Current Affairs July 2015 and 2016-General Knowledge Questions and Answers

Current Affairs July 2015

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                                                 Current Affairs - 31st July 2015
 
1. RBI decided to issue 10 rupees coins to commemorate International Day of Yoga

The Reserve Bank of India on 30 July 2015 decided to put into circulation 10 rupees coins to commemorate the International Day of Yoga. The coins have been minted by the Government of India.
The design details of these coins are:
Obverse
• The obverse of the coin bears the Lion Capitol of Ashoka Pillar in the center with the legend "??????? ????" inscribed below, flanked on the left periphery with the word "????" in Devnagri script and on the right periphery flanked with the word "INDIA" in English.
• It also bears the Rupee ? symbol and denominational value "10" in the international numerals below the Lion Capitol.
Reverse
• The reverse of the coin bears the logo of "International Day of Yoga", with inscription "???????? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ???" in Devnagri Script and "YOGA FOR HARMONY AND PEACE" around the logo and design.
• The date "21 JUNE" is written at the bottom of the logo.
• The inscription "?????????????? ??? ????" in Devnagri script on left periphery and "INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA" in English on the right periphery is written on this side of the coin.
• The year "2015" is written on the lower periphery in international numerals exactly below the logo.

2. India to surpass China’s population by 2022: UN Report

i. India is going to become the most populous nation in the world by surpassing China in 2022.
ii. It was revealed in recently released United Nation’s report titled ‘World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision’ indicating India’s population growth within next seven years.
iii. India will become most populous nation, six years earlier than it was previously forecasted and will retain the top spot till year 2100.
iv. At present, China which is world’s populous country with approximately 1.38 billion population while, India has 1.31 billion.
v. India’s population around and after 2022, is projected to grow for several decades. It will be around to 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.7 billion in 2050.

3. SALt, a lamp that runs eight hours on water and salt, developed

i. A start-up in Philippines in July 2015 developed a lamp named SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) that runs on a glass of water and two tablespoons of salt. The lamp is named after the company SALt that was founded by Aisa Mijeno and Raphael Mijeno.
ii. This cost effective lamp burns for eight hours at a time to lighten a room and will also be able to generate enough energy to charge a smart-phone through a USB cable.
iii. The lamp can also be lit by using ocean water and would be of great help for people living along the coastline.

4. Rajendra Srivastava of Singapore Management Univ to be next dean of ISB

i. Rajendra Srivastava, the Provost and Deputy President and Professor of Marketing at Singapore Management University, will be the next Dean of Indian School of Business (ISB) with effect from January 1, 2016.
ii. This was announced by Adi Godrej, Chairman of the ISB Board, here on Friday. Srivastava will succeed Ajit Rangnekar, the outgoing Dean, who has held this position since January 2009.
iii. This was announced by Adi Godrej, Chairman of the ISB Board, here on Friday. Srivastava will succeed Ajit Rangnekar, the outgoing Dean, who has held this position since January 2009.
iv. Prior to SMU, he held distinguished research chairs and senior management positions at the University of Texas at Austin and Emory University in Atlanta. He has an MBA and PhD (Business Administration) from the University of Pittsburgh, an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Rhode Island, and a B.Tech (Mechanical Engineering) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

5. BHEL signs three MoU in Kazakhstan for power projects

i. Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited (BHEL) has signed three strategic agreements with Kazakhstan companies in order to deepen its roots in Central Asia.
ii. BHEL will work with JSU on projects of mutual interest; JSU is the national power utility of Kazakhstan having a major share in the Kazakh power sector.
iii. BHEL will work with KUS in the energy sector for design and construction of power plants. KUS is one of the largest utility companies in the Kazakh power sector specifically work in power generation; transmission and sale of heat and electricity. It is owned by the $ 9 billion assets Ordabassy Group.
iv. BHEL will work with Kaznex Invest for co-operation in executing projects in Kazakhstan. Kaznex Invest works under the Ministry of Investments and Development of Kazakhstan, it is national export and investment agency of Kazakhstan.

6. Japan’s Nikkei buys Financial Times in $1.3-bn deal

i. The two leading financial news operations from Europe and Asia are now together, as Nikkei Japanese media group is going to buy the Financial Times from Britain’s Pearson in a $1.3 billion.
ii. Financial Times acquisition is a triumph for Nikkei as this is the biggest acquisition ever by any Japanese media organisation.
iii. This acquisition has brought an opportunity to Nikkei newspaper to expand its readers outside its home market.
iv. Pearson a 171-year-old international media company sold FT as it wanted to expand its education business. Pearson owned FT for nearly 60 years.

7. Microsoft launched Windows 10 operating system
i. Microsoft Corporation on 29 July 2015 rolled out a free evaluation version of Windows 10 Enterprise edition for 190 countries. The free-trial will be available for 90-day to check out the new Operating System (OS).
ii. The free edition provides a chance to test-drive the new Operating System before deciding if one really wants to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1.                                  
iii. This operating system will be available for free to Windows 7 and 8.1 users who reserved the copy. This upgrade will be available for free for one year.
iv. It will deliver new capabilities to PCs, tablets, phones, and Raspberry Pi, with innovations like Microsoft Edge, Cortana, Continuum and Windows Hello. It is also enabled with new categories of devices like Hololens and Surface Hub.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 30th July 2015
 
1. India to become most populous nation by 2022: UN World Population Prospects

i. United Nations (UN) on 29 July 2015 released the report title World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision at the UN Headquarters in New York.
ii. According to the report, India will surpass China to become the most populous nation in the world by 2022. In the forecast issued by UN in 2013 India was expected to surpass China's population by 2028.
India’s population prospects
• It is projected to retain the top spot till 2100 and its population is projected to grow for several decades after 2022. It is forecasted to grow to 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.7 billion in 2050.
• On the other hand, the population of China is expected to remain fairly constant until the 2030s, after which it is expected to slightly decrease.
• At present, India’s population is approximately 1.31 billion as compared to China’s population of 1.38 billion.
• Further India is one of the nine countries where half- of the world’s population is expected to be concentrated during the period 2015-2050. The other eight countries are Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, US, Indonesia and Uganda.
• India's life expectancy at birth will is forecasted to improve over the next decades, growing from 71.7 years in 2025-2030 to 75.9 years in 2045-2050 and 84.6 years in 2095-2100.

2. Kotak bank launches ‘Kotak Bharat’ mobile banking app for ‘un-banked’ regions

i. Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) launched a mobile banking app ‘Kotak Bharat’ aiming to provide mobile banking services to customers in the remotest regions of India.
ii. The Android-based app is specifically designed to provide banking service to customers in the under-banked and un-banked regions with provision to use service in their preferred language.
iii. Initially the service will be provided in Hindi and English language and would also be available in Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Kannada in few months.
iv. Customers can manage their savings/current accounts and credit cards through this app. Initially will be launch in prominent Hindi belt centre starting from Lucknow and will spread its service in other state in few months.
v. The app is compatible on SMS banking keyword process platform where customers could download the app on their registered mobile number without any separate registration process.

3. Anuradha Roy’s 'Sleeping on Jupiter' shortlisted for Man Booker Prize

i. Indian writer Anuradha Roy's latest work on the malaise of sexual abuse in India has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.
ii. Her book 'Sleeping on Jupiter' that tells the story of Nomi and is set in Jarmuli - a city of temples and a centre of healing on the edge of the ocean has made it among the 13 books selected for the £50,000 literary prize.
iii. Announced by a panel of five judges who picked 13 books from over 150, the longlist also features Man Booker Prize-winning Irish author Anne Enright and the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Anne Tyler, among others. The shortlist of six books will be revealed on September 15 and the final winner on October 13.

4. Nepal banned animal Sacrifice at Gadhimai Festival

i. Gadhimai Temple Trust of Nepal on 28 July 2015 banned animal sacrifice that occurs during Gadhimai festival, the world’s biggest animal sacrifice event held once in every five years.
ii. The temple authorities have announced the end of the centuries-old Hindu tradition of slaughter that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers. The authorities also urged devotees not to bring animals to the festival that will be next held in the year 2019.
iii. The temple authorities’ decision came after years of intense lobbying and campaigning by animal rights activists who applauded the animal sacrifices during the festival.

5. Procter & Gamble (P&G) appoints David Taylor as its new CEO

i. Procter & Gamble (P&G) has appointed its company veteran David Taylor as the new CEO by replacing A G Lafley on 29 July 2015.
ii. The world’s largest household products maker P&G has appointed new CEO in wake of sluggish sales in developed countries. And recently has also announced to sell off its 40 brands to the perfume maker Coty Inc for USD 12.5
iii. David Taylor is with the P&G for last 35 years, who had joined in 1980. He has been the group president for global health & grooming business since 2013 and has served the company as in managerial role across the globe.

6. Paytm bags BCCI sponsorship rights

i. Mobile marketplace and payments site Paytm has bagged the title sponsorship rights of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) for Rs. 203 crore.
ii. Shankar Nath, Senior Vice-President, Paytm told Business Line that the sponsorship rights were acquired for all the 84 series India will play till 2019. Paytm will pay Rs. 2.42 crore for every international match hosted by BCCI. The first home series will be against South Africa starting September.
iii. The Alibaba-backed company, owned by One97 communications and founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, won the bid against home-grown mobile handset maker Micromax, which paid Rs. 2.02 crore per match.

7. Cyclone Komen formed over Bay of Bengal

i. Cyclone Komen: A new tropical cyclone formed over Northern Bay of Bengal
ii. Cyclone Komen came into news on 30 July 2015 after the depression over the Northern Bay of Bengal turned into a cyclonic storm. The cyclone is expected to make landfall on the coast of Odisha and West Bengal.
iii. Komen currently lies centred at about 95 km southwest of Chittagong in Bangladesh and about 300 km southeast of Kolkata.
iv. The slow-moving monsoon depression has already unleashed lethal amounts of rain in South Asia and has claimed 27 lives in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
v. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasted heavy to very heavy rains with isolated extremely heavy rains in Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha of India. The cyclone is expected to attain the wind speed reaching 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph.
vi. The cyclone after making landfall in Bangladesh will move west-north-westwards and weaken gradually.
 
                                         Current Affairs - 29th July 2015
 
1. World Hepatitis Day observed with theme ‘Prevent hepatitis. Act now'

i. World Hepatitis Day was observed across the world on 28 July 2015 with the theme Prevent hepatitis. Act now. The day acts as a significant global platform for raising awareness about hepatitis and influence real change in disease prevention, testing and treatment.
ii. The theme highlights the fact that infection through transmission can be prevented through proven and effective interventions. It is important for everyone to be aware of hepatitis and to learn how they can protect themselves from being infected.
iii. The observance of the day in 2015 focuses particularly on Hepatitis B and C. These two combined cause approximately 80 percent of all liver cancer deaths and kill close to 1.4 million people every year.
iv. In 2015, WHO’s flagship event to mark the day will take place in Egypt, which has one of the world’s highest hepatitis burdens. It is estimated that 10 percent of the ?Egypt’s population between 15 and ??59 years is chronically ?infected with hepatitis C.

2. General Council approved Kazakhstan's membership terms to join WTO as 162nd member

i. General Council of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 27 July 2015 approved the membership terms of Kazakhstan, thus enabling it to join the world trade body as 162nd member.
ii. In order to formally become the member of WTO, Kazakhstan Parliament now has to ratify the deal by 31 October 2015. It will become a member 30 days after it notifies the ratification.
iii. The Protocol on the Accession of Kazakhstan was signed between WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and President Nazarbayev Nursultan following the General Council’s approval of the country’s WTO terms of entry.
iv. The negotiations on Kazakhstan’s membership were finalised by the Working Party on 10 June 2015 and was adopted by the 52 Working Party members by consensus on 22 June 2015.
v. Earlier on 26 April 2015, Seychelles joined WTO as the 161st member state.

3. Dr. Suniti Solomon, pioneering Indian HIV/AIDS researcher, passed away

i. India’s foremost HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Suniti Solomon, who documented the nation’s first HIV case before setting up the first voluntary testing and counseling center for the disease, died Tuesday at her home in the southern city of Chennai.
ii. India’s foremost HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Suniti Solomon, who documented the nation’s first HIV case before setting up the first voluntary testing and counseling center for the disease, died Tuesday at her home in the southern city of Chennai.
iii. In 1986, her discovery of the infection in six blood samples collected from female sex workers in southern India generated headlines internationally.
iv. Trained in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia, Solomon won a string of awards for her HIV/AIDS work.

4. Ramon Magsaysay Awardees for the year 2015 announced; Two Indians among the awardees

i. Whistleblower bureaucrat Sanjeev Chaturvedi and human rights activist Anshu Gupta are among five persons from India, Laos, Myanmar, and the Philippines who will receive Asia’s coveted Ramon Magsaysay Award.
ii. The 2002-batch Indian Forest Service officer, who is currently embattled in a protracted battle with the Centre over alleged harassment for his tough stance on graft, was the former Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at the AIIMS in New Delhi.
iii. According to the foundation, Mr. Chaturvedi has been awarded for “his exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office, and his resolute crafting of program and system improvements to ensure that government honorably serves the people of India.”
iv. Anshu Gupta, the founder of NGO Goonj, the statement said, is being recognised for “his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India, his enterprising leadership in treating cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor, and in reminding the world that true giving always respects and preserves human dignity.”
v. Goonj is a non-governmental organisation based in Delhi, which works in 21 states across India in disaster relief, humanitarian aid and community development. It has converted 1,000 tonnes of used clothes, household goods and other urban discards into usable resources for the poor.
vi. The other awardees are Kommaly Chanthavong, from Laos who is being recognised for her efforts to develop the ancient Laotian art of silk weaving, Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa from the Philippines for “her single-minded crusade in preserving the endangered artistic heritage of southern Philippines".

5. GM to invest $1 bn in India; to launch 10 Made-in-India vehicles over 5 years

i. General Motors, as part of Chevrolet's global growth strategy, on Wednesday said it will invest Rs. 6,400 crore ($1 billion) in India to strengthen its market here over the next five years.
ii. The India investment is part of the announcement made yesterday by the company to make investment of $5 billion to strengthen its business in global growth markets.
iii. Through such investments, the company will develop all-new vehicle family that will meet rapidly changing demands of customers in Brazil, China, Mexico and India, Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer, GM, told reporters here.

6. International Tiger Day observed across the world

i. International Tiger Day was observed across the world on 29 July 2015. The day is observed every year since 2010 to promote the protection and expansion of the wild tiger habitats and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation.
ii. In last 100 years, world has lost 97 percent of all wild tigers. The tiger count has fallen from 100000 in 1913 to 3274 in 2013 to 3200 in 2014.
iii. Tigers lost 93% of their natural habitat due to the expansion of cities and agriculture by humans. Besides, human-wildlife conflict and climate change also has been responsible for decline in tiger population and loss of habitat.
iv. Among the 13 tiger-range countries, India with 2226 has the highest number of tiger population. India is followed by Malaysia with 500 tigers. Bangladesh, which was at third with 440 tigers in 2004, saw the tiger population decline to 106 in Tiger Census 2015.
v. The day was founded at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010 in Russia so as to protect the tiger from becoming extinct. The summit also declared to double global tiger population by 2022.
 
                                         Current Affairs - 28th July 2015
 
1. Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam passed away

i. Former Indian President Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam passed away on 27 July 2015 following his collapse during a lecture in the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. He was 83. He was also known as the Missile Man of India.                                     
ii. Considered as the People's President, Dr Kalam became the 11th President of the country and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 during the NDA government headed Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After relinquishing the charge of President of India, he relentlessly taught science to the youth of India.
iii. Kalam was one of India’s most eminent scientists and had the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions.

About Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
• Born on 15 October 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, APJ Abdul Kalam went on to become Aeronautical Engineer from Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai.
• After graduating in 1960, he joined DRDO as a scientist. He started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army.
• In 1969, Kalam was transferred to ISRO, where he was project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III).
• He also served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to then Prime Minister and as the secretary of the DRDO from July 1992 to December 1999.
• He has been awarded with the coveted civilian awards including Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997).
• Kalam authored numerous inspirational books including India 2020, Wings Of Fire and Ignited Minds.

2. Renault India Ropes in Ranbir Kapoor as Brand Ambassador

i. Automobile manufacturer Renault India on Monday announced that it has roped in actor Ranbir Kapoor as its brand ambassador.
ii. Renault is celebrating its fourth year anniversary in India this July and is progressing towards a new and dynamic phase of growth. This association will leverage the versatility and legacy of both Renault and Ranbir, as he represents the underlying brand promise of Renault -- 'Passion For Life'.
iii. Sumit Sawhney, country CEO and managing director, Renault India Operations, said Ranbir is the perfect match because he "ideally portrays

3. Nepal’s political parties agreed to remove word ‘Secularism’ from the Constitution

i. Nepal’s political parties on 27 July 2015 agreed to remove the word “secularism” from the yet-to-be framed Constitution. They agreed to this during a discussion on peoples’ view vis-à-vis the new constitution in the Constituent Assembly.
ii. The political parties reached the consensus on this after a majority of people in their feedback to the new constitution demanded for replacing the word “secularism” by either “Hindu” or “religious freedom.” Over 80 per cent of Nepal’s population is Hindu.
iii. Nepal was declared a secular country in 2007 after Nepal’s Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist joined mainstream politics after a decade-long insurgency that killed over 13000 people. The decision had ended Nepal’s century-old identity as the world’s only Hindu kingdom.
iv. The proposed framework of Nepal’s Constitution provides for federal structure, form of governance, electoral and judicial systems. Major political parties of Nepal agreed to this on 9 June 2015.
v. The final draft of the constitution, which must be approved by a two-thirds parliamentary majority, is expected to be ready by July 2015.

