Current Affairs - September 2015 and 2016

Current Affairs - September 2015

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                                           Current Affairs - 30th September 2015

 

1. M.R. Poovamma and Babita Kumari conferred Arjuna Award 2015

i. M.R. Poovamma and Babita Kumari have been conferred with prestigious Arjuna Award 2015 for their individual achievements in sports.

ii. The award was presented to them by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Youth affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal in New Delhi.

iii. M.R. Poovamma has been conferred with this award for her contributions in Athletics and Babita Kumari in the field of Wrestling.

iv. Arjuna Awards are given by Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to sportsperson in recognition of their outstanding achievement in National sports.

2. Union Government appointed four Brand Ambassadors for Digital India Programme

i. Union Government on 29 September 2015 announced that four brand ambassadors for Digital India programme were appointed.

ii. The appointments were took place in the first week of July 2015 as part of the Digital India Week campaign.

List of Brand Ambassadors

• Satwat Jagwani, All India IIT-JEE —Advanced Topper -2015 (Student)
• Krati Tiwari, All India IIT-JEE —Advanced Girl Topper -2015 (Student)
• Ankit Fadia, Author & Ethical Hacker
• Pranav Mistry, Samsung USA (Computer Scientist & Author of 6th Sense)

iii. The services of these Brand Ambassadors will be used for generating mass awareness for the programme for a period of one year since their nomination.

3. India’s Gurpreet Singh wins silver medal at 2015 Asian Air Gun Championship

i. India’s ace shooter Gurpreet Singh has won silver medal at 2015 Asian Air Gun Championship held in New Delhi.

ii. In the finals of 10 metre Air Pistol event, Gurpreet shot a tally of 197.6 to stand second on the podium. India’s Jitu Rai finished at third position wining bronze medal in this event.

iii. The gold medal in the 10 metre Air Pistol event was bagged by Boroujeni Safari of Iran with a tally shot of 198.7.

iv. It should be noted that this fourth medal India has won in 2015 Asian Air Gun Championship. Earlier, Abhinav Bindra had clinched the gold in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event while Ayonika Pual won the bronze in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event.

4. International Translation Day observed across the world

i. The International Translation Day was observed across the world on 30 September 2015 with the theme The Changing Face of Translation and Interpreting.

ii. Established by the International Federation of Translators (FIT), the annual celebration of the International Translation Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of translators who endeavour to make the world a slightly smaller place by breaking down language barriers.

iii. The work of translators is seen as being of growing importance due to growing opportunities for international travel and globalisation of trade markets. The event is marked with a series of dedicated events, seminars and symposiums across the world.

5. Piyush Goyal launched Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity - Survey of States Report

i. Piyush Goyal Union Minister of State (IC) for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy, on 29 September 2015 launched ‘Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity - Survey of States Report’.

ii. The study was conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment & Water (CEEW) in collaboration with Columbia University with support from the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

iii. The analysis in the report provides a first of a kind multi-dimensional evaluation of the state of energy access in India.

iv. The report highlights that about 300 million Indians rely on kerosene for lighting, and more than 800 million relying on traditional biomass. It says that the access to modern forms of energy is still a significant barrier to our development.

v. It suggests that there is a need to focus beyond aggregate figures on electrification and LPG connections, and be sensitive to the numerous drivers which will determine how India will ensure true energy access for all.

6. First-ever US-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial dialogue held

i. The first-ever US-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial dialogue was held on 29 September 2015. It was held on the sidelines of the 70th UN General Assembly session in New York.

ii. The trilateral meet was attended by the Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

iii. During the meet, the foreign ministers of Japan, the United States and India agreed to coordinate policies in addressing China's increasing maritime activities.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 29th September 2015
 

1. Strong Evidence of Liquid Water on Mars: NASA

i. New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide a strong evidence that liquid water flows intermittently on the present-day Mars. The findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience on 28 September 2015.

ii. The researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet using an imaging spectrometer on MRO.

iii. These darkish streaks appear to fade and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit and disappear at colder times.

iv. These downhill flows known as Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water.

2. Ministry of Railways launched Indian Railway Knowledge Portal

i. Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on 28 September 2015 launched Indian Railway Knowledge Portal for dissemination of detailed information on Indian Railways.

ii. It is an initiative of the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) which allows the user to access most of the available knowledge about Indian Railways at one location due to linkage of websites, documents and much more.

iii. The portal was launched through video-conferencing established between Ministry of Railways, Rail Bhawan and NAIR Headquarters at Vadodara.

iv. The portal has made it easier for users to access information about Indian Railways, Railway Research and Development, use of ICT in Indian Railways, major International Railway Journals, existing Indian Railway Libraries and World Railways from a single web page.

v. Indian Railway Knowledge Portal also provides e-access to existing libraries of Railways. Also, National Informatics Centre (NIC) has clustered all the libraries to a single interface via e-Granthalaya. Besides, information regarding fan clubs, heritage, and rail museums across the world can also be accessed from the portal.

3. Wipro selected as member of Dow Jones Sustainability World Index

i. A leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company, Wipro Limited on 28 September 2015 was selected as member of the global Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) - 2015 for the sixth consecutive year.

ii. A total of 317 companies were selected as the DJSI World constituents for the year 2015-16 out of 1845 companies that were assessed from around the world. A total of 76 companies participated globally in the IT Services of which 8 have been selected for the World Index.

iii. Wipro is a member of DJSI World and Emerging Markets Indices.

4. Indo-British van driver Dee Patel honoured with Pride of Britain Award

i. Prince Charles of Britain on 28 September 2015 awarded Indo-British van driver Dee Patel with the Pride of Britain Award. Patel had risked his life to save others. Daily Mirror newspaper organised a ceremony at the Governor House in London where Patel was given the award in the outstanding bravery category.

ii. When Patel set off for his routine job on 18 May 2005, he noticed a car ahead of him that was dangerously out of control on the M25 motorway.  Soon, he realised that the driver of the car, a young woman, slumped unconscious over the steering wheel. It was when Patel, without wasting any time, came for the rescue of the woman.

iii. The Pride of Britain Awards was founded by Peter Willis in 1999. It is an annual award ceremony which takes place in the United Kingdom. The award is given to British people who have shown immense bravery in the hours of crisis.

iv. The winners for the awards are chosen by a panel of distinguished judges. The awards are organised in association with the Daily Mirror, Lidl, Good Morning Britain and The Prince’s Trust.

5. INS Kochi commissioned into Indian Navy

i. Indian Navy has commissioned INS Kochi, a Kolkata-class Guided Missile Destroyer in its contingent to showcase India’s indigenous efforts in the field of underwater warfare. The ship was commissioned by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Mumbai.

ii. It is a second ship of the three ships Kolkata-class Guided Missile Destroyer to be inducted. Earlier in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had commissioned INS Kolkata. The third and last ship of Kolkata-class Guided Missile Destroyer INS Chennai is expected to join Indian Navy in 2016.

iii. The ship drives its name from the port city of Kochi (Kerala) which had distinct maritime character and culture and symbolises the special bond between the Indian Navy. It has been built at Mazagaon Docks (MDL), Mumbai and it is the 10th destroyer in India’s combat fleet.

iv. It is loaded with state-of-the-art weapons, sensors and advanced stealth features including long-range BrahMos surface-to- surface missile. It has AK 630 Close In Weapon System (CIWS) and 76 mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) designed to take on air and surface targets.

v. Its anti-submarine arsenal consists of indigenously built Twin-tube Torpedo Launchers (ITTL), Indigenous Rocket Launchers (IRL) and bow-mounted new generation HUMSA Sonar Dome. INS Kochi is also equipped to operate 2 Sea King or Chetak helicopters.

6. India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2015 begins in Pune

i. India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2015 has begun at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra. It is third edition of the joint training exercise between both countries that seeks to build Military to Military co-operation and interoperability.

ii. Aim of MITRA SHAKTI 2015 Exercise is to share the best military practices between the two Armies and promote healthy military to military relations.

iii. It also seeks to develop joint strategies between the two Armies by sharing expertise of conducting operations. The 14 days exercise’s basic objective is to enhance confidence and trust between the two militaries and engage in anti-terrorism operations including those under the UN mandate.

iv. It will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect between armies of both nations. It will seek to tap the rich repository of experience of each other and extract maximum learning value from the joint training.

7. RBI Governor has surprised with 50 bps cut

i. Most people expected a rate cut, but the expectations were for a 25 basis points cut. As many times in the past, the RBI Governor has surprised the markets.

ii. This surprise is pleasant with the announcement of a 50 bps rate cut. But the message is clear. Banks need to pass on this rate cut to industry and consumers.

iii. The RBI Governor is also indicating an easier posture going forward from RBI. It bodes well in terms of the timing of the decision. Since the US rate hike has been deferred.

iv. It is important to take advantage of this. Multiple factors have driven the decision, including the Government's ability to handle the fiscal deficit right now.

 

                                   Current Affairs - 27th & 28th September 2015

 

1. Dr. Jacob Tsimerman wins 2015 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize

i. Mathematician Dr. Jacob Tsimerman from Canada has been chosen for the prestigious 2015 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize.

ii. Presently he is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Canada and his mathematics research work is primarily in the field of Number Theory and surrounding topics.

iii. He will be conferred with the prize during the International Conference on Number Theory to be held at SASTRA University in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu.

iv. The award has been named after great Indian Mathematician autodidact Srinivasa Ramanujan. It was established in 2005 by Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) University.

v. It is an annual award bestowed on young mathematicians for his outstanding contributions to areas of mathematics influenced by the Srinivasa Ramanujan.

2. China successfully launched carrier rocket Long March-11

i. China on 25 September 2015 successfully launched a new model of carrier rocket the Long March-11 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the north-western province of Gansu. The rocket carried four micro-satellites into space, which will be used mainly for testing.

ii. This solid propellant rocket was developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology with the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket will mainly be used for launching micro-satellites.

iii. The Long March 11 launch is the 211th of China’s Long March series, following the first launch in April 1970 when a Long March 1 rocket had put China’s first satellite Dong Fang Hong-1 into the orbit.

iv. The launch of Long March-11 was China’s eighth launch in 2015, following the missions sending three Beidou global positioning satellites the Gaofen-8, Gaofen-9 and Yaogan Weixing-27 earth observation satellites to the space.

v. On 20 September 2015, Long March 6 debut of China lofted 20 small satellites.

3. Lewis Hamilton wins 2015 Japanese Grand Prix title of Formula One

i. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain won 2015 Japanese Grand Prix title of Formula One. This was his overall eight victory of the season.

ii. He has won Australia, China, Bahrain, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium and Italy 2015 Grand Prix titles of Formula One.

iii. It should be noted Lewis Hamilton has won highest number as compared to any other British driver in the history of Formula One. He is currently 5th on the all-time list of F1 with 41 wins.

iv. It is the 66th season of the Formula One World Championship which is a motor racing championship for Formula One cars. The championship has been recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the sport’s governing body as the highest class of competition for open-wheel racing cars.

v. 2015 season began in March 2015 starting in Australia with participation 22 drivers representing ten teams. The season is going to end in Abu Dhabi on 29 November 2015.

4. September 27: World Tourism Day

i. Every year World Tourism Day (WTD) is observed on September 27 to raise awareness about the importance of tourism.

ii. To mark 2015 WTD, Union Ministry of State for Tourism and Culture established a Medical Tourism and Wellness Board.  The board will give a new shape to medical tourism keeping in view its importance in the country.

iii. Union Government also had declared free entry for tourists to nearly 200 ticketed monuments and museums across India except in Bihar as a part of celebrations of 2015 WTD.

iv. United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is flagship initiative of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). It is observed annually since 1980.

v. United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is flagship initiative of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). It is observed annually since 1980. The day marks adaptation of Statutes of the UNWTO on September 27, 1970. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community.

5. PSLV Successfully Launches India's Multi Wavelength Space Observatory ASTROSAT

i. Isro on Monday successfully launched India's first astronomy satellite Astrosat, eleven years after the government cleared the project.

ii. A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) carrying Astrosat and six other satellites lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 10am.

iii. In around 25 minutes after liftoff, PSLV-C30 injected Astrosat and other satellites -- four US nano satellites, a microsatellite from Indonesia a nanosatellite from Canada - into their respective orbits. This is the first time India is launching a US satellite.

iv. Astrosat was placed in an orbit 644.651km from earth, as desired. The satellite achieved an expected inclination of 6.002 degree.

