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May 2015

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Current Affairs

Current Affairs

May 2015

PREFACE

23

PICK OF THE MONTH

24

Black Money in India: Genesis, Nature and Measures

24

Environmental Democracy Index 2015

29

Draft Outline of Gold Monetization Scheme released

32

State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 report released

36

India and China Signed 24 Agreements

37

GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) System fully operationalised

41

Mumbai Indians won IPL 2015 title

42

Mumbai KEM Nurse Aruna Shanbaug died after 42-years in coma

43

INTERNATIONAL

45

Union Cabinet approved Agreement on Coastal and Maritime Shipping between


India and Bangladesh

45

US removed Cuba from terror blacklist to strengthen ties with Cuba

46

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of USA granted work Permit for H-4 visa
holders

47

UNSC adopted resolution on protection of journalists in conflict zones

47

US state of Nebraska abolished death penalty

48

NATO launched Arctic Challenge Exercise in the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland

49

Forbes released the Worlds 100 Most Powerful Women 2015 list

49

India and Vietnam signed Joint Vision Statement on Defence Cooperation 20152020

52

UAE launched Strategic Framework for its Space Agency

52

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May 2015

Current Affairs

9th Session of the India-South Africa Joint Ministerial Commission held in Durban
53
Six Major Banks fined 5.7 billion US dollars on Forex Benchmark Rates manipulation charges

54

EU approved plan to use Naval Force to combat Smugglers and tackle Migration
crisis

56

US President Obama banned certain military-style equipment provided to US police


57
India, South Korea signed 7 agreements to upgrade relations to special strategic
partnership level

57

India and Mongolia signed 13 agreements to enhance bilateral relations

59

Former Army Brigadier David Granger sworn-in as eighth President of Guyana

62

Palestinians observed 67th Nakba Day

62

PM Narendra Modi announced e-Visa facility for Chinese Tourists

63

Vatican recognised Palestine as State in the Holy See-Palestine Joint Statement 64


North Korea successfully test-fired Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile

65

India, Russia signed 11 MoIs for Higher Academic Cooperation

66

UK General election 2015: Conservative Party won majority by securing 331 seats
66
Philippines and Japan coast guards held anti-piracy drills in Manila Bay

67

India, Iran signed inter-Governmental MoU for development of Chabahar Port

68

Forbes released Global 2000 Companies list

69

Canadian House of Commons approved Anti-Terror Act, 2015

70

French Parliament approved Surveillance Law to prevent terrorist attack

71

France signed 7.02 billion US dollar agreement with Qatar to supply 24 Rafale fight-

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Current Affairs

May 2015

er jets

73

Australia announced new punishments for foreigner investors breaking rules on


buying property

74

Third India-Tunisia Foreign Office Consultations held in Tunis

74

NATIONAL

76

20th Law Commission submitted report on Guardianship and Custody Laws to the
Union Law Ministry

76

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Doordarshans farmer-centric Kisan TV


Channel

78

India Meteorological Department signed MoU with POSOCO Ltd to increase efficiency of power sector

78

Bengaluru airport signed a contract with SITA to allow self check-in from June 2015
79
Union Government launched Road Asset Management System for National Highways

80

Union Government decided to implement NERS for women in distress

81

Union Government launched kayakalp Award Scheme to improve cleanliness in


Public Health Facilities

82

Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched USTAAD Scheme for Traditional Artisans
83
Union Government approved Gujarat State Climate Change Action Plan 2015-2020
84
Union Cabinet approved amendments to Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation)
Amendment Bill, 2012

85

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May 2015

Current Affairs

Supreme Court issued Guidelines on Regulating Government Advertisements

87

Lok Sabha passed Repealing and Amending Bill, 2015

88

Lok Sabha passed Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2014

89

Union Government launched Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes

90

Rajya Sabha passed 119th Constitutional Amendment Bill on LBA between India
and Bangladesh

91

Worlds largest solar photovoltaic plant of 750 MW to be built in Rewa district of


Madhya Pradesh

92

Union Ministry of Tourism released Draft National Tourism Policy 2015

93

Nitin Gadkari dedicated two Major Highway Projects in the North East to the Nation
94
First meeting of Sub-Group of CMs on Swachh Bharat Mission held in New Delhi 95
Nadia in West Bengal became the first open defecation-free (ODF) district of India
96

ECONOMY

97

CSO released Provisional Estimates of National Income for FY 2014-15

97

Finance Minister inaugurated Bank Note Paper Line unit in Hoshangabad, MP

99

RBI released Draft Guidelines on Net Stable Funding Ratio for Banks

100

RBI proposed to introduce PPI for Mass Transit Systems

101

Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs notified the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2014
103
Expert committee on Health Insurance recommended changes in disclaimer wordings

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104

Current Affairs

May 2015

Union Cabinet approved revised FDI norms for NRIs, PIOs and OCIs

105

Union Cabinet gave its approval for setting up Ammonia-Urea Complex at Namrup
in Assam

106

Union finance Ministry constituted Shah Committee to look into the issue of MAT
on FIIs

107

SEBI notified the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 2015

108

Union Government sanctioned 30 new cold storage projects

109

Union government allocated 5000 crore for development of AYUSH

110

RBI allowed Tap And Pay without PIN for transactions up to 2000 rupees

110

CCEA gave its approval for 5% disinvestment in NTPC and 10% in Indian Oil Corporation

111

Lok Sabha approved Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015

112

RBI released the report titled State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2014-15

113

Moodys released the report Global Macro Outlook: 2015-16

114

PM inaugurated upgraded IISCO Steel Plant in Burnpur housing largest blast furnace plant of India

116

RBI advised all Public Sector Banks to appoint Internal Ombudsman

116

PM Narendra Modi launched Atal Pension Yojana (APY) for unorganised sector
workers

117

PM Narendra Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) for
accidental Insurance Cover

119

PM launched Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) in Kolkata

120

Union Government, ADB signed loan agreement worth 31 Million US dollars

121

Union Cabinet gave nod for revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)

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May 2015

Current Affairs

with South Korea

122

Union Cabinet approved foreign investments into Real Estate Investment Trusts
(REITs)

122

CCEA approved hike in investment limit for cases requiring prior approval of FIPB
123
CCEA Permitted Central Government agencies to invest beyond 26 percent in
Mega Food Parks

124

Lok Sabha passed the Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2014

125

Union Government made PAN mandatory for Central Excise Registration

126

DoT extended deadline of full implementation of Mobile Number Portability (MNP)


till 3 July 2015

127

Union finance Ministry exempted MAT for foreign investors

127

ENVIRONMENT | ECOLOGY

129

Himachal Pradesh set up satellite tracking system to check forest fire

129

48 tigers in non-protected Chandrapur forest areas of Maharashtra: WCT Survey


129
Blue whales spotted for the 1st time in 100 years off Sindhudurg coast in Maharashtra

131

Ecologists found a new species of fish called Pethia striata in Western Ghats, Karnataka

132

Maria Elena South, driest place on earth, discovered in Atacama Desert

132

New Catfish Species Glyptothorax Senapatiensis discovered in Manipur

133

Opah, the worlds first fully warm-blooded fish species, discovered by researchers
134

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Current Affairs

May 2015

IMOs Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted environmental


section of Polar Code

135

Indian Scientists found a rare plant with anti-cancer properties in Western Ghats137
Union Cabinet Approved Namami Gange programme under National Ganga River
Basin Authority (NGRBA)

137

Asiatic lion population in Gir sanctuary increased to 523: Lion Census report 2015
139
NGT imposed monthly tax on all households in Delhi

140

India home to 48 of the 250 known species of bumblebees: Indian Bumblebees 140
Global warming will lead to extinction of 1 in 6 species by end of century: Study 141

CORPORATE

143

Shantanu Khosla resigned as Managing Director of Procter and Gamble India

143

RBI notified FIIs to invest up to 49 percent in Gammon Infrastructure Projects Limited

143

Snapdeal acquired Hyderabad-based startup MartMobi

144

ICICI Bank launched Voice Recognition Service for Biometric Authentication

145

UBS AG Bank of Switzerland agreed to pay 203 million US dollars for manipulating
LIBOR

145

A Vellayan stepped aside as Chairman of Murugappa Group Corporate Board

146

Huewei launched LiteOS, worlds most lightweight IoT operating system (OS)

147

SAIL and ArcelorMittal signed MoU to set up Automotive Steel Plant in India

148

New headquarter of Coal India Ltd inaugurated at Rajarhat

149

UP FDA asked Nestle to withdraw 2014 batch of Maggi

149

GMR Infra signed MoU with GIIC for developing Kakinada SEZ

150

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May 2015

Current Affairs

Infosys announced to become carbon neutral by 2018

151

Infosys became the first Indian Company to Join RE100 Renewable Energy Campaign

152

Apple Inc acquired GPS firm Coherent Navigations to improve Apple mapping capabilities

153

Reliance Jio signed pact with Huawei for sourcing 4G devices

154

PM Modi inaugurated ICICIs first branch in China at Shanghai

154

Askme acquired BestAtLowest.com for 10 million US dollar

155

Islamic clothing company East Essence tied up with Snapdeal

156

SBI launched contact-less card called sbiINTOUCH

156

Deepak Iyer appointed as MD and CEO of Bharti AXA General Insurance

157

Facebook signed up with nine news publishers to launch Instant Articles

157

Nikesh Arora appointed as President of Japans SoftBank Corp.

158

US-based company mGage acquired Unicel Technologies

158

Arun Pudur topped Wealth-X List of Asias Wealthiest Entrepreneurs Under 40

159

SBI launched RuPay Platinum Debit Card in association with NPCI

160

Myntra.com acquired startup firm Native5 Software Solutions Pvt Ltd

161

Paytm tied-up with CCD, Dominos for offline payment

162

Vedanta Limited launched new logo

163

Maharashtra FDA ordered to file a FIR against Snapdeal and its CEO Kunal Behl163
Tesla Motors launched solar energy based Powerwall battery system

164

Microsoft named its next Web Browser as Edge

165

Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs launched Form-INC-29 for easier establishment


of companies

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166

Current Affairs

May 2015

SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY

167

China unveiled worlds first facial recognition ATM machine

167

NRI scientist Latha Venkataraman created first single-molecule device

168

US Army developed Blast proof wallpaper to protect soldiers from explosions

168

NASAs Spacecraft provided first direct measurement for Type Ia Supernovae


caused by white dwarfs

169

ISRO announced to launch ASTROSAT in October 2015

171

Japanese Scientists discovered new state of matter called Jahn-Teller-metal

172

NASAs Ten-Engine Electric Plane GL-10 Prototype Completed Successful Flight


Test

172

NASA ended operations of MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

173

SPORTS

175

Mohun Bagan won I-League title of football after 13 years

175

Deepika Kumari won bronze in Archery World Cup

175

Barcelona Football Club won Kings Cup title for 27th time

176

Sepp Blatter re-elected as FIFA President

176

Sevilla FC won Europa League title

177

Union Sports Ministry gave nod for creation of RSFs by recognising federations of
indigenous sports

178

Trevor Bayliss appointed as head coach of England Cricket Team

179

CS Santosh presented with 2014 FMSCI Motorsport Man of the Year Award

179

Kumar Sangakkara named CEAT International Cricketer of the Year 2015

180

Abhinav Bindra became 4th Indian shooter to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympics

181

Seven FIFA Officials arrested on bribery charges in Zurich by Switzerland authorities


10

182
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May 2015

Current Affairs

Indian boxer won four Gold Medals at Doha International Boxing tournament 2015
183
Indian boxers won three Gold at World Junior Womens boxing Championship

183

BCCI recommended Contract system for Indian women cricket team

184

Shuttler Saina Nehwal of India ranked No.1 in single rankings released by BWF 185
British magazine SportsPro released Worlds 50 Most Marketable 2015 report

185

Joe Root and Charlotte Edwards named England cricketers of the year 2014-15 187
Maria Sharapova of Russia won the womens single of Italian Tennis Open for third
time

187

Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper retired from ODI cricket

188

Novak Djokovic won 4th Rome Masters Tennis title

189

Gagan Narang Won Bronze in 50m Rifle Prone Men Event at ISSF Rifle/Pistol World
Cup in Fort Benning

189

Lee Alan Johnson named Head Coach of U-19 football team of India

190

Discus thrower Vikas Gowda won Gold at Jamaican International Invitation meet
190
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won Spanish Grand Prix of Formula
One

191

Andy Murray of Britain won the mens singles title of Madrid Tennis Open

191

Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic won the womens singles title of Madrid Tennis
Open

192

Rohan Bopanna, Florin Mergea won Mens Doubles title of Madrid Tennis Open 192
Indian Army emerged champions in 19th Federation Cup National Athletic Championships

193

Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Manny Pacquiao to win Fight of the Century of Box-

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11

Current Affairs

May 2015

ing

193

Roger Federer won the inaugural Istanbul Open Tennis Mens Singles Title

194

Sandeep Jajodia removed as the president of Boxing India (BI)

194

Chelsea won Barclays Premier League 2014-15 title with 1-0 win over Crystal Palace

195

Railways won the 5th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2015196
Union Sports Ministry recognised Motor Sports as a Sports under NSF

196

STATE

198

Andhra Pradesh brought 16 Sectors under Swiss Challenge method to develop


Infrastructure

198

Maharashtra CM sets up a high powered task force to develop IFSC

199

Tripura withdrew AFSPA from state

199

Ajanmi Beti Ke liye Daud organised for the cause of saving girl child in Himachal
Pradesh

200

Delhi Government approved mandatory GPS in public transport from June 2015201
Delhi government tied-up with Rotary club to revamp government schools

202

Tamil Nadu CM announced welfare schemes worth 1800 crore rupees

202

Uttar Pradesh government amended State Film Policy to woo tourism

203

Andaman & Nicobar Police proposed to reserve 33% seats for women

203

World Bank approved 250 million dollar credit for Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness
in Bihar

204

Mumbais Siddhivinayak temple received ISO 9001-2008 certification

206

Maharashtra to amend Factories Act, 1948 to allow women to work in night shifts
207

12

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May 2015

Current Affairs

TP Senkumar appointed as DGP of Kerala

208

JICA agreed to lend 1165 crore rupees for Odisha Transmission System Improvement Project

208

Delhi Government decided to launch Pay & Play Scheme to promote sports

209

Draupadi Murmu sworn in as first woman Governor of Jharkhand

210

Himachal Pradesh to host Paragliding World Cup 2015

210

Maharashtra government banned digging of borewells deeper than 200 feet

211

MHRD Gave Nod For Setting Up IIIT in Nagpur, Maharashtra

211

Punjab government launched pan-state programme to monitor the soil health of


every farm

212

Telangana Government signed MoU with Google to build a campus in Hyderabad


213
UP Government launched Samajwadi Shudha Payjal Yojna for UP Roadways bus
stations

214

India Post launched Dedicated E-Commerce Centre in New Delhi

215

Hyderabad to host Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015 in July

215

MIDC signed a MoU with SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd to fund MSMEs

216

Goa Government launched hot air balloon & amphibious vehicles

216

Haryana Government included Deaflympics in its sports policy

217

High Court of Gujarat ordered shutting down of 67 sand mines in Gir Forest Sanctuary

218

ss

218

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar launched Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme
in state

218

Haryana Government notified 163 services under Right to Service Act, 2014

219

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13

Current Affairs

May 2015

Rajasthan Government signed deal with NHM, UNICEF & GAIN to counter malnourishment

219

BHEL commissioned 195 MW Thermal Unit of KBUNL in Bihar

220

Dr Mahesh Sharma inaugurated Puducherry Science Centre and Planetarium

221

NTPC signed MoA with Jharkhand Government for maintaining Patratu Thermal
Power Station

221

Cow-urine refinery inaugurated at Pathmeda village for research on cow products


222
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana introduced 5 lakh rupees Accident Insurance
Scheme for transport

223

NEWS CAPSULE

224

PERSON IN NEWS

224

Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili appointed as Governor of Ukraines


Odessa region

224

Yaduveer of Wodeyar dynasty crowned as 27th Maharaja of Mysuru

225

Nirbhay Sharma sworn in as Governor of Mizoram

225

Manabi Bandopadhyay became first transgender principal of Krishnagar Womens


College

226

Shanmuganthan sworn in as Meghalaya Governor

227

US President Barack Obama entered Guinness Book of World Record

227

Indian-Origin Harbhajan Kaur Dheer became first Asian woman elected as Mayor in
UK

228

Indian-origin Priti Patel appointed as Minister of State for Employment in British


Government

14

228

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May 2015

Current Affairs

Mhairi Black became the youngest lawmaker of Britain

229

Person Resigned

230

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair resigned as Special Envoy of the Middle East
Quartet

230

O Panneerselvam resigned as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

230

Person Appointed

232

Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo appointed as Chancellor of Nalanda


University

232

Muhammadu Buhari assumed the office of President of Nigeria

232

G Satheesh Reddy appointed as Scientific Advisor to Union Defence Minister

233

Veena Jain appointed as Director General of Doordarshan News

234

S Christopher appointed as Director General of DRDO

235

Sunil DSouza appointed as MD of Whirlpool India

235

Ranjit Singh Baxi elected as Head of Bureau of International Recycling

236

Manoj Mishra appointed as CMD of National Fertilizers Limited

237

J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for fifth time

237

Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed G Mohan Kumar as Defence Secretary

238

Akhil Reed Amar appointed as member of the National Council on Humanities of


US

239

SS Ahluwalia appointed as Chairman of JPC on Land Acquisition Amendment Bill,


2015

239

Peter M Christian elected as eighth President of Micronesia

240

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15

Current Affairs

May 2015

MJ Joseph appointed as Controller General of Accounts

240

Arvind Saxena appointed as a Member of Union Public Service Commission

241

President authorized Justice Cyriac Joseph to act as interim NHRC Chaiperson 242
KV Kamath appointed as first President of New Development Bank of BRICS nations

242

K Satish Reddy appointed as Chairman of National Safety Council (NSC)

243

Achal Kumar Jyoti appointed as Election Commissioner

244

Surender Singh took over as Director General of CISF

245

Person Died

246

Doris Hart, winner of three Wimbledon titles in a day, died at 89

246

Eminent American Photographer Mary Ellen Mark passed away

246

Director-Producer Marty Pasetta passed away

247

Argentine footballer Cristian Gomez died

248

British actor Terry Sue-Patt passed away

248

Nobel Awardee mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. died

249

Veteran jazz musician Bob Belden passed away

250

Eminent Economist Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri passed away

250

Actress Sudha Shivpuri died

251

Bengali Writer Suchitra Bhattacharya passed away

252

Riley B. King, the King of Blues, passed away

252

Peter Gay, Eminent American historian on European Thought passed away

253

Pop artist Chris Burden passed away

253

Hollywood actress Elizabeth Wilson passed away

254

Eminent historian Amalendu Guha passed away

255

16

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May 2015

Current Affairs

Oscar Holderer, the US moon rocket expert, died

255

Lu Ping, Chinese diplomat who oversaw Hong Kong transition, died

256

Baleshwar Ram, former Union Minister passed away

256

Veteran Journalist Amitabha Chowdhury passed away at 88

257

Michael Blake, Oscar-winning author, passed away

258

Russian ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya died

258

Awards | Honours

260

Anand Kumar, Founder of Super 30, honoured in Canada

260

Two Indians posthumously named for UNs Dag Hammarskjold Medal

260

Indian Film Masaan won FIPRESCI Award at 68th Cannes film festival

262

Cannes Films Festival 2015: French director Jacques Audiard bagged Palme dOr
262
Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai won the 2015 Man Booker International
Prize

264

Indian-American Harkeert Singh Saini won Prestigious Police Award in Texas, US


265
Anurradha Prasad conferred with Pt. Haridutt Sharma Award for Journalism and
Social Services

266

Indian-American boy Karan Menon won 2015 National Geographic Bee Championship

266

President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Presidential Awards for Classical Tamil
267
Indian-American Sivanadane Mandjiny won UNC Board of Governors 2015 Award
268

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17

Current Affairs

May 2015

Indian-American professor Dr. Sivanadane Mandjiny won UNCs 2015 Award for
Excellence in Teaching

268

Indian author Neel Mukherjee won 2014 Encore Award for The Lives of Others 269
Veteran Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor bestowed with Dada Saheb Phalke award
270
French magazine Charlie Hebdo presented with Freedom of Expression Courage
Award 2015

270

Mazen Darwish honoured with 2015 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

271

Four Indians to be conferred with 2015 Spring Imperial Decorations of Japan

272

Plan | Programme

274

National Smart Grid Mission: Institutional mechanism to oversee Smart Grid Initiatives

274

Inventions | Discoveries

276

17th Century Scottish pirate captain William Kidd treasure found in Madagascar 276

Places in News

277

Palmyra, an ancient Syrian city, captured by ISIS militants

277

Nelong Valley in Uttarakhand opened first time for tourists after closure in 1962 278
PM Narendra Modi concluded his three-nation tour to China, Mongolia and South
Korea

278

Tamils in Sri Lanka commemorated war dead for the first time at Mullivaikkal village
280
A paleo channel claimed as River Saraswati identified in Muglawali village of Hary-

18

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May 2015

Current Affairs

ana

281

Exhibition | Fair

283

Fourth North East Youth Festival concluded in Jorhat district of Assam

283

Books | Authors

284

The China Model written by Daniel A Bell

284

Book titled Super Economies by Raghav Bahl released

285

Book titled Ahmedabad: A City in the World by Amrita Shah released

285

The Pakistan Paradox written by Christrophe Jaffrelot

286

Complete Story of Indian Reforms: 2G, Power & Private Enterprise written by
Pradeep Baijal

287

Book titled Unbelievable Delhi to Islamabad written by Prof Bhim Singh released
287
A Book titled China Confucius in the Shadows written by Poonam Surie released
288

Defence | Security

289

Indigenously developed Astra Missile successfully test fired

289

Mirage 2000 fighter jet landed on Yamuna Expressway as part of developing road
runways

290

Fourth Corvette of Project-28 christened Kavaratti launched

291

Naval Base at Porbandar commissioned as INS Sardar Patel

292

India successfully test-fired advanced version of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

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293

19

Current Affairs

May 2015

Indian Army signed MoU with Bank of India on Defence Salary Package

294

Indigenously developed Akash Weapon System (AWS) inducted into Indian Army
295
14th Edition of Indo-French Naval Exercise VARUNA 2015 concluded

296

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) held Theera Veta defence exercise in Arabian Sea

297

Report | Survey

298

UN released World Economic Situation and Prospects Mid-2015 Update

298

UNCTAD released a report titled Global Investment Trends Monitor

300

UNESCAP released Survey titled Making Growth More Inclusive for Sustainable
Development

302

World Economic Forum (WEF) released The Human Capital Report 2015

303

Save the Children released 16th annual State of the Worlds Mothers (SOWM) report

305

Summit | Conference

309

India assumed Presidency of the 68th World Health Assembly after 19 years

309

6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy held in New Delhi

309

Committees | Commissions

311

Union Government formed a Committee to oversee Bhim Jayanti celebrations

311

Union Ministry of Finance constituted Committee on Revisiting & Revitalizing PPP


Model

312

Art | Culture

314

20

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May 2015

Current Affairs

Picassos painting Les Femme dAlger sold for 179.3 million US dollars

314

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated Namaste Russia festival in Moscow

314

Abbreviations | Terms

316

Five women suspended for anti-doping rule violations named for TOP Scheme 316
Yogathon to be hosted in 100 US cities on First International Yoga Day

317

Abraj Kudai, worlds biggest hotel, set to open in Mecca in 2017

317

ISRO announced to commission MOTR in June 2015

318

GIC held consultations on the creation of Nuclear Insurance Pool (NIP)

319

Algorithmic Trading caused BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty to close at lowest level in
2015

320

Accident | Incident

322

Tornado struck northern city of Ciudad Acuna in Mexico

322

Science | Space

323

Union Cabinet approved PSLV Continuation Programme for launching 15 flights


PSLV-C36 to PSLV-C50

323

Union Cabinet Approved Building and Launching of GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 Communication Satellites

324

Day | Week | Year

325

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers observed across the world

325

UN observed International Day for Biological Diversity

326

International Day of Families observed

326

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Current Affairs

May 2015

Anti Terrorism Day observed across India

327

National Technology Day observed in India

327

World Asthma Day 2015 observed with theme You Can Control Your Asthma

328

World Press Freedom day observed globally

329

Miscellaneous

330

IGBC reported India registered 3 billion sq ft green building footprint

330

India reached 6th position in terms of scientific publications

330

President inaugurated 50th anniversary of Indias first historic climb of Mt. Everest
in 1965

331

Singapore PM Lee opened first museum Indian Heritage Centre in Little India

332

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released commemorative coin on Swami Chinmayananda

332

WORLD DAIRY (MAY 2015)

334

INDIA DAIRY (MAY 2015)

342

ONE LINERS (MAY 2015)

353

DESCRIPTIVE QUESTION (MAY 2015)

360

22

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May 2015

Current Affairs

PREFACE
The Current Affairs May 2015 eBook covers the current events that happened in the month of May. Current
Affairs is a crucial component of any competitive exams including IAS|PCS, SSC, Banking, MBA. The lack
of preparation for current affairs by the aspirants and candidates often is a main cause of their failure.
Even though the candidates know it but they are often confused about how to prepare the current affairs
section of the different competitive exams. It is to clear such doubts and confusion, Jagranjosh.com has
come up with eBook concept. Although current affairs section per se is very wide to be covered, yet we have
tried to cover all the possible current affairs for the month of May 2015.
The Current Affairs May 2015 eBook is divided into different section keeping in mind the need of various
exams. The sections covered namely are International, National, Economy, Ecology and Environment,
Science & Technology, Corporate, Sports, States, and News Capsule. Every news item in each section is
arranged date wise with the most recent news being covered first and so on. Although there might be some
deviations but that is solely to give priority to the most important current affairs in each section.
Presentation of the given current affairs has been planned meticulously. It has been planned in such a
way that it remains in the minds of readers for a longer duration. Wherever necessary each news item is
presented along with a background and analysis so as to help candidates contemplate all the important
current events at the time of exam in an effective way.

Copyright Jagranjosh.com
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PICK OF THE MONTH


Black Money in India: Genesis,
Nature and Measures
The issue of black money in India was in discussion since 1950s when noted economist
Prof Nicholas Kaldor estimated the magnitude of black money in India in 1953-54.
However, the issue became a public debate since the time of financial crisis in 2007
when the tax haven route was identified as one of the major sources of black money.
Herein we first provide the main highlights of the two bills namely Undisclosed
Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill 2015 and Benami Transactions
(Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2015 followed by an analysis of the genesis, nature
and measures to curb black money in India.

Undisclosed Foreign Income as Assets and imposition of Tax Act, 2015


The Union Government on 30 may 2015 notified the Black Money (Undisclosed
Foreign Income as Assets) and imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The Act will come into
effect from 1 April 2016.
The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015 was
introduced in Lok Sabha on 20 March 2015 and was passed by Parliament on 13
May 2015.

Provisions of the Bill


Concealment of income and assets and evasion of tax in relation to foreign assets
will be prosecutable with punishment of rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years.
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Offence of stashing unaccounted money abroad will be made non-compoundable


(A non-compoundable offence is one in which the complainant (the government in
this instance) does not enter into a compromise with the accused.
The offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission
Penalty for such concealment of income and assets at the rate of 300% of tax
shall be levied
The government will give a short window to those stashing black money abroad
to declare their wealth, pay taxes and penalty, and escape prosecution under the
proposed law.
Non filing of return or filing of return with inadequate disclosure of foreign assets
will be liable for prosecution with punishment of rigorous imprisonment up to 7
years.
Income in relation to any undisclosed foreign asset or undisclosed income from
any foreign asset will be taxable at the maximum marginal rate. Exemptions or
deductions which may otherwise be applicable in such cases shall not be allowed.
Beneficial owner or beneficiary of foreign assets will be mandatorily required to file
return, even if there is no taxable income.
Abettors of the above offences, whether individuals, entities, banks or financial
institutions will be liable for prosecution and penalty.
Date of Opening of foreign account would be mandatorily required to be specified
by the assessee in the return of income.
The offence of concealment of income or evasion of tax in relation to a foreign
asset will be made a predicate offence under the Prevention of Money-laundering
Act, 2002 (PMLA).
The definition of proceeds of crime under PMLA is being amended to enable
attachment and confiscation of equivalent asset in India where the asset located
abroad cannot be forfeited.
The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) will also be amended to
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the effect that if any foreign exchange, foreign security or any immovable property
situated outside India is held in contravention of the provisions of this Act, then
action may be taken for seizure and eventual confiscation of assets of equivalent
value situated in India.

Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2015


The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was on 13 May 2015
introduced in Lok Sabha after Union Cabinet gave its approval to amend the Benami
Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.
The Bill seeks to amend the definition of benami transactions, establish adjudicating
authorities and an Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions and (iii) specify
the penalty for entering into benami transactions.

Main provisions of the Bill


The Act defines a benami transaction as a transaction where a property is held by
or transferred to a person, but has been provided for or paid by another person.
The Bill amends the definition of benami to add other transactions which qualify
as benami, such as property transactions where the transaction is made in a
fictitious name, the owner is not aware of denies knowledge of the ownership
of the property, or the person providing the consideration for the property is not
traceable.
The Bill also specifies certain cases will be exempt from the definition of a benami
transaction. These include cases when a property is held by (i) a member of
a Hindu undivided family, and is being held for his or another family members
benefit, and has been provided for or paid off from sources of income of that
family; (ii) a person in a fiduciary capacity; (iii) a person in the name of his spouse
or child, and the property has been paid for from the persons income.
The Bill defines benamidar as the person in whose name the benami property is
held or transferred, and a beneficial owner as the person for whose benefit the
property is being held by the benamidar.
Under the Act, an Authority to acquire benami properties was to be established
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by the Rules. The Bill seeks to establish four authorities to conduct inquiries or
investigations regarding benami transactions: (i) Initiating Officer, (ii) Approving
Authority, (iii) Administrator and (iv) Adjudicating Authority.
The Bill also seeks to establish an Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals against
any orders passed by the Adjudicating Authority. Appeals against orders of the
Appellate Tribunal will lie to the high court.
Under the Act, the penalty for entering into benami transactions is imprisonment
up to three years, or a fine, or both. The Bill seeks to change this penalty to
rigorous imprisonment of one year up to seven years, and a fine which may extend
to 25% of the fair market value of the benami property.
The Bill also specifies the penalty for providing false information to be rigorous
imprisonment of six months up to five years, and a fine which may extend to 10%
of the fair market value of the benami property.
Certain Session Courts would be designated as Special Courts for trying any
offences which are punishable under the Bill.
It adds provisions for attachment and confiscation of benami properties and
imposes fine with imprisonment.
It has provision for prosecution and aims to act as a major avenue for blocking
benami property, which leads to generation and holding of black money especially
in real estate.

Genesis, Nature and Measures: An Analysis


Black money is tax-evaded income. It can be earned both through legal and illegal
means. Its legitimate source is that the income-earners do not reveal their whole
income for tax purposes.
The source of black money in India are numerous but few of them are bribe, smuggling,
black-marketing, selling commodities at prices higher than the controlled prices and
stashing money abroad among others.
Black money is both an economic and a social problem. In the latter context, it

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is perceived as a problem with adverse sociological effects on society, like social


inequalities, social deprivations, etc.; in the former context, it is perceived as a parallel
economy, an underground economy or an unofficial economy that is the consequence
of the economic policies of the government and has damaging effects on countrys
economy and nations planning development.

Black Money: Its Magnitude


A study conducted by the IMF about a decade and a half back showed that in regard
to the size of the underground money, India holds the first rank followed by the United
States and Canada having the second and the third ranks.
Many estimates related to black money in India have been published since
Independence. In India, black money or unaccounted wealth for the first time was
estimated by Prof. Nicholas Kaldor in 1953-54 who estimated it at 600 crore rupees.
The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) estimated the quantum of
black money in economy in 1985 at around 100000 crore rupees.
However, one thing in common with every study was that they all put the magnitude
of black money in the range of 10 to 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of
Indian economy.
In 2010, US-based Global Financial Integrity estimated that 462 billion dollars went
out of India between 1948 and 2008.
According to recent data released by the Swiss Central Bank in June 2014, the
magnitude of black money held by Indians in Switzerland increased by 43 percent in
2013 to reach 14000 crore rupees from 9593 crore rupees in 2012.
Even though India is ranked 58th overall in the list of nations having black money
stashed in Switzerland but what is worrying is the magnitude of increase when all the
nations have witnessed a decline.

Measures to curb Black money


Over the past 50 years, the government has at various times announced several
schemes offering opportunities to bring black money overboard. Some of these
schemes are: introducing the scheme of special Bearer Bonds, demonetizing high
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denomination currency notes, stringent raids, and scheme of voluntary disclosures.


However, all these measures have touched only the tip of the iceberg. All the schemes
have hardly fetched 5000 crore rupees over a period of fifty years.
The main drawback in these schemes is that they touch the problem of black money
already created but they do not go into the root cause of generation of black money
and that is why a person is prepared to take the risk of keeping black money despite
so many problems.
With the issue becoming a public debate since the time of financial crisis in 2007
when the tax haven route was identified as one of the major sources of black money,
the governments across the world including Indian government started negotiating
with tax havens like Switzerland so as to make these tax haven unveil the names of
hoarders of black money.
The result paid off with Switzerland authorities in the fourth week of May 2015 started
making public the names of black money hoarders and it has also plans to publish
list of dormant accounts in the banks of Switzerland.
Further, on a PIL filed in Supreme Court, the honourable court formed a Special
Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Justice (rted) MB Shah to investigate the quantum
of unaccounted wealth stashed abroad.

Conclusion
In conclusion, black money stashed abroad is the wealth of India and that should be
brought back immediately and the individuals responsible for this should be nabbed
and imprisoned. Nothing short of declaring black money stashed abroad as national
crime will be effective in saving the plunder of the nation.

Environmental Democracy Index 2015


Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Access Initiative on
20 May 2015 released the first Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) for the year
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2015. The index evaluates the environmental democracy in 70 countries based on


recognised international standards.
The index evaluates whether Governments are enacting national laws to promote
transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement in environmental decision
making. It is assessed and analysed by more than 140 international lawyers and
experts.
India was ranked at 24th position out of 70 countries in the first Environmental
Democracy Index that is topped by Lithuania at the first position, Latvia at the second
and Russia at the third position.

Highlights of the Environmental Democracy Index


79 percent of countries assessed earned only fair or poor ratings for public
participation adding that many nations lag on providing citizens basic environmental
information.
Nearly half (46 percent) of the countries do not provide any ambient air quality
data online for their capital cities.
In 73 percent of the countries, courts hear environmental cases. But very few
countries have assistance for marginalized groups.
Around 64 percent of countries with laws on the books do not release any
information to the public on emissions or wastewater discharges, pollutants that
can impact human health and the environment.
Only 14 percent of the countries have legal mechanisms that help women access
courts to obtain redress when their environmental rights are violated.
The index found that wealth is an important facilitator for environmental democracy,
as is being a signatory of a major treaty like the Kyoto Protocol or the Aarhus
convention.
Right to environmental information has been established in the 93 percent of the
assessed countries.

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The Top 10 Countries with Strong National Laws for Environmental Democracy
Rank Countries Score

Lithuania

2.42

Latvia

2.31

Russia

2.25

United States

2.16

South Africa

2.16

United Kingdom

2.14

Hungary

2.12

Bulgaria

2.10

Panama

2.02

10

Colombia

1.99

10 Lowest-Scoring Countries for Environmental Democracy Laws


Rank Countries Score

61

Belize

0.82

62

Cambodia

0.76

63

Jordan

0.76

64

Saint Lucia

0.73

65

Nepal

0.68

66

Sri Lanka

0.67

67

Congo

0.66

68

Namibia

0.59

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69

Malaysia

0.58

70

Haiti

0.51

About Environmental Democracy Index


The Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) is the first comprehensive index designed
specifically to measure procedural rights in an environmental context.
The United Nations Environment Programmes (UNEP) Bali Guidelines for the
Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation
and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters provide EDI with an international
standard against which national laws can be assessed.

Draft Outline of Gold Monetization Scheme released


The Union Ministry of Finance on 19 May 2015 released the draft outline of Gold
Monetization Scheme (GMS).
The Ministry prepared the draft after due deliberations and consultations with
various stakeholders which includes banks, refineries, hallmarking centres, jewellers
associations, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and various government departments.
The Ministry has sought comments from stakeholders by 2 June 2015.

Features of Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS)


Objectives
To mobilize the gold held by households and institutions in the country.
To provide a fillip to the gems and jewellery sector in the country by making gold
available as raw material on loan from banks.
To reduce reliance on import of gold to meet the domestic demand.

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Scope
Since the implementation of the scheme requires a vast set-up of infrastructure
for facilitating easy and secure handling of gold, it will be initially launched only in
selected cities and over time, as the infrastructure for assaying and refining of gold
develops, will be extended to other cities.

Process of Gold Monetization by customers/Gold Mobilisation by Banks


Stage1: Customer willing to monetize gold, which is in the form of bullion or jewellary,
will approach Purity Testing Centre (PTC). In a PTC, a preliminary XRF machine-test
(Preliminary Test) will be conducted to assess the approximate amount of pure gold.
The minimum quantity of gold that a customer can bring is proposed to be set at 30
grams and around 350 Hallmarking Centres that are certified by the Bureau of Indian
Standards (BIS) will act as PTCs to test the gold.
Stage2: After the preliminary assessment, if the customer gives his consent for melting
the gold, a further test of purity (Fire Assay Test) will be conducted at the same PTC.
The test will melt the gold and net weight of gold will be estimated.
Stage3: After the result of the Fire Assay Test, if the customer willing to deposit the
gold he will be given a certificate by the collection centre certifying the amount and
purity of the deposited gold; Otherwise he can take back the melted gold in the form
of gold bars after paying a nominal fee.
Stage4: The depositor produces the certificate at the bank and the bank in turn will
open a Gold Savings Account for the depositor and credit the quantity of gold into
the depositors account. Simultaneously, the PTC will also inform the bank about the
deposit made.
Stage5: The bank will pay interest to the depositor after 30/60 days of opening of the
account. The amount of interest rate to be given is proposed to be left to the banks
to decide.
Both principal and interest to be paid to the depositors will be valued in gold. For

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example if a customer deposits 100 gms of gold and gets 1 per cent interest, then,
on maturity he has a credit of 101 gms.
The tenure of deposit will be a minimum period of 1 year and with a roll out in multiples
of one year. The depositor will have the option of redemption either in cash or in
gold, which will have to be exercised at the time of deposit.
Similar to the Gold Deposit Scheme (1999), in which the customers received Capital
Gains Tax, Wealth tax and Income Tax exemptions, the depositors of GMS also will
receive similar benefits after due examination.

Utilisation of Mobilised Gold by Banks


PTC will send the gold to the refiners. The refiners will keep the gold in their warehouses, unless the banks prefer to hold it themselves. The refiners will be paid a fee
by the banks, as decided by them, mutually.
The banks will also be permitted to exercise following options regarding utilization of
gold it collected from the depositors.
a) Deposit the mobilized gold as part of their Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)/ Statutory
Liquidity Ratio (SLR) requirements with RBI.
b) Sell the gold to generate foreign currency which can then be used for onward
lending to exporters or importers.
c) Convert mobilized gold into coins for onward sale to their customers.
d) Can buy and sell on domestic commodity exchanges, where mobilized gold can
be delivered.
e) Can lend to jewellers upon opening of Gold Loan Account for this purpose with
the banks.
For implementation of the scheme, the banks will enter into a tripartite Memorandum
of Understanding (MoU) with refiners and PTCs that are selected by them to be their
partners in the scheme.

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NCDEX launched Gold Now platform for forward contracts in gold


The National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX) on 27 May 2015
launched Gold Now platform to undertake forward trading in gold.

Features of Gold Now


It is an India-centric gold forward contracts platform and involves selling and
buying of locally-refined gold.
The maximum duration of the contract is for 60 calendar days and delivery is
compulsory.
Delivery unit of the contract is 100 grams and 1 kilogram.
The contract will have six delivery centres viz., Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad,
Hyderabad, Cochin and Chennai.
The NCDEX have tied up with four gold refiners viz., MMTC-PAMP, Kundan Group,
Shirpur Gold Refinery and Edelweiss for the delivery of the contracts.
The NCDEX is also planning to set up purity verification centres in partnership with
the NCDEX approved refineries.

Importance of Gold Now


Approximately 20000 metric tonnes of gold is estimated to be lying with Indian
households, temples and trusts. If mobilized effectively, this could create a domestic
supply of gold, while reducing dependence on imports.
The Gold Now platform is intended to complement the Gold Monetization Scheme
(GMS) as proposed by the Union Finance Ministry in the draft outline released on 19
May 2015.
Under the scheme banks were allowed to mobilize unutilized gold from customers
and buy and sell them on domestic exchanges.

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State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 report released


The annual UN hunger report titled State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 was
on 27 May 2015 released by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food
Programme (WFP).
As per the report, the number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795
million. Today, 795 million people are undernourished globally, which is 216 million
less than the number of hungry people in 199092. The decline is more pronounced
in developing regions, despite population growth.

Highlights of the report


In the developing regions, the prevalence of undernourishment, which measures
the proportion of people who are unable to consume enough food for an active
and healthy life, has declined to 12.9 percent of the population.
72 out of 129 countries monitored by FAO have achieved the Millennium
Development Goal target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by 2015,
with developing regions as a whole missing the target by a small margin.
29 countries have met the more ambitious goal of halving the absolute number of
undernourished people by 201, laid out at the World Food Summit in 1996.
Over the past 30 years, crises have evolved from catastrophic, short-term, acute
and highly visible events to protracted situations, due to a combination of factors,
especially natural disasters and conflicts, with climate change, financial and price
crises frequently among the exacerbating factors.
Hunger rates in countries enduring protracted crises are more than three times
higher than elsewhere. In 2012, some 366 million people were living in this kind
situation, out of whom 129 million were undernourished.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment
in the world with 23.2 percent, or almost one in every four people. However, some
African nations also achieved their MDG hunger target, notably in West Africa.
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The proportion of hungry people in Latin America and the Caribbean has dropped
from 14.7 percent to 5.5 percent since 1990.
In southern Asia, the prevalence of undernourishment has declined modestly, to
15.7 percent from 23.9 percent, but much greater progress was made in reducing
underweight among young children.
In West Asia, where hygiene conditions are generally advanced and child
underweight rates low, the incidence of hunger has risen due to war, civil strife
and consequent large migrant and refugee populations in some countries.

State of Food Insecurity in India


The evolution of hunger trends in India has a significant influence on results for the
region. Higher world food prices were observed since the late 2000s which have not
been entirely transmitted into domestic prices.
During the period 19842013, India was prone to sudden increases in imports
(defined as imports exceeding the average of the previous three years by more than
30 percent), registering more than a hundred surges.
In India, 194.6 million people are still undernourished. India still has the secondhighest estimated number of undernourished people in the world.

India and China Signed 24 Agreements


India and China on 15 May 2015 signed 24 agreements to augment bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, China.
The details of agreements covering the fields of Education, Railways, People-toPeople exchanges, skill development, Security among others were outlined in the
Joint Statement issued by the two leaders after the conclusion of bilateral talks.

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Some of the important agreements are


Both the countries agreed to establish State/Provincial Leaders Forumto enhance
relations among the provinces (China) and states (India). The first meeting of the
Forum was held in Beijing on 15 May 2015, with the participation of Prime Minister
Modi and Premier Li.
An additional Consulate General shall be established in each others country. India
shall open a new Consulate General in Chengdu, while China shall open a new
Consulate General in Chennai. These new consulates will facilitate and promote
greater cultural, tourism, economic and people-to-people engagement between the
two countries.
The fifth joint counter-terrorism training between the two armies will be held in China
in 2015. The two sides will exchange visits of naval ships and hold PASSEX and SAR
exercises.
Both the countries agreed to abide by the three-stage process for the settlement of
the boundary question, and continuously push forward negotiation on the framework
for a boundary settlement based on the outcomes and common understanding
achieved so far, in an effort to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution
as early as possible.
Both sides agreed to optimally exploit the present and potential complementarities
in identified sectors in the Five Year Trade and Economic Development Plan signed
in September 2014, including Indian pharmaceuticals, Indian IT services, tourism,
textiles and agro-products.
It was agreed to conduct the next meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue, cochaired by Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog of India and Chairman of NDRC of China in
India during the second half of 2015.
Both the countries agreed on an Action Plan outlining the next steps to enhance
the partnership in the Railway Sector. It is in continuation of the ongoing initiatives
including the projects on speed raising on the existing Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysore
line, the proposed feasibility studies for the Delhi-Nagpur section of high speed rail
link, the station redevelopment planning for Bhubaneswar & Baiyappanahalli, heavy
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haul transportation training and setting up of a railway university.


Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to institute a dialogue mechanism
between the NITI Aayog of India and the Development Research Centre of the State
Council of China.
Both the countries agreed to enhance cooperation between the financial regulators
and enterprises of the two countries in support of the building of the Closer
Developmental Partnership.
The International Yoga Day will be organised jointly on 21 June 2015 in collaboration
between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Yunnan National
University.
Agreement on expanded Educational Exchange Programme to promote student
exchanges in higher education.
The two sides will have the annual exchange of 200 youths from each side in the
second half of 2015 as part of the India-China Cultural Exchange Initiative.
Agreements related to establishing provincial partnership between Karnataka and
Sichuan and sister-city relationships between Aurangabad Dunhuang, Chennai
Chongqing and Hyderabad Qingdao were signed.
India-China Think Tanks Forum will be established to foster closer dialogue and
mutual understanding between the two countries. The forum will meet annually,
alternately in India and China.
It was agreed to institutionalize the High Level Media Forum and tasked the Ministry of
External Affairs of India and the State Council Information Office of China to convene
it on an annual basis, alternately in India and China.
Action Plan on the establishment of Mahatma Gandhi National Institute for Skill
Development and Entrepreneurship at Gandhinagar/Ahmedabad in Gujarat was
signed.
It was agreed to initiate cooperation in development of smart cities with identification
of GIFT City in India and Shenzhen in China as pilot smart cities for joint demonstration
projects.
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The 2015-2020 Space Cooperation Outline was signed between the Indian Space
Research Organization (ISRO) of the Republic of India and China National Space
Administration of the Peoples Republic of China to reinforce the cooperation in the
field of Satellite Remote Sensing, Space-Based meteorology, Space Science, Lunar
and Deep Space Exploration, Satellite Navigation, Space Components, Piggy-back
Launching Services, and Education and Training.
It was agreed to further strengthen cooperation through the Expert-Level Mechanism
on the provision of flood-season hydrological data and emergency management.
The two sides agreed to hold negotiation on augmenting the list of traded commodities
and expand border trade at Nathu La, Qiangla/Lipu-Lekh Pass and Shipki La passes
to transform the border into a bridge of cooperation and exchanges.
China agreed to allow Indian pilgrims to use the Nathu La Pass (Sikkim) route for
Kailash Manasarover Yatra (Gang Renpoche and Mapam Yun Tso Pilgrimage) in 2015.
They agreed to further strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral forums
including RIC (Russia, India and China), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and India)
and G20 to promote the interests of developing countries and the building of a better
world. India agreed to support China in hosting the G20 summit in 2016.
A bilateral consultative mechanism on WTO (World Trade Organisation) related issues
will be launched for enhancing coordination in the context of global trade talks.
The two sides agreed to work together with relevant parties to accelerate the
preparation for establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to
promote regional infrastructure and economic development.
A Joint Statement on Climate Change was issued which underscored the importance of
working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious, comprehensive,
universal, balanced and equitable climate agreement at the forthcoming CoP
(Conference of Parties) 21 to UNFCCC to be held in Paris in late 2015.

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GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) System fully


operationalised
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 25 May 2015 announced the
complete operationalisation of the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN).
The final operational phase of the system commenced on 19 May 2015 as it began
broadcasting APV1 Certified signals.
With this, India has become the fourth nation after the US, Europe and Japan to have
inter-operable Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS). Also, GAGAN is the
first SBAS system in the world to serve the equatorial region.
Earlier on 30 December 2013, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) gave its nod
for GAGAN for enroute operations (RNP 0.1) and subsequently on 21 April 2015 for
precision approach services (APV 1).
While the GAGAN Payload is already operational through GSAT-8 and GSAT-10
satellites, the third payload will be carried onboard GSAT-15 satellite scheduled for
launch in October 2015.

Features of GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) System


It is a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) developed jointly by the
Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Its primary objective is to establish, deploy and certify satellite based augmentation
system for safety-of-life civil aviation applications for the Indian air space.
It plays an important role in safety of life applications in transport, sensitive
commercial applications and liability-critical applications needing legal course.
It offers free enhanced satellite navigation signals by correcting deviancies in GPS
signals by deploying ground based navigational infrastructure.
The system is inter-operable with other international SBAS systems like US-WAAS,
European EGNOS, and Japanese MSAS etc.

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It has been developed at an estimated cost of 774 crore rupees.


It will enable transition of the air traffic management system to satellite-based
seamless navigation across continents covering the airspace from Australia to
Africa as well as west Asia to China and Russia.

Mumbai Indians won IPL 2015 title


Mumbai Indians (MI) on 24 May 2015 won the eighth edition of the Indian Premier
League (IPL). In the final clash played at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Mumbai Indians
defeated Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 41-runs.
This was the second title triumph for Mumbai Indians after their maiden win back in
2013.
Mumbai Indians after being invited to bat first posted a score of 202 for five, while
batting second, Chennai Super Kings were able to score just 161 for eight.
With this win, Mumbai Indians joined Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Rider,
as a team that has claimed two IPL trophies. Mumbai had won their first title in
2013 at the Eden Gardens, by defeating the Chennai Super Kings. With this defeat,
Chennai has lost four finals of 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015 in six appearances.
Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma for his match winning score of 50 in 26 balls
Player of the Tournament: Andre Russell
Orange Cap awarded to: David Warner
Purple Cap awarded to: Dwayne Bravo
Emerging Player of the Season: Shreyas Iyer
Most Valuable Player: Andre Russell

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Captains of the two teams


Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni

The previous winners of the IPL are as follows


IPL Season 1: Rajasthan Royals
IPL Season 2: Deccan Chargers
IPL Season 3: Chennai Super Kings
IPL Season 4: Chennai Super King
IPL Season 5: Kolkata Knight Riders
IPL Season 6: Mumbai Indians
IPL Season 7: Kolkata Knight Riders

Mumbai KEM Nurse Aruna Shanbaug died after 42-years in coma


Aruna Shanbaug, the nurse of Mumbais King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, died
on 18 May 2015. She died after battling with coma for past 42-years following a
sexual assault by a hospital ward boy.
66-year old Shanbaug was sexually assaulted on 27 November 1973 by a ward boycum-sweeper of the hospital, Sohanlal Bharta Valmiki, after throttling her with a dog
chain. Since then, she was hospitalised in KEM hospital and was cared by hospital
staff.
While hearing the Aruna Shanbaug case in March 2011, the Supreme Court of India
rejected the mercy killing (euthanasia) petition for her. The petition was filed by former
journalist and author Pinki Virani.
However, SC laid down guidelines for passive euthanasia instead of active euthanasia.
Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments, such as antibiotics,
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necessary for the continuance of life.


In 1998, a biography was written on Aruna by Pinki Virani which was titled Arunas
Story. Duttakumar Desai wrote the Marathi play, Katha Arunachi which was staged
under director Vinay Apte in 2002.

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INTERNATIONAL
Union Cabinet approved Agreement on Coastal and Maritime
Shipping between India and Bangladesh
The Union Cabinet on 30 May 2015 gave its approval to the Agreement on Coastal
and Maritime Shipping between India and Bangladesh that paves the way for the
commencement of coastal shipping between the two countries.

Features of the Agreement on Coastal and Maritime Shipping


India and Bangladesh shall render the same treatment to the other countrys
vessels as it would have done to its national vessels used in international sea
transportation.
The River Sea Vessel (RSV) category of vessel is prescribed for coastal shipping
to lower construction and operation cost without compromising on the safety of
the vessel.

Importance of the Agreement


EXIM (Export Import) trade between India and Bangladesh (Indias largest trading
partner in South Asia) would be benefited by way of reduction in freight charges.
It will improve the utilization of port capacities of Indian ports and open up new
opportunity for Indian coastal vessels.
It will help in decongestion of roads especially at the Land custom stations or
integrated check posts at the Indo-Bangladesh boarder.

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The Indian ports serving as transshipment ports for Bangladesh cargo will derive
benefits by way of enhanced throughput as a result of Indo-Bangladesh coastal
trade.
It will increase bilateral trade between the two countries and lower down the cost
of transportation of EXIM cargo.

US removed Cuba from terror blacklist to strengthen ties with


Cuba
The US on 29 May 2015 removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, signed an order removing Cuba from the
terrorism blacklist as part of the process of strengthening ties between the former
Cold War foes.
The removal of Cuba from the terror list would also help in the process of lifting
economic sanctions. It had been a key Cuban demand as the countries move towards
normalising relations.
However, a tight economic embargo slapped on the communist-run Caribbean island
in 1962 remains in place, meaning there may be little immediate effect of the latest
decision.
US had included Cuba in terror blacklist in 1982. The inclusion hampered its access
to global markets and tarred it as an international pariah. Cuba has protested against
this decision and had demanded to rescind the decision.
Now only Iran, Sudan and Syria still remain on the terror blacklist. The Presidents of
the US and Cuba met at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City in April 2015, in
the first meetings between the countries leaders in more than 50 years.
The leaders agreed that a strong majority of citizens in both Cuba and the US would
back warmer relations.

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of USA granted work


Permit for H-4 visa holders
A new rule proposed by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
allowing H-4 visa holders to work in the country came into force on 26 May 2015.
However, the extension of work authorization to H-4 visa holders would only apply
if their spouses (H-1B visa holders) had applied for green-card, an authorization for
permanent residence in the country.
This rule will encourage H-1B skilled workers to not to abandon their adjustment
application with the department because their H-4 spouse is unable to work and also
benefit the economy as in most of the cases they are eligible for doing highly skilled
jobs.
The decision is expected to benefit over 179600 H-4 visa holders with particular
salience to visa holders of Indian citizenship and employed in the IT sector.
India is receiving the largest proportion of H-1B visas from the U.S. every year having
received 99705 H-1B visas of a total of 153223 issued globally, slightly over 65 per
cent.
While the H-1B is a non-immigrant visa which allows the employers in the USA to
temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, the H-4 visa issued to
immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B
visa holders.

UNSC adopted resolution on protection of journalists in conflict


zones
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 27 May 2015 unanimously adopted a
resolution 2222 (2015) on the protection of journalists in conflict zones. The resolution
was adopted following number of deaths and kidnappings of media professionals

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which has continued to climb.


The resolution was adopted during a meet that was heard by nearly 70 speakers
under the agenda item Protection of civilians in armed conflict. The meet was chaired
by Lithuanias Foreign Minister.
The Security Council resolution also condemned such attacks on journalists and
warned parties to conflicts, including governments and armed groups, that they
should take all reasonable steps to protect journalists. The resolution urged Member
States to take active steps to ensure accountability.
Besides, Christophe Deloire, Director-General of Reporters Without Borders called
on to appoint a special representative on the protection of journalists to ensure that
Member States abided by their commitments under the text and under previous
resolution 1738 (2006).
According to a concept note prepared by the Lithuanian presidency for the meeting,
61 journalists were killed in 2014 and 221 were imprisoned. 25 have died since
January 2015. In last decade, 700 media workers were killed in the field or because
of their profession.

US state of Nebraska abolished death penalty


The US state of Nebraska on 27 May 2015 abolished death penalty after a veto
override was passed through the its legislature. This measure was backed by a
coalition of conservatives who oppose execution as a form of punishment.
In the unicameral legislature the proposal to abolish death penalty was passed 30 to
19, which is the exact number of votes needed to override Governor Pete Ricketts
earlier veto.
With this ban of the capital punishment, Nebraska has joined the league of 18 other
states and the federal district of Washington, DC. It also became the first traditionally
conservative state in four decades to do so.

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NATO launched Arctic Challenge Exercise in the north of Norway,


Sweden and Finland
NATO on 25 May 2015 launched the Arctic Challenge Exercise based in the north
of Norway, Sweden and Finland. The exercise involves 115 fighter planes and 3600
troops from nine countries.
The participant countries include all NATO members like the US, Britain, Germany,
France and the Netherlands as well as neutral Switzerland.
This exercise is the second of its kind, first similar tests was conducted in 2013.
Apart from this, Russia also on 26 May 2015 begun a four-day-long massive military
exercise and described it as a massive surprise inspection, to check combat readiness.
The exercise involves 12000 soldiers and around 250 aircraft, including long-range
bombers carrying cruise missiles.
This Russian military exercise has coincided with an Arctic training exercise by NATO
and has raised debate. Russian military exercise on the same day when NATO military
alliance launched their training exercise may raise tensions with West over Russias
role in conflict in Ukraine.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in fourth week of May 2015 said that the
large number of snap exercises conducted by Russia decreases transparency and
practicability. But Russia has defended the exercise by terming that these drills are
part of preparation for a larger exercise known as Center-2015, which will be held
later in 2015.

Forbes released the Worlds 100 Most Powerful Women 2015


list
Forbes on 26 May 2015 released the list of Worlds 100 Most Powerful Women of
2015 showing women who impacted businesses, media, philanthropy, politics and
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more.
All 100 women have the power to shape the world, but 18 stand out this year as
entrepreneurs, the women who built their status from scratch.
This is Forbes definitive annual audit of the foremost heads of state, iconic
entrepreneurs, CEOs, celebrity role models, billionaire activists, and pioneer
philanthropists. All are ranked by money, media momentum, spheres of influence
and impact.

Highlights of the List


The worlds most powerful woman in the list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel
who fetched the first spot.
Hillary Clinton ranked at 2nd position, she has been appearing on this FORBES
ranking every year as a senator, secretary of state and influential personality.
The most powerful women in politics, philanthropy, business and tech are Angela
Merkel, Melinda Gates, Barra and Sandberg.
The top ranking billionaire in the list is Oprah Winfrey who stood at 12th spot,
having personal net worth of 3 billion US dollars.
Ana Patricia Botin, the newly installed chairman of Banco Santander, is the top
woman in finance at 18th position.
Beyonce Knowles leads the entertainment field at 21st position while Anna Wintour,
Conde Nast artistic director, leads the media sector by fetching 28th slot.
There are 19 newcomers in the list in 2015 including Beth Comstock, CEO of GE
Business Innovations and Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood testing company
Theranos, Google CFO Ruth Porat, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini,
power pop star Taylor Swift and top venture capitalist Jenny Lee.
Seven women who appeared on the inaugural list in 2004 are still in the list today
including Melinda Gates, Christine Lagarde, Hillary Clinton, Indra Nooyi, Oprah,
Queen Elizabeth II and Ho Ching.
Technology takes a fourth place as a category on the Power Women list, seven
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tech women made the top 25 this year including Sandberg, YouTubes CEO Susan
Wojcicki, IBMs Ginni Rometty, HPs Meg Whitman and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
More than half of the women on the list are American, including immigrants such
as von Furstenberg (Belgium), Ambassador Samantha Power (Ireland), Weili Dai
(China), Donna Langley (UK), and Padmasree Warrior (India).
19 women are off the list from last year, among them are Margaret Hamburg, Amy
Pascal, Gracas Silva Foster, Gail Kelly, Helene Gayle, Patricia Woertz and Joyce
Banda.

Top 10 powerful women in the List


Rank Name

Angela Merkel

Hillary Clinton

Melinda Gates

Janet Yellen

Mary Barra

Christine Lagarde

Dilma Rousseff

Sheryl Sandberg

Susan Wojcicki

10

Michelle Obama

Indian Women in the list


Four Indians have been named in Forbes list including Arundhati Bhattacharya,
Chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI), who stood at 30th position.
Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, was placed at 35th position; Kiran
Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD of Biocon Limited, was placed at 85th position and Shobhana

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Bhartia, Editorial Director of the Hindustan Times Group, was placed at 93rd position.

India and Vietnam signed Joint Vision Statement on Defence


Cooperation 2015-2020
India and Vietnam on 25 May 2015 signed a Joint Vision Statement on Defence
Cooperation for the period 2015-2020 in New Delhi.
It was signed by the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Vietnamese
Minister for National Defence General Phung Quang Thanh.
The statement is an outcome of delegation level talks held in New Delhi to discuss
cooperation on maritime security.
Besides the Joint statement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation
between the Coast Guards of the two countries was also signed in the presence of
the two Defence Ministers.
Earlier, in October 2014, India announced 100 million US dollar line of credit to
Vietnam during the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visit to the country
to enable Vietnam acquire new naval vessels from India.
The above initiatives of the Union Government are part of its Act East policy, aimed
at deepening its strategic and economic relations with Asian countries and curtailing
growing Chinas influence in the region.

UAE launched Strategic Framework for its Space Agency


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 25 May 2015 launched a strategic framework for
its newly-established Space Agency. The Director-General of UAE Space Agency is
Mohammed Nasser Al-Ahbabi.
The framework is aimed at launching satellite missions and the first Arab unmanned
probe to Mars called Hope Probe by 2021.
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The launch ceremony was held in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in Abu
Dhabi in the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of
Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Abu Dhabi.
The drafting of strategic plan is in line with the UAE Vision 2021 that aims to establish
the UAE as one of the worlds leading countries by 2021 when UAE would be
celebrating its Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the nation.
Besides, a memorandum of understanding was signed between between Al Yah
Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the Masdar Institute of Science and
Technology and Orbital ATK Inc.
The agreement between the three entities, with coordination and oversight from the
UAE Space Agency, marks the launch of a joint venture to introduce a graduate
degree programme in advanced space science for the first time in the Middle East.
The UAEs path to space dates back to 1976, when the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan
Al Nahyan met the NASA team responsible for the Apollo Moon programme. That
meeting inspired nearly three decades of efforts guiding the UAE towards space and
will be realised with the arrival of the Hope Probe.

9th Session of the India-South Africa Joint Ministerial Commission


held in Durban
9th Session of the India-South Africa Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) was held in
Durban on 19 May 2015. The session was co-chaired by Minister for External Affairs
and Overseas Indian Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of South Africa
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Main points discussed during the 9th session of JMC


To make it more result-oriented, the two ministers agreed to work under the
framework of a five year strategic programme of cooperation and decided to
establish a new Joint Working Group on Trade & Economic matters on it.

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They also identified priority areas of cooperation and they are defence, deepmining, science and technology, agriculture & food processing and insurance.
Both sides also agreed to set up a Sub-Committee on Science & Technology and
promote cooperation in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Swaraj and Mashabane also discussed regional and multilateral issues including
BRICS, IBSA, IORA, counter-terrorism, cyber security, reforms of multilateral
institutions, especially the United Nations Security Council.
Besides, prior to the JMC meet, Swaraj also met President Jacob Zuma and extended
the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to him to attend the third India-Africa
Forum Summit (IAFS-III) in October 2015 in New Delhi.
The two ministers, Swaraj and Mashabane decided to hold the next Session of the
Joint Ministerial Commission in India at mutually convenient dates in 2017.

Six Major Banks fined 5.7 billion US dollars on Forex Benchmark


Rates manipulation charges
Six of the worlds biggest banks were on 20 May 2015 fined 5.7 billion US dollars on
Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates manipulation charges by various authorities in
the USA and the UKs Financial Conduct Authority.
The fines were imposed on Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc, Royal
Bank of Scotland Plc, UBS Group AG and Bank of America Corp. as part of the
settlements they reached with the government agencies in which they pleaded guilty
to the charges and agreed to pay fines.
As part of the settlement with the US Justice Department the four banks viz., Citicorp,
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to
plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of US dollars and
euros in the international market. However, UBS Group AG of Switzerland, the first to
cooperate with antitrust investigators, was granted immunity from the charges.
Two banks- Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings Plc are still under investigation
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facing similar charges.

How the currency markets were manipulated?


The employees of the banks influenced global foreign exchange bench mark rates by
aligning positions and pushing transactions through at the same time. They formed a
cartel for this purpose and used online chat rooms to discuss their positions before
the rates were set and suppress competition in the market. The severity of this illegal
practice is compounded by the fact the four banks which pleaded guilty to charges
have major stakes in the 5 trillion US dollars per a day worlds Forex market.

Fines imposed by various authorities


By the Anti Trust division of US Justice Department: Citicorp parent Citigroup Inc. will
pay 925 million US dollars, the highest of the banks penalized. Barclays, JPMorgan
and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS agreed to pay 650 million, 550
million and 395 million and 203 million US dollars respectively as fines.
By The Federal Reserve System: The countrys banking regulator imposed fines of
more than 1.6 billion US dollars collectively on the five banks for unsafe and unsound
practices. Besides, Bank of America Corp. was imposed a fine of 205 million US
dollars for failing to detect and address conduct by traders who discussed the
possibility of entering into agreements to manipulate currency prices.
BY DFS, CFTC, etc: As part of a settlement the London-based Barclays will pay
1.3 billion US dollars to the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the UKs Financial Conduct
Authority. The bank also agreed to terminate the services of eight employees engaged
in currency trading between London and New York.
The recent settlements bring the total fines and penalties paid by the five banks,
excluding the Bank of America, to resolve the two-year old currency investigations to
about 9 billion US dollars. In November 2014, the financial market regulators of USA
and the UK imposed fines up to 3.4 billion US dollars on them.

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EU approved plan to use Naval Force to combat Smugglers and


tackle Migration crisis
The European Union (EU) on 18 May 2015 approved a plan that empowers naval
force to combat smugglers operating from Libya and tackle illegal migration in its
territory.
The policy for an unprecedented naval operation against the smuggling of refugees
from North Africa to Europe was approved by EU foreign ministers during a meet
held in Brussels.
According to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, the operation would be
launched by June 2015, with a headquarters in Rome under Italian admiral Adm
Enrico Credendino, who ran the EUs anti-piracy mission off Somalia, Operation
Atalanta.
The naval operation that will involve the deployment of warships and surveillance
aircraft off the coast of Libya, will be carried out in three phases and they are
Intelligence gathering on smugglers
Inspection and detection of smugglers boats
Destruction of boats before they reach Europe, which would help in destructing
the business models of the smugglers and their networks
The decision on the policy was taken because the EU has been struggling to cope up
with the illegal migrants from Africa and West Asia, who crosses the Mediterranean
Sea to reach Europe.
Further, the United Kingdom (UK) is playing a leading role at the UN Security Council
(UNSC) to draft a resolution that would give the European Union a legal basis to use
military force against people traffickers.

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US President Obama banned certain military-style equipment


provided to US police
The President of United States (US) Barack Obama on 18 May 2015 banned giving
certain kinds of military-style equipment to local police forces. He also called for a
broader shift in law enforcement practices across the country.
This ban means that the armoured vehicles on tracks, camouflage uniforms and
grenade launchers will no longer be given out to local police forces.
The ban was announced by the President during his visit to Camden, one of the
poorest cities of New Jersey. The city attracted attention as a national model for
better relations between the police and residents after it dissolved its police force
and replaced it with a new county-run system through that prioritizes community ties.
The decision was taken in the backdrop of criticism that said that the police was
heavy handed to deal with protests in Ferguson, Missouri, that turned violent. The
series of fatal shootings by police increased mistrust and sparked protests across
the US.

Background
The issue came into spotlight after a young black man was killed by a white police
officer in Ferguson in 2014 and later in April 2015, another black man was killed in
Baltimore after taken in police custody.
The US administration was criticized for being too lax about police practices. It was
also criticized for not able to strike a right balance between the law enforcement and
civil right activists.

India, South Korea signed 7 agreements to upgrade relations to


special strategic partnership level
India and South Korea on 18 May 2015 signed seven agreements to upgrade relations
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to special strategic partnership level.


The agreements were inked during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to South
Korea. Prime Minister Modi is on a three nation visit to China (14 May to 16 May
2015), Mongolia (17 May 2015) and South Korea (18 May to 19 May 2015).

List of Agreements/MoUs signed during the visit of Prime Minister to South


Korea
Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal
Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income: India-South Korea Double Taxation
Avoidance Convention (signed 1985) has been revised with a view to avoiding the
burden of double taxation on taxpayers in the two countries.
India-Korea Agreement on Cooperation in Audio-Visual Co-Production:
The Agreement is being signed under the provisions of India-South Korea
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA); it would enable coproduction of films, animation and broadcasting programmes. The Agreement
would enable opportunities for collaboration between Indian and Korean film
industries, and facilitate collaboration and exchange.
MoU for Cooperation between the National Security Council of India and South
Korea: The MoU would formalize consultations between National Security Council
structures of the two countries in a number of areas.
MoU for Cooperation in the field of Electric Power Development and New Energy
Industries: The MoU envisages cooperation in areas of electric power development
and new energy industries such as renewable energy, smart grids and power
information and technology, transmission and distribution of electric power, energy
efficiency and storage system.
MoU on Cooperation in Youth Matters: The MoU will strengthen and encourage
cooperation on youth matters through participation in events and activities through
exchanges, international conferences, seminars, youth camps, festivals etc.
Framework of Cooperation in the Field of Road Transport: To be signed under the
provisions of India-South Korea CEPA, the FOC envisages cooperation in areas

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including road policies, design and construction, road operation, road management
and safety, intelligent transport systems and electronic toll collection systems.
MoU on Cooperation in the Fields of Maritime Transport and Logistics:The
MoU envisages cooperation between the two countries in the fields of maritime
transport and logistics including through sharing of technologies, information and
experiences, the training of seafarers, exchange of experts and port operations
etc.
During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with South Korean President Park
Geun Hye in Seoul. Later, the two leaders released a joint statement.
Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met with UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon in Seoul.

India and Mongolia signed 13 agreements to enhance bilateral


relations
India and Mongolia on 17 May 2015 signed 13 agreements to further enhance bilateral
ties and co-operation between the two countries. India also announced to provide
one billion US dollar credit to Mongolia.
The agreements were inked during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Mongolia.
Modis visit to Mongolia is the first ever visit of Indian Prime Minister to the country.
Prime Minister Modi is on a three nation visit to China (14 May to 16 May 2015),
Mongolia (17 May 2015) and Korea (18 May to 19 May 2015).

The 13 Agreements include


Revised Air Services Agreement: This Agreement updates from previous
arrangements of international air services between India and Mongolia, both being
parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons: Under the treaty, Indian prisoners
convicted in Mongolia can be brought to India to serve the remaining part of their
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sentence. Similarly Mongolian citizens convicted in India can be sent to their home
country to serve their sentence.
Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Animal Health and Dairy:This
Agreement envisages joint cooperation activities in the areas of dairy, quality
control, modern technical application and marketing in dairy, animal disease
control measures, etc.
MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and
Homeopathy: This MoU intends to establish broad based cooperation in forms
such as exchanging of experts for training of practitioners, mutual recognition
of pharmacopoeias and formularies, educational qualifications and traditional
preparations, setting up of Academic Chairs, providing scholarships, and others.
MoU on Establishment of Cyber Security Training Centre in the Ministry of
Defence of Mongolia: Under this, India will establish a Cyber Security Training
Centre and will also undertake the training of personnel in cyber security.
MoU on Establishment of India-Mongolia Joint Friendship School in Mongolia:
This MoU is for the establishment of a school jointly by India and Mongolia which
would follow an open, inclusive and flexible curriculum to harness the potential of
each child enabling them to grow both personally and professionally.
Programme on Cooperation in the field of Culture for the Years 2015-2018:
This Agreement aims to enhance cooperation in the field of culture through
organization of exhibitions, film festivals and also exchange of experts, students,
journalists, etc.
MoU for Cooperation between the National Security Council of India and
Mongolia: This MoU was entered to hold regular consultations alternatively in
New Delhi and Ulaanbaatar. It would cover both traditional and non-traditional
security issues, counter-terrorism, intelligence cooperation and exchange, and
others.
MoU on Cooperation between the Ministry of External Affairs of India and
Mongolia: The MoU will focus on all aspects of the bilateral relationship, especially
in the areas of political, economic, commercial, scientific, technical and cultural
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cooperation. The MoU supersedes the existing Protocol on Cooperation between


the Ministry of External Affairs of India and Mongolia signed on 17 September
1996.
MoU for cooperation on development of new and renewable energy
technologies: This will cover cooperation on Solar Energy and Wind Energy
through the modalities of exchange of information and personnel, transfer of
equipment and know-how, development of joint research or technical projects,
determination of renewable energy resources, etc.
MoU on enhancing cooperation between the border guarding forces:This
MoU envisages the setting up of a Joint Steering Committee between Ministry of
Home Affairs of India and General Authority for Border Protection of Mongolia for
cooperation in the areas of capacity building, exchange of best practices, conduct
of joint exercises, technologies for border guarding, surveillance and policing, etc.
MoU between the Tata Memorial Centre of India and the National Cancer
Center of Mongolia for Gifting Bhabhatron-II Tele-therapy Unit along with a
Radiotherapy Simulator: Guided by the MoU signed between the two countries
on the 14 September 2009 for mutual cooperation, the present MoU sets the
terms and conditions for the presentation by the Government of India, through
TMC of one unit each of the Bhabhatron-II Telecobalt Unit and the Radiotherapy
Simulator designed, developed and manufactured in India.
MoU to enhance their skills and improve the training programme in both
the countries: This MoU would help in exchange of trainees, students, faculty
members and experts between India and Mongolia.
Apart from this, during this visit of Modi, the two nations issued joint statement on
strategic partnership. Modi also addressed to the Mongolian Parliament and gifted a
rare history manuscript to Mongolian president.
Besides, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met with Prime Minister Chimed
Saikhanbileg of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. He also visited Gandan Tegchinlen
Monastery in Ulaanbaatar.

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Former Army Brigadier David Granger sworn-in as eighth


President of Guyana
Former Army Brigadier David Granger on 16 May 2015 was sworn in as the eighth
President of Guyana. He was sworn-in as the President after his A Partnership for
National Unity (APNU) party-led coalition won the national elections.
In the national elections held on 11 May 2015, his coalition APNU Alliance for
Change (AFC) defeated the ruling Peoples Progressive Party (PPP). With this, it
ended the 23 year old grip on power of Indo-Guyanese PPP.
The APNU-AFC coalition riding high on the campaign to reduce high youth
unemployment and violent crime as well as crack down on piracy won 207200 votes.
The PPP, on the other hand, got 202674 votes.
Further, Grangers coalition is expected to have three-four seat majority in the
65-member Parliament.
Besides, Indo-Guyanese politician Moses Nagamootoo, who defected from the PPP,
was tapped as Prime Minister and the full cabinet is expected to be unveiled on 26
May 2015.
Earlier Donald Ramotar, the PPP veteran and incumbent President, had forced an
early -elections after suspending and dissolving the parliament in November 2014 to
avoid a no-confidence vote.

Palestinians observed 67th Nakba Day


Palestinians on 15 May 2015 observed the 67th anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian
Nakba Day. As part of it, dozens of Palestinians staged a march in southern Gaza
Strip and vowed to return to their ancestral Homeland.
The march was organised by Hamas near the Israeli border in the town of Al-Qarara
in eastern Khan Younis.
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On 15 May every year, Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the day when the state of Israel
was founded. They observe it to reaffirm their right to return to the land from which
their ancestors were forcibly displaced by Israel in 1948.
The term Nakba in Arabic means catastrophe and is used by Palestinians to denote
their mass expulsion and displacement from their ancestral homes and land in
historical Palestine in 1948.
On the other hand, Jews in Israel celebrate this day as Independence Day.

PM Narendra Modi announced e-Visa facility for Chinese Tourists


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 May 2015 announced electronic tourist visa
(e-Visa) facility for Chinese nationals.
The decision was announced in Beijing, China during his three day visit starting from
14 May 2015.
It is in tune with the Joint Statement issued by Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
after conclusion of bilateral talks during the visit which called for development of
tourism sector and increasing people-to-people exchanges between the two
countries.
Incidentally, India designated 2015 as Visit India Year in China to augment Chinese
tourist arrivals and tourist revenues.
The above steps by the Indian Government are aimed at attracting a bigger chunk of
about 100 million Chinese tourists who visited abroad in 2014.
India, despite having huge tourist potential for Chinese by virtue of having many
Buddhist holy places, it attracts less travelers (2 lakh during 2014) when compared
with that of our smaller neighbours like Maldives (4 lakh), Nepal (1.4 lakh) and Sri
Lanka (1.3 lakh).

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Vatican recognised Palestine as State in the Holy See-Palestine


Joint Statement
Vatican recognised Palestine as a state in the Holy See-Palestine Joint Statement
released on 13 May 2015.
The Joint Statement titled Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of
Palestine was released after the Plenary Session held in Vatican on a Comprehensive
Agreement following on the Basic Agreement signed on 15 February 2000. The Basic
Agreement of 2000 deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic
Church in Palestine.
The Plenary Session was chaired by Mgr Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for the
Holy Sees Relations with States, and by Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, Assistant
Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs of the State of Palestine.

Why the recognition is significant?


Although the Vatican had been officially referring to Palestine as a state following
the Popes visit to the Holy Land in 2014 but the joint statement is the first legal
document to be negotiated between the two.
Also, the document changes its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation
Organisation (PLO) to the state of Palestine. The official relation between the Holy
See and PLO was established on 26 October 1994.
The recognition by Vatican came as Israel government published its official guidelines,
which promised to advance the peace process and make an effort to reach a peace
agreement with the Palestinians but did not use the term Palestinian state.

Other nations to recognise Palestine as State


The Vatican has functionally dealt with Palestine as State since the 2012 United
Nations vote wherein Palestine was given a non-member, observer-state status. 135
member-nations of UN recognized Palestine as a State.
In October 2014, Sweden recognised Palestine and in recent months the British,
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French, Spanish and Irish Parliaments have passed resolutions urging their
governments to follow the suit.

Comment
The present move by the Vatican is a welcome development and will help Palestine
in its international effort to get the recognition as a State. This is not only politically
significant but also morally significant because the Vatican represents hundreds of
millions of Christians worldwide, including Palestinians.
Further, the endorsement of statehood by the Vatican counters images of Palestinians
as terrorists and is recognition of the Palestinian character that has a clear message
for coexistence and peace.
However, the move has been criticized by Israel and the US by terming it as
disappointing. According to Israels Foreign Ministry, the recognition would not
advance the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning
to direct and bilateral negotiations.

North Korea successfully test-fired Submarine-Launched


Ballistic Missile
North Korea on 8 May 2015 successfully test-fired a newly developed SubmarineLaunched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). The nation described the missile as a world level
strategic weapon.
The underwater ballistic missile that will meet the latest military science and technology
requirements of the country was test-fired after Leader Kim Jong-Un gave the order
to test-fire the missile. He also watched its launch from attack submarine.
This underwater ballistic missile is capable of striking and wiping out hostile forces
in any waters.
This missile programme has violated the UN resolution that prohibits Pyongyang
from conducting ballistic missile tests.

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India, Russia signed 11 MoIs for Higher Academic Cooperation


Indian and Russian institutions of higher learning on 8 May 2015 inked 11 Memorandum
of Intent (MoI) to establish the Network of Institutions of Higher Education.
Among those that signed the memorandum were IIT Bombay, Madras and Delhi and
also University of Delhi, Indian Statistical Institute and Institution of Engineers.
The MoIs were inked in Moscow in presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, who is
on a four day visit to Russia to witness the Victory Day parade on 9 May 2015, which
is marking the 70th anniversary of Allied forces victory in the Second World War.
During this visit, Mukherjee was conferred with honorary Doctorate by the Russian
Diplomatic Academy.
The leading Academic Institutes of Russia and India will combine efforts to train
highly qualified staff for innovative economy and expand scientific, technical and
technological cooperation.
Cooperation agreement signed between the Department of Science & Technology in
India and Russian Science Foundation will offer another platform for supporting joint
research projects.
Establishment of a network of Indian and Russian Universities would facilitate
establishment of more institutional linkages, including exchanges of faculty,
researchers and students, joint research activities and scientific conferences and
symposia.

UK General election 2015: Conservative Party won majority by


securing 331 seats
David Camerons Conservative Party on 8 May 2015 won the UK General election
2015 by securing 331 seats in a Parliament of 650.

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With this win, the incumbent Prime Minister David Cameroon will continue to be in
the office.

Result of 2015 UK General Election


Conservative Party led by David Cameron: 331 seats received 51 percent votes
Labour Party led by Ed Miliband: 232 seats received 36 percent votes
Scottish National Party led by Nicola Sturgeon: 56 seats received 9 percent votes
Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg: 8 seats received 1 percent votes
Democratic Unionist Party led by Peter Robinson: 8 seats received 1 percent
votes
Others: 15 seats
The elections were held on 7 May 2015. The British Parliament is made up of 650
seats with 326 required for a majority.

Comment & Analysis


This win of Conservatives with an absolute majority means that they will be able to
govern without need for a coalition with any other parties. Earlier, the country was
ruled by a coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Philippines and Japan coast guards held anti-piracy drills in


Manila Bay
Philippine and Japanese coast guard teams on 6 May 2015 held an anti-piracy drills
in Manila Bay. This is the first drill held by Japan and the Philippines after signing a
strategic partnership pact in 2012.
The drills in Manila Bay were watched by the coast guard chiefs of 17 Asian nations.
The drill features the storming of a cargo vessel after a mock hijack. The drill was
held in a show of maritime cooperation between the two nations amid rising tension

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in Asian waters.
Both nations face a challenge from Chinas growing assertiveness over territorial
claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, where it uses coast guard and
fishing vessels to press into disputed areas.
Philippines and Japan shared mutual interest, such as pirates and illegal trafficking,
drug trafficking, firearms trafficking. Japan has been helping the Philippines improve
its skills in maritime law enforcement, safety and environment protection.
China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which
5 trillion US dollar in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam,
Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

India, Iran signed inter-Governmental MoU for development of


Chabahar Port
India and Iran on 6 May 2015 signed an inter-Governmental Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) for the development of the strategically important Chabahar
Port in Iran.
The MoU was signed in Tehran by Minister for Shipping and Road Transport and
Highways Nitin Gadkari and Iranian Minister for Transport and Urban Development
Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi.

Features of this inter-Governmental MoU


The MOU facilitates Indian and Iranian commercial entities to commence
negotiations for finalization of a commercial contract.
Under the contract, Indian firms will lease two existing berths at the Port and
operationalize them as container and multi-purpose cargo terminals.

Benefit of the MoU


This MoU will facilitate availability of functional container and cargo terminal to India

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at the port which will provide Afghanistans garland road network system alternate
access to a sea port. It will also enhance Afghanistans overall connectivity to regional
and global markets significantly and provide a boost to the ongoing reconstruction
and humanitarian efforts in the country.
The port located in Sistan-Balochistan Province on Irans southeastern coast is
of great strategic utility for India and will also provide a sea-land access route to
Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. The port will be used to ship crude oil and urea,
saving India transportation costs.
Comment: The MoU may work as a setback for United States, which has been asking
India and other countries not to rush into doing business with Iran. It has asked other
countries to halt their process of doing business with Iran as Washington is yet to
work out a deal with Tehran on the latters contentious nuclear programme.

Forbes released Global 2000 Companies list


Forbes on 6 May 2015 released Global 2000 Companies list. The Forbes Global 2000
is a comprehensive list of the worlds largest, most powerful public companies, as
measured by revenues, profits, assets and market value.
Global 2000 companies hail from 61 countries and account for combined revenues
of 39 trillion US dollar, profits of 3 trillion US dollar, with assets worth 162 trillion US
dollar, and a market value of 48 trillion US dollar.

Highlights of the Report


Industrial and Commercial Bank of China tops the list for a third consecutive year,
while Bank of China jumped 5 spots to the No.4 spot, knocking down JP Morgan
Chase.
Berkshire Hathaway stays at the 5th place, making Warren Buffets conglomerate
the largest U.S. Company. For the first time, Chinas four biggest banks own the
top four spots.
China and the USA split the top 10 spots for a second year in a row.
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U.S. tops the list with 579 companies. China with 232 stands second, surpassed
Japan for the first time. With 218 companies, Japan slid to the third spot.
The United Kingdom kept its fourth place with 95 companies, Europe overall lost
20 spots to finish with 486 companies this year, falling further behind Asia (691)
and North America (645) in continental rankings.
Two countries debut on the list this year: Argentina and Cyprus.
India has added two companies to its last years tally.
Reliance Industries is ranked 142 on the list, down from last years 135th spot,
with a market value of 42.9 billion dollars and 71.7 billion dollars in sales.
Reliance is followed by State Bank of India which is ranked 152 and has a 33
billion dollars market value.
The other Indian companies on the list are Oil and Natural Gas ranked 183, Tata
Motors (263), ICICI Bank (283), Indian Oil (349), HDFC Bank (376), NTPC (431),
Tata Consultancy Services (485), Bharti Airtel (506), Axis Bank (558), Infosys (672),
Bharat Petroleum (757), Wipro (811), Tata Steel (903) and Adani Enterprises (944).

Canadian House of Commons approved Anti-Terror Act, 2015


The Canadian House of Commons on 6 May 2015 approved the Bill C-51, Anti-Terror
Act, 2015 that empowers the countrys spy agency. It was adopted in a 183 to 96
vote.
The act would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) the ability to
operate overseas and make preventative arrests. It also makes it easier for police to
arrest and detain individuals without charge.
Now, the bill will be sent to Senate for being approved before becoming a law.

Main Features of the Anti-terror Act


It allows anyone suspected of being involved in a terror plot to be detained without

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charge for up to seven days from the present three days.


It empowers Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS), the spy agency of
Canada, to thwart attacks directly in a significant expansion of their powers.
Further, it allows CSIS to directly approach terror suspects in order to disrupt their
plans as against the current practice of only collecting intelligence and passing
the information on to police.
CSIS will also be able to cancel plane or other travel reservations made by
Canadians suspected of being involved in terrorism. However, the new activities
by CSIS will require approval by a judge.
It makes it a crime for a person to call for terror attacks on Canada generally or
to promote or advocate others to carry out terrorism elsewhere. At present, it is a
crime to make a specific threat.
The penalty for giving public threat will be a maximum of five years in prison.
Authorities will be able to remove terror-related material from any Canadian
website.
The ant-terror bill was announced by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in
January 2015 in response to attacks on Canadian territory on 22 October 2014, in
which two people were killed.
In the incident, an armed assailant, identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed a soldier
at the countrys National War Memorial in Ottawa and then stormed the parliament
before being shot dead by police.

French Parliament approved Surveillance Law to prevent terrorist


attack
The French Parliament on 5 May 2015 approved a surveillance law that strengthens
the intelligence services of the country.
The aim behind approving the law is to prevent terrorist attacks.
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The law on intelligence-gathering adopted by 438 votes to 86, was drafted after three
days of Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January 2015, in which 17 people were killed.
The law will now be examined by the senate.

Features of the Surveillance Law


It allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without judicial permission
from judges
It defines the purposes for which secret intelligence-gathering may be used
Sets up a supervisory body, the National Commission for Control of Intelligence
Techniques (CNCTR), with wider rules of operation
It authorises new methods, such as the bulk collection of metadata via internet
providers
It allows placement of cameras and recording devices in private homes of suspects
along with keylogger devices that record every key stroke on a targeted computer
in real time by Intelligence services
It allows authorities to keep recording for a month and metadata for five years
It allows intelligence services to vacuum up metadata, which would then be subject
to analysis for potentially suspicious behavior
It says that the metadata would be anonymous but could be followed by intelligence
agents with a request to an independent panel for deeper surveillance that could
yield the identity of users
It allows authorities to force the internet providers to install so-called black boxes
or complex algorithms to flag up a succession of suspect behavioural patterns
online, like keywords used, sites visited and contacts made

Comment
The new law, especially the action of tapping phones and emails, has sparked protests
in the country terming that the legalisation of the intrusive surveillance method
surpasses the individual freedom and privacy. In wake of the law, the protesters
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for civil liberties group launched a campaign under banner 24 hours before 1984
in reference to George Orwells dystopian novel about life under an all-knowing
dictatorship.
The new Surveillance Law of France is similar to mass surveillance Patriot Act of
the United States which was introduced in the backdrop of 9/11 attacks. Although,
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, defended the bill by saying that a law was needed
to take into account the communication technology.

France signed 7.02 billion US dollar agreement with Qatar to


supply 24 Rafale fighter jets
France on 4 May 2015 signed a 7.02 billion US dollars agreement with Qatar to
supply 24 Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets. This is the third contract to sell
Rafale Fighter jets after contracts with Egypt and India.
Agreement was signed by the French President Francois Hollande and Qatari Emir
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha, Qatar.
The agreement also includes training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the
French military. It will also provide for the training of a number of Qatari intelligence
officers.
Since the first sale of Rafale fighter jets to Egypt, the French planes have become the
best-seller worldwide and it could help to make France the worlds second biggest
supplier of weaponry after the United States.
The Rafale export deals are expected to give 21 billion euro in 2015 to French
economy, a significant boost for a still-struggling French economy.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter
aircraft designed. It was introduced in 2001 and has been built by Dassault Aviation.
Since its introduction, the Rafales have been used in combat operations in Afghanistan,
Libya, Mali and Iraq.