4. ADB to give $ 300 m loan to India

i. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will extend a loan of $ 300 million to India for improving road connectivity and increasing the domestic and regional trade along the North Bengal—North Eastern Region (NER).
ii. The loan is the first tranche under $ 500 million multi—tranche South Asian Sub—regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Programme. Under this programme, about 500 km of roads will be constructed.
iii. The project will improve road connectivity and efficiency of the international trade corridors by expanding roads in NER of the country.
iv. The investment on the ‘last mile’ connectivity will contribute to achieve the objective of regionally balanced and inclusive growth of remote and economically lagging regions,” said Tarun Bajaj, Joint Secretary in the Ministry.

5. Mexico Defeat Jamaica 3-1 in Gold Cup Final

i. Andres Guardado became the first player to score in three Gold Cup finals and Mexico defeated Jamaica 3-1 on Sunday, stretching their record trophy total to seven.
ii. Andres Guardado was the star of the match once again as he scored the opener for Mexico.
iii. But the "Reggae Boyz" could not stop the Mexicans from capturing their third title in the past four attempts at the biennial North American regional football tournament.

6. Ram Sevak Sharma appointed as Chairman of TRAI

i. Information Technology Secretary Ram Sevak Sharma on Monday was appointed chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).
ii. Sharma was set to retire in September as secretary of department of electronics and information technology. A 1978-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, he was a probable choice because of his familiarity with the telecom and IT sector.
iii. Sharma holds a Master’s degree in mathematics from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a Master’s in computer science from the University of California, USA, according to his profile on the department of electronics and IT website.
iv. Among the other candidates short-listed for Trai chairman were Power Secretary P K Sinha, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka, Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher, former telecom secretary M F Farooqui, and former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Subir Gokarn.

7. Swati Maliwal took charge as Chairperson of Delhi Commisson for Women

i. Swati Maliwal on 28 July 2015 took charge as the Chairperson of Delhi Commisson for Women (DCW), along with three other members. Her appointment was approved by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. Maliwal, an RTI activist, succeeded Barkha Singh.
ii. Maliwal had taken charge as the DCW's Chief on 20 July 2015 itself, but her appointment was struck down by the Lt Governor Najeeb Jung at that time.
iii. Maliwal is the wife of Aam Aadmi Party leader Navin Jaihind and has been an advisor to Kejriwal on public grievances and handles his Janta Samwad. She has been associated with him since India Against Corruption (IAC) days.
 
                                  Current Affairs - 26th & 27th July 2015
 
1. 16th Anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas observed across the country

i. 26 July: Kargil Vijay Diwas
ii. The 16th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas observed across the nation on 26 July 2015. On this day in 1999 Indian Army defeated Pakistan Army in the Kargil War.
iii. The observance of the day in 2015 was marked with paying tribute to Kargil War heroes by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in Delhi by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and three service chiefs - Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Navy chief Admiral RK Dhowan.
iv. Besides, Army personnel also paid tribute to the war heroes at Dras War Memorial, Kargil district in Jammu and Kashmir.

2. World's largest flower Amorphophallus Titanum bloomed at Jindai Botanical Gardens in Tokyo

i. World’s largest flower Amorphophallus Titanum bloomed for the first time in 5 years in the fourth week of July 2015 at the Jindai botanical gardens in Tokyo, Japan.
ii. The flower Titan arum measuring 2-meter (6.5 feet) in height rarely flowers and is notoriously difficult to propagate.
iii. It is commonly called the corpse flower because it smells like rotting meat that helps attract pollinators such as beetles and flies. Moreover, it only last for few days.
iv. It is native to the rainforests of western Sumatra in Indonesia, the flower grows on steep hillsides between 120 to 365 meters (400 to 1200 feet) above sea level but its existence is now under massive threat from widespread deforestation.
v. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the species as "vulnerable", just below endangered.

3. Maharashtra govt to develop six solar cities targeting solar capacity of 7,500 MW

i. Maharashtra government has placed a comprehensive plan to develop six solar cities in order to add solar capacity of 7,500 MW in the state.
ii. To enhance solar capacity in country Centre has planned to develop 55 solar cities across the country among them six are from Maharashtra these are – Nagpur, Thane, Aurangabad, Kalyan-Dombivli, Shirdi and Nanded.
iii. The selection of these cities was done on basis of the population and other criteria and would be developed through the joint funding from Centre and State Government.
iv. To meet the increasing demand for power Maharashtra government has targeted to add 14,400 MW through renewable energy source. Out of this target nearly 7,500 MW will be added through solar energy projects, over 5,000 MW will be added through wind and rest from other sources like industrial and domestic waste.

4. Rajesh Exports buys world's largest gold refining company Valcambi for Rs 2,560 cr

i. Jewellery company Rajesh Exports Ltd on Monday said that it has bought Valcambi, the world’s largest gold refining company, in an all-cash deal worth $400 million ( Rs 2560 crore).
ii. The company was selected after a global search by Valcambi’s existing owners led by Newmont Mining Corp, the world’s largest gold jewellery maker said.
iii. The deal will help it secure raw material supplies and will add to earnings per share, the company said.
iv. India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold, with annual demand hovering around 900 tonnes per year.

5. Vettel wins classic Hungarian GP, Lewis Hamilton sixth

i. German driver Sebastian Vettel delivered an emotional high-speed tribute to his late colleague Jules Bianchi on Sunday when he stormed to victory for Ferrari in a dramatic and incident-filled Hungarian Grand Prix.
ii. The four-time world champion claimed his second victory of the season and 41st of his career -- drawing him level with the late Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna in equal third on the all-time list -- after leading from the start to dominate a thrilling and unpredictable contest.
iii. The Red Bull pair of Russian Daniil Kvyat and Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished in second and third respectively.

6. Anand Krishnamurthy appointed CEO and MD of CSB bank

i. Anand Krishnamurthy is now the new MD and CEO of Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) replacing Rakesh Bhatia who had quit due to personal reason.
ii. This appointment was done by the board of directors of CSB among the three named sent to RBI.
iii. Mr. Anand has previously worked with HSBC for 22 years and also headed the Wholesale Banking and Treasury of CSB for last one year. He was responsible for corporate banking, integrated treasury operations of the Bank and SME business for CSB.
iv. The Catholic Syrian Bank is 94 year old private sector bank founded on 26th November 1920. It has its strong base in Kerala along with significant presence in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.  Recently it has filed for an IPO for 400 crore rupees.

7. ONGC to invest $8.8 billion in KG oil and gas discoveries

i. State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) plans to invest over USD 8.8 billion in bringing to production its much-touted KG-basin oil and gas discoveries by 2018-19.
ii. ONGC has divided 12 oil and gas finds in the block KG-DWN-98/2 or KG-D5 and gas discovery in an adjacent G-4 block the Bay of Bengal into three clusters to quickly bring them to production, a senior company official said.
iii. The 7,294.6 sq km deepsea KG-D5 block has been broadly categorised into Northern Discovery Area (NDA - 3,800.6 sq km) and Southern Discovery Area (SDA - 3,494 sq km).
iv. ONGC plans to develop the discoveries in the block in three clusters -- 14.5 million standard cubic meters per day of gas for 15 years from Cluster-1 comprising of D&E finds of NDA in KG-D5 block and G-4 find in the a neighbouring area.

8. Christopher Froome rides to victory in 100th Tour de France

i. Chris Froome became the first Briton to win the Tour de France twice when he safely reached the finish line in Paris at the end of the three-week race.                                        
ii. Exceptionally, the 100th Tour treated itself to a nighttime finish on the Champs—Elysees. The famous avenue and the Arc de Triomphe at the top of it were bathed in yellow light emphasizing the canary yellow of Froome’s famous jersey.
iii. In two years, Britain has now had two different winners- Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and then Froome, a cooler, calmer, more understated but no less determined character than his Sky teammate with famous sideburns.
iv. Froome rode into Paris in style- Riders pedaled up to him to offer congratulations; he sipped from a flute of champagne; a Tour organizer stuck an arm from his car window to shake Froome’s hand. He dedicated his victory to his late mother, Jane, who died in 2008.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 25th July 2015
 
1. PM Narendra Modi launched Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in Patna

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana’ for power sector reforms in rural areas with a view to ensuring round the clock electricity supply to farmers and rural households.
ii. The new power scheme focuses on feeder separation (rural households and agricultural) and strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure, including metering at all levels in rural areas.
iii. The scheme is one of the flagship programmes of the Power Ministry and will facilitate 24x7 supply of electricity.
iv. The scheme has an outlay of Rs. 76,000 crore for implementation of the projects under which the Centre shall provide grant of Rs. 63,000 crore.

2. Lupin acquires US pharmaceutical firm Gavis

i. Indian pharmaceutical major Lupin has acquired US based Gavis Pharmaceuticals in cash-free and debt-free transaction for 880 million dollars (around 5,606 crore rupees).
ii. In this regard, Lupin has entered into definite agreement with Gavis Pharmaceuticals LLC and its subsidiary Novel Laboratories Inc.
iii. This acquisition will help the Indian company to expand and deepen its presence in US and enter into niche generics areas such as dermatology and controlled substances along with other high-value areas.

3. Ramachandra Guha chosen for Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize 2015

i. Historian Ramachandra Guha was on 24 July 2015 chosen for the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize 2015 in the Academic Category.
ii. The prize will be conferred upon him on 17 September 2015 in Fukuoka International Congress Center in Japan, following which the awardees will be deliberating lectures at high-schools and universities across the city.
iii. Guha, who is best known for his book India After Gandhi, will speak on Gandhi, India and the World at the event. The aim of his lecture would be to increase awareness of the value of Asian cultures as well as to establish a framework within which Asians can learn from and share with each other.

About Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize

* The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize, established in 1990 by the Japanese city of Fukuoaka, recognises outstanding achievements by individuals or groups in preserving and creating the unique and diverse cultures of Asia.

4. Ajay Mathur appointed as Director-General of TERI

i. Ajay Mathur, the newly designated director general of TERI, is not as visible as R K Pachauri but no less illustrious. The current head of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, a government body under the Ministry of Power, is a technocrat who has been active on the climate change circuit for several years now.
ii. A chemical engineer from Roorkee, Mathur is the man behind the energy efficiency programme of the government.
iii. Incidentally, he had started his career at TERI in 1986 and was last associated with it in 1999.

5. Indian-American Amitoj Chhabra wins junior title at US Powerlifting Championships

i. 20 year old Indian-American Amitoj Chhabra has won the Junior Title at the US Powerlifting Association National Championships 2015.
ii. He won this title after he lifted a total of 1,383 pounds in the junior title Championship which was held at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas.
iii. He is son of a Punjabi father and a Nepali mother. He had started powerlifting in 2013 and began competing at various championships in May 2014. Presently, he is undergoing Adam Lauritzen of Silverback Strength and Conditioning in Reno.

6. WTO slashes tariffs on IT goods but implementation held up

i. The World Trade Organization finalised a list of 201 information technology products to be freed from import tariffs in a $1.3 trillion deal on Friday, but said it was still short of the critical mass of countries needed to put it into force.
ii. Valued at $1.3 trillion in annual trade, the products include new generation semi-conductors, GPS navigation, medical equipment, as well as machine tools for manufacturing printed circuits, telecommunications satellites and touch screens, Xinhua news agency reported.
iii. Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices, including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs, it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world," Azevedo said.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 24th July 2015
 
1. Suresh Narayanan appointed new Nestle India MD after Maggi scare

i. Swiss food group Nestle has replaced the head of its Indian operations as the company battles its worst ever public relations crisis in the country, following a food scare that forced it to withdraw its popular instant noodles.
ii. Nestle has been at the centre of India’s worst food scare in a decade, after a regulator in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in May found excess lead in a sample of its hugely popular Maggi noodles.
iii. Criticised for its slow response to consumer worries over safety, the company withdrew the noodles from the shelves of Indian stores last month. It has since challenged the findings of India’s food safety authority in court. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Clara Ferreira Marques and Susan Fenton)

2. Maharashtra cabinet approved scheme for development of villages around Tiger reserves

i. Maharashtra Cabinet on 23 July 2015 approved Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Vikas Scheme. The scheme proposed by Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar in the state’s annual budget 2015-16 aims at creation of comprehensive development of villages in the buffer zones of tiger reserves and around them.
ii. Its objectives are to reduce the man-animal conflict and achieve sustainable development of these villages. The scheme also aims at reducing the dependence of villagers on the forest.
iii. The scheme will seek to boost the supplementary businesses to farming activities and create alternative employment possibilities in these areas. The scheme will be launched on project basis from 2015-16 to 2019-2020.

3. T K Chand appointed as CMD of National Aluminium Company

i. T K Chand has been appointed as the new chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of National Aluminium Company(Nalco). Chand who has been Director (Commercial) of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), will take up his new position on Monday, July 27, 2015.
ii. The Public Enterprises Selection Board recommended his name for appointment as CMD of the Nalco in November last year after short-listing 11 candidates. The Department of Personnel issued the appointment order earlier this week.
iii. His appointment fills in a key leadership role at the country's largest state-owned aluminium company, almost three months after the previous incumbent Ansuman Das superannuated on April 30, 2015.

4. Reliance Group, Augur Overseas Operation signed MoU to manufacture Aerostats and Airships

i. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group through its entity Reliance Unmanned Systems on 23 July 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Augur Overseas Operation of Singapore to manufacture Aerostats and Airships in India.
ii. As per the MoU, both the parties will collaborate on new technologies for the civil and military market as part of the Make in India initiative of Union Government. The two companies have agreed to form a joint venture (JV) firm with Reliance having 51 percent stake as per Government’s policy.
iii. The joint venture will be involved in development, production, sales, modification and life support for different sizes of Aerostats and Airships. This JV will address the requirements of domestic market and also addressable regional/global markets.
iv. The Aerostat radars are deployed extensively in the surveillance, reconnaissance and communication roles by the army. These are also useful in detecting low-flying fighter aircraft.

5. Earth-like exoplanet Kepler 452b discovered

i. Nasa scientists have announced the discovery of Kepler 452b, also known as 'Earth 2.0', an earth-like planet in our galaxy.
ii. Over the course of years of data-gathering by the Kepler space telescope and even more analysis and work here on Earth, scientists confirmed the existence of the distant exoplanet, which is the most earth-like planet ever discovered.
iii. A year on the newly-discovered planet - the time it takes to orbit its star, Kepler 452 - lasts for 385 days, only 20 days longer than a year here on Earth.
iv. Kepler 452b has been the perfect distance from its star for many billions of years. According to Jon Jenkins, the Kepler data analysis lead at NASA's Ames Research Centre, this means it's possible that it hosts life on its surface, or at least could have at some point in its history.

6. Peter Higgs received Royal Society’s Copley Medal, the world's oldest scientific prize

i. Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Higgs on 20 July 2015 won the world’s oldest scientific prize, the Royal Society’s Copley Medal. With this, 86-year old Higgs joined the ranks of Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
ii. He was awarded the medal for his fundamental contribution to particle physics and his pioneering work on the theory of the Higgs boson that explains the origin of mass in elementary particles. The presence of Higgs boson was confirmed by the experiments at Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012.
iii. Modern physics suggests that matter consists of a set of particles that act as building blocks and that between these particles lie forces that are controlled by another set of particles. A fundamental property of the majority of particles is that they have a mass.
iv. In 1964, Peter Higgs proposed a theory about the existence of a particle that explains why these other particles have a mass. At the same time, yet separately, François Englert and Robert Brout proposed the same theory.
v. The existence of the Higgs boson was confirmed by two experiments carried out at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012 with the resultant effect that the Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to Peter Higgs and François Englert.
vi. The Copley medal was first awarded by the Royal Society in 1731, 170 years before the first Nobel Prize. It is awarded for outstanding achievements in scientific research.
vii. In 2014 it was awarded to DNA fingerprinting pioneer Alec Jeffreys and Andre Geim was given the award in 2013 for his discovery of graphene.

7. Shubham Jaglan won IJGA World Stars of Junior Golf event 2015

i. 10-year old Shubham Jaglan on 22 July 2015 won the IJGA World Stars of Junior Golf event in Las Vegas. Jaglan is the son of a milkman from rural Haryana, India.                                       
ii. He shot a three round score of 106 winning by a five-stroke margin, ahead of two Americans Justin Dang and Sihan Sandhu and Thailand's Pongsapak Laopakdee for the Boys 9-10 years category title.
iii. He also scripted a scintillating one-stroke win at the Junior World Golf Championships that was held at Welk Resort Fountain Course in California.

8. Mosquirix, world's first malaria vaccine, approved by European Medicines Agency
i. The world’s first malaria vaccine called RTS,S or Mosquirix on 24 July 2015 got approval from European Medicines Agency (EMA).
ii. The vaccine was licensed for use on babies aged between 6 weeks and 17 months in Africa, which is at the highest risk of the mosquito-borne disease.
iii. The vaccine developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease and could help prevent millions of cases of malaria.
iv. The vaccine is also part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and it was in development since 1987 under a team of researchers led by Joe Cohen, a GSK scientist.
v. The vaccine was approved despite the dampened results released in 2011 and 2012. The results showed that it only reduced episodes of malaria in babies aged 6-12 weeks by 27 percent, and by around 46 percent in children aged 5-17 months.
vi. In 2013, Malaria killed an estimated 58400 people, of which majority were from the sub-Saharan Africa. About 80 percent deaths were in children under the age of five.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 23rd July 2015
 
1. National Broadcasting Day observed across the country

i. National Broadcasting Day was observed on 23 July 2015 across the country. It is on this day in 1927, the Indian Broadcasting Company started radio broadcasting from Bombay station.
ii. To mark the day, All India Radio (AIR) organized a symposium on the subject Creation of New India and Broadcasting Medium in New Delhi.
iii. Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, speaking at the symposium, highlighted the role of Prasar Bharati in taking news of public interest to the length and breadth of the country and said that government is committed to the autonomy of Prasar Bharati.
iv. Broadcasting in India began in July 1923 with programmes by the Radio Club of Mumbai. According to an agreement of 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company LTD (IBC) was authorized to operate two radio stations; the Mumbai station began on 23 July 1927, and the Calcutta station followed on 26 August 1927.

