Prize for Asia region

i. Srinagar-born novelist Siddhartha Gigoo on 28 April 2015 wonthe 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Asia region for his workUmbrella Man, a tale of surreal meditation on mental health and theenvironment.

ii. Gigoo was awarded with the prize money of 2500 pounds. Withthis victory, Gigoo will compete with the other four regional winnersfor the 5000 pounds grand prize which will be announced in London on8 September 2015.

 

                                           Current Affairs - 30th April 2015

 

1. RBI fines 3 banks Rs 4.5cr

i. The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs 1.5crore each on Dena Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Oriental Bank ofCommerce and cautioned eight other public sector banks following itsinvestigation into last year's fixed deposit fraud.

ii. The fixed deposit fraud involved the perpetrators forgingfixed deposit certificates of large organizations and misusing cashcredit facilities against them.

iii. The fraud, which ran into several hundred crores, affectedorganizations such as Mumbai Metropolitan Regional DevelopmentAuthority, South Indian Education Society and Jawaharlal Nehru PortTrust.

iv. The banks cautioned by the RBI are Central Bank of India, Bankof India, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank ofBikaner & Jaipur, UCO Bank, Union Bank of India and Vijaya Bank.

2. Mamata declares Nadia first 'open defecation-free'district in India

i. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared Nadia asthe first Open Defecation Free (ODF) district in the country.

ii. Thanking UNICEF and the World Bank for helping the districtachieve this feat, Ms. Banerjee declared April 30 as the “NirmalBangla Diwas” to be observed in the years to come.

iii. UNICEF India representative David Mcloughlin congratulatedthe people of the district for achieving the goal.

3. Pak court jails 10 men for 25 years over 2012 attackon Malala Yousafzai

i. A Pakistani court jailed 10 men for 25 years each on Thursdayfor involvement in the 2012 shooting of teenage activist MalalaYousafzai, targeted for her campaign against Taliban efforts to denygirls education.

                                            

ii. Malala was seriously wounded and airlifted to Britain fortreatment, where she now lives.

iii. Since then, Malala has become a symbol of defiance in thefight against militants operating in ethnic Pashtun areas innorthwest Pakistan. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

4. Seychelles became 161st Member of WTO

i. Seychelles on 26 April 2015 became the 161st member of theWorld Trade Organization (WTO). With this, Seychelles archipelago of90000 inhabitants became one of its smallest members.

ii. Besides, Seychelles is also the 33rd government to accede tothe rules-based multilateral trading system through Article XIInegotiations since the WTO was established in 1995.

iii. This approval by WTO ended the 20-year long wait of thecountry for becoming a member of WTO, as the country was negotiatingits accession terms since 31 May 1995.

iv. Seychelles had applied for WTO membership on 31 May 1995 andits accession was approved by the WTO members on 10 December 2014.The Protocol of Accession was signed by Pierre Laporte, formerMinister of Trade, Finance and Investment of Seychelles and WTODirector General Roberto Azevedo.

5. Parliament Passes Amendment to Regional Rural BanksBill

i. Rajya Sabha passed the Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill,2014. With this, the bill has been passed by both houses of theParliament. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 18 December 2014.

ii. The Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill, 2014 that seeks toamend the Regional Rural Banks (RRB) Act, 1976 was introduced by theUnion Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley.

iii. It seeks to amend the RRB Act, 1976 which mainly provides forthe incorporation, regulation and winding up of Regional Rural Banks(RRBs).

iv. It removes the five year limit cap that was put on the sponsorbanks to assist the upcoming RRBs under the RRB Act, 1976. As per theAct, sponsor banks were liable to train personnel and providemanagerial and financial assistance for the first five years.

6. Logo of the International Day of Yoga launched

i. The logo of International Day of Yoga was launched on 29 April2015 in New Delhi by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swarajand Union Minister of State (MoS) for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik.

ii. The logo was selected by a committee of yoga expertsconstituted by Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani,Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and was approved by Prime MinisterNarendra Modi.

Facts about International Day of Yoga logo

• It reflects peace and harmony for thehumanity.
• The folding of both hands in thelogo reflects the union of individual consciousness with universalconsciousness.
• It also reflects a perfectharmony between mind and body, man and nature and the holisticapproach to health and well-being.
• The greenleaves symbolise the nature and blue the fire element. While thebrown leaves symbolise the earth element.
• Thesun in the logo symbolises the source of energy and inspiration.

7. India and Japan sign action plan for investment andtrade promotion

i. India and Japan on Thursday signed an action agenda forboosting investment and trade.

ii. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Japanese Minister ofEconomy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa signed the action agendafor India-Japan investment and trade promotion and Asia-Pacificeconomic integration.

iii. The five agenda points included in the action agenda are:

1) Development of selected townships in India as Japaneseindustrial townships.
2) Promotion of investment andinfrastructure development.
3) Further development and cooperationin information technology.
4) Enhancing cooperation in strategicsectors.
5) Asia-Pacific economic integration.

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