Shares the Knowledge !

Daily Current Affairs - 16 to 17 January 2016


Pro-Independence Opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen has been elected Taiwan's first female President. Ms Tsai, 59, represents Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which leads the camp that wants independence from China. 

China’s President Xi Jinping formally opened Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, in which India and 56 countries have joined as founding members, in Beijing on 16th January, 2016. The bank was formally established in Beijing on December 25,2015. China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei was elected as the first Chairman of the Bank's Council while former Finance Minister, Jin Liqun was elected its first President. It will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare. 

Lou said that it would work together with multilateral development banks including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to enable Asian infrastructure construction and sustainable development. 

It will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare. The bank, headquartered in Beijing, now has fifty seven members. 

It will also work together with multilateral development banks including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to enable Asian infrastructure construction and sustainable development. During the inauguration ceremony, Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei was named as the first chairman of the AIIB board of Governors. 

The World Bank on 14 January 2016 released a report titled World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends in Washington DC, the USA. The report explored the impact of the internet, mobile phones, and related technologies on economic development across the world including India. Further, it concluded that potential gains from digital technologies are high, but often remain unrealized and proposed policies to expand connectivity, accelerate complementary reforms in sectors beyond information and communication technology (ICT), and address global coordination problems. 

In relation to India, the authors of the report that included Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of World Bank appreciated the Aadhaar scheme as it saved 1 billion US dollars by bringing down corruption. 

Highlights of the report: 
• The world’s offline population is mainly in India and China, but more than 120 million people are still offline in North America and the digital divide within countries can be as high as that between countries. 
• Worldwide, nearly 21 percent of households in the bottom 40 percent of their countries’ income distribution don’t have access to a mobile phone, and 71 percent don’t have access to the internet. 
• The increased connectivity has had limited effect in reducing information inequality. For example, there are more contributions to Wikipedia from Hong Kong, China, than from all of Africa combined, despite the fact that Africa has 50 times more internet users. 
• Digital technologies, apart from resulting in economic benefits, influenced the participation of women in the labor force, the ease of communication for people with disabilities, and the way people spend their leisure. 
• By overcoming information barriers, augmenting factors, and transforming products, digital technologies can make development more inclusive, efficient, and innovative. 
• Problem areas: Digital dividends are not spreading rapidly as nearly 60 percent of the world’s people are still offline and can’t fully participate in the digital economy. 
• There also are persistent digital divides across gender, geography, age, and income dimensions within each country. 
• Some of the perceived benefits of the internet are being neutralized by new risks like vested business interests, regulatory uncertainty, and limited contestation across digital platforms that could lead to harmful concentration in many sectors. 
• Quickly expanding automation, even of mid-level office jobs, could contribute to a hollowing out of labor markets and to rising inequality. 
• It also cautioned that the poor record of many e-government initiatives points to high failure of ICT projects and the risk that states and corporations could use digital technologies to control citizens, not to empower them.

Djibouti has launched a project to build a 300-megawatt (MW) solar power plant and is planning a 60 MW wind farm as part of an initiative to generate all the tiny nation's power from renewables within five years. The solar power plant, which will cost 360 million euros (equivalent to 394 million US dollars), will be built in phases by German firm Green Enesys. 

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh laid the foundation stone this week at the Grand Bara plain site, south of the capital,Djibouti. Home to an international port as well as US and French military bases, Djibouti now relies heavily for its power via a link to hydropower plants in neighbouring Ethiopia. It wants to produce all its power from renewables by 2020. 

Energy Minister Ali Yacoub Mahamoud told that construction work starts in earnest on the solar plant in the first quarter of 2016, with the first of six phases completed by the end of 2016. Each phase is for 50 MW. 


January 17, 2016 is National Immunization Day. The government has decided to administer polio drops to over 17 crore children under five years across the country under the Pulse polio programme for 2016. India has been certified polio-free by the World Health Organisation in 2014. In a landmark step to provide double protection to the children, Government has introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization programme along with oral polio vaccine (opv) from 30 November 2015. 

In the first phase IPV has been introduced in six States Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. Government is also planning to switch from trivalent OPV to bivalent OPV in some months in a globally synchronized manner. An Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan is in place under which Rapid Response Teams have been formed in all States and UTs to respond urgently to any importations of polio virus. 

Around 17.4 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country. On the eve of the National Immunization Day, the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Shri J P Nadda said “Polio-free status for five years is a treasure for all of us”

Indian Army celebrated its 68th Army Day on 15th January, 2016. Every year Indian Army celebrates 15th January as ‘Army Day’ to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) K.M Carriappa took over the command of Army from General Sir F.R.R Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army post Independence. 