2. Finger lickin' train food: KFC partners with IRCTC to start delivery system for passengers

i. The fast food chain has tied up with the IRCTC to start a delivery system for passengers. From 20 July onwards, a person travelling on train can order KFC meal, while booking ticket through IRCTC, under e-catering service initiatives, KFC said in a statement.
ii. this facility is available only on 12 trains passing through New Delhi railway station. However, it will be expanded to Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad (Kacheguda) and Bangalore (Yeshwantpur) stations over the next 10 days, the statement added.
iii. Consumers will have to visit the IRCTC website or call on 18001034139 (Toll Free) to place their order. A password will then be sent by KFC to the consumer’s mobile phone which will have to be mentioned at the time of delivery.
iv. IRCTC is looking to expand its culinary network by attempting to get joints such as Cafe Coffee Day, Barista and even Subway in the fold. IRCTC in its effort to offer better fare at stations is talking to Cafe Coffee Day, Pizza Hut, Barista Coffee, Subway and Jumboking Vadapav, urging them to open eateries at stations.

3. Puducherry city first to get Smart city nomination

i. Puducherry city has emerged as the first nomination to be received by the Urban Development Ministry for a Smart City Mission. In this regard, Government of Union Territory of Puducherry has nominated its capital city for inclusion in the Union Government’s flagship 100 Smart Cities Mission.
ii. It also has forwarded the nomination along with all the forms and documents as required in the Stage-1 of ‘City Challenge’ competition.
iii. The nomination was forwarded based on the recommendations of the High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) constituted as per the guidelines of mission. It was headed by Chief Secretary of UT and had overseen the process of first stage intra-state competition.
iv. Since 2011, Puducherry Municipal Corporation (PM) has achieved 18 per cent improvement in provision of household sanitary latrines. Internal revenue generation has continuously increased by 14 per cent over the past three year period of 2012-13 to 2014-15.

4. India ranked 12th in terms of power generation from nuclear source

i. With the total power generation from nuclear reactors at 5308 MWe, India is ranked 12th in the world in terms of power generation from nuclear sources.
ii. This was revealed by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space in a reply to an unstarred question in Lok Sabha on 22 July 2015 though the data with respect to this was published by Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in May 2015.
iii. Further, in terms of number of nuclear reactors in operation, India was ranked at 7th position with 21 reactors.
iv. The released data further said that there are 31 countries including India in the world that generate electricity from nuclear source.
v. Moreover, with 437 nuclear reactors in operation in world, the total power generation from nuclear stood at 377986 MWe.

5. Conakry named as World Book Capital for 2017 by UNESCO

i. Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea, was on 21 July 2015 named as the World Book Capital for 2017 by United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO). The decision was made by an international committee of experts on 30 June 2015 during a meeting.
ii. The selection committee singled out Conakry for the quality and diversity of its programme, in particular for its focus on community involvement as well as for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy.
iii. The World Book Capital is selected every year by the international organizations that represent the three major sectors of the book industry:
* The International Publishers Association (IPA)
* The International Booksellers Federation (IBF)
* The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
* The year for awarding World Book Capital starts on 23 April, which is celebrated as World Book and Copyright Day.

6. R.D. Burman: The Prince of Music written by Khagesh Dev Burman

i. Book titled R.D. Burman: The Prince of Music authored by Khagesh Dev Burman was released on 27 June 2015, the day when the music world celebrated the 76th birth anniversary of Rahul Dev Burman.
ii. The author through the book has tried to look into almost every aspect of R.D Burman like his childhood in Kolkata, his failure in studies, his beginning as an assistant to his father SD Burman as well as his rise as a musician. It also looks into his downfall due to ill-health and some bad decisions.
iii. The book also reveals the fact about number of songs and tunes of Burman, which remained unused. It says that there are songs which remained unreleased or shelved films, like two songs in unreleased film Raj and two songs of the unreleased Abhi Abhi remained shelved.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 22nd July 2015
 
1. Ananth Narayanan appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Myntra

i. Former McKinsey director Ananth Narayanan on 21 July 2015 was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Flipkart-owned fashion store Myntra. He will assume the charge on 1 October 2015.
ii. He will succeed Myntra’s co-founder Mukesh Bansal who is presently serving as the head of Flipkart's commerce platform.
iii. Prior to this appointment, he was leading McKinsey’s product development in Asia and its Automotive Practice in India. He has worked with McKinsey for 15 years across four offices, namely Chicago, Shanghai, Taipei and Chennai.
iv. The acquisition of Myntra by Flipkart for more than 300 million US dollars in May 2015, the company in June 2015 also roped in Google Chromecast head Ambarish Kenghe as Senior Vice President and Head of Product.

2. Naomi Klein wins 2015 American Book Award

i. Noted Canadian author Naomi Klein has won the 36th edition of American Book Award 2015. She has won this award for her environmental work This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate published in 2014.
ii. Apart from her, 14 others also have won the award. Some of them are Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings), Carlos Santana (The Universal Tone) etc. Poet Anne Waldman was honoured with lifetime achievement award in this edition of prize.
iii. American Book Award honours persons for their excellence in American literature without restriction to sex, race, ethnic background or genre. The awards do not have any individual categories and since 2000, Lifetime Achievement award is also given.

3. Union Government launched Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan

i. Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on 21 July 2015 launched the Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan, a countrywide campaign, to create mass awareness and capacity building for safe and hygienic food.
ii. The initiative complements the widely popular multi-media campaign Jago Grahak Jago which empowers the consumers of its rights and demands. This campaign, planned by CII and Consumer Organization VOICE, and National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), is an effort towards building a culture of food safety in the country.
iii. Under the campaign, nationwide sensitisation sessions on cleaning, hygiene & sanitation for safe food, Walkathons and Media dissemination programmes for Consumers, Street Food Industries will be organized across the country.
iv. The ministry also launched a website and a logo of the campaign and also signed a pledge for adopting safe food practices.

4. Pipavav Defence inks pact with Russian firm Zvyozdochka to refit submarines

i. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group’s Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering (PDOE) inked a multi-crore agreement with Russian firm Zvyozdochka, JSC Ship Repairing Centre.
ii. The agreement was signed in lines with Make in India initiative for the Medium Refits and Life Certification of 877 EKM Submarines in India. With this, Reliance Group became the first private sector Indian company to refit of submarines in India.
iii. Both entities will execute the programme under a joint venture (JV) company with an indicative value of 11,000 crore rupees in which PDOR will have 51 per cent stake.
iv. As per the agreement, Zvyozdochka will provide complete technical support and assistance to the JV Company. It will also provide the enhancement of infrastructure at the PDOC facilities in Gujarat and training of engineers.

5. India and Singapore signed agreement to enhance maritime cooperation

i. India and Singapore on 21 July 2015 signed Technical Agreement (TA) on sharing white-shipping information to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies. The agreement was signed during the visit of Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan to Singapore.
ii. The White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.
iii. The Singapore Navy and the Indian Navy conduct the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) together annually. In 2015, the SIMBEX was held in May, this was the 22nd in the series.
iv. Both navies also interact regularly through high-level visits, dialogues, joint military training, courses and other professional exchanges.

6. NRIs can invest in NPS: PFRDA

i. Non-resident Indians (NRIs) can invest in National Pension System (NPS) to get a social security cover.
ii. While RBI has communicated to PFRDA about NRIs being eligible to make such investments, the government will shortly come out with a clarification on Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) guidelines to facilitate non-resident Indians to invest in National Pension System (NPS).
iii. Highlighting the importance of NPS scheme for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), he said such residents especially living in the Middle-East are not having any mandatory social security benefit.
iv. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is in talks with lenders such as SBI, HDFC Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank and several other south India-based banks to tap potential of NRIs.

7. BCCI announced venues for ICC World Twenty20; Kolkata's Eden Gardens to host final

i .The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on 21 July 2015 announced venues for the Men and Women ICC World Twenty20. The World Twenty20 will be hosted by India from the 11 March to 3 April 2016.
ii. BCCI in its press release said that finals of the 2016 World Twenty20 cricket tournament will be held at iconic Eden Gardens ground in Kolkata.
iii. Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamsala, Mohali, Mumbai, Nagpur and New Delhi will be the other venues along with Kolkata.
iv. These venues will host the matches subject to fulfilling the prescribed requirements of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the BCCI while adhering to the statutory obligations that are mandatory for hosting an international match.
v. Besides, the BCCI also constituted a tournament managing committee with Jagmohan Dalmiya as its chairman. The other committee members are Anurag Thakur, Amitabh Choudhary, Anirudh Chaudhry, G Ganga Raju, Rajiv Shukla, Ashish Shelar and Ashirbad Behera.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 21st July 2015
 
1. Bhanu Pratap Sharma appointed as Chairperson of FSSAI

i. Union Government has appointed Bhanu Pratap Sharma as Chairperson Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
ii. Presently, he is Health and Family Welfare Secretary was given additional charge of FSSAI for three months. Sharma is an IAS officer of 1981 batch from Bihar cadre.
iii. FSSAI is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through the regulation and supervision of food safety. FSSAI was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and operates under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
iv. FSSAI has been established to lay down science based standards for various food products in order ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. It also regulates the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food products for human consumption.

2. India’s 1st indigenously designed and developed High Thrust cryogenic rocket engine tested

i. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 16 July 2015 successfully tested India’s first indigenously designed and developed High Thrust cryogenic rocket engine generating a nominal thrust of 19 tonnes at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri.
ii. The rocket was hot tested for duration of 800 seconds, which is approximately 25% more than the engine burn duration in flight.
iii. The engine will be used for powering the Cryogenic stage (C25), the upper stage of the next generation GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching four tonne class satellites.

3. BRICS bank launched in China as alternative to World Bank, IMF

i. A new USD 100 billion bank floated by BRICS nations, including India, as an alternative to the World Bank and IMF to boost infrastructure funding in the emerging economies and offer them tailor-made services was launched here today.
ii. The opening ceremony of the New Development Bank (NDB) was held here in China’s financial capital. Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong and the bank’s President K V Kamath attended the opening ceremony.
iii. Kamath, 67, who will be the bank’s President for the first five years, said he was confident to deliver people’s expectation of the new bank.
iv. BRICS economies  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa launched the multi-billion dollar development bank at the 7th BRICS summit held in the Russian city of UFA on July 8 amid efforts to finance infrastructure projects, mainly in member countries.

4. Telugu cartoonist Pamarthy Shankar won Grand Prix World Press Cartoon 2014 Award

i. Pamarthy Shankar, a cartoonist working with the prominent Telugu Daily newspaper Sakshi, on 11 July 2015 won the Grand Prix World Press Cartoon 2014 Award for sketching Nelson Mandela. He was presented the award at Cascais in Portugal by World Press Cartoon Director Antonio Antunes.
ii. A Nelson Mandela caricature drawn by Shankar after the death of the iconic South African anti-apartheid leader in December 2013, fetched him the award for the year 2014. Shankar's caricature was displayed at a World Press Cartoon exhibition at Cascais in Portugal along with the top 50 works by other cartoonists in 2014.
iii. Other two cartoonists who won awards in the caricature category are:
• Alfredo from Argentina, who won the second prize for sketching late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
• Iranian cartoonist Yaser Khanbarai, who won the third prize for sketching US President Barack Obama.
iv. The Grand Prix World Press Cartoon 2014 Award's jury comprised of globally renowned cartoonists like Adriana Mosquera Soto, Rainer Ehrt, Ferruccio Giromini, Antonio Antunes and Jaume Capdevila.
v. The World Press Cartoon awards are presented in three categories every year, namely general, caricature and political. The Award carries a cash reward of 10000 Euros (about 800000 rupees).

5. At 50, model-actor Milind Soman wins Ironman title in ‘‘toughest’ triathlon in Zurich

i. Model-actor Milind Soman, who turns 50 in November this year, has won the Ironman title at a triathlon held in Zurich in Switzerland on July 19 in which over 2,000 participants this year included seven Indians.
ii. The triathlon, organised by World Triathalon Corporation, includes a 3.8-km swim, 180.2-km cycle ride and 42.2-km run and is widely regarded as the world’s toughest race, which has to be completed in 16 hours by participants for an Ironman title.
iii. Of the seven Indians who participated in the race this year, five completed the race. Successfully leading the contingent was 11-time winner of Ironman title, Pune’s Dr Kaustubh Radkar, who completed the race in 12 hours and 32 minutes. This is Dr Radkar’s 12th Ironman title which now qualifies him for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship to be held in 2017.
iv. The event saw seven-time reigning champion Ronnie Schildknect taking his eighth title and declared the overall winner.

6. Union Government launches National Career Counselling portal

i. Union Government has launched National Career Counselling Portal in a bid to modernize all government-run employment exchanges.
ii. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the aegis of National Career Service (NCS) project of Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
iii. The web portal will be a one-stop platform for both job providers and job seekers where registration can be done online. It will provide basic platform for searching and applying for jobs on the portal.
iv. It will also provide candidates career-related counseling either by its helpline numbers or visiting these centres along with other facilities like job posting, aptitude assessment, job matching, training providers, skill courses and guidance on self-employment and entrepreneurship.

7. Japanese Cabinet approved Defence White Paper 2015

i. The Japanese Cabinet on 21 July 2015 approved the Defence White Paper for the year 2015. In the White Paper 2015, the cabinet described the security situation surrounding Japan as increasingly tough. The defence white paper for 2015 examines a range of global threats.
ii. The annual paper was approved after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party rejected a draft version as it had failed to contain any reference to China’s construction of offshore platform in the East China Sea.
iii. Highlights of the Defence White Paper 2015
• In this 400-plus page document, Japan demanded China to stop the construction of a new offshore platform that could be used for military purposes in the East China Sea (ECS).
• Japan also criticized China for its military spending, saying it is now 41 times higher than in fiscal year 1989.
• It referred to successful test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile by Democratic People's Republic of Korea, claiming that its nuclear tests pose a significant threat to Japan's security.
• It also pointed to the conflict between Russia and the United States and Europe over the crisis in Ukraine, as well as Moscow's increased military activity in the Asia-Pacific, the Arctic, Europe and near the mainland of the United States.
iv. Japan released its first white paper on defence in 1970 and has been compiling new versions of the Defence White Paper every year since 1976.
 
                                   Current Affairs - 19th & 20th July 2015
 
1. Indo-Bangla joint survey in LBA enclaves over nationality preference concludes

i. The official nationality preference survey in recently swapped 162 enclaves on India- Bangladesh border under the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) has ended. The survey was conducted by the Enclaves Exchange Co-ordination Committee (EECC) of both countries for ascertaining the nationality preference of over 50,000 enclave-residents.
ii. On Bangladesh’s side it is found that 1,027 out of around 37,369 had opted for Indian nationality from the recently swapped 111 Indian enclaves now located in Bangladesh. In case of India’s side, over 14,000 residents in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves transferred to India have opted to relocate to Bangladesh.
iii. The nationality preference survey was conducted by 75 joint-teams of EECC under the modalities of the LAB. The agreement came in to effect after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015.
iv. India had swapped around 111 enclaves to Bangladesh, while the counterpart had had swapped 51 enclaves. As per LBA, all 162 enclaves will stand transferred to the two respective countries on midnight of 31 July, 2015.

2. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated first 'Aam Aadmi Clinic' at Peeragarhi Relief Camp

i. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 19 July 2015 inaugurated the first 'Aam Aadmi Clinic' at Peeragarhi Relief Camp in West Delhi. The clinic is a peripheral health care unit which is aimed at providing better medical facility to the weaker sections.
ii. Inaugurating the clinic, he said that his government would set up 1000 such facilities within a year, as announced in its maiden budget.
iii. The Chief Minister said that the clinics will be able to cure 95 per cent of the patients and will reduce the rush at hospitals.
About Aam Aadmi Clinic
• It has been set up at a very low cost of around 15 to 20 lakh rupees.
• The clinic has all testing facilities too so patients can get any test, from blood tests to ECG, done.
• The clinic aims to make primary health care more accessible to people.

3. Amelie Mauresmo inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame

i. Amelie Mauresmo, the two-time Grand Slam winner and former number one tennis player of France, was on 18 July 2015 inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
ii. Mauresmo was unable to travel to the ceremony on Bill Talbert Center Court at the Hall of Fame because she's in her third trimester of pregnancy.
iii. The Frenchwoman is one of 21 players in the history of the WTA to rise to No.1, spending a total of 39 weeks there in the 2004 and 2006 seasons. She won two Grand Slam titles in 2006 season, first at the Australian Open and then at Wimbledon (beating Justine Henin in both finals). She won 25 singles titles and was a silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
iv. At present, she coaches Scottish professional tennis player Andy Murray. She is also the first woman to coach a top male tennis player.

4. Nelson Mandela International Day observed on 18 July

i. Nelson Mandela International Day was observed across the world on 18 July 2015 to honour the former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela (1918-2013).
ii. The overarching objective of the Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good.
iii. For the first time the day was celebrated on 18 July 2010 as per a UN General Assembly resolution of November 2009.
iv. The UN created the Mandela Day to recognize his contribution to end the discriminatory apartheid system in South Africa.
v. Further, the day also presents an occasion to remember his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

5. Kerala tourism's Muziris heritage project bagged PATA award

i. Kerala Tourism has won 2015 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) award in the ‘Heritage & Culture’ category for its Muziris Heritage Project.
ii. The award bestowed in recognition project efforts which aim at restoring and conservation of historical and cultural significance of the ancient town and its uniqueness and impact on local community located in stretches from Ernakulam to Kodungalloor in Thrissur district of Kerala.
iii. Muziris was an ancient seaport and urban centre which dates from at least the 1st century BC and located at the mouth of the Periyar River in present south Indian state of Kerala. It was a key centre for trade in ancient times between southern India on one side and Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Roman Empire on the other side.
iv. Muziris Heritage Project is an ambitious tourism venture of Tourism Department of Kerala in order to reinstate the historical and cultural significance Muziris. It was started in 2006 and also covers various other historically significant sites and monuments in central Kerala.