6. Google teamed up with Indian Railways to provide free Wi-Fi at 400 Stations

i. Internet search engine giant Google on 27 September 2015 announced its tie-up with Indian Railways that will provide free Wi-Fi facilities to 400 stations. The Wi-Fi facilities will be provided under Project Nilgiri .

ii. The plan will initially start with 100 busiest railway stations. Later, the facility will be extended to the remaining stations.

iii. The project will make Internet hot-spots available to more than 10 million people just with the first 100 stations online. This will make it the largest Wi-Fi project in the country.

iv. The Access & Energy team of Google together with Indian Railways and RailTel, which provides Internet services as RailWire via its extensive fiber network, will bring the first station online in the coming months.

v. As per the initial plan, Indian Railways will introduce Wi-Fi services at 400 A1 and A category stations throughout the country and in select trains in a phase-wise manner. Indian Railways will introduce Wi-Fi services at 75 A1 category station by the end of 2015.

vi. Google on 28 September 2015 released a map of the first 100 stations online that will get high-speed Wi-Fi hot spots in India.

7. S K Sharma appointed as Chairman of Bhakra Beas Management Board

i. S K Sharma was appointed as the Chairman of Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) with effect from 25 September 2015. Sharma succeeded A B Agrawal, who was Chairman for a period of about five years.

ii. A civil engineering graduate from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, Sharma joined Haryana irrigation and water resources department in 1980 as sub divisional officer.

iii. While working in Haryana Irrigation & Water Resources Department, he has monitored various canal regulation related hydraulic structures, pump houses, canal and drainage network, NABARD projects etc. He has also handled training works on the river Yamuna.

iv. During working as Chief Engineer of Beas Satluj Link (BSL) project, he has been instrumental in successfully running of dredger and other allied works, besides running and maintenance of BSL Water Conductor System.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 24th & 25th September 2015
 

1. Martin Winterkorn resigned as Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen

i. Martin Winterkorn on 23 September 2015 resigned as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Volkswagen. Winterkorn's resignation came following the revelation that the carmaker manipulated US diesel car emissions tests.

ii. Winterkorn, in his eight years service in the company, oversaw a doubling in Volkswagen's sales and an almost tripling in profit. He joined Volkswagen in the early 1990s in a quality-monitoring role, before working in product management, technical development and research roles.

iii. He started his auto career in 1981 at Audi, serving on the board for quality assurance after an engineering stint with Bosch.

2. Former Indian Cricket Captain Sourav Ganguly appointed President of Cricket Association of Bengal

i. Former Indian Cricket captain Sourav Ganguly was on 24 September 2015 appointed as the President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). The announcement regarding this was made by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat building in Kolkata.

ii. He succeeded Jagmohan Dalmiya and at the time of appointment Ganguly was serving CAB in the capacity of Joint-Secretary.

iii. The post had fallen vacant after the sudden demise of Dalmiya at the age of 75 on 20 September 2015.

iv. Besides, Dalmiya’s son Avishek Dalmiya was inducted as one of the two Joint-Secretaries, replacing Ganguly. Subir Ganguly will continue as the other Joint-Secretary while Biswarup Dey will continue as Treasurer.

3. Arvind Panagariya replaces Suresh Prabhu as G20 sherpa

i. Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of Niti Aayog, has been appointed as the sherpa for G20 negotiations, a key responsibility at a time when India is asserting its presence on the global stage.

ii. A sherpa represents the government or the Prime Minister at Group of 20 countries meetings and helps articulate the official position on critical issues. Panagariya will replace railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who has been the sherpa for G20 talks, sources told TOI.

iii. Prabhu was appointed as the sherpa when he was not a minister and continued to hold the position after he was named to head the railway ministry. Prabhu represented India in several vital summits and forcefully articulated New Delhi's stand on economic and other crucial policy challenges.
 
iv. Traditionally , the sherpa's position has been held by the deputy chairman of the erstwhile Planning Commission.Montek Singh Ahluwalia played the role of sherpa during the UPA regime and accompanied the then PM Manmohan Singh in key G20 summits.

4. MUDRA credit camp on Sept 28

i. The banks in Dakshina Kannada district will conduct a mega credit camp to disburse loans under the MUDRA scheme of the Centre on September 28.

ii. A press release by the Lead Bank of the district, Syndicate Bank, said here on Thursday that the Central Government has conceived the idea of establishing MUDRA (Micro Unit Development and Refinance Agency) Bank through which the beneficiaries, existing and new, can get loans from all the commercial banks and regional rural banks in the country. Such loans are termed as MUDRA loans.

iii. To popularise the scheme and to speed up the disbursement of MUDRA loans, the Department of Financial Services under the Union Ministry of Finance has advised the heads of all the commercial banks and regional rural banks to launch a campaign from September 25 to October 2 for disbursing loans under MUDRA.

iv. Sanction letters will be distributed to the beneficiaries of all the banks in Dakshina Kannada district in the mega credit camp to be held in Mangaluru on September 28, the release said.

5. Mukesh Ambani India’s richest person for 9th consecutive year: Forbes

i. Industrialist Mukesh Ambani has been named as India’s richest person for ninth consecutive year in a row with a net worth of 18.9 billion dollars in the 2015 Forbes magazine’s India rich list.

ii. Presently, Mr. Ambani is the Chairman, Managing director (MD) and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). It should be noted that RIL is India’s second most valuable company by market value after Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

iii. The combined wealth of India’s 100 richest persons remained largely unchanged at 345 billion dollars in 2015 as compared to 346 billion dollars in 2014.

iv. Flipkart’s co-founders Sachin and Binni Bansal have made their debut in this edition of list. They are placed at 86th position with a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars each. There are 12 newcomers in this edition of list including Flipkart’s founders, IndiGo’s co-founder Rakesh Gangwal.

v. Forbes magazine has compiled the list using shareholding and financial data obtained from individuals and families, stock exchanges, analysts and regulators.

6. Marathi film ‘Court’ selected as India’s official entry to Oscars

i. Critically acclaimed Marathi film ‘Court’ has been selected as India’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language category of the 88th Academy Awards 2016 (popularly known as Oscars).

ii. The film was shortlisted from 30 other films by a Film Federation of India (FFI) jury headed by film-maker and director Amol Palekar. It should be noted that Court is third Marathi film to be shortlisted for India’s official entry to Oscars. Other two films are Shwaas (2004) and Harishchandrachi Factory (2008).

iii. Court is a courtroom drama film that examines the Indian legal system through the trial of an aging folk singer in a lower court in Mumbai. The film is directorial debut of Chaitanya Tamhane who also has written story of the film.

iv. It has been produced by Vivek Gomber and cast includes Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber and Geetanjali Kulkarni etc.The film also has won the Best Feature Film award at the 62nd National Film Awards in 2015.

7. EPFO won Skoch Award for Smart Governance Initiatives

i. Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on 23 September 2015 won the Skoch Award for Smart Governance. It was awarded at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi for its initiatives on UAN Programme and Transformation of Social Security Agenda in India.

ii. EPFO was also awarded two SKOCH Order-of-Merits, one for launching UAN for EPFO members and another for transformation of Social Security Agenda in India.

iii. Skoch Smart Governance Award is an initiative recognising top performing government organisations and organisations working with the government, operating at local, state and national level.

iv. The award is given in the area of Health, Education, Rural Development/Panchayati Raj, Urban Development, Finance, and Security.

v. The award is given by the Skoch Group, which is a Gurgaon-based think tank dealing with socio-economic issues with a focus on inclusive growth since 1997. The Group was founded by Sameer Kochhar and he is the Chairman of the Group.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 23rd September 2015
 

1. 24th Vyaas Samman conferred on eminent Hindi writer Dr Kamal Kishore Goenka

i. Eminent Hindi writer Dr Kamal Kishore Goenka was conferred with 24th Vyaas Samman for the year 2014 on 22 September 2015. He was awarded for his work 'Premchand ki Kahaniyon ka Kaal Kramanusaar Adhyayan'.

ii. Goenka's work is a critical analysis of the work by Hindi literature's towering giant Munshi Premchand.

iii. He was awarded a citation along with a cash amount of 2.5 lakh rupees by eminent Hindi writer Prof Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari.

2. Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai of Odisha won Community Impact Award at Google Science Fair

i. A class 9th student from Koraput district of Odisha, Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai, bagged the prestigious Community Impact Award at the fifth Google Science Fair held in California on 22 September 2015.

ii. Lalita is a student of DPS Damanjodi in Koraput, Odisha and she got the award for developing a low-cost bio-absorbent based water purifier, which aimed at cleaning waste water by flowing through difference layers of corn cobs.

iii. As a part of the award, 13 years old Lalita won 10000 US dollars as prize money. She will also receive support from Google for one year for her project.

3. Indra Nooyi, Shobhana Bhartia awarded 2015 Global Leadership Award

i. Hindustan Times Group chairperson Shobhana Bharatia and PepsiCo Chairman Indra Nooyi have been awarded 2015 Global Leadership Award of the US-India Business Council (USIBC).

ii. They were honoured with this award for their roles as top women leaders in the Business world and their commitment to driving a more inclusive global economy.

iii. Apart from them, renowned Indian-American artist Natvar Bhavsar was awarded the Artistic Achievement Award. He is well-known for his abstract expressionism and colour-field painting.

iv. All of them were presented the awards during the annual gala of the USIBC. US Vice President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State John Kerry were among the dignitaris who had addressed USIBC gala on the occasion.

4. Zayn Khan elected as President of Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India

i. Zayn Khan was on 22 September 2015 unanimously elected as the President of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). His appointment was necessitated by the death of R Bharath Raj, who passed away while serving as President on August 15.

ii. Khan is a resident of Hyderabad and represents the Western India Automobile Association. He has years of hands-on experience in the sport and has contributed a lot for the technical side of the sport in India.

iii. As head of the stewards development, training and deployment, Khan has extensive knowledge about rallying. He also has experience in officiating at the international level.

iv. FMSCI was formed in the year 1971 as a federation of five clubs to promote motorsporting events in the country. It is a Private Limited company registered under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act 1956.

5. World Rhino Day observed across the world

i. 22 September: World Rhino Day

ii. The World Rhino Day was observed on 22 September 2015. The day is observed to celebrate all five species of rhino and they are Black, White, Greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.

iii. The World Rhino Day was first announced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. The following year, World Rhino Day grew into an international success, encompassing both African and Asian rhino species, thanks to the efforts of two determined women.

iv. In India, the day was observed with all-day awareness programmes at Kaziranga National Park (Assam), Manas National Park (Assam) and Laokhowa Burachapori (Assam).

6. CCS clears Military helicopters deal with US aviation giant Boeing

i. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has given its approval to a multi-billion dollar deal to purchase Military helicopters from United States aviation giant Boeing. Under this deal, India will purchase 22 Apache Attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers from Boeing.

ii. Apache Attack helicopters are equipped with Longbow gunships and are armed with deadly Hellfire and Stinger missiles. They are potent as fighter helicopters and are capable of destroying enemy helicopter and tank forces.

iii. There addition in Indian Air Force (IAF) will help to replace the ageing fleet of 15 Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters which already have undergone life extension upgrades.

iv. Chinook heavy-lift choppers will help IAF to enhance its heavy-lift chopper capabilities and replace existing fleet of Russia made four gigantic Mi-26s. These choppers will play important role in warfront as well humanitarian operations for proving logistics support.

 

                                       Current Affairs - 22nd September 2015

 

1. Cow declared as National Animal of Nepal

i. Cow was on 20 September 2015 declared as the National Animal of Nepal as per the new secular constitution of Nepal unveiled by Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav at a special ceremony held in Parliament at Kathmandu.

ii. Cow is considered as a sacred animal to Hindus and as Nepal is a Hindu country, therefore the Nepal's government have made cow the national animal. With this, the animal has constitutional protection and cow slaughter has also been banned.

iii. Nepal on 20 September 2015 adopted its first democratically-framed constitution with the promulgation of the charter by the president Ram Baran Yadav. The constitution was conceptualized, developed and adopted by a representative Constituent Assembly.

2. Rehearsal of Chang’e-5 lunar mission conducted in China

i. Chang’e-5: China’s maiden sample return mission to the moon that is currently under development.

ii. Chang’e-5 was in news on 21 September 2015 as China shipped Long March-5 carrier rocket from Tianjin port for a rehearsal of Chang’e-5 lunar mission.

iii. It was the first drill carried out in a launch site that involved both the carrier rocket and a probe.

iv. Chang’e-5 is the first of its technology for China as it will be involved in automatic sampling, an unmanned docking 400000 km above the lunar surface and ascending from the moon without a launch site.

Features of Chang’e-5 lunar mission

• It is China’s maiden sample return mission to the moon.
• It was named after the Chinese moon goddess Chang'e.
• It is called as a sample return mission as it will return the Earth with at least 2 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples.
• It is currently under development and is expected to land on the Moon by 2017.
• It consists of Long March 5 rocket that will be used to launch the probe.
• Long March 5’s first trial flight is expected to take place in 2016.
• The rocket will carry 14 tonnes of payload to geostationary transfer orbit, the largest carrying capacity in China.

