Current Affairs - 1st May 2015
1. Dr. Pramod Patil and Dr. Ananda Kumar won 2015Whitley Awards for wildlife conservation
i. Two Indians have been awarded with the prestigious WhitleyAwards for their contribution to wildlife conservation.
ii. Dr Ananda Kumar, a conservationist from India, was awarded theprize, in honour of his work using innovative communication systemsto enable human-elephant coexistence in southern India.
iii. Another winner of the Whitley Award, dubbed 'Green Oscar' isDr Pramod Patil. He has been awarded for his work to protect theiconic great Indian bustard in the Thar Desert.
iv. HRH The Princess Royal presented the awards and each of themreceiving a Whitley prize worth £35,000 at a ceremony in London.
2. India extends e-tourist visa scheme to 31 morecountries
i. India will provide e-tourist visa to 31 more countries,including France and Canada, enabling the citizens of these nationseasy entry to the country.
ii. The e-tourist visa had been launched in November last year for45 countries from nine designated Indianairports.
iii. With the latest addition, the total number of countries underthis scheme will go up to 76. By the end of current financial yearGovernment intends to extend the scheme to 150 countries.
3. Microsoft named its next Web Browser as Edge
i. Microsoft, American multinational technology company, on 29April 2015 announced Edge as its next Web Browsers name at theBuild Developer Conference held at San Francisco in California, USA.
ii. Earlier, Microsoft had called it as Project Spartan; a codename given by the company. The browser is intended to replace theInternet Explorer (IE) in future.
Key Features of Edge Web browser
It will feature new inking function, whichallows users to draw or scribble directly on a Web page. It workswith finger or stylus and offers pen as well as highlighter withoption to choose the color for it
Microsofts personal assistant serviceCortana will be integrated to the new browser in order to enhance theuser experience.
It will allow users to save pages for offlinereading. The reading lists thus created by a user will get synced tobe accessed across multiple devices.
It will exhibit a new tab page that will showinformation on recently opened tabs, favourites, new apps, etc.
4. Canara Bank ties up with Life Insurance Corporation
i. Canara Bank has entered into a memorandum of understanding withLife Insurance Corporation of India for offering the Pradhan MantriJeevan Jyoti Bima Yojanainsurance cover to all its eligiblecustomers.
ii. The bank has also partnered with the United India InsuranceCompany for offering the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojanainsurance cover.
iii. According to the MoU, LIC will offer a life cover of 2 lakhin case of death of the insured person at a nominal premium of 330per annum.
iv. All savings bank account holders in age group of 18 to 50years can avail themselves of product.
5. BARC India TV viewership rating
i. Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, launched twoyears ago to measure and assess TV viewership in India, has announcedits first data for week 16 of 2015.
ii. As per BARC data, Star Plus was the leading Hindi generalentertainment channel (GEC) in the Hindi-speaking markets (HSM),Zeeemerged as a strong player in the regional channels such as Marathiand Telugu, Aaj Tak was the leader in Hindi news (HSM) and Times Nowled in the English News category (All India).
iii. BARC India will monitor 12,000 sample households using astratified random sampling technique. This will go up to 20,000reporting homes.
iv. BARC India was set up as a collaboration between advertisersand the TV broadcasters to replace TAM (Television AudienceMeasurement) media research data.
6. Reform implementation to determine rating upgrade
i. Indias sovereign rating will depend on implementation ofpolicies by its leaders to improve the business environment for theprivate sector and for infrastructure growth according to ratingagency Moodys.
ii. Moodys, which has given the lowest investment grade ratingto India, named regulatory complexity and weak social and physicalinfrastructure as challenges before the country.
iii. Lower global commodity prices support Indias growth andbalance of payments, but its banking system would pose sovereignrisks over the medium term if asset quality and capitalisation levelsdo not improve.
Current Affairs - 2nd May 2015
1. Buenos Aires is worlds bookstore capital
i. The city has more bookstores per capita than any other majorcity in the world, according to a recent study by the World CitiesCultural Forum, an organization that works to promote culture.
ii. With a population of 2.8 million people within the citylimits, there are 25 bookstores for every 100,000 people, puttingBuenos Aires far above other world cities like London, Paris, Madrid,Moscow and New York. The closest is Hong Kong, which has 22bookstores per 100,000 people.
2. Surender Singh took over as Director General of CISF
i. Senior IPS officer Surender Singh on 1 May 2015 took over asDirector General (DG) of central paramilitary force CentralIndustrial Security Force (CISF).
ii. Surender Singh is a 1980-batch police officer of West Bengalcadre. Earlier, he served as a Special Director in the IntelligenceBureau (IB) before getting the new assignment.
iii. His appointment was confirmed by the Appointments Committeeof the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
iv. tenure will end in August 2016. He succeeded ArvindRanjan.
v. Arvind Ranjan retired on 30 April 2015 as the DG of the CISF.He is a 1977-batch IPS officer of Kerala cadre, had been the head ofthe force for close to 16 months during which he initiated a slew ofbest practices in the force, especially, with regard to enhancing thesecurity consultancy wing of the force.
vi. CISF is the largest industrial security force in the world. Itis directly under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and itsheadquarters are at New Delhi.
vii. CIEF is the force of 1.41-lakh personnel strong force taskedto secure some of the most vital and strategic installations in thecountry like civil airports and facilities in the nuclear andaerospace domain.
3. John Kerry's visit to Sri Lanka
i. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Sri Lanka tooffer support for newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena afteryears of tensions with the former government of President MahindaRajapaksa over human rights.
ii. It is the first time in a decade that a U.S. secretary ofstate has visited Sri Lanka.
iii. Kerry will discuss U.S. interest in expanding trade andinvestment with Sri Lanka.
iv. Sri Lanka exports roughly $2.5 billion in goods, mostlytextiles, to the United States a year.
4. Nitin Gadkari Dedicates to the Nation Two MajorHighway Projects in the North East
i. Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Shri NitinGadkari today dedicated to the nation two major Highway projects inthe North East at a function near Shillong.
ii. The projects considerably ease the travel from Guwahatitowards Shillong and other parts of the North East. These includeShillong Bypass and four laning of Jorabat-Barapani Section of NH-40.
iii. The Shillong Bypass connects NH 40 and NH 44 (New NH 6) andwill decongest the traffic in the city of Shillong from trucks andheavy vehicles coming from or moving towards North Eastern parts ofAssam and other states-Mizoram and Tripura.
iv. The 48.76 Km Bypass begins from NH 40 at Umiam in Ri-BhoiDistrict and ends on NH 44 (new NH 6) at Mawryngkneng in East KhasiHills District. The bypass was constructed by NHAI on BOT (Annuity)mode.
5. Worlds largest solar photovoltaic plant of 750 MWto be built in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh
i. The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet in the last week of April 2015 gaveits approval to build 750 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (SPV)plant at Gurh tehsil in Rewa district. The plant, to be developed inthree phases of 250 MW, once completed will become the worldslargest solar power plant.
ii. At present, the largest SPV plant is the Topaz Solar Farm (550MW) in Californias San Luis Obispo county, US, which wascommissioned in 2014
Characteristic Feature of SPV plant
--> The plant will use photovoltaic (PV)technology to generate electricity from the sun and is estimated tobe completed by March 2017 at an estimated cost of 4500 crorerupees.
--> The loan for it will be providedby World Bank and New and Renewable Energy Department of MadhyaPradesh government will provide land for the project. The stategovernment is also on the lookout for private land.
-->The plant will provide power at a price as low as 5.50rupees per unit as against the 6.86 rupees per unit, which is thebenchmark for levelised tariff (tariff realised over the span of theproject) of SPV for 2015-16 announced by Central ElectricityRegulatory Commission.
--> The project isbeing set up under the scheme for development of solar parks andultra mega solar power projects. The PV modules for the plant wouldbe sourced from the domestic market which is not mandatory.
-->The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited will construct the gridconnections and transmission lines of the solar plant.
6. Goldman Sachs invests in Foodpanda
i. Mobile food delivery app Foodpanda on Friday announced raisingof fresh funds to the tune of $100 million (about Rs. 635 crore) in afinancing round led by Goldman Sachs.
ii. Its investors include Rocket Internet (52 per cent stake),Phenomen Ventures, Investment AB Kinnevik and iMENA Holdings. Activein over 580 cities globally, Foodpanda has partnered with over 60,000restaurants.
iii. In India, the company has partnerships with more than 3,000restaurants, including brands such as Pizza Hut, Subway, Nirulas,Faasos, Baskin Robbins and Ammis Biryani.
7. Tennis player Rafael Nadal received Golden Medal forMerit in Work of Spain
i. Ace tennis player Rafael Nadal on 1 May 2015 received theGolden Medal for Merit in Work. Golden Medal is one of the topcivilian honours of Spain which aims to highlight an exemplaryperformance in any job or profession.
ii. Nadal received the honour from the Spanish Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy Brey at the PMs official residence Moncloa Palace inMadrid.
iii. Rafael Nadal is 14-time Grand Slam singles champion out ofwhich he has won the French Open for a record nine times. He is oftencalled The King of Clay and is currently ranked World Number 5.
iv. Besides, he has won the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, arecord 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 15 ATP World Tour 500tournaments.
Current Affairs - 3rd May 2015
1. Four Indians to be conferred with 2015 SpringImperial Decorations of Japan
i. Four Indians will be conferred with the Spring ImperialDecorations of Japan which were announced on 29 April 2015.
ii. These Indians are among the 85 foreign recipients who willreceive the award at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on 8 May 2015. Theawards will be conferred by Emperor of Japan Akihito.
The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star -
Thottuvelil Krishna Pillai Aiyappankutty Nair (75): He is a formerAdvisor and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of IndiaManmohan Singh.
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao (80): He is the HonoraryPresident of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research,Bangalore and a former Chair of the Japan-India Science Council.
The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays
Nikunj Parekh (74): He is the President of Indo-JapaneseAssociation, Mumbai and Director of Bonsai Study Group ofIndo-Japanese Association, Mumbai.
The Orders of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays
Topgay Bhutia (64): Former local employee of the Embassy of Japanin India was awarded for his contribution to the activities of theJapanese overseas establishment.
2. A Book titled China Confucius in theShadows written by Poonam Surie released
i. A Book titled China Confucius in the Shadows was releasedby the Vice President M. Hamid Ansari on 1 May 2015. Confucius wasconsidered as the most efficient author in Chinese history.
ii. Book has been written by Poonam Surie. Poonam Surie is anAdjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi.
iii. The book highlights that in the evolving socio politicalmilieu of China; interpreting Confucian philosophy as beingnon-confrontationist, benevolent and with values such as filial pietyand harmony could help the current political regime deal with suchproblems as corruption and rising inequalities.
3. IGI adjudged World's Best Airport
i. Delhis Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has beenadjudged the worlds best airport for the year 2014.
ii. In this regard, Airports Council International (ACI) presentedthe Airport Service Quality (ASQ) award to IGIA under the category ofhandling 25 to 40 million passengers per annum.
iii. IGIA had scored 4.90 on a scale of 5 points measured by 300members of the ACI ASQ benchmarking programme. It should be notedthat, IGIA has bettered its ranking from second position for threeconsecutive years 2011, 2012 and 2013 to emerge on top in 2014.
iv. Airport Service Quality (ASQ) is the key to understanding howto increase passenger satisfaction and improve business performance.While the ACI is a trade association of the worlds airports andwas founded in 1991.
4. Rajasthan government allocates 12 crore rupeesfor Project Great Indian Bustard
i. Rajasthan Forest department has allotted more than twelve crorerupees for a bird conservation programme, Project Great IndianBustard (GIB).
ii. For this project Japan Bank is going to provide financialsupport of three crore rupees.
iii. Under the GIB Project, closures will be made at many placesin Khudi rasla, Pokhran and Shahgarh of Jaislmer district for safehabitat of bird. In order to regularly monitor the bird informationchips will installed.
iv. The Great Indian Bustard locally called as Godawan is also thestate bird of Rajasthan.
5. CNR Rao conferred with Japan's highestcivilian award
i. Eminent scientist and Bharat Ratna awardee Chintamani NagesaRamachandra Rao was conferred with Japans highest civilian awardthe Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
ii. He was bestowed with this award for his outstandingcontributions to science and Indo-Japanese science cooperation.
iii. Rao is a National Research Professor, Linus Pauling ResearchProfessor. He is also the Honorary President of Jawaharlal NehruCentre for Advance Scientific Research, Bengaluru and a former Chairof the Japan-India Science Council.
6. Union Sports Ministry recognised Motor Sports as aSports under NSF
i. Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 23 March 2015recognised Motor Sports as a sport by including it in the list ofsports ministry-backed National Sports Federations (NSF).
ii. Motor Sports is one of the 59 sports recognised by theMinistry during the review of categorization of various sportsdiscipline into High Priority, Priority and Others.
iii. After the review Motor Sports was put into Otherscategory which means that no financial assistance will be provided toit.
iv. The decision to include Motor Sports was welcomed by theFederation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI),the governing bodyfor the motor sports in India.
v. Sports Ministry after each Olympics Games and Asian Gamesreviews and categorise various sports discipline with respect totheir performance in these Games. The categorization is done with aview to review and provides financial assistance to the NSF. The lastsuch review was done in 2008.
vi. Accordingly, 9 sports disciplines were put into HighPriority category. These include Archery, Boxing, Weight Lifting,Wrestling, Tennis, Shooting, Hockey, Badminton and Athletics.
vii. 23 sports disciplines were put under Priority categoryand rest were put into Others category.
7. Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeats Manny Pacquiao to winWorld Welterweight Title of Boxing
i. American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has won the unified WorldWelterweight title of World Boxing Council, World Boxing Organisationand World Boxing Association.
ii. To win this title he defeated Manny Pacquiao from Philippineson a unanimous decision with Judges Scores of 118-110, 116-112 and116-112 in 12 rounds of intense boxing.
iii. The legendary bout termed as Fight of the Century wasplayed at iconic MGM Grand, Las Vegas. This fight was also thehighest watched and most revenue generating with almost 400 milliondollars of all time.
Current Affairs - 4th May 2015
1. Gold imports jump 19.5% at $34.32 billion inFY15
i. Gold imports surged 19.5 per cent to reach USD 34.32 billion in2014-15 due to declining prices and easing of restrictions by theReserve Bank.
ii. Imports of the metal were USD 28.7 billion the previousfiscal, 2013-14.
iii. Increase in gold imports impacts the countrys tradedeficit, which has reached USD 137 billion in 2014-15, and thecurrent account deficit (CAD).
iv. The imports almost doubled in March to USD 4.98 billion whichpushed the trade deficit to a four-month high of USD 11.79 billionfor the month, according to the Commerce Ministry data.
v. India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters tothe demand of the jewellery industry.
2. World Press Freedom Day observed globally
i. World Press Freedom Day is annually observed on May 3 to informthe international community that freedom of the press and freedom ofexpression are fundamental human rights.
ii. This year, the theme of World Press Freedom day is LetJournalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality andmedia safety in the digital age.
iii. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN GeneralAssembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO'sGeneral Conference in 1991. Since then, 3 May is celebrated worldwideas World Press Freedom Day.
3. Cow-urine refinery inaugurated at Pathmeda villagefor research on cow products
i. A cow-urine refinery was on 3 May 2015 inaugurated at Pathmedavillage in Jalore district, Rajasthan for research on the cowproducts. The refinery was inaugurated by Rajasthan Health MinisterRajendra Rathore.
ii. For the research on cow products, a scientific approach willbe adopted for Indian traditional system of medicine. The refinerywill prepare cow-urine extract for use in the formulation of variousproducts.
iii. To this effect, a Memorandum of Understanding was signedbetween Jodhpur's Dr S Radhakrishnan Ayurveda University and theRajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.
iv. The by-product derived from cow-urine extract will be used forcleaning at the SMS Hospital in Jaipur. Currently, the fibre obtainedfrom cow dung is used at two places, in Agra and Jalore for runningindustries.
4. Direct tax collection falls short by 14% in2014-15
i. The direct tax collection by the government during 2014-15 fellshort of the target by about 14 per cent with Rs. 6,96,200 crorerevenue coming to its kitty.
ii. The Income Tax Department which collects a variety of taxeslike Income Tax and Corporate Tax collected approximately Rs.6,96,200 crore in the fiscal ending March 31, 2015.
iii. The achieved collections are about Rs. 9,000 crore less or 14per cent short of the projected target of Rs. 7,05,000 crore.
iv. The collections are, however, 19 per cent more than the lastfiscal. In 201314, the mopup was Rs. 5,83,000 crore.
5. Future Group's Retail Business to Merge WithBharti Retail
i. Future RetailBSE 12.06 % Ltd said on Monday it had agreed tomerge its retail operations with rival Bharti Retail Ltd to createone of India's biggest retail chain with more than 570 stores acrossthe country.
ii. Under the deal structure, approved by the boards of the twocompanies, the retail business of Future Retail will be merged withBharti Retail. The combined entity will own the retail operations ofboth the companies.
iii. In the second step, infrastructure, investments and assets ofboth the companies will be combined to create a new entity to becalled Future Enterprises Ltd.
6. Indian Railway girls clinch 5th NationalHockey Championship title
i. Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) have won the 5th Nationalwomen hockey championship title.
ii. In the final match played at the Master Chandgi Ram sportsstadium at Saifai, Uttar Pradesh the the RSPB girls team defeatedHockey Jharkhand by 12-2 goals.
iii. For the RSPB, Saundarya Yendala scored three goals in thefinal match while Sunita Lakra and Lilima Minz scored two goals each.Anuradha Devi, Manmeet Kaur, Anupa Barla, Poonam Barla, and DeepgraceEkka scored one goal each for the winning team.
7. Roger Federer won the inaugural Istanbul Open TennisMens Singles Title
i. Switzerland tennis player Roger Federer on 3 May 2015 won theTEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open Mens singles title by defeatingPablo Cueves of Uruguay 6-3 7-6.
ii. With this win, the world No 2 ranking player took his 85th ATPWorld Tour title and ended a long drought on clay since his previoustitle of 2012 Madrid Masters.
iii. This is the first ever World Tour event in Turkey and washeld from 27 April to 3 May 2015 in Istanbul, the Capital City ofTurkey.
iv. In the 439405 Euro prize money tournament, Radu Albot andDusan Lajovic won the Doubles Mens title by defeating RobertLindstedt and Jurgen Melzer.