6. Indian-origin doctor Shiv Pande receives honorary fellowship in UK

i. Shiv Pande, an Indian origin doctor has been award with honorary fellowship by prestigious University of Central Lancashire of United Kingdom. He was award with this fellowship in recognition of his contribution to the community as a general practitioner and medical educator.
ii. Pande was born and educated in India and had obtained his MBBS and Ms (General Surgery) degrees. Later in 1971 he had move to the UK in 1971.
iii. Till 1974, he had worked in cardio-thoracic surgery at London Chest Hospital, Fazakerley Hospital and Broad Green Hospital, Liverpool. Earlier, he was honoured with the award at Preston Guildhall by The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for his contribution to medical services.
iv. In 1989 for his community work Pande was presented with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen Elizabeth II.

7. India, Russia sign customs pact to boost trade

i. India and Russia have signed a customs and liberalize business visas agreement to boost trade between both countries to remove the hindrances and boost commerce. This pact will help to rapid clearances of imported goods at the land and sea ports and addresses the issues related to the non-tariff barriers.
ii. Both countries also have fixed a target of US 30 billion dollars to be achieved by 2025. This agreement will play important role proposed International North-South freight corridor (INSTC) for trade from India to Russia to central Asia through Iran.
iii. Presently, bilateral trade between both nations is extremely low and it was just 9.51 billion dollars. In Ufa, Russia prior to BRICS ministerial meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin had discussed ways to increase bilateral trade.
iv. Both countries also had reached an agreement on setting up a Joint Study Group which will recommend contours of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) comprising Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 18th July 2015
 
1. RBI signed Special Currency Swap Agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka

i. The Reserve Bank of India on 17 July 2015 signed a Special Currency Swap Agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
ii. Under the arrangement, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka can draw up to 1.1 billion US dollar for a maximum period of six months. This special arrangement is in addition to the existing Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for the SAARC Member Countries.
iii. Earlier on 25 March 2015, the Reserve Bank of India had signed a Currency Swap Agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for 400 million US dollar under the existing SAARC Currency Swap Framework within the overall limit of 2 billion US dollar.
iv. The swap arrangements are intended to provide a backstop line of funding for the SAARC member countries to meet any balance of payments and liquidity crises till longer term arrangements are made or if there is need for short-term liquidity due to stressed market conditions.
v. The proposal to extend the additional currency swap facility of 1.1 billion US dollar for a limited period was decided by the Union Government in April 2015 based on the recommendation of the Reserve Bank of India for mitigating the possible currency volatility in the spirit of strengthening India’s bilateral relations and economic ties with Sri Lanka.

2. India's first private air freight station all set to open in Chennai

i. India’s first air freight station in the private sector has come up at Irungattukottai near Chennai. The first AFS in the country was set up in 2007 inside Central Warehousing Corporation in the city.
ii. Set up by the city-based Indev Logistics at a cost of Rs.50 crore, the AFS will reduce congestion at the gateway airports and the carrier operators can choose the AFS as a final destination for cargo delivery.
iii. The major advantages of the AFS include faster evacuation of cargo from the major gateway airports; an integrated supply chain, minimised transaction logistics cost; and tracking of the mobility and movement of the cargo.
iv. All activities, including Custom documentation and examination, cargo acceptance check, security checks, cargo palletisation and warehousing will be carried out at the AFS, said Xavier Britto, Chairman, Indev Group, at the soft launch of the AFS on Friday.

3. Ministry of Railways modified few tatkal ticket booking rules

i. Ministry of Railways on 17 July 2015 modified some rules pertaining to purchase of takal tickets of Indian Railway. Under the modified rules, passengers booking tatkal tickets from computerised reservation counters will no longer be required to furnish photocopy of identity proof or to indicate its number at the time of booking at the counter or through internet.
ii. As per the proposed changes, one of the passengers has to produce identity proof in original during the journey. However, if the traveler fails to produce the identity proof all the passengers booked on that ticket will be treated as travelling without ticket and charged accordingly.
iii. The passenger will have to produce anyone of the following proofs of identity in original during the journey. The identity cards that will be considered includes
(i)   Voter Photo Identity Card issued by Election Commission of India.
(ii)  Passport
(iii) PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department
(iv)  Driving Licence issued by RTO
(v)   Photocopy Identity Card having serial number issued by Central/State Government
(vi)  Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognized School/College for their Students
(vii) Nationalised Bank Passbook with photograph
(viii) Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph
(ix)  Unique Identification Card “Aadhar”
(x) Photo identity cards having serial number issued by Public Sector Undertaking of State/Central Government, District Administrations, Municipal bodies and Panchayat Administrations.
iv. These changes will be effective from 1 September 2015.

4. India and Myanmar to strengthen defence ties

i. India and Myanmar have announced plans to strengthen their defence cooperation during a joint consultative commission (JCC) meeting held in New Delhi. This meeting was chaired by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.
ii. Both countries to work together on effective border management especially on the issue of cross-border insurgency and terrorism. India has reaffirmed to provide defence assistance program as part of its Goodwill Diplomacy to Myanmar in order to modernise their Armed Forces.
iii. Investments of Indian companies in sectors like power, ports, agro-industries, mining, forest products, construction industry, highways, consumer goods, oil and gas, manufacturing, plantation, hospitality and ICT will be encouraged.
iv. Recently, defence cooperation between both neighbours has grown after changes in political reforms of Myanmar under President Thein Sein, which has made them less reliant on China.

5. CCI imposes Rs 671 crore penalty on four state-run insurance companies

i. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 671 crore on four public sector insurance companies-National Insurance Co, New India Insurance Co, Oriental Insurance Co and United India insurance company for indulging in anti-competitive practices.
ii. The competition regulator these insurance companies guilty of rigging a tender floated by the Government of Kerala in 2009 for selecting insurance service provider for implementation of the 'Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna'.
iii. The case was taken up by the Commission suo moto pursuant to an anonymous information alleging cartelization by four public sector insurance companies in relation to a tender issued by the Government of Kerala for the implementation of RSBY and CHIS schemes.

6. Jules Bianchi: F1 driver dies from Suzuka crash injuries

i. French Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has died, nine months after suffering severe head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
ii. Bianchi, 25, had been in a coma since crashing his Marussia into a recovery vehicle at October's rain-hit race.
iii. He is the first F1 driver to die from injuries sustained in a Grand Prix since Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at Italy's Imola circuit in 1994.
iv. Bianchi made his F1 debut with Marussia in 2013 and was also a member of the Ferrari young driver academy after previously working as a test driver for the team.

7. Uruguayan soccer legend Alcides Edgardo Ghiggia died

i. Alcides Edgardo Ghiggia, the Uruguayan soccer legend, died on 16 July 2015 following a heart attack. He was 88. Coincidentally, 16 July 2015 marked the 65th anniversary of the Maracanazo match in which Ghiggia won the goal in a stunning 2-1 victory over Brazil in the final game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.
ii. Ghiggia gave Uruguay its second World Cup title in the Maracanazo match when Brazilians were expected to win but the loss is still known in Brazil. He was the last surviving Uruguayan player from the match.
iii. Ghiggia started his professional career with the famous Uruguay club Penarol. He played for both Uruguay and Italy's national teams in his career. He played 12 international matches for Uruguay and scored four goals, all of which came in the 1950 tournament.
iv. Ghiggia was born on 22 December 1926 in Montevideo.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 17th July 2015
 
1. India inks $250-million loan pact with World Bank for Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery project.

i. India has inked a financing agreement with World Bank (WB) to raise US 250 million dollars financial assistance for Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project (APDRP).
ii. The motive of this project is Objective: To restore, enhance resilience and improve public services, livelihoods and environmental facilities in targeted communities of Andhra Pradesh.
iii. It also seeks to increase the capacity of the state to promptly and effectively respond to crisis or emergency.
iv. It includes approximately 3 million populations in 4 heavily impacted districts of state viz. Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and East Godavari.

2. Neeraj Kumar appointed chief security advisor for ICC World T20 2016.

i. Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar was appointed as the Chief Advisor of Security and anti corruption unit (ACSU) of BCCI for next year’s T20 World Cup to be hosted by India.
ii. Kumar was already roped in by the BCCI for a one-year period in the anti-corruption unit during the IPL.
iii. The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the names of the organising committee for the mega event with Dr M V Sridhar as the General Manager for Cricket Operations,” the BCCI said in a statement. 
                                                        
3. India and Canada sign MoU in the field of Civil Aviation.

i. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi, has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) betweenIndia and Canada in the field of Civil Aviation.
ii. MoU will help in deepening the bilateral cooperation and enhancing theexperience and technical knowledge in the field of Civil Aviation between Indiaand Canada.
iii. The two countries shall have a cooperation programme in the areas of safetyof aircraft operations and related issues that will provide more up-to-dateknowledge to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to make it familiar withbest international practices and latest International Civil AviationOrganisation’s safety oversight programme requirements.

4. White-Fi technology of Microsoft to boost Digital India Initiative

i. White-Fi technology: Uses unspent spectrum on TV for internet usage
ii. White-Fi technology or TV White Space Technology was in news in the second week of July 2015 as Microsoft announced plans to introduce this technology in India to providelast mile connectivity and give a boost to the Digital India initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
iii. According to Microsoft, its technology can provide free Wi-Fi connectivity to the roughly one-billion Indians who don't have any net access and it plans to start with International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Bangalore campus.

Characteristics features of White-Fi technology

• White-Fi technology uses the unused spectrum in frequencies utilised for broadcasting of television signals and use it for the internet. In technology parlance, these unused spectrum spaces are called White Space and thus it is also called TV White Space technology.
• The 200-300 MHz spectrum in the white space can reach up to 10 km as compared to current Wi-Fi technology that allows you a range of about 100 metres. The 200-300 MHz spectrum currently belongs to Doordarshan TV channel and isn't used at all.
• It can be run on solar power and thus overcome a key hindrance that currently impedes internet service providers, namely the high cost of installation equipment.

5. Brand ambassador Parineeti Chopra divides Haryana government.

i. A day after Haryana named Parineeti Chopra as its brand ambassador for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao' campaign to promote the cause of girl child.
ii. Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao' campaign, aimed at ensuring survival, protection and empowerment of the girl child, was launched by Prime Minister Modi from Haryana's Panipat in January this year. The state has one of the worst sex ratios in the country.

6. IBM, IIM-B, Catalyst complete women’s leadership development programme.

i. IBM on Friday today announced the graduation of the first group of students from Tanmatra, an innovative, cross-industry women's leadership development program conducted in collaboration with The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore ( IIM-B) and Catalyst India WRC.
ii. Thirty high-potential women from industries including IT, banking, pharma, and manufacturing completed Tanmatra (which means potential in Sanskrit). The 10-month program was open to organisations across the country and trained a select group of women with at least 12 years of work experience, IBM said in a press statement.
iii.This course helps prepare women for leadership in the Indian business community and offers a common platform to network with industry leaders.

7. ICC ODI Rankings: India retain 2nd spot after clean sweep over Zimbabwe

i. India have retained their 2nd position in the latest ICC ODI Rankings which were released today.
ii. its 3-0 series victory over Zimbabwe, India has maintained its second place ranking and still remains 14 points adrift of Australia who leads the field on 129 points.
iii. Australia retained the top notch in ICC ODI Rankings.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 16th July 2015
 
1. Rakesh Sahni appointed as Chairman of Narmada Valley Development Authority

i. Rakesh Sahni was on 14 July 2015 appointed as the Chairman of Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA). He is an IAS officer of 1972 batch.
ii. Sahni retired as an IAS officer after serving post of chief secretary of States. However, post retirement, he served as the Chairman of MP Electricity Regulatory Commission.

About Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA)

• NVDA is a multidisciplinary organization of the Madhya Pradesh State Government headquartered at Bhopal.
• It was constituted for planning water resources development in Narmada basin and expeditious implementation of projects.
• NVDA has jurisdiction over the major water resources development projects in the Narmada River which is 5th largest river in India and largest west flowing river of Indian peninsula.

2. Varanasi chosen as 'city of music' by UNESCO

i. In a development set to tremendously boost its age-old traditions, Varanasi has joined the global bandwagon of UNESCO "Cities of Music" under the Creative Cities Network.
ii. It has been chosen in the music category under UNESCO's "field of excellence" plan. The fields of excellence are classified into categories of literature, film, music, craft and folk art, design, media arts and gastronomy.                                    
iii. The inclusion in the network has also paved way for representing the cultural heritage of the holy city on the world stage through the UNESCO project. It will not only provide a fillip to tourism, but will also give a chance to local artists and musicians to visit countries that are a part of this network.
iv. Nine cities — Glasgow in the UK, Hanover and Mannheim in Germany, Ghent in Belgium, Hamamatsu in Japan, Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, Bogota in Columbia, Seville in Spain and Bologna in Italy — are a part of UNESCO "Cities of Music".

3. Net neutrality report: Fate of Airtel's zero rating plan left to TRAI

i. Airtel had launched Airtel Zero under which it offered a platform for content owners, e-commerce players, and start-ups to offer free data access to users. This was seen to be against the principles of net neutrality by some sections as it allowed free access to only those companies which had resources to partner with Airtel.
ii. The Committee, after consideration of all opinions expressed by Net Neutrality proponents and network operators, feels that there are a multitude of possibilities in designing tariff plans and it would not be possible to either pre-think all possibilities or determine its validity with respect to Net Neutrality principles.
iii. The Committee proposed that tariff plans (including zero rating plans) be dealt with in the following ways: (i) Ex-ante determination — Before a licensee launches any tariff plan, the same would need to be filed before TRAI within a reasonable period prior to the launch of the plan. TRAI would examine each such tariff filing carefully to see if it conforms to the principles of Net Neutrality and that it is not anti-competitive by distorting consumer markets.
iv. Such a filing requirement would include a deemed approval clause, if the regulator does not decide within a reasonable period. This would ensure balance of interests, protecting the liberty of service providers to design specific tariff plans attuned to specific customer demands and at the same time ensure that the principles of Net Neutrality are not breached.

4. RBI constitutes Deepak Mohanty Committee to frame action plan on financial inclusion

i. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a committee to prepare a 5 year action plan to spread the reach of financial services across country to unbanked population. The committee will be headed by RBI executive director Deepak Mohanty and comprise total of 14 members
ii. It will review the existing policy of financial inclusion, including customer protection framework and supportive payment system. In this regard it will take into account the recommendations made by various committees set up earlier.
iii. Suggest a monitorable medium-term action plan for financial inclusion. It will cover various components including payments, credit, deposit, social security transfers, pension and insurance. Articulate the underlying institutional and policy framework for financial inclusion. Cover financial literacy and consumer protection, as well as delivery mechanism of financial inclusion.
iv. For this the committee will encompass both households and small businesses, with more emphasis on rural inclusion including group-based credit delivery mechanisms.

5. Remnants of India's one of the oldest port discovered in Goa

i. A team of scientists from Goa based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) on 15 July 2015 discovered the remnants of a historically important port on Goa’s Zuari river which is expected to be amongst the oldest signs of human trade on the central west coast.
ii. The Port is supposed to be existed between 1000 to 3500 AD which makes it India’s oldest ports. The researchers are also of the opinion that they may discover a dockyard similar in structure to Lothal dockyard in Gujarat which was discovered by Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1954.
Findings of the discovery

• The exploration work on the site has been completed and scientists have found the steps going in the water. It is imminent that existence of such a big wall parallel to river indicates that it is remnant of a port.
• According to the scientists, there is a existence of cross walls which stands inundated in the water.
• These observations concluded that this port might be connected to Old Goa, ancient capital of Goa, through Rajvidhi (Road built and used for the King).

6. Agri Ministry launches 3 portals

i. The Centre launched three new websites for farmers here on Wednesday aimed at making organic farming certification, fertiliser quality checks and disbursal of soil health cards easier. The portals, developed by National Informatics Centre, are part of the existing schemes.
ii. The ‘Participatory Guarantee System’ portal will help small and marginal farmers engaged in organic farming to secure certification after checks for compliance to standards are carried out.
iii. The ‘Soil Health Card’ portal has been developed to register soil samples and record tests results along with fertiliser recommendations to create a national database on soil health for future use in research.
iv. The ‘Fertiliser Quality Control System’ portal will collate results of drawn samples of imported fertilisers helping both consumers and importers with analysis reports.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 15th July 2015
 
1. Union Ministry of Urban Development launched nationwide HRIDAY scheme from Amritsar

i. Union Ministry of Urban Development on 14 July 2015 launched the National Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) for 12 cities in the country from Amritsar in Punjab.
ii. The scheme seeks to preserve and rejuvenate the rich cultural heritage of the country in the selected 12 cities in the country, including Amritsar.
iii. The scheme was launched by Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley in the presence of Union Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister of Punjab Singh Badal among others.

Features of HRIDAY

• It seeks to promote an integrated, inclusive and sustainable development of heritage sites, focusing on maintenance of monuments and on advancement of the entire ecosystem.
• In the initial phase of HRIDAY, 12 heritage cities have been identified which will be rejuvenated and developed. Union Government will provide 500 crore rupees to these 12 cities.
• Physical, institutional, economic and social infrastructure developed as part of the scheme in the identified cities.
• It will be completely funded by the Union Government to create infrastructure and provide facilities around the heritage sites to attract more tourists.

2. NASA’s New Horizons made closest approach to Pluto

i. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) New Horizons space probe on 14 July 2015 made closest approach to Pluto when it flew 12600 km from the surface of the dwarf planet at an average speed of 49750 kph.
ii. The successful completion of the operation is very significant as the interplanetary probe could send the images of Pluto taken from the nearest point till date after travelling 4.88 billion km from the earth.