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Australia announced new punishments for foreigner investors


breaking rules on buying property
The Australian government on 3 May 2015 announced tough new punishments for
foreigner investors who break rules on buying property in the country.
This was jointly announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey.
Now, the Australian Taxation Office will handle all residential real estate data which
will enable it to alert the government of possible breaches more effectively.

The new punishments include


Up to three years in prison and fines of 127500 dollars for individuals and 637500
dollars for companies
The third parties, including real estate agents and developers knowingly helping
those buyers will also be penalised with fines of up to 42500 dollars for individuals
and 212500 dollars for companies
Foreign buyers who are forced to sell a property will be prevented from profiting
from the sale.
Foreign buyers will also have to pay a 5000 dollar fee to buy property in Australia
which will be used to fund the policing of the new rules
Besides, the government has also asked the foreign investors who have illegally
bought Australian properties to declare themselves by December 2015 or risk facing
tough new penalties including three years jail and fines of up to 637500 dollar.

Third India-Tunisia Foreign Office Consultations held in Tunis


Third India-Tunisia Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) was held in Tunis from 29 April
to 2 May 2015. The third round of FOC was held after a gap of 12 years.

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The Indian delegation was led by Secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa who held
comprehensive discussions with Mohamed Ezzine Shelaifa, Secretary of State in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia.
During the visit of Indian delegation to Tunisia, several bilateral and multilateral issues
related to regional and international issues of mutual interest were discussed. Besides,
the two sides also signed an Agreement on Exemption of Visas for Diplomatic and
Official Passports.

Other discussions included


Issues pertaining to TIFERT (Tunisia-India Fertiliser) plant, the bilateral joint venture
in phosphates
Further avenues of economic cooperation were explored and some specific items
with potential for two-way trade were identified
Ways of streamlining the procedure of registration of new pharmaceutical products
was discussed

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NATIONAL
20th Law Commission submitted report on Guardianship and
Custody Laws to the Union Law Ministry
The 20th Law Commission of India on 22 May 2015 submitted the 257th report titled
Reforms in Guardianship and Custody Laws in India to DV Sadananda Gowda, the
Union Minister of Law and Justice.
The report reviewed the current laws dealing with custody and guardianship and
came up with draft legislative amendments in the form ofthe Hindu Minority and
Guardianship (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Guardians and Wards (Amendment)
Bill, 2015 to the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 and the Guardians and
Wards Act, 1890 respectively.
Major amendments deal with the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 by introducing
a new chapter (Chapter IIA) on custody and visitation arrangements including the
concept of joint custody.

Key Aspects of the Draft Legislation


Welfare principle: The welfare principle in the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890
was strengthened with a continuous emphasis on its relevance in each aspect of
guardianship and custody related decision-making.
Abolition of preference: Preference for the father as the natural guardian under Hindu
law was removed and both parents are granted equal legal status with respect to
guardianship and custody.
Joint custody: Courts are empowered to award joint custody to both parents in
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circumstances conducive to the welfare of the child or award sole custody to one
parent with visitation rights to the other.
Mediation: Parties to a custody matter must ordinarily consider expert-led and timebound mediation, which can not only promote better outcomes for parents and
children, but also reduce the strain on the overburdened court system.
Child support: Courts are empowered to fix an amount specifically for child support,
to meet basic living expenses of the child.
Financial resources of parents and the standard of living of the child must be considered
when fixing such amounts. Child support must continue till the child turns 18, but
may be extended till 25; or longer, in case of a child with mental or physical disability.
Guidelines: Detailed guidelines were evolved to help courts, parents and other
stakeholders arrive at the best arrangement to serve the welfare of the child. Several
new concepts in this regard, including parenting plans, grand parenting time, visitation
rights, and relocation of parents were also mentioned in the report.

Comment
The revision of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 and the Guardians
and Wards Act, 1890 has become necessary to ensure these laws are in tune with
changes in the social considerations. As per an estimate, divorce rate increased to
13 per 1000 in 2014 as compared to that of 1 in 1000 in 2004.
Additionally, in most of the proceedings of divorce and family breakdowns parents
use children as pawns to strike their own bargains without considering the emotional,
social and mental upheavals that the children may face.
Hence, in order to protect interest of the children, the commission has recommended
amendments to laws by giving substantial powers to courts in dealing with such
cases.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Doordarshans farmercentric Kisan TV Channel


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 May 2015 launched Doordarshans farmercentric channel named DD Kisan from Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. The 24-hour
channel will air information on farmer-related issues.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has included DD Kisan channel under
the genre Infotainment (Hindi). With this, DD Kisan has become a must carry channel
making it mandatory for every cable and Direct to Home (DTH) operators to provide
DD Kisan to their subscribers.
The channel programmes would be primarily for agriculture sector and rural India and
would help in revitalizing agriculture sector which in turn would aid the development
of rural India.

India Meteorological Department signed MoU with POSOCO Ltd


to increase efficiency of power sector
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences
on 18 May 2015 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Power System
Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) for optimum use of weather information/
forecast in the power sector.
POSOCO Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.

Highlights of the MoU


All weather information provided by ESSO-IMD will be used by the Power System
Operators across the India for better management of Indian Power System.
IMD will make available current weather information for the identified stations;
and forecasts at different time scales of temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind
direction and rainfall of the identified stations/sectors.
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IMD will also provide weather warnings about likely occurrences of thunderstorm,
heat wave, cold wave, rainfall, fog, etc. over various states for up to 72 hours.
IMD will provide state or region wise Monthly/Seasonal outlooks of weather
conditions.
Both the parties agreed to provide expert opinion and knowledge support in areas
of Weather information and its affect on power distribution system.
Data and Inputs will be exchanged to encourage further study and research work.
POSOCO will provide economic assessment of impact of weather and climate
information. Regular feed mechanism will be put in place for continued upgradation of the services.

Bengaluru airport signed a contract with SITA to allow self


check-in from June 2015
The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) on 15 May 2015 signed a sevenyear multi-million dollar contract with the global aviation IT firm SITA.
The contract will enable the airport to implement the new Common Use Self Service
kiosk (CUSS) platform that allows passengers to print their own boarding passes as
well as baggage tags from June 2015.
The contract includes SITAs passenger processing platform AirportConnect Open, the
latest self-service check-in kiosks and baggage reconciliation service BagManager.
In total, 180 common-use workstations and 30 new CUSS kiosks will run on the
SITA AirportConnect Open platform. All 31 airlines using the airport can access their
respective IT applications in real-time on shared equipment.
They can also use any airport desk, gate or self-service kiosk for passenger check-in
and boarding. This will ensures maximum flexibility and convenience for the airlines
as well as for the airport and passengers.
SITAs baggage reconciliation service BagManager would provide the airport with
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comprehensive baggage management, delivering real-time information on baggage


status and helping resolve issues quickly and efficiently.
In addition, BagMessage service ensures on-time departures with a fully managed
and secure baggage message distribution system.
BIAL is a 74:13:13 joint venture with GVK-led consortium as the majority partner
while state-owned airport operator Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Karnataka
Government each having 13 per cent stake. The airport had handled 15 million
passengers in the fiscal, ended in March 2015.

Union Government launched Road Asset Management System


for National Highways
Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping on 15 May 2015 launched
Road Asset Management System (RAMS) for National Highways. The system will
compile information on road assets, condition of the pavements and traffic through
use of laser technology.
The outcome of this integrated data collection system will assist in developing an
accurate and scientific maintenance planning mechanism, finalizing road safety
measures and development of the National Highways network in India. The data
collected will be stored and managed through a web based application, which will
be hosted in the public domain. The application, when fully developed, can also be
accessed by smart phones.
Information collected from this project will be useful for Transport Ministry, Finance
Ministry, NHAI, State PWDs, Police departments, funding agencies, developers and
citizens. The software will be equipped to interface with the indigenous Bhuvan satellite
images. The survey vehicle is equipped with three cameras including pavement view,
15 advanced Lasers and GPS connected to Gagan satellite.
The development of Road Asset Management System (RAMS) is a part of the Prime
Ministers Digital India initiative.

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Union Government decided to implement NERS for women in


distress
Union Home Ministry on 15 May 2015 decided to implement the NERS (Nationwide
Emergency Response System) to save women in distress. In this regard, the Ministry
invited proposals from IT service providers to implement it.
NERS was the brainchild of the Congress-led UPA government which envisaged it in
response to Delhi gang rape case of December 2012.
The NERS seeks to make the police immediately respond to any call by a woman in
distress anywhere in India. It will revolutionalise the existing Police Response systems
which are limited to a city and different cities use different systems and only a handful
of cities use technology in any form.

How it will operate?


NERS resembling the 911 number system of the United States (US) is designed to
have at least one Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in each state. The PSAP
basically is a call center where all calls originating in that state will land and will be
answered. The Call Taker with access to case management software and a GIS map
of the state will first mark the location of the caller. It will then evaluate the emergency
situation and forward the case to a Call Dispatcher.
The Call Dispatcher will then identify all the available police vehicles close to the
incident with the aid of the GIS based Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) software and
dispatch the nearest available Police Personnel.
Further, the IT enabler system will automatically detect callers location if call is
coming from landline, mobile apps and sensors.
To make the system more robust, even the police vehicles will have a GPS based
Mobile Data Tablet (MDT) installed that will continuously broadcast their location to
a central data server.

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Union Government launched kayakalp Award Scheme to improve cleanliness in Public Health Facilities
The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda on 15 May 2015 launched
kayakalp Award Scheme.
The scheme is intended to encourage and incentivize Public Health Facilities (PHFs)
in the country for maintaining the facilities clean and hygienic.

Features of Kayakalp Award Scheme


The objectives of the award scheme are
To promote cleanliness, hygiene and infection control practices in public health
care facilities
To incentivize and recognize such public healthcare facilities that show exemplary
performance in adhering to standard protocols of cleanliness and infection control
To inculcate a culture of ongoing assessment and peer review of performance
related to hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation
To create and share sustainable practices related to improved cleanliness in public
health facilities linked to positive health outcomes Cleanliness does not apply only
to physical cleanliness, but to develop and put in place systems and procedures
for activities such as bio-waste disposal or protocols etc.
Five awards will be given under this scheme viz., best two District Hospitals (DH) in
each state (only one best district hospital in small states),best two Community Health
Centres (CHC) or Sub District Hospitals (SDH) (limited to one in small states) and one
Primary Health Centre (PHC) in every district.
Award winners will receive a cash award with a citation. First rank and second rank
awardees at DHs will get 50 lakh rupees and 20 lakh rupees respectively. While 15
lakh rupees and 10 lakh rupees are proposed for CHC or SDH, the winner in the PHC
category will get 2 lakh rupees under this scheme.
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Certificate of Commendation plus cash award would also be given to such facilities
that score over 70 percent but do not make it to the list of top two or one in a
particular year, which is proposed as 3 lakh rupees for DH, 1 lakh rupees for CHC or
SDH and 50000 for PHC.
The awards would be distributed based on the performance parametersincluding
sanitation and hygiene, infection control, hospital upkeep, waste management,
community participation.
Assessment of the performance would be done sequentially through a three tier system
- internal assessment followed by peer assessment and then external assessment.

Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched USTAAD Scheme for


Traditional Artisans
The Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on 14 May 2015
launched USTAAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for
Development) Scheme in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Features of USTAAD Scheme


The objective of the scheme is to preserve rich heritage of traditional arts and
crafts of minorities and build capacity of traditional artisans and craftsmen
Its purpose is to establish linkages of traditional arts and crafts with the national
and international market and ensure dignity of labour to artisans and provide
employment opportunities and a better future to the youths belonging to the
minority community.
It will be funded by the Central Government and will prepare skilled and unskilled
artisans and craftsmen to compete with major companies in terms of quality of
products.
It will be administered by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs across the country.
The scheme was launched in Varanasi to improve sordid conditions of weavers of
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world famous Banaras Saree, belonging to minority communities.

Union Government approved Gujarat State Climate Change


Action Plan 2015-2020
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 14 May 2015 approved
the Gujarat State Climate Change Action Plan 2015-2020. The plan was submitted
in August 2014.
In the action plan, the state government proposed to invest more than 21000 crore
rupees to create environment-friendly water resource management, public health
projects, forest and environment improvement projects and agriculture improvement
projects by 2020.
The plan also suggests radical changes in the functioning of government in nine
sectors including agriculture, water resource management, healthcare, forest and
biodiversity, renewable energy, coastal infrastructure, urban development, vulnerable
community and green jobs.
The plan was prepared by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

Background
Gujarat was the first state to set up first climate change department, but was
amongst the last states to get approval for its action plan from the Union Ministry
of Environment and Forests. The plan raised serious concerns about the socioeconomic and environmental impact of climate change.
Moreover, it suggested huge investments in building new infrastructure to mitigate
the impact of climate change and also stressed upon radical policy changes in
governance, industries and other sectors.

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Union Cabinet approved amendments to Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012
Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 13 may 2015 approved
official amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill,
2012.
The official amendments along with the Amendment Bill 2012 seeks to amend the
Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) (CLPR) Act, 1986and allows children below
the age of 14 years to work in select non-hazardous family enterprises

Following official amendments have been approved by the Cabinet:


It prohibits employment of children below 14 years in all occupations and processes
and links the age of prohibition of employment to age under Right of Children to
Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. However, it will not prohibit
1. oa child helping his family or family enterprise, which is other than any hazardous
occupation or process, after his school hours or during vacation; and
2. oa child working as artist in an audio-visual entertainment industry, except the
circus, provided that the school education of the child is not affected.
It introduces a new definition of adolescent in the CLPR Act and prohibits the
employment of adolescents (14 to 18 years of age) in hazardous occupations and
processes.
It provides for stricter punishment for employers for violation of the CLPR Act has
been proposed to act as a deterrent:
1. In case of first offence of employing any child or adolescent in contravention of
the Act, penalty would be imprisonment for a term not less than six months, which
may extend to two years or with fine not less than 20000 rupees which may extend
to 50000 rupees or with both.
2. In case of a second or subsequent offence of employing any child or adolescent
in contravention of the Act, the minimum imprisonment would be one year which
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may extend to three years.


It makes the offence of employing any child or adolescent in contravention of the
Act by an employer a cognizable offence.
There would be no punishment in case of a first offence by the parents/guardians
and in case of a second and subsequent offence; the penalty would be a fine
which may extend to 10000 rupees. This amendment is introduced in light of
socio-economic conditions of parents/guardians.
It provides for constitution of Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund for
one or more districts for the rehabilitation of the child or adolescent rescued.

Why the need for amending CLPR Act, 1986?


Firstly, the official amendments along with Amendment Bill, 2012 seeks to strike
a balance between the need for education for a child and the reality of the socioeconomic condition and social fabric in the country.
Secondly, the socio-economic milieu of India is such that, on the one hand, children
help their parent especially in occupations like agriculture, artisanship etc. and on the
other, they learn basics of occupation while helping the parents.
Thirdly, the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (CLPR Act) 1986 was not in
sync with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 that
enjoins the State to ensure free and compulsory education to all children in the age
group of 6 to 14 years. A corollary to this would be that if a child is in the work place,
he would miss school.
Lastly, CLPR Act was not in conformity with the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Conventions 138 and 182, which provide for minimum age of entry into employment
and prohibition of employment of persons below 18 years, in work which is likely to
harm health, safety and morals.

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Supreme Court issued Guidelines on Regulating Government


Advertisements
The Supreme Court (SC) on 13 May 2015 issued guidelines on regulating government
advertisements. The guidelines were issued by a SC bench headed by Justice Ranjan
Gogoi.
The new guidelines by the apex court were framed with a view to discourage
such advertisements from creating personality cults and it applies to the frequent
advertisements that are placed by the centre and state governments to publicise
schemes.

Details of the guidelines


Only photographs of the President, Prime Minister (PM) and Chief Justice of India
(CJI) can feature in the newspaper advertisements released by state and central
government departments.
The photographs of these dignitaries can only be used with their prior approval.
Besides, these three, the photos of late leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and
Jawaharlal Nehru can also be used in the government advertisements.
The use of photo of any politicians other than these personalities was banned by
the apex court.
Other than politicians, the photos of even Chief Ministers and bureaucrats were
also banned from being featured in newspaper advertisements.
In order to see that the framed guidelines are not violated, the apex court even
asked the government to appoint a three-member committee to monitor it.
The guidelines were issued by a SC bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi in response
to a petition filed by lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan-headed NGO Common Cause,
who sought strict rules to ban government advertisements glorifying the politicians
and ministers of government in power as it is the blatant misuse of taxpayers money.
These guidelines were based on the recommendations of NR Madhava Menon
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headed three-member committee constituted by the SC to look into the matter in


August 2014.

Lok Sabha passed Repealing and Amending Bill, 2015


Lok Sabha on 7 May 2015 gave its nod for the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2015
which seeks to repeal 36 archaic laws either partially or entirely as they have ceased
to be in force or have become obsolete.
With this, the bill has been passed by both the houses of Parliament as Rajya Sabha
passed the bill on 5 May 2015.
Out of the 36 acts, four acts will be repealed entirely. These include The Indian
Fisheries Act, 1897, The Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1947 and The Sugar Undertakings
(Taking over of Management) Act, 1978.
The remaining 32 Acts that are being repealed are amendments to principal Acts.
These include amendments to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, Hindu
Marriage Act, 1955, Anand Marriage Act, 1909 the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 among
others.
A similar bill, the Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill, 2014 was passed by the Lok
Sabha on 8 December 2014 and is lying with the Rajya Sabha. It is sought to repeal
90 laws and pass amendments to two laws. Out of 90 laws, 88 laws will be repealed
completely.

Comment
The passage of The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2015 by the Parliament is in tune
with the Union governments objective of repealing the obsolete laws as they have
outlived their utility.
Around 1741 laws in the country have become redundant but still they are in existence.
In this regard the BJP-led NDA government had identified certain Appropriation Acts
that needs to be repealed. These Acts pertain to the domain of Union Finance Ministry
and Railway Ministry.
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In lieu of this, the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015 was introduced in the Lok
Sabha on 24 April 2015 which intended to repeal 758 Acts passed by the Parliament
including Appropriation Acts [including also, Appropriation (Railways) Acts] enacted
between 1950 and 2012 and 111 State Appropriation Acts enacted by the Parliament
between 1950 and 1976.

Lok Sabha passed Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2014


Lok Sabha on 7 May 2015 passed Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)
Bill 2014. The Bill clearly defines and classifies offences as petty, serious and heinous,
and defines differentiated processes for each category.
The amendment bill has introduced a new provision that disallows the protection
from disqualification in cases where a juvenile is tried and convicted under the adult
system.
The bill will allow children in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults if they commit
heinous crimes.
The bill will replace the existing Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. The bill states that in case
a heinous crime has been committed by a person in the age group of 16-18 years it
will be examined by a Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime was committed
as a child or as an adult.
The trial of the case will take place accordingly by the board which will consist of
psychologists and social experts.
The bill also proposed to streamline adoption procedures for orphaned, abandoned
and surrendered children by making mandatory registration of all institutions engaged
in providing child care.
The bill proposes several rehabilitation and social integration measures for institutional
and non- institutional children. It provides for sponsorship and foster care as
completely new measures.
According to data from National Crime Records Bureau, crimes by juveniles in the
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age group of 16-18 years have increased, especially in certain categories of heinous
crimes.
The number of murder cases against juveniles rose from 531 in 2002 to 1,007 in 2013.
Similarly, cases of rape and assault with intent to outrage the modesty of women
have gone up from 485 and 522 in 2002 to 1884 and 1424 in 2013 respectively.
In 2013, 933 cases of kidnapping and abduction were registered against juveniles,
which was 704 in 2012. According to Women and Child Development Ministry, more
than 250 civil society organisations, individuals and experts had given their comments
on the draft Bill which were taken into consideration before giving it a final shape.

Union Government launched Credit Enhancement Guarantee


Scheme for Scheduled Castes
The Union Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment on 6 May 2015 launched the
Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes. The scheme is being
implemented by Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Ltd.
A sum of 200 crore rupees was allocated towards Credit Enhancement Guarantee
scheme for young and start-up entrepreneurs belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC)
to avail financial assistance. This allocation was made under Social Sector Initiatives
to promote entrepreneurship among SCs.
The main objective of this scheme is to encourage entrepreneurship in the lower strata
of the Society resulting in job creation besides creating confidence in Scheduled
Castes.

Other Programmes
Moreover, the Ministry also inaugurated the Commercial Motor Driving Training
Programme with Self Defense Skills for 250 women organized by National Safai
Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC).
This training was launched with an objective to ensure women social & economic

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empowerment by creating job or self employment opportunities for these women,


belonging to the families of Safai Karamcharis.

Rajya Sabha passed 119th Constitutional Amendment Bill on


LBA between India and Bangladesh
Rajya Sabha on 6 May 2015 passed 119th Constitutional Amendment Bill on Land
Boundary Bill (LBA). The 119th Constitution Amendment) Bill, 2013 was unanimously
passed by the upper house, with 180 votes in favour and zero against it.
The Bill is to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement with India and Bangladesh,
and the exchange of certain enclaves of land between the two countries.
The Bill was earlier passed by the Union Cabinet and now includes territories in
Assam along with those in West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.
Now, the Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha and it will then be sent for Presidents
signature.
As it is the Constitutional Amendment Bill, It would require ratification of at least 50
per cent of the state legislatures before it comes into effect.
The bills passage will lead to an amendment in the first schedule of the Constitution
and give effect to a May 1974 agreement between India and Bangladesh on acquisition
and transfer of territories.

Background
The exchange will see Bangladesh take over 111 enclaves (17160 acres) from Indias
possession and India, in turn, receive 51 enclaves (7110 acres) from Bangladesh.
In Assam, India will get 470 acres of land from Bangladesh, while 268 acres will go
to Bangladesh. Enclaves are tiny landlocked territories that each country has within
the borders of the other nation. The enclaves in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and
Meghalaya come under the bills ambit.

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Worlds largest solar photovoltaic plant of 750 MW to be built in


Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh
The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet in the last week of April 2015 gave its approval to build
750 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (SPV) plant atGurh tehsil in Rewa district. The
plant, to be developed in three phases of 250 MW, once completed will become the
worlds largest solar power plant.
At present, the largest SPV plant is the Topaz Solar Farm (550 MW) in Californias San
Luis Obispo county, US, which was commissioned in 2014

Characteristic Feature of SPV plant


The plant will use photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate electricity from the sun
and is estimated to be completed by March 2017 at an estimated cost of 4500
crore rupees.
The loan for it will be provided by World Bank and New and Renewable Energy
Department of Madhya Pradesh government will provide land for the project. The
state government is also on the lookout for private land.
The plant will provide power at a price as low as 5.50 rupees per unit as against
the 6.86 rupees per unit, which is the benchmark forlevelised tariff (tariff realised
over the span of the project) of SPV for 2015-16 announced by Central Electricity
Regulatory Commission.
The project is being set up under the scheme for development of solar parks and
ultra mega solar power projects. The PV modules for the plant would be sourced
from the domestic market which is not mandatory.
The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited will construct the grid connections
and transmission lines of the solar plant.
Once commissioned, Jabalpur-based Madhya Pradesh Power Management
Company Limited will buy 40 per cent of power.

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Union Ministry of Tourism released Draft National Tourism Policy


2015
The Union Ministry of Tourism on 1 May 2015 released the Draft National Tourism
Policy 2015 after re-visiting National Tourism Policy 2002. The policy is aimed at
boosting tourism sector in the country.
Its objective is to increase Indias share in world tourist arrivals from the present
0.68% to 1% by 2020 and increase to 2% by 2025 and position tourism as a priority
on the National political and economic agenda.

Key Features of the Draft National Tourism Policy 2015


It enshrines the vision of developing and positioning India as a MUST EXPERIENCE
and MUST RE-VISIT destination encompassing the aspects of Swachhta
(cleanliness), Suraksha (safety) and Swagat (welcome).
It seeks to evolve a framework for tourism development, which is Governmentled, private sector driven and community welfare oriented.
Its focus is on Employment Generation and Community Participation in the
development of tourism industry in a sustainable manner.
The emphasis of the policy will be on skill development across all segments
including setting up of a dedicated university for tourism and hospitality education
and deployment of technology in promotion of tourism.
National Tourism Advisory Board (NTAB) will be set up under chairmanship of
Union Tourism Minister and having tourism ministers of States / Union Territories
(UTs) and domain experts as its members to monitor the implementation of the
policy.
National Tourism Authority will be established with representation from the trade
and industry and interconnected departments or agencies to execute the policy.
Core infrastructure (airways, railways, roadways, waterways, etc.) as well as

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Tourism Infrastructure (Swadesh Darshan, PRASAD, Buddhist Circuit, etc) will be


developed.
Focus on domestic tourism as a major driver of tourism growth and on development
and promotion of the North East Region and the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
To attract foreign tourists the government will play a more pro-active and decisive
role at multilateral tourism fora such as the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation (SAARC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),
India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
(BRICS) on themes that link the countries such as the Buddhist Circuit, Ramayana
Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Heritage Circuit, etc.
The new tourism policy will be finalised after receiving inputs and suggestions from
the general public. The suggestions have been invited by the ministry till 10 May
2015.

Nitin Gadkari dedicated two Major Highway Projects in the North


East to the Nation
Union Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari on 1 May 2015 dedicated
Shillong Bypass Highway Project and four lane Jorabat-Barapani Section of NH-40
to the nation in Shillong, Meghalaya.
The two projects are intended to improve connectivity between Guwahati and Shillong
and other parts of the North East.
The 48.76 Km Shillong Bypass was constructed by National Highways Authority
of India (NHAI) on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) mode and connects National
Highway (NH) 40 and NH 44 (New NH 6). This will help decongest the traffic in the
city of Shillong from trucks and heavy vehicles coming from or moving towards North
Eastern parts of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
Four laning of 61.80 km Jorabat-Barapani section is intended to augment connectivity
between Guwahati and Shillong. The project was constructed by the NHAI on Design
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Build Finance Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) Mode on annuity basis.


The above projects are part of the Union Governments larger agenda to improve the
connectivity within the Northeast (NE) region and between the NE and other parts of
the country in order to tackle the regions isolation and improve the socio economic
conditions.

First meeting of Sub-Group of CMs on Swachh Bharat Mission


held in New Delhi
The first meeting of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Mission
(SBM) was held on 30 April 2015 at NITI Aayog in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired
by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu who is the convener of
the sub group.

Highlights of the meeting


It discussed robust institutional mechanisms for effective implementation of the
mission.
It prepared guidelines and process chart to work on the subject.
It decided to recommend measures for technological support, including solid
waste management in rural and urban areas.
It decided to constitute a working group headed by NITI Aayogs Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) to study the best practices showing alternative methods and best
technology.
It examined the need of sending some members to other countries to study
sanitation practices
Technologies from other countries would also be imported and modified to suit
the countrys requirements.
As per the term of reference, the sub-group will examine the financial requirements
for the comprehensive implementation of SBM and suggest measures for meeting
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budgetary needs.
It will also examine models of private sector participation in the SBM and suggest ways
to substantially improve participation of private sector and civil society organisations
for effective implementation of the programme.
The final report on Swachh Bharat would be submitted to the Union Government by
end of June 2015.

Nadia in West Bengal became the first open defecation-free


(ODF) district of India
Nadia district of West Bengal was on 30 April 2015 declared as the first open
defecation-free (ODF) district in India.
Nadia district could achieve this feat due to its collaborative effort with the United
Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and World Bank aimed at construction of toilets
across the district.
Incidentally, in order to eliminate open defecation from the rural landscape of the
state, the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee formally launched the
Mission Nirmal Bangla (MNB) on 30 April 2015 and declared the day as Nirmal Bangla
Diwas to mark the occasion.
The mission is akin to the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in its objectives which was
launched on 2 October 2014 with the objective of ensuring cleanliness in all the 4041
statutory cities and towns of the country by 2 October 2019 which marks the 150th
birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

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ECONOMY
CSO released Provisional Estimates of National Income for FY
2014-15
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) on 29 May 2015 released the provisional estimates
(PE) of national income for the financial year (FY) 2014-15 both at constant (2011-12)
and current prices.
As per it, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices in the FY 2014-15
will grow at 7.3 percent while at current prices it is expected to grow at 10.5 percent.
Besides, CSO also released the quarterly estimates (QE) for the fourth quarter
(January March) of 2014-15. At constant prices, in Q4 GDP is estimated to grow at
7.5 percent while at current prices it is estimated to grow at 7.7 percent.

Main Highlights
In absolute terms, Real GDP (at constant prices) in FY 2014-15 is expected to
grow to 106.44 lakh crore.
In 2014-15, real Gross Value Added (GVA), that is, GVA at basic constant prices is
estimated at 98.27 lakh crore rupees and growth rate is estimated at 7.2 percent.
The gross national income is estimated to have risen by 7.3 percent during 201415, in comparison to the growth rate of 6.8 percent in 2013-14.
The per capita net national income in real terms (at 2011-12 prices) during 201415 is estimated to have attained a level of 74104 rupees as against 69959 rupees
in FY 2013-14 (RE).

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The growth rate in per capita income in real terms is estimated at 5.9 percent
during 2014-15 as against 5.4 percent during 2013-14.
Indias annual per capita or average income (in current prices) in 2014-15 stood at
87748 rupees from 80388 rupees in 2013-14.
The wholesale price index (WPI), in respect of the groups, food articles,
manufactured products, electricity and all commodities, has risen by 6.1 per cent,
2.4 per cent, 5.7 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively during 2014-15.
The consumer price index has shown a rise of 6.4 per cent during 2014-15.
In terms of GDP, the rates of Gross Fixed Capital Formation (G)FCF at current and
constant (2011-12) prices during 2014-15 are estimated at 28.7 percent and 30.0
percent, respectively, as against the corresponding rates of 29.7 percent and 30.7
percent, respectively in 2013-14.

Sector-wise Growth
The sectors registering growth rate of over 7.0 percent in 2014-15 are trade,
hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting, financial,
real estate and professional services, electricity, gas, water supply & other utility
services, public administration, defence and other services and manufacturing.
The growth in the agriculture, forestry and fishing, mining and quarrying and
construction is estimated to be 0.2 per cent, 2.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent
respectively.
The third advance estimates of crop production released by the Ministry of
Agriculture show a decline of 2.3 percent in food grain production in 2014-15 to
251.12 million tonnes (MT) as against 257.07 MT in second advance estimates.
The growth of mining &quarrying is estimated at 2.4 percent, as against the
Advance Estimate (AE) growth of 2.3 percent.
The growth of manufacturing sector is estimated at 7.1 percent, as against
the AE growth of 6.8 percent. The performance of corporate performance in
manufacturing sector has also been taken into account. The Trade, hotels,

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transport, communication and services related to broadcasting sectors have


registered a growth of 10.7 percent in 2014-15 as against 8.4 percent in the AE.
The sector, financial, real estate and professional services, has shown a growth
rate of 11.5 percent during 2014-15 as compared to growth rate of 13.7 per cent
in the AE.
The sector public administration, defence and other services has shown a growth
rate of 7.2 percent in the PE, as against the growth rate of 9.0 per cent in the AE.

Comment
The provisional estimates of GDP for the FY 2014-15 vindicate the growth projection
for Indian economy by various world bodies like IMF, World Bank amongst others.
According to these bodies, India is set to become the worlds fastest growing major
economy in the world, overtaking Chinas 7.3 percent growth.
Further, at 125.4 lakh crore rupees (2.02 trillion US dollars as on March 2015) Indias
GDP at current prices has officially crossed the 2 trillion US dollars mark making it
the worlds 10th largest economy.
However, despite the current slowdown, at 10.3 trillion US dollars Chinas economy
is five times bigger than India, while the USA remains the worlds largest economy at
17.4 trillion US dollars.
Further, experts have pointed out that there were anomalies in the data as
manufacturing shows an estimated growth of 7.1 percent for 2014-15, which under
the index of industrial production (IIP) data for factory output was 2.3 percent.

Finance Minister inaugurated Bank Note Paper Line unit in Hoshangabad, MP


Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 30 May 2015 inaugurated the new Bank Note
Paper Line unit of 6000 metric tonne capacity at Security Paper Mill in Hoshangabad,
Madhya Pradesh.

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With opening of this, India will become self-reliant in producing Bank Note Paper for
big denominations. Earlier, India was considerably dependent on import of bank note
paper for currency of big denominations.
He also flagged off the first consignment of one thousand rupees bank note paper
made indigenously to Currency Note Press Nashik.
It is part of the indigenisation of the Bank Note paper under taken by Security Printing
and Minting Corporation of India Limited. The project has been completed at a cost
of 495 crore rupees within the time schedule.
The plant is capable of incorporating the advanced security features into the Bank
Note paper. It is also capable of manufacturing all denominations of Bank Note paper
including 1000 rupees.
It is expected that the plant will help in generating both direct and indirect employment
and overall will boost the economy of the state.
Another such unit will be soon operationalised in Mysore.

RBI released Draft Guidelines on Net Stable Funding Ratio for


Banks
The Reserve Bank of India on 28 May 2015 released the Draft Guidelines on Net
Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) under Basel III Framework on Liquidity Standards for
banks.
The Reserve Bank proposed to make NSFR applicable to all banks in India from
1 January 2018. The objective of NSFR is to ensure that banks maintain a stable
funding profile in relation to their assets and off-balance sheet activities.
A sustainable funding structure can reduce the probability of erosion of a banks
liquidity position due to disruptions in its regular sources of funding that would
increase the risk of its failure and potentially lead to broader systemic stress.
The NSFR limits overreliance on short-term wholesale funding, encourages better
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assessment of funding risk across all on-off balance sheet items and promotes
funding stability.

What is NSFR?
Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) is defined as the amount of available stable funding
relative to the amount of required stable funding.
It measures the amount of longer-term, stable sources of funding employed by an
institution relative to the liquidity profiles of the assets funded and the potential for
contingent calls on funding liquidity arising from off-balance sheet commitments and
obligations.
In particular, the NSFR standard is structured to ensure that investment banking
inventories, off-balance sheet exposures, securitisation pipelines.

Background
In the backdrop of the global financial crisis that started in 2007, the Basel Committee
on Banking Supervision (BCBS) proposed certain reforms to strengthen global capital
and liquidity regulations with the objective of promoting a more resilient banking sector.
In this regard, the Basel III: International framework for liquidity risk measurement,
standards and monitoring was issued in December 2010 which presented the
details of global regulatory standards on liquidity. The Basel Committee on Banking
Supervision issued the final rules on the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) in October
2014. Two minimum standards- Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable
Funding Ratio (NSFR) for funding liquidity were prescribed by the Basel Committee
for achieving two separate but complementary objectives.
The RBI has already started phasing in implementation of the Liquidity Coverage
Ratio (LCR) from January 2015.

RBI proposed to introduce PPI for Mass Transit Systems


The Reserve Bank of India on 28 May 2015 proposed to introduce Prepaid Payment

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Instruments (PPI) for Mass Transit System (PPI-MTS).


These PPI-MTS will be semi-closed instruments that will be used facilitate the
migration to electronic payments in line with the countrys vision of moving to a lesscash society.
Further, it can also be used within the mass transit systems and will have a minimum
validity of six months from date of issue. Such PPIs will be reloadable instruments
subjected to an outstanding limit of 2000 rupees at any point of time.

Main features of Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs)


The semi-closed PPIs will be issued by the mass transit system operator (PPIMTS) who will be authorised under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act,
2007.
The PPI- MTS will necessarily contain the Automated Fare Collection application
related to the transit service.
Such PPI-MTS can be used by other merchants whose activities are allied to or
are carried on within the premises of the transit system only.
The PPI- MTS issuer will ensure on-boarding of merchants following due procedure
applicable to any other PPI issuer.
The PPI-MTS will have minimum validity of six months from the date of issue.
The issuer may decide upon the desired level of Know Your Customer (KYC), if
any, for such PPIs.
No cash-out or refund will be permitted from these PPIs.
Funds transfer under Domestic Money Transfer (DMT) will also not be applicable
to these PPIs.
The RBI proposed to introduce PPIs after it received requests from various segments,
including providers of mass transit services and road transport services, indicating
the need for PPIs catering to the requirements of this segment to enhance commuter
convenience.

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Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs notified the Companies


(Amendment) Act, 2014
The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs on 27 May 2015 notified the Companies
(Amendment) Act, 2014 in the Official Gazette.
The act received the assent of the President of India in early May 2015.
Sixteen amendments pertaining to winding up of companies, board resolutions, bail
provisions and utilisation of unclaimed dividends have been incorporated into the Act
by amending the Companies Act, 2013.

Some of the important provisions of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2014


are
It seeks to simplifying bail provisions. For instance, except in various issues of
serious frauds, normal Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provisions would apply.
To maintain the confidentiality of the board resolutions, the relevant amendment
now prohibits public inspection of board resolutions filed in the registry.
The paid-up capital criteria have been scrapped while threshold limits for various
transactions for getting shareholders nod has now been stipulated.
Specific punishment for deposits accepted a condition that was left out in the
Companies Act, 2013 inadvertently.
Corporate are exempted from the need to get shareholders nod in the case of
related party transactions valued lower than 100 crore rupees or 10 percent of net
worth. Earlier corporate were required to get shareholders permission for party
transactions valued more than 10 crore rupees.
Transactions between holding companies and wholly owned subsidiaries are
exempted from the requirement of approval of non-related shareholders.

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Expert committee on Health Insurance recommended changes


in disclaimer wordings
Expert committee on Health Insurance of Insurance Regulatory and Development
Authority (IRDA) chaired by M Ramaprasad in its report has suggested changing the
wordings of disclaimer in advertisements of insurance companies.
The report of the Committee was made available on the IRDAs website on 22 May
2015.
Till date, as per the IRDA mandate all insurance companies issued a disclaimer,
Insurance is a subject matter of solicitation, in all their advertisements. The
Committee recommended the following wordings for the disclaimer Before buying,
know the conditions and exclusions, to make a well-informed decision.

Other recommendations of the committee


It recommended bringing in a great transparency and clarity to enable policy
holders to understand the boundaries of coverage in their policies.
It recommends that insurers and third party administrators (TPAs) should have
systems in place to identify, monitor, control and deal with fraud, including hospital
abuse, by various agencies including health care providers.
It suggested an industry-level collaborative effort to minimise subjective and varied
interpretation of policy terms and conditions, which is the root cause of disputes
between insurers and policy holders.

Besides, it made recommendations on other issues like


Policy holder Protection, Policyholder Servicing, Fraud Control and Risk
Management
Product, Distribution, Rural, Social Sector and Micro-insurance
Reinsurance, Reserving and Solvency
Capital, Accounts, Expenses of Management, Investment, and Mergers and
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Acquisitions
Health Insurance Regulations 2013
Policy holder Protection Regulations
These recommendations will help to reduce the asymmetry of information that exists
among all the parties concerned that is customer, provider, payer and others.

Union Cabinet approved revised FDI norms for NRIs, PIOs and
OCIs
The Union Cabinet on 21 May 2015 gave its nod for changes in the Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) policy on investments by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of
Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs).

The amendments to the FDI policy are


The definition of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) was expanded by including OCI
cardholders as well as PIO cardholders. The decision is meant to align the FDI
policy with the stated policy of the Government to provide PIOs and OCIs parity
with Non Resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational
fields.
Investment made by NRIs under Schedule 4 of FEMA (Transfer or Issue of Security
by Persons Resident outside India) Regulations, 2000 will be deemed to be
domestic investment at par with the investment made by residents. The decision
is meant to provide clarity in the FDI policy as such investment is not included in
the category of foreign investment.
The above decisions of the cabinet coupled with its earlier decisions allowing FDI
up to 100 percent in the Railway infrastructure sector and up to 49 per cent in the
insurance and defence sectors are expected to result in increased investments and
remittances leading to economic growth of the country.

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Union Cabinet gave its approval for setting up Ammonia-Urea


Complex at Namrup in Assam
The Union Cabinet on 21 May 2015 gave its approval for setting up of a new AmmoniaUrea Complex at Namrup in Assam. The complex will be set up on Public-Private
Partnership (PPP) mode by a joint venture (JV).
In the proposed JV, PSU Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Limited (BVFCL),
Government of Assam and Oil India Limited (OIL) shall have 11 percent, 11 percent
and 26 percent equity holding respectively and balance 52 percent by private/
public sector entity (entities) which would be inducted through a competitive bidding
process.

Features of the Ammonia-Urea Complex


It will be of 8.64 lakh metric tonnes annual capacity and will be operationalised
with an investment of 4500 crore rupees.
The plant will be highly energy efficient unit of international standard with latest
technology and with same amount of natural gas available to the existing units,
the production of urea from the new unit will be more than double that is 3.6 to
8.64 lakh metric tonnes annually.
The entire production of urea from this unit shall be neem coated so that benefits
of neem coating are available to the farmers of the North-Eastern region also.

Importance of the Ammonia-Urea Complex


It will meet the growing demand of urea in the North-East Region, Bihar, West Bengal
and Jharkhand and will ease the pressure on infrastructure due to long distance
transportation of Urea from Western and Central Regions and thereby saving in
government subsidy on freight.
It will accelerate the economic development of the region by opening up of new
avenues for the people of the North-East in terms of employment and increased
agriculture production.

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At present, India is importing around 80 lakh metric tonnes of urea to meet the
domestic demand of 310 lakh metric tonnes per anuum. With the operationalisation
of this new unit along with the revival of the five units as approved by the Union
Cabinet in recent months namely Talcher (Odisha), Ramagundam (Telangna), Barauni
(Bihar), Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Sindri (Jharkand) of Fertilizer Corporation
India Limited (FCIL) India is likely to start export of urea which will save about 600
crore rupees annually for government due to reduction in cost of production and
import substitution.

Union finance Ministry constituted Shah Committee to look into


the issue of MAT on FIIs
Union finance Ministry on 20 May 2015 constituted Shah Committee to look into the
issue of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).
The committee will be headed by Justice A P Shah while the other members are Dr.
Girish Ahuja, a chartered accountant and former Associate Professor of Commerce,
Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi and Dr. Ashok Lahiri, former Chief
Economic Adviser and Executive Director, ADB and currently Chairman of High Level
Committee to interact with Trade and Industry on tax laws.
Further, the committee would examine the matter relating to levy of MAT on FIIs for
the period prior to 1 April 2015.
It will also examine all the related legal provisions, judicial/quasi judicial pronouncements
and such other relevant aspects as it may consider appropriate. The committee has
been requested to give its recommendations on the above issue expeditiously.
The committee shall set its own procedure for regulating its work. The term of the
committee will be for one year or such period as may be notified by the Government
from time to time.
The committee may interact with various stakeholders as it may deem fit. The
committee may also invite officers from Department of Revenue including the Central

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Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for consultations/discussions as may be necessary.


Union Finance Ministry had announced the decision to set up the committee on 7
May 2015. The committee was appointed to resolve the contentious issue of MAT
between the tax authorities and the foreign investors.
As per the Finance Act, 2015 the 20 percent MAT on Capital Gains made by FIIs is
waived off from the financial year 2015-16. However, the issue of imposing MAT for
past years (till 2014-15) has become controversial as the FIIs raised objections to 68
notices (in lieu of 602 crores rupees) issued by the International Taxation Wing of the
Income Tax Department in lieu of MAT.

SEBI notified the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Mutual


Funds) Regulations, 2015
The Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 20 March 2015 notified the SEBI
(Mutual Funds) Regulations, 2015.
The notified regulations dropped the 20-25 rule requiring a minimum of 20 investors
and a cap of 25 percent investment by an individual investor in a particular scheme,
for certain foreign entities.
The rule will not be applicable to funds managed by local fund managers in regard to
Category I and/or Category II FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors).
Category I FPIs includes government and government related entities and Category
II FPIs includes both broad based entities such as mutual funds, investments trusts
and persons such as portfolio managers, investment managers, asset management
companies, banks among others.
The relaxation of the rule aimed at making easier for domestic mutual funds to manage
offshore pooled assets.
Earlier, the funds not adhering to the 20-25 rule were bound to appoint a separate
fund manager to manage the funds.

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Union Government sanctioned 30 new cold storage projects


Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries on 18 May 2015 sanctioned proposals
for setting up 30 new cold storage chains in the country.
The total expected grant-in-aid to be released by the Ministry is 274.9 crore rupees
which would attract an investment of 470 crore rupees.
These 30 new cold storage chains were sanctioned under the Integrated Cold Chain
project. So far, 138 cold storage chains under the project have been sanctioned out
of which 108 are under implementation. Out of these 52 cold storages have been
completed and are operational.