Current Affairs - 5th May 2015
1. Microsofts Edu-Cloud to make learning fun
i. Microsoft India unveiled Edu-Cloud, a cloud computing-basedoffering, designed to offer digital learning and teaching in schoolsand higher educational institutions through virtual learningplatforms in India.
ii. Microsoft India Chairman Bhaskar Pramanik said Edu-Cloud isexpected to benefit 10 lakh teachers and 60 lakh students in over1,500 institutes over the next 18 months.
iii. The company has also announced a tie-up with the Chaitanyagroup of educational institutions, which will adopt Edu-Cloud.
iv. In the last 10 years, Microsofts education, skilldevelopment, entrepreneurship and digital literacy programmes havetouched over 5 crore people in 20 different states of India.
2. Surface-to-air short range Akash missile systeminducted into Indian Army
i. Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL),in partnershipwith Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL),is supplying critical electronicsystems for Akash Weapon System (AWS) inducted into the Indian Army.
ii. 'Akash' is a surface-to-air missile indigenously developed bythe Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL),under IntegratedGuided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
iii. The first off production models (FOPM) of these systems weresuccessfully realised and delivered by ECIL in close association withDRDL.
3. Offering whole internet for free not sustainable:Mark Zuckerberg
i. Facebook is opening up Internet.org, which providesconnectivity to people in developing nations, to outside applicationsfollowing a controversy over its limited set of online services.
ii. Internet.org would operate as a free platform so anyone canbuild free basic services, but that the full internet would not beincluded.
iii. NDTV, Newshunt and Cleartrip had also announced that theywere withdrawing from Internet.org on the same day.
4. PM Narendra Modi joined Chinese social mediaplatform Weibo
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 May 2015 joined Chinesesocial media platform Weibo. Weibo is the main microbloggingservice of China. Weibo is often referred to as Twitterof China.
ii. PM Modi joined Chinese social media platform just weeks beforehis scheduled visit to China. Modi will start off his three-nationtour to the East on 14 May 2015 with China, Mongolia and Later SouthKorea.
iii. Sina Weibo is a Chinese microblogging website. It is similarto Twitter and Facebook. It is one of the most popular sites inChina, in use by well over 30% of Internet users, with a marketpenetration similar to the United States' Twitter.
5. India to tie up with Iran for Chabahar
i. India and Iran agreed in 2003 to develop a port at Chabahar onthe Gulf of Oman, near Iran's border with Pakistan, but the venturehas made little progress because of Western sanctions on Iran.
ii. Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari will travel on a day-long tourto Iran to sign a memorandum of understanding for development ofChabahar port.
iii. Iran has also proposed a free-trade agreement with India, atrade ministry source said. Rupee-denominated trade with Iran,started in 2012 because of complications arising from sanctions, hasalmost doubled Indian exports to Tehran in the past two years to $4billion.
6. MoneyGram Ready to Handle Electronic-ModeRemittances in India
i. NASDAQ-listed MoneyGram is ready to handle remittances throughelectronic modes in India as soon as the government allows suchtransactions through a series of electronic modes such as online, ATMand phone banking.
ii. It would happen when the government allows transactions to bemanaged through a series of electronic modes such as online,Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and phone banking.
iii. In 2013, India received $70 billion in remittances toppingthe list in Asia, followed by China at $59 billion and thePhilippines at $27 billion, according to the World Bank data.
iv. The top countries sending money into India are those in NorthAmerica, the Middle East, the UK and Europe, according to the twoMoneyGram executives.
7. The Union Cabinet approved the 119th ConstitutionalAmendment Bill on Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India andBangladesh
i. Under the land boundary agreement, India and Bangladesh willexchange several enclaves which are under each other's adversepossession. The bill also includes the territories in Assam inaddition to territories of West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.
ii. The bill will need ratification by the Parliament and wouldalso require ratification of at least 50 percent of the statelegislatures before it comes into effect.
iii. Earlier in 2013, the bill in regard to this was placed in theRajya Sabha and subsequently was referred to a select committee,which was headed by Shashi Tharoor of Congress. Later, the committeeunanimously recommended implementation of the deal.
Current Affairs - 6th May 2015
1. World Asthma Day 2015 observed
i. World Asthma Day 2015 was observed globally on 5 May 2015.Theme of the year is You Can Control Your Asthma andsub-theme is Its Time to Control Asthma.
ii. World Asthma Day takes place on the first Tuesday of May. Theinaugural World Asthma Day was held in 1998.
iii. The day is annually organized by the Global Initiative forAsthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
iv. An awareness drive and a continuing medical education (CME)were held at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) to markthe World Asthma Day.
2. Indigenously developed Akash Weapon System (AWS)inducted into Indian Army
i. The first regiment of the indigenously developed Surface-to-Airmissile Akash Weapon System (AWS) on 5 May 2015 was inducted into theIndian Army in New Delhi.
ii. It is part of the orders for two regiments placed by the Armyworth about 19000 crore rupees.
Features of Akash Weapon System (AWS)
Each regiment of AWS consists of sixlaunchers with each launcher having three missiles.
It consists of sophisticated radars and control systems to guide themissile towards the target.
Each missileweighs 720 kg having a length of 5.78 meters.
It is fully automated and can simultaneously engage multiple targetsin all weather conditions including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)in addition to helicopters and fighter planes.
It has a large operational range from a low altitude of 30 metres toa maximum of up to 20 km.
At 96 per centindigenisation, it represents a major capability development for acrucial weapon system.
Unlike the Air Forceversion, which was inducted in March 2012, the Army variant of Akashis designed for high mobility and can be quickly moved to anyoperational theatres based on necessity.
Akash has been developed by the Defence Research and DevelopmentOrganisation and is being built by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).
It was originally planned as part of the five missiles under theIntegrated Guided Missile Development (IGMD) Programme initiated in1984.
3. LS approves GST Bill
i. The long-pending GST bill was approved by Lok Sabha after awalkout by Congress even as government vowed to compensate states forany revenue loss and assured that the new uniform indirect tax ratewill be much less than 27 per cent recommended by an expert panel.
ii. The Constitution Amendment Bill to implement the Goods andServices Tax (GST),originally mooted by the UPA, was passed by 352votes against 37 after the government rejected the opposition demandof referring it to Standing Committee.
iii. By subsuming most indirect taxes levied by the central andstate governments like excise, service tax, VAT and sales tax, thepan-India goods and services tax (GST) regime has proposed tofacilitate a common market in the country.
iv. Taxes on alcohol make up a major chunks of state revenues --for instance, in Kerala it contributes 22 percent of revenue, whilein Tamil Nadu it yields about Rs.21,000 crore per year.
4. Narendra Modi set to revive Vajpayee government'sFIIA project
i. The Foreign Investment Implementation Agency, a brainchild ofthe former Vajpayee government, is set to get a new lease of lifeunder Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ii. The agency's role will be reinvented and expanded to handholdforeign investors and keep tab on sectors that have end-useoperational conditions.
iii. The Ministry of Finance and the Department of IndustrialPolicy and Promotion have had discussions on FIIA playing a moreeffective role as the government looks to boost capital flows intothe country.
iv. The Reserve Bank of India, the administrative ministries incharge of sectors, the department of economic affairs, which housesthe Foreign Investment Promotion Board, and DIPP have all expresseddifficulty in monitoring sectoral conditions.
5. Bollywood actor Salman Khan sentenced to five-yearsin jail in 2002 hit-n-run case
i. Actor Salman Khan, sentenced to five years for killing ahomeless man in a hit-and-run in 2002, will not go to jail for now.He has been allowed to go home till Friday, when the Bombay HighCourt will hear his appeal for bail.
ii. A Mumbai court this morning rejected Mr Khan's claims that itwas his driver who was at the wheel of his Toyota Land Cruiser whenit ran into a group of homeless men sleeping outside a Mumbai bakery.One man, Nurullah Mehboob Sharif, died, four were injured.
iii. Mr Khan broke down in court after hearing he was sentenced tofive years in jail. The court said all seven charges againsthim -including culpable homicide- had been proven. The maximumsentence he could have got was 10 years.
iv. Mr Khan, 49, then applied for bail to the Bombay High Court,which has said he will not be arrested till Friday.
v. He is under trial in Rajasthan for shooting an endangered blackbuck gazelle in 1998. He spent a week in jail in 2006 in Jodhpurbefore being granted bail. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentenceof 7 years.
6. Government declared 11 pacts that signed betweenIndia, Germany at Hannover fair
i. Indian companies including HMT and Essel Group have signed 11MoUs with German firms that will help boost foreign fund inflows aswell as domestic manufacturing.
ii. The pacts were signed last month at the Hannover trade fair.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hadinaugurated the fair in Germany last month.
iii. These Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) are expected toincrease FDI flows to India, bring in new technology, help growth ofmanufacturing sector and create employment opportunities in thecountry thereby boosting its economy.
iv. Instrumentation Ltd signed a pact with German-based KE KauerEngineering for production of control valves. Vikram Solar inked MoUwith Fraunhofer Institute for solar energy systems.
v. Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) inked separate pacts with FTMachine Tools and Enit GmbH for collaboration in engineering sector.
7. Real estate bill sent to select committee of RajyaSabha
i. A united Opposition forced Government to send the controversialReal Estate Bill that seeks to regulate realty business, to a21-member select committee of Rajya Sabha, which has been asked tosubmit its report by the first week of the Monsoon Session.
ii. The government brought a motion to refer the bill to SelectCommittee, chaired by BJP member Anil Madhav Dave.
iii. The government had brought the bill earlier in this sessionafter taking the view of all stakeholders. However, amid lot ofcriticim the bill was delayed even after the recommendations of theStanding Committee.
8. Bhel commissions GVK's hydro-power project inUttrakhand
i. State-owned power equipment maker Bhel has commissioned GVKGroup's 82.5 MW greenfield hydro electric project inUttarakhand.
ii. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd said in a regulatory filing thatit has "successfully commissioned the first unit of 82.5 MW atthe upcoming Shrinagar Hydro Electric Project (HEP) in Uttarakhand".
iii. The greenfield hydro electric project consisting of fourunits of 82.5 MW each is being set up by Alaknanda Hydro PowerCorporation Ltd ( GVK Group).
iv. The project is designed to utilise the waters of RiverAlaknanda by way of a diversion dam.
v. Bhel said power generation from Shrinagar HEP is likely toresult in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Current Affairs - 7th May 2015
1. Election 2015: Party leaders cast votes in generalelection
i. A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected, with about 50million people registered to vote.
ii. There are more than 9,000 council seats being contested across279 English local authorities.
iii. Britain's ruling Conservatives and the opposition LabourParty were tied with support at 33 per cent.
iv. There are a total of 59 Indian-origin candidates in the frayfrom the Tories (17),Labour (14),Liberal Democrats (14),GreenParty (4),United Kingdom Independence Party- UKIP (3),Independents(2) and one each from the smaller parties like All Peoples Party,Christian Movement for Great Britain, National Liberal Party,Socialist Labour Party and Young Peoples Party.
2. Union Cabinet Approved Building and Launching ofGSAT-17 and GSAT-18 Communication Satellites
i. The Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its nod for building andlaunching of GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 communication satellites.
ii. These two satellites with the structure similar to the GSAT-10are aimed at providing replacement capacity and in-orbit backup thatis they will provide for continuance of the services of existingusers and augmenting in-orbit spare capacity to meet emergencies.
iii. GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 satellites will weigh about 3425 Kg eachand will be built and launched within 30 months at a cost of 1013.20crore rupees and 1022 crore rupees respectively.
iv. The satellites will augment and support existingtelecommunication, television and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT)services in the entire mainland of the country.
3. India home to 56 of the worlds 2000 powerfulcompanies
i. India is home to 56 of the worlds 2000 largest and mostpowerful public companies, according to the Forbess annual listwhich is topped by the US with its share of 579 companies.
ii. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries leads the pack of 56Indian companies in the 2015 Forbes Global 2000 list.
iii. Forbes said that for the first time, Chinas four biggestbanks own the top four spots and the South Asian giant is home to 232of the worlds largest companies, adding more spots than any othercountry in the world and surpassing Japan for the first time.
iv. The other Indian companies on the list are Oil and Natural Gasranked 183, Tata Motors (263),ICICI Bank (283),Indian Oil (349),HDFC Bank (376),NTPC (431),Tata Consultancy Services (485),BhartiAirtel (506),Axis Bank (558),Infosys (672),Bharat Petroleum (757),Wipro (811),Tata Steel (903) and Adani Enterprises (944).
4. Lok Sabha passes Juvenile Justice Bill
i. The central government on Thursday moved the Juvenile JusticeBill in the Lok Sabha which will allow children in the 16-18 agegroup to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes.
ii. According to data from National Crime Records Bureau, crimesby juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years have increased,especially in certain categories of heinous crimes.
iii. The bill states that in case a heinous crime has beencommitted by a person in the age group of 16-18 years it will beexamined by a Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime wascommitted as a 'child' or as an 'adult'.
iv. The legislation, which would replace the existing JuvenileJustice Act, 2000, was proposed in view of increasing number ofserious offences being committed by persons in the age group of 16-18years.
5. Myntra.com acquired startup firm Native5 SoftwareSolutions Pvt Ltd
i. Online fashion retailer Myntra.com on 6 May 2015 acquiredBengaluru-based startup firm Native5 Software Solutions Pvt Ltd foran undisclosed sum. With this acquisition, founders of Native 5 willjoin Flipkart, parent company of Myntra.
ii. From now onwards, Native5 team will work on Myntras mobileonly strategy and will help its mobile apps to grow.
6. Indian Cabinet Approves Amendments to WhistleblowersAct
i. The union cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to theWhistlebowers Protection Act, 2011 aimed at strengthening safeguardsagainst disclosures.
ii. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December, 2011 and byRajya Sabha in February last year. The bill has received the assentof the president in May last year.
iii. The amendments would address concerns relating tonational security and the amendment bill will be moved during thebudget session of parliament.
7. Geeta Phogat wins bronze in Asian championship
i. Geeta Phogat won a bronze medal in the Women's Freestyle 58kgcategory in the Senior Asian Wrestling championship in Doha.
ii. She defeated Vietnam's Thi Loan Nyguen by Fall verdict in thebronze medal play-off.
iii. En-route to the bronze medal play off, Geeta lost in poolbout only to Kaori Icho of Japan, the Olympic gold medallist.
Current Affairs - 8th May 2015
1. Govt gets SC notice on PSB chief criteria
i. The Centre's new appointment norms for public sector bankchiefs capping the age at 55 years and mandatory three-year boardlevel experience has come under judicial scrutiny with theSupreme Court.
ii. A bench of Justices A R Dave and R K Agrawal issued notice tothe Centre and the Reserve Bank of India seeking their response on aPIL filed by a retired banker who alleged that the policy wasintended to pave the way for private bankers to lead the country topbanks - Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, CanaraBank and IDBI Bank.
iii. The upper age limit for the post was 58 years but thegovernment decided to amend the rules, arguing that it was part of aplan to professionalize bank boards.
iv. The rules fixed the age limit for MDs & CEOs at 45-55years with 15 years of banking experience out of which three yearsshould have been at the board level.
2. Nepal Rastra Bank to provide interest-free loans forrebuilding houses
i. Nepal Rastra Bank on 7 May 2015 announced to provideinterest-free loans for rebuilding houses. The bank will provideinterest-free loans of up to 25 lakh nepali rupees in the KathmanduValley and 15 lakh nepali rupees for those outside the capital forhouse reconstruction.
ii. Nepal Rastra Bank is the regulatory authority of the Nepaleseeconomy.
iii. The central bank also said the commercial banks and financialinstitutions could take a maximum interest of 2 per cent under homeloan for such purposes.
iv. Meanwhile, Nepals Parliament unanimously passed aresolution committing to work together in the reconstruction work inthe aftermath of the earthquake that devastated central and easternhilly parts of Nepal.
v. The earthquake on 25 April 2015 and another one the followingday of 7.9 and 6.7 magnitude have claimed 7765 lives and have leftover 16000 injured.
vi. It is the central bank of Nepal. It supervises the banks andfinancial institutions in Nepal and guides monetary policy. NepalRastra Bank also oversees foreign exchange rates and the country'sforeign exchange reserves and regulates the foreign exchange policy.
3. UK General election 2015: Conservative Party wonmajority by securing 331 seats
i. David Cameron has returned to Downing Street with the Torieshaving defied polls and won the general election.
ii. The Conservatives are expected to get a 37% share of thenational vote, Labour 31%, UKIP 13%, the Lib Dems 8%, the SNP 5%, theGreen Party 4% and Plaid Cymru 1%.
iii. Labour has been hammered in Scotland by the SNP, with NicolaSturgeon's party seizing 56 of the nation's 59 seats. Jim Murphy,leader of the Scottish Labour Party, and shadow foreign secretaryDouglas Alexander both lost their seats to the SNP.
4. AK Jyoti, appointed as Election Commissioner
i. Achal Kumar Jyoti, a former Gujarat Chief Secretary, wasappointed as the Election Commissioner.
ii. 62-year-old Jyoti's tenure will commence from the day heassumes his charge.
iii. He retired from active service in January, 2013 beforeserving in various capacities in Gujarat. He was also posted at theKandla Port Trust between 1999 and 2004.
5. RBI puts in place new mechanism for banks to checkloan fraud
i. The RBI put in place a new framework to check loan fraudincluding by way of early warning signals at banks and red flaggingof accounts, while swindlers will have no access to further bankingfinance.
ii. The central bank will set up a Central Fraud Registry that canbe accessed by all banks to identify borrowers having committedfrauds with any bank in the past.
iii. The CBI and the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB)will also share their databases with banks.
iv. The concept of a Red Flagged Account (RFA) is being introducedin the current framework as an important step in fraud risk control.
6. Jitu Rai wins 'Sportsperson of the Year' Award atTOISA
i. Ace marksman Jitu Rai was declared the Sportsperson of theYear' at the Times of India Sports Awards in a glittering ceremonythat was graced by the legendary Carl Lewis.
ii. 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh received the 'Lifetime AchievementAward' from the 'Olympian of the century' and Times Group MD VineetJain in a ceremony that was attended by the who and who of India'ssporting fraternity.
iii. Besides Lewis and Milkha, prominent figures from the sportingworld included former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, Olympicbronze medallists boxer MC Mary Kom, shuttler Saina Nehwal and CWGgold medallist squash player Dipika Pallikal.
7. Prime Minister releases commemorative coin on SwamiChinmayananda Saraswati
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday released acommemorative coin to mark the birth centenary of SwamiChinmayananda.
ii. Swami Chinmayananda was a renowned Hindu spiritual leader andteacher who had inspired the formation of a global nonprofitorganisation called Chinmaya Mission to spread the knowledge ofAdvaita Vedanta.
iii. Swami Chinmayananda born as Balakrishna Menon on 8 May 1916pioneered works in the field of education and social reform. He diedon 3 August 1993.
iv. He saw the need to inculcate India's great culture andspiritual traditions, through the English medium, among an eliteclass of people, who had moved away from this heritage.