About New Horizons

• Its purpose is to study Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt, performing flybys of the Pluto system and one or more Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs).
• It was launched on 19 January 2006 as part of NASA's New Frontiers program.
• It was directly launched into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory with an Earth-relative speed of about 16.26 kilometers per second or 58536 km/h, thus, setting the record for the highest launch speed of a human-made object from Earth.
• In 2007, it made closest approach to Jupiter in February 2007.
• With its successful flyby, Pluto became the first Kuiper Belt object visited by a mission from Earth. Kuiper Belt extends from the orbit of Neptune to approximately 50 Astronomical Units from the Sun.

3. Krishnapatnam Port receives Golden Peacock award for environment management
i. Krishnapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh has been awarded Golden Peacock environment management award for its achievements and initiatives in the field of environment.
ii. The award was presented during the 17th World Congress on Environment Management to C Sasidhar, Managing Director of Krishnapatnam Port by Union Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi.
iii. Green initiatives of Krishnapatnam Port  are Plantation of over 20 lakhs trees within the port and more than 50,000 trees in the surrounding villages, Installation of solar lights in the port and solar water heaters in the employee colony, Establishing gas connections for villagers so as to discourage them from cutting of mangroves as fuel wood.

4. PM Modi launches 'Skill India' campaign

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched the 'Skill India Mission' in the national capital. The Prime Minister will formally launch the National Skill Development Mission, unveil the new National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 and roll out on all-India flagship scheme.
ii. Narendra Modi’s ambitious Skill India Mission targets 40.2 crore workers by 2022 .Pushing ahead with its ambitious Skill India mission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch 'Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana' on Wednesday to create skilled manpower at grass-root level by providing them vocational, technical and skill development education.
iii. These include a redesigned Model Skill Loan Scheme, Skill Card for persons certified under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and the new National Policy for Skill Development.

5. Union Government decided to cap kerosene subsidy at Rs 12 per litre

i. Union Government on 13 July 2015 decided to cap the subsidy payout on kerosene at 12 rupees per litre.
ii. At present, kerosene is sold through public distribution system at 14.96 rupees per litre against the actual cost of 33.47 rupees. The difference of 18.51 rupees per litre is termed as under-recovery or revenue loss.
iii. Now, the government has finalised the formula for meeting this under-recovery, under which the Union Finance Ministry will pay 12 rupees per litre in cash to state-owned fuel retailers from the Budget and any unbridged gap between the retail selling price and the cost of production will be borne by upstream companies.
iv. For domestic cooking gas LPG, the government has decided to fully bear the under-recovery.
v. The Budget for 2015-16 has provided for 22000 crore rupees towards LPG subsidy and another 8000 crore rupees on kerosene.

6. Maharashtra assembly passed Guarantee of Public Services Bill, 2015

i)Maharashtra legislative assembly on 14 July 2015 passed the Maharashtra Guarantee of Public Services Bill, 2015. The bill was unanimously passed by the assembly in the absence of Congress and NCP members.
ii)Features of the Bill
• It empowers citizens to avail their rights in stipulated time with less efforts and cost.
• It will pave way for curbing corruption, bringing transparency and empowering citizens.
• It ensures essential services are delivered in a time-bound manner and at nominal charges.
• In case of failure in delivery in the stipulated time, the government employee will be penalized for default, which ranges between 500 rupees to 5000 rupees.
iii) It provides for three-tier Appellate Authorities with first two being Government Officials or Designated Officers and third will be a Right to Service Commission.

7. India’s first railway-line built under PPP model inaugurated in Gujarat

i. Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu on 14 July 2015 inaugurated the broad-gauge railway-line between Gandhidham and Tuna-Tekra Port in Gujarat by flagging off a goods train.
ii. The rail line is India’s first railway-line built with private sector participation under Non-Government Railway (NGR) Policy 2012 of Indian Railways. The rail line has been built at a cost of approx 185 crore rupees for M/s Kandla Port Trust (KPT) to bring about better and faster rail connectivity to Port of Tuna & Tekra.
iii. The rail-line between Gandhidham, a town in Kutch district of Gujarat, and Tuna-Tekra Port, a port 20-km west of Kandla in Gulf of Kutch, was funded by M/s Kandla Port Trust (KPT) and Western Railway Zone of Indian Railways coordinated and pioneered it.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 14th July 2015
 
1. Lt General Man Mohan Singh Rai appointed as Vice-Chief of Indian Army

i. Lieutenant General Man Mohan Singh Rai was on 13 July 2014 appointed as the Vice-Chief of the Indian Army. Rai will succeed Lt Gen Philip Campose, who will superannuate the office on 31 July 2015.
ii. Presently, Rai is working as the Eastern Army Commander. He is from the Corps of Engineers and is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. He was commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, on 15 December 1976.

2. Operation Talaash for missing Dornier ends

i. Thirty-five days after a Coast Guard aircraft on a surveillance sortie disappeared off the Chennai coast with three crew, the search operation has been “terminated” after recovery of human remains, parts of the plane and personal effects.
ii. “Eighty per cent of the aircraft’s parts have been retrieved, besides human bones and wrist watches from the sea bed,” I G Coast Guard S P Sharma said here today, adding the search operation was “terminated” last night.
iii. The authorities have called the families of the crew for carrying out DNA tests for identification of the deceased and collecting the remains and personal effects.

3. Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela began in Maharsahtra

i. The Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela began on 14 July 2015. The year-long festival will end 11 August 2016.
ii. The festival, known as largest peaceful gathering in the world, began with the traditional ceremony of hoisting of flags and thousands of people taking a holy dip in Kushawart and Ramkund in Godavari River in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar.
iii. The ceremony at Trimbakeshwar was presided over by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and state Women and Child Welfare minister Pankaja Munde as chief guests, while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis presided over Nashik ceremony.
iv. To mark the festival, the civic body has set up 'Sadhu-Gram' over 315 acres in Nashik and temporary tent-town is being supplied with toilets, 24-hour drinking water, LPG cylinders and electricity. Railways have decided to run 12 super-fast special trains between Nashik Road and Howrah on account of the Mela.
v. Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years when the Sun and Jupiter come together in Leo zodiac sign in the month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar.

4. Legendary music composer MS Viswanathan passes away

i.  Legendary music director MS Viswanathan, who had scored music for over 1,000 films, passed away at his residence early this morning following illness.
ii. 88-year-old Viswanathan was being treated at a private hospital here for geriatric problems. The music director is survived by four sons and three daughters.
iii. Born in Palakkad in Kerala, Viswanathan had scored music for over 1,000 films, some of them in association with his partner Ramamurthy. Later they parted ways.

5. IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals suspended for two years by Justice Lodha panel

i. The Supreme Court-appointed Justice R.M. Lodha Committee on Tuesday suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) teams Chennai Super Kings (CSK)and Rajasthan Royals (RR) from the League for two years.
ii. The committee on Tuesday also imposed sanctions on Gurunath Meiyappan, and Raj Kundra who were the face of these IPL franchises respectively and were found to have indulged in betting activities. It declared them ineligible for participation from cricket activities for life.
iii. The committee has stressed that the betting activities of these individuals had brought the game of cricket, BCCI and IPL into disrepute.
iv. The Lodha committee was formed by the Supreme Court in its judgment in the IPL betting case on January 22. This judgment confirmed the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal committee's findings and held Mr. Meiyappan and Mr. Kundra guilty of betting.

6. Noted artist Sayed Haider Raza conferred with France’s de la Lgion dHonneur
i. Noted artist Sayed Haider Raza was conferred with highest French Civilian Award Commandeur de la Lgion dHonneur (the Legion of Honour).
ii. Raza was bestowed with this award for his peerless achievements in transcending all boundaries, forging ties between France and India and for continuing artistic quest straddling nations, religions, cultures and philosophies.
iii. Born in 1922 in Madhya Pradesh. He started his artistic career at the age of 12.
iv. la Lgion dHonneur (the Legion of Honour) is the highest civilian award given by the French Government.

7. India and Georgia signed MoU for cooperation in field of Election Management

i. India and Georgia on 13 July 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of election management and administration. The MoU was signed by Chief Election Commissioner of India Nasim Zaidi and Tamar Zhvania, Chairperson, Central Election Commission, Georgia.
ii. Till now, Election Commission of India has signed twenty MoUs with Election Management Bodies and international organizations across the world.
Major purpose of the MoU between India and Georgia:
• Promotion of exchanges of knowledge and experience in electoral processes
• Exchange of information, materials, expertise and training of personnel
• Production and distribution of materials pertaining to electoral systems, voting technology, voters’ education and awareness
• Participation of women and minorities in electoral process
 
                                   Current Affairs - 12th & 13th July 2015
 
1. SBI partners with bankbazaar.com

i. State Bank of India (SBI), the largest bank in India, has partnered online financial product aggregator ‘bankbazaar.com’ along with the bank’s subsidiary SBI CAP Securities.
ii. Under this arrangement, the bank will be able to display its home loan products on bankbazaar.com, generate leads and provide door-step delivery, thus improving the response time. Bankbazaar.com offers end to end solutions to the home loan seekers from getting the customised quotes, comparison of the offers and submission of online application to SBI.
iii. This partnership will help the bank to provide yet another online platform to the prospective tech savvy home loan borrowers to apply for SBI Home Loans online. iv. The tie up with bankbazaar.com also highlights SBI’s strategy to augment its Home Loan portfolio by leveraging digital channels and increasing its presence in the digital/online space, it added.

2. Patnitop Tunnel, India’s longest road tunnel, set to open in 2016

i. Patnitop Tunnel: Located on Jammu-Sri Nagar National Highwary (NH1A) in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir.
ii. The Patnitop Tunnel was in news on 13 July 2015 as the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari attended a ceremony when the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) engineers drilled a hole through the final section of the tunnel between Chenani and Nashri.
iii. The Patnitop Tunnel or Chenani-Nashri Tunnel is touted as India’s longest road tunnel.

Features of Patnitop Tunnel

• It connects Chenani in Udhampur with Nashri in Ramban district on the National Highway-1A (NH1A).
• It’s objective is to make the NH1A all weather friendly by avoiding frequent disruptions to traffic that occur due to snowfall and avalanche in winter at Patnitop.
• The 9.2 km tunnel, which is part of the ambitious 286 km-long four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, will reduce the distance between two cities — Jammu and Srinagar — by around 30 km.
• It will also reduce the existing road distance between Chenani and Nashri on the highway from 41 km to 10.89 km.
• Work on the tunnel was started on 23 May 2011 and is likely to be opened to traffic in July 2016.
• The state-of-the-art tunnel project is being built  at a cost of over 2500 crore rupees.

3. Miss USA 2015: Miss Oklahoma Olivia Jordan Wins the Crown

i. Miss Oklahoma, Olivia Jordan, won big at the 2015 Miss USA pageant on Sunday, July 12, beating out 50 women to win the crown.
ii. Jordan, 26, made it through the fierce rounds of the competition, sliding into the Top 15 after preliminary events and captivating viewers as she worked it in the live show's bikini and evening gown rounds.
iii. The Oklahoma native impressed during the question portion of the competition, which was held in Baton Rouge, La. She spoke first on the issue of race relations in the United States, stressing the need for improved dynamics, and later went on to name Oprah and Harriet Tubman as two women she would like to see on the $10 bill.
iv. Jordan was followed in the top five by first runner-up Miss Texas Ylianna Guerra, second runner-up Miss Rhode Island Anea Garcia, third runner-up Miss Nevada Brittany McGowan, and fourth runner-up Miss Maryland Mamé Adjei.

4. India, Kyrgyzstan ink 4 pacts during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit

i. India and Kyrgyzstan have signed 4 pacts/ agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two nations. These agreements were inked during the two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kyrgystan as part of his official visit to 5 Central Asian countries and Russia.
ii. Agreement on Defence Cooperation: It was signed to deepen cooperation between both countries in matters relating to security, defence, military education and training. It also covers provisions to conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of military instructors, exchange of experience and information and observers etc.
iii. MoU and Cooperation in the field of Elections: It was signed to deepen cooperation in matters relating to legislation on elections and referendums. It also covered rights of elections process stakeholders, modern systems and technologies as well as other issues of election administration.
iv. MoU on cooperation in the sphere of Standards: Seeks to strengthen and enhance technical cooperation in the fields of conformity assessment, standardization and sharing of expertise on mutual trade.
v. Agreement on Cooperation in Culture: To deepen cultural cooperation between both countries in areas such as preservation of cultural heritage, theatre, youth festivals and organisation of folk arts.

5. Indigenously developed Nag anti-tank missile tested from helicopter platform

i. In fresh trials, India has test-fired its indigenously developed Nag anti-tank guided missile, which can hit a target upto seven km, from a helicopter at a firing range in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
ii. Three-round trial of helicopter-launched Nag (HeliNa) missile were conducted yesterday at the Chandhan firing range.
iii. HeliNa is a helicopter-launched version of Nag and has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
iv. The missile was aimed at hitting targets at varied distances of upto 7 km.

6. Green Signals: Ecology, Growth, and Democracy in India written by Jairam Ramesh

i. The book Green Signals: Ecology, Growth, and Democracy in India was in news in the second week of July 2015. It was written by former Union Environment and Forest Minister (Independent Charge) Jairam Ramesh.
ii. It unveils the story of environmental policy making in India from the perspective of a pivotal decision maker.
iii. It chronicles India's environmental decision-making since the 1991 movement, telling the story of how, for the first time, the doors of the environment ministry were opened to voices, hitherto unheard, into the policy-making process.
iv. At present, Jairam Ramesh is Chair of the Future Earth Engagement Committee, a research platform on global sustainability. He is also a member of the Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh.

7. Isro's Gagan Satellite-Based Navigation System Launched

i. India on Monday launched its satellite-based air navigation services, thereby joining a select league comprising the US, Europe Union (EU) and Japan which have similar systems. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju dedicated the services to the nation in a ceremony in New Delhi.
ii. The system - known as Gagan or global positioning system (GPS) aided geo-augmented navigation system - is intended to provide accurate navigation services over the Bay of Bengal, South East Asia, Indian Ocean, Middle East, and African regions.                                         
iii. Gagan works by augmenting and relaying data from GPS satellites with the help of two augmentation satellites and 15 earth-based reference stations.
iv. Gagan also fills a vital gap between EU's "European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service" (EGNOS) and Japan's "Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System" (MSAS) coverage areas.

8. Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles title of Wimbledon

i. Defending champion Novak Djokovic on 12 July 2015 won men’s singles title of Wimbledon. In the final clash played in London, Serbian Djokovic defeated Roger Federer of Switzerland 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
ii. This was his third Wimbledon title and Grand Slam crown.
iii. Besides, Leander Paes (India) and Martina Hingis (Swiss) won the mixed doubles event of the Championship. In the final played in London, the Indo-Swiss pair defeated Austrian-Hungarian team of Alexander Peya and Timea Babos 6-1, 6-1. It was Paes' eighth mixed doubles title and second with Hingis. They had won the Australian Open early this year.
iv. Wimbledon was held from 29 June to 12 July 2015.

9. Serena Williams won her sixth Wimbledon Women's Single title

i. World Number One Serena Williams on 11 July 2015 has won Wimbledon Women's Single title. In the final clash played at Centre Court, London, Williams (US) defeated Garbine Muguruza (Spain) in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
ii. This was Sixth Women's Singles title at Wimbledon for Williams. With 21 Grand Slam titles, Serena has also moved closer to a Calendar Grand Slam, last achieved by German Steffi Graf in 1988.
iii. Muguruza was making her maiden appearance in a Grand Slam Final.
iv. Besides, the Indo-Swiss pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis defeated the Russian combination of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the Women's Doubles Final.
 
                                        Current Affairs - 11th July 2015
 
1. MPEDA launched mobile-based applications to help farmers capture data through mobile

i. The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) on 9 July 2015 launched two mobile based applications to help farmers get prices on shrimp and capture data on aquaculture through mobile. Moreover, MPEDA also revamped its website and launched an online registration portal for exporters.
ii. MPEDA is a nodal agency for promotion of marine exports from India under Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
iii. With this application, MPEDA will provide price related market information of Vannamei shrimp and BT shrimp to farmers over SMS on a missed call to a predetermined number. On receipt of the missed call, information on price of Vannamei shrimp and BT shrimp for different grades in major markets like Japan, USA and EU will be provided by SMS.
iv. The authority also launched a mobile applications named mKRISHI that will provide an easy tool for book keeping, advisory services and weather informations.  It is an Android mobile application which has been developed by MPEDA and TCS Innovation Lab, Mumbai (as part of its CSR initiative).

2. Prince Saud al-Faisal, World’s longest serving Foreign Minister passes away

i. Prince Saud al-Faisal, former foreign minister of Saudi Arabia passed away in United States. He was 75. He was the Saudi kingdom’s foreign minister for 4 decades (from 1975 to 2015). He had retired in April 2015 and was succeeded by Adel al-Jubeir.
ii. He had served under four Saudi kings and had advanced the kingdom’s foreign policy, especially after the 9/11 attacks in US. It should be noted that he was world’s longest-serving foreign minister.
iii. Saud al-Faisal was son of King Faisal and was born on 2 January 1940 in Taif near Mecca.  In the 1960s, he started his career as consultant for Petroleum Ministry of Saudi Kingdom.

3. Isro's PSLV rocket powers five British satellites into orbit

i. India ferried five British satellites into orbit on its space warhorse PSLV-C28 that blasted off from Isro’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Srikarihota in Andhra Pradesh on Friday night.
ii. The rocket blasted off sharp at 9:58pm from the first launch pad with five satellites together weighing around 1,440kg, marking the space agency's heaviest commercial mission so far.
iii. The five international satellites were launched as part of the arrangement entered into between DMC International Imaging (DMCii), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSTL, UK and Antrix Corporation Limited.
iv. These satellites can image any target on the Earth's surface every day. Major application areas include surveying the resources on earth and its environment, managing urban infrastructure and monitoring disasters.
v. The last such major launch by Isro was on June 30, 2014 when France's SPOT 7 satellite weighing 714kg was carried by a PSLV rocket.

4. Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA) launched by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

i. Former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on 9 July 2015 launched the Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA) in New Delhi. The abhiyan aims to inculcate a spirit of inquiry, creativity and love for Science and Mathematics in school children.
ii. Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan is a concept developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
iii. Under Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan, government schools will be mentored by Institutes like IITs/IIMs/IISERs and other Central Universities and reputed organisations through innovative programmes, student exchanges, demonstrations, student visits, etc to develop a natural sense of passion towards learning of Science and Maths.
iv. Besides, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani announced that Phase II of RAA will be launched in January 2016 for higher education under which model science labs will be established in all districts of the North Eastern States.
v. RAA is an effort to take forward the Prime Minister Narednra Modi’s vision of Digital India, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Teach in India’.

5. ‘World Population Day’ observed with theme Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies

i. World Population Day was observed on 11 July 2015 with theme Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies.
ii. The theme focuses on the record number of people displaced by crises – some 60 million according to the latest UN figures.                                   
iii. At present, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working around the globe to respond to the rights and needs of women and girls, and help them to maintain their dignity by securing their safety, and restoring their access to sexual and reproductive health care.
iv. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1989, through its decision 89/46. The UNDP in its recommendation for the day asked to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues in the context of overall development plans and programmes and the need to find solutions for these issues.
v. The World population in 2011 crossed the mark of 7 billion people from 2.5 billion in 1950.

6. Famous Hollywood actor Umer Sharif passed away

i. Actor Omar Sharif, famous for his title role as Doctor Zhivago in the Oscar-winning film, has died at the age of 83. Egyptian state television reported.
ii. Sharif’s agent also confirmed his death revealing that the actor, who played a wide range of dashing and dignified characters, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
iii. Sharif was one of the few Arab actors who succeed to make it to Hollywood. He won international fame and an Oscar-nomination for best supporting actor for his role in the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” with Peter O’Toole.
 
                                         Current Affairs - 10th July 2015
 
1. Uttarakhand gets India’s first earthquake early warning system

i. Uttarakhand became first Indian state to install a system to detect earthquakes and disseminate warnings. The first system has been installed in its capital Dehradun which will issue warnings 1-40 seconds before earthquakes of magnitude 5 or more occur.
ii. The system is designed and manufactured by Italian firm, Space Dynamics which already has installed it in Japan, Italy and US.
iii. The system is incorporated with sensors which are capable to detect P (Primary) and S (Secondary) waves generated during an earthquake. It is capable to detect the harmless P wave, which travels faster than the S wave for advance warning.
iv. The second system will be established at Pithoragarh in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Uttarakhand falls under seismic zone V i.e. High-Risk Seismic Zone. Apart from it, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rann of Kutch (Gujarat), Northern Bihar and Andaman & Nicobar Islands also fall under this seismic zone.

2. India, US signed Inter Governmental Agreement to implement FATCA

i. India and United States (US) on 9 July 2015 signed Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The agreement will promote transparency on tax matters between the two countries.                                          
ii. The agreement inked by Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma in New Delhi underscores growing international co-operation to end tax evasion everywhere.
iii. As per the IGA, FFIs in India will be required to report tax information about US account holders directly to the Indian Government which will, in turn, relay that information to the IRS.  The IRS will provide similar information about Indian account holders in the United States. This automatic exchange of information is scheduled to begin on 30 September 2015.
 
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

• Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is a United States federal law that was enacted in 2010 to obtain information on accounts held by US taxpayers in other countries. The law was enacted It requires U.S. financial institutions to withhold a portion of payments made to foreign financial institutions (FFIs) who do not agree to identify and report information on US account holders.

3. India gets full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

i. India today bagged the full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) along with Pakistan.
ii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Pakistan on joining the SCO.Modi is on a three-day visit to Russia to attend the BRICS and SCO summits
iii. Indian PM Narendra Modi has accepted an invitation from his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to attend a regional summit in Islamabad next year.

4. Exim Bank, BRICS member development banks ink MoU with New Development Bank

i. Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) today said it has signed a multilateral agreement to cooperate with New Development Bank (NDB) along with other member development banks of BRICS nations.
ii. New Development Bank (NDB) is promoted by the BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The agreement was signed between Exim Bank Chairman and Managing Director Yaduvendra Mathur and Chairpersons or Presidents of other member development banks of BRICS in Ufa, Russia during the BRICS Summit 2015, a bank release said.
iii. Exim Bank also signed a cooperation agreement with Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).This MoU is aimed at sharing of knowledge, information and best practices; capacity building of personnel, including project development skills; promotion of joint events, research and programmes; development of effective and sustainable financing solutions for projects of mutual interest,

5. 7th BRICS Summit held in Ufa, Russia

i. The seventh BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit was held from 8 to 9 July 2015 in the Russian city of Ufa in Bashkortostan. It was held under the theme BRICS Partnership – a Powerful Factor of Global Development.                                      
ii. The summit was attended by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Dilma Rousseff, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Jacob Zuma president of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa respectively.
iii. At the end of the summit, Ufa Declaration was released by the leaders that called for enhanced coordinated efforts in responding to emerging challenges, ensuring peace and security, promoting development in a sustainable way among the member countries.
iv. Besides the BRICS summit level meeting, the leaders held a summit with the members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
v. In a five-year summit cycle, the summit is hosted by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in the order.
vi. While the 6th BRICS summit was held at Fortaleza in Brazil in 2014, New Delhi will be hosting the 8th summit in 2016.

6. Dus Kadam: 10 Steps for the Future proposed by PM Narendra Modi for BRICS countries

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 9 July 2015 proposed a 10 point initiative named as ‘Dus Kadam: 10 Steps for the Future’ to boost cooperation within the members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
ii. He proposed the initiative while addressing the 7th BRICS summit in Ufa, Russia.
iii. The 10 steps of the proposed Dus Kadam are:

• BRICS Trade Fair (to be held during India's chairmanship in 2016)
• BRICS Railway Research Centre
• Cooperation among Supreme Audit Institutions
• BRICS Digital Initiative
• BRICS Agricultural Research Centre
• BRICS state/Local Government’s Forum
• Cooperation among cities in field of Urbanisation
• BRICS Sports Council and Annual BRICS Sports Meet
• First Major Project of NDB to be in field of Clean Energy
• BRICS Film Festival
iv. India will be hosting the Eighth BRICS Summit in 2016.

7. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka sets record for spending longest time in space

i. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has set a Guinness World Record for spending longest time in space with a total of 804 days as on July 2015. With this he broke the previous record of 803 days, nine hours and 41 minutes set by Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev (now retired) across six missions from 1998 to 2005.
ii. Gennady Padalka was selected as a cosmonaut candidate at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in 1989.
iii. Currently, he is the commander of the International Space Station (ISS) which is orbiting the Earth. He is associated with ISS from 2000 and had taken part in various space expeditions.
iv. Padalka is going to return to Earth in September 2015. When he will return to Earth, he would have spent record total 877 days or around 2.5 years in space.
 
                                          Current Affairs - 9th July 2015
 
1. Indian Railway’s launches Mobile ticketing app for suburban commuters in Mumbai

i. Indian Railways launched a mobile ticketing application for unreserved tickets for commuters in Western Railway. It was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. This mobile ticketing service will cover 35 stations between the 123 km long Churchgate -Dhauroad and facilitate a hassle free travel for lakhs of daily passengers in Mumbai.
ii. The app is based for both Android and Windows platforms and it can be downloaded from Google Play Store or Windows Store by the user.
iii. The app provides necessary on-screen alerts to guide the passenger during the booking process. Payment for booking the ticket can be done through railway wallet feature in the App.
iv. Passenger will get ticket confirmation screen after booking the ticket.

2.  Essar Oil signs pact to sell 49% stake to Russia's Rosneft
i. Russian oil firm Rosneft will buy 49 per cent stake in Essar Oil, the firm that owns India's second biggest oil refinery, for an undisclosed amount, the Ruia-owned firm said on Thursday.
ii. The proposed transaction is conditional upon various factors such as due diligence, determination of the transaction price, execution of definitive transaction documents and receipt of requisite approvals
iii. Also, a Long Term Crude Oil Supply Agreement by the two firms in was signed in Ufa, Russia for import of 10 million tonnes a year of crude oil for a period of 10 years.
iv. This contract has been signed in pursuance to the Key Terms executed between the two companies in December 2014 at New Delhi.

3. Sanjeev Nandan Sahai appointed as Delhi's new Home Secretary
i. Senior IAS officer Sanjeev Nandan Sahai was today appointed as the new Home Secretary of Delhi, ending a bitter tussle between Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the AAP government.
ii. The order appointing Sahai, a 1986 batch Union Territory cadre officer, was issued by Union Home Ministry, official sources said.
iii. Sahai's name was zeroed in as a compromise candidate for the high post after continuous tussle between the LG and the Arvind Kejriwal-led government.
iv. Pal was removed by the AAP government after he signed a notification appointing Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police M K Meena as new chief of Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) following Jung's order.

4. eMudhra launches eSign Services

i. eMudhra Limited, a leading certifying firm in the country for digital signatures launched first of its kind eSign services in the country as part of the Digital India Vision.
ii. ESign is an online electronic signature service which can facilitate an Aadhaar holder to digitally sign a document within seconds. The signatures generated by eSign are legally valid and secure under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
iii. As part of the Digital India Vision, Prime Minister launched eSign services in the country on July 1st.
iv. ESign can "revolutionise" the way business and governance is conducted in the country and pave the way for a digital transformation into a paperless environment, eMudhra said in a statement.
v. By using eMlocker along with eSign, one can store documents such as PAN cards, Aadhaar cards, electricity bills or any other documents electronically.

5. Operation Smile led to tracing of 44 missing children in Uttarakhand

i. Operation Smile: A programme for search and restoration of missing children
ii. Operation Smile, a unique initiative of Ghaziabad Police to track missing children, was in news in second week of July 2015. It came in news after Uttarakhand police under the operation was able to trace at least 44 missing children from various parts of the state within a week.
iii. In another development, the police and the district administration of Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu has constituted five special teams to spearhead ‘Operation Smile.’
iv. The Operation Smile was launched by the Ghaziabad Police in 2014 with an aim to search and restoration of missing children with their families. Under the operation, the police was able to recover 227 missing children within 30 days of launch.
v. As part of Operation Smile, Ghaziabad police first sensitized and trained 100 police officers of various ranks about issues related to missing children, POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and Protection of Child Rights Acts and then sent them to various parts of the country including Delhi, Jaipur, Haridwar, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Kolkata to recover missing children in relation to FIRs lodged in Ghaziabad.
vi. Later, after seeing the success of the operation launched by Ghaziabad Police, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a letter written to all States on 12 December 2014 asked all states to emulate the campaign.

6. Indian Army dedicated Prerna Sthal at Hussainiwala to the nation

i. Indian Army on 8 July 2015 dedicated the monument named Prerna Sthal at Hussainiwala to the nation. The commemorative monument was built to honour the sacrifice of soldiers of India.
ii. The newly constructed Prerna Sthal is located at the gateway of the memorial to Shaheed Bhagat Singh at Hussainiwala, a village in Firozpur district of Punjab, India, where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were cremated on 23 March 1931.
iii. The monument was dedicated to the nation amidst the musical notes played by the buglers of the Last Post from the roof of the historical Hussainiwala railway station. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen KJ Singh laid the inaugural wreath and observed a two minute silence as a mark of respect to the martyrs.

7. Lord Kamlesh Patel becomes first British-Asian appointee to ECB Director

i. Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel has become the first British Asian to be appointed as Director of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
ii. He succeeds Lord Morris of Handsworth, who had stepped down after 11 years as an ECB Director. Lord Patel was born to Indian parents in Nairobi, Kenya. He later had moved to United Kingdom. He hails from Bradford and is a leading voice on health, social care and community cohesion in UK.
iii. Presently, he is Labour Peer in the House of Lords and professor at the University of East London. He is also Chair of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust and is a former Chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission.
iv. He had played cricket for number of local clubs and was allrounder. He had retired in 1998 from cricket after taking all 10 wickets in a league game. He formerly had worked for the Yorkshire Cricket Academy as a part-time coach.

8. Climate Change to be the theme of Science Express in 2015

i. Climate Change was announced as the theme of 2015 Science Express. This was announced during the first meeting of Science Express Climate Change Special (SECCS) chaired by Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan on 8 July 2015 in New Delhi.
ii. The meeting was held to decide the overall contours of the theme and elicit suggestions from volunteers and experts involved in the running of the Express.
About Science Express
• It is a unique science exhibition mounted on a 16-coach AC train.
• Its focus is on spreading awareness about science and technology among students from schools and colleges and general public at large.
• It has been travelling across India successfully since 2007.
• It is a joint initiative of three Ministries and Departments – Ministry of Railways, the Department of Science & Technology and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
• From 2007 to 2011, the train was running as Science Express displaying the world of micro and macro cosmos, spreading the awareness about strengths of science in meeting global challenges, including latest discoveries and innovations in the field of modern science.
• In the year 2012, Science Express was redesigned on the theme Biodiversity and since then it has been running as Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS).
 
                                          Current Affairs - 8th July 2015
 
1. Ashok Haldia appointed MD and CEO of PTC India Financial Services

i. PTC India Financial Services said on Wednesday that Ashok Haldia was appointed the company’s new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
ii. Haldia has been a part of the company’s board as a whole-time director for the last seven years. Prior to joining PTC India Financial Services, Haldia served as a Secretary in the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India. He has also been a member of several Central Government committees.
iii. Dr. Ashok Haldia is Whole Time Director of PTC India Financial Services Limited. A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India and the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India. Dr. Ashok Haldia has diversified experience of project financing and industrial financing policy, public sector policy reforms, evaluation and management, power sector reform, restructuring and financing.

2. India, Kazakhstan launch first drilling at Satpayev oil block of OVL

i. India and Kazakhstan launched the first exploratory drilling at Satpayev oil block owned by India’s ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and Kazakhstan company KazMunaiGaz. It was jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kazakhstan premier Karim Massimov in Astana, Kazakh capital.                                         
ii. Satpayev oil block is an offshore field located in the Northern Caspian Sea. It has potential reserves estimated at 1.8 billion barrels crude oil and natural gas.

3. According to World Bank Report "MGNREGA" world’s largest public works programme

i. World Bank has ranked the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNREGA) as the world’s largest public works programme.
ii. It was revealed in recently released World Bank Group’s report titled ‘The State of Social Safety Nets 2015‘. Report Highlights MGNREGA (under Ministry of Rural Development) provides social security net to 182 million beneficiaries i.e. almost 15 per cent of the India’s population.
iii. Mid-day meal scheme (under Ministry of Human Resource Development) has been classified as biggest school feeding programme. It benefits around 105 million beneficiaries.
iv. Janani Suraksha Yojna (Under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) is top-most social security programme with conditional cash transfers. It has 78 million beneficiaries.
v. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (under Ministry of Rural Development) is the second-largest unconditional cash transfer social security progamme in the world. Five middle-income countries running the world’s largest social safety net programmes are India, China, South Africa and Ethiopia.

4. Ashok Haldia appointed MD and CEO of PTC India Financial Services

i. PTC India Financial Services said on Wednesday that Ashok Haldia was appointed the company’s new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
ii. Haldia has been a part of the company’s board as a whole-time director for the last seven years. Prior to joining PTC India Financial Services, Haldia served as a Secretary in the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India. He has also been a member of several Central Government committees.
iii. Dr. Ashok Haldia is Whole Time Director of PTC India Financial Services Limited. A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India and the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India. Dr. Ashok Haldia has diversified experience of project financing and industrial financing policy, public sector policy reforms, evaluation and management, power sector reform, restructuring and financing.

5. HDFC Bank launched watch banking application for Apple Watch

i. HDFC Bank, the country’s second largest private sector bank, launched Watch Banking application for Apple Watch in the first week of July 2015.
ii. With this, HDFC became the first bank in India to offer the service of Watch Banking. In order to avail this service, customer will not be required to download a separate app but they just need to activate it from an upgraded version of HDFC Bank’s mobile banking app itself.
iii. The Apple Watch app will work via Bluetooth on iPhone 5 and above versions. The application will allow customers to make around 10 banking transactions, like account information (on savings, current, fixed deposits), credit cards, mobile and DTH recharge, request account statements and cheque books.
iv. It will also allow a person to locate the closest ATM and bank branch, view messages from the bank, avail discount offers and hotlist lost debit cards.
v. HDFC also aims to provide banking services through all wearable devices across platforms like iOS and Android.

6. Floyd Mayweather stripped of WBO Welterweight title he won against Manny Pacquiao

i. World Boxing Organization (WBO) on 7 July 2015 stripped Floyd Mayweather Jr of the Welterweight title which he won by defeating Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.
ii. He was stripped of the title after he failed to pay the 200000 dollar sanctioning fee required by the WBO after he won the belt at iconic MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The deadline to make the payment was 3 July 2015.
iii. The fight at MGM Grand was the richest boxing fight of all time which made Mayweather richer by a reported 220 million dollars.
iv. According to WBO rules, a boxer should pay 3 percent of their purse to fight for a world title up to a maximum of 200000 dollars. The rules also prohibit WBO champions to hold any belts in any other weight divisions.
v. Mayweather is currently also the WBC and WBA champion at junior middleweight (154 lbs), as well as at welterweight (147 lbs).
vi. Now, he has the chance to appeal against the decision until 20 July 2015.

7. BRICS Central Banks Sign Forex Reserves Pool Pact.

i. The five major emerging national economies, known by the acronym BRICS, were a step closer to setting up a $100 billion pool of mutual reserves by signing an “operational agreement”
ii. The pool would be drawn on by the central banks of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa whenever they suffered a shortage of dollar liquidity, helping them maintain financial stability, Russia’s central bank said.
                                        
iii. The Bank of Russia in Moscow. The central banks of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have signed an operational pact to set up a pool of foreign exchange reserves.
iv. Financial stability has been Moscow’s sore point over the past year as the Russian economy has slipped into recession, while the country has lost access to global capital markets, due to Western sanctions, and has had to drain billions of dollars from its reserves.