Importance of the decision


These 30 projects will help in creating a capacity of 1.12 lakh Million Tonnes (MT)
of cold storage, 11.10 lakh litres per day of milk processing, 1434 MT per day of
ripening chamber and 209 Reefer Vehicles.
This decision will also help bridge the shortfall in handling capacity for at least 2930 million tonnes (mt) of milk and dairy products, fruits and vegetables, fish and
marine produce and cereals.
It will also help in creating a Cold Chain Infrastructure to link the farmer with the
consumer seamlessly and creating a Cold Chain Grid in the country.
This decision along with earlier decision of setting up 17 Mega Food Parks will
help attract a total investment of about 3077 crore rupees in the creation of
infrastructure in food processing industry in the country.
India is the third largest food producer in the world yet barely 2.2% of fruits and
vegetables in India are processed. Also, Government estimates the food processing
sector to be growing at 8.4% and comprised 13% of factory employment in 2012-13.

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Union government allocated 5000 crore for development of


AYUSH
The Union Government on 17 May 2015 allocated 5000 crore rupees for the growth of
Department of AYUSH (it comprises Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha
and Homoeopathy).
It also launched an independent National AYUSH Mission aimed at capacity building
for the sector. Besides, the Union Minister of State (MoS) for AYUSH Sripad Naik in
Mumbai informed that to create awareness about Ayurveda his ministry is planning
to observe Ayurveda Day.
The Union Government on 19 November 2014 approved and notified National AYUSH
Mission (NAM) as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

RBI allowed Tap And Pay without PIN for transactions up to 2000
rupees
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 14 May 2015 allowed Tap And Pay without PIN for
transactions up to 2000 rupees. For amounts higher than that, the customer must be
given the option of contact payment and would require pin authentication.
RBI decided to relax current guidelines on the needs for additional factor authentication
(AFA) for small value card present transactions only using contact-less cards.
The move is expected to hasten acceptance of tap and pay electronic payments at
retail outlets, in transport services and for toll payments.
Tap and pay refers to the use of near field communication technology in payment
cards where instead of the traditional swiping of the card and punching in payment
details, all the customer needs to do is wave a card in front of an acceptance device
for the bill to be settled.
One of the preconditions set out by RBI is that the contactless card should also
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incorporate the latest EMV Chip technology for enabling payment beyond 2000
rupees.
Also, Banks must give customers the option to choose to pay using the regular swipe
method without using NFC irrespective of the amount involved.
In most countries where payment technology has advanced NFC cards are used for
payment of metro or bus fares or in electronic toll collection.

CCEA gave its approval for 5% disinvestment in NTPC and 10%


in Indian Oil Corporation
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 13 May 2015 gave its approval
for 5 percent disinvestment in National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC)
and 10 percent disinvestment in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
Disinvestment in these two Maharatna companies will fetch government over 13000
crore rupees at current market price. The proposed share sale of 5 percent in NTPC
will fetch Union government 5600 crore rupees while that of 10 percent in IOC will
bring in 8100 crore rupees.
Currently, Union Government holds 74.96 percent stake in NTPC and 68.57 percent
stake in IOC. After the sale, the Government will be left with a 58.57 percent stake in
Indian Oil and 69.96 percent in NTPC.
Disinvestment in both these companies will be executed through the Offer for Sale
(OFS) route, through stock exchanges. Retail investors (those bidding for up to 2
lakh) will be required to deposit the full amount at the time of the bid, while high networth and institutional investors need not do so.
These approvals are part of Union Governments budgeted target to raise 41000
crore rupees through disinvestment in CPSUs for the current financial year 2015-16.

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Lok Sabha approved Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill,


2015
The Lok Sabha on 13 May 2015 passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment)
Bill, 2015 with a voice vote. The bill intends to amend the Negotiable Instruments
Act, 1881.

Key Features of Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015


Cases of bouncing of cheques can be filed only in a court in whose jurisdiction the
bank branch of the payee (person who receives the cheque) lies.
If a complaint against a person issuing a cheque has been filed in the court with
the appropriate jurisdiction, then all subsequent complaints against that person
will be filed in the same court, irrespective of the relevant jurisdiction area.
If more than one case is filed against the same person before different courts, the
cases will be transferred to the court with the appropriate jurisdiction.
It seeks to amend the definition of cheque in the electronic form. While the parent
act defines it as a cheque containing the exact mirror image of a paper cheque
and generated in a secure system using a digital signature, the amendment bill redefines it as a cheque drawn in electronic medium using any computer resource
and which is signed in a secure system with a digital signature.

Necessity for Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015


The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 defines promissory notes, bills of exchange,
cheques and creates penalties for issues such as bouncing of cheques. Though, the
act specifies circumstances under which complaints for cheque bouncing can be
filed (Section 138) but does not specify the territorial jurisdiction of the courts where
such a complaint is to be filed.
In a bid to overcome the legal lacunae, the Supreme Court of India (SC) in August 2014
issued an order stating that cases against those having defaulted on their cheque
payments could only be filed in courts under which jurisdiction of the bank account
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of the accused fell. However, since this order is not Payee-friendly (who happens to
be the victim) the government has brought the present amendment bill to by-pass
the courts order.
The new law is also intended to help consolidate the cases and aid the judicial system,
which is currently dealing with 21 lakh cheque-bounce cases with 259 courts hearing
them exclusively.

RBI released the report titled State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2014-15
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) 12 May 2015 released the report titledState Finances:
A Study of Budgets of 2014-15. The theme of this years report is Fiscal Consolidation:
Assessment and Medium Term Prospects.
The report is an annual publication that provides data, analysis and an assessment of
the finances of state governments. It provides the snapshot of the changing dynamics
of fiscal federalism over the years.

Main highlights of the report


It calls for renewed and sustained efforts by states towards fiscal consolidation
in the years following the global financial crisis so as to increase states own
revenues.
It calls for freeing up resources for higher capital outlays, improving the quality
of fiscal consolidation and setting the consolidated debt-GDP ratio of the states,
including off budget liabilities on a declining trajectory.
The rapidly growing e-commerce could contribute to states own revenue efforts,
provided there is greater clarity in rules and procedures to enable better compliance.
Windfall gains accruing over time from auctioning of natural resources need to
be channelised effectively for meeting developmental needs of the mineral rich
states.

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Transition from the present origin-based indirect tax regime to a destination-based


tax regime under the Goods and Services Tax from 1 April 2016 is expected to
create a buoyant source of revenue for the centre and states in the medium term.
Improvement in fiscal marksmanship is important for delivering on fiscal
consolidation intentions, particularly by minimising the systematic bias towards
over-estimation of expenditure relative to receipts.
The report has been prepared in the Fiscal Analysis Division (FAD) of the Department
of Economic and Policy Research.

Moodys released the report Global Macro Outlook: 2015-16


Moodys, the US research analytics firm, on 12 May 2015 released the quarterly
Global Macro Outlook: 2015-16 report.
As per the report, stronger US dollar and shifts in capital flows will widen the gap
between global economies in 2015-16. The anticipated tightening of US monetary
policy as compared to monetary easing by other central banks reflects different
prospects for growth and inflation around the world.
The divergence will be between those economies that have built up resilience, like
the US and India, and those that are vulnerable to negative shocks, like Brazil, South
Africa and Turkey. This gap will fuel shifts in capital flows and currency values and
affect the global economic outlook.
The report further forecasts that although the stronger US dollar will dent the growth
prospects of US economy but still the economic growth will be robust. Moodys
forecasts US GDP growth of 2.8% in both 2015 and 2016.
Moodys also expects that GDP growth in G20 economies will be 2.8 percent in
2015, which remains broadly unchanged compared to 2014, however, the G20 GDP
growth will increase to around 3 percent in 2016.
The weaker euro and lower oil prices is forecast to give a boost to the euro area
economy, with GDP growth of around 1.5 percent in both 2015 and 2016. Lower oil
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prices and the weaker euro will boost growth in the short term.
In China, domestic factors will mainly account for economic developments. Moodys
maintains its forecast that GDP growth will slow to 6.8 percent in 2015 and 6.5 percent
in 2016, from 7.4 percent in 2014.

Moodys on Indias growth prospects


Indias GDP will grow at a strong pace of 7.5 percent 2015-16, which is the highest
among G20 economies, helped by the reforms drive and lower oil prices.
The report also forecasts a broadly balanced current account for the first time in 10
years. This has been due to lower energy import bill and restriction in gold imports.
Furthermore, Moodys forecasts that, the Make-in-India campaign will give a boost
to domestic manufacturing and other reforms measures would bring in higher
investment and boost growth.
On inflation front, it said that inflation will remain moderate helped by adoption of
inflation targeting policy by Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This would in turn ensure
that higher inflation on food products does not spill onto other goods, services and
wages and will raise real incomes, profits and overall GDP growth.
According to the road map, RBI intends to lower retail inflation to 6 percent by January
2016 and 4 percent (+/- 2%) thereafter.

Downside risks to Global economy


The report has identified several risks that could lead to lower growth in some
individual countries. These risks are
(a)

a Greek exit from the euro area,

(b)

a disorderly reaction to tighter US monetary policy,

(c)

the impact of any future correction of Chinese equity or property prices, and

(d)

a possible disorderly liberalisation of Chinas capital account.

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PM inaugurated upgraded IISCO Steel Plant in Burnpur housing


largest blast furnace plant of India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 10 May 2015 inaugurated the upgraded IISCO
Steel Plant (ISP) in Burnpur, West Bengal. The ISP houses the largest blast furnace
of India.
The ISP was modernised by the Union Government at a cost of 16000 crore rupees.
After modernisation, the plants production capacity has increased from 0.85 million
tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 2.9 mtpa.
The revamped plant in Burnpur is spread across 953 acres. It is the fifth integrated
steel plant of SAIL. Also, the new plant is equipped with the latest green technologies
with zero emission.
The revamped plant has already achieved some major milestones, both in production
and quality, since 2014. It has started operating the continuous casting plant, and
the first batch of 8-mm thermo-mechanical treatment (TMT) bars was produced in
January 2015. The companys reserves of iron ore are the largest in Asia.
The modernization will held India in attaining the target of producing 300 million
tonnes of steel by 2025 to meet industry demand. Also, it will help SAIL in achieving
the target of enhancing production capacity to 50 million tonnes by 2025.
Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) was taken over by the Union Government in
1972 as part of a nationalisation drive and made a fully-owned subsidiary of SAIL in
1978. It was thereafter renamed ISP.

RBI advised all Public Sector Banks to appoint Internal


Ombudsman
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 11 May 2015 advised all public sector banks
(PSBs) to appoint internal Ombudsman. This internal Ombudsman will be designated
as Chief Customer Service Officer (CCSO) and it should not have worked in the bank
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in which it has been appointed as CCSO.


The objective of this initiative is to further boost the quality of customer service and
to ensure that there is undivided attention to resolution of customer complaints in
banks.
The internal ombudsman will be a forum available to bank customers for grievance
redressal before they can even approach the Banking Ombudsman.
Besides, it also asked some private sector and foreign banks to appoint such
Ombudsman. These are ICICI Bank Ltd., HDFC Bank Ltd., Axis Bank Ltd., Kotak
Mahindra Bank Ltd., IndusInd Bank Ltd., Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank N.A.
and HSBC Ltd. These banks have been selected on the basis of their asset size,
business mix, etc.

Banking Ombudsman Scheme


The RBI introduced the Banking Ombudsman Scheme (BOS) in 1995 to provide
an expeditious and inexpensive forum to bank customers for resolution of their
complaints relating to deficiency in banking services provided by commercial banks,
regional rural banks (RRBs) and scheduled primary co-operative banks.
Under the BO Scheme a total of 27 grounds of complaints/deficiencies in bank
services are covered. RBI operates the BOS, free of cost, so as to make it accessible
to all.

PM Narendra Modi launched Atal Pension Yojana (APY) for


unorganised sector workers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 9 May 2015 launched Atal Pension Yojana (APY) in
Kolkata, West Bengal.
The scheme is intended to enhance old age income security of the working poor and
is focused on encouraging and enabling them to join the National Pension System
(NPS). It will be operational from 1 June 2015.

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Key Features of Atal Pension Yojana (APY)


Operational Framework: It is a Government of India Scheme and is administered by
the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). The institutional
architecture of NPS would be utilised to enroll subscribers under scheme.
Eligibility: All citizens in the unorganised sector, who join the NPS administered by
the PFRDA and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme are
eligible to benefit under the scheme.
The minimum age of joining is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years. All the existing
subscribers of Swavalamban Scheme would be automatically migrated to APY,
unless they opt out.
It is expected that around two crore subscribers would be enrolled during the financial
year 2015-16 under the scheme.
Benefits: The subscribers would receive the fixed pension, as guaranteed by the
Union Government, of 1000 rupees per month, 2000 rupees per month, 3000 rupees
per month, 4000 rupees per month, 5000 rupees per month, at the age of 60 years,
depending on their contributions, which itself would vary on the age of joining the
scheme.
The pension would also be available to the spouse on the death of the subscriber
and thereafter, the pension corpus would be returned to the nominee.
Funding: The Government would co-contribute 50 percent of the subscriber
contribution or 1000 rupees per annum, whichever is lower, for a period of 5 years
starting from 2015-16, who join the NPS before 31 December 2015 and who are
not Income Tax payers. The government would also reimburse the promotional and
development activities including incentive to the contribution collection agencies to
encourage people to join the scheme.
The Government expenditure is expected to range between 2520 crore and 10000
crore rupees on account of co-contribution to subscribers of the APY over a period
of five years. Further, an expenditure of 2000 crore rupees for promotional and
developmental activities for enrolment and contribution collection is allocated for

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period of five years.


Enrolment agencies: All Points of Presence (Service Providers) and Aggregators
under Swavalamban Scheme would enroll subscribers through architecture of NPS.

Comment
In India, workers in the unorganized sector constitute 88 percent of the total labour
force of 47.29 crore, as per the 66th Round of National Sample Survey Organisation
(NSSO) Survey of 2011-12, but do not have any formal pension provision. Hence, in
order to address the longevity risks and encourage them to voluntarily save for their
retirement the Union Government had launched the Swavalamban Scheme in 201011.
However, enrollment under the scheme is not encouraging due to lack of clarity of
pension benefits at the age after 60 years. So, in order to address the lacunae in the
Swavalamban Scheme the APY was launched.

PM Narendra Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima


Yojana (PMSBY) for accidental Insurance Cover
PM Narendra Modi on 9 May 2015 launched Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
(PMSBY) in Kolkata, West Bengal.
It is an Accident Insurance Scheme (AIS) offering death and disability cover on
account of an accident.

Key Features of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)


It provides for the risk coverage of 2 lakh rupees for accidental death and full
disability and 1 lakh rupees for partial disability due to an accident.
It is available to people in the age group of 18 to 70 years having a savings bank
account.
The coverage period is of one year duration starting from 1 June to 31 March of
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the succeeding year.


A premium of 12 rupees per annum is paid by the subscriber which will be deducted
from the account holders savings bank account through auto debit facility in one
installment on or before 1 June of each annual coverage period.
The product will be offered by Public Sector General Insurance Companies
(PSGICs) and other General Insurance companies willing to offer the product on
similar terms with necessary approvals and tie up with banks for this purpose.

PM launched Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) in Kolkata


PM Narendra Modi on 9 May 2015 launched Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima
Yojana (PMJJBY) in Kolkata, West Bengal. The scheme is intended to provide for life
insurance cover to the eligible subscribers.

Key Features of PMJJBY


It provides for an annual life insurance of 2 lakh rupees and covers death due to
any reason.
A premium of 330 rupees per annum is paid by the subscribers to enroll in the
scheme.
People in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank account are eligible to
join the scheme.
It will be administered through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and other Life
Insurance companies willing to offer the product on similar terms with necessary
approvals and tie ups with banks for this purpose.
The coverage period is of one year duration starting from 1 June to 31 March of
the succeding year.
The Union Government will spend 50 crore rupees per annum between 2015 and

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2020 for creating awareness about the PMJJBY and thePradhan Mantri Suraksha
Bima Yojana (PMSBY) launched on the same day to provide insurance cover for
disabilities due to accidents.

Union Government, ADB signed loan agreement worth 31 Million


US dollars
The Union Government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 7 May 2015 signed
a 31 million US dollars loan agreement to boost water availability in selected river
basins in Karnataka and ensure improved water efficiency in irrigation.
The agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions),
Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Union Government and M Teresa
Kho, Country Director of ADB in India.
ADBs loan of 31 million US dollars will cover about 65 percent of the total project
cost of 48 million US dollars with the state government of Karnataka providing the
balance of 17 million US dollars.
The loan is the first tranche of the Karnataka Integrated and Sustainable Water
Resources Management Investment Program of 150 million US dollars, approved by
ADB in 2014. The program will improve irrigation efficiency in three river basins in the
state saving 1700 million cubic meters of water.
This saved water could be used on an additional 160000 hectares of farmland which
will further lead to increase in farm incomes by about 50 percent and benefit about
1.5 million people.
Besides, the loan will help train and certify over 200 Water Resources Department
(WRD) staff in integrated water resources management and build capacities of water
users cooperative societies.
Through this project, Advanced Centre for IWRM (AC-IWRM) will be developed into a
sub-regional accredited institute to provide certification in the field of IWRM.

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Union Cabinet gave nod for revised Double Taxation Avoidance


Agreement (DTAA) with South Korea
The Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its approval for the revised Double Taxation
Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with South Korea.
The bilateral DTAA was signed in 1985 for the avoidance of double taxation and for
the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for the citizens of
both the countries.

Features of revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)


Its primary purpose is to provide for tax stability to the residents of India and
South Korea and facilitate mutual economic cooperation as well as stimulate the
flow of investment, technology and services between the two countries.
It provides for source based taxation of capital gains, making adjustments to profits
of associated enterprises on the basis of arms length principle and residence
based taxation of shipping income.
It rationalizes tax rates in the Articles on Dividends, Interest and Royalties and
Fees for Technical Services.
It enables effective exchange of information and assistance in collection of taxes
between tax authorities
It incorporates limitation of benefits provisions under the agreement to ensure that
the benefits are availed of only by genuine residents of both countries.
The revision in the agreement has become necessary in the backdrop of growing
investment flows and increased movement of working professionals between the
two countries in recent years.

Union Cabinet approved foreign investments into Real Estate


Investment Trusts (REITs)
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The Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its nod for allowing foreign investments
into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by recognizing it as an eligible financial
instrument or structure under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999.
The decision allows entities registered and regulated under the SEBI (REITs)
Regulations 2014 to access foreign investment inflows into the completed rent yielding
real estate projects, which is, as of now, prohibited under the FEMA Regulations.

About Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)


It was proposed by the then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his budget
speech of 2014-15.
They are intended to attract long term finance from foreign and domestic sources
including Non Resident Indians (NRIs).
They are listed entities that primarily invest in leased office and retail assets,
allowing developers to raise funds by selling completed buildings to investors and
list them as a trust.
To operationalise the instrument, the capital market regulator The Securities and
Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued the SEBI (REITs) Regulations 2014 in
September 2014.
However, due to the limitation of its access only to domestic investments, it has not
attracted desired investments from the market, which is remedied by the recent
decision of the Cabinet.

CCEA approved hike in investment limit for cases requiring prior


approval of FIPB
The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 6 May 2015 gave its
nod for increase in the investment limit for cases requiring prior approval of Foreign
Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to 3000 crore rupees from the present 2000 crore
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rupees.
The decision is aimed at expediting foreign investment clearance process there by
increased investment flows into the economy.
The FIPB is an inter-ministerial body under the Union Ministry of Finance which is
responsible for processing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals and making
necessary recommendations to the Finance Ministry, which gives the final approval.
Under the present practice, FDI is allowed into the country under two routes:
Automatic and Approval Route. Under the Automatic Route, the investors need not
take any approvals from the government but only required to give prior intimation to
the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Majority of the sectors of the economy come under
the Automatic Route.
Under the Approval Route, if the investment is up to 3000 crore rupees it is vetted
by the FIPB and will be forwarded to the Finance Ministry for final approval. If the
investment is above 3000 crore rupees the investment proposal must be cleared by
the CCEA which functions under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. At present,
strategic sectors like telecommunication services, defense, civil aviation are kept
under this route.

CCEA Permitted Central Government agencies to invest beyond


26 percent in Mega Food Parks
The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 6 May 2015 relaxed
the provision related to investment limit by the Central Government agencies in Mega
Food Parks by allowing them to invest up to 100 percent on their equity holding in the
Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) from the present 26 percent.
The new regulation is expected to trigger further investment in the food processing
sector and ensure smooth implementation of the Mega Food Parks Scheme (MFPS)
particularly projects at initial phases of the implementation.
Apart from the above decision, the Cabinet also decided to give weightage to those
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proposals for new MFPs which are focused on the processing and preservation of
perishable food products.

About Mega Food Parks Scheme (MFPS)


The Scheme was launched in 2008 by UPA Government. Its focus is to overcome
the bottlenecks in the food supply chain due to which around 33 percent food is
wasted in India making it the largest food waster in the world.
For execution of a MFP a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be set up with or
without the involvement of government agencies.
A MFP entails an area of a minimum of 50 acres and works in a cluster based
approach based on a hub and spokes model. Union government provides a
financial assistance of up to 50 crore rupees to set up a MFP.

Lok Sabha passed the Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2014
Lok Sabha on 6 May 2015 passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2014. The
bill also called Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill seeks to introduce GST regime
in India.
The bill will transform India into a common market, harmonising myriads of state
and central levies into a national goods and services tax which is expected to boost
manufacturing and reduce corruption.

Main Highlights of the Bill


It provides for constitution of a Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council by inserting
Article 279A in the Constitution. The Council will recommend to the Union and
States on the inclusion and exclusion of goods and services.
It proposes an additional tax on supply of goods, not exceeding one percent,
in the course of inter-State trade will be levied and collected by the Union for a
period of two years and apportioned to the States.
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The net proceeds of additional tax on supply of goods, except the proceeds from
Union Territories, will not form the part of Consolidated Fund of India.
It provides for the compensation to the States for loss of revenue arising on
account of implementation of GST for a period of five years.
It subsumes all the Central indirect taxes, levies and Central Sales Tax and State
Value Added Tax and Sales Tax.
It covers all goods and services except alcoholic liquor for human consumption
for the levy of GST.
Now, the bill needs to be passed in Rajya Sabha after which more than a half of
Indias 29 states must approve it before the central and state governments would get
equal powers to tax goods and services.
With the passage of GST bill at every stage, the whole country, which is one-sixth of
worlds population, would become a single market and would give a necessary fillip
as far as the trade is concerned.

Union Government made PAN mandatory for Central Excise


Registration
Union Finance Ministry on 4 May 2015 made Permanent Account Number (PAN)
mandatory for private firms seeking Central Excise Registration.
In this regard, the Ministry issued an order mentioning that applicants seeking
registration will mandatorily have to quote PAN of the proprietor or the legal entity
being registered in the application form.
The new laws say that the PAN registration will be given within two days of filing
online applications to improve the ease in doing business in manufacturing. While,
the government departments has been exempted from the requirement of quoting
PAN in their online application.
Apart from this, the order also mentions that the applicant will have to quote his
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e-mail address and mobile number in the application form for communication with
the department.

DoT extended deadline of full implementation of Mobile Number


Portability (MNP) till 3 July 2015
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on 1 May 2015 extended the date of
implementation of the full Mobile Number Portability (MNP) by two months, that is,
till 3 July 2015.
Earlier, on 3 November 2014, the DoT on the basis of recommendations of the Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ordered Indian telecom companies to implement
full MNP by 3 May 2015.
The DoT extended the deadline on the basis of a request made by the Cellular
Operators Association of India (COAI) as telecom operators have to make some
technical changes to their networks due to changes in National Numbering Plan
(NNP) which would take about eight weeks.
The full MNP will allow telecom subscribers to retain their mobile number in any part
of the country even when they change their operator or telecom circle. At present,
partial MNP allows subscribers to retain their number while changing mobile network
only within a telecom circle.

Union finance Ministry exempted MAT for foreign investors


Union finance Ministry on 30 April 2015 exempted Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) for
foreign investors.
During the Finance Bill debate in Parliament, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said
that MAT would not be applicable on foreign companies earning from capital gains

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on securities, royalty, fee on technical services and interest.


However, MAT would not be applicable on sale of units of real estate investment
trusts (REITs). Further, the exemption would apply only in those cases where the
normal tax rate is below 18.5 percent.
The issue between foreign investors and the government cropped up in 2014-15
when the tax department started sending notices to FIIs to cough up MAT.
Total 68 notices were sent to FIIs for their past capital gains up to 31 March 2015
creating a huge uproar.
The government has been trying to soothe the foreign institutional investors, who
turned net sellers for the first time since April 2014.

Minimum Alternate Tax


MAT is a way of making companies pay minimum amount of tax. It is applicable to
all companies except those engaged in infrastructure and power sectors. Income
arising from free trade zones, charitable activities, investments by venture capital
companies are also excluded from the purview of MAT.

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ENVIRONMENT | ECOLOGY
Himachal Pradesh set up satellite tracking system to check
forest fire
State forest department of Himachal Pradesh has set up the satellite tracking system
to check the forest fire incidents during summer season. The system was launched
with an aim to preserve the precious forest fire incidents during summer season.
In case of any fire incident, the forest officials will immediately receive SMS on their
mobiles. Apart from this, the department also launched an awareness campaign
across the state to protect forests from fire in which local people will be involved to
detect the fire incidents.
Forest cover of the Himachal Pradesh is one of the biggest wealth and identification
of the hill state which faces forest fire as one of the biggest challenge and threat
during the summer season. This satellite tracking system may help the state to keep
on a vigil on the fire incidents in its forests.
Besides, 700 participatory committees had been constituted, more than 90 water
tanks constructed and nearly 100 watch towers had been erected so that the people
could easily detect fire incidents.

48 tigers in non-protected Chandrapur forest areas of


Maharashtra: WCT Survey
The tiger estimation study in non-protected areas of Maharashtra conducted by the
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Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) on 26 May 2015 claimed that as many as 48 tigers
have inhabited outside the protected areas in forests of Chandrapur district.
The survey claims that total number of such animals has now increased to 120 in the
zone which is home to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). As per the survey, the
number of big cats in the district stands at 120, including 60 in core area and 12 in
buffer area of TATR.
The study was carried out in the territorial forests and areas under Forest Development
Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) over last four months. The study was first of its
kind in the country, which was carried out across 2000 square kilometers of territorial
area outside the protected area. The survey was sponsored by Chandrapur Forest
department.
Besides, WCT President, Anish Andhariya informed that tiger density in some blocks
in these areas was found to be higher than that of some tiger reserves, like tiger
density in Kanhalgaon-Central Chanda Block was found to be 2.34, which is more
than that of Melghat Tiger Reserve in the state, in Junona-Central Chanda block was
found to be 1.77, which is higher than that of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve.

How tigers movement was monitored?


Movement of tigers in Greater Tadoba Landscape (non PA areas outside TATR) was
identified by DNA identification through scat collection. In the process, the 2000 square
kilometer area outside protected area was divided into six blocks in accordance to
occupancy of tigers and other large carnivores.
The team used Phase-IV camera trap (capture-recapture) technique to ascertain the
exact number of tigers and leopards in these blocks. As per the guidelines for PhaseIV tiger estimation, the entire area was covered by a network of 600 camera traps for
25 days.

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Blue whales spotted for the 1st time in 100 years off Sindhudurg
coast in Maharashtra
A group of researchers from the Konkan Cetacean Population Study (CPS) team
between March and May 2015 spotted two Blue Whales (mother-calf pair) and four
Brydes whales near Kunkeshwar off the Sindhudurg coast in Maharashtra.
This is for the first time after 100 years that the Blue Whales were sighted off the
coast of Maharashtra. Last time, a blue whale was sighted in waters of Maharashtra
was in 1914.
According to the records of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI)
a dead blue whale had washed ashore at the time.
The blue whales were spotted on 28 March 2015 approximately 2.7km offshore at a
depth of 16 metres, while the Brydes whales were spotted four times on 11 April, 16
April, 30 April and 6 May 2015.
The whales were spotted during a survey carried out by researchers to study IndoPacific humpback dolphins along the Maharashtra coast under United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) project on Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine
Biodiversity. The project is being implemented by the Maharashtra State Mangrove
Cell.
Blue whales are marine mammals and they are the largest animals on Earth. They can
reach an average length of 23-27 metres, with the largest known being 33 metres.
These animals tend to be open-ocean species, but they do come close to the shore
to feed. Blue whales are resident or migratory, usually seen alone or in pairs.
The mammal is found across the Indian Ocean, southern parts of the Sri Lankan
coast and quite often they have been found to migrate to parts of Bay of Bengal and
the Arabian Sea. In the recent past, another sighting of the mammal was observed in
2010 along the coast of Mangalore.

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Ecologists found a new species of fish called Pethia striata in


Western Ghats, Karnataka
Ecologists on 20 May 2015 found a new species of fish called Pethia striata in Tunga
River in the Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka.
The discovery of the new species was published in the journal of the American Society
of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists by researchers from Ashoka Trust for Research
in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).
The male of the species measures 3-4cm in length and is red in colour, while the
female is grey with a striking pattern of scales. The species was distinct in several
ways, but the most striking characteristics were the pattern of scales which form
oblique bars and the black blotch just before the tail.
The fish from Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, is currently known to be found
only in the two streams of Mudba and Turad, a region populated by wet evergreen
and semi-evergreen forests.
Pethia striata is found in small groups of 3-4 individuals in shallow pools and would
be an addition to the largest family of fish, scientifically called Cyprinidae, which
includes common carp, goldfish, and zebrafish.
Some of the recently discovered new species in the Western Ghats include a little
jumping spider in the Southern Ghats, a new frog species in Central Ghats.
In 2014, 14 new dancing frog species were discovered in the forests of Western
Ghats.

Maria Elena South, driest place on earth, discovered in Atacama


Desert
The researchers have discovered the driest place on the Earth in the Atacama Desert
in Chile. The site discovered is referred as Maria Elena South (MES).

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The results of the discovery was presented in the paper, Discovery and microbial
content of the driest site of the hyperarid Atacama Desert, Chile, published in March
2015 in the journal Environmental Microbiology Reports.
The lead author was Armando Azua-Bustos, an environmental biologist and research
scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle, US.
This discovery toppled the Yungay region which was so far the driest area of the
hyper-arid Atacama Desert. Yungay region conditions were close to the so-called dry
limit for life on Earth. However, with this discovery, MES is much drier than Yungay.
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 a depth of one meter.
Soil value taken from the MES site matches the lowest RH measurements taken on
Mars by the Mars Science Laboratory at Gale Crater.
The fact that the conditions at MES site, in terms of dryness, are the closest to
Mars it means that it is one of the best analogue models on Earth to understand
and investigate the potential existence, and type of, microbial life in the Martian
subsurface.

New Catfish Species Glyptothorax Senapatiensis discovered in


Manipur
The Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) discovered a new species of
catfish named Glyptothorax senapatiensis in the Chindwin river drainage in Senapati
district of Manipur. The discovery was published in the Ichthyological Exploration of
Freshwaters journal in March 2015.
The discovery was published in the research paper titled Glyptothorax senapatiensis,
a new species of catfish from Manipur, India. The lead authors of the research paper
are Kosygin, Nongthombam Premananda and Bano Saidullah.
The people of the Chindwin river drainage region used to have this 6 cm long
freshwater fish as food. They called this fish as Ngapang.
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About Glyptothorax senapatiensis


It is edible fish with high nutritional value and has high oil content.
It has thoracic adhesive apparatus with U-shaped median depression opening
caudally that helps the fish to cling on rocky riverbed in mountains against strong
currents.
It is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of characters: deep body,
deep caudal peduncle, narrow head, short dorsalfin spine and short pectoral-fin.
It has nasal barbell extending to middle of orbit; skin on head and body densely
tuberculate.

Background
The catfish genus Glyptothorax is the most widely distributed genus of the family,
extending from Turkey to Southern China and Java. The genus is very diverse in the
Indian sub-continent. The Northeast has a rich aquatic biodiversity, with 361 of the
816 fish species found in India.
Moreover, Manipur has a high diversity of aquatic fauna because of the two important
river drainage systems- the Barak-Brahmaputra drainage and the eastern and central
valleys are crisscrossed by the Chindwin river drainage, and these account for the
variety in the aquatic fauna.

Opah, the worlds first fully warm-blooded fish species, discovered by researchers
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
discovered the worlds first fully warm-blooded fish species named Opah. These
fishes are found in the deep waters off the US, Australia and several other countries.
The finding of the researchers was published on 15 May 2015 in the journal Science.

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How the Opah conserves its warmth?


According to the finding, the Opah fish has developed an internal heat exchange
system within its gills to conserve the warmth and it raises its temperature by flapping
its fins.
This adaptation means warm blood that leaves the opahs body core helps heat cold
blood returning from the surface of the gills where it absorbs oxygen, maintaining an
average body temperature of about 4 degree Celsius to 5 degree Celsius.
This system is more akin to a car radiator and is similar to that used by mammals and
birds, which are known as endotherms for their ability to maintain body temperature
independent of the environment.
While tuna and some sharks can warm certain parts of their bodies, such as their
brains and eyes, fish are generally classed among cold-blooded animals, known as
ectotherms.

Characteristics of Opah fish


Opahs are more effective predators by virtue of being a warm-blooded species.
It swims faster, reacts more quickly and sees more sharply than the other marine
life
It can dwell 50 meter to 400 meter underwater.
It can weigh up to 90kg and are oval-shaped roughly the size of a car tyre.
It has fatty deposits around the gills, heart and muscle tissue in order to provide
insulation from the cold water.

IMOs Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)


adopted environmental section of Polar Code
The 68th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the
International Maritime Organization (IMO) held between 11 May and 15 May 2015
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adopted provisions of the Polar Code related to environmental norms.


The meeting was held at the IMO Headquarters in London, the UK.
While the recent provisions are related to discharges of ships operating in the Polar
Waters (Arctic and Antarctic seas), the safety regulationsrelated to ship design,
equipment, crew training and search-and-rescue issues were adopted the Maritime
Safety Committee (MSC) in December 2014.
Both of these regulations are part of the Polar Code aimed at protecting the environment
of Polar Waters from pollution causing ships operating in the region.

Environmental Provisions of the Polar Code


Prevention of pollution by oil: Discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any
ship are prohibited and Oil fuel tanks must be separated from outer shell.
Prevention of pollution by noxious liquid substances: Discharge into the sea of
noxious liquid substances or mixtures containing such substances are prohibited.
Prevention of pollution by sewage: Discharge of sewage is prohibited unless
performed in line with MARPOL Annex IV and requirements in the Polar Code.
Prevention of pollution by garbage: Discharge of garbage is restricted and only
permitted in accordance with MARPOL Annex V and requirements in the Polar
Code.
While, the code will apply to all new vessels constructed after 1 Jan 2017 and the
vessels constructed prior to it must comply by 1 Jan 2018.
The MEPC meeting gave its approval to MARPOL Annex I amendmentsalso which
are related to oil tankers.
The adoption of the Polar Code and associated MARPOL amendments completed
the process to make the Code mandatory under both the International Convention
for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and MARPOL treaties.

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Indian Scientists found a rare plant with anti-cancer properties


in Western Ghats
Indian Scientists on 14 May 2015 found a rare plant named Miquelia dentate Bedd
with anti-cancer properties in Western Ghats. The plant could open up possibilities
for cancer treatment.
The plant is a small climbing shrub producing anti-cancer alkaloid Camptothecine
(CPT). It occurs sparsely in Madikeri Forests in Kodagu in Karnataka.
The team of scientists from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment,
Bengaluru and University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru and Dharwad has found
the plant.
Camptothecine is an important anti-cancer compound extracted from several plant
species belonging to Asterid clade. It is a potent inhibitor of the intra-nuclear enzyme
topoisomerase-I, which is required in DNA replication and transcription.
Several semi-synthetic drugs such as Hycamtin (topotecan) and Camptostar
(irinotecan or CPT 11) are derived from CPT and are currently in clinical use against
ovarian, small lung and refractory ovarian cancer.
Several plant species producing CPT have been found in India. But the demand for
CPT has resulted in extensive felling of the woody trees and plants like Nothapodytes
nimmoniana, which is now on the verge of extinction and declared vulnerable.

Union Cabinet Approved Namami Gange programme under


National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 13 May 2015
gave its nod for implementation of Namami Gange programme (NGP).
The programme will be operational under the National Ganga River Basin Authority
(NGRBA).
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Key Features of Namami Gange Programme (NGP)


It is an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission in the sense that it tries to integrate
the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner and
will result in socio-economic benefits in terms of job creation, improved livelihoods
and health benefits to the vast population that is dependent on the river.
Its focus is on pollution abatement interventions namely Interception, diversion and
treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation
or appropriate in-situ treatment or use of innovative technologies such as sewage
treatment plants (STPs) or effluent treatment plant (ETPs).
It has a budget outlay of 20000 crore rupees for 2015-20. This is a significant fourfold increase over the expenditure in the past 30 years as the Union Government
incurred an overall expenditure of approximately 4000 crore rupees on this task
since 1985.
The Union Government will sanction 100 percent funding for various activities or
projects under this program and the operation and maintenance of the assets will
be for a minimum period of 10 years.
It would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and
its state counterpart organizations that is State Program Management Groups
(SPMGs).
A three-tier mechanism will be established for project monitoring viz., A high level
task force chaired by the Union Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national
level, State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state
level and District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
It emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries
or Agencies of the Union and State governments and will involve the States and
grassroots level institutions such as Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj
Institutions (PRIs) and people living on the banks of the river in implementation to
attain sustainable results.
It adopts a PPP (Public Private Partnership) or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)
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approach for pollution hotspots.


A 4-battalion Ganga Eco-Task Force, a Territorial Army unit, will be set up to bolster
enforcement.

Asiatic lion population in Gir sanctuary increased to 523: Lion


Census report 2015
The number of Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary of Gujarat increased to 523, according
to 2015 Lion census report released in the first week of May 2015. This 14th lion
census registered 27 percent increase in the number of Asiatic lions compared to
2010 census which had registered 411 Asiatic lions.
As per recent census, there are 201 female lions, 109 male lions and 213 sub-adults as
well as cubs in Gir sanctuary and in other protected areas in Gir Somnath, Junagadh,
Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
268 lions were sighted in Junagadh district and 44 lions in the Gir-Somnath district
while 174 lions were sighted in Amreli district and 37 lions in Bhavnagar districts.
The lions habitat area almost doubled since 2010 and has considerably increased to
21000 square kilometers.
The 2015 Lion census exercise was carried out from 1 May to 5 May 2015. The lion
population was registered using Global Positioning System (GPS) in case of direct
sighting or direct contact methods.
The census was conducted by more than 2 thousand persons. It included 600 units of
enumerators, government officials, trackers, wildlife experts, and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs).

Background
Asiatic lions, which were once found in Syria, Iran, the sub-continent and in Central
Asia, are an endangered species. Now, they are found only in the Gir sanctuary and
its surrounding areas. They are categorized as endangered species in International
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Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list.


The first lion census was carried out in 1936 by the erstwhile princely state of
Junagadh when the lion population was around 287. During the 1975 census, their
number stood at 177. The 1990 census counted 234 lions and in 2001 their number
increased to 327.
Lion census is carried out after every 5 years by Gujarat state forest department.

NGT imposed monthly tax on all households in Delhi


National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 8 May 2015 ordered that every household in Delhi
will have to pay a monthly environmental compensation to clean up Yamuna River.
According to the direction, the compensation to be paid will be directly proportional
to the property or water tax whichever is higher, paid by a particular household. In
case of unauthorized colonies households that do not pay property tax or water bill
will have to pay an amount that would be between 100 rupees to 500 rupees.
The decision was made by the NGT bench headed by its chairperson Justice
Swatanter Kumar on a petition of environmental activist, Manoj Misra against severe
pollution in Yamuna River.
This amount would be added to electricity bills, water bill or the property tax by
the respective departments which will transfer the money to Delhi government. The
amount collected through the compensation will be utilized to set up new sewage
treatment plants and provide other technology to clean up river Yamuna.

India home to 48 of the 250 known species of bumblebees:


Indian Bumblebees
India is home to 48 of the 250 known species of bumblebees. It was revealed by the
book Indian Bumblebees released in April 2015.

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The book was written by entomologist M.S. Saini along with co-authors Rifat H.
Raina and Harpeet Singh Ghator.

About Bumblebees
Like the honeybees, bumblebees are social insects and live in colonies. The size
of colonies varies from species-to-species.
Mostly characterised by black, yellow and reddish body hair, and often striped,
bumblebees are generally found on altitudes of 2000-15000 feet along the entire
Himalayas, from Jammu and Kashmir to Nagaland.
The founder of the colony is the queen that hibernates throughout winter. In spring,
she finds a site for a nest and then lays her eggs which will result in worker bees.
They are crucial for the very sustenance of vegetation in high-altitude regions
because they are the only pollinators which can live in that adverse climate.
They pollinate vegetables, fruit trees, cash crops and even ornamental and
medicinal plants high in the Himalayas.

Global warming will lead to extinction of 1 in 6 species by end


of century: Study
Global warming phenomenon will lead to extinction of 1 in 6 species by the end of
century if the emission of carbon dioxide stays the same. This was revealed by a
study titled Accelerating extinction risk from climate change published in the Journal
Science on 1 May 2015.
The author of the study is Mark C. Urban of Department of Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology, University of Connecticut, US. The study highlighted the urgency of taking
strong action to address climate change.

Main Findings of the Study


The future global extinction risk from climate change will not only increase but

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accelerate as global temperatures rise.


Global extinction risks will increase from 2.8 percent at present to 5.2 percent at
the international policy target of a 2C post-industrial rise.
Overall, 7.9 percent of species are predicted to become extinct from climate
change.
If the global temperature increases to 3C, the extinction risk will increase to 8.5
percent.
If we follow our current, business-as-usual trajectory climate change threatens
one in six species, that is, 16 percent of species will become extinct.
North America and Europe are the regions that have the lowest extinction risk.
Extinction risks in South America, Australia and New Zealand is the highest and in
the later two regions it will be further exacerbated by small land masses that limit
shifts to new habitat.
Endemic species with smaller ranges and certain taxonomic groups such as
amphibians and reptiles will face greater extinction risks. The endemic species
will face a 6 percent greater extinction risk.
Thus, the author calls for urgent need to adopt strategies that limit further climate
change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinctions.

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CORPORATE
Shantanu Khosla resigned as Managing Director of Procter and
Gamble India
Shantanu Khosla on 27 may 2015 resigned as the Managing Director (MD) of Procter
and Gamble (P&G), India. He will leave the office on 30 June 2015. Khosla joined the
firm in 1983, when P&G, the worlds largest consumer company acquired Richardson
Hindustan Ltd that is known for its Vicks brand.
In his place, Procter & Gamble India (P&G) appointed Al Rajwani as the new Managing
Director & CEO. Rajwani will assume responsibilities for P&G India from 1 July 2015.
Rajwani has more than 34 years experience working for P&G in countries including
US, Canada, China, Korea and Arabian Peninsula.
P&G has one wholly-owned company in India named Procter & Gamble Home
Products Ltd (PGHP), which sells detergents (Ariel and Tide) and shampoos (Head &
Shoulders and Pantene).
P&G also has two listed companies in India including Gillette India Ltd, which sells
razors such as Mach 3 and Gillette, and Procter and Gamble Hygiene and Health
Care Ltd (PGHH) that sells feminine hygiene products such as Whisper.

RBI notified FIIs to invest up to 49 percent in Gammon


Infrastructure Projects Limited
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 27 May 2015 notified that the Foreign Institutional
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Investors (FIIs) or the Registered Foreign Portfolios Investors (RFPIs) can now invest
up to 49 percent of the paid up capital in the Gammon Infrastructure Projects Limited
under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS).
RBI stated that the company agreed for enhancing the limit for the purchase of its
equity shares and convertible debentures by FIIs/RFPIs by passing resolutions at its
Board of Directors level and a special resolution by the shareholders.
The purchases can be made through primary market and through stock exchange.
However, the purchases will be subjected to Regulation 5(2) of FEMA Notification
dated 3 May 2000 and other terms and conditions stipulated by the Reserve Bank.
The Reserve Bank notified this change under FEMA Act, 1999.

Snapdeal acquired Hyderabad-based startup MartMobi


E-commerce major Snapdeal on 25 May 2015 acquired Hyderabad-based mobile
technology startup MartMobi for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition will help
Snapdeal to strengthen its mobility platform for merchant partners.
In 2015 itself, Snapdeal acquired payments and mobile recharge startup Freecharge
in a cash-and-stock deal as well as picked up stakes in digital financial services
platform RupeePower and logistics venture GoJavas.