8. Pakistan helicopter crash kills foreign envoys
i. An army helicopter has crashed in a mountainous part ofnorthern Pakistan killing seven people, including the Philippine andNorwegian ambassadors.
ii. The diplomats flying in the ill-fated MI-17 were headed for alittle advertised but extremely exciting inauguration ceremony of aski chairlift, built in the breathtaking resort of Naltar, innorthern Pakistan.
iii. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was scheduled to attendthe inauguration, but his aircraft turned back from Gilgit afterreports of the crash.
9. Mhairi Black became the youngest lawmaker of Britain
i. Mhairi Black on 7 May 2015 became the youngest lawmaker ofBritain at the age of 20. The freshly elected lawmaker is fromScotland.
ii. She belonged to Paisley and Renfrewshire South, a constituencyoutside Glasgow. She defeated Douglas Alexander, Labour'selection chief and a former Cabinet minister with 17864 votes.
iii. She is a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party.
iv. From a young age, she would march for causes as diverse assupport for a Scottish parliament and opposition to the Iraq war.
v. She made history by becoming the youngest lawmaker in UKhistory since the 17th century. In 1667, after being returned asknight of the shire Christopher Monck took his place in Parliamentwhen he was just 13.
Current Affairs - 9th May 2015
1. MoUs worth Rs 24,000 cr signed during PM NarendraModi's visit to Chattisgarh
i. In a big push for infrastructure development in Chhattisgarh,MoUs worth Rs 24,000 crore were signed at Dantewada.
ii. Here is a list of the MoUs that were signed:
--> MoU between Government of Chhattisgarh,NMDC, IRCON and SAIL for 140 km rail line between Rowghat andJagdalpur. Estimated project cost: Rs 2,000 crore.
-->MoU between Ministry of Steel, Government of Chhattisgarh, SAIL andNMDC for 3 million ton Ultra Mega Steel Plant with an investment ofapproximately Rs 18,000 crore.
--> MoU betweenGovernment of Chhattisgarh and NMDC for Slurry Pipeline and 2MTPAPellet Plant at Nagarnar in Bastar District with an investment of Rs4,000 crore.
--> MoU between Government ofChhattisgarh and SAIL for setting up 1MTPA Pellet Plant atDalli-Rajhara, Balod District with an investment of Rs 826 crore.
2. INS Sardar Patel commissioned
i. A strategically important new Naval base INS Sardar Patel was commissioned in Porbandar.
ii. The base was commissioned by Gujarat Chief Minister AnandibenPatel.
iii. Ms. Patel unveiled the plaque and read the commissioningwarrant of the new base which is second in the state for the IndianNavy after INS Dwarka near Okha.
iv. Gujarat has a coastline of 1600 km interspersed with 43 ports.Of these, Kandla being a major port, 11 are intermediate and 31 areminor ports.
3. North Korea successfully test-firedSubmarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
i .North Korea on 8 May 2015 successfully test-fired a newlydeveloped Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). The nationdescribed the missile as a world level strategic weapon.
ii. The underwater ballistic missile that will meet the latestmilitary science and technology requirements of the country wastest-fired after Leader Kim Jong-Un gave the order to test-fire themissile. He also watched its launch from attack submarine.
iii. This underwater ballistic missile is capable of striking andwiping out hostile forces in any waters.
iv. This missile programme has violated the UN resolution thatprohibits Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile tests.
4. India Posts's e-commerce centre set to startoperations
i. To cash in on growing online shopping trend, India Post Delhicircle will start its e-commerce centre from 11th May 2015.
ii. Considering the rapid growth of e-commerce business in thecountry in the recent past, the Department of Posts, through DelhiPostal Circle has taken up a project to establish the e-commercecentre at Safdarjang, New Delhi.
iii. The centre is to be dedicated to the nation by Ravi ShankarPrasad, hon'ble minister of communications and informationtechnology.
iv. The centre is capable of handling 30,000 parcels or articlesper day and parcels collected from the e-commerce customers,processed and dispatched within 24 hours to respective destinationthrough quickest available flight or train, as the case may be.
5. Russia celebrates victory day
i. Victory Day is Russia's most important secular holiday, bothcommemorating the Soviet Union's huge suffering in the war andhighlighting Russia's portrayal of itself as a force for peace andsecurity.
ii. Chinese President Xi Jinping was the most prominent worldleader to attend the Victory Day parade.
iii. Russia showed off new machines of war, including a highlysophisticated tank, in the annual Victory Day military parade throughRed Square that marks the surrender of Nazi Germany and the RedArmy's key role in the defeat.
6. Modi to inaugurate first Gandhian studies centre inChina
i. The first centre for Gandhian studies in China will beinaugurated at Shanghais Fudan University by Prime MinisterNarendra Modi.
ii. The Centre for Gandhian Studies will be established at theFudan University in China and the staff for it will be provided byIndian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).
iii. Mr. Modi, during his visit from May 14-16, will also announcethe setting up of a Yoga College in China.
iv. India will provide Yoga specialists and help China to bringabout a standardisation of Yoga techniques.
7. Goa Government launched hot air balloon &hibious vehicles
i. State Government of Goa on 9 May 2015 launched hot air balloonand amphibious vehicles in the picturesque state of beaches. It waslaunched with an aim to add attractions to its tourism portfolio.
ii. The hot air balloon will help tourists to fly over thepicturesque landscape, which will provide an aerial view of thepopular tourist destinations. Amphibious vehicle, which can run onroad and ply in waters, can operate across seven routes in fivetalukas of Goa.
iii. These new ventures to attract tourists will give a thrillingexperience to tourists in Goas inland waterways and will alsoallow them to tour across backwaters and catch glimpse of the floraand fauna in the surroundings.
iv. The two services will be run by Delhi-based Camping Retreatsof India pvt ltd, initially from Panji. Later, the services will beoperated from other prominent tourist spots of the state.
8. PM Modi to unveil 3 social security schemes inKolkata
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch three social securityschemes pertaining to insurance and pension in Kolkata.
ii. While two insurance schemes - Pradhan Mantri SurakshaBima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan JyotiBima Yojana (PMJJBY) will provide insurance cover in theunfortunate event of death by any cause or disability due to anaccident, the pension scheme - Atal Pension Yojana (APY)will address the old age income security needs.
iii. The convenient delivery mechanism of the schemes is expectedto address the problem of very low penetration of life or accidentinsurance and old age income security products in the country.
iv. The PMSBY will offer a renewable one year accidental death cumdisability cover of Rs two lakh to all the savings bank accountholders in the age group of 18 to 70 years for a premium of Rs 12 perannum.
9. Sakshi, Lalita win bronze in Asian WrestlingChampionship
i. Sakshi Malik and Lalita bagged bronze medal in Women'sFreestyle 60kg and 55kg categories, respectively, even as BabitaKumari lost out on a third-place finish in 53kg division of theSenior Asian Wrestling Championship in Doha.
ii. Lalita was defeated by North Korea's Han Kum-ok 3-9 in thesemifinal but she managed to settle for a bronze medal in the end inher category.
iii. In a total of five rounds in the 60kg category, Sakshi wontwo of her bouts to claim the third position.
Current Affairs - 10th May 2015
1. Navneet Rajan Wasan appointed as DG of PoliceResearch & Development Bureau
i. The post of Director General (DG) of Bureau of Police Researchand Development had been lying vacant since March 2015 following theretirement of Rajan Gupta.
ii. Presently, Wasan is working as Special Director Generalin the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He is a 1980-batch IPSofficer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre.
2. Haryana Government has decided to includeDeaflympics in its Sports Policy
i. Haryana Government has decided to include Deaflympics in itsSports Policy in order to boost the morale of differently-abledsportspersons in the state. Decision in this regard was taken duringa state cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
ii. With this inclusion, Deaflympian medalists now will be able toget cash rewards, jobs and other benefits from the state government.
Deaflympics is an International OlympicCommittee (IOC) sanctioned event, at which deaf athletes compete atan elite level.
The first event of was heldin Paris in 1924. It is the first international sporting event forathletes with a disability.
Previously, itwas known as World Games for the Deaf and International Games for theDeaf.
Organised by the InternationalCommittee of Sports for the Deaf, (French- Committee Internationaldes Sports des Sourds) since first event.
Deaflympicsare held every 4 years and often considered as the longestmulti-sports event, excluding the Olympic.
Toqualify for the Deaflympics, athletes must have a hearing loss of atleast 55 decibel (dB). In order to maintain equality and same levelin participation among athletes, hearing aids, cochlear implants arenot allowed during the games.
3. WHO declares Liberia Ebola-free
i. WHO has hailed Liberias Ebola eradication efforts as anenormous development in the long crisis and monumental achievement asthe virus has killed more than 4,716 people in the country alone.
ii. Now, Liberias neighbous Guinea and Sierra Leone are onlytwo countries fighting to stop Ebola outbreak since it began inDecember 2013.
Criteria for declaring a nation Ebola-free
WHO can declare a country Ebola free, if nonew cases are reported over two incubation periods of virus i.e. 21days.
In case of Liberia, no new cases ofEbola were reported in past 42 days i.e. twice the number of days thevirus requires to incubate. The last confirmed death in Liberia wasreported on 27 March 2015.
4. Book titled Unbelievable Delhi toIslamabad written by Prof Bhim Singh released
i. Book titled Unbelievable Delhi to Islamabad authored bysenior Advocate Prof. Bhim Singh was released on 8 May 2015 by VicePresident M Hamid Ansari in New Delhi.
ii. The book, a travelogue is an effort initiated by the lawyersof India and Pakistan to work jointly to ensure that Pakistaniprisoners languishing in Indian jails are treated in accordance withthe spirit of the Constitution of India. Similarly, the sametreatment should be mended for the Indian prisoners on Pakistan andthey should be given fair trials.
5. SBI launched RuPay Platinum Debit Card inassociation with NPCI
i. State Bank of India on 7 May 2015 launched State Bank RuPayPlatinum debit card in association with National Payment Corporationof India (NPCI).
ii. Initially, the card will be issued free to customersmaintaining a quarterly balance of 50000 rupees. The RuPay card isaccepted at all payment channels like ATMs, PoS and eCommerce.
iii. The State Bank RuPay Platinum Debit Card, targets theaffluent segment by offering a range of value added benefitsincluding:
5 percent cashback on utility bill payments
Up to 1 percent fuel surcharge waiver
Complimentary airport lounge access
Complimentary welcomediscount vouchers
Personal accidental deathand permanent total disability insurance cover of 2 lakh rupees
6. Shashi Kapoor has been conferred with prestigiousDada Saheb Phalke Award 2014
i. The award was bestowed upon him by Union Information andBroadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley at a special function held inPrithvi Theatre in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
ii. He is the 46th film personality to receive this honour andthird member of his illustrious family after father Prithviraj Kapoor(1972- Posthumously) and elder brother Raj Kapoor (1987).
About Shashi Kapoor
Born as Balbir Raj Prithviraj Kapoor on March18, 1938 in Kolkata, West Bengal. Started acting in films as a childin late 1940s. Since then he has appeared in 160 movies altogether,12 being in English and the rest in Hindi.
HisBollywood debut as a lead actor was in the film Dharmputra (1961).His best known performances as child artist were in Aag (1948),Awaara (1951) and Sangram (1950). He is also best-known for hisperformances in Hindi films like Jab Jab Phool Khile, Deewarand Kabhi Kabhie. American and British films: The Householder(1963),Shakespeare Wallah (1965),Bombay Talkie (1970),Heat andDust (1982),The Deceivers (1988),Side Streets (1998) etc.
Apart from acting in movies, he also had worked as a filmdirector, assistant director and film producer.
Current Affairs - 11th May 2015
1. May 11: National Technology Day
i. Every year, `National Technology Day is observed acrossIndia on May 11.
ii. This day glorifies the importance of science in day-to-daylife and motivates students to adopt science as a career option.
iii. National Technology Day is being commemorated to celebratethe anniversary of first of the five tests of Operation Shakti(Pokhran-II) nuclear test which was held on 11 May 1998 in Pokhran,Rajasthan.
iv. Apart from Pokhran nuclear test, on this day first indigenousaircraft Hansa-3 was test flown at Bangalore and India also conductedsuccessful test firing of the Trishul missile on the same day.
2. Jayaram Jayalalitha cleared of corruption charges
i. An appeals court in southern India has acquitted powerfulregional politician Jayaram Jayalalitha of corruption charges,clearing the way for her to return to public office.
ii. The High Court of Karnataka delivered its verdict on theappeal by former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha challenginga special court order convicting her in the disproportionate assetscase.
iii. Supporters from Jayalalitha's party cheered, set off firecrackers and danced in the streets of the Tamil Nadu state capital ofChennai, her hometown, after the Karnataka High Court in Bangaloredelivered its verdict.
3. Discus thrower Vikas Gowda won Gold at JamaicanInternational Invitation meet
i. Ace Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda on 10 May 2015 won Goldat Jamaican International Invitation meet. The meet was held inKingston, Jamaica. He came up with an effort of 65.14m to win hisevent.
ii. Chad Wright of Jamaica was second with a throw of 61.84m whileJared Schuurmans of United States was third with an effort of 61.62m.
iii. Gowda, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion and Silvermedal winnerof 2014 Asian Games, has thrown the discus over 65m threetimes in the last three weeks.
iv. The 31-year-old national record holder first came up with athrow of 65.25m at Chula Vista on 24 April 2015 to qualify for WorldChampionships in Beijing in August 2015.
v. The United States-based Indian is yet to qualify for nextyear's Rio Olympics for which he need to cross the qualifyingstandard of 66m. His national record stands at 66.28m.
4. KV Kamath appointed BRICS bank president
i. Eminent banker K.V. Kamath was on Monday appointed as head ofthe USD 50 billion New Development Bank being set up by the fiveemerging economies of BRICS grouping.
ii. Mr. Kamath will have a five-year term of the bank, which islikely to be operationalised within one year.
iii. About NDB - The New Development Bank (NDB),formerly referredto as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bankoperated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SouthAfrica) as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank andInternational Monetary Fund. The bank is set up to foster greaterfinancial and development cooperation among the five emergingmarkets.
5. China becomes world's top crude buyer
i. China overtook the United States as the world's top importer ofcrude oil for the first time in April, and its purchases are expectedto remain strong despite a slowing economy, with far-reachingconsequences for global oil and commodities markets.
ii. China is already the world's biggest energy consumer, with oilby far the largest traded energy market.
iii. The Saudi-led decision by the Organization of the PetroleumExporting Countries (OPEC) in November 2014 not to cut productiondespite the slide in oil prices has been largely motivated by aneffort to defend market share against outside competitors like Russiaor US shale producers.
6. President Mukherjee inaugurates `Namaste Russia`festival in Moscow
i. President Pranab Mukherjee, currently on his four-day officialvisit to Russia, has inaugurated a festival of Indian Culture'Namaste Russia' in Moscow.
ii. As part of the festival, the Russian Ministry of Culture willsupport the initiatives of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR) in sending Indian teachers of music and dance to regionalcentres in Russia from May 2015 to October 2015.
iii. Special emphasis will be on encouraging the participation ofyouth of both the countries in cultural exchanges.
iv. The logo for the festival was designed by a young Russian fromthe Russian town of Krasnoyarsk, who succeeded in an open competitionparticipated by both Indians and Russians.
7. Rosberg wins Spanish GP
i. Nico Rosberg has finally got the better of Mercedes teammateLewis Hamilton this season, winning the Spanish Grand Prix.
ii. A crowd of 86,700 watched the race, with a total of 189,000spectators attending the Catalunya circuit.
iii. McLarens misery continued as two-time F1 champion FernandoAlonso retired just short of halfway with faulty brakes on the track.
8. Andy Murray beats Rafael Nadal to win Madrid Mastersfinal
i. Andy Murray claimed his first victory over Rafael Nadal on clayto win the Madrid Masters.
ii. The Briton had never beaten Nadal in six previous meetings onthe surface but won 6-3 6-2 to stun the home crowd.
iii. Defending champion Nadal was aiming for a record fifth win inMadrid but Murray outclassed his Spanish opponent to lift his firstMasters title on clay.
9. Rohan Bopanna, Florin Mergea won Mens Doublestitle of Madrid Tennis Open
i. Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea, the Indo-Romanian pair, on 10May 2015 won the mens doubles title of the Madrid Tennis Open.
ii. In the summit clash played in Madrid, Spain, the duo defeatedthe Serbian-Polish pair of Nenand Zimonjic and Martin Matkowski 6-2, 6-7(5),11-9.
iii. For Rohan Bopanna, this is the third title of the 2015 seasonhaving won the titles in Sydney and Dubai along with the Canadianpartner Daniel Nestor.
iv. With the present win, the duo received 247560 euro pirze moneyalong with their maiden title and earned 1000 ranking points each.
Current Affairs - 12th May 2015
1. Hyderabad to host global pharma summit
i. Hyderabad will play host to a four-day global pharma expo andsummit from July 23.
ii. With Innovation and Advances as its theme, the eventwill deliberate on a range of issues, from pharmaceutical technologyto education, indigenous drugs and drug regulatory affairs, besidesserving as a platform for joint ventures and project collaboration.
iii. Renowned pharmaceutical experts will be addressing theIndo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015, being organised by IndusFoundation, in association with FTAPCCI and OMICS group, according toS.B.
iv. Anumolu, president of the Foundation. More than 4,000delegates are expected to attend the event, which will serve as a onestop stage for showcasing latest technological developments.
2. Justice Cyriac Joseph appointed NHRC acting chief
i. President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Justice Cyriac Josephas acting Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
ii. His appointment comes after then Chairman of NHRC Justice K.G.Balakrishnan completed his tenure.
iii. Presently, Justice Cyriac Joseph is member of NHRC. He hailsfrom Kaiphuza village of Kottayam district in Kerala and was a Judgeof the Supreme Court from 2008 to 2012.
iv. Justice Balakrishnan, the former Chief Justice of India,completed his tenure as the sixth and the longest serving NHRCChairperson. During his tenure, he was instrumental in charting outseveral new initiatives towards promotion and protection of humanrights in the country.
3. MIDC inks MoU with SIDBI to raise Rs 200-crore fundfor MSMEs
i. Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has inkedmemorandum of understanding (MoU) with state-run Small IndustriesDevelopment Bank of India (SIDBI) to provide easy finance to micro,small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for their growth.
ii. The MoU was signed Ananta P Sarma, MD and CEO of SIDBI andMIDC CEO Bhushan Gagrani in the presence of Maharashtra ChiefMinister Devendra Fadanvis in Nashik, Maharashtra.
iii. As per the MoU, both signatory parties have jointly createdfunds to the tune of 200 crore rupees to provide immediate finance tothe MSMEs.
iv. Of the total amount, the MIDC has contributed 75 crore rupees,while SIDBI has provided the remaining 125 crore rupees.