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the “Hall of Nuclear Power” on 16th January, 2016. This is Northern India’s first permanent exhibition on nuclear power, built in the national capital which is going to be opened to the public at National Science Centre (NSC) in New Delhi.

Similar galleries have also been built at Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Science Centre, Chennai. This gallery is dedicated to the nation during the Silver Jubilee year of NSC, Delhi. The exhibition, titled ‘Hall of Nuclear Power – Atoms Serving the Nation’ is spread over an area of about 700 sq. m., with over 60 permanent exhibits, covering various aspects of nuclear energy, with prime focus on nuclear power plant safety and applications for human welfare, which include nuclear medicine, food irradiation, as well as several other day-to-day applications of nuclear energy. 

National Youth Festival concluded on 16th January, 2016 in Chhattisgarh after a glittering ceremony and a colourful march past of folk and cultural representations of 25 states at Naya Raipur, the new state capital. More than 6000 students from 25 states exhibited their talents in spheres of classical music and dance along in painting and sculpture making skills. 

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, on 16th January 2016 launched the Start-up India initiative in New Delhi. The launch by the Prime Minister this evening, was preceded by a day-long workshop on various aspects of entrepreneurship. The Prime Minister visited a virtual exhibition and interacted with Start-up entrepreneurs. 10 outstanding Start-up innovators shared their thoughts and experiences before the Prime Minister delivered his address. He said that when he had launched the Start-up India Initiative on 15th August, 2015 the announcement had virtually gone unnoticed, but now it had registered with people.  

The Prime Minister unveiled the highlights of the Start-up Action Plan:
  1. He said a dedicated Start-up fund worth Rs. 10,000 crore will be created for funding of Start-ups. 
  2. He said Start-ups will be exempted from paying income tax on their profit for the first three years. He said the Government is working on a simple exit policy for Start-ups. 
  3. He also said the Government is working towards fast-tracking of Start-up patent applications. 
  4. He announced an eighty percent exemption in patent fee for Start-up businesses, and said a self-certification based compliance system for Start-ups would be introduced for 9 labour and environment laws. 
  5. He said the Atal Innovation Mission will be launched to give a boost to innovation. 

The Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Oil & Gas Conservation Fortnight 2016 in New Delhi on 16th January, 2016. The event is organized every year by PCRA (Petroleum Conservation Research Association) and other oil PSUs under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. This year, the Oil & Gas Conservation Fortnight is dedicated to Clean Fuel. 

Odisha won the Krishi Karman Award for 2014-15 for being the best performing state in overall foodgrains production among category-II states in India. The award instituted by Union ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare consists of a trophy, a citation and a cash amount of Rs 5 crore. For Odisha, this is the third successive Krishi Karman award since 2012-13. Earlier, the state also bagged the award in 2010-11. 

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda on 15 January 2016 launched four mobile health (m-Health) services to provide citizen-centric health services. These m-Health services are Kilkari, Mobile Academy, M-Cessation and TB Missed Call initiative. 

Highlights of Kilkari:• It is an audio-based mobile service that delivers weekly audio messages to families about pregnancy, child birth and child care. • Each pregnant woman and infant’s mother would receive weekly voice messages relevant to the stage of pregnancy or age of the infant. • Those who are registered in Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS), a web- enabled name-based system to monitor and ensure delivery of full spectrum of services to all pregnant women and children, will be benefitted from the service.

Highlights of Mobile Academy:• It’s a mobile-based application aimed at providing training services to 9 million ASHAs. • This will aid in enhancing their inter-personal skills. Once registered, ASHAs can access the 240-minute course via their mobile phones.

Highlights of M-Cessation: • It will be an IT-enabled tool to help tobacco users to quit tobacco. • Built on a helpline concept, it will register beneficiaries on the basis of a missed call. • The counselling would be done through a two-way SMS process, the Minister informed. 

Highlights of the TB Missed Call initiative: • Under TB Missed Call initiative, a dedicated toll free number 1800-11–6666 which will provide round the clock counselling and treatment support services for TB patients. • The callers can give a missed call or call for free to get information related to TB symptoms, treatment services available, address and contact details of the nearest treatment facility etc.