3. Vikram Pawah appointed as Managing Director of Harley Davidson's India operations

i. Vikram Pawah was on 21 September 2015 appointed as the Managing Director of India operations of US cult bike maker Harley Davidson with immediate effect. Pawah succeeded Anoop Prakash, who was appointed as the Managing Director of Harley Davidson Canada.

ii. Pawah will manage Harley Davidson India’s leadership team responsible for in-country sales, dealer network management, marketing, service and operations activities to expand the company’s presence in the country.

iii. Pawah has more than 24 years of experience in the auto industry, out of which he spent 21 years with Honda in India and Australia. His most recent role was as Assistant Vice President and Operating Head - Sales with Honda Cars India Ltd.

iv. Prior to serving Honda, he worked with Jay Engineering Works Ltd, a market leader in the manufacturing of USHA brand fans, sewing machines and fuel injection equipment.

4. Urdu scholar Shamim Hanfi awarded with Jnangarima Manad Alankaran award

i. Renowned Urdu scholar Shamim Hanfi was on 20 September 2015 honoured with the Jnangarima Manad Alankaran by Bharatiya Jnanpith in New Delhi.

ii. The award was declared at the annual Kavita Samay, an evening of poetry recitation by authors in Hindi and Urdu. The scholar is best known for his books on criticism like, Ghazal Ka Naya Manzarnama, Jadidiyat ki Falsafiyani Asas and Infiradi Shaoor aur Ijtemai Zindagi.

iii. Hanfi was born on 17 November 1938 in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Later, he moved to Allahabad for higher studies. The eminent scholar has also been a freelance contributor for various Hindi and Urdu newspapers and periodicals.

iv. Bharatiya Jnanpith instituted the Jnangarima Manad Alankaran award in 2015 to commemorate 70 years of the institution. The award identifies the contribution of writers in Indian languages. A Saraswati statue, a silver citation and a shawl is given to the recipient of this literary honor.

5. Two Indian Coast Guard ships Apoorva & C-421 commissioned

i. Indian Coast Guard has commissioned two new ships named Fast Patrol Vessel ICGS Apoorva and Interceptor Boat C-421.

ii. The ships were commissioned by Vice Admiral SPS Cheema, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of Western Naval Command (Mumbai) off the naval dockyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

iii. Fast Patrol Vessel ICGS Apoorva is the 14th fast patrol vessel in a series of 20. It is 50-metre long and can achieve a top speed of 33 knots and displaces 317 tonnes.

iv. The ship Apoorva synonyms with Unparalleled in English will be based at Goa. It is equipped with state-of-the-art advanced communication, navigational and weapons.

v. Interceptor Boat C-421 is 27th in the series of interceptor boats of Indian Coast Guard. It had been designed and constructed by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Limited. It is water jet propelled vessel and can achieve a maximum speed of 45 Knots. It is designed for close coast and shallow water operations and equipped with medium range armaments.

 

                                   Current Affairs - 20th & 21st september 2015

 

1. Sherif Ismail sworn in as Prime Minister of Egypt

i. Sherif Ismail on 19 September 2015 was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Egypt by the President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

ii. Ismail is expected to be in office till the new government will take charge after the December 2015 elections to the Parliament.

iii. This is the seventh national government in the country since the 2011 uprising that toppled the autocratic Hosni Mubarak.

iv. Ismail succeeded Ibrahim Mahlab who resigned in the second week of September 2015 amid a corruption probe.

v. Incidentally, Ismail was the minister of petroleum and mineral resources in the Mahlab’s cabinet.

vi. He was also worked as the chairman of the Egyptian natural gas holding company (EGAS).

2. China launches newly-developed smaller version Long March-6 carrier rocket

i. China has successfully launched a newly-developed smaller version of carrier rocket Long March-6 as part of the country’s space program. It was launched from the base in the Northern Province of Shanxi and was carrying 20 micro satellites into the space.

ii. It uses liquid propellant fuel composed of liquid oxygen and kerosene, which is purportedly pollution and toxicity free.

iii. These smaller rocket carries will help to make China more competitive in the lucrative market for commercial satellite launches.
Presently, China launches its own satellites along with satellites of other countries and commercial companies.

iv. China’s Long March rocket family has been named after an epic journey by Communist forces led by Mao Zedong escaping the then ruling Kuomintang in the 1930s.

3. Sebastian Vettel wins 2015 Singapore Grand Prix of Formula One

i. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel from Germany has won 2015 Singapore Grand Prix of Formula One.

ii. The race was held on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which is the first street circuit in Asia.

iii. It was overall fourth victory for Vettel in Singapore Grand Prix as he had earlier won in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This was his third victory of the season 2015.

iv. Earlier he had won Malaysian Grand Prix and Hungarian Grand Prix.

4. International Day of Peace observed globally

i. The International Day of Peace was observed on 21 September 2015 across the world to recognise the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. The International Day of Peace is also a day of ceasefire.

ii. The theme of International Day of Peace for the year 2015 is Partnerships for Peace- Dignity for All.

iii. The International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September every year. The United Nations General Assembly has devoted this day to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

iv. On this day, the United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities and commemorates the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

5. Election Commission releases NOTA symbol for all polls

i. The Election Commission (EC) has introduced a symbol for "None of the Above (NOTA)" option to facilitate voters in exercising their NOTA option in elections, it was announced on Friday.

ii. The NOTA option was made available to the voters with effect from 11 October, 2013, pursuant to the Supreme Court order of 27 September, 2013.

iii. The symbol for NOTA option was designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

iv. The main objective of the NOTA option is to enable electors, who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates, to exercise their right without violation of the secrecy of their decision

6. Ajay Jayaram won Silver Medal in 2015 Korea Open Badminton tournament

i. India’s badminton player Ajay Jayram on 20 September 2015 won silver medal in 2015 Korea Open Badminton tournament in Men’s singles category.

ii. In the final match played in Seoul, Jayram lost to World No. 1 Chen Long of China by 14-21, 12-21.

iii. With this win, Jayaram became the first Indian badminton player who grabbed a medal in Korea Open Badminton tournament.

iv. At present, Jayram is ranked 32nd in the Men's Singles world ranking.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 19th September 2015
 

1. PM Narendra Modi formally launched Integrated Power Development Scheme from Varanasi

i. PM Narendra Modi on 18 September 2015 formally launched the nationwide Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister.

ii. The purpose of the scheme is to strengthening power transmission and distribution network in urban areas.

iii. The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the scheme on 20 November 2014 and the infrastructure developmental projects under it were already sanctioned.

Objectives

• Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network in the urban areas.
• Metering of distribution transformers /feeders / consumers in the urban areas.
• IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network.

2. Metro Man E Sreedharan to serve UN High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport

i. Metro Man Elattuvalapil Sreedharan has been invited to the United Nations’ High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST).

ii. He has been invited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to serve on his HLAG-ST for a period of three years. Mr. E Sreedharan has accepted this offer.

iii. Mr. E Sreedharan was born on 12 June 1932 in Palakkad district of Kerala. He is a retired Indian Engineering Service (IES) officer.

iv. He is credited for changing the face of public transport in India. Under his leadership, Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro projects were completed on time. He was given the sobriquet of Metro Man by the Indian media for his grand success in executing the completion of the Delhi Metro on time and with stipulated budget.

3. Skeet shooter Mairaj Khan books Olympics quota

i. Veteran skeet shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan celebrated the biggest day of his 12-year career when he clinched a Rio Olympics quota place for India at the ongoing ISSF Shotgun World Championship here on Thursday.

ii. Mairaj started the second day of the men's skeet competition in ninth position with a score of 74 after the first three rounds of qualification. After two more qualifications on Thursday, he entered the final in sixth position with a total score of 122 out of a maximum possible 125.

iii. Given that all the first five shooters in qualification had already booked their Rio berths, Mairaj secured one of the two available quota places. The other seat went to Germany's Ralf Buchheim who ended his qualification round in eighth position with an identical score of 122.

iv. This is India's first quota place for the 2016 Olympics in the shotgun disciplines.

v. The 40-year-old Noida based Mairaj, who hails from Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, had previously won gold in the men's Team Skeet event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

4. Indian Railways developed prototype of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet

i. Indian Railways on 18 September 2015 announced that it has developed a prototype of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet. It is hybrid because the design is based on both vacuum toilets and biotoilets.

ii. It was developed by the Development Cell of the Indian Railway Board and is considered as the first of its kind to be used in any railways in the world. At present, the technology is only seen aircrafts.

iii. It was installed in the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani train on trial basis.

5. India, US created Joint Challenge Coin to mark partnership

i. India and the United States (US) on 17 September 2015 jointly created a Joint Challenge Coin to symbolise their unique partnership in creating a next-generation aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy.

ii. One side of the coin reads Forward Together We Go and Chale Saath Saath in Hindi, which is the vision statement of US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

iii. The other side of this coin which is golden in colour has the flags of India and the United States and an aircraft carrier floating on blue water.

iv. The joint challenge coin was created by the joint working group at their first meeting in US in August 2015 to symbolise partnership. The establishment of working group for a next-generation aircraft carrier to bolster the Indian Navy's blue-water capabilities was announced in January 2015 during Obama's visit to India.

6. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare banned sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial for human use

i. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 18 September 2015 banned the sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial for human use. From now, it will be sold only in single-dose vial packaging.

ii. It should be noted that the use of Diclofenac for treating cattle has been in place since 2006.

iii. The decision was based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and is aimed at protecting vultures from extinction.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 18th September 2015
 

1. Madhya Pradesh Government launched M-Shiksha-Mitra mobile app for teachers

i. To provide various services and teaching-related work to teacher in a simple and easy way, Madhya Pradesh Government in September 2015 launched M-Shiksha-Mitra mobile app. With this, Madhya Pradesh became the first state to develop such mobile app for teachers.

ii. The app developed by NIC that carries several facilities can be downloaded from Google Play Store in android mobile phone.

iii. Teachers can use Shiksha-Mitra mobile app to browse salary slip, funds sent to school under various heads, scholarships, different circulars and GPF statement easily. Through it, they can send SMS about their problem and know status of its redressal. The app will also be used for applying for leave and also e-attendance. Facility of free 200 SMSs has been given in the app.

iv. The app can be logged onto by using user name and password issued for Education Portal. All principals, head masters, school in-charge persons and teachers have been directed to register their mobile number on education portal.

2. India ranked 22nd in Asian Football Technical Ranking released by AFC

i. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on 6 August 2015 released a new technical ranking system which has placed India on 22nd spot among the continent’s 46-member countries. The position of India is the highest among the South Asian nations.

ii. South Korea topped the list among the Asian nations followed by Saudi Arabia and Iran at number 1 and number 3 positions respectively.

3. Union Government launches PMKKKY for mining affected people

i. Union Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) for the welfare of people affected by mining related operations.

ii. The new scheme is meant to provide for the welfare of people and areas affected by mining related operations by using the funds collected by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).

iii. The aim is to mitigate the adverse impacts due to mining operation on the health and environment. It also seeks to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.

iv. It is to to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods to people in areas affected by mining.

4. Pakistan to generate 40000 MW nuclear power as part of Nuclear Energy Vision 2050

i. Pakistan set to itself a target of generating 40000 MW nuclear energy. It will be achieved as part of the Nuclear Energy Vision 2050.

ii. An announcement in this regard was made by the Chairman of the PAEA on 17 September 2015 at the 59th IAEA General Conference at Vienna in Austria.

iii. While PAEA stands for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, IAEA stands for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

iv. Features of Nuclear Energy Vision 2050

• Its objective is to supply one-fourth of Pakistan’s total energy requirement as predicted for 2050.
• As part of the vision, 8800 MW and 40000 MW of nuclear energy will be produced by 2030 and 2050 respectively.
• To implement the vision, 32 nuclear power plants (NPPS) will be set up in eight identified sites by constructing 8 plants at a site.

5. NASA may launch its Mars sample-return mission by 2022

i. A mission that could bring chunks of rock samples collected by NASA’s 2020 Mars rover back to Earth for analysis could launch as early as 2022, scientists say.

ii. NASA’s Ames Research Center has developed a draft proposal for the “Red Dragon” project which would see NASA team up with Elon Musk’s company SpaceX.

iii. The mission, which remains a concept at the moment and not an approved mission, would send Mars rock samples back toward Earth, where researchers could examine the material for possible signs of past life on the red planet.

iv. Mars is a cold and dry place today, but evidence gathered by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity and other spacecraft suggests that the planet was warmer and wetter, with lots of surface water, billions of years ago.

v. NASA aims to grab and cache samples from a potentially habitable environment with its next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in 2020. But the space agency does not yet have a firm plan or timeline for bringing this material back to Earth.