4. Canara Bank launches mega CASA campaign
i. Canara Bank has launched a mega CASA (current account,savings account) campaign in Bengaluru with the CanBank men and womenwith their logo colour caps flooding the nook and corners of the cityto sell their products.
ii. Executive directors P S Rawat and Harideesh Kumar spearheadedthe campaign.
iii. The entire city was divided into 16 clusters covering 173branches. Each cluster was led by the rank of a General Manager fromhead office.
5. Indian-origin Priti Patel appointed as Minister ofState for Employment in British Government
i. Indian-origin Tory MP Priti Patel has been appointed ministerof state for employment in British Prime Minister David Cameron's newcabinet.
ii. Patel, who called her new posting at the department for workand pensions "a real privilege", won the recent electionsby securing 58% of the votes from Witham.
iii. She was the exchequer secretary to the treasury from July2014 to May 2015. The 43-year-old was first elected the MP for Withamin May 2010.
6. Nepal earthquake, magnitude 7.3, strikes nearEverest
i. A major earthquake has struck eastern Nepal, near MountEverest, two weeks after more than 8,000 died in a devastating quake.
ii. The US Geological Survey said it had a magnitude of 7.3. Anearthquake on 25 April, centred in western Nepal, had a magnitude of7.8.
iii. The tremor was also felt in northern India and Bangladesh,and was centred east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, in a ruralarea close to the Chinese border.
7. GST bill referred to select committee
i. The government and opposition parties agreed to refer theconstitutional amendment bill on goods and service tax (GST) to a21-member select committee of the Rajya Sabha.
ii. The committee will submit its report on the last day of thefirst week of Parliaments monsoon session.
iii. The committee will be headed by Bhupendra Yadav, a BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) MP and a party general secretary.
Members of major political parties including BJP, Shiromani AkaliDal, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal(United) will be represented in the committee.
iv. After passing the bill in the Lok Sabha, the government hasfaced problems in the upper house. The government, which has 62members in the 244-member house, needs 162 members to support thebill for its clearance.
8. India-born Nikesh Arora named Japan's SoftBank Corppresident
i. Indian-born Nikesh Arora was on 11 May 2015 appointed as thePresident of Japans multinational telecommunications and internetcompany SoftBank Corp.
ii. As per the announcement made at the companys earningconference, he will also be the Representative Director of SoftBankCorp.
iii. Before the present elevation, he had been the Vice Chairmanof the company and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SB Group US,Inc. (former SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc.) since September 2014.
iv. He succeeds Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of the SoftbankCorp.
v. Earlier, Arora worked in Google for 10 years and left thecompany as the Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officerbefore joining SoftBank Corp. in 2014.
Current Affairs - 13th May 2015
1. HSBC cuts India ratings to underweight
i. In the first major downgrade for Indian markets in the past oneyear, global brokerage HSBC changed its stance on the country tounderweight, saying corporate earnings may remain muted,monsoon could be weak and odds are against further rate cuts.
ii. HSBC further said that India has become the second mostexpensive and one of the most over-owned markets in Asia.
iii. The downgrade comes at a time when Indian markets are alreadyunder acute pressure, primarily because of foreign investors turningheavy sellers on concerns related to the controversial MAT levy anddelay in the ambitious indirect tax (GST) and land reforms.
2. Indian author Neel Mukherjee won 2014 Encore Awardfor The Lives of Others
i. Indian author Neel Mukherjee on 12 May 2015 won the 2014 EncoreAward for his novel The Lives of Others. The award is worth 10000pounds.
ii. The Lives of Others is his second novel. The novel is set inKolkata of the 1960s when Naxalite violence was at its peak. It isthe story of Supratik Ghosh and his family, after he leaves home tojoin the Communist party of India, Marxist and mobilise the peasantsagainst their landlords.
iii. The Lives of Others was also shortlisted for the 2014 ManBooker Prize and the Costa Novel Award. Neel Mukherjee's first novel,A Life Apart, was published in 2010.
iv. Other short-listed authors are Will Wiles, Deborah Kay Daviesand Amanda Coe. Encore award was founded by Lucy Astor in 1990 tocelebrate second novels.
v. 2013 Encore award won by Evie Wyld for All The Birds, Singing.
3. President Pranab Mukherjee appoints new Governors insix states
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 12 May 2015 appointed Governorsin six states. Their appointments will take effect from the datesthey assume charge.
Following are newly appointed Governors
-->Jharkhand: FormerOdisha Minister Droupadi Murmu was appointed as Governor ofJharkhand. She will replace Dr Syed Ahmed.
-->Manipur: Dr Syed Ahmed has been transfered toManipur for remaining period of his term.
--> ArunachalPradesh: J P Rajkhowa was appointed as Governor ofArunachal Pradesh. He will replace Lt. General (Retd.) NirbhaySharma.
--> Mizoram:Lt. General (Retd.) Nirbhay Sharma has been transferred and appointedas Governor of Mizoram for the remainder of his term.
-->Tripura: Tathagata Roy will be theGovernor of Tripura.
4. Reliance Jio to raise $750 million from Koreancompany
i. Reliance Industries has signed up for a $750 million loan,backed by Korea Trade Insurance Corp, to primarily finance theprocurements for its infrastructure rollout from Samsung Electronicsand Ace Technologies Corp.
ii. It has a door-to-door tenor of 12 years, including a two-yearavailability period and a 10-year repayment period thereafter.
iii. Reliance Jio Infocomm is setting up a pan-India telecomnetwork for 4th generation Net services, communication services andother digital services in areas like education, healthcare, security,financial services, government-citizen interfaces and entertainment.
5. Arvind Saxena appointed as a Member of Union PublicService Commission
i. Arvind Saxena was on 7 May 2015 appointed as a Member of UnionPublic Service Commission (UPSC). His appointment was made by thePresident Pranab Mukherjee.
ii. With this appointment, Saxena became the first officer fromResearch and Analysis Wing (RAW) to become a member of UPSC. Thetenure of Saxena will commence from the date he enters upon theoffice till he attains age of 65 years.
iii. Prior to this appointment, Saxena was Director and Ex-officioSpecial Secretary, Aviation Research Centre (ARC) of Indiasexternal snooping agency RAW. He is a Rajasthan AdministrativeService (RAS) officer of 1978 batch.
iv. As per Article 315 of Indian Constitution, the Chairman andmembers of UPSC have the term of six years or until they attain theage of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
6. BRICS Cup from next year, first one to be held inIndia
i. Coinciding with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China andSouth Africa) summit next year in India, an under-17 footballtournament will be played between the nations.
ii. As a lead-up to the 2017 under-17 FIFA World Cup, India willuse the competition to test its infrastructure and on-fieldpreparation.
iii. FC Barcelona or Qatars under-17 side have been mooted aspossible participants due to their links with the United Nationsbody.
iv. The tournaments launch was accompanied by the signing of aMemorandum of Understanding between the Associated Chambers ofCommerce (ASSOCHAM) and the Brazilian representatives.
7. Retail inflation eases to 4-month low
i. Retail inflation in April softened further and fell to afour-month low of 4.87 per cent as prices of food items, vegetablesand fruits turned cheaper.
ii. The retail inflation, measured on the basis of Consumer PriceIndex (CPI),was revised upwards to 5.25 per cent from 5.17 per centin March 2015.
iii. Food inflation, based on Consumer Food Price Index, fell to5.11 per cent during the month from 6.14 per cent in March.
iv. Fall in food inflation was mainly driven by fruits,vegetables, milk and related products.
8. Centre okays Rs. 20,000-crore budget for NamamiGange scheme
i. The Cabinet approved the flagship Namami Gange programme,which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the River Ganga ina comprehensive manner.
ii. The programme has a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crorefor the next 5 years.
iii. The amount was a significant four-fold increase over theexpenditure allocated to the task of cleaning the Ganga over the past30 years.
iv. The programme would be implemented by the National Mission forClean Ganga (NMCG),and its state counterpart organisations, that is,the State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs).
v. Namami Gange will focus on pollution abatement interventions,namely interception and diversion and treatment of waste waterflowing through open drains via bio-remediation/ appropriate in-situtreatment/use of innovative technologies/sewage treatment plants(STPs)/effluent treatment plant (ETPs).
Current Affairs - 14th May 2015
1. Disinvestment: Cabinet nod for IOC, NTPCstake sale may fetch Rs 13,600 crore
i. The government will sell its 10 per cent stake in blue-chipIndian Oil Corporation (IOC) and 5 per cent in power producer NTPC tomop up about Rs 13,600 crore in this fiscals first disinvestmentapproval.
ii. The approvals are part of Rs 41,000 crore disinvestment targetfor the current financial year.
iii. Buoyed by diesel price deregulation, the government islooking at selling stake in Indians largest fuel retailer IOC forthe second time in 13 months. Sale of 24.27 crore shares, or 10 percent stake, in IOC would mop up close to Rs 8,000 crore at currentmarket price.
iv. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meetingchaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
v. Currently, Union government holds 74.96 per cent in NTPC and68.57 per cent in IOC.
2. WPI inflation dips to record (-)2.65 per
i. Deflationary pressure continued for the sixth month in a rowwith inflation dropping to a new low of (-)2.65 per cent in April,mainly on account of decline in prices of fuel and manufactured itemseven as food prices increased.
ii. Inflation, as measured on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI),hasbeen in the negative zone since November, 2014.
iii. The deflationary trend has bolstered the case for a rate cutby the Reserve Bank, as retail inflation has also eased andindustrial production is down.
3. Indian-Origin Harbhajan Kaur Dheer became firstAsian woman elected as Mayor in UK
i. Indian-Origin Harbhajan Kaur Dheer on 12 May 2015 became thefirst Asian woman to be elected as mayor in the United Kingdom (UK).
ii. The 62-year-old councilor of the Labour Party assumed thecharge as the Mayor of Ealing Council in London in which she was theDeputy Mayor before assuming the present position.
iii. She was a mental health professional and is a rights activistadvocating for rights of children and elderly.
iv. She is a Punjabi by origin and migrated to Britain in 1975 forpursuing higher education.
v. Incidentally, her husband Ranjit Dheer is a former mayor ofEaling Council.
vi. Ealing Council serves the residents and businesses of London'sthird largest borough, which is located in the heart of west London.
4. Punjab becomes first state to issue SoilHealth Cards to farmers
i. Punjab has become the first state in India to issue Soil HealthCards (SHCs),a Union Government initiative to all farmers in thestate.
ii. In this regard, every district of state has been assignedmobile soil testing lab. These labs will take soil sample from everyfarm and issue a digitalised soil health details.
iii. Presently, state government has 66 such laboratories and hascapability to test 3.5 lakh soil samples annually. State governmentalso has made mandatory for these labs to check soil health onquarterly basis.
iv. It will help farmers in maintaining the balanced healthstructure of the soil and educate them to use right quantity offertilisers in order to prevent soil from becoming arid.
v. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had formally launched thenationwide Soil Health Card Scheme in Februrary 2015 inSuratgarh, Rajasthan.
5. Lok Sabha passes Negotiable Instruments(Amendment) Bill
i. The Lok Sabha passed the negotiable Instruments (Amendment)Bill, which aims at making filing of cases more convenient for payeesif cheques bounce.
ii. The government faced questions from its own members and alliesover whether the Bill's provisions could be used by corporates toharass common people.
iii. The Bill was passed by a voice vote, with Minister of Statefor Finance Jayant Sinha insisting that it would boost the "integrityof financial system" and not lead to the harassment of thecommon man.
iv. The Bill was necessitated due to a Supreme Court order thatcases against those having defaulted on their cheque payments couldonly be filed in courts under whose jurisdiction the bank account ofthe accused fell.
6. India way behind on WHO health targets
i. India has met only four of ten health targets under theMillenium Development Goals (MDG).
ii. The report finds that globally, life expectancy at birth hasincreased by six years for both men and women since 1990.
iii. Since 1990, child deaths have almost halved falling froman estimated 90 deaths per 1000 live births to 46 deaths per 1000live births in 2013. Yet the world will not achieve the MDG target ofreducing the death rate by two-thirds.
iv. In India, life expectancy grew by eight years between 1990 and2013. While India has sharply reduced its infant mortality between2000 and 2013, it still contributes for the most infant deathsglobally. Non-communicable diseases are the top killers, followed bycommunicable diseases and injuries.
7. Telangana Government signed MoU with Google to builda campus in Hyderabad
i. Telangana Government on 11 May 2015 signed a Memorandum ofUnderstanding (MoU) with tech giant Google Inc to build the biggestcampus outside the United States (US) in Hyderabad.
ii. The MoU was signed by Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana Secretary ofInformation Technology (IT) and his counterpart David Redcliffe,Googles global head of facilities and workplace in Googleheadquarters at Mountain View in USA.
On completion, Googles Hyderabad campus will be second-biggestin the world and the first in Asia.
Highlights of the MoU
It will be set up at the cost of 1000 crorerupees and expected to be ready within four years by 2019.
It will have two million square feet working space and willemploy around 13000 technologists that will be recruited over aperiod of four years for this project.
Forthis campus, Telangana Government will allocate seven acres of landin Gachibowli, a major IT suburb of Hyderabad.
Thework for this campus will formally start in 2016.
Current Affairs - 15th May 2015
1. Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurates India Pavilion at68th Cannes Film Festival
i. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting RajyavardhanSingh Rathore inaugurated the India Pavilion at the 68th CannesInternational Film Festival.
ii. The government is channelising that objective throughcampaigns like 'Make in India and Skill India, and realisesthat the film industry is an important part of these campaigns givenits tremendous potential towards job creation.
iii. The session also saw unveiling of the 46th IFFI, 2015regulations and India Film Guide by Rathore.
iv. The India Film Guide is a comprehensive booklet withinformation on policy initiatives by the government pertaining tofilm sector, the listing of Indian companies at Cannes Film Market.
2. Modi's Visit to China
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will grante-visas to Chinese tourists.
ii. Agreements between India and China
1. Protocol for establishment of consulates in Chengdu andChennai
2. Cooperation in vocational education and skilldevelopment and setting up of Mahatma Gandhi institute on skilldevelopment in India
3. Consultative mechanism on cooperation intrade negotiations
4. Cooperation between Foreign Ministry and andCentral Committee of Communist Party of China (CCCPC)
5. Actionplan between national railway administration of China and IndianRailways
6. Memorandum of Understanding on education exchangeprogramme
7. Cooperation in the fields of mining and minerals
8.Space cooperation outline
9. Safety regulations on importingIndian rapeseed meal
10. Broadcasting agreement between CCTV andDoordarshan
11. Agreement for cooperation in the field oftourism
12. Memorandum of Understanding on establishingIndia-China think tanks forum
13. Memorandum of Understandingbetween NITI Aayog and Development Research Centre
iii. Two MoUs between Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)and Yunnan Minzu University and another with Fudan University weresigned on the establishment of a yoga college and centre for Gandhianand Indian studies, respectively.
3. MHRD Gave Nod For Setting Up IIIT in Nagpur,Maharashtra
i. Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) gave anin-principle approval for setting up an IIIT (Indian Institute ofInformation Technology) in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
ii. It will be the first IIIT to be set up in the state.
iii. The IIIT will join a batch of national institutes which areset to come up in the city, namely the All India Institute of MedicalSciences (AIIMS) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM).
iv. The setting up of these higher educational institutions inNagpur is aimed at improving educational infrastructure in thebackward Vidarbha region.
4. SBI launched contact-less card called sbiINTOUCH
i. State Bank of India (SBI) on 14 May 2015 launched contact-lesscredit and debit cards called sbiINTOUCH.
ii. These cards are based upon the latest near-field technology(NFC). With these cards, a customer can transact by just tapping orwaving it against the reader of the point-of-sale machine.
iii. These cards are more secure and hassle-free. These cards comewith a fraud liability cover of 1 lakh rupees. SBI has issued 1.08lakh new cards to its customers in the eight largest metros and theremaining customers will get the cards in the following months.
iv. Private lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have already launchedsuch NFC cards.
v. The move could boost the acceptance of SBIs tap and paycards. These cards are especially targeted towards fast-food outlets,coffee shops and supermarkets where customers make quicktransactions.
5. Google in talks with Arunachal govt for Chromebooklaptops in schools
i. Global tech giant Google is in discussions with the ArunachalPradesh government to run a pilot for deploying Chromebook laptopsfor school students.
ii. The pilot is proposed to be run in schools in two cities Itanagar and Ziro.
iii. Chromebook is a laptop running Googles Chrome OperatingSystem. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connectedto the internet with most applications and data residing in thecloud.
6. Indian-American boy Karan Menon won 2015 NationalGeographic Bee Championship
i. Karan Menon, a 14-year-old Indian-American student, on 13 May2015 won the 2015 National Geographic Bee championship. Menonanswered all questions correctly related to places like Tashkent,Telangana and the Oresund Strait.
ii. In addition to winning the title of National Geographic Beechampion, Menon received a 50000 US dollars college scholarship,lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and anexpedition for two to the Galapagos Islands aboard the Lindblad shipNational Geographic Endeavour.
iii. Menon competed against 10 finalists from across the US to winthe championship. Out of the 10 finalists, seven were ofIndian-origin.
iv. The first-runner up and recipient of a 25000 US dollarscollege scholarship was 11-year-old Shriya Yarlagadda of Michigan.The third place and a 10000 US dollars college scholarship went toSojas Wagle of Arkansas, a 13-year-old eighth grader.
v. Seven other finalists who won 500 US dollars were Kapil Nathan;Nicholas Monahan; Patrick Taylor; Abhinav Karthikeyan; Lucy Chae;Shreyas Varathan and Tejas Badgujar.
7. Tejaswini Sagar wins gold at Under-15 World SchoolChess Championship
i. Talented Indian youngster Tejaswini Sagar won her maiden worldtitle bagging the gold in the under-15 category of World School ChessChampionship that concluded in pattaya.
ii. Needing a last round win and one favourable result, theAurangabad-girl defeated Kavinya Miyuni Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka in theninth and final round.
iii. Tejaswini was aided by the result on the top board asovernight leader Irina Barbayeva of Russia lost to Alisa Kozybayevaof Kazakhstan in the final clash.
iv. For the record, Tejaswini scored seven points out of apossible nine, winning six, drawing two and losing one game.