These m-Health initiatives were announced by the Union Government on 25 December 2015 on the occasion of the Good Governance Day which is celebrated annually to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distributions hosted the third meeting of Indo German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure at New Delhi during 14-15 Jan 2016. The Working Group has been established based on the declaration signed between Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution of the Republic of India and German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (now Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) of the Federal Republic of Germany in April 2013 for cooperation in Standardization, Conformity Assessment and Product Safety. The delegates from Indian and German sides comprised of the members from the concerned Ministries, National Standards Bodies, and representatives from trade associations. 

During the meeting, Secretary (Consumer Affairs) highlighted the objectives of advancing bilateral economic and technical cooperation in order to facilitate bilateral trade. He further emphasized the significance of co-operation with Germany on standardization to promote coordinated activities to facilitate bilateral trade focusing on products of trade interest to India such as leather, toys & textile. He also impressed the importance of the initiative in achieving the objectives of the Make in India, digital India and Swatch Bharat Campaign. 

Dr. Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State for Ministry of Tourism & Culture (Independent Charge) and Ministry of Civil Aviation inaugurated an exhibition entitled “Shoonya Ghar” by a well known contemporary artist Shri Sudarshan Shetty at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) under Ministry of Culture. 

Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 15th January, 2016 inaugurated the new user-friendly website of IMD and dedicated to the nation the System of Aerosol Monitoring And Research (SAMAR) which is a network of 16 Aethalometers, 12 Sky radiometers and 12 Nephelometers to study black-carbon concentration, aerosol radiative properties, environmental visibility respectively & their climatological impacts. 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has notified the revised standards for Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) operating at various industrial clusters in the country. The primary aim of the revised standards is to minimise water pollution. These standards were finalised after extensive consultations with industries and other stakeholders and detailed deliberations with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). 

The mode of ‘Discharge into sea’ (marine outfalls) providing very high dilution will qualify for a relaxed maximum permissible concentration of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD). The maximum permissible concentration of Fixed Dissolved Solids (FDS) by constituent units to CETP has been specified in terms of maximum allowable contribution value. 

The installed capacity of solar power in India crossed the milestone of 5,000 MW on 15th January,2016. The cumulative installed capacity has reached to 5,130 MW with installed capacity of 1385 MW in current FY. The state of Rajasthan stands 1st in the country with 1264 MW, followed by Gujarat (1024MW), Madhya Pradesh (679 MW), Tamil Nadu (419 MW), Maharashtra (379 MW) and Andhra Pradesh (357 MW). 

The Government has set the ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar power by the year 2021-22 under the National Solar Mission. It is envisaged to generate 60 GW ground mounted grid-connected solar power and 40 GW through roof-top grid interactive solar power to fulfill the 100 GW of solar power. The Ministry has also fixed year-wise targets to monitor the solar power generation in the country. 

The target for the current year is 2,000 MW and next year target is 12,000 MW. The Ministry is putting all efforts through various schemes of Central Government and State Governments to achieve the targets. It has been planned that around 18,000 MW tender should be out by 31st March, 2016. 

Cochin Port Trust and CONCOR have entered into a MoU for the running of weekly container train service from Irugur ICD, Coimbatore to ICTT Vallarpadam, Cochin Port. 

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 has come into force from 15th January, 2016 and repeals the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 was passed by Lok Sabha on 7th May, 2015; was passed by Rajya Sabha on 22nd December, 2015 and received Presidential assent on 31st December, 2015. The JJ Act, 2015 provides for strengthened provisions for both children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law. 

Some of the key provisions include: 
  1. change in nomenclature from ‘juvenile’ to ‘child’ or ‘child in conflict with law’, across the Act to remove the negative connotation associated with the word “juvenile”; 
  2. inclusion of several new definitions such as orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children; and petty, serious and heinous offences committed by children; 
  3. clarity in powers, function and responsibilities of Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Child Welfare Committee (CWC); 
  4. clear timelines for inquiry by Juvenile Justice Board (JJB); special provisions for heinous offences committed by children above the age of sixteen year; 
  5. separate new chapter on Adoption to streamline adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children; inclusion of new offences committed against children; and 
  6. mandatory registration of Child Care Institutions. 

The High Level Committee (HLC) of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on 14 January 2016 sanctioned 791 crore rupees to the drought affected Telangana. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the HLC. The meeting was attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Union Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh. 

The committee took the decision after the examination of the proposal based on the report of the Central Team that visited the state. Earlier, the Central Team visited the state as the Government of Telangana on 25 November 2015 declared 231 mandals (blocks) as drought hit. 

Union Government on 14 January 2016 signed a loan agreement with World Bank in New Delhi for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project. All 28 states which implement the watershed projects will benefit from this project. However, the nine states, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujrat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana will benefit more from the project as they are implementation of large number of watershed schemes in their states. 