About MartMobi
Founded by Pramod Nair and Satya Krishna Ganni, MartMobi creates mobile sites
and apps for e-commerce stores, small and medium-sized businesses.
With over 150 clients, MartMobi enables seamless connectivity with the customers
existing back-end systems in addition to a real-time analytics engine to improve
conversions and user engagement.

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ICICI Bank launched Voice Recognition Service for Biometric


Authentication
ICICI Bank, Indias largest private sector bank, on 25 May 2015 launched Voice
Recognition Service (VRS), which authenticates customers based on their speech
patterns. This service will allow customers to execute banking transactions through
Banks call center in a quick, secure and convenient manner.
With this, ICICI became the first bank in India to offer this service and it will be
available to over 33 million customers of its savings account and credit card.

Features of the service


Now customers will no longer have to enter their card numbers, PIN and answer
security questions to authenticate themselves, as their voice will act as the
password for banking transactions through the call centre.
The voice recognition technology works on voice prints, which are unique to an
individual. It comprises more than 100 characteristics including voice modulation,
speed, accent, pronunciation which cannot be imitated, thereby enhances security.
The Bank stores the customers unique voice print against his account and matches
it whenever he calls from his registered mobile number.
This launch comes close on the heels of a slew of technology-led innovative services
introduced by the Bank. The list includes the countrys first contactless debit and
credit cards, and Pockets, Indias first digital bank on mobile phone.

UBS AG Bank of Switzerland agreed to pay 203 million US dollars


for manipulating LIBOR
Switzerland bank UBS AG on 20 May 2015 agreed to pay 203 million US dollars in
fine and for a three-year term of probation for manipulating London Interbank offered

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Rate (LIBOR).
The bank has reached a settlement in this regard with the Anti Trust Division of the
US Justice Department.
The bank took this decision after the Justice Department tore up a non-prosecution
agreement (NPA) reached between them in 2012.
As part of its prior settlement in 2012, the banks Japanese subsidiary pleaded guilty
to a criminal charge of wire fraud in the United States, but the parent company was
allowed to enter a NPA in return for extending cooperation in the investigation.

About LIBOR Scandal


LIBOR is a benchmark rate that some of the worlds leading banks charge each other
for short-term loans. Every day, it is calculated on the basis of interest rates paid by
major 16 banks on their borrowings.
As per the investigations, it was revealed that the UBS AG in collusion with other
banks submitted inflated or deflated interest rates to the BBA Libor (administering
authority of LIBOR) in order to rig the benchmark rate and subsequently benefit from
the transactions.

A Vellayan stepped aside as Chairman of Murugappa Group


Corporate Board
A Vellayan was on 22 May 2015 stepped aside from the chairmanship of the
Murugappa Group Corporate Board. He also relinquished the post of Chairman in
the Coromandel International Ltd. and the EID Parry India Ltd.
Vellayan took this decision in the backdrop of an order issued on 21 May 2015 by
the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) linking A Vellayan to trades by two
individuals in shares of Sabero Organics Gujarat Ltd., a company that was acquired
by Coromandel International Ltd. (subsidiary of Murugappa Group) in May 2011.
As per the SEBI, A Vellayan passed on unpublished sensitive information related to
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the acquisition to the traders which amounted to insider trading practices prohibited
under the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 1992.

Huewei launched LiteOS, worlds most lightweight IoT operating


system (OS)
China-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd on 20 May 2015 launched LiteOS operating
sytem meant for Internet of Things (IoT) based devices.
Huewei, a multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services
company, launched the technology at the Huawei Network Congress (HNC) 2015
held in Beijing, China.

Features of LiteOS
It is the worlds most lightweight IoT OS with a size of 10KB.
It supports zero configuration, auto-discovery and auto-networking.
It can be widely applied to different areas including smart homes, wearables,
connected vehicles and other industries.
It helps to simplify the development of smart hardware to enhance IoT connectivity.
It will be opened to all developers, which enables them to quickly develop their
own IoT products.
The technology is part of the Agile Internet of Things (IoT) solution, which consists of
three core components viz., Agile IoT gateway, Agile Controller and LiteOS, developed
to augment the digitization of areas such as production, manufacturing and logistics.

About Internet of Things


IoT refers to a network of internet connected devices which are embedded with
electronic sensors and data transmitting technologies. By using the Internet, the
data collected by sensors in the IoT devices like cars, power systems and even as
small as tooth brushes transmitted to other networked devices and data processing
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systems. Thus, the information generated by processing the data will be used by the
companies and individuals to make better decisions.
As per an estimate, there will be roughly 100 billion IoT based devices in the world by
2025, with 2 million new sensors deployed every hour.
In India, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) released
the draft Internet of Things (IoT) policy in November 2014 to develop business
opportunities in this emerging technology.

SAIL and ArcelorMittal signed MoU to set up Automotive Steel


Plant in India
Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and ArcelorMittal on 22 May 2015 signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up an automotive steel manufacturing
facility under a Joint Venture (JV) arrangement in India.
The MoU was signed in London by CS Verma, Chairman of SAIL and Lakshmi Mittal,
Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal in the presence of Rakesh Singh, Secretary to
the Government of India, Ministry of Steel.
The JV will construct a state-of-the-art cold rolling mill and other downstream
finishing facilities in India that will offer technologically advanced steel products to
the countrys rapidly growing automotive sector.
To operationalise the MoU, a working group with representatives from both companies
will be set up to evolve a structure for the proposed JV and carry out feasibility studies
as part of a comprehensive due diligence process.
The proposed plant will help to meet growing demands of the Indian automotive
sector which is poised to become the worlds fourth largest automobile manufacturing
nation by 2020 with the production of approximately 7 million units per annum from
the present 3.5 million units per annum.
The agreement is also in tune with the Union Governments Make In India campaign
which has been designed to transform India into a global manufacturing hub.
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At present, while the ArcelorMittal is the worlds leading steel supplier to the global
automotive sector with a market share of approximately 17 per cent, SAIL is Indias
largest steel producer with 13.5 million metric tons production per annum.

New headquarter of Coal India Ltd inaugurated at Rajarhat


Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the new headquarter of
Coal India Ltd (CIL) at New Town Rajarhat in West Bengal on 15 May 2015.
The inauguration was held in the presence of Union Minister of state for Power, Coal
and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal and the Minister of State for Urban
Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Babul Supriyo.
The new building came up at a sprawling 27000 Sq. Ft. area and it was built by
the National Building Corporation (NBCC), a public sector company of Urban
Development Ministry.
Coal India Limited (CIL), a Maharatna company, is the largest coal producer company
in the world. It contributes around 81% of the coal production in India.

UP FDA asked Nestle to withdraw 2014 batch of Maggi


Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration (UP FDA) on 20 May 2015 asked
Nestle India to withdraw a batch of snack Maggi noodles from the market. UP FDA
ordered the removal of the batch of popular snack after it found that the product
contained high level of lead in it.
UP FDA said the order pertained to a 2014 batch of Maggi noodles. It also said
that the batch of the noodles contained high levels of addedmonosodium glutamate
(MSG), a taste enhancer.
During its routine tests conducted on two dozen packets of instant noodles in
Kolkata, UP FDA found high lead concentration of 17.2 parts per million (ppm) in
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these packets, which is nearly seven times more that the permissible limit, which is
between 0.01 ppm and 2.5 ppm.

About Nestle India


Nestle India is a subsidiary of Swiss conglomerate Nestle SA, which sells noodle,
ketchups, sauces, soups and other products under the Maggi brand. Its products
covers around 60 percent market share in the instant noodle category.
The Company was founded in 1866 by Henri Nestle in Vevey, Switzerland.
Nestle India have eight manufacturing facilities across India and they are in Moga
(Punjab) set up in 1961; Choladi (Tamil Nadu) set up in 1967; Nanjangud (Karnataka)
set up in 1989; Samalkha (Haryana) set up in 1993; Ponda and Bicholim (Goa) set
up in 1995 and 1997, respectively; and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) set up in 2006; and
Tahliwal (Himachal Pradesh) set up in 2012.
The Nestle Indias Head Office is located in Gurgaon, Haryana.

GMR Infra signed MoU with GIIC for developing Kakinada SEZ
GMR Infrastructure Ltd on 18 May 2015 signed a Memorandum of understanding
(MoU) with Guizhou International Investment Corporation (GIIC) for developing
Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) in Andhra Pradesh.
The MoU was signed by Challa Prasanna, President of Kakinada SEZ (KSEZ) Pvt
Ltd. It seeks to set up industrial park for Chinese high-end equipment manufacturing
companies in Kakinada SEZ (KSEZ).
In this regard, GIIC plans to set up 2000 acres industrial park. The fully developed
facility by KSEZ and GIIC will in turn generate over 5000 jobs for both skilled and
unskilled workers.
For developing the infrastructure and various facilities of the industrial park, GIIC will
invest 500 million US dollars. In addition, Chinese companies setting up units at the
park will invest 2-3 billion US dollars on their operations for over five years.

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About Kakinada Special Economic Zone


The Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) is a port based Multi Product Special
Economic Zone, spread over approximately 10500 acres.
Situated strategically on the Eastern Coast in an area rich in oil and natural gas
deposits, this zone has an excellent logistical linkages to National Highways,
Railway networks, Air and Sea Ports.
This SEZ caters to the existing process industries and emerging industries like
Refinery, Renewable Energy, Ship Building, Biotech, Nanotech, IT/ITES, Toys,
Games and Sports Goods manufacturing Park, etc.

Infosys announced to become carbon neutral by 2018


Infosys on 18 May 2015 announced to become carbon neutral by 2018. For this it
earmarked an amount of 400 crore rupees. The company announced to achieve
carbon-neutrality on commuting and travel by its nearly 1.8 lakh employees and in
doing so deepens its commitment to sustainability.
The company will offset 3.74 lakh tonne of carbon dioxide attributed to employees
travel, and it will spend 70 crore rupees in 2015 on initiatives such as installing solar
projects for rural electrification, biogas plants and distribution of smokeless cookstoves in villages, besides afforestation.
As part of its journey toward sustainability, Infosys will commission 55 MW of solar
capacity, including 40 MW in Karnataka, in 2016. It will add another 110 MW of solar
capacity in the coming years. It is already generating energy from 2.7 MW capacity
solar panels on rooftops across its campuses in India.
Infosys consumed 257 million units of electricity globally during 2014-15, and 30 per
cent of this came from renewable energy sources.
In 2011, Infosys had made an announcement at the United Nations committing to
meet all its energy needs from renewable energy sources, to become carbon neutral,
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and to cut per capita power and water consumption by half (on 2007-08 baseline) by
2018.
The company said its per-capita power and water consumption declined by 45 per
cent and 35 per cent, respespectively, during 2014-15.
From 2011, Infosys has spent about 50 million US dollar or 320 crore rupees retrofitting
its equipment such as lighting, air-conditioning, power, etc. The buildings built after
2008 are all green structures complying with the highest sustainability standards.

Infosys became the first Indian Company to Join RE100 Renewable Energy Campaign
Infosys became the first Indian Company to Join RE100 Renewable Energy Campaign.
The Climate Group on 18 May 2015 announced it.
RE100 is a global platform for major companies committed to 100% renewable
power.
Infosys joined some of the worlds most influential companies such as IKEA, Swiss
Re, BT, Formula E, H&M, KPN, Mars, Nestl, Philips, among others, which are taking
bold steps to create transformative change needed to drive a clean energy revolution.
The company is already working to reduce its per capita electricity consumption by
50 per cent from its 2007-2008 levels and source all its electricity from renewable
resources by 2018.
During fiscal year 2015, Infosys met 29 percent of its electricity needs - about 72.08
million units - for its locations across India through green power. During the same
period, Infosys generated over 2911 MWh of electricity through its onsite solar PV
installations across India.
Seventeen companies have now joined the campaign and made a public commitment
to become 100% renewable, including founding members IKEA and Swiss Re. As
the campaign spreads in India, it is expected that more Indian companies will switch
to renewable power and demonstrate the huge opportunity that exists in Indias
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growing clean economy.


RE100 is a global initiative that celebrates and supports major companies committed
to 100% renewable power across their operations. Its goal is that 100 of the worlds
most influential businesses commit to 100% renewable power within a specified
timeline. RE100 was launched at Climate Week NYC (New York City) on 22 September
2014.

Apple Inc acquired GPS firm Coherent Navigations to improve


Apple mapping capabilities
Apple Inc on 18 May 2015 acquired Coherent Navigation to improve Apple Mapping
capabilities. Coherent Navigations is a company focused on hyper-accurate GPS.
Coherent Navigations High Integrity GPS system is supposedly so granular that it
can provide accurate location information to within a few centimeters.
The acquisition is part of a series of map-related technology deals made by Apple in
recent years.
Earlier, Apple acquired mapping start-ups BroadMap, Embark and HopStop.com as
part of its acquisition spree, which accelerated shortly after the companys decision
to create its own alternative to Google Maps for the mapping feature on its devices.
Apple Maps has long struggled with providing accurate location information
since phasing out Google Maps in 2012. Coherent Navigations technology could
theoretically be used to significantly enhance Apples Maps product.
Coherent specializes in high-precision GPS, which combines standard GPS data
with data from the Iridium satellite communications constellation. It makes devices
for civilian use and was involved in numerous projects with the U.S. government,
including military location technologies.

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Reliance Jio signed pact with Huawei for sourcing 4G devices


Reliance Jio Infocomm, a telecom subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL),
on 18 May 2015 signed a pact with Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer firm
Huawei for sourcing various 4th Generation (4G) devices.
As per the pact, Huawei will supply 4G devices to Reliance Jio including smartphones,
tablets and mifi dongles. This agreement will help Reliance in launching 4G service
by 2015 in around 5000 towns and cities in India. It seeks to cover over 90 percent
of urban India and over 2.15 lakh villages.

Background
It is mandatory for Reliance Jio and other Indian telecom companies to roll out the 4G
services at the earliest by 31 August 2015 as they won Broadband Wireless Access
(BWA) spectrum in 2010.
As per the licensing agreement, these services must be rolled out in at least 90
percent of the service areas, failing which the Department of Telecom (DoT) have the
right to withdraw the radiowaves.
In this regard, DoT had announced the procedure to test network roll out of companies
that have procured BWA spectrum.

PM Modi inaugurated ICICIs first branch in China at Shanghai


Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on 16 May 2015 inaugurated the first branch of
ICICI Bank in China at Shanghai. The branch was inaugurated in presence of Chanda
Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank, Senior Chinese and Indian government officials.
The Shanghai Branch received regulatory approval in March 2015 to commence
operations and it will begin with 17 well trained banking professionals spread across
different functions including corporate banking, operations, finance and treasury.
The Shanghai branch will engage in banking activities permitted under the guidelines

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of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

In addition, the Branch will also facilitate:


International trade between China and other countries
Support of Chinese Corporate/EPC contractors bidding for infrastructure projects
and funding requirements in India
Business expansion of Indian joint ventures and subsidiaries of Indian entities in
China
Remittances from China to India
In March 2003, the Bank established a representative office in Shanghai to develop
strong relationships with Chinese banks and corporate for their India linked banking
needs. ICICI Bank has now upgraded its representative office in Shanghai to a branch
keeping in mind the rising trade volumes between India and China.

Askme acquired BestAtLowest.com for 10 million US dollar


Internet firm Askme on 15 May 2015 acquired grocery marketplace BestAtLowest.
com for about 10 million US dollar.
As part of the agreement, BestAtLowest.com will become part of Askme. The
acquisition will further expand the companys search plus capabilities and enable
near real-time inventory sync between online and physical stores.
Bestatlowest.com is a marketplace working in the hub-and-spoke model. It has tied
up with retailers and supermarket stores to acquire food and groceries to supply to
its hub, which are then delivered across locations.
BestAtLowest.com has over 7000 products across categories spread in the FMCG
and non-FMCG sectors. Brick-and-mortar retail in India is expected to grow three
times to 180 billion US dollar in 2020 from 60 billion US dollar in 2015. E-commerce is
expected to quadruple in the same time to become a 60-70 billion US dollar market.

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Islamic clothing company East Essence tied up with Snapdeal


Islamic clothing company East Essence on 14 May 2015 tied up with Snapdeal. The
partnership aimed to set up store on their portal. The company will make its debut in
June 2015 by launching an online store at e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal.
East Essence is the worlds largest Islamic clothing company. The company plans
to turn India into a global centre of Islamic fashion. The US firm has presence in 68
countries and has annual sales of about 256 crore rupees.
India is the worlds second largest Muslim-majority country, with the community
representing 14.2% of total population. Thats nearly 170 million potential consumers,
completely catered by unorganised players at present.
East Essence has also opened a manufacturing facility in Noida, which will cater to
the Indian market and also become a hub to meet global demand.

SBI launched contact-less card called sbiINTOUCH


State Bank of India (SBI) on 14 May 2015 launched contact-less credit and debit
cards calledsbiINTOUCH.
These cards are based upon the latest near-field technology (NFC). With these cards,
a customer can transact by just tapping or waving it against the reader of the pointof-sale machine.
These cards are more secure and hassle-free. These cards come with a fraud liability
cover of 1 lakh rupees. SBI has issued 1.08 lakh new cards to its customers in the
eight largest metros and the remaining customers will get the cards in the following
months.
Private lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have already launched such NFC cards.
The move could boost the acceptance of SBIs tap and pay cards. These cards are
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especially targeted towards fast-food outlets, coffee shops and supermarkets where
customers make quick transactions.

Deepak Iyer appointed as MD and CEO of Bharti AXA General


Insurance
Deepak Iyer was on 12 May 2015 appointed as Managing Director (MD) and Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) of Bharti AXA General Insurance.
Currently, he is working as the Managing Director-Indian subcontinent at Wrigley
India, a subsidiary of the US-based Mars.
He will take the charge from June 2015. He will take charge from Interim CEO and
MD Milind Chalisgaonkar.
Earlier, he worked with PepsiCo for 16 years handling multiple international
assignments, including those of Senior Franchise Director-Africa, General ManagerNorth & East India (including Bangladesh, Nepal & Sri Lanka) and Director-Sales for
Modern Trade/ Food service/ Leisure/ Travel & Transport channels of the company.
Iyer brings with him 22 years of diverse experience across various aspects of
management, sales, marketing, P&L management, operational turnaround, research
and development and franchise management across different countries.

Facebook signed up with nine news publishers to launch Instant


Articles
Facebook Inc on 12 May 2015 signed up with nine publishers to launch Instant
Articles. Instant Articles will publish articles directly to the social networks mobile
news feeds.
The launch partners for Instant Articles are NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC
News, Spiegel and Bild.
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Instant Articles will let stories load more than 10 times faster than standard mobile
web articles and will include content from publishers such as the New York Times,
BuzzFeed and National Geographic.
The news publishers can either sell and embed advertisements in the articles and
keep all of the revenue, or allow Facebook to sell ads.
The Internet social networking company will also let the news companies track data
and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.
Instant Articles lets them deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of
their content and business models.

Nikesh Arora appointed as President of Japans SoftBank Corp.


Indian-born Nikesh Arora was on 11 May 2015 appointed as the President of Japans
multinational telecommunications and internet company SoftBank Corp.
As per the announcement made at the companys earning conference, he will also be
the Representative Director of SoftBank Corp.
Before the present elevation, he had been the Vice Chairman of the company and
the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SB Group US, Inc. (former SoftBank Internet and
Media, Inc.) since September 2014.

He succeeds Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of the Softbank Corp.


Earlier, Arora worked in Google for 10 years and left the company as the Senior Vice
President and Chief Business Officer before joining SoftBank Corp. in 2014.

US-based company mGage acquired Unicel Technologies


Global mobile multi-channel messaging platform mGage on 11 May 2015 acquired
Bengaluru-based counterpart Unicel Technologies. However, the deal value was not

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disclosed by both the companies.


With this acquisition, mGage will gain a strong foothold in enterprise mobile marketing
and mobile CRM market in India. As a combined organisation, mGage will enable
more than 60 billion transactions annually.
Both mGage and Unicel firms help banks to notify customers via SMS alerts about
their transactions, enable insurance companies send payment reminders, or assist
e-commerce firms to send text messages regarding shipment, delivery or cancellation.

About mGage
The mGage multi-channel platform serves more than 1000 bluechip brands, enterprises
and partners through a network of more than 800 mobile operators around the world.
It serves both traditional brand marketers as well as customer care organisations
within the enterprise. It offers messaging features with retargeting capabilities
including SMS, voice, email, USSD, push notifications and OTT.

About Unicel Technologies


Unicel is a mobile messaging company providing integrated cloud communications
solutions across SMS, voice, USSD and e-mail platforms in India.
Founded by Vinay Agarwal in 2003, Unicel currently employs around 100 people and
has a client base of over 1000 enterprises across India including various Fortune 500
brands.

Arun Pudur topped Wealth-X List of Asias Wealthiest Entrepreneurs Under 40


Arun Pudur, the owner and president of software firm Celframe, topped the Wealth-X
List of Asias wealthiest entrepreneur under the age of 40 with an estimated net worth
of 4 billion US dollars.
It was revealed by Wealth-X on 12 May 2015.

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Pudur is a 37 year old native of Chennai and founded the software firmCelframe
in 1998 which produces the worlds second most popular word processor after
Microsoft.
He also has assets tied up in diversified businesses in the fields of mining and real
estate and ranked 10th on a Wealth-X list of the worlds richest billionaires under 40
released in March 2015 that included Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and
other technopreneurs.
Nine of the self-made billionaires on the Wealth-X top 10 list made their fortunes from
the technology sector. The only exception is 35-year-old Zhang Bangxin from China,
who made his wealth from tutoring services company TAL Education Group. Zhangs
estimated net worth of 2.2 billion US dollars puts him in the third spot on the list.
The youngest entrepreneur on the list is 32-year-old Leo Chen. He is the chairman and
CEO of Jumei International Holding one of Chinas largest online cosmetics retailers.
About Wealth-X
Wealth-X is a reputed agency on wealth intelligence, providing sales, marketing,
strategy and compliance solutions to clients in the financial services, luxury, not-forprofit and education sectors. It has operations in 10 locations including Singapore,
London and New York. Its award-winning research and thought leadership are regularly
cited by the worlds media such as CNBC, Financial Times, Thomson Reuters and
BBC.

SBI launched RuPay Platinum Debit Card in association with


NPCI
State Bank of India on 7 May 2015 launched State Bank RuPay Platinum debit card
in association with National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
Initially, the card will be issued free to customers maintaining a quarterly balance of
50000 rupees. The RuPay card is accepted at all payment channels like ATMs, PoS
and eCommerce.
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The State Bank RuPay Platinum Debit Card, targets the affluent segment by offering
a range of value added benefits including:
5 percent cashback on utility bill payments
Up to 1 percent fuel surcharge waiver
Complimentary airport lounge access
Complimentary concierge services
Complimentary welcome discount vouchers
Personal accidental death and permanent total disability insurance cover of 2 lakh
rupees
At present, SBI has 19.7 crore debit cards in circulation of which 4.5 crore are RuPay
cards.
Besides, the NPCI Managing Director and CEO A P Hota announced that the company
will soon launch international RuPay debit cards which will allow customers to use
them outside the country. It will also issue RuPay credit cards by January 2016.
SBI chairman - Arundhati Bhattacharya

About NPCI
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was set up in 2009 as the central
infrastructure for various retail payment systems in India. It was envisaged by the
Reserve Bank of India as the payment utility for all banks in the country.

Myntra.com acquired startup firm Native5 Software Solutions


Pvt Ltd
Online fashion retailer Myntra.com on 6 May 2015 acquired Bengaluru-based startup
firm Native5 Software Solutions Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed sum. With this acquisition,
founders of Native 5 will join Flipkart, parent company of Myntra.

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From now onwards, Native5 team will work on Myntras mobile only strategy and will
help its mobile apps to grow.

About Native5 Software Solutions Pvt Ltd


Founded in 2011 by technology professionals Manish Priyadarshi, Barada Sahu and
Shamik Datta, Native5 has developed a cloud platform to create and distribute mobile
apps across smart phones, tablets and desktops.
Native5 was incubated at Microsoft Accelerator in 2013. In the same year, it was also
the part of Nasscom 10000 Startups.

Paytm tied-up with CCD, Dominos for offline payment


Alibaba-backed company Paytm on 3 May 2015 tied-up with Quick service restaurants
(QSRs) Dominos and Cafe Coffee Day for offline payment. With this acquisition,
Paytms mobile wallet will soon be accepted at Dominos and Cafe Coffee Day.
This tie-up came when Paytm is foraying into the offline retail space. At present, Paytm
offers and recharge services for DTH and mobile phone services as well as mobile
wallet services for online transactions on Uber, Bookmyshow, eBay and IRCTC.
This offline service will be available by mid-June. By going offline, Paytm will offer
customers the choice to pay through a secure and reliable platform.
Paytm already partnered with various QSRs covering 7000-10000 outlets in cities
like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Recently, Paytm had forayed into
the eCommerce space putting itself in direct competition with giants like Amazon,
Flipkart and Snapdeal.
Paytms mobile wallet is a prepaid payment instrument, which allows customers to
digitally store money in a secure virtual wallet and use it to pay bills and other services.

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Vedanta Limited launched new logo


Minerals and mining giant Vedanta Limited on 4 May 2015 launched its new logo.
The logo was co-created by internal stakeholders across geographies and group
companies.
The new logo has some significant changes. The brand name has been changed with
the use of two colours leaf green and a shade of Yale blue.
The colours represent the distinct virtues of Vedantas professionalism, sustainability,
ethics and integrity. The colour green symbolizes Vedantas ethical credentials and
the colour blue reflects Vedantas un-waivered integrity and professionalism.
A leaf, which represents symbol of life, has been included into the Vedanta globe,
signifying commitment to the triple bottom line approach of People, Planet and
Prosperity.
The globe represents the centricity and dependence on natural resources found in
the earth as well as the responsibility that Vedanta has towards communities.
The new logo will strategically position Vedantas consistent commitment towards
the growth of its low cost operations, leverage technology to deliver innovation and
superior value to its shareholders.
Earlier in April 2015, Sesa Sterlite announced the changing of name to Vedanta Ltd
in a bid to better resemble with its London-listed company Vedanta Resources Plc.

Maharashtra FDA ordered to file a FIR against Snapdeal and its


CEO Kunal Behl
Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 1 May 2015 ordered to file
a FIR against the Snapdeal, its CEO Kunal Bahl and Directors for allegedly selling
prescription drugs online. Selling of drugs without prescription is a crime under the
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Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.


The FIR was filed after FDA officer on an investigation found that Jasper Infotech Pvt.
Ltd. entered into agreements with dealers across India to supply medicines offered
or exhibited for sale on its website, snapdeal.com, and to collect the sale proceeds
on their behalf.
The FDA found that 45 of the displayed drugs were with objectionable claims
which contravened the provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable
Advertisements) Act, 1954.
The FDA will be investigating other online shopping companies such as Flipkart and
Amazon.

Tesla Motors launched solar energy based Powerwall battery


system
Tesla Motors Inc., an American based company, on 1 May 2015 launched its new
solar energy based battery system Powerwall. It is a home battery that charges using
electricity generated from solar panels.
The product will be marketed under Tesla Energy, a new business arm of the company.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla Motors is Elon Musk.

Important features of Powerall


It is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at a residential level
for load shifting, backup power and self-consumption of solar power generation
It is a smart device in the sense that it consists of liquid thermal control system
and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter.
The battery can provide a number of different benets including:
1. Load shifting The battery can provide nancial savings by charging during low
rate periods when demand for electricity is lower and discharging during more
expensive rate periods when electricity demand is higher.
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2. Increasing self-consumption of solar power generation The battery can store


surplus solar energy not used at the time it is generated and use that energy
during night.
The unit mounts seamlessly on a wall and is integrated with the local grid to
harness excess power and give customers the flexibility to draw energy from their
own reserve.
It is a 350 450 volts battery system with 5.8 amp nominal, 8.6 amp peak output
and it is single phase and three phase utility grid compatible.

Microsoft named its next Web Browser as Edge


Microsoft, American multinational technology company, on 29 April 2015 announced
Edge as its next Web Browsers name at the Build Developer Conference held at San
Francisco in California, USA.
Earlier, Microsoft had called it as Project Spartan; a code name given by the company.
The browser is intended to replace the Internet Explorer (IE) in future.

Key Features of Edge Web browser


It will feature new inking function, which allows users to draw or scribble directly
on a Web page. It works with finger or stylus and offers pen as well as highlighter
with option to choose the color for it.
Microsofts personal assistant service Cortana will be integrated to the new
browser in order to enhance the user experience.
It will allow users to save pages for offline reading. The reading lists thus created
by a user will get synced to be accessed across multiple devices.
It will exhibit a new tab page that will show information on recently opened tabs,
favourites, new apps, etc.

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Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs launched Form-INC-29 for


easier establishment of companies
The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs on 1 May 2015 launched Form-INC -29 to
make the process of establishing new companies smoother for entrepreneurs.
The Form-INC-29 is an integrated electronic application form and can be used
alternatively in the place of filling five separate e-Forms to set up a new company.

Features of Form-INC-29
Through the form, organisations can apply for company name, Director Identification
Number (DIN) and registration of company.
In the form, along with the companys name, applicants are required to furnish the
details about significance of abbreviated or coined word in the proposed name.
The applicants has to declare that the proposed name is not offensive to any
section of people and also not in violation of the provisions of Emblems and Names
(Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.

Comment
Introduction of the Form-INC-29 is in tune with the Union Governments intention to
improve the ease of doing business in India and there by attracting the necessary
investments into the economy. As per recent Ease of Doing Business Index of the
World Bank, India is at the 142nd position among the 189 countries in the world.

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SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY
China unveiled worlds first facial recognition ATM machine
China on 30 May 2015 unveiled the worlds first facial recognition ATM which will not
allow users to withdraw cash unless their face matches their IDs. The ATM machine
was created by Tsinghua University and Hangzhou-based technology company
Tzekwan.

Highlights of the ATM Machine


The machine is a combination of high speed ban-knote handling, improved
counterfeit-bill recognition and face recognition.
It has a camera installed in it that captures the facial features of the user and then
compares it with a database of identification photos.
It looks at the biological features and can identify people even if their facial features
have changed.
It will help in preventing thieves from accessing other peoples accounts as the
ATM records the serial number of every bank note deposited.
The machine is 20 percent more accurate at verifying the authenticity of multiple
currencies compared with the average ATM used globally.

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NRI scientist Latha Venkataraman created first single-molecule


device
NRI scientist Latha Venkataraman on 25 May 2015 created first single-molecule
device. The electronic device has a potential of real-world technological applications
for nanoscale devices. The report was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Under the direction of Venkataraman, researchers created a single-molecule diode
which performs 50 times better than all prior designs.
A team of Columbia Engineering researchers has constructed a device where
the active element is only a single molecule, has long been a tantalising dream in
nanoscience.
With electronic devices becoming smaller every day, the field of molecular electronics
has become more critical in solving the problem of further miniaturisation. Single
molecule represents the limit of miniaturisation.
The idea of creating a single-molecule diode was suggested by Arieh Aviram and
Mark Ratner who theorised in 1974 that a molecule could act as a rectifier, a one-way
conductor of electric current.
The researchers are now working on understanding the fundamental physics behind
their discovery and trying to increase the rectification ratios they observed, using
new molecular systems.

US Army developed Blast proof wallpaper to protect soldiers


from explosions
The United States (US) Army developed Blast proof wallpaper to protect soldiers
from explosions. A prototype was displayed at an exhibition of army innovations held
at the Pentagon on 21 May 2015.
The ballistic wallpaper was displayed at the Department of Defense Lab Day among
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100 innovations from US Army engineers.


The prototype was designed by army engineers in the United States. The new
thing about this ballistic wallpaper is that it can be quickly and easily applied by
non-specialised units at short notice. This provides significant potential tactical
advantages.
The prototype is lightweight sticky wallpaper lined with tough Kevlar fibres could be
carried by troops to reinforce the walls of temporary buildings. The special fabric acts
as a net to stop shrapnel flying around and injuring soldiers or civilians who are stuck
inside.
The idea is to coat the inside of structures to reduce the danger of debris to occupants.
The lining reduces the amount of debris sent flying at the occupants of a building in
the event of an explosion.
Small blast trials had been carried out near Fort Polk in Louisiana, while larger testing
had been conducted at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

NASAs Spacecraft provided first direct measurement for Type


Ia Supernovae caused by white dwarfs
Kepler and Swift spacecraft of NASA provided supporting evidence and the first
direct measurement of supernovae (stellar explosions) which can enable scientists
to understand what causes supernovae. This was revealed by studies published in
journal Nature on 20 May 2015.
The studies proved that Type Ia supernovae, which produce unprecedented
brightness, can either be caused by merging with another white dwarf or by pulling
too much matter from a nearby companion star. Awhite dwarf is the Earth-sized
remnant of a star like the sun.

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Keplers Study
The Kepler spacecraft, known for its planet-hunting prowess, has provided the data
for three new and distant supernovae, viz., KSN 2011b, KSN 2011c and KSN 2012a.
The dataset includes measurements taken before the violent stellar explosions even
happened and this is the first direct measurement of supernova.
These supernovae were identified as Type Ia supernovae with the aid of powerful
telescopes at the Gemini and the WM Keck Observatories atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
On the analysis of dataset, scientists led by Robert Olling, research associate at
the University of Maryland, found that shock wave generated in all directions by
these explosions were not disrupted. This proved that there was no evidence of a
companion star nearby and concluded the cause to be the collision and merger of
two closely orbiting stars, most likely two white dwarfs.

Study of Swift dataset


Swift spacecraft captured the supernova designated iPTF14atg first on 3 May 2014
in the galaxy IC 831, located about 300 million light-years away in the constellation
Coma Berenices.
The Swift study led by California Institute of Technology (Caltech) graduate student
Yi Cao, proved that Type Ia supernovae can also arise from single white dwarfs by
pulling too much matter from a nearby companion star.
According to the analysis of Cao, when the supernova debris slammed into and
swept around its companion star, it created a region of Ultra Violet (UV) emission and
the peak temperature exceeded 19000 degrees Fahrenheit (11000 degrees Celsius)
or about twice the surface temperature of the sun.

Conclusion
Type Ia supernovae are destructive explosions of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs and are
used empirically to measure cosmological distances. The first direct measurement of
such supernovae can help the scientists understand the mysteries of dark energy a
mysterious force that appears to be accelerating cosmic expansion.

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ISRO announced to launch ASTROSAT in October 2015


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 19 May 2015 announced that
ASTROSAT will be launched in October 2015 by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
(PSLV) C-34 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Features of ASTROSAT
ASTROSAT is the first dedicated Indian space observatory mission aimed at
studying distant celestial objects.
The mission is capable of performing observations in Ultraviolet (UV), optical, low
and high energy X-ray wavebands at the same time.
The satellite will be launched to a 650 km near equatorial orbit around the Earth.
ASTROSAT carries four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle
monitor.
Apart from ISRO, four other Indian institutions, viz., Tata Institute of Fundamental
Research (TIFR), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Inter-University Centre for
Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and Raman Research Institute (RRI) are
involved in the development of payloads among which two of them were developed
in collaboration with Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and University of Leiscester
(UoL), UK.
The ISRO also announced that the spacecraft is fully assembled and in the coming
days it will undergo several environmental tests like Electromagnetic Interference
(EMI) , Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), Thermal Vacuum, Vibration, Acoustic
tests.

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Japanese Scientists discovered new state of matter called JahnTeller-metal


Japanese Scientists on 14 May 2015 discovered a new state of matter called the
Jahn-Teller-metal. The matter resembles an insulator, superconductor, metal and
magnet all rolled into one.
The study led by Kosmas Prassides, Scientist at Tokohu University made the discovery
by studying a superconductor made from carbon-60 molecules or buckyballs.
The research was described in Science Advances. It involves caesium fulleride
(Cs3C60) in a face-centred-cubic lattice with a Cs3C60 molecule at each lattice site.
The research could help develop new molecular materials that are superconductors
at even higher temperatures.
The study shows that the material has a rich combination of insulating, magnetic,
metallic and superconducting phases - including the otherwise unknown state,
dubbed as Jahn-Teller metal.
The research provides important clues about how the interplay between the electronic
structure of the molecules and their spacing within the lattice can strengthen
interactions between electrons that cause superconductivity.
Superconductors are a large and diverse group of materials that offer zero resistance
to electrical currents when cooled below a critical temperature (TC). Superconducting
lattices of fullerides - C60 plus three alkali-metal atoms - have been studied for more
than two decades, and provide an interesting test bed.

NASAs Ten-Engine Electric Plane GL-10 Prototype Completed


Successful Flight Test
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully developed
and flight tested the prototype of a ten-engine electric plane Greased Lightning (GL)10. It was revealed by the US space agency on 1 May 2015 on its website.
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Key Features of Greased Lightning (GL)-10


The aircraft was conceptualized by the NASA in order to enhance its capabilities
in using remotely piloted aircrafts in science investigations and to augment
technology development for aircraft, cubesats and other platforms.
It is a battery-powered 10-engine remotely piloted aircraft having eight electric
motors on the wings and two electric motors on the tail.
It weighs a maximum of 62 pounds (28.1 kilograms) at take off and has a 10-foot
wingspan.
It can take off like a helicopter and fly like an airplane.
It produces less noise in the sense that it is quieter than a neighbor mowing the
lawn with a gas-powered motor.
At present it is in the design and testing phase and under the first phase of the It
will be an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and could be used for small package
delivery or vertical takeoff and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture,
mapping and other applications.
In the later stage, a scaled up version which can accommodate up to four persons
will be developed.

NASA ended operations of MESSENGER Mission to Mercury


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 30 April 2015 ended the
operations of MESSENGER Mission.
MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and
Ranging and it was launched on 3 August 2004 to study Mercurys atmosphere
The journey of the spacecraft came to an end with Expected Impact (EI) on Mercurys
surface. It plunged to the Mercurys surface at around 14000 kmph, creating a crater
up to 52 feet wide.

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Although the mission completed its primary science objectives by March 2012, the
spacecrafts mission was extended two times, allowing it to capture images and
information about the planet in unprecedented detail.
Among its many accomplishments, the mission determined Mercurys surface
composition, revealed its geological history, discovered its internal magnetic field is
offset from the planets center and concluded its polar deposits are dominantly water
ice.
Johns Hopkins Universitys Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Laurel in Maryland,
USA built and operated the spacecraft and managed the mission for NASAs Science
Mission Directorate in Washington.

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SPORTS
Mohun Bagan won I-League title of football after 13 years
Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan on 31 May 2015 won their maiden I-League title in 13
years. In the final clash at Kanteerva Stadium in Bengaluru, Mohun Bagan managed
a 1-1 draw against the defending champions Bengaluru FC.
Mohun Bagan ended the season with 39 points, while Bengaluru finish second on
the ladder with 37 points.
This win is the fourth I-league title for Mohun Bagan. It won the first I-league title in
2002 when the tournament was called as the National Football League (NFL). Later
in 2007, NFL was renamed as I-League.
The most interesting fact of this win of Bagan after 13-years is that in both the wins,
that is, in 2002 and 2015 the winning goal was scored by a Nigerian player. Abdul
Saliu of Nigeria scored the winning goal for Bagan in the 2001-02 National Football
League title, and in 2015 Rasaq of Nigeria scored the much-needed goal.
The title also ended Bagans five-year trophy drought.

Deepika Kumari won bronze in Archery World Cup


Ace Indian archer Deepika Kumari on 31 May 2015 won bronze medal in the womens
individual recurve event in Archery World Cup at Antalya in Turkey. She defeated
Chang Hye Jin of Korea 6-2 to win the Bronze.

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The Gold and Silver medal of the event was won by Bo Bae Ki of South Korea and
Misun Choi of South Korea respectively.
Deepika became the only winner out of the four veterans Archer Dola Banerjee, Satbir
Kaur and Snehal Divakar. They all lost in the first round of the individual recurve event.
Earlier, the ninth seeded Deepika in pre-quarters defeated Kaori Kawanaka of Japan
6-4 followed by her win over Taipeis Shih-Chia Lin 7-3 in quarter finals. She was,
however, defeated in the final by Olympic gold medallist and world champion Ki Bo
Bae of Korea.

Barcelona Football Club won Kings Cup title for 27th time
Barcelona on 30 May 2015 won Copa del Rey also known as Spanish Kings Cup. In
the final clash at the Nou Camp, Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao, 3-1. This was
the 27th Copa del Rey title for Barcelona.
This was the second title of the season for Barcelona, earlier; it had won La Liga.
Copa del Rey or Kings Cup
The Copa del Rey is an annual football cup competition for Spanish football teams.
Its full name is Campeonato de Espana Copa de Su Majestad el Rey which means
Championship of Spain Cup of His Majesty the King.
The tournament founded in 1903 is one of the most well-known football competitions
bearing the name of a monarch. The other tournament is the Emperors Cup in Japan.
It is also the oldest Spanish football competition. In 2014, it was won by Real Madrid.

Sepp Blatter re-elected as FIFA President


Incumbent FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter on 29 May 2015 was re-elected as
President for the fifth term. He was chosen for the post by the 65th FIFA Congress
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held in Zurich.
79-year-old Blatter won another four-year term as FIFA President after he was able to
secure 133 votes out of 206 valid votes in the 209-member FIFA.
Blatter defeated 39-year-old Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan who was able to
secure 73 votes. Ali was a FIFA Vice President for the past four years.

Besides, the re-election of Sepp Blatter as President, the 65th FIFA Congress also saw
The approval for creation of a committee to oversee different matters affecting the
development of football in Palestine
The update about the implementation of the Handshake for Peace campaign
wherein team captains and referees meet to officially shake hands as a symbol
of respect and solidarity before and after the match to set a strong example of
friendship and peace
The appointment of KPMG as FIFAs auditors for the 2015-2018 cycle
The extension of mandates of Moya Dodd and Sonia Bien-Aime as co-opted
female members of the FIFA Executive Committee for a further term of one year
The 66th and 67th editions of the FIFA Congress will take place in Mexico City in
2016 and Kuala Lumpur in 2017.

Sevilla FC won Europa League title


Sevilla Football ClubSevilla Football Club (FC) on 27 May 2015 won Europa League
title. In the final clash at National Stadium Warsaw, Poland, Sevilla defeated Dnipro
Dnipropetrovsk football club, 3-2.
It was second consecutive Europa Cup win for Sevilla.
With this, Sevilla, the Spains oldest club solely devoted to football practice, became
the first side to win the Europa League four times. Last time, it captured the trophy

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in 2006, 2007 and 2014.


For the first time, this Europa League winner will straight go to the subsequent
Champions League.

Union Sports Ministry gave nod for creation of RSFs by recognising federations of indigenous sports
The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 27 May 2015 gave its nod for
recognising certain sports federations representing indigenous sports disciplines as
Regional Sports Federations (RSFs).
The decision is aimed at promoting sports having only regional spread.

The recognition will be granted by the competent authority subject to the


following conditions:
The sports disciplines must be popular in a region or a state and played in one or
more states.
The sports should have been played in the region for at least last 10 years.
The sports federations seeking RSF status should have conducted championships
in all the categories namely Senior, Junior and Sub-Junior.
In case there is an international body for a sport discipline, the recognition of the
said body would be necessary.
In case there are several bodies in the international level for the same sports, and
if, more than one sports federation applies for recognition, the ministry shall take a
decision in the matter and the reasons for that will be recorded in writing.
One of the conditions for recognition as National Sports Federations (NSFs) that is
the federation should have affiliated units in two thirds of States/Union Territories
(UTs) will not be applicable for grant of recognition as RSFs.
There shall be only one RSF for each sport.

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Federations of only indigenous sports will be considered for recognition as RSFs


and for remaining sports disciplines, the present guidelines for grant of recognition
to NSFs will continue.

Trevor Bayliss appointed as head coach of England Cricket Team


Trevor Bayliss was appointed as the head coach of England cricket team on 26
May 2015. With this appointment, 52-year-old Bayliss became the first Australian to
coach England.
The New South Wales coach succeeded Peter Moores and will take up the new job
in June 2015. Moores second spell ended in first week of May 2015 after he was
sacked.
Bayliss has led Sri Lankan team from 2007 to 2011 and later in 2014 took temporary
charge of Australia for their Twenty20 series in South Africa. He has coached Kolkata
Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Sydney Sixers in Australias Big
Bash League.
Before becoming a coach, he played for New South Wales between 1985 and 1997.

CS Santosh presented with 2014 FMSCI Motorsport Man of the


Year Award
Indias off-road racer CS Santosh on 25 May 2015 was presented with the Motorsport
Man of the Year Award at the 2014 Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI)
Price Distribution Ceremony held in Bangaluru, Karnataka.
He received the Raymond Gautam Singhania Rolling Trophy along with 2 lakh rupees
as cash prize from Gautam Singhania, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)
of the Raymond Group.