8. Goa to host the Youth Delphic Games in February 2016

i. Goa will host the fifth Youth Delphic Games in February 2016. The announcement was made in June 2015. The motto of the 2016 Games is Celebrating Arts and Cultures.
ii. Started a 100 years after the modern edition of the Olympics, the youth edition of the Delphic Games will be hosted in India for the first time from 1 February to 14 February 2016 in Goa.
iii. The Youth Delphic Games are held at every four years and invites participants of the age group of 15 to 25 years. The games will include competitions in six categories:
• Musical arts and sounds (singing, instrumental music, electronic sounds)
• Performing arts (dance, theatre, circus, puppetry)
• Language arts (literature, poetry, moderation)
• Visual arts (painting, graphics, sculpture, installation, fashion, photography)
• Social arts (communications, Internet, media, pedagogic, didactic)
• Ecological arts & architecture (urban planning, landscaping, preservation and conservation of nature, monuments)
iv. The games will attract 125 countries with over 7000 participants for the 2016 Games.
 
                                         Current Affairs - 7th July 2015
 
1. President Pranab Mukherjee Inaugurates 'Nakshatra Vatika'

i. President Pranab Mukherjee today inaugurated a 'Nakshatra Vatika' in the gardens of Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad, one of the Presidential Retreats. He took a round of the garden and watered a plant representing 'Surya' or the Sun God.
ii. He was accompanied by Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh E S L Narasimhan and Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Ali, an official release said.
iii. The garden will be open to public along with other gardens of the Nilayam in the first week of January 2016. The layout of 'Nakshatra Vatika' has been developed in various geometrical combinations corresponding to the Sree Chakra of Vedic astrology on a 0.91 acre plot.
iv. Each square is planted with a particular tree or plant variety that represents the respective planet and is placed as per the astronomical direction. The first inner circular band is divided in 12 small circles at parts of 30A each corresponding to the 12 Rashi (zodiac sign). Each has a plant that represents the particular zodiac sign.

2. China nominated Jin Liqun, former Chinese Finance Minster, for the post of AIIB President

i. Former Finance Minster of China Jin Liqun was in news as on 6 July 2015 he was nominated by China to be the first president of the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
ii. At present, Jin (65) is Secretary General of AIIB's interim secretariat. Earlier, he has held positions at the World Bank and was the first Chinese national to serve as a vice president at the Japan-controlled Asian Development Bank (ADB).
                                          
iii. Before joining AIIB in 2014, Jin was chairman of China International Capital Corporation, one of the mainland's largest investment banks. He holds a master's degree in English Literature from the Beijing Foreign Studies University and was a Hubert Humphrey Fellow in Boston University's economics graduate programme.
iv. The nominations for the post of president can be sent by the regional members by 31 July 2015 and the name of the president-designate will be finalised at the 6th Chief Negotiators' Meeting of the AIIB founding members in August 2015.

3. ICRISAT unveils $300 phablet for farmers

i. Farmers now can have customised tips on their phablet on the kind of agricultural inputs they might require for their field.
ii. Based on the specific soil health of their small chunks of lands, scientists at the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Government of Telangana would send timely messages to the farmers through the phablet.
iii. The Hyderabad-headquartered ICRISAT launched the Green Phablet, priced at $300 (about Rs. 18,600), for farmers in Telangana. The institute would maintain servers to safe keep the information. And even if a user loses his device, he would be able to get back the information in no time.
iv. ICRISAT Director-General David Bergvinson signed a tripartite agreement on Tuesday with the Departments of Agriculture and Information Technology to collaborate in transforming agriculture using digital technologies.
v. Addressing a gathering later, Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao said that there was a need to bring down the cost of the device to Rs. 10,000 to make it affordable for farmers.

4. USA, Brazil issued Joint Statement on Climate Change

i. Presidents of the United States of America and Brazil Barack Obama and Dilma Dilma Rousseff respectively on 30 June 2015 issued a joint statement on climate change in Washington, the USA.
ii. The joint statement includes individual commitments towards reducing green house gas (GHG) emissions and bilateral mechanisms to protect the planet from the adverse effects of climate change.
Takeaways from the joint statement on climate change
• The USA and Brazil each intend to increase the share of renewables – beyond hydropower – in their respective electricity generation mixes to the level of 20 percent by 2030. This means the USA and Brazil will need to triple and double, respectively, their share of renewable energy in the next 15 years.
• The USA will reduce GHG emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025.  
• Brazil intends to restore and reforest 12 million hectares of forests by 2030.
• Both the countries agreed to work multilaterally in the Montreal Protocol to consider promptly amendment proposals to phase down HFCs.
• A  Joint Initiative on Climate Change  will be implemented through a new high-level United States-Brazil Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation on issues relating to land use, clean energy, and adaptation, as well as policy dialogues on domestic and international climate issues.
• A bilateral joint Program on Forest and Land Sector Investment will be launched to improve the conditions for attracting investments in sustainable forest management and forest restoration, encouraging the provision of ecosystem services, building resilience, mitigating climate change, and contributing to improved income streams for farmers.

5. Renowned Urdu novelist Abdullah Hussain passed away

i. Renowned Urdu novelist from Pakistan Abdullah Hussain died on 4 July 2015 in Lahore after battling with blood cancer. He was 84.He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
ii. He authored the bestseller and critically acclaimed novel Udas Naslain, it is considered as a masterpiece of Urdu literature. His other famous novels are Baagh, Nadaar Loag and short stories Faraib and Nashaib. Hussain was also awarded with the Prime Minister's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 for his work.
iii. Hussai was born as Mohammad Khan on 14 August 1931 in Gujrat, Punjab Province of Pakistan. He did his schooling and graduation from Zameendar College of Pakistan.

6. India skipper Mithali Raj completes 5000 runs in women's ODIs

i. Skipper Mithali Raj scripted a new chapter in the history of Indian women's cricket as she became the first from the country and overall second to reach the 5000-run milestone in one-day internationals.
ii. Her stylish unbeaten knock of 81 in Bengaluru on Monday guided the team to an eight-wicket victory over New Zealand, thereby leveling the five-match series 2-2.
iii. With the help of her pivotal innings, India chased down the target of 220 only in 44.2 overs. Before Mithali, only English woman Charlotte Edwards had completed 5000 runs in ODIs.
iv. Mithali fabulous innings was decorated with 10 well-timed boundaries. However, Harmanpreet Kaur's fireworks of 32 runs in 25 balls, with the help of four boundaries and two giant sixes, also entertained the crowd. Harmanpreet ended the match with a straight six off spinner Leigh Kasperek.

7. Inshore patrol vessel Rani Durgavati joins Indian Coast Guard

i. Inshore patrol vessel Rani Durgavati was inducted into the Coast Guard here on Friday at a ceremony where the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, was the chief guest.
ii. Vice-Admiral Soni said coastal security had undergone a sea change after 26/11, and added that all agencies were important partners in preparedness. However, the Coast Guard was the most important one in coordinating with various agencies. He described Rani Durgavati as "another arrow in the quiver of the Coast Guard.”
iii. Rani Durgavati, the third in a series of five inshore patrol vessels of the Coast Guard, is named after the legendary Gond Queen who defeated the army of Baz Bahadur of the Mughal Army.
iv. Hindustan Shipyard Ltd which had built 174 ships and repaired 2,000 vessels across the range, including submarines.
 
                                     Current Affairs - 5th & 6th July 2015
 
1. E-filing of ITR: Aadhaar can be linked for easier processing

i. Last week, the finance ministry announced the commencement of the electronic filing of income tax returns for 2015-16. The department had notified the revised forms two weeks back, after the earlier forms were criticised for seeking unwieldy additional details on taxpayers' foreign travel and dormant bank accounts.
ii. starting this time, the ITR forms now have a space for Aadhaar card holders to provide their Unique Identification Numbers.
iii. The tax department has also introduced the new three-page simplified form called ITR-2A for those who may own more than one residential property , but do not have any capital gains.
iv. Most of these sites have a freemium model, where the basic ITR-1 filing is free. However, for the more complicated filings such as for small businesses and personal CA assistance, you'll have to pay.

2. Corporation Bank launched first MUDRA card under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana

i. Corporation Bank on 4 July 2015 launched country’s first MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) card under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) in Mangalore, Karnataka.
ii. The card is based on the RuPay platform and facilitates the withdrawal and use of the working capital finance by micro entrepreneurs.
iii. Under the PMMY, the bank launched three loan schemes-Shishu, Kishore and Tarun- to entrepreneurs based on their capacity to repay.
iv. While Shishu scheme provides loan up 50000 rupees, an amount of up to 5 lakh rupees will be lent under the Kishore scheme. Under Tarun scheme loan up to 10 lakh rupees will be offered.
v. The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) was launched by PM Narendra Modi on 8 April 2015 under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) to ensure credit facility to small entrepreneurs through Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs).
vi. Corporation Bank is one of the oldest banks in India that was founded in 1906. At present, Sadhu Ram Bansal is the Chairman and Managing Director of the bank.

3. Tata Teleservices appoints Anuraag Srivastava as CFO

i. Telecom service provider Tata Teleservices  today announced the appointment of Anuraag Srivastava as its Chief Financial Officer with immediate effect. Prior to taking up the new role, Srivastava served Indus Towers as Senior Vice-President of Internal Audit and Assurance.
ii. He brings with him over 20 years of experience as a finance professional with leadership roles in finance and consumer goods and telecom businesses across multiple geographies, including India, the US and South Asia.
iii. Tata Teleservices has established itself as a trusted and one of the most relied upon innovative telecom brands in the country and is rapidly scaling its businesses across the markets, Srivastava said.

4. Uttar Pradesh first to have vehicle tracking system

i. Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) has become the first State transport corporation to have a vehicle tracking system for inter-city buses, which has led to a reduction in accidents and deaths as drivers are wary of crossing the speed limits.
ii. In a passenger-friendly IT initiative, UPSRTC is also in talks with Delhi Transport Corporation and State transport undertakings in Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal to have a common bus travel card, apart from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
iii. This is to ensure that the smart cards used by UPSRTC passengers (issued by State Bank of India and ICICI Bank) become interoperable with these Metro rail systems and buses, said Meshram at a PHDCCI event here.

5. C-DOT launches solar powered, long distance WiFi hotspots

i. As part of the 'Digital India Week', Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) on Monday launched four new products including solar powered Wi-Fi and long distance Wi-Fi.
ii. The solar powered Wi-Fi hotspots can be used for smart cities, rural schools or panchayats, extending broadband connectivity remote/ unconnected places. It can also be used in ship to ship communications in deep seas.
iii. The state-of-the-art telecommunication technology developer that launched long-distance Wi-Fi, said such technology can be used for operator sharing, support to link redundancy in case of failure of one radio/ link.
iv. Apart from these, C-DOT also launched Next Generation Network solution that will address the needs of the changing telecom scenario and would enable smooth transition from Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

6. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain won 2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix title

i. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain won 2015 Birtish Grand Prix of Formula One (F1). This was his fourth victory of the season and his second of Birtish Grand Prix.
ii. With this victory Hamilton became second British F1 driver to win Birtish Grand Prix two times after David Coulthard.
iii. The drivers ranking after British Grand Prix 2015
• Lewis Hamilton (Britain) of Mercedes.
• Nico Rosberg (Germany) of Mercedes.
• Sebastian Vettel (Germany) of Ferrari.
• Felipe Massa (Brazil) of Williams.

7. Chile defeated Argentina to win 2015 Copa America Cup Football tournament

i. Chile won South America’s most prestigious football trophy, the Copa America title 2015 for the first time. It is Chile’s first ever international trophy in Football. In the final match played at Santiago de Chile, the hosts defeated 14 times champion Argentina by 4-1 goals in the penalty shootout as regular match had ended in a goal-less draw.                                        
ii. In the penalty shootout Matías Fernández, Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and Charles Aránguiz of Chilean team scored 1 goal each. While from Argentina team only Lionel Messi scored goal in the penalty shoot.
iii. The Copa America (means America Cup in Spanish and Portuguese) title is an annual international football competition.It is played between the men’s national football teams of South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

Awards
Besides the Copa trophy, there were other awards to recognise both individuals and teams, and the winners in different categories are
• Santander Fair Play: Peru
• Kia Motors Golden Gloves: Claudio Bravo (Chile)
• Claro Best Young Player: Jeison Murillo (Colombia)
• Santander Top Scorer: Eduardo Vargas (Chile) and Paolo Guerrero (Peru) - tied with four goals each

8. US wins Women’s FIFA World Cup for 3rd time

i. United States (US) won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It is overall third world cup title of US. In the World Cup final match played at Vancouver, Canada US defeated Japan by 5-2 goals score.
ii. US captain and skipper Carli Lloyd scored three goals. Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath scored one goal each.
iii. The important awards in women world cup :
• Golden Ball Award: Carli Lloyd (US), Amandine Henry (France), Aya Miyama (Japan).
• Golden Boot Award: Celia Sasic (Germany), Carli Lloyd (US), Anja Mittag (Germany).
• Golden Glove Award: Hope Solo (US).

9. India won 2015 South Asian Basketball Championship

i. India on 5 July 2015 won the South Asian Basketball (SABA) Championship title. In the final played at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, Karanataka, India defeated Sri Lanka 93-44.
ii. It was 4th edition of the championships. India was the winner of third SABA Championship.
iii. With this win, India qualified for the FIBA Asia Championship in China. FIBA Asia Championship will be played in September 2015.
iv. The winning team was given a cash prize of 35000 rupees as a personal gesture of Basketball Federation of India President K Govindraj.
v. Top three teams of the championships were India (gold), Sri Lanka (silver) and Nepal (bronze).
 
                                         Current Affairs - 4th July 2015
 
1. BSNL rolls out pre-paid card linked mobile wallet

i. BSNL launched a pre-paid card linked mobile wallet service on Friday which allows customers to transfer cash, pay for services as well as withdraw cash of up to Rs 1 lakh.
ii. The wallet service, Speed Pay, allows a customer to load money even if he does not have a bank account. The money loaded in the wallet can be transferred to an account and even withdrawn at branches or at BSNL outlets.
iii. Loading money into a mobile wallet from a bank account is an option. BSNL customers who don't have bank accounts can also load money at any BSNL retail outlet and ask the retailer to recharge their mobile wallet account and pay for various services.
iv. There will be one-per cent transaction charge if money from the wallet is transferred to other bank accounts or a there is cash withdrawal.

2. SBI launched Project Tatkal

i. The country’s largest public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) on 3 July 2015 launched Project Tatkal, an initiative to provide doorstep services and expedite Home Loan Application (HLA) process.
ii. The project will help home loan applicants to get the loan within 10 days after receipt of application form and relevant supporting documents.
iii. The project will be rolled out across all the Home Loan marketing and processing outfits in the Bank in a phased manner. The implementation will be done at large centres with sizeable Home Loan business.
iv. Earlier on 28 May 2015, the bank introduced an online customer acquisition solution (OCAS) for instant e-approval of home loan applications.

3. Guinness Book Recognises Madhya Pradesh’s World Record in Washing Hands

i. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised a record created in Madhya Pradesh on ‘World Hand washing Day’ in 2014.
ii. The mega hand washing event was held on 15 October 2014 to create awareness about hygiene by washing hands with soap.
iii. It was organised in all the 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh in over 13 thousand places. In it more than 12 lakh 78 thousand students had washed their hand simultaneously.
iv. This record broke the earlier the world record which was jointly held by Argentina, Peru and Mexico. The joint record in three countries was created on October 14, 2011 in which 7,40,870 people had washed their hands simultaneously at different locations.

4. Solar Impulse completes epic flight to Hawaii

i. Solar Impulse, the aeroplane that is powered only by the sun, has landed in Hawaii after making a historic 7,200km flight across the Pacific from Japan.
ii. The distance covered and the time spent in the air - 118 hours - are records for manned, solar-powered flight. The duration is also an absolute record for a solo, un-refuelled journey.
iii. Mr Borschberg's time betters that of the American adventurer Steve Fossett who spent 76 hours aloft in a single-seater jet in 2006.
iv. Solar Impulse's slow speed, light weight and 72m wingspan put significant constraints on the type of weather the vehicle can handle, and that first sortie was aborted after just one day in the air because of a fast developing cold front ahead of it.

5. C D Balaji took charge as Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency

i. Commodore C D Balaji (Retd) on 3 July 2015 took charge as the Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Programme Director of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
ii. He succeeded P S Subramanyam, Distinguished Scientist, who superannuated on 30 June 2015.
iii. Prior to this appointment, Balaji, an outsatnding scientists, was Project Director of the LCA’s naval version. He was commissioned into the Indian Navy's engineering branch in September 1978 and since then, he has specialised in the Naval Aviation Arm.
iv. He served as an Air Engineer Officer of INAS 310 (Alize aircraft) for about 3 years embarking the Aircraft Carrier Vikrant. He joined ADA on deputation in 2002 to work on the development of a naval version of the light fighter. In December 2006, he left the Navy and fully moved to ADA.
v. Based in Bengaluru, ADA is the premier multi-agency body spearheading the development of combat aircraft for the Air Force and the Navy- among them is the LCA and the proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft AMCA.

6. Former CJI Y K Sabharwal passes away

i. Former Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal passed away here last evening. 73-year-old Justice Sabharwal is survived by two sons Chetan and Nitin. The cremation will take place today.
ii. Justice Sabharwal was CJI from November 1, 2005 to January 13, 2007.
iii. He was elevated as an additional judge of the Delhi High Court in 1986 and became its permanent judge in April 1987.
iv. From Delhi High Court, he went to Bombay High Court as chief justice before being appointed as a judge of the SC on January 28, 2001.
v. Justice Sabharwal delivered several important judgements including the verdict in January 2006, that held the dissolution of Bihar Assembly as illegal and unconstitutional.