Features of Neeranchal National Watershed Project : 
• The project was approved by the Union Cabinet in October 2015 with a total budget of 2142 crore rupees in which India would bear 1071 crore rupees and the rest 50 percent cost will be borne by the World Bank. 
• It will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21). 
• It will support the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana in hydrology and water management, agricultural production systems, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation. 
• Around 12 percent of the area of wasteland will be targeted through this project to make about 336 lakh hectares of land arable. 
• The Minister said that the effective implementation of the scheme will go a long way in strengthening the economic conditions of the farming community. 

The National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers begun from 17th Jan, 2016 at Gangtok. Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated the two day conference. Union Ministers of State for Agriculture Sanjeev kumar Balyan and Mohanbhai Kalyanbhai Kundariya, and Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Chamling were present on the occasion. 

Agriculture Ministers and secretaries of different states, agriculture scientists and agriculture and horticulture experts will deliberate upon the challenges and identify initiatives to transform agriculture based on sustainable and efficient use of resources. Emphasis shall be on making agriculture a commercially attractive proposition for youth. 

The Government is working to establish a National Authority for Testing (NAT) to assess the abilities of aspirants before they appear for JEE. The move is likely to alter the way entrance examinations to IITs and other top engineering institutes are conducted. The NAT shall be established in the coming months and its first major task would be to conduct tests in the latter half of the year. 

The scores obtained in NAT test would form the basis for shortlisting candidates for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE-advanced) 2017. JEE-advanced test is conducted for entrance to the IITs. The Human Resource Development Ministry may soon seek the nod of the Union Cabinet for setting up the testing agency. 

In Himachal Pradesh, the state government has decided to set up Green Fodder Bank to meet the fodder shortage for cattle. Several people abandoned their cattle due to shortage of fodder. These stray cattle not only becomes main reason of road accidents but also destroy the different kinds of crops in the fields. 

Now to meet with this problem the green fodder bank would be set up in phased manner in the state. Instruction has been issued to set up such fodder bank in Ajoli of Sirmour district. 

In Madhya Pradesh, one of the world's largest ultra mega solar power plants is being set up at Gurh in Rewa district. The Madhya Pradesh Energy Development Corporation has signed an MOU with the International Finance Corporation in this regard. The International Finance Corporation will render its services as fiscal adviser. 

The cost of the project is 4,500 crore rupees. It will generate 750 megawatt energy. The ultra mega solar power plant will be set up in 1500 hectares land. The World Bank has given consent to make available 40 million dollars for the plant. World Bank will provide loan worth 50 percent of project cost through SEKI, which would be repaid in 25 years. The plant will start generating power by June 2017.

The BSNL’s Himachal telecom Circle has launched special drive named "Each One-Teach One" to educate people on use of internet and Data. General Manager Mobile of BSNL inaugurated this week long drive as a part of Skill India Campaign in Shimla. Himachal Telecom Circle is first in the country to install solar energy BTS tower and it is working through Satellite in Mane village of Spiti valley. Three such more towers would be set up in the area during next financial year. 

Another scheme "Take today-Talk today" regarding mobile sim card launched earlier by this circle was adopted nationwide after its success in the state. This small hill state has 122 percent mobile tele density which is highest in the country. 


The Commercial tax department of Bihar has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for sharing of foreign exchange realization data. Smt. Sujata Chaturvedi, Commissioner cum Principal Secretary, Commercial Taxes Department represented Government of Bihar while Shri D. K. Singh, Additional DGFT represented DGFT. The ceremony was presided over by DGFT Shri Anup Wadhawan. The foreign exchange realization data is an important economic indicator as it quantifies transaction level export earnings. This is also known as eBRC (Electronic Bank Realization Certificate) data. BRC can be used by state government departments for ensuring refund of VAT to eligible exporters. 

e-BRC project enables banks to upload Foreign Exchange realisation information relating to merchandise goods exports on to the DGFT server under a secured protocol. So far 100 banks operating in India, including foreign banks and cooperative banks have uploaded more than 1.5 Crore e-BRCs on to the DGFT server. The eBRC project created an integrated platform for receipt, processing and subsequent use of all Bank Realization related information by exporters, banks, central and state government departments. Earlier, the banks issued physical copy of BRC to exporters and no data mining or analysis was possible. 

The process for BRC issuance and subsequent utilization were largely manual and department centric. The exporters suffered most as they had to run to banks and government departments for claiming benefits. So far, Commercial Tax Departments of 13 states have signed MoU with DGFT for receiving e-BRC data for VAT refund purposes. 