Achievements of CS Santosh
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He became the first Indian to compete in Dakar Rally by participating in the worlds
toughest cross-country rally of 9000 km long held in South America in January
2015. In the rally he stood at the 36th position.
He won the Desert Storm 2014 Championship of 2300 km long held in India by
representing the Team Suzuki.
He had become the first Indian to participate in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
in 2013.
He won the 14th Raid De Himalaya Trophy held in 2012 in his very first attempt, a
feat that no one else has accomplished on debut. The rally considered to be one
of the top 10 most difficult raids in the world and the worlds highest sports arena
in the field of off-road racing.
He won the National Supercross championship twice and National Dirt Track
championship thrice.

About FMSCI
The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) is the only national motor
sport federation recognised by the Government of India for the promotion and control
of motor sport in the country and is affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
It was India founded in 1971 and is a long-standing member of the Federation
Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and the Federation International de lAutomobile
(FIA), the world bodies for 2/3 and 4 wheeler motor sports respectively.
R Bharat Raj is the president of FMSCI.

Kumar Sangakkara named CEAT International Cricketer of the


Year 2015
Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara on 25 May 2015 was named as the
International Cricketer of the Year 2015 while the middle order batsman Ajinkya
Rahane was named as the CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year 2015.
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Former Indian captain Kapil Dev was conferred with the International Lifetime
Achievement Award at the 19th edition of the awards.
Rohit Sharma was given a special award for his record-breaking 264 made against
Sri Lanka in an ODI at Kolkata.

List of award winners:


International Lifetime Achievement Award - Kapil Dev
International Cricketer of the Year Kumar Sangakkara
Indian Cricketer of the Year Ajinkya Rahane
International Batsman of the Year Hashim Amla
International Bowler of the Year Rangana Herath
T20 Player of the Year Dwayne Bravo
Popular Choice Award Kieron Pollard
Special Performance of the Year Award Rohit Sharma
Domestic Cricketer of the Year R Vinay Kumar
Young Player of the Year Deepak Hooda
The CEAT awards honour the best of the cricketers based on their performances
in international cricketing in all formats - Test, ODI and T20 - as rated by the CEAT
Cricket ratings (CCR) for the year 2014 2015.

Abhinav Bindra became 4th Indian shooter to qualify for 2016


Rio Olympics
Indias only individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra on 28 May 2015 won a
berth for 2016 Rio Olympic in mens air rifle event.
With this, he became the fourth Indian shooter to win a quota place for the Rio
Olympics and this will be his fifth consecutive appearance in the Olympics.
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Other three shooters who have secured a quota for Rio Olympics are Gagan Narang,
Jitu Rai and Apurvi Chandela.
Bindra succeeded in getting the Olympic berth after he was placed at the sixth place
in the Mens 10 metre Air Rifle final at the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Munich. The
former World and Olympic champion shot a score of 122.4 and aggregated a total of
627.5 in the final to qualify for Rio Olympics.
The event was participated by 136 shooters from 58 countries in the shooting World
Cup in Munich.
Each country can win a maximum of 30 quota places from a total of 15 shooting
disciplines (including shotgun events), two each from each discipline.

Seven FIFA Officials arrested on bribery charges in Zurich by


Switzerland authorities
Seven FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) officials were arrested
on 27 May 2015 by Switzerland authorities in Zurich, Switzerland.
The arrested officials include Jeffrey Webb, FIFA vice-president and all the officials
are awaiting extradition to USA.
They were arrested for allegedly accepting 150 million US dollars in bribes from USA
based sports marketing agencies over a 24-year period starting from 1991.
The arrests were made by the Swiss authorities in cooperation with the US officials.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) indicted 14 people including nine FIFA officials
and five sports media and promotion executives in the Sports Marketing Bribery
Scheme in which the officials accepted bribes and kickbacks in return for awarding
lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments including
FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

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Indian boxer won four Gold Medals at Doha International Boxing


tournament 2015
Indian boxer on 23 May 2015 won four Gold Medals, One Silver and two bronze
medals at Doha International Boxing Tournament 2015. Commonwealth Games silver
medallist L Devendro Singh (49kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Manish Kaushik (60kg), and
Manoj Kumar (64kg) won the gold medals.
The silver medal went to Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg), while Mandeep Jangra (69kg) and
Vikas Krishan (75kg) bagged bronze medals.
In the finals, Devendro defeated Philippines Aldren Moreno by 3:0. This was followed
by Gaurav defeating Montassar Bouali by 2:1.
Former Asian gold medalist Shiva defeated Egypts HYM Abdelaal 2:1. Manish beat
Moroccan Rabi Hamza 3:0, while Manoj thrashed Filipino Magliquian Nicole by a
similar margin.

Indian boxers won three Gold at World Junior Womens boxing


Championship
Indian boxers on 23 May 2015 won three Gold medals and two silver medals at World
Junior Womens boxing Championship. The event was held at Taipei in Taiwan.
Savita (50kg), Mandeep Sandhu (52kg) and Sakshi (54kg) struck gold for the country,
while Soniya (48kg) and Niharika Gonella (70kg) settled for silver medals.
Soniya was the first to take the ring for India by defeating American Heaven Garcia.
She went down 1-2 to open the Indian account with a silver medal. Savita defeated
her Ukrainian rival Kateryna Rohova 2-1 to clinch gold for India.
This was followed by Mandeeps 3-0 triumph over Irelands Niamh Earley before
Sakshi made it three in a row by out-punching American Yarisel Ramirez 3-0. However,
Niharika proved no match for Russian Anastasiia Sigaeva and lost 0-3 to settle for a

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silver medal.
Earlier in the youth competition, Jamuna Boro (57kg) had bagged a bronze medal
after losing in the semifinals.

BCCI recommended Contract system for Indian women cricket


team
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on 24 May 2015 recommended
Contract system for Indian women cricket team. The recommendations were released
at the finance committee meeting held in Delhi.
The Committee recommended to brought Indias international womens cricketers
under the ambit of gradation payment like their male counterparts.

The Womens Cricket Committee of the BCCI made the following recommendations to the Working Committee:
On the lines of Mens cricket, a Contract system for international Women cricketers
was proposed. It was also proposed to have more international fixtures for the Indian
womens cricket team.
The Committee recommended adding two more tournaments to give more exposure
and opportunities to women cricketers at the domestic level. The Committee proposed
to start an under-16 state level tournament within the zones. It also proposed to start
an under-23 tournament.
The present formats of the womens under-19 tournament and the senior womens
tournament will remain unchanged.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won Monaco Grand Prix of Formula One
Mercedes racing driver Nico Rosberg of Germany on 24 May 2015 won the Monaco
Grand Prix Formula 1 World Championship title by winning the final race held in
Monaco.
While Sebastian Vettel of Germany representing the Ferrari team stood at the second
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position, Rosbergs team mate Lewis Hamiltion of UK was at the third positon.
It is the tenth overall championship title for Rosberg and the second title in the 2015
season having won the Spanish Formula 1 World Championship on 10 May 2015.
With the present victory, he has become the fourth driver to win three Monaco Grand
Prix titles in a row. The others were Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
Sergio Perez (Mexico) and Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) of Force India stood at the 7th
and 11th positions respectively in the final race.

Shuttler Saina Nehwal of India ranked No.1 in single rankings


released by BWF
Badminton World Federation (BWF) on 21 May 2015 released the latest singles
rankings. The ranking was topped by Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal. She was followed
by Li Xuerui of China.
Saina Nehwal regained the top position ahead of the Australian Open. In April 2015,
she secured the number one position for the first time. But she subsequently slipped
from the top spot. She has won two titles in 2015 -India Open Super series and India
Grand Prix Gold, and also reached the final of the prestigious All England Open,
which is a Super Series Premier event.
Meanwhile, Nehwals compatriot and two-time World Championship bronze medalist
PV Sindhu dropped to number 12.
In mens singles, K Srikanth retained his fourth place. Even P Kashyap and HS
Parnnoy also maintained their 13th and 15th positions, respectively.

British magazine SportsPro released Worlds 50 Most Marketable 2015 report


The British sports business magazine SportsPro on 20 May 2015 released the Worlds
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50 Most Marketable 2015 report. According to SportsPros listing of the top 50 most
marketable athletes in the world for 2015, Eugenie Bouchard, Tennis player from
Canada, topped the list.
While, FC Barcelona soccer Neymar stood at second place and was followed by
Golfer Jordan Spieth at the third place.

List of top 10 most marketable athletes


Rank Athlete Sport Nationality
1 Eugenie Bouchard Tennis Canada
2 Neymar Soccer Brazil
3 Jordan Spieth Golf USA
4 Missy Franklin Swimming USA
5

Lewis Hamilton

Auto Racing

Great Britain

6 Virat Kohli
C ricket India
7 Stephen Curry Basketball USA
8 Kei Nishikori Tennis Japan
9

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Athletics

Great Britain

10 Usain Bolt Athletics Jamaica


Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli was placed at the sixth position ahead of United States
basketball star Stephen Curry. Another Indian, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal was placed
at the 44th position.
On the other hand, Tennis player Novak Djokovic was placed at 14th position while
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were at 16th and 22nd respectively.
Athletes across the world were ranked on the basis of different criteria including
age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal. The
SportsPro team and external industry experts analysed the players for several weeks.

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Joe Root and Charlotte Edwards named England cricketers of


the year 2014-15
Joe Root and Charlotte Edwards on 18 May 2015 were named as England mens and
womens cricketers of the year 2014-15 respectively.
Root who was recently appointed vice-captain of Englands Test team was named as
the cricketer of the year for scoring 1135 test runs at an average of 95 including four
scores of 149 and above. His top test score of the season was of 200 not out against
Sri Lanka at Lords. He also made three one-day international centuries.
Charlotte Edwards, the womens captain won the award for consecutive second
year. She was chosen for averaging above 75 in ODIs and nearly 60 in Twenty20
internationals in the season. Under her leadership, England secured ODI series
victories against India and New Zealand, alongside T20 series wins against South
Africa and New Zealand.
She was also presented the silver England cap by the England and Wales Cricket
Board to celebrate her 200th match as womens captain against New Zealand in
February 2015.

Other awards announced were


England development programme cricketer of the year award: Saqib Mahmood,
the Under-19s right-arm seamer of Lancashire and England
England disability cricketer of the year award: Luke Sugg from the England visually
impaired team

Maria Sharapova of Russia won the womens single of Italian


Tennis Open for third time
Russian Maria Sharapova on 17 May 2015 won the womens singles of Italian Open
for the third time. She defeated Spains Carla Suarez Navarro by 4-6 7-5 6-1. The
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Italian Open title was held in Rome, Italy.


The mens singles of the Italian Open (also called Rome Masters) was won by Novak
Djokovic of Serbia.
The Italian Open is the most prestigious red clay tennis tournament in the world after
the French Open. The mens competition of the Open is an ATP World Tour Masters
1000 event on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour, and the womens
competition is a Premier 5 event on the Womens Tennis Association (WTA) tour.
The two events were combined in 2011. The tournament is played on clay courts,
currently during the second week of May. The event is also known as the Rome
Masters and the Italian Championships.

Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper retired from ODI cricket


Brad Haddin, the Australian wicketkeeper batsman on 17 May 2015 retired from
One Day International (ODI) cricket. His final ODI appearance was the seven-wicket
victory over New Zealand in World Cup final in Melbourne on 29 March 2015.
He will continue to represent Australian side in Test and Twenty20 international cricket.

Brad Haddin in the cricketing world


Haddin, a right-handed batsman and wicket-keeper, played his debut ODI match
on 30 January 2001 against Zimbabwe at Hobart. He represented Australia in all
three forms of international cricket, that is, Test, One Day International and Twenty20
International.

Details of his ODI cricket career


He played 126 matches and scored 3122 runs at an average of 31.53 of which 110
(against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2010) was his highest score. As a wicketkeeper,
he claimed 170 catches and did 11 stumping over 14 years in the 50-over format,
which was the third-most dismissal for Australia after Adam Gilchrist and Ian Healy.
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Novak Djokovic won 4th Rome Masters Tennis title


Novak Djokovic of Serbia on 17 May 2015 won his fourth Rome Masters Tennis title.
In the summit clash, Djokovic defeated Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3.
With this win, Djokovic earned prize money of 628100 US dollar and 1000 Emirates
ATP Rankings points.
This was the fifth title of the season for Djokovic, the other titles are the Australian
Open (defeated Andy Murray), the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (defeated Roger
Federer), the Miami Open (defeated Andy Murray) and the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
(defeated Tomas Berdych).
Besides, Maria Sharapova of Russia defeated Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 4-6,
7-5, 6-1 to win the womens title. It was the 35th WTA Tour title of Sharapovas career.

Gagan Narang Won Bronze in 50m Rifle Prone Men Event at


ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning
Indian shooter Gagan Narang on 15 April 2015 won the Bronze medal in the 50m
Rifle Prone Men event of International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Rifle/Pistol
World Cup held in Fort Benning, USA.
The Gold medal of the event was won by McPhail Michael of USA and Silver medal
was won by Bryhn Ole Kristian of Norway.
With the present win, Narang, the bronze medalist in 10m Rifle event at the London
Olympics 2012, became the third Indian shooter to earn a quota place for the 2016
Rio Olympics after Jitu Rai and Apruvi Chandela.
Chandela had secured the quota place by winning the bronze in the 10m Rifle at the
World Cup held in South Korea in April 2015.

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Jitu Rai had secured Indias first Olympic quota place by winning silver in the 50m
Free Pistol event at the World Championships held in Granada, Spain in September
2014.
Each country can win a maximum of 30 quota places in Olympic Games from a total
of 15 shooting disciplines that is two each from each discipline.

Lee Alan Johnson named Head Coach of U-19 football team of


India
Lee Alan Johnson of England on 12 May 2015 was named as the Head Coach of
Under-19 football team of India. He was named by the All India Football Federation
(AIFF).
Besides, 34-year-old Johnson will also act as the Head Scout for the national side
and will also perform the role of Assistant Coach of the senior team.
Prior to this, Johnson was working as the Technical Director of the Football Federation
of Rwanda where he was also the Head Coach of the U-17 national team.
Johnson was also an FA Learning Tutor for the Football Association besides being
the academy coach at Crystal Palace Football Club and Chelsea Football Club.

Discus thrower Vikas Gowda won Gold at Jamaican International


Invitation meet
Ace Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda on 10 May 2015 won Gold at Jamaican
International Invitation meet. The meet was held in Kingston, Jamaica. He came up
with an effort of 65.14m to win his event.
Chad Wright of Jamaica was second with a throw of 61.84m while Jared Schuurmans
of United States was third with an effort of 61.62m.
Gowda, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion and Silver medal winnerof
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2014 Asian Games, has thrown the discus over 65m three times in the last three
weeks.
The 31-year-old national record holder first came up with a throw of 65.25m at Chula
Vista on 24 April 2015 to qualify for World Championships in Beijing in August 2015.
The United States-based Indian is yet to qualify for next years Rio Olympics for
which he need to cross the qualifying standard of 66m. His national record stands at
66.28m.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won Spanish Grand


Prix of Formula One
Mercedes racing driver Nico Rosberg of Germany on 10 May 2015 won the Spanish
Grand Prix Formula 1 World Championship title by winning the final race held at
Barcelona in Spain.
While his team mate Lewis Hamilton of Britain stood at the second position, Sebastian
Vettel of Germany representing the Ferrari team stood at the third position in the race.
This is the ninth championship title for Rosberg in his Forumula 1 career and the first
victory in the 2015 season having lost the four earlier races viz., Australian, Malaysian,
Chinese and Bahrain Championships held in the season.
Sergio Perez (Mexico) and Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) of Force India were at the
13th and 15th positions respectively in the final race.

Andy Murray of Britain won the mens singles title of Madrid


Tennis Open
Andy Murray of Britain on 10 May 2015 won the Madrid Open mens singles title in
the final matches held in Madrid, Spain. He beat Rafael Nadalof Spain 6-3, 6-2 to win
his second Madrid Open title.
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With the present win, he has become the third player after Switzerlands Roger
Federer and Rafael Nadal to win at both the venues of Madrid Open.
Earlier, he had won the tournament in 2008 in the Casa de Campo.
For Murray, ranked World No. 3, the present title is his maiden Masters 1000 on a
clay court.
The womens single title was won by Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic on 9 May 2015.

Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic won the womens singles title


of Madrid Tennis Open
Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic on 9 May 2015 won the Madrid Open womens
singles title in the final matches held in Madrid, Spain.
She defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-1, 6-2 to secure the title for the second
time. She won her maiden title in 2011.
With the present win, she equals Serena Williams record of two titles in Madrid.
At present, Kvitova is ranked World No. 4 in Womens singles category.
The mens single title was won by Andy Murray of Britain who defeated Rafael Nadal
of Spain in the final.

Rohan Bopanna, Florin Mergea won Mens Doubles title of


Madrid Tennis Open
Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea, the Indo-Romanian pair, on 10 May 2015 won
the mens doubles title of the Madrid Tennis Open.
In the summit clash played in Madrid, Spain, the duo defeated the Serbian-Polish
pair of Nenand Zimonjic and Martin Matkowski 6-2, 6-7(5), 11-9.
For Rohan Bopanna, this is the third title of the 2015 season having won the titles in
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Sydney and Dubai along with the Canadian partner Daniel Nestor.
With the present win, the duo received 247560 euro pirze money along with their
maiden title and earned 1000 ranking points each.

Indian Army emerged champions in 19th Federation Cup National


Athletic Championships
The Indian Army team on 3 May 2015 emerged as champions in the 19th Federation
Cup National Senior Athletic Championships. The team scored 123.5 points at the
end of the four-day event at the Mangala Stadium in Mangaluru, Karnataka.
The Tamil Nadu team notched the second position by securing 114 points.
The overall mens championships went to the Army when they totalled 123.5 points,
while Tamil Nadu came second with 48 points.
Kerala claimed the overall championship in the womens category with 86 points.
They were followed by Karnataka with 68 points.
The best athlete award in the mens category went to Inderjeet Singh of team Haryana.
He was awarded for his stupendous toss in the shot put event, which helped him
qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Best athlete in the womens category went to Srabani Nanda from Odisha for the
agility she displayed in the 100 metre event.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Manny Pacquiao to win Fight of


the Century of Boxing
American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. on 3 May 2015 defeated Manny Pacquiao
from Philippines to win the unified World Welterweight title. The match termed as
Fight of the Century was held at iconic MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Mayweather won the title in 12 rounds with a unanimous decision in which Ringside
Judge Dave Moretti scored the bout 118-110, while judges Glenn Feldman and Bert
Clements both scored it 116-112.
With this win, Mayweather added Pacquiaos World Boxing Organization (WBO) title
to his World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) crowns.
Also, he extended his winning streak record to 48-0, that is, he has remained
undefeated for 19 years as a professional fighter and a victory would push his record
to 49-0, the same as American Rocky Marcianos.
The match between Mayweather and Pacquiao was valued at 300 million US dollars
and was the richest boxing match in the history.

Roger Federer won the inaugural Istanbul Open Tennis Mens


Singles Title
Switzerland tennis player Roger Federer on 3 May 2015 won the TEB BNP Paribas
Istanbul Open Mens singles title by defeating Pablo Cueves of Uruguay 6-3 7-6.
With this win, the world No 2 ranking player took his 85th ATP World Tour title and
ended a long drought on clay since his previous title of 2012 Madrid Masters.
This is the first ever World Tour event in Turkey and was held from 27 April to 3 May
2015 in Istanbul, the Capital City of Turkey.
In the 439405 Euro prize money tournament, Radu Albot and Dusan Lajovic won the
Doubles Mens title by defeating Robert Lindstedt and Jurgen Melzer.

Sandeep Jajodia removed as the president of Boxing India (BI)


A Special Genral Meeting (SGM) of the Boxing India (BI) on 3 May 2015 removed
Sandeep Jajodia as its president.

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The SGM, which was attended by 64 members of the BI, passed a No Confidence
Motion in this regard.
He is the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Monnet Group (an infrastructure
firm) and was elected to the post unopposed in the contest held on 11 September
2014.
Incidentally, BI Secretary General Jay Kowli resigned on 2 May 2015 after fallout with
Jajodia for forging his signatures in a letter to the Asian Boxing Confederation.
Earlier, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 2 January 2015, recognised
BI as the governing body for representing boxing in India after lifting the 2-year ban.
BI is the federation of 32 boxing associations representing various states or regions
across the country.

Chelsea won Barclays Premier League 2014-15 title with 1-0


win over Crystal Palace
Chelsea won the Barclays Premier League 2014-15 football title by defeating Crystal
Palace 1-0 in the final match held on 3 May 2015 at Stamford Bridge in London.
This is their first premier league title in five years since winning the 2009-10 season
title by defeating Manchester United.
With the present win, Chelsea qualified for Champions League Group Stage which
will be held from September to December 2015.

About Premier League


The Premier League is the top league competition for English football. The competition
started in 1992 when some clubs in the Football League First Division decided to
break away from The Football League, founded in 1888 and has since become the
worlds most watched sporting league.
Till date, a total of 46 clubs have competed in the Premier League, but only five

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have won the title viz., Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal, Chelsea and
Manchester City.

Railways won the 5th Hockey India Senior Women National


Championship 2015
Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) on 3 May 2015 won the 5th Hockey India
Senior Women National Championship 2015.
In the final match played at the Master Chandgi Ram sports stadium at Saifai, Uttar
Pradesh, Railways defeated Hockey Jharkhand by 12-2.
The third position was bagged by Hockey Punjab who beat Madhya Pradesh Hockey
Academy by 2-0.
Earlier on 28 April 2015, the 5th Hockey India Senior Mens National Hockey
championship 2015 was also by the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB). In the
final match Railways had defeated Uttar Pradesh Hockey (UPH) by 5-3.

Union Sports Ministry recognised Motor Sports as a Sports under NSF


Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 23 March 2015 recognised Motor
Sports as a sport by including it in the list of sports ministry-backed National Sports
Federations (NSF).
Motor Sports is one of the 59 sports recognised by the Ministry during the review of
categorization of various sports discipline into High Priority, Priority and Others.
After the review Motor Sports was put into Others category which means that no
financial assistance will be provided to it.
The decision to include Motor Sports was welcomed by the Federation of Motor
Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), the governing body for the motor sports in India.
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Sports Ministry after each Olympics Games and Asian Games reviews and categorise
various sports discipline with respect to their performance in these Games. The
categorization is done with a view to review and provides financial assistance to the
NSF. The last such review was done in 2008.
Accordingly, 9 sports disciplines were put into High Priority category. These include
Archery, Boxing, Weight Lifting, Wrestling, Tennis, Shooting, Hockey, Badminton and
Athletics.
23 sports disciplines were put under Priority category and rest were put into Others
category.

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STATE
Andhra Pradesh brought 16 Sectors under Swiss Challenge
method to develop Infrastructure
State government of Andhra Pradesh on 29 May 2015 issued orders to bring 16 sectors
under Schedule III of the AP Infrastructure Development Enabling Act (APIDEA), 2001
with an aim to develop infrastructure in public private partnership (PPP) mode.
This order was issued by the Infrastructure and Investment Department to facilitate
the government to extend Swiss Challenge method to award infrastructure project in
these 16 sectors.

The sectors which have been included to be developed under Swiss Challenge method are
Telecommunications and broadband internet services
Power generation, transmission and distribution including renewable energy
projects
Highway projects including housing or other activities being an integral part of
high way project, transport terminus and depots
Railway systems
Urban transit projects, ports and inland ports, airports
Urban development projects including smart city and educational institutions

Swiss Challenge method


Swiss Challenge Approach means a Private Sector Participant (Original Project
Proponent) submits an unsolicited or suo-motu proposal and draft contract principles
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for undertaking a project, not already initiated by the Government Agency or the Local
Authority. The Government Agency or the Local Authority then invites competitive
counter proposals in such manner as may be prescribed by the Government.
Proprietary information contained in the original proposal shall remain confidential
and will not be disclosed.

Maharashtra CM sets up a high powered task force to develop


IFSC
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on 29 May 2015 set up a high powered
task force in order to make Mumbai a credible competitor among other International
Financial Services Centres (IFSCs).
The Task Force would be co-chaired by Deutsche Bank Co-operative Chief Executive
Officer (CO-CEO) Anshu Jain and SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya. They will
devise the roadmap for development of IFSC.

Tripura withdrew AFSPA from state


State government of Tripura on 27 May 2015 decided to withdraw the Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 from the remaining areas of the state with
immediate effect.
The decision to withdraw the Act was taken during a cabinet meet held in Agartala
after the Tripura police in its latest half-yearly review found no need to extend the Act
further. The cabinet meet was chaired by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.
The state government will forward the decision to the Union Home Ministry for formal
withdrawal of the Central Act.
The Act was enforced in the state by the Union Government on 16 February 1997 in
40 police station areas of the state, dominated by the tribal due to relentless violence

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and bloodshed. Since then, the Act was reviewed and extended in every six months.
Later in June 2013, the Act was withdrawn from nine police stations, following decline
in the incidents in insurgency.
As a result, the number of police stations under the Act was reduced to 25 from
existing 34 and the number of police stations under partial imposition of the Act was
increased from six to seven.
The Opposition Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) has been demanding
repeal of the Act from the entire state and alleged that the Act was working as a tool
of harassment to the people living in remote areas of the State.

Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA)


The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 was passed on 11 September
1958. The law grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in disturbed areas
across the country.
Disturbed area means an area which is for the time being declared by notification
under section 3 to be a disturbed area.

Ajanmi Beti Ke liye Daud organised for the cause of saving girl
child in Himachal Pradesh
Forum for Human Rights and Justice (FHRJ) on 27 May 2015 organised a Marathon
named as Ajanmi Beti Ke liye Daud (Protecting the Unborn Girl) in Shimla, Himachal
Pradesh.
The objective of this Marathon is to save girl child and arrest the declining sex ratio
in the hill state.
Himachal is one among the ten worst states wherein sex ratio is worst. It has a child
sex ratio of 906 against 1000 females.
The districts of Himachal with worst sex ratio are Una (875), Kangra (876), Hamirpur
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(887), Solan (899) and Bilaspur (900).


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.
Through the run, FHRJ tried to make people aware and mobilize them to join hands
for a new beginning.

Delhi Government approved mandatory GPS in public transport


from June 2015
Delhi Government on 26 May 2015 approved mandatory Global Positioning System
(GPS) in all public transport vehicles from June 2015.
The decision was taken keeping in view the security and safety of commuters, especially
women. The GPS devices will be available from Driving Licence Appointment and
Payment System (DIMTS).
The GPS devices can be procured at cost-effective rates. DIMTS will monitor all data
from the GPS devices. The press release said that after 1 June 2015, no commercial
or passenger vehicle will be allowed a fitness certificate if it doesnt have a GPS
device.
The decision comes months after the transport department, which has been extending
the deadline for mandatory GPS, announced that all passenger vehicles will need it
in order to get their fitness certificates renewed.
The transport department had made it mandatory for all autorickshaws in 2014 to
install GPS in order to get their annual fitness certificate. It had later expanded that
ambit to cover taxis and gramin sewa.
However, autorickshaw and taxi unions had been complaining about the high cost of
the devices. Some have demanded subsidies.

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Delhi government tied-up with Rotary club to revamp government schools


Delhi Government on 24 May 2015 tied up with Rotary Club for revamping government
schools in the state by upgrading sanitation and strengthening basic infrastructure
facilities like drinking water and toilets.
In the first phase of the plan, Rotary Club will launch a hygiene campaign at 300
government schools and improve cleanliness besides working on basic facilities for
the students.
The hygiene campaign will run in collaboration with Rotary Club in 300 schools. Rotary
Club will do a survey of schools from the list of 400 schools to assess infrastructure
there and prepare its detailed proposal.
The proposal thereafter will be submitted to the state government for its approval
and further action.

Tamil Nadu CM announced welfare schemes worth 1800 crore


rupees
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on 24 May 2015 announced development and
welfare measures worth over 1800 crore rupees. The measures include improvement
of roads and drinking water facilities and extending assistance to needy families
headed by women.

The state government also approved five major schemes and they are
Opening of more AMMA canteens that provide subsidised food
Housing for poor
Setting up Reverse Osmosis plants for drinking water
In fiscal 2015-16, 3500 km road stretch will be taken for development under Tamil
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Nadu Rural Roads Development Scheme.


Consent for a special housing scheme for the poor in town panchayat areas.
Launched subsidised sale of Toor, Urad dhal scheme under which people will get
Toor and Urad dhal at Government outlets at subsidised rates.
The measures were approved a day after Jayalalithaa began her fifth stint as Tamil
Nadu Chief Minister. She was sworn in as the Chief Minister on 23 May 2015.

Uttar Pradesh government amended State Film Policy to woo


tourism
Uttar Pradesh Government on 16 May 2015 amended State Film Policy to woo
tourism. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP) Akhilesh Yadav inaugurated the UP
Film Bnadhuss Website and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set
up a film city.
Also, UP Government under the amended policy has increased the subsidy given to
the film maker to encourage film production in the state. Each film produced in UP is
now entitled to a subsidy of 2 crore rupees.
U.P. Film Policy booklet was also launched during the event. On 24 May 2015,
Akhilesh Yadav also presented a cheque of 2 crore rupees to Jaanisaars filmmaker
Muzaffar Ali.
Noted films like Bullet Raja, Ishqiya, Teval, Jaanisar, Dozakh and many more have
already been in shot in U.P.

Andaman & Nicobar Police proposed to reserve 33% seats for


women
Andaman & Nicobar Police on 21 May 2015 proposed to reserve 33 percent of the
seats for the posts of constable and sub-inspector for women.
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The decision to keep 33 percent women in police will help the vulnerable sections like
women, children and the old to voice their grievances without fear and help resolve
many problems in a significant way.
At present, women police consists only 18 percent part Andaman and Nicobar police.
Earlier in June 2014, Gujarat Government also announced 33 percent quota for
women in police force.
On the other hand, Union Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March
2015 approved 33 percent reservation for women in police forces of all union territories,
including Delhi, citing difficulties faced by women complainants to approach the
male-dominated police force.

World Bank approved 250 million dollar credit for Enhancing


Teacher Effectiveness in Bihar
The World Bank on 20 May 2015 approved 250 million US dollar credit for the
Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness in Bihar Programme. The credit will be provided
to improve the effectiveness of elementary school teachers in Bihar by making them
more qualified, accountable and responsive.
The credit is being provided from the International Development Association (IDA),
the World Banks concessionary lending arm, and the credit is on IDA terms with a
maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.

The programme will be implemented over a five year period and will support
the state in
Development of high quality education institutions
Ensure certification for unqualified elementary school teachers and continuous
professional development of teachers in service
Help effective teacher management and performance and improve teacher
accountability at the school level

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The problem of quality of education in Bihar


Among many problems affecting Bihar education system, quality of education is the
worrisome problem. The quality of education in turn is the result of lack of trained
teachers in Bihar. By 2020, the number of teachers is expected to exceed 6 lakhs but
the states training capacity is less than 5000 teachers annually. It means state needs
to train at least ten times more teachers annually.
Further, this has been compounded by years of underinvestment in teacher education
in Bihar since the 1990s.
Besides, the problem of absenteeism is also affecting the quality of education in
Bihar. Though in recent past between 2003 and 2010, Bihar experienced a 10 percent
reduction in absenteeism rates, still teacher absenteeism continues to be quite high.

How World Bank programme will help address the problem?


The programme will be part of the Bihar governments school education reform
programme, also known as Manav Vikas programme, which is being implemented to
improve the quality of education especially for elementary level children.
The programme will benefit some 450000 teachers in government elementary schools
in Bihar, particularly the 65000 new unqualified entrants who will receive certification
through Open Distance Learning (ODL).
As a result, it is expected that some 21.2 million elementary school students will gain
access to improved classroom teaching and learning.
Institutions like the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT),
District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs), Primary Teacher Education
Centers (PTECs) at the district level and Block Resource Centers (BRCs) and Cluster
Resource Centers (CRCs) at the sub-district level will also be strengthened to function
as local learning centers.
This program will help the state improve the learning environment and the performance
of teachers in schools, with strong monitoring, evaluation and governance
mechanisms.

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For a robust monitoring and evaluation mechanism, the program will introduce a
number of initiatives which include Teacher Education Management Information
System (TEMIS) and Teacher Education Institutional Development Index (TEIDI)
among others.
World Bank Country Director in India: Onno Ruhl

Mumbais Siddhivinayak temple received ISO 9001-2008 certification


Siddhivinayak temple of Mumbai on 20 May 2015 received International Organization
for Standardization (ISO) 9001-2008 certification for best quality practices.
The temple facilitates darshan and also funds various activities of public interest like
education, drought management in state and others.
Siddhivinayak temple is the first temple in Mumbai to receive ISO certification.
The certificate was presented by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to to the
Siddhivinayak Trust chief officer Mangesh Shinde in an event held at the temple.
The Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shri
Ganesh. It is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was originally built by
Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil on 19 November 1801.

Tathagata Roy sworn in as Governor of Tripura


Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Tathagata Roy on 20 May 2015 was sworn
in as the Governor of Tripura. He became the 16th Governor of the state.
The Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, Deepak Gupta, administered the oath of
office at a ceremony held in Raj Bhavan.
Roy succeeded Padmanabh Balkrishna Acharya, who is also the Governor of
Nagaland.
Roy, a university teacher before joining politics, was president of the West Bengal

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state unit of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) from 2002 till 2006. Currently, he is a member
of the Bhartiya Janta party (BJP) National Executive, the partys central policy making
body.

Maharashtra to amend Factories Act, 1948 to allow women to


work in night shifts
State Government of Maharashtra on 20 May 2015 decided to make amend Section
66(1)(c) of the Factories Act, 1948, so that women employees can work in night shifts.
Section 66(1)(c) of the Factories Act, 1948 restricted women from working at a factory
between 7 PM and 6 AM.
The decision was taken following demands from several labour union leaders and
politicians to allow women to work post 7 pm. However, the factory managements
will have to provide security to women working in night shifts.
With this decision, Maharashtra joined the league of selected states like Haryana,
Rajasthan, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh that allow women to work
in night shifts or are in the process of doing so.

The other proposed changes to the Factories Act, 1948 include


Workers to be eligible for paid leave after working for 90 days in a year instead of
the existing 240 days or more.
It would not be mandatory for workers to take the managements permission for
overtime, the limit for which in three months will be increased to 115 hours from
the current 75.
The decision of the state government to change the 67-year-old existing law will
bring a much needed help for workers working in more than 14000 factories across
the state.

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TP Senkumar appointed as DGP of Kerala


A 1983 batch IPS officer TP Senkumar was on 20 May 2015 appointed as the Director
General of Police (DGP) of Kerala.
The decision was taken by the State Cabinet in a meeting held under the chairmanship
of the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
He will succeed KS Balasubramanian, who is retiring on 31 May 2015.
At present, Senkumar is the DGP (Prison) and has got service till June 2017.
Earlier, he served the state in various capacities including as the chief of the intelligence
wing and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
He has investigated many high profile cases including Vithura and Pandalam sexual
assault cases, Liz financial fraud case and French spy case among others.
He obtained Presidents police medal in 2009 for his services.

JICA agreed to lend 1165 crore rupees for Odisha Transmission


System Improvement Project
India and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on 15 May 2015
signed an ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan agreement to provide up to
21787 million yen (about 1165 crore rupees) for the Odisha Transmission System
Improvement Project (OTSIP).
The agreement was signed by Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Finance S
Selvakumar and JICA India Office Chief Representative Shinya Ejima in New Delhi.
The purpose of the loan is to assist in establishing a stable power supply to the state
in advance of an expected large increase in power demand in the coming years due
to rapid industrialization.
The JICA will charge 0.8 percent per annum interest rate and the loan repayment
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period is 20 years in addition a 6 years grace period.


Transmission lines extending around 971 kilometers and 18 substations will be
constructed to improve the power transmission efficiency and stabilize the power
supply. The project will be completed by January 2020.
The Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited will be the nodal agency to
execute the project.
JICA has extended about 3400 crore rupees in ODA loans since 1981 for all-round
development in Odisha. It has also provided for loans up to 65260 crore rupees
in ODA loans since 1958 for enhancement of power generation and transmission
infrastructure in India.

Delhi Government decided to launch Pay & Play Scheme to promote sports
The state government of Delhi on 19 May 2015 decided to launch Pay & Play Scheme
at the designated stadiums or sports complexes. The scheme is planned to promote
sports for all age groups in the national capital.
The scheme would begin from 1 July 2015 in the morning session from 6 am to 9.30
am. The facilities would be free of cost for school students and disabled persons.
Under the scheme, people can play game available within the stadiums and complexes
by paying a nominal fee of 100 rupees per month.
For this purpose, the state government has ordered opening up of several stadiums
and sports complexes. It has also decided that academies or clubs or individuals will
have access to government schools for sports promotion.
At present, the membership for sports facilities is available in Thyagraj Stadium,
Ludlow Castle Sports Complex and Chhatrasal Stadium.

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Draupadi Murmu sworn in as first woman Governor of Jharkhand


Draupadi Murmu was on 18 May 2015 sworn in as the first woman Governor of
Jharkhand since the state was granted statehood status after bifurcating from Bihar
on 15 November 2000. With this, Murmu became the ninth Governor of Jharkhand.
She succeeded Syed Ahmed who was recently transferred as Governor of Manipur
by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Jharkhand High Court Chief Justice Virendra Singh administered oath of the office of
Murmu under the provisions of Article 159 of Constitution of India.
Draupadi Murmu is a two-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Odisha
Assembly and had represented Rairangpur constituency. She had served as Cabinet
Minister in the Naveen Patnaik led coalition government of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and
BJP.
She was the Minister of State (MoS) with independent charge for Commerce and
Transport from March 2000 to August 2002.

Himachal Pradesh to host Paragliding World Cup 2015


Himachal Pradesh will host the Paragliding World Cup from 23 October to 31 October
2015 at Bir Billing in Kangra valley. The world cup will be held under the aegis of
Para-gliding World Cup Association, France.
This is for the first time that India will be hosting the Paragliding World Cup which will
see participation from over 50 countries.
The state was chosen to host the World Cup after it successfully conducted the
paragliding pre-World Cup-2013.
For the successful conduct of the event, the state government has formed the Billing
Paragliding Association (BPA) under the chairmanship of Sudhir Sharma who is the
Urban Development Minister of HP. Further, the state government has directed to
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ban construction activities near the take-off and landing sites.


The success of the Paragliding World Cup 2015 would promote tourism as well as
sports in the state.

Maharashtra government banned digging of borewells deeper


than 200 feet
Maharashtra Government on 14 May 2015 banned the digging of borewells beyond
200 feet in the state with a view to check the steep decline of groundwater-level. The
decision came in wake of increase in the digging of new borewells by farmers and
private players due to water scarcity during the summers.
Those who will be found guilty, will face a fine ranging from 10000 rupees to 25000
rupees or even imprisonment of up to six months in case of repeated offences.
The decision is part of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis water
conservation project Jalayukta Shivar Yojana which aims to make 5000 villages in
state drought-free in one year.

Background
The rampant and uncontrolled digging of borewells in various parts of state had led to
depletion of ground-water level. The Marathawada region and Buldhana & Amravati
districts of Vidarbha region are worst hit due to depletion of ground-water level.
In these districts, borewells have been dug almost up to 1000 feet underground in
search of ground water with no success.

MHRD Gave Nod For Setting Up IIIT in Nagpur, Maharashtra


Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on 14 May 2015 gave an
in-principle approval for setting up an IIIT (Indian Institute of Information Technology)
in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
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It will be the first IIIT to be set up in the state.


The IIIT will join a batch of national institutes which are set to come up in the city,
namely the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) andIndian Institute of
Management (IIM).
The setting up of these higher educational institutions in Nagpur is aimed at improving
educational infrastructure in the backward Vidarbha region.

About Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs)


Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) are a group of specialized institutes
providing higher education in Information Technology (IT).
The MHRD took a decision in 2008 to set up 20 such institutions during the 11th Five
Year Plan (2007-12) to serve the human resource and technical needs of the Indian
IT Industry.
In December 2014, the Parliament has passed the Indian Institutes of Information
Technology (IIIT) Bill, 2014 to grant four existing IIITs situated in Uttar Pradesh, Tami
Nadu and Madhya Pradesh independent statutory status. It proposes to declare
them as institutes of national importance and enables them to grant degrees to their
students.

Punjab government launched pan-state programme to monitor


the soil health of every farm
Punjab Agriculture Department on 13 May 2015 launched a pan-state programme to
monitor the soil health of every farm in the state by issuing them personalised Soil
Health Cards (SHCs). With this, Punjab became the first state in India to issue Soil
Health Cards to farmers.
In this regard, every district of state was assigned a mobile soil testing lab. These
labs will take soil sample from every farm and will issue digitalised soil health details.
As per Punjab Government, it is mandatory for Soil Testing Labs to check soil health
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quarterly. Each health card holder will be issued a written advisory on usage of
fertilisers and seeds adaptability.
The constant monitoring of health profile of various farms in the state is imperative
keeping in view over exploitation of soil after the advent of green revolution in the
state. It is necessary to maintain the health structure of soil and educating the farmers
to use right quantity of fertilisers to prevent soil becoming arid.

About Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme


The Soil Health Card Scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
on 19 February 2015 nationwide in Suratgarh town of Sriganganagar district,
Rajasthan.
The cards contain all basic information and crop-wise recommendations of
nutrients or fertilizers required for farms of different soil types.
It will carry crop-wise recommendation of fertilizers required for farm lands and
other inputs to increase the productivity of individual farmer.

Telangana Government signed MoU with Google to build a campus in Hyderabad


Telangana Government on 11 May 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) with tech giant Google Inc to build the biggest campus outside the United
States (US) in Hyderabad.
The MoU was signed by Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana Secretary of Information
Technology (IT) and his counterpart David Redcliffe, Googles global head of facilities
and workplace in Google headquarters at Mountain View in USA.
On completion, Googles Hyderabad campus will be second-biggest in the world
and the first in Asia.

Highlights of the MoU


It will be set up at the cost of 1000 crore rupees and expected to be ready within
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four years by 2019.


It will have two million square feet working space and will employ around 13000
technologists that will be recruited over a period of four years for this project.
For this campus, Telangana Government will allocate seven acres of land in
Gachibowli, a major IT suburb of Hyderabad.
The work for this campus will formally start in 2016.

Googles StreetView project


Apart from this, Google agreed to pick Hyderabad for its StreetView project after
Union Government gave its approval to include Hyderabad in Street View project.
Googles street View is a tool in Google Map that gives panoramic view of streets,
roads and monuments. The firm uses cars, treks and bicycles, fitted with cameras, to
capture the images and collate them to give the users a 360 degree views.

UP Government launched Samajwadi Shudha Payjal Yojna for


UP Roadways bus stations
Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on 12 May 2015 launched the
water ATM facility Samajwadi Shudha Payjal Yojna for UP Roadways bus stations.
This facility was installed at Charbagh of Lucknow and at other 100 bus stations of
the state.
Through this service, the passengers will get best potable water at the most affordable
price of two Rupees per liter. Moreover, the Uttar Pradesh government also flagged
off four luxury buses Scannia to four different destination including Delhi. It also
inaugurated an IVRS number 149 enquiry facility regarding bus services of UP.
The state government also laid the foundation stone for up gradation of 25 bus
stations where state of the art technology and best passenger and civic facilities will
be available.

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India Post launched Dedicated E-Commerce Centre in New Delhi


India Posts on 11 May 2015 launched a dedicated E-Commerce Centre in New
Delhi to cater the e-commerce business enterprises. It was launched by Union
Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at Safdarjang, New Delhi.
This project was implemented by Department of Posts through Delhi Postal Circle.
This processing centre will exclusively handle all the e-commerce business. It is
capable of handling 30000 parcels (articles) per day.
It will also facilitate collection of parcels from the e-commerce customers by processing
and dispatching them within 24 hours to respective destination. For this purpose the
centre will use quickest available transportation facility like flight or trains.
The leading e-commerce customers Yepme, Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm etc are already
using this newly established e-commerce Centre for processing their e-commerce
parcels.

Hyderabad to host Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015


in July
Hyderabad will host the four-day Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015 that is
scheduled to be held on 24 July 2015. The announcement was made by P V Appaji,
Director-General of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil)
on 11 May 2015. The theme of Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015 will
beInnovation and Advances. The event will deliberate on a range of issues, from
pharmaceutical technology to education, indigenous drugs and drug regulatory
affairs, besides serving as a platform for joint ventures and project collaboration.
Renowned pharmaceutical experts will be addressing the Summit. The summit will
be organised by Indus Foundation in association with FTAPCCI and OMICS group.