Current Affairs - 16th May 2015
1. Union Government decided to implement NERS for womenin distress
i. Union Home Ministry on 15 May 2015 decided to implement theNERS (Nationwide Emergency Response System) to save women indistress. In this regard, the Ministry invited proposals from ITservice providers to implement it.
ii. NERS was the brainchild of the Congress-led UPA governmentwhich envisaged it in response to Delhi gang rape case of December2012.
iii. The NERS seeks to make the police immediately respond to anycall by a woman in distress anywhere in India. It willrevolutionalise the existing Police Response systems which arelimited to a city and different cities use different systems and onlya handful of cities use technology in any form.
2. ISRO announced to commission MOTR in June 2015
MOTR: Multi-Object Tracking Radar
i. The term Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) was in news on 15May 2015 as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announcedits plans to commission the radar in June 2015.
ii. It has been entirely designed and built indigenously by theISRO in collaboration with 22 private entities except the Radome, thedome structure which protects the radar antenna and related equipmentfrom environment. Radome was imported from USA.
Key Features of Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR)
It is capable of tracking 10 differentobjects at a time including 50 cm X 50 cm object size at a slantrange of 1000 kilometer long range and 30 cm X 30 cm size at a slantrange of 800 kilometer in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Unlike the disc radars that keep spinning, the 35-tonneradar is a stationary, 12-metre-long, 8-metre-tall and contains 4068individual radiating elements.
It emitsradio-frequency waves that combine to form a single beam. The beamcan be electronically steered so that a third of the sky is scanned.Since the radars base can be rotated to three positions, theentire sky can be covered.
It was built at alower cost when compared to other space agencies in the world whichdeveloped similar technologies for around 900 crore rupees. The MOTRwas developed for around 245 crore rupees only.
3. Egypt's ousted President Morsy sentenced to death
i. An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsyto death.
ii. Judge Shaaban el-Shami referred his death sentence on Morsyand more than 20 others to the nations top Muslim theologian, ormufti, for his non-binding opinion.
iii. The ousted leader already is serving a 20-year sentencefollowing his conviction on April 21 on charges linked to the killingof protesters outside a Cairo presidential palace in December 2012.
4. Modi inaugurates ICICI Bank's first branch in China
i. Top private sector lender ICICI Bank opened its first branch inChina, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ii. The new branch would begin with 17 banking professionalshandling different functions including corporate banking, operations,finance and treasury.
iii. Some public sector banks including SBI, UCO Bank, Canara Bankand Allahabad Bank have also expanded their presence in China in therecent years to tap growing trade flows between the two countries.
5. MJ Joseph appointed as Controller General ofAccounts
i. MJ Joseph was on 15 May 2015 appointed as the ControllerGeneral of Accounts (CGA) in the Union Ministry of Finance. Hesucceeded Jawahar Thakur who has been appointed as OSD (AccountingReforms) in the Office of CGA.
ii. Prior to this appointment, Joseph was the Director General ofthe Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). He is a 1979 batch Indian CivilAccounts Service (ICAS) officer.
iii. Previously, Joseph has served in various administrativecapacities in the Union Government including the post of AdditionalSecretary in Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs and as Director inUnion Ministry of Defence among others.
iv. Joseph has also worked with the International Monitory Fund(IMF) as a Public Financial Management Adviser at the IMFsRegional Technical Assistance centre based at Dar es Salaam,Tanzania.
v. He is a Post Graduate in International Economic Relations andstudied Business Management from the University of Sydney, Australia.
6. Arun Shrivastava assumes charge as Syndicate Bank MDand CEO
i. Arun Shrivastava assumed charge as Managing Director & CEOof Syndicate Bank.
ii. He was Executive Director of Bank of India, looking afterFinance, Strategy & Planning, Large Corporate & Mid CorporateBusiness, Corporate Debt Restructuring, Project Finance &Syndication, Credit Monitoring & Asset Recovery, Publicity &Public Relations portfolios of the bank.
iii. Earlier, Shrivastava was overseeing the foreign subsidiaries BoI Indonesia and Botswana and joint venture India ZambiaBank.
iv. He is a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers andAIBM. He started his career as direct recruit officer in Bank ofBaroda in 1979.
7. Airtel clinches $2.5 billion Chinese financing deals
i. Bharti Airtel has received financing commitments of up to USD2.5 billion from China Development Bank and Industrial and CommercialBank of China, with an average maturity of about nine years.
ii. This is the single-largest bilateral commitment by ChinaDevelopment Bank to any telecom operator globally and the largestbilateral commitment to a private Indian company.
iii. Bharti Airtel announced a strategic collaboration with ChinaMobile, under which the two companies will work towards growth of theLong-Term Evolution (LTE) ecosystem and evolving mobile technologystandards.
8. Shakuntala Gamlin takes charge as Delhi chiefsecretary despite CM Arvind Kejriwal's directive
i.Senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Shakuntala Gamlinon Saturday took charge as acting Chief Secretary of Delhi Governmentdespite being asked by the Chief Minister not to do so.
ii. A senior Delhi government official said that in his letter toGamlin, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that herappointment is against the set rule.
iii. Lt Governor Najeeb Jung gave the additional charge of ChiefSecretary to Gamlin, a 1984-batch IAS officer, hours after she wrotea scathing letter to Jung claiming that she was pressurised by asenior bureaucrat in Chief Minister's office not to be in race forthe post due to her alleged proximity to BSES discoms.
9. Gagan Narang wins World Cup bronze, earns Indiaquota for Rio Olympics
i. Gagan Narang won the bronze medal in the 50m Rifle Prone Eventof the ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning in USA, earning himself a quotaplace for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
ii. Narang, who won the bronze in 10m Rifle at the LondonOlympics, shot 185.8 overall to secure third place behind goldmedalist Michael McPhail (208.8 points) of USA and Ole Kristian Bryhn(206.3) of Norway.
iii. The other quota place from the event went to McPhail.
iv. Earlier in the competition, Narang and India's only individualOlympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, had failed to qualify for the10m Rifle final.
v. Narang is third Indian shooter to make the Rio cut after JituRai and Apurvi Chandela.
Current Affairs - 17th May 2015
1. India grants $1 bn credit to Mongolia; deepensdefence ties
i. India today announced a US$ one billion credit line to Mongoliafor infrastructure development as they upgraded their ties toStrategic Partnership and agreed to deepen defense cooperationbesides exploring potential for tie ups in areas like the civilnuclear sector.
ii. The two Prime Ministers signed a joint statement committing tofurther consolidate bilateral ties and upgrade the comprehensivepartnership to strategic partnership and agreed to renew theirTreaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation.
iii. The two sides inked 13 other pacts that includes one onenhancing cooperation in border guarding, policing and surveillance,air services, cyber security and new and renewable energy.
2. Airtel clinches $2.5 billion Chinese financingdeals
i. The funds will help the company further diversify its globalfinancing pool and invest in growth of data networks.
ii. Bharti Airtel has received financing commitments of up to USD2.5 billion from China Development Bank and Industrial and CommercialBank of China, with an average maturity of about nine years.
iii. The company signed the term sheets for the financing optionsin the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently onan official visit to China.
3. CII welcomes biz outcomes of Modis China visit
i. According to CII, Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit toChina has redefined the economic partnership between the two largestand fastest-growing developing economies in the world.
ii. Welcoming the business outcomes of the visit, it said: PrimeMinister Modis visit to China has redefined the economicpartnership of the two largest and fastest-growing developingeconomies in the world.
iii. In the presence of the Prime Minister at the India-ChinaBusiness Forum in Shanghai, Indian and Chinese companies exchanged 24agreements for cooperation totalling $22 billion, includinginvestments and financing across sectors, the statement said.
iv. Chinese initiatives in the sectors of railways, skilldevelopment, public health and medical education will further buildon economic cooperation between the two countries, it added.
4. Govt contains fiscal deficit at 4% of GDP; beats itsown target
i. The Government has managed to restrict the fiscal deficit to 4per cent during 2014-15, which is even below the revised estimateannounced in the budget. Fiscal deficit is difference between theincome and expenditure of the Government.
ii. The fiscal deficit at the end of 2014-15, stands at Rs.5,01,880 crore which is 98 per cent of the projected figure in RE(Revised Estimate) 2014-15. Fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP is4 per cent as against the RE of 4.1 per cent (4.4 per cent for theprevious year i.e. 2013-14).
Revenue Deficit :The revenue deficit alsocame down to 2.8 per cent as against the revised estimate of 2.9 percent. This deficit refers to mismatch in the projected earning adexpenditure. Since the Government managed to collect more taxes thanit was expecting, it impacted positively not just the revenue butalso fiscal deficit too.
Income :Tax authorities managed to collectover Rs. 12.45 lakh crore during the 2014-15, which is 9 per centmore than 2013-14. This collection is 9.8 per cent of GDP. Suchearnings which also comprise of disinvestment stands at Rs. 43,439crore with an increase of 4 per cent.
Expenditure :In terms of plan expenditure,the RE was Rs. 4.68 lakh crore, but actual was Rs. 4.36 lakh crore.Similarly, non plan expenditure came down to Rs. 11.91 lakh crorefrom the RE of of Rs. 12.13 lakh crore.
5. PM's social security schemes: Canara Bankrolls out awareness campaigns across Delhi
i. Building on the success of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, thestate-owned Canara Bank on Sunday rolled out awareness campaignsacross Delhi on the Prime Minister's three latest social securityschemes.
ii. Roadshows were held in 16 clusters across Delhi to promote thethree new social security scheme -
* Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana(PMJJBY)
* Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana(PMSBY)
* Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
iii. For the Delhi region, Canara Bank has enrolled the maximumnumber of persons (1,12,929 lives) under the PMSBY among all bankstill date. Even in the case of PMJJBY, Canara Bank is leading theleague table with 74,512 lives enrolled up to May 13 this year, dataavailable with the Delhi State level Bankers' Committee showed.
Current Affairs - 18th May 2015
1. 6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy heldin New Delhi
i. Sixth edition of National Conference on Nuclear Energy held inNew Delhi. The theme of this edition was Nuclear Energy: aClean Energy option.
ii. It was organized by Associated Chambers of Commerce andIndustry of India (ASSOCHAM),one of the apex trade associations ofIndia.
iii. The conference discussed the issue related to the status ofNuclear Energy in India.
iv. Apart from it various issues were also discussed including onnuclear energy to the decarbonisation of power sector, Climate change& the future of nuclear energy, nuclear energy expansion &Make in India.
2. HDFC Bank launches medical benefits prepaidcard
i. HDFC Bank has launched 'HDFC Bank Apollo Medical BenefitsCard'.
ii. The bank has partnered with Apollo Hospitals for this prepaidproduct, which allows corporates to easily disburse medical allowanceto their employees, saving time and cost.
iii. With the card, the administrative process of disbursing moneyis being made quick and simple. Corporates can load the specifiedallowance onto the card each month, which can be used by employeesfor medical expenditure at pan-India VISA/ MasterCard outlets.
iv. The card offers employees access to a wide range of additionalbenefits in the form of offers and discounts, and facilities such asfree ambulance services.
3. Centre allocates Rs 5,000 crore fordevelopment of AYUSH
i. The government has allocated Rs 5,000 crore for the growth ofDepartment of AYUSH and launched an independent National AYUSHMission aimed at capacity building for the sector.
ii. For creating awareness about Ayurveda, the Ministry isconsidering to observe Ayurveda Day.
iii. Independent National AYUSH Mission is launched aimingcapacity building for the sector. The mission will ensure creation ofa centre of excellence for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha andHomoeopathy independently.
4. Narendra Modi reaches South Korea, economicand trade cooperation high on agenda
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in South Korea on the lastleg of his three-nation visit during which he will hold talks withthe South Korean leadership aiming to give a fillip to economic andtrade cooperation.
ii. A slew of agreements are expected to be signed during thevisit including one on Double Taxation Avoidance Convention,cooperation in shipping and logistics, audiovisual co-production,transport, highways and electric power development in new energyindustries.
iii. The Prime Minister, who flew in from Mongolia after histhree-day visit to China, will hold talks on the entire gamut ofbilateral, regional and global issues with President Park Geun-hyeand explore ways to upgrade cooperation in diversified areas.
5. Mumbai KEM Nurse Aruna Shanbaug died after 42-yearsin coma
i. Aruna Shanbaug, the nurse of Mumbais King Edward Memorial(KEM) Hospital, died on 18 May 2015. She died after battling withcoma for past 42-years following a sexual assault by a hospital wardboy.
ii. 66-year old Shanbaug was sexually assaulted on 27 November1973 by a ward boy-cum-sweeper of the hospital, Sohanlal BhartaValmiki, after throttling her with a dog chain. Since then, she washospitalised in KEM hospital and was cared by hospital staff.
iii. While hearing the Aruna Shanbaug case in March 2011, theSupreme Court of India rejected the mercy killing (euthanasia)petition for her. The petition was filed by former journalist andauthor Pinki Virani.
iv. However, SC laid down guidelines for passive euthanasiainstead of active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia entails thewithholding of common treatments, such as antibiotics, necessary forthe continuance of life.
v. In 1998, a biography was written on Aruna by Pinki Virani whichwas titled Arunas Story. Duttakumar Desai wrote the Marathi play,Katha Arunachi which was staged under director Vinay Apte in 2002.
6. Former Army Brigadier David Granger sworn-in aseighth President of Guyana
i. Former Army Brigadier David Granger on 16 May 2015 was sworn inas the eighth President of Guyana. He was sworn-in as thePresident after his A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) party-ledcoalition won the national elections.
ii. In the national elections held on 11 May 2015, his coalitionAPNU Alliance for Change (AFC) defeated the ruling PeoplesProgressive Party (PPP). With this, it ended the 23 year old grip onpower of Indo-Guyanese PPP.
iii. The APNU-AFC coalition riding high on the campaign to reducehigh youth unemployment and violent crime as well as crack down onpiracy won 207200 votes. The PPP, on the other hand, got 202674votes.
iv. Further, Granger's coalition is expected to have three-fourseat majority in the 65-member Parliament.
v. Besides, Indo-Guyanese politician Moses Nagamootoo, whodefected from the PPP, was tapped as Prime Minister and the fullcabinet is expected to be unveiled on 26 May 2015.
vi. Earlier Donald Ramotar, the PPP veteran and incumbentPresident, had forced an early elections after suspending anddissolving the parliament in November 2014 to avoid a no-confidencevote.
7. Rome Masters 2015: Winners
* Women's Singles - Maria Sharapova
*Men's Singles - N. Djokovic
* Women'sDoubles - Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic
* Men'sDoubles - P. Cuevas and D. Marrero
8. Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper retired fromODI cricket
i. Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper, has formally announcedhis retirement from ODI cricket, a day before leaving for Test toursof the West Indies and England.
ii. Amid the Australia team's celebrations after the World Cupfinal victory over New Zealand in Melbourne in March, Haddin hadrevealed that he was not going to play any more one-day games.
iii. Haddin played 126 ODIs and scored 3122 runs at an average of31.53 with two centuries and 16 fifties. He also had 170 catches and11 stumpings, the third-most dismissals for Australia after AdamGilchrist and Ian Healy.
Current Affairs - 19th May 2015
1. India Meteorological Department signed MoUwith POSOCO Ltd
i. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the UnionMinistry of Earth Sciences on 18 May 2015 signed Memorandum ofUnderstanding (MoU) with Power System Operation Corporation Ltd(POSOCO) for optimum use of weather information/forecast in the powersector.
ii. All weather information provided by ESSO-IMD will be used bythe Power System Operators across the India for better management ofIndian Power System.
iii. IMD will make available current weather information for theidentified stations; and forecasts at different time scales oftemperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall of theidentified stations/sectors.
2. Draupadi Murmu sworn in as first womanGovernor of Jharkhand
i. Draupadi Murmu was sworn in as the first woman Governor ofJharkhand. Murmu succeeds Syed Ahmed, who will take over as ManipurGovernor.
ii. A two-time BJP MLA from Odisha, she was a minister in theNaveen Patnaik cabinet when the Biju Janata Dal ruled the state withthe support of Bharatiya Janata Party.
iii. She headed the BJP's Mayurbhanj district unit in Odisha andhad represented Rairangpur in the Odisha assembly. Jharkhand HighCourt Chief Justice Virendra Singh administered the oath of office toMurmu.
iv. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, his cabinet colleagues,former Chief Ministers Shibu Soren and Arjun Munda, Union Minister ofState for Rural Development Sudarshan Bhagat and a host of otherdignitaries were present during the oath-taking ceremony.
3. Reliance Jio inks pact with Huawei forsourcing 4G devices
i. Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries(RIL) has signed a pact with Chinese firm Huawei for sourcing various4G devices.
ii. RJio plans to launch 4G service this year in around 5,000towns and cities, accounting for over 90 per cent of urban India andover 215,000 villages.
iii. Reliance Jio and Huawei have signed an agreement for 4Gdevices which includes smartphones, tablets and mifi dongles. It hassigned agreement with couple of other Chinese device maker as well.
iv. On May 7, RJio raised a $750 million (nearly Rs 4,500 crore)loan to procure goods and services from South Korean firms SamsungElectronics and Ace Technologies.
4. IDBI Bank to roll out e-huts
i. IDBI Bank has decided to roll out e-huts to connect with therural populace.
ii. The bank has currently introduced e-lobbies which are next tothe branches. The e-hut concept will be completely unmanned units.
iii. e-huts is a concept that is widely accepted in the West, butin India, it's yet to pick up.
5. Himachal Pradesh to host Paragliding World Cup 2015
i. Himachal Pradesh will host the Paragliding World Cup from 23October to 31 October 2015 at Bir Billing in Kangra valley. The worldcup will be held under the aegis of Para-gliding World CupAssociation, France.
ii. This is for the first time that India will be hosting theParagliding World Cup which will see participation from over 50countries.
iii. The state was chosen to host the World Cup after itsuccessfully conducted the paragliding pre-World Cup-2013.
iv. For the successful conduct of the event, the state governmenthas formed the Billing Paragliding Association (BPA) under thechairmanship of Sudhir Sharma who is the Urban Development Ministerof HP. Further, the state government has directed to ban constructionactivities near the take-off and landing sites.
v. The success of the Paragliding World Cup 2015 would promotetourism as well as sports in the state.
6. INS Kavaratti launched
i. Indian Navy's latest anti-submarine warfare class stealthcorvette, the INS Kavaratti was launched in line with a series ofrecent developments in India's defence preparedness.
ii. Kavaratti is the last of the four anti-submarine warfare classstealth corvettes being built for India under Project 28.
iii. The corvette, with a displacement of 3,300 tonnes, has alength of 109.1 metres and measures 13.7-m at beam.
iv. It was designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and builtby Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers.
v. INS Kamorta, the first ship under this project, wascommissioned by the Navy last year. Kadmatt and Kiltan are scheduledfor delivery between 2015-2017.