These are: (i) Maharashtra, (ii) Delhi, (iii) Andhra Pradesh,(iv) Odisha, (v) Chhattisgarh, (vi) Haryana, (vii) Tamil Nadu, (viii) Karnataka, (ix) Gujarat, (x) Uttar Pradesh, (xi) Madhya Pradesh, (xii) Kerala, (xiii) Goa. In addition, Ministry of Finance, Enforcement Directorate and Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) have also signed MoU with DGFT for receiving e-BRC data. 

India’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI), on 14 January 2016 launched and inaugurated India’s first start-up focused bank branch called SBI InCube in Bangalore, Karnataka. The specialized branch aims to understand and address banking needs of a Start-up Business. The bank also launched the wealth management service SBI Exclusif, which is targeted at the fast-growing affluent segment in the country. 

About SBI InCube: 
• The SBI InCube branch will work towards fulfilling the specific financial needs of the start-ups. 
• The service will provide advisory services to the budding entrepreneurs under one roof. 
• It will assist start-ups in cash management, regulations, taxation, mentoring, foreign exchange and remittances and other financial services. 
• The branch, in its current form, will not fund start-ups i.e. it will not provide loans. However, it will give them loans when they turn more mature. 
• InCube branch in Bengaluru will be headed by an assistant general manager and a team of three other officers. 
• SBI will soon launch InCube branches in Pune and National Capital Region (NCR). 

The World Bank on 14 January 2016 announced that India saved 1 billion US dollars annually by using Aadhaar. It was revealed in the bank’s publication World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends that was released in Washington DC, the USA. As per the report, transfer of fuel subsidy to bank accounts using the Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) saved about 1 billion per year when applied throughout the country on account of reduced leakage and efficient gains. The report further estimated that the DBT has the potential to save over 11 billion US dollars per year in government expenditure if the scheme is expanded to other subsidy programmes. 

Findings of the report with respect to India: 
• China has the largest number of internet users, followed by the United States, with India, Japan, and Brazil filling out the top five. 
• A digital identification system such as India’s Aadhaar, by overcoming complex information problems, helps willing governments to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups. 
• In India, there are an estimated 1.063 billion population are offline. 
• Nearly 900 million Indians have been issued digital IDs in the past five years, which they are using to open bank accounts, monitor attendance of civil servants, and identify recipients of government subsidies. 
• Digital governance played a role in improving public sector capability. 

For example, e-procurement helped in injecting more competition into the process by increasing the probability that the winning bidder comes from outside the project’s region. 

RBI allowed banks to offer all their products and services through their off-site ATMs. RBI said in a notification that banks are now free to offer all their products and services through ATM channels provided the technology permits the same and adequate checks are put in place to prevent the channel from being misused to perpetuate frauds on banks or other genuine customers. In June 2009 too, the central bank had relaxed norms and permitted lenders to install off-site ATMs at centres or places identified by them without its prior permission. RBI said it has been decided to make the necessary changes in Memorandum of Instructions on Project and Service Exports (PEM)

The changes have been necessitated as the 'Overseas Construction Council of India' (OCCI) has been renamed as 'Project Export Promotion Council' (PEPC). The changes were also required as civil construction contracts now include turnkey engineering contracts, process and engineering consultancy. 

The Reserve Bank (RBI) has clarified that use of Aadhaar cards is not mandatory for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme. In a communication to banks, RBI said in view of the Supreme Court's interim orders on 11th August and 15th October last year on usage of Aadhaar, it is clarified that use of Aadhaar card and seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers is purely voluntary and not mandatory. Under the DBT scheme, the beneficiaries of government schemes get the amount directly in their bank accounts. The benefits include subsidies and scholarships. 


Madhya Pradesh (MP) Government on 14 January 2016 signed four MOUs with Singapore to collaborate in urban planning, skill development, clean energy and food processing. The MoUs were signed in Singapore in the presence of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, who was on four day visit from 12 January 2016. 

Feature of four MoUs: 
• The MoU on setting up 1000 megawatt wind energy plant in western part of the state was signed between the Department of New & Renewable Energy and Singapore corporation unit, Sembcorp Green Infra Ltd. It was the biggest of the investment proposals. 
• The MoU covering urban planning was signed between the Directorate of Town & Country Planning and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise.
• The MoU on capacity building and skill training was signed between the Department of Technical Education and Skill Development and ITE Education Services of Singapore. 
• The MoU covering food processing was signed between India’s LT Food Ltd and Singapore-based DSM Nutritional Products. 