6. Perumanna Grama Panchayat becomes first Panchayat in Kerala to declare a Water Policy

i. Perumanna Grama Panchayat in Kozhikode district of Kerala has become the first Panchayat in the State, to declare its own water policy. The water policy has been framed in the lines of the State government’s water policy declared in 2008.

ii. The policy was drafted with the help of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) Kunnamangalam.

iii. The policy notifies a 13-point action plan to ensure proper utilisation and conservation of water in the 18 wards of Panchayat. The first of the policy to increase water literacy in the panchayat through extensive water conservation and awareness programmes.

iv. The policy also seeks to make panchayat garbage free by 2020, thus eliminating water pollution completely. Under the policy, Water conservation committees will be formed at ward level as well as panchayat level.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 17th September 2015
 

1. Union Finance Ministry launched NXT DIGITAL-Headend In The Sky platform

i. The Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley on 15 September 2015 launched the Headend In The Sky (HITS) digital platform initiative, under the brand name NXT DIGITAL promoted by Hinduja Group.

ii. The platform will provide viewers access to over 500 television channels of their choice be it international, national, regional and local; besides a host of other services like e-applications and TV everywhere.

iii. Customers in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka will now have greater access to channels of their choice with other states soon joining in. The customers will now pay for what they want to see and it will also enable increase in revenues to the government due to full transparency.

iv. The Hinduja-Hits Network will serve Multi System Operators (MSOs) as well as Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and aims to tap the transition from analogue to digital mode of cable TV services under the government's Digital India initiative and Make In India mission.

About NXT DIGITAL

• The NXT DIGITAL Broadcast Centre is a state-of-the-art next-generation MPEG-4 facility that has been designed and purpose-built to provide a variety of services to the cable distribution fraternity and their customers all across India.
• The technology is future-proof and would offer enhanced television experiences for the subscriber whilst allowing the cable fraternity to manage their networks effortlessly using new-age cloud solutions.
• Through NXT DIGITAL’s uniquely designed and assembled COPE (Cable Operators Premises Equipment), Digitalizing of Indian cities and the space of broadcast distribution will help India register quantum growth.

2. India, Cambodia ink 2 MoUs for bilateral cooperation in Tourism, Mekong Ganga Project

i. India and Cambodia have signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of Tourism and another related to umbrella projects under Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative.

ii. These MoUs were signed in the presence of Indian Vice President M.Hamid Ansari and his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh.

iii. The second MoU for umbrella projects under Mekong Ganga Cooperation initiative covers five Quick Impact Projects.

iv. It also included 50,000 US dollars grant for the Cambodia-India Entrepre

3. Shot putter Manpreet Kaur shattered 18-year-old national record

i. Railways shot putter Manpreet Kaur on 16 September 2015 shattered an 18-year-old national record en route to a sixth title at the 55th National Open Athletics Championship at Kolkata.

                                         

ii. Patiala-based shot putter broke the record of Harbans Kaur of 17.43 metres that came in 1997 by throwing 17.96 metres in her second attempt to claim the gold medal, a hat-trick of titles at the National Open.

iii. With this, Manpreet Kaur (25) also qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics that is scheduled to be held from 5 August to 21 August 2016.

iv. The IAAF entry standard for 2016 Rio Olympics in women's shot put is 17.80m, while the top three in London 2012 Olympics threw 20m plus.

4. Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi awarded with 2015 Nansen Refugee Award by UNHCR

i. Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi was on 15 September 2015 awarded with the 2015 Nansen Refugee Award by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Asifi dedicated her life to bring education to refugee girls in Pakistan.

ii. Aqeela Asifi was awarded for her brave and tireless dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan. Despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, Asifi guided a thousand refugee girls through their primary education.

iii. Asifi is a former teacher who fled from Kabul with her family in 1992, finding safety in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandana. She was dismayed by the lack of schooling for girls in the village. But she was determined to give these girls a chance to learn and with time she convinced the community and began teaching just a handful of pupils in a makeshift school tent.

5. Chanderpaul receives Icon Award

i. Veteran Test cricket left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul has been honoured with the Icon Award by the Indo-Caribbean Alliance. In a ceremony held in New York recently, the 41-year-old was given the New York City-based organisation’s highest award and was one of four persons honoured in a five-hour-long ceremony in Flushing, reports CMC.

ii. The others receiving awards were television personality Lakshmee Singh, New York City council member Eric Ulrich and businessman Dave Kadernauth.

iii. Chanderpaul has been one of the most prolific run-scorers in West Indies cricket, amassing 11,867 runs from 164 Tests at an average of 51. He is only second to Brian Lara in aggregate. However, he was sacked in May for poor form ahead of the Australia series and was also recently overlooked for the tour of Sri Lanka beginning next month.

6. Nepal's Parliament approved the New Constitution

i. Nepal's parliament has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, which is due to come into effect on Sunday. As it was passed by 507 votes to 25, cheers broke out in the assembly.

ii. It comes after years of political wrangling, while Nepal was governed by an interim constitution after the monarchy was abolished in 2008. It will see Nepal divided into seven provinces but it angered minority ethnic groups who fear discrimination and sparked protests in which 40 died.

iii. Hindu groups have also been demonstrating, demanding that Nepal be declared a Hindu state - it became a secular republic after the monarchy was scrapped. Members of the Constituent Assembly broke out in cheers on Wednesday night after the vote was passed.

iv. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala later tweeted that it was "an issue of pride for all Nepalis that the people's constitution has been passed". Some small opposition parties boycotted the vote.

7. EPFO increased maximum insurance cover to 6 lakh rupees

i. The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on 16 September 2015 increased the life insurance cover of its subscribers from 3.6 lakh to 6 lakh rupees.

ii. The central board of trustees (CBT), the highest decision-making body of the EPFO, also decided that the subscriber will not be required to serve continuous employment of one year in a company before being eligible for insurance benefit.

iii. About 40 million contributing members of the EPFO will be benefitted from the decision taken at the 208th CBT meeting in Hyderabad.

iv. The life cover, called Employees Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI), is paid to the family of the EPF subscriber in case of his/her demise.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 16th September 2015
 

1. Ashok-Alexander Sridharan became first PIO to be elected as mayor of Bonn in Germany

i. Ashok-Alexander Sridharan on 14 September 2015 became the first Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be elected as the mayor of Bonn in Germany.

ii. He will officially take charge on 21 October 2015.

iii. Sridharan also became the city’s first mayor from an immigrant background. He was born in Bonn in 1965 to an Indian Diplomat and German mother.

iv. He belongs to the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party, to which the German Chancellor Angela Merkel also belongs to.

v. It was for the first time in 21 years that a candidate from the CDU won the Bonn mayoral election leaving the Social Democratic Party (SPD) out in the cold.

vi. Bonn is the 18th most populated city in Germany and the provisional capital of erstwhile West Germany.

2. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina wins UN award for climate change

i. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country’s initiatives to address climate change.

ii. “Serving as Prime Minister of Bangladesh – one of the world’s least-developed countries – Sheikh Hasina has proven that investing in climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development,” said the announcement issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which confers the awards.

iii. UNEP noted that Bangladesh is one of the world’s most populated countries, with over 159 million people. It is also one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

iv. The award cites, among other initiatives, the progressive Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan of 2009, which made the South Asian nation the first developing country to frame such a coordinated action plan.

v. Bangladesh is also the first country to set up its own Climate Change Trust Fund, supported by nearly USD 300 million of domestic resources from 2009-2012.

vi. The awards will be handed out at a special ceremony on September 27 here at the close of the Sustainable Development Summit.

3. Hangzhou to host 2022 Asian Games

i. The Chinese city of Hangzhou was confirmed on Wednesday as the host of the 2022 Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia announced at its General Assembly in Ashgabat.

ii. The capital of China’s Zhejiang province, Hangzhou, was the sole bidder to stage the 19th edition of Asia’s biggest multi-sports event.

iii. China has hosted the Asian Games twice before, at Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010, and has already been awarded the Winter Olympics in 2022.

iv. Held every four years, the next Asian Games will take place in Jakarta in 2018. The OCA had wanted to switch the Asian Games to an odd-number year to avoid clashing with the Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup but reverted back to the same time slot after Hanoi, Vietnam withdrew as the 2019 host.

v. Jakarta stepped in as the replacement but asked for the Games to be moved forward to 2018 because the Indonesian presidential elections are slated for 2019.

4. Hungary declared emergency in areas near Serbian border to check Migrant crisis

i. Hungary on 13 September 2015 declared a state of emergency in two southern counties that shares its border with Serbia to stop migrants entering illegally.

ii. This state of emergency empowers the Hungarian police to detain anyone trying to breach a razor-wire fence built on the border with Serbia. It also gives police more powers and allows for the deployment of troops pending parliamentary approval.

Main elements of emergency

• Police buses will now take asylum applicants to registration centres, but if their applications are refused they will now be returned to Serbia rather than being given passage through Hungary.
• Anyone who crosses the border illegally will face criminal charges, and 30 judges have been put on standby to try potential offenders.
• The laws also make it a criminal offence - punishable by prison or deportation - to damage the newly-built four-metre fence along Hungary's 175 kilometre border with Serbia.

5. IIT- Delhi, IISc figured in the top 200 World University Rankings

i. Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi are two India institutes to figure in the top 200 in QS World University Rankings of 2015-16.

ii. In this edition of annual global university ranking list, IISc Bangalore ranked 147th and IIT- Delhi ranked 179th respectively.

iii. It was the 12th edition QS World University Rankings and has been topped by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of United States (US) for record fourth time.

iv. Harvard University (second), University of Cambridge (third), Stanford University (fourth), California Institute of Technology-Caltech (fifth). In the top 10 universities, 5 are from US, 4 from United Kingdom (UK) and 1 from Switzerland.

v. National University of Singapore (11th rank) has topped among the Asian universities.

6. UN marks International Day by stressing vital role of civil society for true democracy

i. A strong and freely operating civil society is crucial for successful and stable democracies and must be given the space to carry out their vital functions, the United Nations emphasized today, as it marked the International Day of Democracy.

ii. “Civil society is the oxygen of democracy,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, observed annually on 15 September.

iii. “Civil society acts as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth. It plays a critical role in keeping Government accountable, and helps represent the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups.”

iv. Yet, Mr. Ban pointed out, freedom to operate for civil society is diminishing – or even disappearing. An alarming number of governments have adopted restrictions that limit the ability of non-governmental organizations to work, or to receive funding, or both. That is why, he added, the theme of this year’s Day is space for civil society.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 15th September 2015

 

1. Malcolm Turnbull Is Sworn In as Australia’s New Prime Minister

i. The party coup to install Malcolm Turnbull as Australia’s fourth prime minister in just over two years has exposed deep unease about the resource-dependent country’s sharply slowing economy and a political system that lets small groups of politicians oust elected leaders.

ii. The 60-year-old former investment banker unseated Tony Abbott as leader of the ruling Liberal-National coalition government late Monday in a party rebellion, as voter surveys pointed to defeat for the ruling Liberal-National coalition at federal elections due next year. Mr. Turnbull was sworn in on Tuesday and became the country’s 29th prime minister.

iii. Australia’s economy expanded just 0.2% in the second quarter from the first, the slowest pace in four years, as China’s slowing economy translates into less construction of skyscrapers, bridges and railways—hurting demand for raw materials like iron ore.

iv. The latest ouster caps nearly a decade of instability in Australian politics that has splintered both major political parties.

v. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a lobby group, said with business and investment confidence already fragile, lawmakers needed to put the tumult behind them and get on with providing the stable government that voters were looking for.

2. Paytm introduces cashless payments in educational institutions

i. Paytm has introduced cashless payments in educational institutions, which will enable users to pay school fees and dues, cafeteria bill, buy uniforms, books and merchandise.

ii. Paytm, the country’s India’s largest mobile commerce platform, has tied up with several premium educational institutions from pre-schools to colleges such as IIT Mandi, Universal Education Trust, KN Modi University, Vidyamandir Classes, Made Easy, Career Launcher, Jamboree, Primus Public School, Bengaluru and Swaminarayan Gurukul Vidyalaya, among others.

iii. Paytm is in advanced stage discussions with all leading IITs, IIMs, central and state universities.

iv. As per a Fitch report, the Indian education sector’s market size is estimated at $109.84 billion in FY15, which makes India the world’s third largest market for education by size.

3. Gujarat tops in ease of doing business in India: World Bank Report

i. Gujarat has been placed to top position in World Bank’s first ever ranking of States on the ease of doing business in India.

ii. The World Bank report titled Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms was released in New Delhi under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

iii. The inaugural edition of report reflected the ease of doing business in all Indian States at sub-regional level.

iv. All States were assessed over a six-month period from January to June 2015 on the basis of percentage scores in a 98-point reforms agenda. The Union Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, CII, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI and KPMG were involved in the exercise.

v. The largest recipients of foreign investments Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were placed at eighth and twelfth position with less than 50 per cent scores.