7. Google help for NGOs working on child safety
i. Google India has announced support for three non-governmentalagencies from India working on child safety.
ii. The three organisations are ChildLine India Foundation,Bachpan Bachao Andolan, and the Chennai-based Tulir - Centre for theHealing and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.
iii. ChildLine provides a toll-free helpline service (1098)for children in distress, first launched in 1996, Bachpan BachaoAndolan sets itself a mission to protect and rescue children fromslavery, trafficking and forced labour.
iv. Google will help these organisations pilot smart newapplications of technology with $ 5,00,000 in grants throughGoogle.org to ensure that children in India remain safe.
8. Indian-American Harkeert Singh Saini won PrestigiousPolice Award in Texas, US
i. Harkeert Singh Saini, an Indian-American policeman in thirdweek of May 2015 won the prestigious Top Civilian Supervisor of theYear.
ii. Saini who hails from Hoshiarpur district of Punjab receivedhis award from Houston Mayor Anise Parker and Police Chief Charles AMcClelland.
iii. 44-year-old Saini shifted to Houston in 1998 and joined itspolice department in March 2000.
CurrentAffairs - 20th May 2015
1. India's economic growth to surpass China's in2015-16: UN report
i. India's economic growth is projected to surpass that ofChina's, with the GDP expected to zoom by 7.7 per cent in 2016,according to a UN report which said India will help accelerateeconomic growth in South Asia.
ii. China is projected to grow by 7 per cent in 2015 and 6.8 percent next year.
iii. The report termed South Asia's economic outlook as "largelyfavourable" since most economies are expected to experience astrengthening of growth in 2015-16 on the back of stronger domesticconsumption and investment.
2. SS Ahluwalia appointed as Chairman of JPC on LandAcquisition Amendment Bill, 2015
i. SS Ahluwalia was on 18 May 2015 appointed as the chairman ofJoint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Right to Fair Compensationand Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement(LARR) (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
ii. The committee has 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 membersfrom the Rajya Sabha.
iii. The formation of the panel became necessary in the backdropof disagreement among the political parties on the provisions of thebill which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 11 May 2015.
iv. The committee will submit its report by the first week of the2015 monsoon session.
v. SS Ahluwalia is a BJP Lok Sabha member representing Darjeelingconstituency in West Bengal.
3. Hungarian author Laszlo Krasznahorkai wins ManBooker Prize
i. Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai won Britain's Man BookerInternational Prize for career achievement.
ii. Best known in Germany and Hungary, Krasznahorkai is the authorof Satantango (1985),which was later made into a film, TheMelancholy of Resistance (1998) and Seiobo There Below (2008).
iii. The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000, isawarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It ispresented once every two years to a living author for a body of workpublished either originally in English or available in translation inthe English language.
4. Centre to launch agri-training programme in 593Sansad Adarsh Grams
i. Centre is planning to launch soon an agri-training programme in593 villages under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, one of the flagshipschemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ii. The nodal Agriculture Ministry is working out the trainingprogramme guidelines for implementation in each village adopted byMembers of Parliament under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY).
iii. The agri-training programme, to be conducted for two days ineach village, will be implemented by the National Centre of OrganicFarming and Central Fertiliser Quality Control and Training Institutealong with the support of the state governments.
iv. SAGY, which was launched in October 2014, is a ruraldevelopment programme that primarily focuses upon the development invillages.
5. Maria Elena South, driest place on earth, discoveredin Atacama Desert
i. The researchers have discovered the driest place on the Earthin the Atacama Desert in Chile. The site discovered is referred asMaria Elena South (MES).
ii. The results of the discovery was presented in the paper,Discovery and microbial content of the driest site of the hyperaridAtacama Desert, Chile, published in March 2015 in the journalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports.
iii. The lead author was Armando Azua-Bustos, an environmentalbiologist and research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Instituteof Science in Seattle, US.
iv. This discovery toppled the Yungay region which was so far thedriest area of the hyper-arid Atacama Desert. Yungay regionconditions were close to the so-called dry limit for life on Earth.However, with this discovery, MES is much drier than Yungay.
v. MES is dry as Mars and has a mean atmospheric relative humidity(RH) of 17.3 percent. It has a soil RH of a constant 14 percent at adepth of one meter.
vi. Soil value taken from the MES site matches the lowest RHmeasurements taken on Mars by the Mars Science Laboratory at GaleCrater.
vii. The fact that the conditions at MES site, in terms ofdryness, are the closest to Mars it means that it is one of the bestanalogue models on Earth to understand and investigate the potentialexistence, and type of, microbial life in the Martian subsurface.
6. Peter M Christian elected as eighth President ofMicronesia
i. Peter M Christian on 11 May 2015 was elected as the eighthPresident of the Federated States of Micronesia.
ii. Supreme Court Associate Justice Beauleen and Carl-Worswickadministered the oath of office to him.
iii. Before the present elevation, he was as a senatorrepresenting Pohnpei at-large for two terms between 2007 and 2015.
iv. He also served as the Chairman of the Committee onTransportation and Communication during his 2007 term in theCongress.
v. The Federated States of Micronesia is an independent sovereignisland nation in the Western Pacific Ocean consisting of four statesviz., Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae.
Current Affairs - 21st May 2015
1. Anti Terrorism Day observed across India
i. 21 May: Anti Terrorism Day/ Martyrdom of Former PrimeMinister Rajiv Gandhi
ii. Anti-Terrorism Day was observed across India on 21 May 2015.The day is annually observed on the death anniversary of seventhPrime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated at an election rallynear Chennai by a suicide bomber from the LTTE on 21 May 1991.
iii. The day is observed to make people aware of the ongoingterrorist activities and the precautions to be taken by the commonersto prevent these acts of terrorism. Its motive is to promote unity,peace and harmony across the nation.
iv. On this day, government employees are administered ananti-terror and violence pledge. Apart from this, severaldiscussions, debates, cultural programmes and lecturers are held onthe issue of terrorism and violence across the country.
2. SEBI sets new norms for mutual funds managingoffshore assets
i. Markets regulator SEBI on Wednesday simplified norms fordomestic mutual funds to manage offshore pooled assets, dropping its"20-25 rule" which requires a minimum of 20 investors and acap of 25 percent on investment by an individual, for funds fromlow-risk foreign investors.
ii. In a notification saying the new regulations would be calledthe Securities and Exchange Board of India (Mutual Funds)Regulations, 2015, SEBI said the restrictions would not apply "ifthe funds managed are of Category I foreign portfolio investors(FPIs) and/or Category II foreign portfolio investors which areappropriately regulated broad based funds".
iii. SEBI has classified FPIs into three categories, with thefirst two being low-risk foreign institutions that include sovereignwealth funds, pension funds, banks, mutual funds, insurers,multilateral institutions and well-regulated foreign entities,including portfolio managers.
3. SBI partners with PayPal
i. The country's largest bank announced a partnership with digitalpayments firm, PayPal so that the Customers of State Bank of India(SBI) can now use their debit cards on PayPal for buying productsfrom overseas websites.
ii. The partnership will also allow SBI's Micro Small and MediumEnterprise (MSME) customers to use PayPal's secure payment solutions.
iii. SBI has also announced a partnership with e-commerce firm,Amazon.com, in India.
4. Meghalaya, Tripura governors sworn-in
i. Senior BJP leader V Shanmuganathan was today sworn-in as theGovernor of Meghalaya at the Raj Bhavan.
ii. Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court Uma Nath Singhadministered the oath of office to Shanmuganathan at a solemnceremony attended by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and most of hiscabinet colleagues.
iii. Tathagata Roy on 20 May 2015 was sworn in as the 16thGovernor of Tripura in Agartala.
Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court Mr. Jc. Deepak Guptaadministered the oath of office to him as per the provisions ofArticle 159 of Constitution of India.
iv. He replaced Padmanabh Balkrishna Acharya, Governor ofNagaland, who had held the additional charge of Tripura.
5. Infosys is first Indian company to join RE100 globalrenewable energy campaign
i. The Climate Group announced that Infosys, one of India'slargest Information Technology corporations has become the firstIndian company to join RE100, a global platform for major companiescommitted to 100% renewable power.
ii. As part of its commitment to RE100, Infosys aims to becomecarbon neutral by 2018.
iii. The company is already working to reduce its per capitaelectricity consumption by 50 per cent from its 2007-2008 levels andsource all its electricity from renewable resources by 2018.
6. US President Barack Obama entered Guinness Book ofWorld Record
i. President of the United States (US) Barack Obama on 20 May 2015entered Guinness Book of World Record for reaching a millionfollowers in a span of mere 5 hours after going live.
ii. Barack Obama debuted on Social Media Platform Twitter with@POTUS account.
iii. He beat the previous record, which was set in April 2014 byIron Man star Robert Downey Jr., after the actor reached a millionfollowers in 23 hours and 22 minutes.
iv. The US President already has the account @BarackObama, whichhas amassed nearly 60 million followers. However, the new @POTUSaccount is associated with the presidential office - or as Obama putsit.
Current Affairs - 22nd May 2015
1. IRCTC Partners With MyDala To Offer Deals To TicketBuyers
i. Ticketing arm of Indian Railway IRCTC doesnt seem to leaveany opportunity to capitalise its reach and traction. Afterpartnering with Amazon and Paytm, the government-owned ticketingportal has partnered with mydala to provide deals and offers tocustomers.
ii. The partnership will give travelers access to the best dealsand offers while booking their tickets.
iii. This partnership is an IRCTCs move to deliver significantimprovement in customer experience. This is the third partnership ina row this year by IRCTC.
2. O Panneerselvam resigned as Chief Minister of TamilNadu
i. Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam handed over hisresignation to Governor K Rosiah, making way for AIADMK chief JJayalalithaa to take over the administrative reins.
ii. Popularly referred to as 'caretaker CM', this wasPanneerselvam's second stint as Tamil Nadu chief minister, both forbrief periods.
iii. In a meeting, all 151 MLAs of the party unanimouslyre-elected Jayalalithaa as the legislature party leader, paving theway for her to become the state chief minister for the fifth time.She is expected to be sworn in to the chief ministers post on 23May.
3. IAF's Mirage-2000 lands on Yamuna eway insuccessful runway trial
i. In an attempt to practise using highways for emergencylandings, an IAF Mirage 2000 jet successfully test landed on theYamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh.
ii. According to IAF, the aircraft made a practise approach on thehighway, coming down to a height of 100 metres before landing off thenext approach.
iii. The operations were conducted with active support from thegovernment of Uttar Pradesh, Yamuna Expressway Authority, tollauthorities of JP Infratech and Civil Police.
iv. The IAF has plans to activate more such stretches on highwaysin the future.
4. Gujarat government signs pact with ZTEsoft forsmartcity projects
i. Gujarat government and Chinese software firm ZTEsoft haveentered into an agreement for smartcity projects in the state.
ii. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in Shenzhenduring visit Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Ben Patel with PrimeMinister Narendra Modi to China.
iii. The agreement was signed by Gujarat's Industries CommissionerMamta Verma and ZTEsoft CFO Xu Shan in presence of Gujarat CM alongwith other state officials.
iv. Chinese telecom gear maker ZTE's software arm, ZTEsoft, andGujarat government will jointly work to find the target city and areaand after technical closure, both team will work together to set up atrial project in the state.
5. Finance Ministry sanctions Rs 5,223-crore fuelsubsidy for IOC, BPCL
i. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will get Rs 2,932 crore subsidy andBharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) Rs 2,291 crore for selling fuelbelow cost in Q4 of 2014-15, but Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL)will not get any support.
ii. The Finance Ministry has sanctioned Rs 5,223 crore fuelsubsidy for the January-March quarter to cover almost all of therevenue loss that the two retailers suffered on selling domesticcooking gas (LPG) and kerosene at government rates.
iii. With this, the total subsidy provided by the government in2014-15 goes up to Rs 27,308 crore. For the first three quarters, thegovernment had provided Rs 22,085 crore.
iv. The fuel retailers had lost a total of Rs 72,314 crore onselling diesel (up to October 17),LPG and kerosene at governmentrates, which were way below cost in 2014-15.
6. Akhil Reed Amar appointed as member of the NationalCouncil on Humanities of US
i. Akhil Amar, an Indian-American professor from Yale University,was on 21 May 2015 appointed as a member of the prestigious NationalCouncil on Humanities of United States (US) by President BarackObama. Presently, Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and PoliticalScience at the Yale University.
ii. He has been serving as the Professor at both Yale College andYale Law School since 1985. He had held various posts ofprofessorships, including Southmayd Professor (1993-2008),Professor(1990-1993),Associate Professor (1988-1990) and Assistant Professor(1985-1988).
iii. Akhil Amar also had worked as a law clerk from 1984 to 1985to Judge Stephen Breyer. He was co-editor of Processes ofConstitutional Decision-making, a constitutional law casebook. He isa member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition of FreedomAdvisory Board of the National Constitution Center and ConstitutionalAccountability Center.
iv. He holds a BA degree from Yale College and a JD from Yale LawSchool.
7. Shuttler Saina Nehwal of India ranked No.1 in singlerankings released by BWF
i. Badminton World Federation (BWF) on 21 May 2015 released thelatest singles rankings. The ranking was topped by Ace shuttlerSaina Nehwal. She was followed by Li Xuerui of China.
ii. Saina Nehwal regained the top position ahead of the AustralianOpen. In April 2015, she secured the number one position for thefirst time. But she subsequently slipped from the top spot.
iii. She has won two titles in 2015 -India Open Super series andIndia Grand Prix Gold, and also reached the final of the prestigiousAll England Open, which is a Super Series Premier event.
iv. Meanwhile, Nehwal's compatriot and two-time World Championshipbronze medalist PV Sindhu dropped to number 12.
v. In mens singles, K Srikanth retained his fourth place. EvenP Kashyap and HS Parnnoy also maintained their 13th and 15thpositions, respectively.
Current Affairs - 23rd May 2015
1. J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of TamilNadu for fifth time
i. AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa sworn in for the fifth time asTamil Nadu chief minister, nearly eight months after she was forcedto quit over corruption charges.
ii. Governor K Rosaiah gave oath to Jayalalitha at the MadrasUniversity Centenary Auditorium. Actor Rajinikanth, ICC Chairman N.Srinivasan and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan attended theceremony.
iii. Along with Jaya, 28 others were sworn in as Ministers.Jayalalithaa will hold the portfolios of home, police, public, allIndia services, general administration and district revenueofficers?.
iv. As for portfolio allocations, Jayalalithaa's trustedlieutenant O Panneerselvam has been given Finance and Public works,which he held previously too. Natham R Viswanathan will continue tohold electricity, prohibition and excise portfolio.
2. SAIL, ArcelorMittal ink MoU to set up steelplant in India
i. World's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal and SAIL inked a pactto jointly set up a steel plant in India for the fast growingautomotive sector.
ii. The MoU, the first step towards establishing the JV, wassigned in London by ArcelorMittal Chairman & Chief ExecutiveLakshmi Niwas Mittal and SAIL Chairman CS Verma.
iii. The proposed JV will construct a state-of-the-art coldrolling mill and other downstream finishing facilities in India thatwill offer technologically advanced steel products to India's rapidlygrowing automotive sector, said a joint statement by the twocompanies.
3. Bank of India ties up with MasterCard tolaunch three cards
i. State-run lender Bank of India tied up with MasterCard tolaunch three new cards and also two new banking solutions for itscard holders.
ii. The bank launched Business Debit MasterCard, Platinum CreditMasterCard and International Travel MasterCard to improve customerspayment experiences.
iii. It will also offer two banking solutions- In Control forspend management and MasterCard rewards program for its customers.
4. UN observed International Day for BiologicalDiversity
i. The United Nations (UN) observed the International Day forBiological Diversity (IBD) on 22 May 2015. The theme for the year2015 is Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.
ii. This year theme highlights the relevance of biodiversity inachieving the goal of sustainable development.
iii. It also highlights the importance of efforts made toestablish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part ofthe UN Post-2015 Development Agenda (2015-2030).
iv. The selection of the theme also underlines the adoption of theGangwon Declaration at the 12th meeting of the Conference of theParties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in SouthKorea in 2014.
5. Parvinder Singh Batth, becomes first Sikh mayor inUnited Kingdoms Wokingham Borough Council
i. Parvinder Singh Batth, an Indian-origin Conservative partycouncillor was chosen as the mayor of United Kingdoms WokinghamBorough Council.
ii. With this, he became the first Sikh to hold the Mayorsposition in UK. He succeeds Councillor UllaKarin Clark for this postand will serve till 2016.
iii. Parvinder Singh Batth previously had served as Deputy Mayorof borough of Wokingham in Berkshire in south east England.
iv. He was born in Indian state of Punjab in the farmersfamily. Later he had migrated to United Kingdom.
6. BSE drops Tata Power from Sensex; Lupin tocome in
i. Private sector electricity producer Tata Power will moveout of the stock market benchmark index Sensex and will be replacedby drugmaker Lupin .
ii. Besides, Adani Power would be dropped from the S&PBSE 100 index, while various changes have been made to a host ofother BSE indices as well.
iii. The S&P BSE-100, an index of the top 100 listed companiesin the country, would see Aurobindo Pharma and Tata Motors (DVR) coming in, while the S&P BSE-200 would get five new entries-- Ajanta Pharma , Suzlon Energy , Dewan Housing , NCC Indiaand Tata Motors (DVR).
iv. Those moving out of BSE-100 include Sanofi India , HindustanCopper , Amtek Auto , Jaiprakash Power Ventures .
Current Affairs - 24th May 2015
1. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)appointed G Mohan Kumar as Defence Secretary
i. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on 22 May 2015gave its nod for appointing G Mohan Kumar as the Secretary of theMinistry of Defence (MoD).
ii. The decision was taken by the committee in a meeting chairedby the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
iii. Mohan Kumar will be in the office for a period of two yearsand succeeds Radha Krishna Mathur who completes his tenure on 28 May2015.
iv. Kumar, a 1979 batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre, is presentlySecretary of the Department of Defence Production in the MoD.
v. Earlier, he worked as the Secretary in the Ministries of Steeland Commerce and Industry and Additional and Special Secretary in theMinistry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenationamong others.
2. India-Singapore bilateral naval exerciseSIMBEX-15 commences in Singapore
i. Bilateral naval exercise SIMBEX-15 between India and Singaporecommenced on 23 May 2015 in Singapore and concluding on May 26, 2015.
ii. This edition of naval exercise will give traditional emphasison anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and more complex maritime exercises.It will involve various facets of naval operations such as air andsurface practice firing, air defence, maritime security and search &rescue operations.
iii. For this edition of exercise, Indian navy is represented by
INS Satpura- an indigenously built guidedmissile stealth frigate with integral helicopter.