7. World Food Prize 2015 to be conferred on Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh

i. The World Food Prize Foundation on 1 July 2015 announced to confer the 2015 World Food Prize on Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh.  He will be awarded the prize in October 2015 during the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium at Des Moines in Iowa, the USA.
ii. He was selected for the coveted award by the Selection Committee for the World Food Prize headed by eminent Indian agricultural scientist Prof MS Swaminathan.
iii. Sir Abed has been recognized for his decades of service to human development and through building Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) that operates in 10 countries around the world.
iv. BRAC, set up by Sir Abed is the largest non-governmental organization in the world that employs over 150000 employees and covered a vast gamut of activities related to poverty alleviation and development.

8. Four Indian-Americans honoured with Great Immigrants award 2015 in United States

i. Four Indian-Americans have been honoured withprestigious Great Immigrants, The Pride of America award 2015. They are among 38 distinguished personalities from more than 30 countries around the world who have been honoured with this year’s award.
ii. The award is given by New York-based Carnegie Corporation on the occasion of Independence Day of United States i.e. 4th July.
Preet Bharara: US Attorney, Southern District of New York.
Rakesh Khurana: Dean of Harvard College and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership and Development.
Madhulika Sikka: Vice President and Executive Editor of .Mic.
Abraham Verghese: Physician, Professor and Author.
 
                                         Current Affairs - 3rd July 2015
 
i. SBI launches initiative to speed up home loan applications

i. Country's largest lender State Bank of India today launched an initiative to provide doorstep services and expedite home loans application process.
ii. The initiative known as 'Project Tatkal' will help get the loan within 10 days after receipt of application form and relevant supporting documents, the bank said in a release.
iii. The implementation will be done at large centres with sizable home loan business.
iv. The bank has also recently introduced an online customer acquisition solution (OCAS) for instant e-approval of home loan applications.

2. Indian-American professor R Paul Singh named for 2015 World Agriculture Prize laureate

i. R Paul Singh, Indian-American professor has been selected for 2015 World Agriculture Prize laureate.
ii. The award was announced at the annual Global Confederation for Higher Education Associations for Agriculture and Life Sciences (GCHERA) conference held at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon.
iii. Singh is known for niche research areas of agricultural sector such as freezing preservation, energy conservation, post-harvest technology and mass transfer in food processing.
iv. He had earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering form Punjab Agricultural University. He had completed his doctorate from Michigan State University, US.

3. Keltron founding chairman K P P Nambiar passed away

i. K P P Nambiar, founding Chairman of Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Keltron) died on 1 July 2015 due to age-related illnesses. He was 86.
ii. Nambiar is survived by wife Umadevi Nambiar, a son and a daughter.

About K P P Nambiar

• A native of Kannur in Kerala, Nambiar was credited with setting up India's first state-run electronics venture Keltron and India's first IT park Technopark.
• He started his career at Bharat Electronics and later worked with Texas Instruments in England and Tata in Mumbai.
• He also served as the chairman of the Indian Telephone Industries from 1986 to 1988.
• He was the president of the World Malayalee Council.
• Nambiar was honoured with Padma Bhushan award in 2006.

4. National Green Tribunal banned use of Plastic in Haridwar & Rishikesh

i. National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 2 July 2015 imposed a complete ban on plastic bags in the pilgrimage towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh. It also fixed a penalty of 5000 rupees on anyone found violating the order.
ii. The penalty will be charged as compensation for degradation of environment.
iii. NGT bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar gave the direction on a complaint filed by environmentalist MC Mehta against pollution of the Ganga River.
iv. NGT in its order said that there shall be complete prohibition on plastic in the two districts, particularly on the banks and flood plains of the river. Plastic will not be used for any purpose, like for serving food, commodities, packing items and others.
v. Besides, the tribunal ordered the Haridwar Nagar Nigam, police and state pollution control board officials posted in that area to take rounds of flood plains and Ghats of Ganga to ensure that no plastic is used in any manner. It also held that no commodity of any kind is sold by the shopkeepers in plastic bags and the Nigam would ensure that any kind of municipal solid waste or animal waste is not permitted to be thrown in the Ghats under any circumstances.
vi. It also asked the nigam, pollution control board and police to place appropriate sized dustbins near the shops within a week. It would be mandatory for people to throw waste in dustbins only, which will be collected on daily basis and taken at appropriate site and dumped according to MSW Rules, 2000.

5. Indian-American teacher Darshan Jain receives US Presidential Award

i. Darshan Jain, an Indian-American teacher has been selected for prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
ii. He was named for the award by President Barack Obama along with 107 Mathematics and Science teachers across US. All of them were chosen for shaping America’s success through their passion for Math and Science.
iii. Presently Darshan Jain is director of mathematics at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Previously, he had taught mathematics at this institute for eight years.
iv. US Presidential Award is awarded annually to outstanding science and mathematics teachers from across US from K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grades). The award carries monetary prize of US 10000 dollars.

6. Airbus to build military choppers in India with Mahindra

i. Europe's Airbus Group and India's Mahindra Group have struck a deal to build helicopters jointly as they bid to win an expected wave of orders from the country's armed forces, the companies said in a statement on Friday.                                          
ii. The two groups will form a joint venture in the coming months, aiming to become the first private manufacturer of helicopters in India, the statement said. It did not say how much the two will invest.
iii. India is in the midst of a huge upgrade of its armed forces — analysts forecast it will spend $250 billion over the next decade — and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to encourage more indigenous manufacturing to end India's position as the world's largest arms importer.
iv. Airbus Helicopters, part of Airbus Group, is joining forces with Mahindra after talking to several Indian companies that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to capitalise on the government's push to build arms at home.

7. Govt releases socio-economic and caste census for better policy-making

i. The socio-economic and caste census (SECC) 2011 on Friday painted a grim picture of rural India, indicating that one out of three families
living in villages is landless and depends on manual labour for livelihood.
ii. The SECC 2011, also the first paperless census conducted on hand-held electronic devices by the government, said 23.52% rural families have no literate adult above 25 years, suggesting a poor state of education among rural masses.
iii. The census, carried out in 640 districts under the aegis of the rural development ministry, was released jointly by finance minister Arun Jaitley and rural development minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh.
iv. According to the census, there are a total number of 24.39 crore households in the country, of which 17.91 crore live in villages. Of these, 10.69 crore households are considered as deprived.
 
                                         Current Affairs - 2nd July 2015
 
1. Cuba becomes first nation to eliminate mother-to-child HIV and syphilis: WHO

i. Cuba has become the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. It was announced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
ii. Cuba was able to achieve this milestone with the help and efforts of WHO and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
iii. Since 2010, WHO/PAHO are working with partners in Cuba and other American countries to implement a regional initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
iv. Services under this initiative were provided as part of an equitable, accessible and universal health system. It included services like maternal and child health programs and integrated programs for HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

2. 'Mhara Gaon - Jagmag Gaon' scheme launched in Haryana

i. Haryana government today announced to launch a voluntary scheme 'Mhara Gaon - Jagmag Gaon', aimed at providing 24-hour uninterrupted power supply to rural domestic consumers and improving electricity bill collections in order to reduce "huge" accumulated losses of power utilities.
ii. Announcing the scheme here, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the state has become first in the country to launch such an "innovative" scheme.
iii. Explaining the scheme, the Chief Minister said at present rural consumers were being supplied electricity for only 12 hours daily.
iv. The consumers in these 310 villages falling under these 83 feeders would now be urged to install their meters outside their houses and get their old electricity wires replaced with insulated wires, the chief minister said.

3. Prof. Sanjeev Galande selected for G D Birla Award for Scientific Research 2014

i. Prof. Sanjeev Galande has been selected for the prestigious G D Birla award for Scientific Research 2014. He has been selected for his significant contribution and his pioneering research in the field of Epigenetics and Molecular Cell Biology.
ii. Presently, he is a professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune and also leading a team of scientists in studying various aspects of gene
iii. Galande had obtained doctorate in biochemistry from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in 1996. He is also a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US. He is pioneer for establishing the Centre of Excellence in Epigenetics at IISER.

4. Union Government hiked national floor-level minimum wage to 160 rupees per day

i. The Union Government in June 2015 increased the national floor-level minimum wage (NFLMW) to 160 rupees per day from 137 rupees per day. The new rate will be effective from 1 July 2015.
ii. If states revise their minimum wages as per the new NFLMW, the decision is expected to benefit millions of workers in the scheduled employments in the respective state jurisdictions.
iii. It was implemented for the first time in 1996 on the basis of the recommendations of the National Commission on Rural Labour (NCRL) under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
iv. It is a non-statutory measure and after every revision, the State Governments are persuaded to fix minimum wages such that in none of the scheduled employments, the minimum wage is less than NFLMW.

5. Dr Anup K Pujari joins as Secretary, MSME

i. Dr Anup K Pujari has been appointed Secretary of Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) here on Wednesday.
ii. He succeeds Shri Madhav Lal who superannuated on June 30, 2015. Before joining the Ministry of MSME, Pujari was holding the charge of Secretary, Mines.
iii. Born in 1956, Pujari is a post-graduate from the University of Boston, and a Doctorate in Economics. He has served the Central and Karnataka Government in various capacities.
iv. Shri Balvender Kumar took over the charge from Dr. Anup K Pujari IAS (KN: 1980) who is now the Secretary Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.

6. Digital Guddi-Gudda Board of Jalgaon district adopted as Best Practice under BBBP scheme

i. The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development on 1 July 2015 adopted the ‘Digital Guddi-Gudda Board’ as a Best Practice under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme. It was named as the best practice on the occasion of Digital India Week that is being observed from 1 July to 7 July 2015.
ii. The Digital Guddi-Gudda Board is an innovation of District Jalgaon in Maharashtra. It was initiated by its Collector, Rubal Aggarwal with the support of Raksha Khadse, Member of Parliament from Raver and AT Nana Patil, Member of Parliament from Jalgaon.
Features of the digital board
• It works as a platform for dissemination of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Material on BBBP.
• It is also used to update monthly birth statistics.
• It displays audio video material as well as still frames for disseminating information.

7. NASA unveils prototype of plane to fly on Mars

i. NASA has unveiled a boomerang-shaped aircraft that could be the first to take flight on Mars to look for potential landing sites for future manned mission to the red planet.                                         
ii. The Prandtl—m will be released at about at 100,000 feet altitude, which will simulate the flight conditions of the Martian atmosphere, said Al Bowers, NASA Armstrong chief scientist and Prandtl—m programme manager.
iii. The tests could validate how the aircraft works, leading to modifications that will allow it to fold and deploy from a 3U CubeSat in the aeroshell of a future Mars rover.

8. CCEA approved Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yoiana (PMKSY)

i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 2 July 2015 gave its approval for a new scheme called Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
ii. The Yojana was approved with an outlay of 50000 crore rupees over a period of five years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20 and the allocation for the financial year 2015-16 has been kept at 5300 crore rupees.

Aim of PMKSY

• Bringing concerned Ministries/Departments/Agencies/Research and Financial Institutions engaged in creation/use/recycling/potential recycling of water under a common platform so that a comprehensive and holistic view of the entire water cycle is taken into account and proper water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries.
Objectives of PMKSY
• To provide convergence to existing schemes of water management, thus bringing efficiency to the use of water
• Expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani)
• Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water
• Enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop)
• Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture
• Attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system
 
                                          Current Affairs - 1st July 2015
 
1. Shimla Rs 643 Cr water scheme cleared for World Bank funding

i. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here disclosed that a Rs 643 crore project for augmenting the water supply to the growing hill city had been approved by the union government.
ii. The project got the union finance ministry nod yesterday (29.6.2015) and it would be placed before World Bank for funding purposes, said a government spokesman. PC Dhiman, additional chief secretary, on behalf of the state attended the meeting.
iii. The loan component would be Rs 514 crore and the state government would be contributing Rs 129 crore for funding the project.
iv. The new project involves lifting water from Kol Dam reservoir on River Satluj and it would meet the water needs of Shimla municipal corporation as well suburban areas under the special planning area.

2. SBI partners with MakeMyTrip for travel biz

i. In its series of digital initiatives and tie-ups, State Bank of India, country’s largest bank, partnered with online travel company MakeMyTrip.com to capitalise on the business opportunities of the booming e-commerce and m-commerce ecosystem.
ii. The alliance includes partnership with personal banking unit for consumer facing propositions – including EMIs on purchase of holidays & international travel, customized travel products like Forex cards and travel products that inspire SBI customers to travel.
iii. It also includes partnership with SME & Acquiring Business -- MMT suppliers, such as 2-3 star hotels, franchisees, Trade & Travel partners will get access to SBI products, loans, bank guarantees, PoS payment instruments at preferential rates and partnership with cards for promoting card usage which will help in pushing the agenda of a less cash economy.
iv. MakeMyTrip constitutes about 46% of the bookings in the online space and a lot of product work is being done in the $22-23 billion travel industry ecosystem.

3. Matti Makkonen, Father of SMS technology passes away

i. Finnish telecom engineer and father of messaging service (SMS) technology Matti Makkonen passed away following serious illness.
ii. He was 63. In 1984, he had pioneered the idea of sending messages via mobile networks but failed to patent it was merely idea and was not actual implementation.
iii. Matti Makkonen was born on 16 April 1952 in Suomussalmi, Finland. He had graduated as an electrical engineer from the Oulu technical college in 1976.
iv. He had served as vice president of PTL and was actively involved in the development of the GSM-technology from 1984 to 1988. In 1989, he was appointed as President of the mobile communication unit which was later renamed as Telecom Finland.
v. he was awarded The Economist’s Innovation Award in the computing and telecommunications category.

4. Military transport plane of Indonesia, Hercules C-130, crashed in Medan city

i. In Indonesia, a military transport plane Hercules C130 on 30 June 2015 crashed in a residential city of Medan, on the northern island of Sumatra. The plane hit two houses and a hotel before bursting into flames.
ii. It is believed that all 113 people on board were killed. Many of the passengers are thought to have been relatives of servicemen and women.
iii. The accident occurred when the Hercules transport plane was on its way from an air force base in Medan to Tanjung Pinang in Sumatra.
iv. Medan, with about 3.4 million people, is the third most populous city in Indonesia after the capital Jakarta and Surabaya.

5. Greece became first developed nation to default on IMF debt

i. Greece on 30 June 2015 became the first developed nation to default on International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt. It became a defaulter after it missed the deadline for payment of 1.7 billion dollar (1.5 billion euro) to IMF.
ii. The Eurozone Finance Ministers refused to extend its bailout to Greece after it rejected the proposal given by the troika viz., International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC) and European Central Bank (ECB). The proposal said that Greece needs to raise its primary surplus within two years in order to avail the 15.5 billion Euros of funding, which in turn required pension and tax reforms for which the Syriza government is reluctant to.
iii. However, the ministers said that they will discuss a last-minute request from Greece for a new two-year bailout on 1 July 2015. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.
iv. Besides, IMF also announced that it had received a request from the Greek authorities for an extension of their obligation and that it would go to the Executive Board in due course.

6. BHEL commissions Sudan's largest power project

i. State-owned power equipment maker Bhel today said it has commissioned Sudan's largest power plant.
ii. Bhel has executed this project on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis. It has designed, manufactured, supplied and installed the complete power project (4 units of 125 MW each) including associated civil works.
iii. The project uses crude oil from South Sudan as fuel, for which Bhel has designed special boilers. All the major equipment for the project -- boilers, steam-turbines, generators, Controls & Instrumentation (C&I), transformers -- have been manufactured in-house.
iv. The company has also constructed a canal from the White Nile River to supply water for the project. The project is funded by the India's Line of Credit of USD 350 million.
v. The Kosti plant is Bhel's largest oil-fired thermal power plant in the overseas market. It is also Bhel's first crude oil fired thermal power plant in Africa and comes on the heels of the successful completion of Bhel's 28 MW Nyaborango Hydro project in Rwanda.

7. Digital India huge opportunity for health, education: Anil Agarwal

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Digital India' drive will open up huge opportunities in health and education for rural areas, creating a large number of jobs.
ii. The initiative aims to digitally deliver all the essential services to citizens and transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by leveraging IT.
iii. Agarwal, who heads the mining giant Vedanta Resources Plc, is the Non-Executive Chairman of Sterlite Technologies Ltd which is involved majorly in laying the optical fibre network to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchyats.
iv. It is undertaking Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) deployment in India to enable high speed broadband connectivity and is developing several transmission infrastructure projects spanning over 5,000 Circuit Kms across India.

8. Abhijeet Gupta wins 19th Commonwealth Chess Championship

i. Former world junior champion and Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta won the 19th Commonwealth Chess Championship.
ii. He won the gold medal after settling for a quick draw with his opponent Arghyadip Das in the ninth and final round played at Mumbai, Maharashtra.                                         
iii. In this Chess Championship, Arghyadip Das came second winning the silver medal and M R Lalith Babu won the bronze medal in men’s section.
iv. In the women’s section, Padmini Rout won the gold medal. While S Vijayalakshmi and S Meenakshi won silver and bronze medal respectively. In this championship both Vijayalakshmi and Meenakshi had won the last six games.

9. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Inaugurates Integrated Security System in Mumbai

i. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the Integrated Security System (ISS) at 6 railway stations in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The system was inaugurated Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Dadar, Kurla and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT), Kalyan and Thane.
ii. The ISS is advanced security systems that aims at improving security on Railway premises and also ensure safety of the people and avert terror attacks in extreme case. The system has a total of 118 CCTV cameras. They will beam the live images of railway stations under its coverage on six monitors.
iii. In the first of the project which was completed in June 2015 it covered four stations CST, Dadar, Kurla and LTT.
iv. The second phase is expected to be completed by December 2016. Apart from this, he also inaugurated a modified foot over bridge (FOB) to facilitate passenger movement at Diva.

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