4. IFC’s ‘Suryoday’ in rural Rajasthan

i. IFC’s Lighting India program that aims to provide safe, affordable, and quality solar lights to people with limited or no access to electricity, is increasing the availability of solar lighting products in rural parts of Rajasthan through a consumer awareness campaign, Suryoday.

ii. The campaign, delivered in partnership with solar products’ rural distributor Frontier Markets, has reached over 250 villages and about 15,000 people in Sawai Madhopur, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur, and Dhaulpur districts of Rajasthan, IFC said in a statement.

iii. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is a global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

5. RBI, Nepal Rastra Bank ink MoU for supervisory information exchange

i. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) on Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information.

ii. The MoU was signed by RBI’s Executive Director Meena Hemchandra and Nepal Rastra Bank’s Executive Director Narayan Prasad Paudel in New Delhi.

iii. By signing the MoU, RBI is seeking to promote greater co-operation and share supervisory information among the authorities.

iv. So far RBI has signed 27 such MoUs, one Letter for Supervisory Co-operation (LSC) and one Statement of Co-operation (SoC) in this regard.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 14th September 2015

 

1. Hindi Divas observed on 14 September across India

i. 14 September: National Hindi Divas

ii. Hindi Divas (Hindi Day) was observed across India on 14 September 2015. The day was observed to promote the Matra Bhasha – the mother tongue of India and show its importance as a language in the country and the world at large.

iii. On the occasion of Hindi Divas, the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee presented Rajbhasa awards in various categories at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. These awards were instituted by the Rajbhasha Vibhag, Ministry of Home Affairs to recognize the excellent contribution of Ministries, Departments and Nationalized Banks and others in the field of Hindi.

2. Hormusji N Cama elected as Chairman of Press Trust of India

i. Hormusji N Cama was on 14 September 2015 unanimously elected as the new chairman of the Press Trust of India (PTI). He is the Managing Director of Bombay Smachar, which is the oldest continuously-published newspaper in India from 1855.

ii. A member of the Press Council, Cama succeeded Mohan Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of the Jagran Prakashan Limited (JPL).

iii. Cama, currently the Chairman of the Readership Studies Council of India, has also served as President of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS). He is also on the Board of Council for Fair Business Practices and Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

iv. Apart from him, Riyad Mathew was unanimously elected as the Vice Chairman of the PTI.

3. Indian Railways partnered with Google to provide free Wi-Fi services under Project Nilgiri

i. Project Nilgiri: Joint collaboration between Indian Railways and Google to provide free Wi-Fi services in 400 railway stations.

ii. The term Project Nilgiri was in news in the second week of September 2015 as RailTel of the Indian Railways and Google were working on this project.

iii. Under this initiative, free Wi-Fi services will be provided to passengers in 400 railway stations across the country.

iv. Users will be able to access high speed internet for the first 30 minutes by using One Time Password (OTP) generated for this purpose. After 30 minutes, the speed will drop and become slow.

v. The project employs Google’s Fiber technology under which the company provides internet services up to a speed of 1 Gbps. Google Fiber was launched in 2010 and the service is available only in the USA.

4. Narsingh Pancham Yadav books an Olympic berth for 2016 Rio games

i. Indian Wrestler Narsingh Pancham Yadav has secured quota for India in the 2016 Olympic Games.

ii. He qualified for Olympic Games after winning a bronze medal in the Men’s 74 kg Freestyle category at the World Wrestling Championship held at Las Vegas, United States. In the semifinal bout, Narsingh lost the match to Unurbat Purevjav of Mongolia, thus settling to the bronze medal.

iii. With this third-place finish, Narsingh also became the lone Indian to win a medal at the prestigious tournament as well as book a berth for the 2016 Rio Games.

iv. This is also the the first time that an Indian wrestler has earned an Olympic berth by winning medal at the World Championship.

5. Dr G Satheesh Reddy conferred with Royal Aeronautical Society Silver Medal

i. DRDO scientist Dr G Satheesh Reddy in the first week of September 2015 was conferred with the Silver Medal of the prestigious Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS). DRDO stands for Defence Research and Development Organisation.

ii. Dr Reddy was conferred with this medal in recognition of his contributions as one of the leading navigation and avionics experts of the Indian Defense research establishment.

iii. The award will be formally presented to him at the Wilbur and Orville Wright Lecture to be held on 9 December 2015 in the Society's headquarters in London.

iv. He joined DRDO in 1985 after graduating from JNTU Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. At present, he is the Director, Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and Programme Director, medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) system since May 2013. Also he is the Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri.

6. Prabhat Singh takes over as MD & CEO of Petronet LNG

i. Prabhat Kumar Singh today took over as the new Managing Director and CEO of Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s biggest liquefied natural gas importer.

ii. Singh, 58, was the Director of Marketing at state gas utility GAIL India Ltd before his appointment at Petronet.

iii. Petronet LNG said Singh was appointed as Managing Director & CEO of the company by the board of directors at its meeting held on July 30.

iv. He replaced A K Balyan, who had completed his five-year term on July 15. He was eligible for an extension till his superannuation age of 65 years in July 2016, but he was not given an extension.

v. Singh is an Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and has more than 35 years of experience in hydrocarbon industry, having worked in both MNC and state-owned firms.

vi. Prior to becoming Director (Marketing) in GAIL in February 2010, he headed the Upstream Business Development and Strategy Divisions in British Gas (India).

 

                                    Current Affairs - 12th & 13th September 2015

 

1. Rakesh Sharma appointed as MD and CEO of Canara Bank

i. Rakesh Sharma was appointed as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bengaluru-headquartered Canara Bank.

ii. Prior to this appointment, Sharma was the MD and CEO of Lakshmi Vilas Bank since March 2014, where in a short span of 18 months, he helped the private sector lender excel in all parameters.

2. Leander Paes, Martina Hingis won US Open Mixed Doubles Title 2015

i. Leander Paes and Swiss Martina Hingis on 11 September 2015 won the US Open Mixed Doubles Title 2015. This fourth seeded Indo-Swiss pair defeated unseeded Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in a tricky final which lasted for one hour and seventeen minutes.

ii. The pair fired 32 winners and staved off four of five break points during the 77-minute affair. This is 17th Grand Slam crown for Paes.

iii. With this victory, they became the first team since 1969 to win three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in the same season at the US Open. They defeated Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic in the Australian Open final 2015 and beat Alexander Peya and Timea Babos in the Wimbledon title match 2015 itself.

iv. The only other team to win three majors in the same year were Marty Riessen and Margaret Court 46 years ago.

v. With the mixed double win, Paes surpassed compatriot and former partner Mahesh Bhupathi's record of eight mixed doubles titles. As Paes has now eight men's doubles and nine mixed doubles title in his pocket.

3.  Russian astronaut record-breaker Padalka returns to Earth

i. Russian astronaut Gennady Padalka has returned to Earth with the record for having spent the most time in space. The 57-year-old's latest mission lasted 168 days, bringing his total to 879 days in space over five trips. This is two months longer than the previous record set in 2005 by Russian Sergei Krikalev over six missions.

ii. Mr Padalka and two other members from the International Space Station (ISS) landed safely in Kazakhstan on their Soyuz spacecraft just before sunrise.

4.  Indra Nooyi, 2nd powerful women in 2015 Fortune’s business list

i. Indra Nooyi, CEO of food and beverage giant PepsiCo is the sole Indian-origin executive in 2015 edition of Fortune’s list of 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.

ii. India-born Nooyi was placed at second position in this year’s list and has moved up by single position from her previous third position in year 2015.

iii. This edition of the list was topped by General Motors CEO Mary Barra. She heads United States largest auto-maker and it is her second year as head.

5. AUSINDEX15, first Australia and India maritime exercise begins in Visakhapatnam

i. Inaugural bilateral maritime exercise between India and Australia AUSINDEX15, commenced off coast of Visakhapatnam.

ii. The inaugural biennial exercise began with briefings and practical demonstrations ashore between Royal Australian Navy and Indian Navy before moving to sea.

iii. AUSINDEX15 naval exercise between navies of both countries is held in line with the Framework for Security Co-operation. The framework was announced by the Australian and Indian Prime Ministers in 2014.

6. Rajasthan first state to submit State Annual Action Plan under AMRUT

i. Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to submit State Annual Action Plan under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

ii. State Government has submitted the action plan for approval by the Union Urban Development Ministry for financial year 2015-16.

iii. The plan seeks to target two categories of AMRUT projects in the state viz. universal coverage in respect of water supply connections, sewerage connections and urban transport to all urban households.

7. Indian golfer Aditi Ashok claims Singha Thailand Amateur title

i. Aditi Ashok clinched the Singha Thailand Amateur Championship after carding a one-over 73 to finish the tournament at two-under 286, five shots ahead of Australian Gennai Goodwin and Thailand's Chakansim Khamborn.

ii. Bengaluru's 17-year-old Aditi opened the final round with bogeys on 2nd and 3rd before firing birdie on 11th and then dropped another shot on 14th followed by a birdie on 16th to claim the title at the Par-72 Panya Indra Golf Club.

iii. This is the third International victory in 2015 for the current leader of Indian Golf Union ladies order of merit after the St. Rule Trophy at St. Andrews in June and Ladies British Amateur Stroke Play Championship in England last month.

 

                                    Current Affairs - 10th & 11th September 2015

 

1. Anupam Kher conferred with Honoured Guest of Texas award

i. Bollywood actor Anupam Kher was on 7 September 2015 conferred with the Honoured Guest of Texas award for his contribution to the cinema and the world of art.

ii. The 60-year-old actor received the award by Deputy Mayor of Houston Ed Gonzalez on behalf of Texas Governor Greg Abbot.

iii. Earlier in first week of September 2015, he was conferred with a Senate Proclamation award by the Texas State Senate.

iv. Besides, Houston Mayor Annise Parker in August 2015 declared 7 August as Anupam Kher Day in Houston, after success of his show titled Anupam Kher’s play Mera Matalab Vo Nahi Tha (My intention was not that). The show gathered immense popularity in Houston and 15 other cities of America like Toronto, Vancouver and others.

v. As a result of his success in US, Kher was on 19 August 2015 appointed as UN ambassador for the “HeforShe” campaign for gender equality.

vi. The actor has appeared in Hollywood films like Bend It Like Beckham, Mistress of Spices, Lust, Caution, and Silver Linings Playbook.

2. Union Cabinet approves National Offshore Wind Energy Policy

i. Union Cabinet cleared National Offshore Wind Energy Policy to generate electricity from offshore windmills located in areas within Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country.

ii. Offshore wind power projects and R&D activities will be carried in waters up to the seaward distance of 200 Nautical Miles (EEZ of the country) from the base line.

iii. Union Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) will be nodal Ministry. National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) will be nodal agency for allocation of offshore Wind Energy blocks.

iv. National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) will be nodal agency for allocation of offshore Wind Energy blocks. NIWE has been authorized to carry out allocation of offshore wind energy blocks. It will also frame guidelines for coordination and allied functions with related ministries and agencies.

3. President conferred Gandhi Peace Prize on ISRO

i. President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2014 on Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

ii. ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar on behalf of the organisation received the prize at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

iii. ISRO was chosen for the prestigious award in March 2015 for its contribution in development of space technology and satellite-based services, making space technology a catalyst of development of India and bringing societal transformation and provided the service to the common man and nation.

iv. Gandhi Peace Prize is awarded annually to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.

4. E-payment literacy meet

i. Lack of financial literacy among the public is the main reason for common man falling prey to fraudsters, according to Sushma Godbole, Chief Executive Officer of Dharwad Zilla Panchayat.

ii. She was speaking after inaugurating the ‘e-Payments Literacy Workshop’ organised by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), under the aegis of Nabard and Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) at Dharwad on Tuesday, a press release said.

iii. Ashok Reddy, Chairman of KVGB, said the bank has initiated several measures to educate people on basic banking fundamentals.

iv. The event was hosted by NPCI representatives in 28 States at 120 centres supported by all 56 RRBs in the country, the release added.

5. Abitha Mary Manuel and Anamika Das bagged bronze medals in 2015 CYG

i. Abitha Mary Manuel and Anamika Das on 9 September 2015 won bronze medals at the 5th Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) in Apia in Samoa.

ii. Manuel won the medal in girls 800m race, while Das won it in shot put event on the third and final day of athletics competitions.

iii. With the two bronze, India's medal count swelled to 10 in total (4 gold, 2 silver, and 4 bronze).

iv. Track and field athletes contributed 2 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze in India's total medal count.

6. Acclaimed writer Jhumpa Lahiri awarded with 2014 National Humanities Medal by White House

i. Short story writer and novelist Jhumpa Lahiri was on 10 September 2015 awarded with the 2014 National Humanities Medal by the White House, United States. The medal was conferred onto her by President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House.