INSKamorta- an indigenous anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette.
P 8I Aircraft- It is a long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine (LRMRASW) aircraft.
3. Indians posthumously chosen for UN'sprestigious Dag Hammarskjold Medal
i. Two Indian peacekeepers have been chosen posthumously forUnited Nations Dag Hammarskjold Medal. They are Lance Naik NandRam and Raju Joseph.
ii. Both of them are among the 126 police, military and civilianpersonnel who have been posthumously awarded a prestigious UN medal.
iii. They have been chosen for this award for their courage andsacrifice while serving in UN peacekeeping operations in 2014 andlost their lives as a result of hostile acts, accidents and disease.
iii. Lance Naik Nand Ram had served with the UN OrganizationStabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(MONUSCO). While, Raju Joseph had served in a civilian capacity withthe UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
4. Huewei launched LiteOS, worlds most lightweightIoT operating system (OS)
i. China-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd on 20 May 2015 launchedLiteOS operating sytem meant for Internet of Things (IoT) baseddevices.
ii. Huewei, a multinational networking and telecommunicationsequipment and services company, launched the technology at the HuaweiNetwork Congress (HNC) 2015 held in Beijing, China.
iii. Features of LiteOS
It is the worlds most lightweight IoT OSwith a size of 10KB.
It supports zeroconfiguration, auto-discovery and auto-networking.
Itcan be widely applied to different areas including smart homes,wearables, connected vehicles and other industries.
Ithelps to simplify the development of smart hardware to enhance IoTconnectivity.
It will be opened to alldevelopers, which enables them to quickly develop their own IoTproducts.
iv. The technology is part of the Agile Internet of Things (IoT)solution, which consists of three core components viz., Agile IoTgateway, Agile Controller and LiteOS, developed to augment thedigitization of areas such as production, manufacturing andlogistics.
5. Tanishq Abraham 11-year old Indian-Americancreates record by graduating from California College
i. Tanishq Abraham, 11-year-old Indian-American child prodigycreated a record by graduating from California College with threeassociate degrees in science, maths and foreign language studies.
ii. He is native of Sacramento, California and youngest tograduate from the American River College (ARC),in Sacramento,California.
iii. In 2014, he also had created a record by becoming one of theyoungest ever in the US to graduate high school.
Current Affairs - 25th May 2015
1. Cannes Films Festival 2015: French director JacquesAudiard bagged Palme dOr
i. French thriller Dheepan was honoured with the Palme d'Or topprize at the Cannes Film Festival on 24 May 2015. The film brings aspotlight on the plight of traumatised refugees building new lives.
ii. Indian film Masaan directed by Neeraj Ghaywan won thePromizing Future Prize Ex-aequo at the festival.
iii. List of awards at the Cannes Film Festival
Palme d'Or: Dheepan, directed by JacquesAudiard
Grand Prix: Saul Fia (Son of Saul),directed by Laszlo Nemes
Award for BestDirector: Hou Hsiao-Hsien for Nie Yinniang (The Assassin)
Award for Best Screenplay: Michel Franco for Chronic
Award for Best Actress Ex-aequo: Emmanuelle Bercot in Mon Roi,directed by Maiwenn and Rooney Mara in Carol, directed by ToddHaynes
Award for Best Actor: Vincent Lindonin La Loi Du Marché (The Measure of a Man),directed by StephaneBrize
Jury Prize: The Lobster, directed byYorgos Lanthimos
2. Facebooks Internet.org attracts 8 lakh users inIndia
i. Social media giant Facebook has garnered 8 lakh users in Indiafor its Internet.org initiative that has been in the thick of the netneutrality controversy.
ii. Facebook had partnered telecom major Reliance Communicationsto offer free access to over 30 websites without data charges tousers in India.
iii. Internet.org service is available for Reliance customers inseven telecom circles of Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, AndhraPradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
iv. The goal of Internet.org is to allow more people to experiencethe benefits of being online.
3. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won MonacoGrand Prix of Formula One
i. Mercedes racing driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won the MonacoGrand Prix Formula 1 World Championship title by winning the finalrace held in Monaco.
ii. While Sebastian Vettel of Germany representing the Ferrariteam stood at the second position, Rosbergs team mate LewisHamiltion of UK was at the third positon.
iii. It is the tenth overall championship title for Rosberg andthe second title in the 2015 season having won the Spanish Formula 1World Championship on 10 May 2015.
iv. With the present victory, he has become the fourth driver towin three Monaco Grand Prix titles in a row. The others were GrahamHill, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
4. Government Clears 21 FDI Proposals Worth Rs 281Crore
i. The government has cleared 21 foreign direct investment (FDI)deals worth Rs 281 crore but deferred Kotak Mahindra Bank's proposalto hike foreign investment limit in the bank to 55 per cent.
ii. FDI proposals under approval route are cleared by the ForeignInvestment Promotion Board (FIPB).
iii. Proposals involving investment of more than Rs 3,000 croreare given final clearance by the Cabinet Committee on EconomicAffairs (CCEA).
5. China sets up "largest" gold fund fornations along Silk Road
i. China, the world's biggest gold producer, has set up a goldsector fund involving countries along the ancient Silk Road which isexpected to raise $16.1 billion.
ii. The fund, led by Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE),is expected toraise an estimated 100 billion yuan ($16.1 billion) in three phases.
iii. About 60 countries have invested in the fund, which will inturn facilitate gold purchase for the central banks of member statesto increase their holdings of the precious metal.
iv. The fund will invest in gold mining in countries along theSilk Road, which will increase exploration in countries such asAfghanistan and Kazakhstan.
6. Ranjit Singh Baxi elected as Head of Bureau ofInternational Recycling
i. Indian-origin entrepreneur Ranjit Singh Baxi was on 19 May 2015elected as the Head of the Bureau of International Recycling, aglobal organisation that facilitates free and fair trade ofrecyclables in a sustainable and competitive world economy.
ii. Baxi succeeded Bjorn Grufman. He will serve a two-year term asPresident of this global firm. In 2011, Baxi was appointed as theTreasurer of BIR, prior to which he was President of theorganisations Paper Division from 2007 to 2013. He has alsopublished a book titled Recycling our Future- A GlobalStrategy.
iii. Ranjit Singh Baxi is a Founder Chairman of J&H Sales(International) Ltd, a major European exporter of recovered fibre tothe Far East. He was also a Governor at the University of East Londonand a Member of British Prime Ministers Trade Delegation to India.
iv. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA),holds aBachelor of Science (BSc) degree and is a Master of BusinessAdministration (MBA).
7. Mumbai Indians saunter to second title win
i. Mumbai Indians put up an all-round show to outshine ChennaiSuper Kings by 41 runs in the final to win the Indian Premier League2015.
ii. Mumbai Indians completed one of the most remarkableturnarounds in the eight-year history of the Indian Premier League bytransforming a terrible start to the tournament - they were at thebottom of the table for the first two weeks - into a title win.
iii. CSK had won the toss in final summit had chosen bowl first.MI by batting first had set the target of 202 to their opponent team.However the CSK failed to reach the target score. This is the secondIPL title triumph for MI after their maiden win in the season six in2013.
Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma.
Captains of the two teams Mumbai Indains: Rohit Sharma.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Looking at the Other highlights of IPL 2015:
Player of the Tournament: Andre Russell (KKR).
Orange Cap awarded to: David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad).
Purple Cap awarded to: Dwayne Bravo (CSK).
EmergingPlayer of the Season: Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Daredevils).
Most Valuable Player: Andre Russell (KKR).
Current Affairs - 26th May 2015
1. MUDRA banks partners with 19 regionalcoordinators to reach small entrepreneurs
i. Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank haspartnered with 19 state and regional level coordinators to reachthose small entrepreneurs who are often cut off from the bankingsystem because of a limited branch presence.
ii. This initiative is expected to help finance Last MileFinanciers of small and micro businesses. These businesses wouldin turn generate almost 10 times jobs compared to what was beinggenerated by the big companies currently.
iii. MUDRA Banks effort is likely to transform smallenterprises into a Rs. 11 lakh crore industry, which would give asignificant push to countrys economy.
iv. The Central government had set up MUDRA Bank to boost thegrowth of small scale businesses as small entrepreneurs facedifficulty to access banking system for various reasons. This ventureby MUDRA will help finance small and micro businesses at thegrassroots level.
2. ICICI Launches Voice Password Facility forPhone Banking
i. ICICI Bank launched voice recognition service whichauthenticates customers based on their speech patterns and allowsthem to execute banking transactions through the bank's call centrein a quick, secure and convenient manner.
ii. The-first-of-its kind service by a bank in the country, it isavailable to over 33 million customers of its savings account andcredit card.
iii. With the voice recognition technologyin place, customers are no longer required to enter their cardnumbers, PIN and answer security questions to authenticatethemselves.
iv. Their voice will now act as the password for bankingtransactions through the call centre.
v. The voice recognition technology works on voice prints, whichare unique to an individual. It comprises more than 100characteristics including voice modulation, speed, accent,pronunciation which are impossible to imitate, thereby enhancingsecurity.
3. PM Modi launches 'Kisan TV' for farmers
i. Marking the first anniversary of NDA government, Prime MinisterNarendra Modi launched Kisan TV at a function held in VigyanBhawan.
ii. In his address, PM stressed on the need for improving farmerscondition in the country. He said if country wants to progress, theelevation of villages and farmers is the stepping stone.
iii. After coming to power, the NDA government had announced thatit will launch a 24hour TV channel for farmers.
iv. In his Union Budget 2014 speech, Finance Minister ArunJaitley, who now also holds the charge of the I&B ministry, hadannounced that a 24hour TV channel will be dedicated to theagriculture sector, for which he had marked an outlay of Rs. 100crore.
4. Manoj Mishra appointed as CMD of NationalFertilizers Ltd (NFL)
i. Government has appointed Manoj Mishra as Chairman and ManagingDirector of state-run National Fertilizers Ltd (NFL).
ii. Mishra, currently posted as Director Finance at State TradingCorporation (STC),is likely to assume the charge of CMD of thefertiliser firm this week.
iii. In September last year, government headhunters PublicEnterprises Selection Board (PESB) had recommended Mishra's name forthe top post at NFL. NFL's CMD post fell vacant after the retirementof Neeru Abrol in February 2014.
5. Tamil Nadu CM announced welfare schemes worth1800 crore rupees
i. A day after being sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu forthe fifth time, J Jayalalithaa on Sunday announced development andwelfare schemes worth over Rs 1,800 crore.
ii. Jayalalithaa launched several schemes, including those forimprovement of roads, drinking water facilities and for helping needyfamilies headed by women.
iii. The major thrust will be for urban and rural roads. Sheallocated Rs. 1,000 crore for urban roads, including those underChennai corporation limits as it was necessary to repair roads dug uprepeatedly by various agencies like Metrowater and those damaged inrains.
iv. For the rural roads, the government will spend Rs. 800 crorecovering 3,500 km of road network of which 50 per cent will be spenton laying new bitumen roads and the rest for repairing the damagedroads.
v. As industrialisation of cities increased housing demand in townpanchayats, the Chief Minister had sanctioned green houses for 20,000families in the initial phase. Each family will be granted Rs. 2.10lakh; and poor in town panchayats living in mud or thatched houseswere eligible for the scheme to be implemented by the Tamil Nadu SlumClearance Board.
6. Corporation Bank Cuts Lending Rate
i. State-run Corporation Bank cut base rate or minimum lendingrate by 0.25 percentage point to 10 per cent, a move which will leadto lower EMIs for its customers.
ii. The bank has revised the base rate for lending from 10.25 percent to 10 per cent with effect from June 1.
iii. With the reduction, all loans linked to base rates will nowbecome cheaper by at least 0.25 per cent.
iv. During the month, many banks including Punjab National Bank,Bank of Baroda, and IDBI BankBSE -1.84 % reduced base rate by 0.25per cent to 10 per cent.
v. State Bank of India, the country's largest lender, had reducedits base rate by 0.15 per cent to 9.85 per cent effective April 10.
7. Mandeep Kaur wins two gold medals at WorldJunior Championship
i. Punjab pugilist Mandeep Kaur Sandhu has won two gold medals (52kg category) on Saturday at the Women's World Junior BoxingChampionship in Taipei, thus scripting a classic rags to richstoryline.
ii. Indian boxers had a terrific outing in the tournament as theywon 7 medals in all, including three golds, a silver and two bronze.
iii. Fifteen year old Mandeep, who hais from Chakkar village,defeated Ireland's Niamh Earley in the final match by a 3-0 margin towin gold. Mandeep was dominant in her category throughout thetournament and registered some thrilling wins.
8. Kumar Sangakkara named CEAT International Cricketerof the Year 2015
i. Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara on 25 May 2015 wasnamed as the International Cricketer of the Year 2015 while themiddle order batsman Ajinkya Rahane was named as the CEAT IndianCricketer of the Year 2015.
ii. Former Indian captain Kapil Dev was conferred with theInternational Lifetime Achievement Award at the 19th edition of theawards.
iii. Rohit Sharma was given a special award for hisrecord-breaking 264 made against Sri Lanka in an ODI at Kolkata.
Current Affairs - 27th May 2015
1. Nirbhay Sharma sworn-in as governor of Mizoram
i. Lt general (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma was sworn-in as the governorof Mizoram at the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan. Justice T Vaiphei, judgeof the Gauhati high court, administered the oath of office to generalSharma.
ii. State chief minister Lal Thanhawla, his cabinet colleagues,legislators from both the ruling Congress and the opposition MizoNational Front (MNF),senior officials of the state government andthe Army attended the gubernatorial swearing-in ceremony.
iii. General Sharma, the former governor of Arunachal Pradesh, wastransferred and appointed as Mizoram governor on May 12 by PresidentPranab Mukherjee, replacing West Bengal governor Keshari NathTripathi who took additional charge of Mizoram.
iv. He is the eighth governor of Mizoram after the then stategovernor Vakkom Purushothaman resigned on July 12 last year inprotest against being transferred to Nagaland.
2. Manabi Bandopadhyay became first transgenderprincipal of Krishnagar Women's College
i. In a first in India, Manabi Bandopadhyay has been appointed thefirst transgender principal at a college in West Bengal.
ii. Manabi will assume the role of Krishnagar WomensCollege principal in West Bengal on June 9. She is currently anassociate professor in Bengali at Vivekananda SatobarshikiMahavidyalaya.
iii. "This decision was taken by the College ServiceCommission. I don't interfere in their decisions. They are aware ofour open mind. I am happy with this decision," state educationminister Partha Chatterjee said.
3. FM Arun Jaitley announces setting up of NIIF
i. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the setting up ofthe National Investment and Infrastructure Fund(NIIF) in the UnionBudget. The north block has now issued a draft Cabinet note on itsformation.
ii. The note is likely to be taken up by the Cabinet within amonth's time.
iii. The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund is likely tohave an initial corpus of less than Rs 20,000 crore. Infact, we pickup from our sources that the initial capital could be approximatelybetween Rs 5,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore.
iv. The finance ministry is likely to seek the Parliament's nodfor supplementary funds once the Cabinet has given its nod. Thegovernment is also inviting foreign investors for their participationin the fund.
4. Himachal Pradesh set up satellite tracking system tocheck forest fire
i. State forest department of Himachal Pradesh has set up thesatellite tracking system to check the forest fire incidents duringsummer season. The system was launched with an aim to preserve theprecious forest fire incidents during summer season.
ii. In case of any fire incident, the forest officials willimmediately receive SMS on their mobiles.
iii. Apart from this, the department also launched an awarenesscampaign across the state to protect forests from fire in which localpeople will be involved to detect the fire incidents.
iv. Forest cover of the Himachal Pradesh is one of the biggestwealth and identification of the hill state which faces forest fireas one of the biggest challenge and threat during the summer season.This satellite tracking system may help the state to keep on a vigilon the fire incidents in its forests.
v. Besides, 700 participatory committees had been constituted,more than 90 water tanks constructed and nearly 100 watch towers hadbeen erected so that the people could easily detect fire incidents.
5. Abraj Kudai, worlds biggest hotel, set to open inMecca in 2017
Abraj Kudai: The worlds biggest hotel project which is underconstruction in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The term Abraj Kudai was in news in the last week of May 2015 asit was described as the worlds biggest hotel. It is set to open in2017.
Features of Abraj Kudai
Once completed, it will be the worldslargest hotel featuring 10000 bedrooms. At present, the VenetianMacao situated in Macau, China is the worlds largest hotel having3000 rooms.
It is located 2.2 km south of theHoly Haram (Grand Mosque) at the Manafia area in Makkah's centralzone in Saudi Arabia.
It has a total sitearea of approximately 60000 square meter and total built-up area ofaround 1.4 million square metre.
It consistsof a large podium topped by 12 towers accommodating several elementssuch as a podium housing a bus station, a shopping mall, 70restaurants and food courts, a convention center and four helipads.
The 45 stories tall, the desert fortress-style hotel isbeing built at a cost of 3.6 billion US dollars.
Theproject is funded by the Saudi Ministry of Finance and designed bythe Dar al-Handasah group.
6. Four Indians among Forbes worlds 100 mostpowerful women
i. Four Indians have been named in Forbes magazines 12th annuallist of Worlds 100 most powerful women.
ii. They are
Arundhati Bhattacharya: First woman (andyoungest) Chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI) was placed at 30thposition.
Chanda Kochhar: Managing Director(MD) and CEO of Indias largest private sector lender ICICI Bankwas placed at 35th position.
KiranMazumdar-Shaw: Founder, Chairman and MD of Biocon Limited was placedat 85th position.
Shobhana Bhartia:Chairperson and Editorial Director of the Hindustan Times Group wasplaced at 93rd position. It should be noted she has appeared on thelist for the first time.
iii. Top 10 powerful women: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (1st),Hillary Clinton (2nd),Melinda Gates (3rd),US Federal Reserve ChairJanet Yellen (3th),GM CEO Mary Barra (5th),IMF Chief ChristineLagarde (6th),Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (7th),Facebook COOSheryl Sandberg (8th),YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki (9th) and US FirstLady Michelle Obama (10th).
7. ANZ Bank to open 2 India branches by early2016
i. ANZ Bank will open two more branches in India by early nextyear.
ii. The two branches would be opened at Gurgaon and Bangalore, ANZExecutive Director (International banking) Subhash DeGamia said. Thebank opened its first branch in India at Mumbai four years ago.
iii. In June 2014, Australia New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) saidit received in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India toopen new branches in Gurgaon and in outer Bengalore.
iv. Its Mumbai branch offers Indian Rupee and foreign currencyservices, working capital and term financing, transaction banking,global markets, deposits and advisory services.
v. In addition, ANZ's Bangalore-based operations and technologyshared services hub employs more than 6,000 staff supporting ANZ'sbusinesses around the world.