Government of Nepal on 14 January 2016 formed a 4-member eminent persons group (EPG) to look into India-Nepal ties in totality and review all bilateral treaties with India. A decision in this regard was approved by the Cabinet at a meeting headed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. 

The committee was formed in accordance with a decision taken at the third Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) of Nepal and India that was held in Kathmandu in July 2014. The JCM decided to form EPGs with four members on each side at the request of Nepal. Each EPG will have an eminent parliamentarian, a lawyer, an economist and a civil society leader. 

The Coast Guards of India and Japan on 15 January 2016 conducted their 15th joint exercise off the coast of Chennai. India’s Coast Guard vessel Samudra Pehredar and the Japanese vessel Echigo were berthed at Chennai Port for the bilateral training called Sahyog-Kaijin 2016. 

The highlight of the joint exercise was anti-piracy. However, search and rescue operations and interoperability between the two forces was also given emphasis. The exercise also involved Indian coast guard ships like Rajkamal, Vishwast, Rajtarang, Hovercraft, C-415, C-417, one Dornier and one Chetak helicopter. 

About Sahayog-Kaijin: 
• The Sahayog-Kaijin is a bilateral exercise, which is a part of the cooperative arrangements between two Coast Guards for the last 15 years. 
• The exercise is also a part of the Memorandum on Cooperation, which was signed between India and Japan in 2006. 
• It is a biennial bilateral exercise and the venue shifts in both countries on alternate occasions.

The joint military exercise between Indian and French armies, 'Exercise Shakti-2016' culminated on 16th Janaury,2016 at Mahajan Field Firing Range in Bikaner, Rajasthan. The exercise which aimed at achieving interoperability to acquaint each other with operational procedures, combat drills and understand the functioning of each other was conducted in two phases. 

The first phase of combat conditioning and tactical training was completed successfully by both the contingents and in the second phase, termed as validation stage, included clearing of routes, establishment of observation posts, cordon and search operation and house clearing drills, according to defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha. 

Committees | Commissions

Eminent film personalities Kamal Hassan and Gautam Ghosh were on 14 January 2016 included in the Shyam Benegal Committee on functioning of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The inclusion was done to give representation to more regions of the country and on the recommendation of the existing four members committee. 

Earlier, on 1 January 2016, the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry set up the panel under the chairmanship of Shyam Benegal to review the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and recommend measures for the smooth run of CBFC. 

The Other four members who are already in the Committee: • Shyam Benegal-Chairman • Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, • Piyush Pandey • Bhawana Somayaa.


Mumbai-based Jet Airways on 15 January 2016 entered into a Frequent Flyer Partnership with Bangkok Airways. The partnership came into force with the tie-up of award-winning loyalty and rewards management programme of Jet Airways named JetPrivilege and FlyerBonus, the loyalty scheme of Bangkok Airways. 

Highlights of the partnership: 
• JetPrivilege members can now earn and redeem reward points JPMiles when travelling across the Bangkok Airways network including popular destinations like Samui, Krabi, Phuket and Luang Prabang via Bangkok. 
• Members of Bangkok Airways' FlyerBonus programme can also earn and redeem their miles across Jet Airways’ extensive network in India and key international destination in North America, Europe, Middle East and SAARC. Jet Airways operates three daily flights to Bangkok from its hubs in India – two from Mumbai and one from Delhi. 

About Bangkok Airways' FlyerBonus: 
• FlyerBonus is a programme of Bangkok Airways that allows all its members to earn award points when traveling on Bangkok Airways. 
• The Award points earned are valid for 3 years. 


The former Barcelona and AC Milan player Ronaldinho on 11 January 2016 was announced as the Brand Ambassador of the Nagjee International Club Football Tournament. The tournament will be held at the Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala from 5 February 2016 to 21 February 2016. The legendary footballer was a part of Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning squad and played an important role in the world's biggest sporting extravaganza. 

About Nagjee International Club Football Tournament: 
• The Kozhikode District Football Association and Mondial Sports Management LLP joined hands to resume and revive the Sait Nagjee Trophy after a 21-year gap. 
• Sait Nagjee Trophy was a premier football tournament in India and an event that was very popular in Kerala. However, it will be renamed and re-launched as the Nagjee International Club Football Tournament. 
• The tournament will be inaugurated at the historic Kozhikode Corporation EMS Stadium, where it was initially started in 1952. 
• It will see seven famed teams from across Europe and South America participate along with an Indian club team. 
• The participating teams include Argentina's U-23 team, Premier League outfit Watford's U-23 team, La Liga side Levante's U-23 team, Atletico Paranaense's U-23 team from Brazil, German team TSV 1860 Munchen's U-23 side, Romania’s Rapid Bucharest's first team, Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin's U-23 team and an I-League team. 
• It is the first time that top European and Latin American clubs are coming to India for a tournament. 