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May 2015

MIDC signed a MoU with SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd to fund MSMEs
The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) on 9 May 2015 signed
a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd to provide
easy finance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for their growth.
Accordingly, both MIDC and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
Venture Capital jointly created funds of 200 crore rupees. Of the total amount, the
MIDC contributed 75 crore rupees, while SIDBI provided the remaining amount of
125 crore rupees.
The reason behind this tie-up of MIDC and SIDBI Venture Capital is to make it easier
for MSME to obtain loans from banks for their expansions or various business
purposes. The rate of interest at which finance would be provided to the MSMEs is
yet to be decided.
The MoU was signed by MIDC CEO Bhushan Gagrani and Ananta P Sarma, MD and
CEO of SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd.

Goa Government launched hot air balloon & amphibious vehicles


State Government of Goa on 9 May 2015 launched hot air balloon and amphibious
vehicles in the picturesque state of beaches. It was launched with an aim to add
attractions to its tourism portfolio.
The hot air balloon will help tourists to fly over the picturesque landscape, which will
provide an aerial view of the popular tourist destinations. Amphibious vehicle, which
can run on road and ply in waters, can operate across seven routes in five talukas of
Goa.
These new ventures to attract tourists will give a thrilling experience to tourists in

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Goas inland waterways and will also allow them to tour across backwaters and catch
glimpse of the flora and fauna in the surroundings.
The two services will be run by Delhi-based Camping Retreats of India pvt ltd, initially
from Panji. Later, the services will be operated from other prominent tourist spots of
the state.

Haryana Government included Deaflympics in its sports policy


State Government of Haryana on 9 May 2015 included Deaflympics in its Sports
Policy. It was included to enable Deaflympian medalists to get cash rewards, jobs
and other benefits.
Decision to this effect to include Deaflympics in sports policy was taken during a
state cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal at Chandigarh.
Deaflympics, previously known as World Games for the Deaf and International Games
for the Deaf, is an event sanctioned by International Olympic Committee (IOC). Its
participants are deaf athletes and they compete at an elite level.
It is the longest multi-sports event excluding the Olympics and is held once in every
four years. The first games were held in Paris in 1924, and were also the first ever
international sporting event for athletes with a disability. Since first event, the games is
organised by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (Comite International
des Sports des Sourds (CISS)).
The games are held in two forms, that is, summer and winter. The 1924 Paris event
was the summer games, while the first winter games was held in 1949 at Seefeld.
The last summer deaflympics was held in 2013 at Sofia, the winter deaflympics is
scheduled to happen in 2015 at Khanty-Mansiysk.

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May 2015

High Court of Gujarat ordered shutting down of 67 sand mines


in Gir Forest Sanctuary
High Court of Gujarat on 6 May 2015 ordered shutting down of 67 sand mining units
in the Gir Forest Sanctuary, the only adobe of Asiatic lions. These 67 mining units
were ordered to stop operation as their leases were not renewed.
The order was passed by a two-judge bench of High Court comprising Justice Jayant
Patel and Justice GB Shah on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Surat citybased citizen Rajkumar Sutaria. The petitioner alleged that illegal mining in the area
threatened the lives of the wild animals like Asiatic lions, bears, hyneas and golden
jackals.
The order came after the Gujarat forest department submitted that the 67 units would
not be given No Objection Certificates (NOC) for mining on the banks of Shetrunji
River in the Gir forest Sanctuary area.
The Gir Asiatic lion sanctuary is protected as an eco-sensitive zone where no
construction or development activities can take place in a radius of 10 kilo meters.
But, the mining activity in the Shetrunji River had been going in the area, which
threatens the existence of wildlife.

ss
Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar launched Beti Bachao
Beti Padhao scheme in state
Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on 6 May 2015 launched the state level Beti
Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme in Panaji. After launching the campaign, the Chief
Minister also urged the society to invest more on girl child basically in the field of
education as the girls gives more fruits to the society and family also.
North Goa is among 100 districts selected from across the country to implement
the central government scheme on pilot basis. The objective of the scheme is to
empower the girl child and enable her education.
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Haryana Government notified 163 services under Right to Service Act, 2014
Haryana government on 4 May 2015 notified 163 services under Haryana Right to
Service Act, 2014. The notification was released with a view to provide time bound
and hassle-free services to the citizens.
These services would be provided in prescribed time period and on case of
unnecessary delay, the concerned official would have to pay fine. For instance
The Revenue Department would provide 20 services in time bound manner.
Certified copies of all Record of Rights (Jamabandi), Girdawari and mutation would
be provided in one day by Duty Patwari-1.
The demarcation of land would be provided by Circle Revenue Officer in 45 days.
Certificates of scheduled castes, backward classes, special backward classes,
resident, economically backward classes, tapriwas and vimukt jati would be issued
in seven days by the Tehsildar of the concerned Sub Division.
In Health Department, the certified copies of birth or death in rural areas would be
issued in seven days in year 2015 and in 15 days for previous years.

Haryana Right to Service Act, 2014


Haryana Right to Service Act, 2014 was notified on 26 March 2014 by Bhupinder
Singh Hooda led government of Haryana. It was enacted to provide for the delivery
of the services in a time-bound manner to eligible persons and for matters connected
therewith.

Rajasthan Government signed deal with NHM, UNICEF & GAIN


to counter malnourishment

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Rajasthan Government on 4 May 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding


(MoU) with National Health Mission (NHM), UNICEF and GAIN (Global Alliance for
Improved Nutrition) in Jaipur to tackle the severe problem of malnourishment of the
state.
Initially, the programme will be implemented in thirteen districts in which more than
10000 children have been identified as malnourished. To deal with malnourishment,
a special management programme will be organised on the community basis.
At present, Rajasthan has 40 malnourishment treatment centres, which are equipped
with 10000 beds. It is also facilitated with 107 centres with six beds.

Background
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the state budget 2015-16 announced
that special attention will be given to the children falling out of medical reach in state.

BHEL commissioned 195 MW Thermal Unit of KBUNL in Bihar


Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the state owned power equipment maker,
on 4 April 2015 commissioned a 195 MW thermal unit of Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam
Limited (KBUNL) in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
This was the first 195 MW unit to be commissioned by BHEL at the 2x195 MW
Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station (TPS) Plant of KBUNL. The second 195 MW unit
is expected to be commissioned in the on-going 2015-16 financial year.
The Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam Limited (KBUNL) is being developed in a joint venture
between BHEL, NTPC and Bihar State Power Generation Company (BSPGCL).
Earlier, in the first week of March 2015, a 660 MW supercritical thermal unit was
commissioned by BHEL at Barh in Bihar.

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Dr Mahesh Sharma inaugurated Puducherry Science Centre and


Planetarium
The Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent
Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma on 3 May 2015 inaugurated the first
ever Science Centre and Planetarium in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The Science Centre and Planetarium has been set up by the National Council of
Science Museums (NCSM) of Ministry of Culture at an expense of 5.5 crore rupees.
It is the 47th Science Museum in the country.

About Puducherry Science Centre and Planetarium


It has interactive exhibition galleries on Marine Biology and Fun Science
It has an eight meter dome digital planetarium and an open-air science park
The planetarium can accommodate 55 people at a time
Besides, the Chief Minister of Puducherry N. Rangasamy and the Science and
Technology Minister T. Thiagarajan appealed to Dr. Mahesh to approve another
science centre for Karaikal.
The 48th Science Centre will be opened soon in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

NTPC signed MoA with Jharkhand Government for maintaining


Patratu Thermal Power Station
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd on 3 May 2015 signed a Memorandum
of Agreement (MoA) with Jharkhand Government for forming a Joint Venture Company
for managing Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS).
This Joint Venture (JV) Company will be promoted by NTPC and Jharkhand Bidyut
Vitaran Nigam Ltd. (JBVNL) with 74:26 equity participation. The JV Company will give
employment to all the employees working in the station and will increase earning

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opportunities for many service providers.

Highlights of the MoA


Performance improvement of existing station from 15 percent PLF to 82 percent
to give more power to Jharkhand immediately.
Building of an efficient Super Critical project of 4000 MW in 2 phases.
Provide cheap and affordable 27X7 power supply to every household and adequate
power for farmers in Jharkhand.
Enable rapid industrialization which will provide massive employment to youth of
Jharkhand in new industry.
Jharkhand government will be a partner in this project without investing any
additional capital.

Cow-urine refinery inaugurated at Pathmeda village for research


on cow products
A cow-urine refinery was on 3 May 2015 inaugurated at Pathmeda village in Jalore
district, Rajasthan for research on the cow products. The refinery was inaugurated by
Rajasthan Health Minister Rajendra Rathore.
For the research on cow products, a scientific approach will be adopted for Indian
traditional system of medicine. The refinery will prepare cow-urine extract for use in
the formulation of various products.
To this effect, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Jodhpurs Dr
S Radhakrishnan Ayurveda University and the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and
Animal Sciences.
The by-product derived from cow-urine extract will be used for cleaning at the SMS
Hospital in Jaipur. Currently, the fibre obtained from cow dung is used at two places,
in Agra and Jalore for running industries.

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Andhra Pradesh and Telangana introduced 5 lakh rupees Accident Insurance Scheme for transport
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on 1 May 2015 introduced 5 lakh rupees Accident
Insurance Scheme for transport drivers. It will also cover education of two children
of the beneficiary.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu formally launched the scheme
at Rajhamundry while Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhara Rao made the
announcement in Hyderabad.
Both the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an insurer
to bear the additional amount of 3 lakh rupees insurance cover, over and above the
2 lakh rupees cover that the Union Government will provide through the Pradhan
Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY).
To claim the benefit, the transport drivers have to register their names on a specified
portal. About 11 lakh transport drivers and journalists in the two states will be benefited
under the programme. About 16 thousand Home Guards in Telangana will also be
benefited by the scheme.

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NEWS CAPSULE
PERSON IN NEWS
Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili appointed as Governor of Ukraines Odessa region
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was in news as on 31 May 2015 he
was appointed as Governor of Ukraines southern Odessa region.
He replaced Ihor Palytsia, a businessman who was appointed as governor of the
region in May 2014.
His appointment was announced by Ukraines President Petro Poroshenko who
said that Saakashvili had been granted Ukrainian citizenship. He was granted the
Ukrainian citizenship to facilitate the move on 30 May 2015.
Saakashvili as a person is widely credited with carrying out radical reforms in Georgia
during his term in 2004-13.
One the other hand, the current Georgian authorities accuses him of abuse of power
and has demanded his extradition. He denies all the charges against him, and says
that they are politically motivated.
He left Georgia after his term ended in 2013.

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Yaduveer of Wodeyar dynasty crowned as 27th Maharaja of


Mysuru
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja of Wodeyar dynasty on 28 May 2015 was crowned
as the 27th Maharaja of erstwhile kingdom of Mysuru.
The 22-year-old adopted heir to the Wodeyar dynasty was coronated at a grand
ceremony that took place in the hallowed precincts of Durbar Hall at the Amba Vilas
Palace in Mysuru, also known as the city of palaces.
The grand ceremony was attended by around 1000 special invitees and pontiffs from
the region including former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and state ministers KJ
George, RV Deshpande, DK Shivakumar, Srinivasa Prasad and Roshan Baig and
Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao.
The last coronation took place 41 years ago when Srikantadatta Narasimharaja
Wodeyar was crowned at the age of 21.
Srikantadatta Wodeyar, the only son of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the last ruling
Maharaja of Mysuru, and his second wife Maharani Tripura Sundari Ammani Avaru,
succeeded his father as the head of his dynasty in September 1974. He died of
cardiac arrest in Bengaluru on 10 December 2013.

Wodeyar Dynasty
The Wodeyar dynasty ruled the Kingdom of Mysuru from 1399 to 1947, the last king
being Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, who ruled from 1940 until Indian independence
in 1947 when he acceded his kingdom to the dominion of India, but continued as the
Maharaja until India became a Republic in 1950.

Nirbhay Sharma sworn in as Governor of Mizoram


Lt. General (Retd.) Nirbhay Sharma was sworn-in as Governor of Mizoram on 26 May

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2015 at Raj Bhawan Dubar Hall.


Guwahati High Court Judge Justice T Vaiphei administered him oath of office.
Sharma, the former Arunachal Pradesh Governor was transferred and appointed as
the governor of Mizoram on 12 May 2015 by the President Pranab Mukherjee.
He replaced West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi who took additional charge
of Mizoram.
Earlier on 12 July 2014, the previous governor Vakkom Purushothaman resigned from
the office in protest for being transferred to Nagaland and since then six governors
have been appointed for Mizoram.

Manabi Bandopadhyay became first transgender principal of


Krishnagar Womens College
Manabi Bandopadhyay on 26 May 2015 became the first transgender principal of
Krishnagar Womens College in Nadia district, West Bengal. She will join her new job
from 9 June 2015. Currently, she is working as an associate professor in Bengali at
the Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya.
She did her Master of Arts (MA) in Bengali and joined the Vivekananda Centenary
College in Jhargram sub-division as a lecturer in the late 1990s.
In 1995, she published the countrys first transgender magazine, Ob-Manab (subhuman). The magazine, despite a very low circulation, continues to be published.
In April 2015, Supreme Court (SC) declared the transgender community as a legal
third gender, granting them minority rights and privileges to education, employment
and health benefits.
The court directed the government to provide transgender people with quotas in
jobs and education in line with other minorities. India is estimated to have about two
million transgender people.

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Shanmuganthan sworn in as Meghalaya Governor


V Shanmuganthan on 20 May 2015 was sworn in as 15th Governor of Meghalaya at
the Raj Bhawan in Shillong.
His oath of office and secrecy was administered by Chief Justice of the Meghalaya
High Court Uma Nath Singh. Shanmuganthan was appointed as the new Governor
on 12 May 2015.
For over four months, Meghalaya was without a permanent governor and West
Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi was given the additional charge of the state
governors office after the former incumbent KK Paul was removed from the post in
January 2015.
Born on 21 November 1949, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
in 1962. Later, he joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and served in many party
positions and has been in-charge of the Defence, Research and Documentation and
Overseas Friends of BJP Cells.
Shanmuganathan is a gold medalist post-graduate in Political Science and M Phil in
same subject is a prolific writer and had written three books related to culture and
social aspects in Tamil. One of these books titled A Remarkable Political Movement
became very famous.

US President Barack Obama entered Guinness Book of World


Record
President of the United States (US) Barack Obama on 20 May 2015 entered Guinness
Book of World Record for reaching a million followers in a span of mere 5 hours after
going live.
Barack Obama debuted on Social Media Platform Twitter with @POTUS account.
He beat the previous record, which was set in April 2014 by Iron Man star Robert

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Downey Jr., after the actor reached a million followers in 23 hours and 22 minutes.
The US President already has the account @BarackObama, which has amassed
nearly 60 million followers. However, the new @POTUS account is associated with
the presidential office - or as Obama puts it.

Indian-Origin Harbhajan Kaur Dheer became first Asian woman


elected as Mayor in UK
Indian-Origin Harbhajan Kaur Dheer on 12 May 2015 became the first Asian woman
to be elected as mayor in the United Kingdom (UK).
The 62-year-old councilor of the Labour Party assumed the charge as the Mayor of
Ealing Council in London in which she was the Deputy Mayor before assuming the
present position.
She was a mental health professional and is a rights activist advocating for rights of
children and elderly.
She is a Punjabi by origin and migrated to Britain in 1975 for pursuing higher education.
Incidentally, her husband Ranjit Dheer is a former mayor of Ealing Council.
Ealing Council serves the residents and businesses of Londons third largest borough,
which is located in the heart of west London.

Indian-origin Priti Patel appointed as Minister of State for


Employment in British Government
Indian-origin Priti Patel on 11 May 2015 was appointed as Minister of State for
Employment in British Government.
Prime Minister David Cameron promoted Priti Patel to his Cabinet after his surprise
victory in general elections.
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As the new minister of state for employment in the Department of Work and Pensions,
the 43-year-old will attend Cabinet as the senior-most Indian-origin member of the
newly-elected British government.
Priti Patel is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of
Parliament (MP) for the Witham constituency in Essex since 2010.
Priti Patel is Gujarati by origin. In January 2015, she was awarded the Jewels of
Gujarat honour at a reception in Ahmedabad, where she led a British delegation to
the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2015.
She also played host at the first-ever Gujarat Foundation Day in the House of Commons,
celebrating the achievements and contributions of the Gujarati community in the UK
and around the world in May 2014.

Mhairi Black became the youngest lawmaker of Britain


Mhairi Black on 7 May 2015 became the youngest lawmaker of Britain at the age of
20. The freshly elected lawmaker is from Scotland.
She belonged to Paisley and Renfrewshire South, a constituency outside Glasgow.
She defeated Douglas Alexander, Labours election chief and a former Cabinet
minister with 17864 votes.
She is a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party.
From a young age, she would march for causes as diverse as support for a Scottish
parliament and opposition to the Iraq war.
She made history by becoming the youngest lawmaker in UK history since the 17th
century. In 1667, after being returned as knight of the shire Christopher Monck took
his place in Parliament when he was just 13.

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PERSON RESIGNED
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair resigned as Special Envoy
of the Middle East Quartet
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on 27 May 2015 resigned as the Special Envoy
of the Middle East Quartet.
He sent his resignation to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
and is expected to officially step down in June 2015.
Tony Blair was appointed to the position by the Diplomatic Quartet on 27 June 2007,
the same day he resigned as the Prime Minister of the UK after serving for ten years.

About The Middle East Quartet


It is a group of four members viz., the United Nations (UN), the United States, the
European Union (EU), and Russia involved in mediating the peace process in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was established in Madrid, Spain in 2002.

O Panneerselvam resigned as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu


Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam resigned on 21 May 2015. He tendered
his resignation to the Governor Konijeti Rosaiah.
He resigned minutes after Jayalalithaa was elected as the legislature party leader at
a meeting in Chennai. With this, his eight months long tenure as Chief Minister of the
state came to an end.

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He was appointed as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 29 September 2014


as replacement of former AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, who resigned after being
convicted in the 18 year old disproportionate assets case of over 66 crore rupees.
She was awarded a four year prison term by Bangalore Special Court after it found
her guilty of amassing unaccounted wealth.
Earlier in September 2001 also he was appointed as the Chief Minister of the state
after Jayalalithaa was barred from holding office by the Supreme Court of India. He
served the office till 2002.

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PERSON APPOINTED
Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo appointed as
Chancellor of Nalanda University
Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo was appointed as the new Chancellor
of the Nalanda University, Bihar. Ministry of External Affairs announced his appointed
for the post on 30 May 2015.
Yeo will succeed Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who withdrew his candidature for a
second term as Chancellor of the Nalanda University in February 2015.
Till this announcement, Yeo was on the governing board of the University. Earlier on
13 and 14 January 2015, Yeo also chaired the last meet of the board, when unanimous
decision was made to have Dr. Sen as the Chancellor for the second consecutive
term.
In 2012, 60-year-old Yeo was conferred with the Padma Bhusan award (the third
highest civilian award of India) in recognition of his contribution in the field of public
affairs.

Muhammadu Buhari assumed the office of President of Nigeria


Muhammadu Buhari on 29 May 2015 assumed the office of President of Nigeria.
He became the 5th President of the country by defeating the incumbent President
Goodluck Jonathan in the March 2015 general election.
It is the first time in Nigerias history that an incumbent President was defeated in an
election by the opposition.
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He is a retired Nigerian Army Major General and was Head of State of Nigeria from
31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup dtat.
Earlier, he unsuccessfully ran for the office of President in the 2003, 2007 and 2011
elections. In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All
Progressives Congress (APC) that has also won the majority of seats in the Senate
and the House of Representatives in the elections held in March 2015.

G Satheesh Reddy appointed as Scientific Advisor to Union


Defence Minister
Distinguished Scientist G Satheesh Reddy was on 29 May 2015 appointed as Scientific
Advisor to Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for a period of two years from
the date of taking over charge. Reddy is Director at Research Centre Imarat (RCI) &
Programme Director of MRSAM, DRDO.
Reddy joined DRDO in 1986 and led the Conceptualization, Design, Development and
productionisation of Inertial Sensors, Navigation schemes, Algorithms & Systems,
Calibration methodologies, Sensor Models and Simulation.
As a Project Director, Reddy led the design and development of Ring Laser Gyro
based INS System, MEMS based INS System, Sea-Guard Reference System and
Ship Navigation system and also successfully developed a 1000 kg class guided
bomb.
As a Director of RCI, he led the development of Avionics technologies in critical
areas of Inertial Systems, Embedded Computers, Control, Real Time Software and
Simulation, Power Supplies, Flight Instrumentation for various Defence programmesAgni A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, Prithvi, Dhanush, Akash, etc.
He has also been honoured with various awards including the Indian Science Congress
Association Homi J. Bhabha Memorial Award, DRDO Young Scientist Award, Agni
Award for Excellence in Self Reliance, DRDO Scientist of the Year Award etc.
Pradeep Kumar Sinha appointed as Cabinet Secretary to Union Government
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Pradeep Kumar Sinha was on 29 May 2015 appointed as the Cabinet Secretary to
the Union Government with effect from 13 June 2015. He succeeded Ajit Seth.
His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
(ACC). The ACC also approved the appointment of Sinha as the Officer on Special
Duty (OSD).
Before this appointment, Sinha was serving as Secretary, in Union Ministry of Power
since July 2013. He had earlier been Secretary in the Union Ministry of Shipping and
has held several other important positions in the Union Government and in the State
of Uttar Pradesh.
The Cabinet Secretariat is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister and the
Cabinet Secretary is the administrative head of the secretariat.
The Cabinet secretariat assists in decision-making in government by ensuring interministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst ministries or departments
and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing or adhoc
committees of secretaries.

Veena Jain appointed as Director General of Doordarshan News


Veena Jain was on 29 May 2015 appointed as Director General (news) in Doordarshan.
She succeeded senior Indian Information Service (IIS) officer Akshay Rout. Her
appointment was approved by the Union Ministry of information and broadcasting
(I&B).
Jain will also hold the charge as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and will oversee the
ministrys new media wing and social media cell. She will report to the ministry for all
purposes.
She is currently posted as Additional Director General in the News Services Division
of All India Radio (AIR). Earlier, she has also served as director of Publications Division
of AIR.

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S Christopher appointed as Director General of DRDO


Eminent scientist Dr. S Christopher was appointed as the Director General (DG) of
the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on 28 May 2015. He
will have tenure of two years from the date of taking over the charge.
His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
At the time of appointment, Christopher was Distinguished Scientist and Programme
Director (airborne early warning and control system) and Director, Centre for AirBorne Systems in the DRDO.
Till appointment of Christopher, the Department of Defence Research and Development
(DoDRD) was under the additional charge of Defence Secretary since 30 January
2015, after Avinash Chanders contract was curtailed by the union government.
Chanders contract as Secretary of Department of Defence Research and Development
(DoDRD) and Director General DRDO from that of Scientific Advisor was terminated
by the Union Government with effect from 31 January 2015.
Besides, the ACC also appointed Dr. GS Reddy as Scientific Advisor to Defence
Minister Manohar Parrikar for a two-year term. He is Distinguished Scientist and
Director, Research Centre Imarat, and Programme Director of Medium Range Surface
to Air Missile (MRSAM) in the DRDO.

Sunil DSouza appointed as MD of Whirlpool India


Sunil DSouza was on 25 May 2015 appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of
Indian home appliances maker Whirlpool of India Ltd. DSouza will join the office of
MD on 22 June 2015.
Prior to this appointment, he was the Head of PepsiCos VIMAPS Business Unit
located in Malaysia. He has been with PepsiCo for about 15 years, holding various
senior management positions in Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and India.

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He has rich and diverse experience across various fields including general management,
sales, marketing, strategy and innovation in consumer-driven industries.

About Whirlpool
Whirlpool is one of the worlds largest consumer durables firms in the world. It has
a turn over about 20 billion US dollars in annual sales.
With over 100000 employees, it has 70 manufacturing and technology research
centres globally.
It markets brands like Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Brastemp, Consul,
Bauknecht, Jenn-Air, Amana, Indesit and other major brand names in more than
170 countries.

Ranjit Singh Baxi elected as Head of Bureau of International


Recycling
Indian-origin entrepreneur Ranjit Singh Baxi was on 19 May 2015 elected as the
Head of the Bureau of International Recycling, a global organisation that facilitates
free and fair trade of recyclables in a sustainable and competitive world economy.
Baxi succeeded Bjorn Grufman. He will serve a two-year term as President of this
global firm. In 2011, Baxi was appointed as the Treasurer of BIR, prior to which he
was President of the organisations Paper Division from 2007 to 2013. He has also
published a book titled Recycling our Future- A Global Strategy.
Ranjit Singh Baxi is a Founder Chairman of J&H Sales (International) Ltd, a major
European exporter of recovered fibre to the Far East. He was also a Governor at the
University of East London and a Member of British Prime Ministers Trade Delegation
to India.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc)
degree and is a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

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About Bureau of International Recycling (BIR)


Founded in 1948, Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) was the first federation to
support the interests of the recycling industry on an international scale. It is a global
recycling industry headquartered in Brussels.
It is an association representing over 850 member companies from the private sector
and 40 national associations in more than 70 countries. It serves as a platform
to establish successful business relations and to promote recycling among other
industrial sectors and policy makers.

Manoj Mishra appointed as CMD of National Fertilizers Limited


Manoj Mishra was on 24 May 2015 appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director
(CMD) of state-run National Fertilizers Limited (NFL). The post of NFLs CMD fell
vacant after the retirement of Neeru Abrol in February 2014.
Mishra is currently serving as the Director (Finance) at State Trading Corporation
(STC). Mishra is a cost accountant by qualification. He began his career from fertiliser
company Kribhco and worked there for 23 years.
NFL has five gas-based urea plants at Nangal & Bathinda in Punjab, Panipat in
Haryana and two plants at Vijaipur in District Guna, Madhya Pradesh. The company
has a total annual installed capacity of 35.68 lakh tonnes and is the second largest
producer of urea in the country.

J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for fifth


time
AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa was on 23 May 2015 sworn-in as the Chief
Minister of Tamil Nadu for fifth time. Along with her, 28 others were sworn in as
ministers in her Cabinet.

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The oath was administered by Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah at the Madras
University Centenary Auditorium in Chennai.
She is the 18th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and succeeded O Panneerselvam who
resigned on 21 May 2015 following her acquittal on 11 May 2015 in the disproportionate
assets case by the Karnataka High Court.
The court overruled the Bangalores special court judgment which found Jayalalithaa
guilty. The verdict made her ineligible to occupy the post and subsequently, O
Panneerselvam assumed the office on 29 September 2014.
Jayalalithaa had been the Chief Minister for four times during 1991-96, MaySeptember 2001, 2002-2006 and 2011-2014 and she will be in the office till the
expiry of the fourteenth State Legislative Assembly in May 2016.

Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed G


Mohan Kumar as Defence Secretary
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on 22 May 2015 gave its nod for
appointing G Mohan Kumar as the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The decision was taken by the committee in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister
Narendra Modi.
Mohan Kumar will be in the office for a period of two years and succeeds Radha
Krishna Mathur who completes his tenure on 28 May 2015.
Kumar, a 1979 batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre, is presently Secretary of the
Department of Defence Production in the MoD.
Earlier, he worked as the Secretary in the Ministries of Steel and Commerce and
Industry and Additional and Special Secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources,
River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation among others.

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Akhil Reed Amar appointed as member of the National Council


on Humanities of US
Akhil Amar, an Indian-American professor from Yale University, was on 21 May 2015
appointed as a member of the prestigious National Council on Humanities of United
States (US) by President Barack Obama. Presently, Amar is Sterling Professor of Law
and Political Science at the Yale University.
He has been serving as the Professor at both Yale College and Yale Law School since
1985. He had held various posts of professorships, including Southmayd Professor
(1993-2008), Professor (1990-1993), Associate Professor (1988-1990) and Assistant
Professor (1985-1988).
Akhil Amar also had worked as a law clerk from 1984 to 1985 to Judge Stephen Breyer.
He was co-editor of Processes of Constitutional Decision-making, a constitutional
law casebook. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Freedom
Advisory Board of the National Constitution Center and Constitutional Accountability
Center.
He holds a BA degree from Yale College and a JD from Yale Law School.

SS Ahluwalia appointed as Chairman of JPC on Land Acquisition


Amendment Bill, 2015
SS Ahluwalia was on 18 May 2015 appointed as the chairman of Joint Parliamentary
Committee (JPC) on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land
Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
The committee has 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 members from the Rajya
Sabha.
The formation of the panel became necessary in the backdrop of disagreement
among the political parties on the provisions of the bill which was introduced in the
Lok Sabha on 11 May 2015.
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The committee will submit its report by the first week of the 2015 monsoon session.
SS Ahluwalia is a BJP Lok Sabha member representing Darjeeling constituency in
West Bengal.

Peter M Christian elected as eighth President of Micronesia


Peter M Christian on 11 May 2015 was elected as the eighth President of the Federated
States of Micronesia.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Beauleen and Carl-Worswick administered the
oath of office to him.
Before the present elevation, he was as a senator representing Pohnpei at-large for
two terms between 2007 and 2015.
He also served as the Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and
Communication during his 2007 term in the Congress.
The Federated States of Micronesia is an independent sovereign island nation in
the Western Pacific Ocean consisting of four states viz., Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and
Kosrae.

MJ Joseph appointed as Controller General of Accounts


MJ Joseph was on 15 May 2015 appointed as the Controller General of Accounts
(CGA) in the Union Ministry of Finance. He succeeded Jawahar Thakur who has been
appointed as OSD (Accounting Reforms) in the Office of CGA.
Prior to this appointment, Joseph was the Director General of the Bureau of Indian
Standards (BIS). He is a 1979 batch Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) officer.
Previously, Joseph has served in various administrative capacities in the Union
Government including the post of Additional Secretary in Union Ministry of Corporate
Affairs and as Director in Union Ministry of Defence among others.
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Joseph has also worked with the International Monitory Fund (IMF) as a Public
Financial Management Adviser at the IMFs Regional Technical Assistance centre
based at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
He is a Post Graduate in International Economic Relations and studied Business
Management from the University of Sydney, Australia.

About Controller General of Accounts


Controller General of Accounts is the principal Accounts Adviser to the Government
of India and is responsible for establishing and maintaining a technically sound
management accounting system.
He prepares a critical analysis of expenditures, revenues, borrowings and the deficit
for the Finance Minister every month. He also prepares annual Appropriation Accounts
(Civil) and Union Finance Accounts for presentation to the Parliament.

Arvind Saxena appointed as a Member of Union Public Service


Commission
Arvind Saxena was on 7 May 2015 appointed as a Member of Union Public Service
Commission (UPSC). His appointment was made by the President Pranab Mukherjee.
With this appointment, Saxena became the first officer from Research and Analysis
Wing (RAW) to become a member of UPSC. The tenure of Saxena will commence
from the date he enters upon the office till he attains age of 65 years.
Prior to this appointment, Saxena was Director and Ex-officio Special Secretary,
Aviation Research Centre (ARC) of Indias external snooping agency RAW. He is a
Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer of 1978 batch.
As per Article 315 of Indian Constitution, the Chairman and members of UPSC have
the term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

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President authorized Justice Cyriac Joseph to act as interim


NHRC Chaiperson
President Pranab Mukherjee on 11 May 2015 authorized Justice (retd) Cyriac Joseph
to act as the interim chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
He will act as the Chairperson of the Commission with effect from 13 May 2015. He
will act as Chairperson until the appointment of a new Chairperson in the NHRC in
place of Justice K.G. Balakrishnan. Currently, Justice Cyriac Joseph is a Member of
NHRC.
Former NHRC chairperson K.G. Balakrishnan had completed his tenure on 11 May
2015. He was the sixth NHRC chairman and the longest serving one.
Justice Balakrishnan had joined as NHRC chairperson in June 2010 after his
retirement as the Chief Justice of India. During his tenure, Justice Balakrishnan was
instrumental in charting out several new initiatives towards promotion and protection
of human rights in the country and laid a lot of emphasis on increasing the outreach
of the Commission to build awareness about human rights.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public
body constituted in October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance
of September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights
Act, 1993.
The NHRC is the national human rights institution, responsible for the protection and
promotion of human rights.

KV Kamath appointed as first President of New Development


Bank of BRICS nations
Eminent banker Kundapur Vaman Kamath was on 11 May 2015 appointed as the first
President of the New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS nations. He will serve a five
year term after the bank becomes operational within one year.
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Currently, Kamath is the Chairman of the Indias largest private sector bank, Industrial
Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI). He was ICICI Banks managing
director and CEO from 1996 to 2009.
Kamath also served as Chairman of Infosys Limited. He had also worked with Asian
Development Bank (ADB), Manila in its Private Sector department in 1988. He was
conferred with Padma Bhushan Award in 2008.

About New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS nations


BRICS group of nations comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
in 2014 signed a pact to set up NDB and emergency reserve fund during the 6th
BRICS Summit being held in Fortaleza, Brazil.
In the beginning, bank will start operating with 50 billion US dollars as initial capital
with the BRICS nation contributing 10 billion US dollars each.
According to the pact, the capital of the bank will be divided equally among the
five participating nations and initially it will focus on infrastructure projects member
countries.
The headquarters of the bank will be located in Shanghai, China and it will have a
regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The chairmanship of the bank will be rotational and its first President will come
from India for the first 5 years followed by Brazil and Russia.

K Satish Reddy appointed as Chairman of National Safety Council (NSC)


K Satish Reddy, the Chairman of Dr Reddys Laboratories Ltd., was appointed as
the Chairman of the National Safety Council (NSC). He was appointed by the Union
Ministry of Labour and Employment on 11 May 2015.
As the chairman of the NSC, he will oversee its functioning in generating and
developing initiatives on Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at the national level.
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He succeeded Venu Srinivasan, the Chairman of Sundaram-Clayton Group, who was


appointed to the post in July 2011.

About National Safety Council (NSC)


Its objective is to generate, develop and sustain a voluntary movement on Safety,
Health and Environment (SHE) at the national level.
The apex non-profit making body was set up by the Union Ministry of Labour on
4 March 1966 and was registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and
the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.
Its headquarters is located in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Achal Kumar Jyoti appointed as Election Commissioner


Achal Kumar Jyoti, the former Chief Secretary of Gujarat, on 7 May 2015 was
appointed as the Election Commissioner of India. Jyoti (62) will have tenure of nearly
three-years, when he will turn 65, the age at which Election Commissioners demit
office under the Constitution of India.
His tenure will commence from the day he assumes the charge.
With this, the strength of three-member Election Commission of India has gone up
to two. Till this appointment, two posts were vacant in the three-member election
commission due to retirement of VS Sampath and HS Brahma.
At present, Nasim Zaidi, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), is the other member
of election commission.
Jyoti is a retired IAS officer of 1975 batch and has worked as the Managing Director of
the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL). He also served as Chairman of
Kandla Port Trust between 1999 and 2004. He retired from active service in January,
2013.

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Surender Singh took over as Director General of CISF


Senior IPS officer Surender Singh on 1 May 2015 took over as Director General (DG)
of central paramilitary force Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Surender Singh is a 1980-batch police officer of West Bengal cadre. Earlier, he served
as a Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) before getting the new assignment.
His appointment was confirmed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
(ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
His tenure will end in August 2016. He succeeded Arvind Ranjan.
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 of the force for close to 16 months
during which he initiated a slew of best practices in the force, especially, with regard
to enhancing the security consultancy wing of the force.
CISF is the largest industrial security force in the world. It is directly under the Union
Ministry of Home Affairs and its headquarters are at New Delhi.
CIEF is the force of 1.41-lakh personnel strong force tasked to secure some of the
most vital and strategic installations in the country like civil airports and facilities in
the nuclear and aerospace domain.

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PERSON DIED
Doris Hart, winner of three Wimbledon titles in a day, died at 89
Doris Hart, the number one American tennis player of 1950s, died at the age of 89 on
29 May 2015. Hart as a player had won each Grand Slam tournament at least once,
including three Wimbledon titles in a single day.
In 1951 at Wimbledon, she defeated friend Shirley Fry in singles, then paired with Fry
to win the womens double followed by mixed doubles which she won with Frank
Sedgman. All three matches were on the same day because of rain delays.
She also spent a decade in the world top 10 starting from 1946 and in her career she
won 35 professional titles.
Hart, born on 20 June 1925 in St. Louis, won the US Open (then called US
Championships) in 1954-55. She won the French Open twice and Wimbledon and
the Australian Open once each.
She also totalled 29 major doubles titles and was ranked No 1 in the world in 1951.
She retired from professional tennis in 1955 and after retirement she worked as a
teaching pro for 28 years at a club in Pompano Beach.
In 1969, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Eminent American Photographer Mary Ellen Mark passed away


Celebrated American Photographer Mary Ellen Mark on 25 May 2015 died at
Manhattan in New York, USA. She was 75.
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She was regarded as one of the best documentary photographers of her generation.
She took a classic documentary approach to often difficult material and usually
worked in black and white.
Her works were exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide and had been widely
published in LIFE, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and
Vanity Fair.
She wrote 18 books and was working on her 19th for Aperture Foundation.
Her most notable works include Streetwise, which depicted sordid state of teenagers
in Seattle, and Ward 81, which focused on patients of the secluded wards in the
Oregon State Mental Hospital. She was also famous for documenting the lives of sex
workers in Mumbai.
She was a member of Magnum Photos between 1977 and 1981.
She received numerous accolades, including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism
Awards, three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 2014
Lifetime Achievement in Photography Award from the George Eastman House and
the Outstanding Contribution Photography Award from the World Photography
Organisation.

Director-Producer Marty Pasetta passed away


Academy Awards telecast director Marty Pasetta passed away on 21 May 2015
following injuries sustained in a car accident in La Quinta, United States. He was
82. Pasetta is survived by his wife Elise, daughter Debbie, son Gregory and five
grandchildren.
Pasetta was famously known as a veteran director of live TV extravaganzas including
17 Academy Awards shows. During four decades in television, Pasetta directed
and produced specials for Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and oversaw tributes to
Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire and Alfred Hitchcock.

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He was credited with convincing Elvis Presley to suspend his drug use and lose
weight for the 1973 special Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, which has been described as
the first satellite broadcast of a live concert.
Pasetta was born on 16 June 1932 in San Jose. He attended Santa Clara University,
but dropped out to work at San Franciscos KGO-TV, where he became stage manager
and producer.

Argentine footballer Cristian Gomez died


Argentine footballer Cristian Gomez died during a game on 24 May 2015. Gomez,
27, of Atletico Parana collapsed on the pitch during a second-tier game against Boca
Unidos.
After collapse, the defender was taken to a hospital in the city of Corrientes, where
doctors were unable to revive him.
The death of Gomez led to Argentine Football Association (AFA) suspending all other
games which were scheduled.
Gomez is the second Argentine player to die in May 2015, after Emanuel Ortega of
San Martin de Burzaco who suffered a fatal head injury on 14 May 2015.
Ortega died after spending 11 days in intensive care battling head injuries he sustained
after falling against a concrete wall surrounding the pitch.

British actor Terry Sue-Patt passed away


The British actor Terry Sue-Patt passed away on 22 May 2015 in east London. He
was 50. He was found dead at his home, however the cause of his death was not
known.
Sue-Patt was best known for playing the role of school pupil named Benny Green in
childrens TV series Grange Hill. He appeared in the shows first episode in 1978 and
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left the show in 1982. He also did some minor roles in shows like General Hospital,
Jackanory and The Bill.
Later, Sue-Patt became an artist working in graffiti and photography. But, he
continued acting up till 2013. Besides playing Benny Green, he also co-starred with
Gary Oldman in The Firm.

Nobel Awardee mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. died


John Forbes Nash Jr., the Princeton University mathematician, died along with his
wife in a car crash on 23 May 2015. He was 86. His taxi crashed on the New Jersey
Turnpike in Monroe Township when the driver lost control.
Oscar-winning film, A Beautiful Mind was inspired by his life.
Nash born on 13 June 1928 was an American mathematician who became famous
for his game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations, which
provided an insight into the factors that, govern chance and events inside complex
systems in daily life.
His theories were used in economics, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence,
accounting, politics and military theory.
While working as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University, he shared
the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard
Selten and John Harsanyi.

Awards and honours conferred on Nash includes


In 2015, he won the Abel Prize along with Louis Nirenberg by King Harald V of
Norway for his work on non-linear partial differential equations.
In 1999, he won the Leroy P. Steele Prize.
In 1978, he was awarded the John von Neumann Theory Prize for his discovery of
non-cooperative equilibria, now called Nash equilibria.

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In 2012, he was elected as a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Veteran jazz musician Bob Belden passed away


Veteran jazz musician Bob Belden passed away on 20 May 2015 after suffering a
heart attack. He was 58. Belden was a jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger and
producer who was among the first American musicians to perform in Iran since its
1979 revolution in 2015 when he toured there.
Belden was known for conceiving and producing multi-artist thematic albums,
including Miles From India (2008), on which Indian and American musicians performed
Miles Davis tunes. One of his most popular releases was the 2001 Blue Note album
Black Dahlia, an orchestral suite.
He conducted, orchestrated and wrote arrangements for iconic jazz musicians Herbie
Hancock, Joe Henderson, and McCoy Tyner. Belden also served as an A&R executive
for legendary jazz label Blue Note Records.
Belden earned three Grammy Awards throughout his career for 1996s Miles Davis
and Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (Best Historical Album,
Best Album Notes) and for 1998s Miles Davis Quintet set 1965-68: The Complete
Columbia Studio Recordings (Best Album Notes).

Eminent Economist Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri passed away


Eminent economist and academics Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri passed away on 20 May
2015 in Pune, Mahrashtra. He was 81.
Chaudhuri who also served as the policy advisor to the previous UPA government
was known for providing valuable policy inputs to the Indian planning process and
the economy as a whole through his research papers.
He also was known for authoring a research paper on challenges of economic reform
in the context of both State and market failures in 1990, just before the collapse of
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the erstwhile Soviet Union and Indias lurch towards globalization.


Affectionately among his peers and students as MDC, he served as the Director of
the Delhi School of Economics (DSE) in New Delhi and was also a visiting professor
of economics at the Universities of Harvard and Minnesota in USA.
He studied with Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen at Shantiniketan in West Bengal. He
furthered his education at Kolkatas Presidency College before completing his Ph.D.
from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of USA, where he studied
modern economics under the eminent economist Paul Samuelson.
He was conferred with the Padma Bushan in 2005 by the government for his
contributions in the field of Trade and Industry.

Actress Sudha Shivpuri died


Popular Indian stage, film and television actress Sudha Shivpuri died on 20 May 2015
due to multiple organ failure at a suburban hospital in Andheri. She was 77.
Now, she is survived by her son Vineet and daughter Ritu, who is an actress. She was
married to veteran bollywood actor Om Shivpuri, who passed away on 15 October
1990.
Shivpuri gained popularity for her role as Baa in television show Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi
Bahu Thi, the longest running TV show of Ekta Kapoor.
She began her acting career at an early age in 1977 with Basu Chatterjees film Swami.
She also acted in films like Hamari Bahu Alka, Insaaf Ka Tarazu, Vidhaata, Sawan Ko
Aane Do, Burning Train, Maya Memsaab and Pinjar based on Amrita Pritams famous
partition novel. Her works in TV shows include Rajni, Kasamh Se, Kis Desh Mein Hai
Meraa Dil, Sheeshe Ka Ghar, Waqt Ka Dariya, Daman, and others.
In 2009, Sudha Shivpuri was conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

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Bengali Writer Suchitra Bhattacharya passed away


Eminent Bengali writer Suchitra Bhattacharya passed away on 12 May 2015 following
a cardiac arrest in Kolkata, West Bengal. She was 55. She was one of the most
popular and powerful novelists of contemporary Bengali literature.
Her writings were based on contemporary social issues mainly affecting the urban
middle class and also highlighted the pains and sufferings of women in contemporary
society.
In her writing career, she had written around 24 novels and had composed a large
number of short stories. Some of her famous novels are Dahana (Charred), Kachher
Dewal (Wall of Glass), Kachher Manush (Close to Me), Aleek Shukh (Heavenly
happiness) and Gabhir Ashukh (A Grave Illness).
Her writings have also been translated into a number of languages like Marathi,
Gujarati, Punjabi Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Oriya and English.
She was bestowed with various awards for her work including Nanjanagudu
Thirumalamba National Award (1996), Tarashankar Award (2000), Sharat Puroshkar
(2002), Bharat Nirman Award and Sahitya Setu Award.
Suchitra Bhattacharya was born on 10 January 1950 in Bhagalpur district of Bihar.