Current Affairs - 28th May 2015
1. Tripura government decides to withdraw AFSPAfrom state
i. Tripura government has decided to withdraw the Armed ForcesSpecial Powers Act (AFSPA),1958 from the remaining areas of thestate.
ii. Decision in this regard was taken during the state cabinetmeeting chaired by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in Agartala afterPolice in its latest half-yearly review had found no need to extendthe act any further.
iii. Now state government will move to the Union Home Ministry forformal withdrawal of the central Act from state which was in effectfor the last 18 years to curb insurgency.
iv. Union Government had enforced AFSPA in Tripura after therelentless violence and bloodshed in tribal areas of state inFebruary 1997 . Since then, it was reviewed and extended in every sixmonths as per the provisions of the Act.
v. The last six-month extension was given in November 2014 and itsterm ends by the end of May 2015.
2. Mega Food Park Inaugurated at Nalbari, Assam
i. Ministry of Food Processing Industries had sanctioned a MegaFood Park to M/s North East Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd. at Nalbari,Assam.
ii. The Central Processing Centre of the Park at Tihu in NalbariDistrict of Assam has been completed and was inaugurated by HonbleChief Minister, Assam, Shri Tarun Gogoi and Union Minister for FoodProcessing Industries Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
iii. Minister of State for Home Mr. Kiren Rijiju was also presentto grace the occasion.
iv. To give a major boost to the food processing sector by addingvalue and reducing food wastage and loss at each stage of the supplychain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of FoodProcessing Industries is implementing a Mega Food Park Scheme in thecountry since 2008.
v. Financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore is provided forsetting up Mega Food Parks for creation of modern infrastructurefacilities for food processing along the value chain from farm toconsumer.
3. PM Modi, Shiekh Hasina to inaugurateKamalasagar border 'haat'
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh premier SheikhHasina will jointly inaugurate a border 'haat' (market) atKamalasagar in Tripura's Sipahijala district, which bordersBrahmanbaria district of Bangladesh.
ii. The 'haat' would be jointly inaugurated through videoconferencing from Dhaka during Modi's two-day visit to Bangladeshbeginning from June 6.
iii. The construction of a market shed and other infrastructurefacilities at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crores is almost complete.
iv. Sepahijala Additional District Magistrate Dilip Kumar Chakmaand his Brahmanbaria counterpart Nazma Begum informed that Indiantraders from India and Bangladesh can transact selected commoditiesrespectively at the haat. They met five times since Kamalasagarborder point was selected.
4. NATO launched Arctic Challenge Exercise in the northof Norway, Sweden and Finland
i. NATO on 26 May 2015 launched the Arctic Challenge Exercisebased in the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland. The exerciseinvolves 115 fighter planes and 3600 troops from nine countries.
ii. The participant countries include all NATO members like theUS, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands as well as neutralSwitzerland.
iii. This exercise is the second of its kind, first similar testswas conducted in 2013.
iv. Apart from this, Russia also on 26 May 2015 begun afour-day-long massive military exercise and described it as a massivesurprise inspection, to check combat readiness. The exercise involves12000 soldiers and around 250 aircraft, including long-range bomberscarrying cruise missiles.
v. This Russian military exercise has coincided with an Arctictraining exercise by NATO and has raised debate.
vi. Russian military exercise on the same day when NATO militaryalliance launched their training exercise may raise tensions withWest over Russias role in conflict in Ukraine.
vii. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in fourth week of May2015 said that the large number of snap exercises conducted by Russiadecreases transparency and practicability. But Russia has defendedthe exercise by terming that these drills are part of preparation fora larger exercise known as Center-2015, which will be held later in2015.
5. TaxiForSure Ties up With Paytm , LaunchesFaster App
i. Taxi aggregator TaxiForSure announced a tie-up with mobilecommerce platform Paytm to enable Paytm users to pay for the cabservice through their prepaid wallet. According to the company, thenew app will enable booking of cabs in a single touch.
ii. With the new partnership, the balance amount in company'sexisting wallet will be converted to TFS credit.
iii. Commenting on the move, Arvind Singhal, CEO of TaxiForSure,said that currently 80 per cent of our booking comes from mobileapplications and 35 per cent of the total payment is done through ourwallet. With the partnership with Paytm, over 70 million Paytm usecan pay TaxiForSure fare through mobile.
6. Ajanmi Beti Ke liye Daud organised for the cause ofsaving girl child in Himachal Pradesh
i. Forum for Human Rights and Justice (FHRJ) on 27 May 2015organised a Marathon named as Ajanmi Beti Ke liye Daud (Protectingthe Unborn Girl) in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The objective of thisMarathon is to save girl child and arrest the declining sex ratio inthe hill state.
ii. Himachal is one among the ten worst states wherein sex ratiois worst. It has a child sex ratio of 906 against 1000 females.
iii. The districts of Himachal with worst sex ratio are Una (875),Kangra (876),Hamirpur (887),Solan (899) and Bilaspur (900).
iv. Districts with sex ration above 900 are Mandi (916),Shimla(925),Sirmaur (928),Chamba 953, Kullu have 962, Kinnuar have 963.Only Lahaul Spiti has a higher sex ratio of 1033.
v. Through the run, FHRJ tried to make people aware and mobilizethem to join hands for a new beginning.
7. Abhinav Bindra qualifies for Rio Games 2016through Olympic quota
i. Beijing Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra qualified for the RioOlympics 2016 through one of the Olympic quotas.
ii. Bindra shot 627.5 to qualify in the 10m air rifle event at the1972 Olympic Shooting Range in Hochbrucke.
iii. Bindra is the fourth Indian shooter to qualify for Rio Gamesafter he clinched one of the three quotas available to qualify forthe games.
iv. Notably, Bindra has had a slow start to the season, recordingbelow-par finishes in the first two World Cups after he failed toqualify for the final in Changwon as well as Fort Benning.
8. Trevor Bayliss appointed as head coach of EnglandCricket Team
i. Trevor Bayliss was appointed as the head coach of Englandcricket team on 26 May 2015. With this appointment, 52-year-oldBayliss became the first Australian to coach England.
ii. New South Wales coach succeeded Peter Moores and will take upthe new job in June 2015. Moores second spell ended in first week ofMay 2015 after he was sacked.
iii. Bayliss has led Sri Lankan team from 2007 to 2011 and laterin 2014 took temporary charge of Australia for their Twenty20 seriesin South Africa. He has coached Kolkata Knight Riders in the IndianPremier League (IPL) and Sydney Sixers in Australia's Big BashLeague.
iv. Before becoming a coach, he played for New South Wales between1985 and 1997.
CurrentAffairs - 29th May 2015
1. 90 Percent Of Global Chemical WeaponsStockpile 'Destroyed'
i. Nobel peace prize winning organisation OPCW (Organisation forthe Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) has achieved major milestone ofdestroying 90 per cent of the global chemical weapons stockpile.
ii. OPCW has mentioned that around 65,000 metric tonnes ofdeclared chemical weapons, mostly from US and Russian arsenals ofcold war era have been destroyed in a safe manner.
iii. It also includes total of 1,300 metric tonnes of chemicalweapons removed from Syria in 2014. The remaining stockpile isunderway in phase of destruction and is scheduled to be completedbefore the end of 2020 and 2023. The weapons stockpiles includedcaches containing chemicals needed to make deadly nerve agents likeSarin.
iv. OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation, headquatered inHague, Netherlands. The organisation promotes, administers andverifies the adherence to the Convention on the Prohibition of theDevelopment, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons andon their Destruction (CWC).
2. Bharti Airtel surges 6% after Vodafone stakesale
i. UK telecom major Vodafone has sold its 4.2% stake in BhartiAirtel Ltd to Bharti Enterprises (Holding) Pvt Ltd for $200 million.
ii. In 2005, Vodafone had picked 10% stake in Bharti Airtel.Following its entry into the Indian market with its buyout ofHuntchinson stake in Hutch Essar, Vodafone brought its stake inBharati Airtel down to 5%.
iii. Vodafone's decision to offload its stake in largest telecomoperator in India, in terms of subscribers base, follows the newunified licence (UL) regime in Department of Telecommunication.
iv. Vodafone's Indian unit, the country's No. 2 carrier, is BhartiAirtel's closest competitor in the market.
3. Yaduveer of Wodeyar dynasty crowned as 27thMaharaja of Mysuru
i. In a traditional ceremony, US-educated Yaduveer KrishnadattaChamaraja Wodeyar, the adopted son of Pramoda Devi Wodeyar, iscrowned as the titular head of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family.
ii. The coronation took place at Kalyana Mantap in Amba VilasPalace in Mysuru at an auspicious hour this morning amid Vedic chantsand slogans hailing the Mysuru royalty and the 23-year-old Kingas he ascended the silver throne Bhadrasana.
iii. Yaduveer, the 27th King of Wodeyar dynasty, will have to waituntil Dasara to ascend the golden throne, when he will preside overthe khasa (private) durbar, which is reminiscent of the bygoneera.
iv. Pramoda Devi Wodeyar, widow of Srikantadatta NarasimharajaWodeyar, the last descendant of the Wodeyar dynasty, formally adoptedYaduveer Gopal Raj Urs in February, after which he was rechristenedas Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar.
4. S Christopher appointed as Director General of DRDO
i. Eminent scientist Dr. Selvin Christopher has been appointed asthe Director General (DG) of Defence Research and DevelopmentOrganisation (DRDO) along with the rank of a secretary.
ii. As a DG of DRDO, he will also severe as Secretary atDepartment of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) for aperiod of 2 years from the date of taking over the charge.
iii. Prior to this appointment, S Christopher was Director ofDRDOs Centre for Air-Borne Systems (CABS),Bengaluru.
iv. Presently, he is also Programme Director of Airborne EarlyWarning and Control (AEW&C) system. He was first pioneer firstIndian scientist who had directed the manufacturing of Indiasfirst indigenous AEW&C system.
5. India tops in World Hunger List with 194Million People: UN Report
i. India is home to the highest number of hungry people in theworld, at 194 million, surpassing China, according to United Nationsannual hunger report.
ii. At the global level, the corresponding figure dropped to 795million in 2014-15, from 1 billion in 1990-92, with East Asia led byChina accounting for most of the reductions, UN body Food andAgriculture Organisation (FAO) said in its report titled 'The Stateof Food Insecurity in the World 2015'.
iii. India too saw a reduction between 1990 and 2015, it added. In1990-92, those who were starved of food in India numbered 210.1million, which came down to 194.6 million in 2014-15.
iv. The overall analysis suggested that inclusive economic growth,agricultural investments and social protection, along with politicalstability, can eradicate hunger.
6. PK Sinha appointed cabinet secretary byNarendra Modi
i. Power Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha was appointed as the nextCabinet Secretary of the government. He will succeed Ajit Seth whohas been holding the position for the last four years.
ii. Sinha, a 1977-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, hasbeen asked to take over as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in CabinetSecretariat, an official release said. He will formally take over thenew charge on June 13, it said.
iii. The Prime Minister has approved the appointment of Sinha asthe next Cabinet Secretary with effect from June 13. Sinha has beenserving as Power Secretary since July 2013.
iv. He has earlier served as the Shipping Secretary and has alsoheld several other important positions in the Union Government and inhis cadre state--Uttar Pradesh.
7. Researchers Create First Single-Molecule Diode
i. Led by Indian American scientist Latha Venkataraman, a team ofresearchers at Columbia Engineering have created an electronic diodethe size of a single molecule that performs 50 times better than allprior diode designs.
ii. Their findings which could have real-world applications inregards to nanotechnology were published on May 25 in the paper,Single-Molecule Diodes with High On-Off Ratios throughEnvironmental Control, via the Nature Nanotechnology journal.
iii. The idea of creating a single-molecule diode was suggested byArieh Aviram and Mark Ratner who theorised in 1974 that a moleculecould act as a rectifier, a one-way conductor of electric current.
iv. She and her team are now working on understanding thefundamental physics behind their discovery and trying to increase therectification ratios they observed, using new molecular systems.
8. Microsoft announced to open India's first DigitalExperience Centre in Gujarat
i. Microsoft on 27 May 2015 announced to open the Indias firstDigital Experience Centre in Vadodara, Gujarat. Microsoft will openthe centre in collaboration with the Vadodara Chamber of Commerce andIndustry (VCCI).
ii. The centre aims to bring to life these experiences for Smalland Medium Enterprises (SMEs),entrepreneurs and educationalinstitutions and help them leverage contemporary cloud technology todrive business growth as well as enhance skills and promote learning.
iii. In addition to SMEs, Microsoft and VCCI will also helpeducational institutions to adopt technology that will prepare futuregenerations for the mobile-first, cloud-first world.
iv. As a part of this initiative, Microsoft's latest innovativecloud-computing based offering Edu-Cloud will help educationinstitutions enhance digital learning and teaching by providing themwith access to digital content and free access to Office 365 onWindows-powered tablets.
v. The centre will help businesses, institutions, partners andindividuals gain a first-hand experience of modern technologies ondevices running Microsoft software, including Windows apps and Office365.
Current Affairs - 30th May 2015
1. Anand Kumar, Founder of Super 30, honoured in Canada
i. Super 30 founder and mathematician Anand Kumar on 29 May 2015was honoured by Legislature of British Columbia in Canada at TorontoUniversity for his pioneering work in the field of education.
ii. The Speaker Linda Reid honoured Kumar with a memento and alsoappreciated his endeavour at a proposal initiated by Marc Dalton, anMLA. The 42-year-old Kumar was honoured for his rare achievements forthe students from India's underprivileged sections.
iii. Kumar was invited by the British Columbia Government inrecognition of his work through globally acclaimed Super 30, whichhas mentors 30 students mostly from the underprivileged sections ofthe society for IITs free of cost for the last 14 years.
2. Niti Aayog gets two new advisers; 10 new JSappointed
i. Alok Kumar and Jitendra Kumar have been appointed as advisersin Niti Aayog for five years as part of a minor bureaucraticreshuffle effected by the government.
ii. Alok is a 1993 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre whileJitendra (1987 batch) is Indian Forest Service officer of Uttarakhandcadre.
iii. Anna Roy has been appointed as Joint Secretary (JS) in theDepartment of Financial Services, an order issued by Department ofPersonnel and Training said. Roy, a 1992 batch officer of IndianEconomic Service, will have tenure till October 31, 2017. She isworking as a Director in the same department.
3. Finance Minister inaugurated New Bank NotePaper Line unit in Hoshangabad, MP
i. As part of Make in India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitelyinaugurates Indigenous New Bank Note printing lines at Security PaperMill in Hoshangabad.
ii. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the New Bank NotePaper Line of 6,000 metric tonnes capacity at Security Paper Mill,Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh.
iii. The Bank Note Paper Line in Mysore with 12,000 Metric Tonnescapacity is expected to be commissioned by the year end.
iv. The government is expected to save foreign exchange worth1,500 crore rupees by commissioning two new bank paper lines inHoshangabad and Mysore for indigenously printing Indian currency.
v. The production of the Bank Note paper from these two units willreduce the import considerably. This will also reduce possibility ofdiversion of the paper supplied by the foreign suppliers to the otherdestinations for the purpose of generating the fake currency.
3. Veena Jain appointed as Director General ofDoordarshan News
i. Veena Jain was on 29 May 2015 appointed as Director General(news) in Doordarshan. She succeeded senior Indian InformationService (IIS) officer Akshay Rout. Her appointment was approved bythe Union Ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B).
ii. Jain will also hold the charge as Officer on Special Duty(OSD) and will oversee the ministry's new media wing and social mediacell. She will report to the ministry for all purposes.
iii. She is currently posted as Additional Director General in theNews Services Division of All India Radio (AIR). Earlier, she hasalso served as director of Publications Division of AIR.
4. India Outpaces China as GDP Rises by 7.5% inQ4
i. The Indian economy expanded 7.3% in the year ended March, inline with the initial forecast and marginally higher than 6.9%recorded in the previous year, pointing to a soft recovery andstrengthening the case for a rate cut on June 2 when Reserve Bankreviews monetary policy.
ii. The data released by India's statistics office on Fridayshowed gross domestic product (GDP) rose 7.5% in January-March 2015compared with 6.7% after a downward revision from 7.5% in theOctober quarter, signalling a slight pickup.
iii. This comes as the US said that its GDP contracted 0.7% owingto shipping delays, dollar dominance and a harsh cold season.
iv. The January-March growth is ahead of 7% recorded byChina, in line with independent forecasts that India is set to takeon the man tle of fastest-growing large economy in the currentfiscal. China's economy expanded 7.4% in the 2014 calendar year.
5. Service Tax Rate @ 14% applicable from 1stJune
i. Finance Minister while presenting the Budget 2015 hasincreased the Service Tax Rate from 12.36% to flat 14%.
ii. However, the date from which the new Service tax rate isapplicable was not announced in the Budget. On 19th May, the FinanceMinistry announced that the new Service Tax Rate @ 14% would beapplicable from 1st June.
iii. The rate of Service Tax for services provided before 1st Juneis 12.36% and for services provided after 1st June is 14%.
6. Sepp Blatter re-elected as FIFA President
i. Sepp Blatter began his fifth term as Fifa president in defiantmood, suggesting that he had survived a US-sponsored campaign to ousthim, but admitted that world footballs governing body would haveto work hard to repair relations with its sponsors.
ii. Mr Blatter said he would have to repair relations withfootballs biggest sponsors, including Visa and Coca-Cola,admitting that the storm of the past week had tarnished Fifa.
iii. Fifa earned $1.6bn from sponsorship over the four-year cycleleading to the 2014 Brazil World Cup, 29 per cent of its totalrevenue.
iv. He noted that the US had lost out to Qatar in the bidding tohost the 2022 World Cup and said the US was the number onesponsor of Jordan, home of Prince Ali.
7. State Bank of India launched Online CustomerAcquisition Solution
i. The State Bank of India (SBI) on 29 May 2015 launched an OnlineCustomer Acquisition Solution (OCAS). It is an online platform toapply for Home Loans, Car Loans, Education Loans and Personal Loans.
ii. The application was launched by SBI Chairman ArundhatiBhattacharya.
iii. Features of the Online Customer Acquisition Solution
The application will help the customers gaugetheir eligibility and get a quote personalized to theirrequirement.
The customer will instantly getan e-approval on filling the online form.
Thereafter, the Bank officials will contact the customer and completeall the loan formalities. Customers can even upload all necessarydocuments online.