The Russian Tennis Federation on 14 January 2016 announced that former World No.1 tennis player Marat Safin joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The official ceremony to induct Safin has been scheduled for 16 July 2016. 

The Russian tennis player was announced as a candidate for the induction into the Hall of Fame in October 2015 together with Belgium's Justine Henin, a former women's singles No.1 and seven-time major champion, and Helena Sukova from the Czech Republic, who won 14 major titles in doubles and mixed doubles. 

Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis' awe-inspiring run continued unabated as they lifted their second trophy of the season with the WTA Apia International title after clinching their 30th win a row, in Sydney. 

Person in News

Actor Alan Rickman, known for films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, died of cancer on 14 January 2016 in London, England. He was 69. One of the best-loved and most warmly admired British actors of the past three decades, Rickman gained wider notice for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series. 

Bollywood actor Rajesh Vivek Upadhyay died on 14 January 2016 due to a heart attack in Hyderabad. He was 66. Rajesh was mainly known for his roles in films like Lagaan and Swades. 

Mohammed Abdul Rahim Qureshi, Assistant General Secretary and Spokesman of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), died of a cardiac arrest on 15 January 2016 in Hyderabad, Telangana. He was 81. Qureshi was also the president of progressive cultural organisation, Tameer-e-Millat, which was founded in 1980. 


The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the second week of January 2016 successfully test-fired Nag anti-tank missile at the Mahajan Field Firing Range in Rajasthan. The test was conducted during a night trial to validate the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch. During the test, the Thermal Target System (TTS) was used as target for the missile. The TTS simulated a target similar to an operational tank as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature. 

Features of Nag missile: 
• It is a third generation fire-and-forget and can be fired anti-tank missile. It can be fired during night and day as well. 
• It is equipped with top attack capability to nullify the explosive reactive armour (ERA) of a battle tank. 
• It weighs 42kg having 1.90m length and can be fired against both moving and fixed targets. • Besides HeliNa, a helicopter versrion, it has land, air-launched and man portable (weighing 14 kg) versions. 
• To carry the land version, DRDO developed the NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier) for the army. • While the land version can hit targets in the range between 500m to 4km, the range of air-launched version is between 7 and 10 km. It can carry a war head weighing up to 8kg. 
• It has been developed at a cost of 300 crore rupees by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). 
• Once inducted in the Armed Forces, the HeliNa missile will be integrated with the weaponised version of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, the light combat helicopter produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). 

Light Combat Aircraft, LCA, Tejas, created history when it touched the foreign soil at Sakhir Airbase in Bahrain. The LCA has been indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO. A Defence Ministry said, LCA Tejas flown in foreign airspace to participate in the Bahrain International Airshow-2016 during 21 to 23 January this year. 


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14 January 2016 conferred the Times Now Amazing Indians Awards 2016 to all the awardees.

The awards were given by Times Now in recognition of extraordinary achievers, ordinary people whose work shaped many lives

List of Awardees
Late Kallen Pokkudan
The Eco Saviours
Known as Mangrove Man of India for preserving the wetlands and the eco system was what he lived for
S Ramakrishnan
Unstoppable Indians
for work done for welfare of people with physical & mental impairments
Sunita Aralikar
Stree Shakthi
for her work championing cause of women empowerment, girl child adoption
Popatrao Pawar
The Grass Roots Soldiers
He has brought along wing of change in his village hiware bazaar in Maharashtra by being a Sarpanch.
Indian at Heart
Dedicated to find shelter for homeless kids
Chintakindi Mallesham
Incredible Innovators
Devised the electronic laxmi ASU Machine to put an end to agony of weavers
Malavath Poorna
Young Indians, Big Achievements
She became the youngest female (13 Years) climber in the world to scale Mt. Everest
Damini Sen
Young Indians, Big Achievements
Born without Arms in Raipur and holds a world record of largest number of drawing made by Toes in an hour.
Murugan S
Ordinary Indians,Extraordinary Achievement
For rescuing and rehabilitating thousands of street children by being an auto rickshaw driver.
Mathews K Mathew
 Energising India
For devising a solar mosquito trapper cum destroyer to Mosquitoes.
Yashraj Khaitan
 Global Indians
An alumnus of university of Berkeley, he returned to India to address the challenges of power supply in the remote corners of the country.
Ruma Roka
 Educators of India
A teacher, Mentor & an interpreter who is breaking the language barrier and proving the hearing impaired can also learn and grow 