Lahiri was among 10 recipients of the award. Other 9 awardees are:

• Annie Dillard, author
• Everett L. Fly, architect and preservationist
• Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, philosopher and novelist
• Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, historian
• Fedwa Malti-Douglas, scholar
• Larry McMurtry, novelist
• Vicki Lynn Ruiz, historian
• Alice Waters, author and food activist

7.National web portal for apprenticeship training launched

i. Human resource development minister Smriti Irani on Thursday launched the national web portal for promotion of a national apprenticeship scheme. The scheme, which provides opportunities for practical training, is for graduates, diploma holders and 10+2 pass vocational certificate holders.

ii. The portal, through the mechanism of internal complaints committee, would also offer security for women at workplace and ensure grievance redressal for the apprentice, she said. It will also be a multilingual platform which currently engages with the user in Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Hindi.

iii. Irani also asked the All India Council for Technical Education and National Skill Development Corporation to come together to expand the outreach and exposure especially for class 11 and 12 students. A logo and a slogan "Sashakt Yuva, Samarth Bharat" was also released for the portal.

iv. The ministry implements the apprenticeship training scheme for one year through board of apprenticeship training and board of practical training at Mumbai, Chennai, Kanpur and Kolkata.

8. Tenth World Hindi Conference begins in Bhopal

i. The Tenth World Hindi Conference (????? ????? ???????) has begun in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh with the theme of Hindi Jagat-Vistar and Sambhavnaye.

ii. The three-day conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has been organised in Madhya Pradesh for the first time and being held in India after 32 years.

                                              

iii. It is joint event of Union Ministry of External Affairs in partnership with the state Government of Madhya Pradesh. This edition of conference will host scholars from 39 countries who are going to discuss issues like Hindi in administration, foreign policy and law during the event. An exhibition showcasing assimilation of Hindi with modern techniques also has been set up at the conference venue.

iv. The First World Hindi Conference was organized in Nagpur by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It was held from 10 to 12 January 1975. Since then every year 10th January is being observed as the World Hindi Day.

9. Indian American Jagdeep Grewal chosen as postmaster for Sacramento

i. The post service in Sacramento has got a female postmaster after a span of 166 years and the new postmaster is an Indian American named Jagdeep Grewal.

ii. The U.S. Postal Service said that Grewal will oversee 1,004 employees who process and deliver mail on 537 city routes and 94 rural routes – and fill nearly 20,000 post office boxes

iii. Grewal started her career with the postal service as a window clerk in 1988. Five years later, she became a manager. She has also worked as a postmaster in Pacifica-Daly City.

iv. There has been a steep decline in the usage of postal services due to the surge of Internet and privately owned courier services. Referring to this current situation, Grewal said that she looked forward to working with Sacramento’s Postal Service employees during a challenging time.

10. Download 'Narendra Modi Mobile App'; Connect with the PM, Learn About his Day-to-Day Activities Digitally

i. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the first political leader to have a mobile app, developed for him to digitally connect with the citizens of the country. The PM himself launched the 'Narendra Modi Mobile App' on Wednesday.

ii. The app not only connects the citizens of India with their Prime Minister, it also provides a platform to look into "comprehensive information on initiatives and achievements of the Union Government, including an 'infographics' section," the release said.

iii. The app has been developed for Android-powered devices and can be downloaded for free from the Android Play Store. After launching the 'Narendra Modi Mobile App', the Prime Minister invited people to give their feedback on the app.

iv. Ever since Modi took over as the PM of India, he has embraced technology to digitally connect with the people of the country.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 9th September 2015

 

1.  Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest-reigning Monarch

i. Queen Elizabeth II on 9th September 2015 became the longest-reigning Monarch of Britain and the longest-reigning female monarch in history.

ii. She surpassed the previous record held by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria who had reigned thousand-year-old dynastical institution of Britain for more than 63 years and 7 months.

iii. It should be noted that, presently Queen Elizabeth II (88 years old) is world’s oldest living monarch.

About Queen Elizabeth II

* Queen Elizabeth II was born as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on 21 April 1926.
* She acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 at the age of 25 after her father, King George VI died.
* She was crowned as queen of Britain and other realms, including Canada and Australia on 2 June, 1953.
* Presently, she is Queen of 16 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations which overall consists of overall 53 member states including India. She is also Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
* In 1945, she had actively joined World War II as a driver in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (WATS).

2. Andhra Pradesh Government launched e-Pragati project to provide Integrated One Governance

i. The Andhra Pradesh government on 5 September 2015 launched the AP State Enterprise Architecture (APSEA) e-Pragati project to bring all the government services under one roof. The APSEA is a comprehensive architecture to leverage the latest advances in e-governance tools.

ii. The project is aimed at bringing together 745 government to businesses, government to citizens, government to employees and government to governments services offered by 33 departments and more than 300 government agencies.

iii. e-Pragati has been designed with an estimated investment of 2358 crore rupees of which the State will share 1528 crore rupees over a period of three years.

iv. The basic objective of this project is to move away from the piecemeal approach and provide an integrated One governance that will be citizen-centric, transparent and effective.

v. The project is envisaged to be implemented in three phase and set for completion by December 2017.

3.  India, Belarus set trade target of 1 billion dollar by 2018

i. India and Belarus have set the bilateral trade target of one billion dollar by 2018. The decision was taken at the Seventh Session of the India-Belarus Intergovernmental Commission held in Minsk, Belarus.

ii. The meeting was co-chaired by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman co-chaired and her Belarusian counterpart Minister for Industry Vitali Mikhailovich Vovk.

4. Jharkhand Government approved the formation of Anti-Terrorism Squad in State

i. The Jharkhand Government on 8 September 2015 approved the formation of an Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the state. The State cabinet also gave its approval to create 243 ATS posts.

ii. The ATS will be headed by an official of the rank of Superintendent of Police and will have six DSP and 11 Inspectors in it. The police will get full cooperation in meeting internal security challenges as government's priority is to provide security to the people of the state.

iii. Jharkhand has turned into a haven for terrorists, the two terrorists involved in the 2002 American Centre attack in Kolkata were from Jharkhand itself, however, they were killed in a gun battle with security forces in Hazaribagh district.

iv. The accused of Patna's Gandhi Maidan bomb blasts in 2013 was also arrested from the state.

5.  Pakistan SC ordered adoption of Urdu as official language

i. Supreme Court of Pakistan on 8 September 2015 ordered immediate adoption of Urdu as official language of the country. With this order, Urdu will be used as an official language at the government offices of Pakistan.

ii. The order was passed by a three member bench headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja while delivering judgment in a case. The petitioner Advocate Kokab Iqbal through his petition wanted promotion and implementation of the national language.
 
iii. The Court also ruled that under the 1973 Constitution it is must to adopt Urdu as official language.

iv. It also ordered that there should be no delay in implementation of Article 251 in line with Article 5 of the Constitution. It also issued nine guidelines for making Urdu the official language.

6.  Haryana Government sets minimum qualification for candidates in Panchayati Raj polls

i. Haryana Assembly has passed Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2015 that seeks to fix matriculation as minimum educational qualification for elections to Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs).

ii. With this Haryana became second state in India after Rajasthan to fix educational and other qualifications for the candidates contesting Panchayat elections.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 8th September 2015

 

1. Sahara India's para-banking license scrapped by RBI

i. In a fresh setback to the beleaguered Sahara India Pariwar, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled the license of its holding company Sahara India Financial Corporation Limited (SIFCL), officials said on Tuesday.

ii. The action has been taken by the department of non-banking supervision of the RBI, in Kanpur. The move comes in wake of several irregularities and ignoring financial rules and regulations by Sahara, an official further informed.

iii. The notice cancelling its license to conduction financial business has been sent to the Kapurthala head quarter of the Sahara India.

iv. The RBI had in 2008 barred the company from taking any deposits from the people under its chit fund operations. Many depositors had since then complained to the RBI that they were not being paid back their money by Sahara, following which a probe was ordered by the bank.

v. A report of the investigations was sent to the RBI HQ in Mumbai last month after which the penal action of cancelling the license of SIFCL was taken.

2. International Literacy Day 2015 celebrated across the world

i. The International Literacy Day was celebrated on 8 September 2015 across the world. The theme of International Literacy Day 2015 is Literacy and Sustainable Societies.

ii. The theme was chosen to highlight the fact that literacy is a key element in achieving sustainable societies.

iii. Further, the theme assumes significance as the world is gearing up to adopt the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN General Assembly meeting scheduled to be held in September 2015.

3. Brij Raj Sharma appointed as Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir

i. Brij Raj Sharma was on 7 September 2015 appointed as the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir. His appointment was approved by the state government. Sharma succeeded Muhammad Iqbal Khandey, who chose to seek voluntary retirement (VRS) three months prior to his superannuation.

ii. However, he will continue to hold the charge of the post of Administrative Secretary, Planning and Development Department till further orders. He will serve as the Chief Secretary of the state till 2020.

iii. Sharma has held various important positions in the State Administration before including the posts of Principal Secretary Home, Principal Secretary Planning and Development Department, Chief Electoral Officer, Chief Executive Officer of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Excise Commissioner.   

iv. Sharma is a 1984 batch IAS officer.

4. Weightlifter Deepak Lather wins gold in fifth Youth Commonwealth Games

i. Indian weightlifters continued to make their presence felt on Day 2 of the fifth Youth Commonwealth Games after Deepak Lather won a gold in the 62 kg category here today.

ii. This was India's second gold in weightlifting after Jamjang Deru stood atop the podium in the 56 kg category on the opening day of the event.

iii. The 51-year-old Deepak finished with a total of 258 kg with 120 kg in snatch -- new CYG record -- and 138 kg in clean and jerk.

iv. India are being represented by 25 athletes in eight disciplines out of the nine being competed in the CYG.

5. DRDO names new Director General, first woman in the role

i. In a first, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will have a woman scientist heading an important cluster with the high rank of a Director General.

ii. J Manjula, has been appointed the new Director General (DG - Electronics & Communications Systems or ECS) today. She will be one of the seven DG's, who are heading different clusters within the DRDO, which has nearly 50 national laboratories and Institutes under its network.

iii. A recognised expert in electronic warfare systems for Air Force, Manjula is an Outstanding Scientist and Director of Bengaluru-based DARE, Defence Avionics Research Establishment.

iv. She brings vast experience in EW systems, following a long stint with the Hyderabad-based, DLRL (Defence Electronics Research Laboratory), which is a pioneer in EW systems and cutting edge communications.

v. The over 55-year old DRDO in heirarchy has a Director General, S Christopher (appointed a few months ago) and 7 DGs heading various clusters. The clusters are fallout of the implementation of the P Rama Rao Committee on restructuring the Organisation. It came into effect in 2013.

6. Apurvi Chandela bags silver at ISSF World Cup Final

i. Young Indian shooter Apurvi Chandela impressed again as she clinched the silver medal in women’s 10m air rifle event of the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup Finals on Saturday.

ii. The 22-year-old Jaipur girl finished second on the podium after she tallied 206.9, just 0.6 behind Ahmadi Elaheh of Iran, who won the gold medal with a tally of 207.5.

iii. In the finals, Chandela started on a rousing note as she fired two shots of 10.8 to lead after Series 1 of first competition stage. A total of 30.6 in the second series saw her a drop a place.

iv. London Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang and Gurpreet Singh had earlier reached the finals of their respective events in the tournament, but missed out on medals.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 7th September 2015

 

1. G20 launched W20 to enhance role of women in business

i. The G20 grouping on 6 September 2015 launched the W20 (Women20) in Ankara, Turkey. The focus of the W20 is to enhance the role of women in business.

ii. Though the grouping was created in April 2015 it was formally launched on the sidelines of the G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

iii. G20 is a group of major economies formed to bring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy.

iv. The mandate of W20 is to advance and realize recent G20 commitments on

• Achieving women’s full economic and social participation (Los Cabos Leaders’ Declaration, 2012).
• Enhancing women’s financial inclusion and education (St Petersburg Leaders’ Declaration, 2013).
• Reducing the participation gap between women and men in G20 countries by 25 per cent by 2025, taking into account national circumstances (Brisbane Leaders’ Declaration, 2014).

2. Union Government gives nod to One Rank One Pension scheme

i. Union Government has given its nod to implement One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen.

ii. OROP will provide ex-servicemen of same rank and same length of service uniform pension regardless of date of retirement. The benefit will be given with effect from 1st of July 2014 and it will benefit all three services- Army, Navy and Air Force.

iii. Pension will be re-fixed every five years and future enhancements in rates of pension would be automatically passed to the past pensioners. Armed forces personnel who retire voluntarily would be not covered under OROP scheme. However, it will be applicable to personnel who have already retired prematurely.

iv. All arrears will be paid in four half-yearly installments and all widows will be paid arrears in one installment. Estimated cost to implement OROP scheme would be around 8000 crore rupees to 10,000 crore rupees at present and it will increase further in future.

v. Union Government also has decided to constitute one member Judicial Committee for examination of interests of retirees of different periods and different ranks. The Committee will also cover inter-service issues of the three forces and submit its report in six months.

3. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain won 2015 Italian Grand Prix of Formula 1

i. Lewis Hamilton of Britain and Mercedes racing driver on 6 September 2015 won the 2015 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix title. The final race was held at Monza near Milan in Italy.

ii. While Hamilton topped the table, Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Felipe Masse (Williams) were at the second and third positions respectively.

iii. Sergio Perez (Mexico) and Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) of Force India stood at the 5th and 6th positions respectively.

iv. For Hamilton, it was the third victory at the Monza circuit, where he earned his first and second titles in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

v. It was also the seventh title in the 2015 season for Hamilton as he won the titles in Australia, China, Bahrain, Canada, the UK, Belgium and Italy.

vi. Hamilton won more races compared to any other British driver in the history of Formula One and is currently 5th on the all-time list, with 40 wins.

4. China, Pakistan launch joint ‘Shaheen (Eagle) – 4’ Air Drill

i. China and its strategic partner Pakistan have launched a joint air exercise called Shaheen (Eagle)-4 in China. It is fourth edition of air exercise between the air forces of both countries which was launched as part of a series of military exchange programmes between two countries.

ii. In this edition of exercise, Chinese contingent was represented by fighter jets, fighter bombers and early warning planes. Pakistani counterpart included fighter jets and early warning planes.

iii. Chinese air force by this joint air exercise is willing to expand the scope of cooperation with various countries in the region.

iv. The first edition of such joint air drill between both countries took place in Pakistan in March 2011. Late in September 2013 the second drill took place in China’s western Xinjiang Uygur region and third drill again took in Pakistan’s Punjab province in May 2014.

5. Indian boxer Vikas Krishan wins silver medal in 75 kg category in Asia Championships

i. Indian boxer Vikas Krishan has won the silver medal in the Asian Championships held in Bangkok, Thailand.

ii. In the final match of 75kg weight category, he was defeated by Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev by 0-2 score.

iii. In this edition of Asian Championships, Vikas only has won silver medal for India. Shiva Thapa (56kg), Devendro Singh (49kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) won bronze medal each in their respective category.

iv. Besides, six Indians also qualified for World Championships which is to be held in October 2015 and will be the first qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympics Games.

 

                                     Current Affairs - 5th & 6th September 2015

 

1. Delhi High Court allows permanent commission for women in Indian Navy

i. Delhi High Court in its landmark judgment has allowed women to get permanent commission in Indian Navy and allowed them to board on warships.

ii. The ruling was given by a Division Bench of Delhi HC headed by Justice Kailash Gambhir on the writ petition moved by a group of women naval officers both retired and serving.

iii. The HC also ruled that, henceforth female naval officers will have full term service in the Indian Navy and also enjoy retirement benefits same as their male counterparts. Presently, Indian Army and Air Force allow permanent commission for female officers. While, Indian Navy has limited the role of women officers serving in short service commission of 14 years.

iv. In case of Navy, female officers are only allowed to serve in the administrative, medical and education branches. They are also working as observers, to monitor censors on aircrafts.

2. World's shortest man, Chandra Bahadur Dangi, dies at 75

i. Chandra Bahadur Dangi, verified by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's shortest man - at 21.5 inches (54.6cm) - died of an undisclosed illness in American Samoa.

ii. The shortest man shot to fame after his pictures with the world's tallest man, Sultan Kosen from Turkey, were released in 2013. He was touring Samoa Islands, a US territory in South Pacific Ocean, when he fell sick and was admitted to Lyndon B Johnson Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago at around midday.

iii. Thaneswar Guragai, who assisted him on his tours, was quoted in Himalayan Times: "Chandra Bahadur Dangi's nephew, Dolakh, called me from the Samoa Islands and asked me to inform the family about the death." Guragai was in Kathmandu when Dangi breathed his last.

iv. The 75-year-old Dangi lived in a remote village around 400km (248 miles) from Kathmandu, and travelled the world after he was officially declared the world's smallest man in 2013.

3. India, Australia agree to deepen bilateral Defence Partnership

i. India and Australia have agreed to deepen their bilateral defence partnership based on their shared strategic interests by setting up of a joint working group on defence research and material cooperation.

ii. This decision was taken after the delegation-level talks between Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his visiting Australian counterpart Kevin Andrews in New Delhi.

iii. Focus on maritime security ties in the Indian Ocean region and acknowledged the importance of freedom of maritime navigation.

iv. First-ever bilateral Maritime exercise AUSINDEX between both countries is scheduled to be held in September 2015.

v. Agreed that maritime security should remain a key component of the bilateral defence relationship between both countries.

vi. India will take part in the first ever air exercise with Australia.

vii. Implement the action plan outlined in the Framework for Security Cooperation (FSC) which was agreed by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and his counterpart Tony Abbott in November 2014.

4. Union Government cancels registration of Greenpeace India

i. Union Government has cancelled licence of Greenpeace India, a non-profit Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to receive foreign donations.

ii. The license was cancelled by Union Ministry of Home Affairs as per under Section 13 of Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA), 2011. Henceforth, Greenpeace India will be not able to receive any kind of foreign donations from its international network.

iii. Earlier in April 2015, MHA had suspended the license of Greenpeace India for six months for mixing foreign and domestic funds and not disclosing the movement of its funds.

iv. Greenpeace India had filed a petition challenging this suspension in the Delhi High Court. The court had allowed the NGO to use two of its accounts for the purpose of receiving and utilising fresh domestic donations for its day-to-day functioning.

v. Greenpeace India is the subsidiary of the global environmental group Greenpeace, a non-profit NGO. Greenpeace has its presence in 40 countries across the world including in Europe, America, Asia and Pacific. Its operations in India run mainly in four broad campaigns viz. stop climate change, preserving the oceans, sustainable agriculture and preventing another nuclear catastrophe.

5. Govt to develop Bodh Gaya as spiritual capital

i. Describing Bodh Gaya as the “land of enlightenment”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government would develop the site as the spiritual capital for it to serve as a civilisational bond between India and the Buddhist world.

ii. “The government of India would like to provide all possible support that its Buddhist cousin nations need for the satisfaction of their spiritual needs from this holiest of holy places for them,” he said after visiting Mahabodhi Temple.

iii. Describing Buddha as a “crown jewel” of India, which accepts all ways of worship, he said he revered Buddha as a reformer of not only Hinduism but also the world, who gave a new world view and vision which is critical for survival of all.

6. Shane Watson retired from Test cricket

i. Australian all-rounder Shane Watson announced his retirement from Test cricket on 6 September 2015. He announced his retirement immediately after his calf injury cut short his one-day international tour of Britain.

ii. He stated that he will continue his international career in the One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.

iii. 34-year-old Watson's 10-year Test career came to an end at the Ashes opener at Cardiff, which England won by 169 runs. His 30 and 19 with the bat and failure in taking a wicket made him to lose his place for the rest of the series.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 4th September 2015

 

1. ONGC buys 15% stake in Russia’s 2nd-largest oil field from Rosneft

i. State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has bought a 15 per cent stake in Russia’s second-largest oil field Vankor from Rosneft for about 1.35 billion US dollars.

ii. In this regard, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) the overseas investment arm of ONGC has signed agreements to buy 15 per cent stake in the Vankor oil field located in East Siberia.

iii. The agreement to buy stake in Vankor was signed by the OVL Managing Director Narendra Verma and Chairman of Rosneft Management Board Igor Sechin in Vladivostok.

iv. OVL will get two seats on the Board of Directors of Vankor, a subsidiary of Rosneft that operates the Vankor field.

v. The 15 per cent stake Vankor oil field will give OVL about 3.5 million metric tonnes of oil a year of its total 2.5 billion recoverable reserves barrels (or 500 million tonnes). Rosneft will retain full control of infrastructure of the Vankor cluster.

vi. Rosneft will retain full control of infrastructure of the Vankor cluster. Presently, Rosneft (Russian national oil company) holds 100 per cent stake in Vankor which started production in 2009. With this stake acquisition Rosneft, stake will come down to 85 per cent.

2. 11th Session of India-United Arab Emirates Joint Commission meet concluded

i. 11th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting for Technical and Economical Cooperation was held on 2 September to 3 September 2015, in New Delhi. The UAE team had reiterated its commitment to undertake extensive investments in India. Al-Nahyan co-chaired the meet of the Joint Commission with External Affairs Minister.

ii. The meet was held during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of United Arab Emirates to India. Al-Nahyan also led a delegation of senior officials and captains of leading UAE business houses to India.

iii. During the visit, Al-Nahyan also met with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu, and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

iv. Highlights of the decisions made and issues discussed during Joint Commission Meeting

• The two sides agreed to increase the bilateral trade by 60 percent over the next five years.
• The two sides also agreed to encourage the investment institutions of the UAE to raise their investments in India, including through the establishment of UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund, with the aim of reaching a target of 75 billion US dollar.
• The two sides agreed to work for early establishment of the planned India-UAE Joint Fund for investments in the infrastructure sector in India.
• An India-UAE Joint Business Council was inaugurated by the two Foreign Ministers
• The two sides signed MOUs on cooperation in the areas of Higher Education & Scientific Research; Tourism, Specifications and Measures, for cooperation between the respective Telecom Regulatory Authorities and also between the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

3.  RBI to issue Rs 5 coin on golden jubilee of 1965 Indo-Pak war

i. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to issue coins of 5 rupees denomination to commemorate golden jubilee year of Indo-Pak War 1965.

ii. These coins will be issued under in The Coinage Act, 2011 and will be considered as legal a tender.

iii. Obverse side: It will bear Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar in the centre and Satyamev Jayate will be inscribed below it.

iv. Reverse side: In the centre it will bear image of ‘Amar Jawan’ monument along with the design of olive leaves branch on its left and right sides. The year 2015 will be written below the image of the monument.

v. It will bear inscription ‘VALOUR AND SACRIFICE’ in English on the right upper periphery and ‘Veerata Aur Balidan’ in Devnagri script on the left upper periphery.

vi. GOLDEN JUBILEE 1965 OPERATIONS in English will be inscribed on the lower periphery on the reverse side of coin.

4. NASA and ISRO jointly working on NISAR mission

i. NISAR mission: NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar mission

ii. NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission was in news recently as its first Joint Steering Group (JSG) meeting was held on 21 July 2015.

                                           

iii. NISAR is a dedicated US and Indian InSAR mission, in partnership with ISRO, optimized for studying hazards and global environmental change.

iv. As part of it NISAR satellite, which will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual frequency, is expected to be launched during the year 2021. The satellite will also be used for remote sensing to observe and understand natural processes of the Earth.

5. Commemorative coins of Rs 125, Rs 10 released in honour of former President S Radhakrishna

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 September 2015 released two commemorative coins of 125 rupees and 10 rupees in the memory of former President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

ii. Modi released the coins at a function of his interaction with the central school students at Zorawar hall, Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi. The interaction session was organised on the eve of Teachers Day, which is celebrated across India on 5 September 2015.

iii. Teachers Day celebrates the birthday of India's second President and scholar Dr Radhakrishnan.

6. Punjab Government establishes Special MGNREGA cell

i. Punjab Government has established a special MGNREGA cell to coordinate effective implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the state.

ii. It has been established by Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Department at Chandigarh with an outlay of 233 crore rupees.

iii. This cell will monitor implementation of Union Government’s flagship 100 days employment guarantee scheme of MGNREGA.

iv. It will also monitor the wage rate under MGNREGA which has been fixed by Union Government on the basis of consumer Price Index- Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) which is implemented on 1st April every year and will be applicable for whole financial year.

v. It should be noted that all the districts of Punjab are being covered under MGNREGA with effect from 1st April, 2008. The recent wage rate has been revised from 202 rupees to 210 rupees with effect from 1st April 2015. The wages will be directly transferred by state government in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries from 15th September 2015.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 3rd September 2015

 

1. West-Central Railway becomes first zone to eliminate Unmanned Level Crossings

i. The West-Central Railway (WCR) zone headquartered in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh has become the first Railway Zone in Indian Railways to eliminate all unmanned level crossings.

ii. The target was achieved after all 118 unmanned level crossings of WCR zone were eliminated in phase manner by August 31, 2015. 80 crossings were eliminated in the financial year 2014-15 and the remaining 38 crossings were eliminated in August 2015.

iii. This target was achieved by constructing 33 Limited Height Sub Ways (LHs) and manning of 30 level crossings.

iv. It is a being considered as a big success in the safety initiative of Indian Railways as unmanned railway crossings continue to remain a deathtrap in India as alone it had killed 126 people in 2014-15.

2. Logo for 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games scrapped amid plagiarism accusation

i. Four-colour logo of Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games was scrapped by Games Organising Committee on 1 September 2015. The logo was scrapped amid allegations by a Belgian graphic designer Olivier Debie that it was plagiarised from his work.

ii. Debie claimed that the design was similar to his 2013 logo for the Theatre de Liege.

iii. The logo unveiled in August 2015 was based around the letter T and a red circle representing a beating heart, which resembled the Japanese flag.

iv. Earlier in July 2015, a new Olympic Stadium design by architect Zaha Hadid was scrapped amid a row over its cost.

v. Tokyo 2020 Olympics is scheduled to be held from 24 July - 9 August 2020.

3. Bazmi Husain appointed as Chief Technology Officer of ABB India Ltd

i. Bazmi Husain was on 2 September 2015 appointed as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of ABB India Ltd. Husain is a power and automation expert and has been with ABB for more than 30 years. Currently, he is working as Managing Director of ABB in India.

ii. As a CTO, he will report to ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and will begin work as CTO with effect from 1 January 2016. He will be based in Bangalore office of ABB India along with an office in Switzerland.

iii. He will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of ABB’s global Research and Development, which serves the entire company, its scientists and engineers.

iv. Husain joined ABB in 1981 and managed a variety of local business units and divisions in India and Singapore before taking responsibility for ABB’s Corporate Research Center (CRC) in India in 2002. From 2009 to 2011, Husain was head of ABB’s Smart Grid industry segment initiative.

4. Forward Markets Commission to be merged with SEBI with effect from 28 Sept 2015

i. Union Government on 28 August 2015 notified the merger of commodities market regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Its merging will be effective from 28 September 2015.

ii. For this purpose, the government repealed the Forward Contracts Regulation Act (FCRA) 1952 and made a way to shift the Regulation of Commodity Derivatives Market to SEBI under Securities Contracts Regulation Act (SCRA) 1956.

iii. An official press release said, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget speech, had announced the merger of FMC with the capital market regulator SEBI to strengthen the regulation of commodity futures market.

iv. A unified regulator for commodities and capital markets will help streamline monitoring of commodity futures trading and curb wild speculations.

5. Union Government released 2000 crore rupees to EPS-95 as contribution for 2015-16

i. The Union Government on 1 September 2015 released 2000 crore rupees to Employee Pension Scheme, 1995 (EPS-95) as its contribution for the year 2015-16.

ii. Further, a sum of 250 crore rupees was contributed as grant-in-aid for providing minimum pension of 1000 rupees to the pensioners of EPS-95.

iii. The additional grant-in-aid became necessary as the Union Government directed the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in September 2015 to provide for guaranteed minimum pension of 1000 rupees per month.

iv. Employee Pension Scheme (EPS)-95 came into effect on 16 November 1995 and the scheme was launched under the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

v. It applies to the employees of all factories and other establishments to which the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 applies.

vi. The Union Government and employers contribute 1.16 percent and 8.33 percent of the monthly wages of the members respectively.

vii. Under the scheme, monthly benefits for superannuation/ retirement, disability, survivor, widow(er), children is provided and the amount of pension is based on average salary during the preceding 12 months from the date of exit and total years of employment.

vii. It also provides for minimum pension on disablement and also provides for past service benefit to participants of erstwhile Family Pension Scheme, 1971.

 

                                         Current Affairs - 2nd September 2015

 

1. AK Jha appointed as Interim CMD of NTPC

i. A K Jha has been given additional charge of interim Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited.

ii. Presently, he is NTPC’s Director (Technical) and will be interim CMD for three months from September 1, 2015.

iii. Jha had joined NTPC as an Executive Trainee in 1977 and was directly associated with its flagship project Singrauli (5×200 MW).

iv. He has rich and varied corporate experience of 38 years in areas spanning across power projects such as engineering and design, monitoring and project planning, construction and management.

2. India won UNESCO's Award of Excellence 2015 for conserving Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple

i. India on 1 September 2015 won the UNESCO prize Award of Excellence 2015 for the conserving the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple of Kerala. The award was given in the category of UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

ii. While, the Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang won the UNESCO Award of Merit and became the first project in Lao PDR to receive the UNESCO Asia?Pacific Heritage Award.

iii. The Award of Excellence for the Conservation of Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple at Thrissur in Kerala recognizes the remarkable conservation effort undertaken at the sacred site which employed age?old rituals and conservation techniques drawn from vastu shastra.

iv. As such, the tangible attributes of the temple are inextricably linked with its intangible heritage which dates back to generations, thus ensuring that spirit of place resonates throughout the site.

3. Durban to host XXII Commonwealth Games in 2022

 i. The South African city of Durban has been selected as the host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games at the Federation’s general assembly in New Zealand on Wednesday.

ii. Organisers said the Games would be held from 18 to 30 July, opening on the birth date of the late South African President and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

                                          

iii. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome the South African city of Durban as proud hosts of the 22nd Commonwealth Games,” the outgoing CGF president Prince Tunku Imran said. “As a movement we stand together to support the very first games on African soil.”

iv. The Commonwealth Games are held every four years and feature athletes from over 50 countries, mostly former British colonies. First held in 1930, 2022 will mark the first time the Games will be held in Africa, a move that could pave the way for South Africa to make another attempt for the Olympics after Cape Town finished third in bidding for the 2004 summer Games.

4. India emerged as 8th largest tourism market for Australia

i. Australian trade minister Andrew Robb on 1 September 2015 said that India has emerged as the 8th largest tourism market for Australia. In 2014, over 2 lakh Indians visited the nation in and spent about 1 billion dollars which was an increase of 39 percent.

ii. Earlier in 2013, India stood at 11th position.

iii. Till date in 2015, a total number of 207000 Indians have visited Australia. This increase was supported by the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.

iv. Robb also said that India was one of the fastest growing markets and the result demonstrates that tourism is one of its strengths. He said that tourism can be its fastest growing sector this decade if it continues to leverage on the 'clean, green and safe' brand to position itself for tourism.

5. Snapdeal acquires Silicon Valley startup Reduce Data

i. Snapdeal has acquired Silicon Valley-based startup Reduce Data, a programmatic display advertising platform, the New Delhi-based online marketplace announced on Wednesday.

ii. While the financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, the Reduce Data team will join Snapdeal, as the latter's bid to build a world class discovery platform and associated tools for brands as well as over 200,000 sellers on the marketplace, the company said in a press statement.

iii. This is the twelfth buyout announced by Snapdeal since 2010.

iv. Founded in 2012 by Asif Ali, Reduce Data's platform uses artificial intelligence, real-time data and other tools, to help brands deliver advertising strategies for consumers across platforms and devices.

6. Swachhata Sangraam Abhiyaan in Indore to make it open defecation-free

i. Swachhata Sangraam Abhiyaan was launched in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh on 1 September 2015. On the occasion, over 100 public representatives donated 140 toilets for the poor.

ii. The aim of the programme is to make the entire district open defecation-free by the end of the financial year 2015-16. Depalpur tehsil is going to be the first tehsil of the district to achieve this milestone.

iii. The district collector P Narahari announced that the first three village panchayats to eradicate open defecation would be awarded the Ahilya Gram Puraskar. The winners would be given cash prize of 20 lakh rupees, 15 lakh rupees, and 5 lakh rupees respectively.

iv. He also announced that all panchayats that become open defecation free by 2 October 2015 would be given a cash prize of 3 lakh rupees each.

v. Apart from this, the collector also said that those who are donating toilets would be given the title of Swachata Shiromani and their names would be put up on the board in the village where they made the donation.

vi. Person doing the best work under the programme would be awarded the titles of Swachata Nayak and Swachata Senani.

vii. In addition to these awards, the collector also announced that those who do not work towards making their areas open defecation free would be publicly shamed. For this purpose, Shame Yatra (procession) would be taken out on the first day of every month in each village and the names of the errant persons would be made declared.

viii. These possessions will be carried out till the date the village achieves its defecation free status. The day the village is declared open defecation free, a Garva (pride) Yatra will be taken out.

 

                                          Current Affairs - 1st September 2015
 

1. Haryana Government inaugurated Sakhi, one stop center for women in distress

i. Haryana Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain on 31 August 2015 inaugurated state’s first One Stop Centre, known as Sakhi, at Karnal. The center will play a role in helping the women in distress. This is the second such centre in the country after Chhattisgarh.

ii. The Center, opened under a Union Government scheme, would provide help to sexually, mentally and emotionally harassed women and others.

iii. Earlier a day before the Rakshabandhan, the state government opened women police stations in all the 21 districts of the state. Haryana is the second state in the country to have women police stations. These women police stations were opened with an aim to provide security to women.

2. Ratan P Watal took charge as Union Finance Secretary

i. Ratan P Watal on 31 August 2015 took charge as the Union Finance Secretary. Prior to the present elevation, he was the secretary of the Department of Expenditure of the Finance Ministry since 2013.

ii. Watal, 59, is a 1978-batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer and holds masters degree in economics.

About Union Ministry of Finance

• It consists of five departments namely Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Expenditure, Department of Revenue, Department of Financial Services, and Department of Disinvestments.
• Finance Secretary is the senior-most IAS officer in the Union Ministry of Finance. He coordinates the working of various departments under the Ministry of Finance.  The Finance Ministry currently has five secretaries including Watal.
• While every other note bears the signature of the governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the rupee note bears the signature of the Finance Secretary.

3. RBI declared SBI and ICICI Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 31 August 2015 declared State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) in line with the D-SIB Framework released by the RBI on 22 July 2014.

ii. These banks have been identified as D-SIBs based on the methodology provided in the D-SIB Framework and data collected from banks as on 31 March 2015.

iii. Further, these banks have been put under associated bucket structure as required under the D-SIB Framework and each bucket corresponds to the higher loss absorbency requirements that they would be required to hold from January 2016.

iv. As a result, SBI has been put under Bucket 3 with additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) requirements as a percentage of Risk Weighted Assets (RWAs) placed at 0.6percent.

v. On the other hand, ICICI Bank has been put under Bucket 1 with additional CET1 requirements as a percentage of RWAs placed at 0.2 percent.

4. Raghav Chandra took charge as the Chairman of NHAI

i. Senior IAS officer Raghav Chandra on 31 August 2015 took charge as the Chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Chandra succeeded Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber.

ii. Chandra is an IAS officer of the 1982 batch from Madhya Pradesh cadre. He has held several important positions in the central government and the government of Madhya Pradesh and has handled various crucial assignments in roads and transport sector in various capacities.

iii. Earlier, he was the Managing Director of the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation and later served as the Joint Secretary of Highways in Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.

iv. He has vast experience in field of urban development, commerce, industry, human resource development, finance and infrastructure development.

5. Tejinder Pal Singh named as Australian of the Day by Commonwealth Bank

i. An Indian-origin driver in Australia Tejinder Pal Singh was on 31 August 2015 named as Australian of the Day by Commonwealth Bank of Australia for feeding the homeless in Darwin for the past three years.

ii. He dedicated the last Sunday of every month to feed the poor and homeless in northern Darwin after his night shift as a cabbie. He cooked around 30 kg of Indian food to feed the homeless. The free lunch comprises chickpeas, rice and vegetarian curry.

iii. His van itself carries the sign Free Indian food for hungry and needy people, Provide Sikh family.

iv. The Commonwealth Bank has been sponsoring the Australian of the Day campaign for over 35 years. The campaign recognises the extraordinary Australians who have made a big difference to the country.

6. Highest mountain of North America Mt McKinley renamed as Denali

i. The highest mountain of North America was on 28 August 2015 renamed as Denali instead of its existing name Mt McKinley by US President Barack Obama. This designation will now recognize the sacred status of Denali to generations of Alaska Natives.

ii. The mountain, which sits in the 6 million-acre Denali national park, has been known as Denali in Alaska since 1975. Now officially, the Denali name will be used by all and it will also take effect for all federal usage and on all official maps.

iii. The change comes after a debate between lawmakers from Alaska and Ohio. In January 2015, Republican Senate Lisa Murkowski of Alaska introduced legislation that sought to officially call the mountain what Alaskans and indigenous people called it Denali or The High One.

iv. The historic change came during Obama's three-day presidential trip to Alaska. It is the latest bid by the President to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to improve relations between the federal government and the nation’s Native American tribes.

7.  IS damages ancient Temple of Bel in Syria’s Palmyra

i. Islamic State (IS) militant group has destroyed part of historical Temple of Bel in the ancient site of Palmyra in Syria.

ii. The ancient temple was dedicated to the Palmyrene gods and was one of the best preserved parts of the historical sites of Palmyra.

iii. Earlier in August 2015, IS militant group had destroyed the ancient Temple of Baalshamin in same region of Palmyra.

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