The 61st Filmfare Awards were presented on 15 January 2016 at the Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai. The ceremony was hosted by Shah Rukh Khan and comedian Kapil Sharma.
Bajirao Mastani won the most awards including the Best Film award. Other winners included Piku that was awarded with six awards, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Roy, Talvar, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Bombay Velvet, Dil Dhadakne Do, Hero, Masaan and Tamasha. 

Moushumi Chatterjee was awarded with the 2015 Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Recepients of the Awards
  • Best Actor: Ranveer Singh for Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Actress: Deepika Padukone for Piku
  • Best Film: Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Bajirao Mastani
  • Lifetime Achievement: Moushumi Chatterjee
  • Best Debut Director: Neeraj Ghaywan for Massan
  • Best Debutant (Male): Sooraj Pancholi for Hero
  • Best Debutant (Female): Bhumi Pednekar for Dum Laga Ke Haisha
  • Critics Award for Best Film: Piku
  • Critics Award for Best Actor (Male): Amitabh Bachchan for Piku
  • Best Actor Female Critics Choice (Female): Kangana Ranaut for Tanu Weds Manu Returns
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female): Priyanka Chopra for Bajirao mastani
  • Best Story: V Vijayendra Prasad for Bajrangi Bhaijaan
  • Best Singer (male): Arijit Singh for Sooraj dooba hai from Roy
  • Best Singer (female): Shreya Ghoshal for Deewani mastani from Bajirao Mastani
  • Best VFX: Prana Studios for Bombay Velvet
  • Best Dialogue: Anupam Roy for Piku
  • Best Action: Sham Kaushal for Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Cinematography: Manu Anand for Dum Laga Ke Haisha
  • Best Choreography: Birju Maharaj for Mohe rang de laal from Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Edit: Talvar
  • Best Production Design: Sujit Sawant, Saloni and Sriram Iyenger for Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Costume Designer: Anju Modi and Maxima for Bajirao Mastani

Indian writer Anuradha Roy has won the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for her novel 'Sleeping on Jupiter' at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. Roy was awarded the 50 thousand dollar prize and a unique trophy by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at a glittering ceremony on 16th January,2016. 

While presenting the trophy to the winner, Wickremesinghe commented on the importance of South Asian literature and the crucial role it can play to improve the lives of the people living in the region. Roy is an award-winning novelist, journalist and editor. Her first novel, 'An Atlas of Impossible Longing' has been translated into fifteen languages across the world. 

Dr Jancy James, the first woman Vice Chancellor of Kerala, was on 15 January 2016 selected for the Prof MV Pylee Award for the Distinguished Academician of India. The award was instituted by Cochin University of Science and Technology in the name of MV Pylee. He is an Indian scholar, educationist and management guru and widely regarded as the father of management education in Kerala. 

The award is given for excellence in teaching and research and contribution to academic community. It carries an amount of 1 lakh rupees and a citation. 

An independent Delhi-based writer Ankita Anand on 14 January 2016 won the European Commission's prestigious Lorenzo Natali Media Prize for 2015 in Asia and the Pacific amateur category. She earned the award for her sensitive portrayal of life for young women facing the threat of the diktat of khap panchayats in Haryana with the title Stirrings beneath the peepul published in the journal The Equator Linel. 

Arison Tamfu, an editor for the Cameroon Journal, won the Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize for a critical investigative report on how UN Climate change negotiations that are calling on nations to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy are going to affect the development of African communities living where the resources are found with the title Africa’s billions might be buried forever.



Post a Comment

Upsc - Civils Preparation

Exam Strategy
Tips and Tricks
Preparation and Guidance
Optional Subjects - Preparation
Optional Subjects - Guidance
Many more >>

Bank Exams Preparation

Bank, Currency, Money, RBI,
Budget, Planning, Stock Exchange
Insurance, Taxation, International Organizations
Economic Issues, Fiscal Policy, Committee or Commissions
Many more >>

Computer Knowledge

History, Generations, Terminology
Hardware, Software, Internet
Networks, Shortcut Keys
Many more >>

Interview Preparation

General Do's and Don'ts in Interview
Entry and Dressing up
How to prepare?, Qualities judged
Many more >>