Riley B. King, the King of Blues, passed away


Riley B. King, the king of blues, passed away on 14 May 2015 in his sleep in Las
Vegas. He was 89. He was known by his stage name B B King.
He was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was known for his
hits Lucille, Sweet Little Angel and Rock Me Baby. He is considered one of the most
influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname The King of Blues.
King began performing in the 1940s, going on to influence a generation of musicians,
and working with Eric Clapton and U2.
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He was ranked as the third greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in
2003 and at no. 6 in 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. He was also
ranked No. 17 in Gibsons Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.
He was born in Mississippi. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
1987. He was also inducted into 2014 class of the R&B Music Hall of Fame.

Peter Gay, Eminent American historian on European Thought


passed away
Eminent historian Peter Gay passed away on 12 May 2015 at Manhattan in New York
City, USA. He was 91.
He is one of the major American historians of European thought and known for his
groundbreaking books on Enlightenment, the Victorian middle classes, Sigmund
Freud, Weimar culture and the cultural situation of Jews in Germany.
The German-born historian-writer worked as the Sterling Professor of History Emeritus
at the prestigious Yale University and was a former director of the New York Public
Librarys Center for Scholars and Writers between 1997 and 2003.
His major works include Voltaires Politics: The Poet as Realist (1959), The
Enlightenment: An Interpretation: The Rise of Modern Paganism (1966), The Bridge
of Criticism: Dialogues on the Enlightenment (1970), Reading Freud: Explorations
and Entertainments (1990) and Mozart (1999) among others.
For his works, he received numerous awards and honours including National Book
Award (1966), the A.H. Heineken Prize (1990) and American Historical Association
Award for Scholarly Distinction (2004).

Pop artist Chris Burden passed away


Renowned Pop artist Chris Burden passed away on 10 May 2015 following melanoma

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disease at his home and studio in Topanga Canyon, California. He was 69.
Trained as a Minimalist, Burden began his career by making art that employed the
most minimal materials possible. His most famous early works were Shoot (1971), in
which a confederate shot him in the arm with a rifle from about 15 feet away.
In another work Trans-fixed (1974), Burden had made himself nailed Christlike, over
the hump of a Volkswagen Beetle. In For Through the Night Softly (1973), he crawled
through a 50-foot-long pile of broken glass in his underwear, with his hands tied
behind his back.
Burden did a string of performances that were focused on endurance, pain, and antisocial behavior, and marked him as one of his generations leading artists.
Burden was born in Boston on 11 April 1946.

Hollywood actress Elizabeth Wilson passed away


Veteran Hollywood actress Elizabeth Wilson passed away on 9 May 2015 following
age-related illness at New Haven, Connecticut. She was 94. Wilson is survived by her
sister Mary Muir Wilson and several nieces and nephews.
Elizabeth Wilson was famously known for her memorable film role as the mother
of Dustin Hoffmans character, Benjamin Braddock, in Mike Nichols 1967 film The
Graduate. She made her Broadway debut in 1953 in Picnic.
After seeing the fame of Wilsons role in The Graduate, Mike Nichols casted her in his
various films including Catch-22 (1970), The Day of the Dolphin (1973) and Regarding
Henry (1991) and on Broadway in his 1973 revival of Uncle Vanya.
She also appeared in numerous productions including The Good Woman of Setzuan,
Threepenny Opera, The Importance of Being Earnest, Mornings at Seven, You Cant
Take It With You, Ah, Wildnerness! and the acclaimed 1996 revival of Edward Albees
A Delicate Balance. She won Obie Awards for her work in Taken in Marriage in 1979
and Anteroom in 1986.

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Eminent historian Amalendu Guha passed away


Eminent historian and social scientist Amalendu Guha passed away on 7 May 2015
following old age ailments at Ulubari, Guwahati. He was 91.
Born on 30 January 1924 in Imphal, Guha was an eminent writer, poet, historian,
social scientist and Communist thinker. He wrote in English, Assamese and Bengali
languages.
His research work Planter Raj to Swaraj: Freedom Struggle and Electoral Politics in
Assam is considered as greatest among his creations. His other books are Medieval
and Early Colonial Assam: Society, Polity and Economy and Central Asia: Movement
of Peoples and Ideas from Times Prehistoric to Modern.
Some of his books in Assamese are Tomaloi- a collection of poems, Soviet Deshot
Ebhumuki, Afghanistanot Ebhumuki and Vaishnavbador Pora Mayamoriya Bidroholoi.
While his Bengali literary works include Luit Parer Gatha.
His work had accredited him with various awards including Sahityacharya Sanman
of the Asam Sahitya Sabha, Pt Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Gold Plaque of Asiatic
Society, etc.

Oscar Holderer, the US moon rocket expert, died


Oscar Holderer, the last known surviving member of the German engineering team
that designed the rocket that took US astronauts to the Moon died in Alabama on 5
May 2015. He was 95.
Born in Preum, Germany, on 4 November 1919, Holderer was one of about 120
engineers who moved to the US after World War II and brought technology used in
the German V2 rocket. The team played a key role in the Saturn V rocket which was
used in 1969 Moon landing.
The team, led by Wernher von Braun, was part of a project called Operation Paperclip
that transferred technology used in Germanys V2 and other rockets to the US.
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Holderer who retired from Nasa in 1974, built training devices that are still in use at
the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Post retirement from NASA, he made
significant contributions to Alabama like multi-access trainer, low-gravity trainer and
other equipment.

Lu Ping, Chinese diplomat who oversaw Hong Kong transition,


died
Lu Ping, the Chinese diplomat who oversaw Hong Kongs transition from British to
Chinese sovereignty in 1997, died in Beijing on 3 May 2015. He was 87.
Ping, the Chinas Chief negotiator during the transfer of Hong Kong to China, termed
Hong Kongs last British Governor Chris Patten (19921997) as a sinner of a thousand
years for making the territorys elections more democratic or his unilateral electoral
reform proposals.
Ping was appointed Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO)
in 1990 and retired in 1997. He had also helped in drafting the mini Constitution of
Hong Kong.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong was leased for 99-years to the British Empire by China after it lost to
Britishers in the first Opium War (1939-42). As part of it, Hong Kong Island and
Kowloon Peninsula became a perpetual British Colony. It was transferred to China on
30 June 1997 under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and became Chinas first
Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997 under the principle of one country,
two systems.

Baleshwar Ram, former Union Minister passed away


Former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader Baleshwar Ram on 3 May 2015
passed away due to kidney-related ailments. He was 87. He was the leader from
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Bihar.
He was the Member of Parliament (MP) of 7th Lok Sabha from Rosera Lok Sabha
Constituency.
Baleshwar Ram served the nation in different capacities during his long public life.
As a five-term member of the Bihar legislative assembly and minister in the state
government in the sixties and seventies, he made immense contribution for the
welfare and development of the people of Bihar, especially weaker sections.

Veteran Journalist Amitabha Chowdhury passed away at 88


Amitabha Chowdhury, veteran journalist, writer and renowned Tagore researcher on
2 May 2015 passed away in Kolkata due to prolonged illness. He was 88.
He was associated with three leading Bengali dailies Anandabazar Patrika, Jugantar
and Aajkal for more than three decades.
Also, he authored around 40 books, which mostly explored various facets of
Rabindranath Tagore.
He was born in 1928 in Silchar. In 1956, he joined Anandabazar Patrika as a reporter,
embarking on a profession that brought him much fame, acclaim and accolades
apart from numerous awards throughout an illustrious career.

His Awards
He was awarded the Padmashree in 1983.
He was awarded the Bangavibhushan by the state government in 2013.
He received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for his reporting on individual rights
and community interests in India.

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Michael Blake, Oscar-winning author, passed away


Michael Blake, the Oscar-winning author on 3 May 2015 passed away in Tucson,
Arizona, after a long battle with cancer. He was 69. He got the fame by one of his
penned novel Dances With Wolves.
The novel had sold over 3.5 million copies, and was translated into 15 languages,
and was later converted into film, which Kevin Costner directed and starred in.
The film bagged 7 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Screenplay for Blake, who
also won the WGA Award and Golden Globes for the novel.
Michael Blake also had written several other novels that passionately advocated for
many causes, including literacy, Native American history and the disappearing of
wild horses in the West.
Some of his famous novels include The Holy Road, Airman Mortensen,Marching to
Valhalla, Indian Yell, Twelve The King. His autobiography is Like A Running Dog,
which had detailed his career in writing and Hollywood.
He was born in North Carolina and lived with his family in Texas before settling in
southern California.

Russian ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya died


Legendary Russian ballerinas Maya Plisetskaya died on 2 May 2015 in Munich,
Germany. She was 89.
She is survived by her husband and brother, Azari Plisetsky, a retired dancer.
Plisetskaya born in Moscow on 20 November 1925 was considered as one of the
greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. She danced for half a century and her modern
choreography and performances charged with eroticism flouted Soviet convention.
She was an international face of Russias Bolshoi Theater. She joined the ballet
company in 1943 at the age of 18 and became the Bolshois prima ballerina in 1960.
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Later, she retired as a soloist in 1990 at the age of 65.


The Soviet and Russian ballet dancer, choreographer, ballet director, and actress,
published her autobiography, I, Maya Plisetskaya in 1994.

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AWARDS | HONOURS
Anand Kumar, Founder of Super 30, honoured in Canada
Super 30 founder and mathematician Anand Kumar on 29 May 2015 was honoured
by Legislature of British Columbia in Canada at Toronto University for his pioneering
work in the field of education.
The Speaker Linda Reid honoured Kumar with a memento and also appreciated his
endeavour at a proposal initiated by Marc Dalton, an MLA. The 42-year-old Kumar
was honoured for his rare achievements for the students from Indias underprivileged
sections.
Kumar was invited by the British Columbia Government in recognition of his work
through globally acclaimed Super 30, which has mentors 30 students mostly from
the underprivileged sections of the society for IITs free of cost for the last 14 years.
Super30 established in 2002 by Anand Kumar in Patna, Bihar under the banner
of Ramanujan School of Mathematics. It provides free residential mentoring to 30
selected students from underprivileged families to appear in the entrance exam of
IIT-JEE. Super30 as an institution has achieved international recognition for social
awakening.

Two Indians posthumously named for UNs Dag Hammarskjold


Medal
Two Indians Lance Naik Nand Ram and Raju Joseph on 23 May 2015 were
posthumously named for prestigious United Nations (UN) Dag Hammarskjold Medal.

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Lance Naik Nand Ram served the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Raju Joseph served in a civilian
capacity with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
They will be awarded on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
observed annually on 29 May 2015.
The 126 military, police and civilian personnel lost their lives in 2014 while serving
with the UN as a result of hostile acts, accidents and disease and will receive the
medal during a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York.
In 2014, eight Indian soldiers were posthumously awarded the medal, named after
Dag Hammarskjold, the second UN Secretary-General.
The Dag Hammarskjold Medal was established in December 2000 and is awarded
posthumously to members of peacekeeping operations who lost their lives during
service with a peacekeeping operation under the operational control and authority of
the United Nations.
Hammarskjold, a Swedish diplomat and second Secretary General of the UN died
in a mysterious plane crash in 1961. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace
Prize the year he died.

Indias contribution to UN Peacekeeping Mission


India is among the largest contributors of military and police personnel to UN
peacekeeping. It currently deploys 8112 military and police personnel to the UN
peacekeeping operations in Cote dIvoire, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, the Middle East, Sudan, South Sudan and Western
Sahara.
So far, India has contributed nearly 180000 troops to UN peacekeeping missions,
including the 103-strong Indian female police unit in the UN mission in Liberia.

International Day of UN Peacekeepers


The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly
in 2002, as a tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping operations for
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their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory
of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
United Nations Organisation (UNO) was formed in 1945. In 2015, UNO will mark 70th
anniversary. The theme for the day in 2015 is UN at 70: Peacekeeping: Past, Present,
and Future.

Indian Film Masaan won FIPRESCI Award at 68th Cannes film


festival
Indian Movie Masaan on 23 May 2015 won the International Federation of Film Critics
(FIPRESCI) award at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival. The film is directorial
debut of Neeraj Ghaywan.
The movie is jointly produced by Manish Mundra, Macassar Productions, Arte France
Cinema, Sikhya Entertainment & Phantom Films. It stars Vicky Kaushal, Shweta
Tripathi along with Richa Chadda and Sanjay Mishra.
The movie was showcased in the Un Certain Regard section at the movie gala,
following which it received a five-minute standing ovation. The film is based in
Varanasi and its characters are connected with the River Ganges.
Apart from Masaan, Hungarian film Son of Saul by Laszlo Nemes won the critics
prize in Official Competition and the other movie Paulina Paulinawon the prize in
Parallel Sections.

Cannes Films Festival 2015: French director Jacques Audiard


bagged Palme dOr
French thriller Dheepan was honoured with the Palme dOr top prize at the Cannes
Film Festival on 24 May 2015. The film brings a spotlight on the plight of traumatised
refugees building new lives.

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Indian film Masaan directed by Neeraj Ghaywan won the Promizing Future Prize Exaequo at the festival.

List of awards at the Cannes Film Festival Feature Films


Palme dOr: Dheepan, directed by Jacques Audiard
Grand Prix: Saul Fia (Son of Saul), directed by Laszlo Nemes
Award for Best Director: 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 Todd Haynes
Award for Best Actor: Vincent Lindon in La Loi Du March (The Measure of a Man),
directed by Stephane Brize
Jury Prize: The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Short Films
Palme dOr - Short Film: Waves 98 directed by Ely Dagher

Un Certain Regard
Un Certain Regard Prize: Hrtar (RAMS) directed by Grmur Hakonarson
Jury Prize - Un Certain Regard: Zvizdan (The High Sun) directed by Dalibor Matanic
Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard: Kishibe No Tabi (Journey to the Shore)
directed by Kurosawa Kiyoshi
Un Certain Talent Prize: Comoara (The Treasure) directed by Corneliu Porumboiu

Promizing Future Prize Ex-aequo


Nahid directed by Ida Panahandeh
Masaan Directed by Neeraj Ghaywan

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Cinefondation
1st Prize Cinfondation: Share directed by Pippa Bianco
2nd Prize Cinfondation: Locas Perdidas (Lost Queens) directed by Ignacio Juricic
Merilln
3rd Prize Cinfondation Ex-aequo: Victor XX directed by Ian Garrido Lpez
The Return of Erkin directed by Maria Guskova

Golden camera
Camera dor: La Tierra Y La Sombra directed by Csar Augusto Acevedo

Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai won the 2015 Man Booker International Prize
Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai on 19 May 2015 won the prestigious Man
Booker International Prize for 2015. His name was announced as the sixth winner of
the award at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
With this award, Krasznahorkai born in 1954 received a cash prize of 60000 pound.
He joined the league of other awardees, namely Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare
(2005), Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe (2007), Canadian author Alice Munro (2009),
and American writer Philip Roth (2011) and American writer Lydia Davis (2013).
Innovative Hungarian writer Krasznahorkai gained recognition in 1985 with his
book Satantango, which later was adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the
filmmaker Bela Tarr.

Awards and Honours conferred on Laszlo Krasznahorkai


In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the
year for The Melancholy of Resistance.
He has been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest
award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.
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Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes won the 2013 Independent Foreign
Fiction Prize for Satantango
He won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for
Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo Their Below
The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by writer
and academic Marina Warner.

About Man Booker International Prize


Man Booker International Prize is an international literary award given every two
years to a living author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or
generally available in English translation.
The Man Booker International Prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also
sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Indian-American Harkeert Singh Saini won Prestigious Police


Award in Texas, US
Harkeert Singh Saini, an Indian-American policeman in third week of May 2015 won
the prestigious Top Civilian Supervisor of the Year. He was awarded for his efficient
services to the Houston Police department in the state of Texas of United States.
Saini who hails from Hoshiarpur district of Punjab received his award from Houston
Mayor Anise Parker and Police Chief Charles A McClelland. He is a graduate from
Deshbandu College in New Delhi.
44-year-old Saini shifted to Houston in 1998 and joined its police department in March
2000. During his 15-year service in Houston Police Department he was subsequently
promoted as an office supervisor.

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Anurradha Prasad conferred with Pt. Haridutt Sharma Award for


Journalism and Social Services
Anurradha Prasad, the Editor-in-Chief of News 24 Channel, on 15 May 2015 was
conferred with the Pt. Haridutt Sharma Award for Journalism, Writing and Social
Services.
He was conferred with the award by Vice- President Hamid Ansari in New Delhi.
The award is given in the memory of Pt. Haridutt Sharma who was a renowned
journalist and eminent writer. The award is given annually in the field of Journalism,
Writing and Social Services for the outstanding contribution in their respective field.
The Award comprises of Cash prize of 51000 rupees, Citation, Trophy, Shawl and
Souvenir.

Indian-American boy Karan Menon won 2015 National Geographic Bee Championship
Karan Menon, a 14-year-old Indian-American student, on 13 May 2015 won the 2015
National Geographic Bee championship. Menon answered all questions correctly
related to places like Tashkent, Telangana and the Oresund Strait.
In addition to winning the title of National Geographic Bee champion, Menon
received a 50000 US dollars college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National
Geographic Society and an expedition for two to the Galapagos Islands aboard the
Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour.
Menon competed against 10 finalists from across the US to win the championship.
Out of the 10 finalists, seven were of Indian-origin.
The first-runner up and recipient of a 25000 US dollars college scholarship was
11-year-old Shriya Yarlagadda of Michigan. The third place and a 10000 US dollars
college scholarship went to Sojas Wagle of Arkansas, a 13-year-old eighth grader.
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Seven other finalists who won 500 US dollars were Kapil Nathan; Nicholas Monahan;
Patrick Taylor; Abhinav Karthikeyan; Lucy Chae; Shreyas Varathan and Tejas Badgujar.

President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Presidential Awards


for Classical Tamil
President Pranab Mukherjee on 14 May 2015 conferred the Presidential Awards for
Classical Tamil for the years 2011-12 and 2012-13. The award was conferred on
scholars who have made outstanding contribution to the development of Classical
Tamil language and literature.

Awardees:
Tolkappiyar Award for lifetime achievement in Classical Tamil was given to SV
Shanmugam for year 2011-12 and R Krishnamurthi for year 2012-13.
Kural Pitam Award was given to Eva Maria Wilden of Germany for 2011-12.
Young Scholar Awards was presented to E. Ezhilvasanthan, K. Jawahar and K.
Iyyappan for 2011-12.
Young Scholar Award for the year 2012-13 was given to R. Venkatesan, A. Sathish,
M.R. Devak, U. Alibava and B. Jaiganesh.

About the Presidential Awards for Classical Tamil


The Presidential Awards for Classical Tamil were instituted by the Union Ministry
of Human Resources Development (HRD). The award carries a citation and shawl
apart from a cash award of 5 lakh rupees for Tolkappiyar Award and Kural Peedam
awardees.
While, the award money of 1 lakh rupees is bestowed on Young Scholar Awardees.

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Indian-American Sivanadane Mandjiny won UNC Board of Governors 2015 Award


Indian-American professor Sivanadane Mandjiny on 12 May 2015 won University of
North Carolina Pembrokes UNC Board of Governors 2015 Award for Excellence in
Teaching. Mandjiny is currently serving as a Chemistry Professor at the University of
North Carolina (UNC) in US.
Annually, the Board of Governors of the University names one professor at each of
the 17 UNC campuses to receive the award. The award consists of the prize money
of 12500 US dollars and a commemorative bronze medallion.
Mandjiny joined the Universitys Department of Chemistry and Physics in 1996 as a
teaching associate and earned tenure in 2006. He became department chairperson
in 2011.
Mandjiny came to Pembroke from France where he obtained his PhD and was doing
post-doctoral research. As a native of Tamil Nadu, he earned a bachelors degree in
chemical engineering from the University of Madras and a masters degree from the
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
Mandjiny is a distinguished scholar with many published research papers, dozens of
conference presentations and significant grant work. He has mentored 118 student
research projects on subjects applicable to alternative energy, agricultural science
and chemistry in zero gravity.

Indian-American professor Dr. Sivanadane Mandjiny won UNCs


2015 Award for Excellence in Teaching
Indian-American Professor Dr. Sivanadane Mandjiny on 12 May 2015 won the
University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors 2015 Award for Excellence
in Teaching. The award carries a commemorative bronze medallion and a 12500 US
dollar cash prize.
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He was one of the 17 winners of the annual awards that serve to underscore the
importance of teaching.
Currently, he is a Chemistry professor at the University of North Carolina. He became
department chair in 2011. He had joined Universitys Department of Chemistry and
Physics in 1996 as a teaching associate.
Sivanadane Mandjiny is a native of Tamil Nadu. He holds a bachelors degree in
chemical engineering from the University of Madras and a masters degree in
biochemical engineering from the IIT.
He also holds a second masters degree in chemical engineering from the University
of Toronto and a PhD from the Universite de Technologie de Compiegne in France.
Mandjinys has studied in four languages Hindi, Tamil, French and English
He is the recipient of three Excellence in Teaching Awards from the Student-Athlete
Advisory Committee. Mandjiny won the universitys Outstanding Teaching Award in
2006.

Indian author Neel Mukherjee won 2014 Encore Award for The
Lives of Others
Indian author Neel Mukherjee on 12 May 2015 won the 2014 Encore Award for his
novel The Lives of Others. The award is worth 10000 pounds.
The Lives of Others is his second novel. The novel is set in Kolkata of the 1960s when
Naxalite violence was at its peak. It is the story of Supratik Ghosh and his family,
after he leaves home to join the Communist party of India, Marxist and mobilise the
peasants against their landlords.
The Lives of Others was also shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize and the
Costa Novel Award. Neel Mukherjees first novel, A Life Apart, was published in 2010.
Other short-listed authors are Will Wiles, Deborah Kay Davies and Amanda Coe.
Encore award was founded by Lucy Astor in 1990 to celebrate second novels.

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2013 Encore award won by Evie Wyld for All The Birds, Singing.

Veteran Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor bestowed with Dada


Saheb Phalke award
Veteran Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor was on 10 May 2015 honoured with the
prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award by Union Information and Broadcasting
Minster Arun Jaitley at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai. With this, Shashi Kapoor became
the 46th winner of the award.
He was awarded for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of
Indian cinema. He began his career as an actor as a child artist in the 1940s.
Shashi Kapoor is known for his performances in films like Jab Jab Phool Khile,
Deewar and Kabhi Kabhie. Earlier, he has got the National Award for best actor for
the film New Delhi Times in 1986, National Film Award Special Jury Award / Special
Mention (Feature Film) for Muhafiz (1993).
He was also awarded with the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi (as
Producer) for Junoon in 1979. He has appeared in 160 movies all together, 12 being
in English and the rest in Hindi. He was also honoured with the Padma Bhushan
Award by the Union Government in 2011.

French magazine Charlie Hebdo presented with Freedom of Expression Courage Award 2015
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was on 5 May 2015 presented with
the 2015 Freedom of Expression Courage Award of the PEN American Centre at the
American Museum of Natural History.
The award was accepted by Charlie Hebdos Editor-in-chief Gerard Biard and criticessayist Jean-Baptiste Thoret. Other than the magazine, the awards were also
presented to playwright Tom Stoppard, Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija
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Ismayilova and Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle.


The PEN American Centre recognized the Charlie Hebdo for the award as twelve
of its staff members were massacred in a January 2015 terrorist attack caused by
magazines offensive cartoons of Muslims.

About PEN American Centre


Founded in 1922, PEN American Centre is an association of 4000 US writers working
to break down barriers for free expression worldwide. Its distinguished members
carry on the achievements in literature and in the advancement of human rights.
PEN is composed of centres, each of which represents its membership and
membership of its Centres is open to all qualified writers, journalists, translators,
historians, and others actively engaged in any branch of literature, regardless of
nationality, race, colour or religion.

Mazen Darwish honoured with 2015 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano


World Press Freedom Prize
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 3
May 2015 presented the 2015 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
to Syrian journalist and rights activist Mazen Darwish.
The award was presented in Latvia on the occasion of the World Press Freedom
Day in recognition of the work he has carried out in Syria for more than ten year as a
human rights defender and a journalist.

About Mazen Darwish


He is a lawyer, press freedom advocate and is the president of the Syrian Centre
for Media and Freedom of Expression (CMFE) which was founded in 2004.
He is one of the founders of the Voice newspaper and syriaview.net, an independent
news site which was banned by the Syrian authorities.
He established Media Club in 2011, the first Syrian magazine about media affairs.
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He has been detained by the Syrian Authorities since 16 February 2012 along with
Hani Zaitani and Hussein Ghreir, his colleagues at the CMFE on the charges of
promoting terrorist acts.
The UN General Assembly on 15 May 2013 adopted Resolution 67/262 demanding
that the Syrian authorities immediately release all persons arbitrarily detained,
including the members of the CMFE.
In January 2014, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) addressed
a communication to the Syrian authorities denouncing the arbitrary detention of
Darwish and his Media Centre colleagues and called for their immediate release.
In 2014, the award was presented to Ahmet Sik, a Turkish journalist for his investigative
work on the controversial Glen movement of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Glen.

Four Indians to be conferred with 2015 Spring Imperial Decorations of Japan


Four Indians will be conferred with the Spring Imperial Decorations of Japan which
were announced on 29 April 2015.
These Indians are among the 85 foreign recipients who will receive the award at the
Imperial Palace in Tokyo on 8 May 2015. The awards will be conferred by Emperor of
Japan Akihito.

The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star


(i) Thottuvelil Krishna Pillai Aiyappankutty Nair (75): He is a former Advisor and
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh.
He was awarded for the contribution to the enhancement of relations and the
promotion of friendship between Japan and India.
(ii) Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao (80): He is the Honorary President of
Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, Bangalore and a former
Chair of the Japan-India Science Council. He was awarded with the highest
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civilian award of India Bharat Ratna in 2014.


He was awarded for contribution to promoting academic interchange and mutual
understanding in science and technology between Japan and India.

The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays


(iii) Nikunj Parekh (74): He is the President of Indo-Japanese Association, Mumbai
and Director of Bonsai Study Group of Indo-Japanese Association, Mumbai.
He was awarded for contribution to promoting and presenting Japanese Culture in
India

The Orders of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays


(iv) Topgay Bhutia (64): Former local employee of the Embassy of Japan in India
was awarded for his contribution to the activities of the Japanese overseas
establishment.

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PLAN | PROGRAMME
National Smart Grid Mission: Institutional mechanism to oversee Smart Grid Initiatives
The National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) was in news on 7 May 2015 as the Union
Minister of state for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy (IC) Piyush Goyal
gave information about it in the Lok Sabha.
The mission was approved by the Union Government on 27 March 2015.
The mission entails implementation of a smart electrical grid based on state-of-the
art technology in the fields of automation, communication and IT systems that can
monitor and control power flows from points of generation to points of consumption.

Key Features of National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM)


It is an institutional mechanism for planning, monitoring and implementation of
policies and programs related to Smart Grid activities and for this it has a three tier
structure viz., Governing Council at the apex level, Empowered Committee at the
middle and Technical Committee at the bottom.
The Governing Council (GC) is headed by the Minister of Power and has Secretary
level officers of concerned Ministries and departments as members. The Council
approves all policies and programmes for smart grid implementation.
The Empowered Committee (EC) is headed by the Secretary (Power) and has Joint
Secretary level officers of concerned Ministries and departments as members. The
role of the Committee is to provide policy inputs to the GC and approve, monitor,
review specific smart grid projects, guidelines, procedures etc.
The Technical Committee (TC) is headed by the Chairperson (CEA) and has
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Director level officers of concerned Ministries & departments, representatives from


industries and academia as members. The role of the committee is to support the
EC on technical aspectS, standards development, technology selection guidelines
etc.
The mission has a NSGM Project Management Unit (NPMU) headed by a Director
and is responsible for operationalizing the Smart Grid activities in the country
under the guidance of the GC and the EC. The NPMU will be housed at the Power
Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID).
Projects such as, Development of smart grid, Development of micro grids,
Consumer engagements and Training & Capacity building will be taken up under
the mission.
The total outlay for the mission during the 12th five year Plan (2012-17) is kept
at 980 crore rupees with a budgetary support of 338 crore rupees. The mission
provides for grant up-to 30 percent of the project cost and for selected components
such as training & capacity building and consumer engagement 100 percent grant
is allowed.
Corresponding to the NSGM, a State Level Mission will be set up under chairmanship
of the Power Secretary of the concerned State. Support for training & capacity
building to State Level Project Monitoring Units (SLPMUs) for smart grid activities
is provided by the NSGM.
The Smart Grid Knowledge Centre (SGKC) being developed by the POWERGRID
with funding from the Ministry will act as a resource centre for providing technical
support to the mission in all technical matters, including development of technical
manpower, capacity building, outreach, suggesting curriculum changes in technical
educations, etc.

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INVENTIONS | DISCOVERIES
17th Century Scottish pirate captain William Kidd treasure
found in Madagascar
Underwater explorers in Madagascar on 7 May 2015 said that they have discovered
treasure belonging to the notorious 17th Century Scottish pirate captain William Kidd.
The explorers, which were a joint team of UK and US archaeological research mission,
brought a 50-kg silver bar to shore on the island of Sainte Marie, from wreckage of
the Adventure Galley, the ship of Captain Kidd.
The bar was presented to Madagascars President at a special ceremony.
Captain Kidd was first appointed by the British authorities to tackle piracy but later
became a ruthless criminal. He was executed in 1701 for piracy after returning from
a voyage to the Indian Ocean.
Besides, the US explorer Barry Clifford said that he believes there are many more
such bars still in the wreck.
Earlier, a team led by Barry Clifford in 2000 during underwater investigation discovered
some remains of William Kidds ship, Adventure Galley, including a metal oarlock,
shards of Ming porcelain and bottles of rum three centuries old.

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PLACES IN NEWS
Palmyra, an ancient Syrian city, captured by ISIS militants
Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants on 21 May 2015 seized full control of
ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. It is an oasis in the Syrian Desert.
Palmyra, also known as the Pearl of Desert and Tadmur, is located 215 km to the
northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus and is a World Heritage Site because of its
architecture.
The art and architecture of Palmyra dates back to 1st to the 2nd century AD and were
built in Graeco-Roman style with local traditions and Persian influences. It was one of
the most important cultural centres of the ancient world standing at the crossroads
of several civilizations.
A grand, colonnaded street of 1100 metres length forms the monumental axis of the
city, which together with secondary colonnaded cross streets links the major public
monuments including the Temple of Baal, Diocletians Camp, the Agora, Theatre,
other temples and urban quarters.
The site was designated a national monument by Syrian government and was
protected by the National Antiquities law 222 as amended in 1999. A buffer zone was
established in 2007 but has not yet been submitted to the World Heritage Committee.

Why the capture of Palymra is of concern?


The capture of strategic Palmyra raises security concern as it potentially opens the
way for ISIS to advance towards key government-held areas, including the capital
Damascus and Homs.
Further, the loss of the al-Tanf crossing in Homs province means the Syrian government
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does not control any of the countrys border posts with Iraq.
On the cultural front, the control of Palmyra raises the concern that this ancient
city may also face the fate similar to ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud of Iraq. This is
because ISIS has been demolishing those ancient sites which pre-date Islam and
trafficking artefacts to get funds.

Nelong Valley in Uttarakhand opened first time for tourists after


closure in 1962
Nelong Valley: A picturesque valley located 45 km away from the Indo-China border
Authorities of the Gangotri National Park in Uttarakhand on 21 May 2015 opened the
Nelong Valley for tourists for the first time since its closure in 1962.
However, foreign tourists are still not allowed into the valley.
Nelong valley, situated 45 km away from the Indo-China border in the Uttarkashi
district, was closed for civilians after the 1962 war between both the countries.
After the war, villagers were shifted out of the valley and Indo-Tibetan Border Police
(ITBP) checkpoints were set up to augment the security along the border.
Located at a height of 11600 feet, it is a cold desert offering a view of the Tibetan
Plateau in China and home to snow leopard and the Himalayan blue sheep.

PM Narendra Modi concluded his three-nation tour to China,


Mongolia and South Korea
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 May 2015 returned to India after completing his
tour to three nations namely China, Mongolia and South Korea.
During his six-day visit between 14 May and 19 May 2015 as part of Act East Policy,
he met leaders of the three nations. The visit was aimed at achieving major objectives

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like
Refreshing centuries old cultural relations through Buddhism
Enhancing cooperation at the governmental level
Emphasizing the Asian identity for collective efforts
Engaging with the private sector for support to Make in India
Interact with the Indian community residing in these countries
During the three-nation tour, India signed number of agreements with the threenations, which would act as a booster in strengthening the bilateral ties.
He also interacted with top business leaders in China and South Korea and took a
commitment of investment of several billion dollars in India to support Make in India
initiative.

Highlights of the visit to China


Prime Minister raised the boundary question with China and asked for an early
settlement of the issue and decided to maintain peace and tranquility at the border
point for maturity of relations.
India-China signed 24 inter-governmental agreements.
21 business agreements worth 22 billion US dollars signed between Indian and
Chinese companies.
PM Modi inaugurated ICICIs first branch in China at Shanghai.

Highlights of the visit to Mongolia


Modi is the first ever Prime Minister of India to visit the country
India announced to provide one billion US dollar Line of Credit to Mongolia.
India-Mongolia signed 13 agreements including enhancement in cooperation in
border defence, air services, cyber security, renewable energy and others.
Modi addressed to the Mongolian Parliament.

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Modi gifted a rare history manuscript to Mongolian President.

Highlights of the visit to South Korea


Narendra Modi announced to set up a special panel to clear and fast-track South
Korean investments into India. South Korea became the second country after
Japan for which a special panel will be constituted.
South Korea announced to invest 10 billion dollar for Indian infrastructure
development.
India-South Korea signed seven agreements including revised avoidance of
double taxation, cooperation in audio-visual co-production, Youth Matters as well
as co-operation between the National Security Council of India and South Korea.
Besides, an important element of Prime Ministers visit was the way he met with
people of Indian origin in the three countries in which he tried to connect them from
India, like in China he asked Indian residents to encourage Chinese nationals to visit
India or their village during their vacation.

Tamils in Sri Lanka commemorated war dead for the first time
at Mullivaikkal village
Mullivaikkal: The northern village of Sri Lanka where LTTE rebels fought their last fight
Mullivaikkal, the northern village of Sri Lanka was in news on 19 May 2015 as for the
first time in six years the Sri Lankan Tamils publicly commemorated those Tamilians
who lost their lives during the civil war between Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
and Sri Lankan Army.
The Mullivaikkal village is the village where LTTE rebels fought their last fight against
security forces in a war that lasted for 37 years. The fight ended on 19 May 2009.
In the war, as per the United Nations estimates, some 40000 Tamil civilians were
killed in the district that includes Mullivaikkal village where they had fled after the
government declared it a safe area.
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They were able to commemorate the day because the countrys new government
under President Maithripala Sirisena lifted a ban on commemorating Tamil victims.
The commemoration was presided over by the Tamil Chief Minister of Northern
Province, CV Wigneswaran who lighted a ceremony lamp on the occasion at a
makeshift memorial at Mullivaikal. Then hundreds of Tamils also lit oil lamps during
the ceremony.
Besides, the Sri Lankan government also observed the 6th anniversary of defeat of
LTTE with a Remembrance Day ceremony at Matara. Till 2014, 19 May was observed
as Victory Day, but President Maithripala Sirisena government decided to change the
nature of ceremony and renamed it as Remembrance Day for those who sacrificed
for the unity of the country.

A paleo channel claimed as River Saraswati identified in Muglawali village of Haryana


Muglawali village near Adi Badri: Paleo channel claimed as River Saraswati identified
Muglawali village of Yamungar district in Haryana located near Adi Badri was in news
on 5 May 2015. The village came into news after district authorities claimed that they
have dugged out a paleo (old) channel which resembles now inactive River Saraswati.
During digging, which was done under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme (MNGEGS), the water was discovered from nine spots.
Water found at various spots hints towards presence of a paleo channel (remnants
of inactive river) and the initial study of water and sediments by a geologist hints that
they are distinct from the locally available water and minerals.
It is widely believed by geologists that Saraswati used to flow from upper Himalayas
and entered the plains near Adi Badri, located in the foothills of lower Shivalik mountain
ranges.
Digging is being done as part of excavation work of Saraswati Revival Project that

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started at Rullaheri village on 21 April 2015. The project was started after the decision
of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to create a new water channel on the
dry bed.
Earlier in 2006, a similar attempt towards identifying the River Saraswati route was
undertaken under Project Saraswati by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
As part of it, ONGC had successfully drilled Indias deepest fresh-water well at a
depth of about 500 metre below the ground-level near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

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EXHIBITION | FAIR
Fourth North East Youth Festival concluded in Jorhat district of
Assam
The 4th North East Youth Festival concluded on 31 May 2015 at Majuli in Jorhat district
of Assam. The Governor of Assam was the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony of
the Festival.
The three day long festival was organized by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan
(NYKS) on behalf of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
The festival was inaugurated by Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers, Ananth
Kumar on 29 May 2015.
About 2100 youth delegates from eight North East States participated in the festival.
The North East Youth Festival is organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport
with the objective to foster National Integrity and to know each other better through
exchange of culture besides promoting rich cultural heritage of various tribes and
people of North Eastern States.
The first North East Youth Festival was held at Kohima, Nagaland from 8 -10
October 2009
The second North East Youth Festival was held at Shillong, Meghalaya from 7-9
April 2011
The third North East Youth Festival was held at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh from
7-9 November 2012

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BOOKS | AUTHORS
The China Model written by Daniel A Bell
The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy: Daniel A. Bell
The book titled The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy
by Daniel A. Bell was in news in May 2015. The book seeks to understand the ideals
and the reality of Chinese political system.
In his book, Bell discusses the advantages and pitfalls of political meritocracy of China;
he distinguishes between different ways of combining meritocracy and democracy,
and argues that China has evolved a model of democratic meritocracy that is morally
desirable and politically stable.
The book opens with a critique of one person, one vote as a way of choosing top
leaders, which as per the author is a Chinese-style political meritocracy that can help
to remedy the key flaws of electoral democracy.
Bell summarizes and evaluates the China model as having the meritocracy at the top,
experimentation in the middle, and democracy at the bottom.

About the Author


Daniel A. Bell is Chair Professor of the Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua
University in Beijing and is a director of the Berggruen Institute of Philosophy and
Culture.
His other books include Spirit of Cities, Chinas New Confucianism, Beyond Liberal
Democracy, and East Meets West (all Princeton). He is also the editor of the PrincetonChina Series.

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Book titled Super Economies by Raghav Bahl released


The book Super Economies: America, India, China & The Future Of The World written
by Raghav Bahl published in May 2015. He is an Indian businessman best known for
his ownership of several television channels, including TV18.
The book explains the vastly changed nature of the world since the Cold War and
predicts what will be the likely changes in the 21st centuary.
For this, the author took a cue from the emergence of super powers in the 20th century
and the ongoing process of emergence of super economies in the 21st century.
Further, the author defined super economy as one possessing innovation, vast
swathes of territory, low unemployment, improving infrastructure, strong currency
and a significant military or nuclear capability and explained in detail how each of the
BRICS fare on this score - with China declared a super economy and categorizing
India as a sleeper super economy.
At the end of the book, Raghav Bahl concludes that in future the US, India and China
will come together against Islamic terrorism.
Raghavs first book titled Superpower? The Amazing Race Between Chinas Hare
and Indias Tortoise, was published by Penguin Allen Lane in 2010

Book titled Ahmedabad: A City in the World by Amrita Shah released


Book Ahmedabad: A City in the World authored by Amrita Shah was released 28 May
2015. The book is a biography of Indias seventh-largest city Ahmedabad and its all
too frequent complicity in communal violence.
The author in the book has described the six-hundred year old former textile town
in Kaka-style development and sketches Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle against
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British rule.
The book is the story of roadmaps and rivers, kings and kingmakers, merchants
and savants; of Dalit labourers and women bootleggers, displaced Muslims and a
euphoric middle class. It is also the incredible story of hope and vulnerability at the
heart of a metropolis.
Amrita Shah has been a columnist and contributing editor with the Indian Express
and was the founding editor of Elle India. She has also written Biography of Vikram
Sarabhai in 2007.
She received fellowships from the New India Foundation, the Homi Bhabha Fellowships
Council and Fulbright to write Ahmedabad: A City in the World.

The Pakistan Paradox written by Christrophe Jaffrelot


Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience by Christrophe Jaffrelot was published
by Vintage Books on 15 April 2015. Christrophe Jaffrelot is Research Director at
CNRS and teaches South Asian Politics and History at Sciences Po (Paris).
The 688-pages book is an overview of the contemporary Pakistan which was born as
the creation of elite Urdu-speaking Muslims who sought to govern a state that would
maintain their dominance.
In order to maintain the dominance of this class, Jinnah imposed a unitary definition
of Pakistan state that obliterated linguistic diversity. The centralization of power in
Pakistan was justified by the Indian threat which fostered centrifugal forces that
resulted in Bengali secessionism in 1971 and Baloch, as well as Mohajir, separatisms
today.
Concentration of power remained the norm, and while authoritarianism peaked under
military rule, democracy failed to usher in reform, and the rule of law remained fragile
at best under Zulfikar Bhutto and later Nawaz Sharif.
Today, Pakistan faces existential challenges ranging from ethnic strife to Islamism,
two sources of instability which hark back to elite domination. But the resilience of
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the country and its people, the resolve of the judiciary and hints of reform in the army
may open a new and more stable chapter in its history.

Complete Story of Indian Reforms: 2G, Power & Private Enterprise written by Pradeep Baijal
The Complete Story of Indian Reforms: 2G, Power & Private Enterprise: A Practitioners
Diary: Pradeep Baijal Former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman
Pradip Baijals book The Complete Story of Indian Reforms: 2G, Power & Private
Enterprise: A Practitioners Diary was in news in fourth week of May 2015.
The self published book was in news because the author in the book has claimed
that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had warned him of consequences if he
did not co-operate in the 2G scam. He also claimed that even CBI warned him that
he would be harmed if he did not cooperate.
Besides, in a talk with a news channel he also informed that the UPA government
also destroyed some files related to the 2G scam. In the talk, he claimed that his
charges are not politically motivated, and the former Prime Minister approved the
action of his Ministers.
The author also claimed that Singh also dismissed his concerns in 2004 over Dayanidhi
Maran being appointed as telecom minister as a case of conflict of interest. Maran
was a broadcaster and TRAI had been made broadcasting regulator in 2004.
The book was published on 24 April 2015.

Book titled Unbelievable Delhi to Islamabad written by Prof


Bhim Singh released
Unbelievable Delhi to Islamabad: Prof. Bhim Singh
Book titled Unbelievable Delhi to Islamabad authored by senior Advocate Prof.
Bhim Singh was released on 8 May 2015 by Vice President M Hamid Ansari in New
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Delhi.
The book, a travelogue is an effort initiated by the lawyers of India and Pakistan to
work jointly to ensure that Pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails are treated in
accordance with the spirit of the Constitution of India. Similarly, the same treatment
should be mended for the Indian prisoners on Pakistan and they should be given fair
trials.

A Book titled China Confucius in the Shadows written by Poonam Surie released
China Confucius in the Shadows: Poonam Surie
A Book titled China Confucius in the Shadows was released by the Vice President
M. Hamid Ansari on 1 May 2015. Confucius was considered as the most efficient
author in Chinese history.
Book has been written by Poonam Surie. Poonam Surie is an Adjunct Fellow at the
Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi.
The book highlights that in the evolving socio political milieu of China; interpreting
Confucian philosophy as being non-confrontationist, benevolent and with values
such as filial piety and harmony could help the current political regime deal with such
problems as corruption and rising inequalities.

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DEFENCE | SECURITY
Indigenously developed Astra Missile successfully test fired
Indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Astra was
successfully test fired at the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur in Odisha on 20
May 2015.
It was test-fired aboard a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft.
The present test was a part of the series of tests planned to test the missiles
subsystems like propulsion, navigation and guidance and the smooth separation of
the missile from the aircraft, etc.
The previous test was conducted on 18 March 2015 from the same place.

About the Astra missile


Astra is Indias first beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is capable
of engaging its target at ranges of 37 km or beyond. It has operational range of
60km.
The all-weather missile has been indigeniously designed and developed by the
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
It is a state-of-the-art missile in the sense that it travels at supersonic speed (4780
km/h), possesses Single Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) with active radar terminal
guidance, uses smokeless propulsion system to evade enemy radars and has the
capacity to engage in multi-target scenario.
The 3.8 metre long missile is the smallest of the DRDO-developed missiles and
can be launched from different altitudes.

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It can reach up to 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when


launched from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when fired from sea level.
The missile will be inducted into the armed forces by 2016 after few more tests,
including pre-induction trials.

Mirage 2000 fighter jet landed on Yamuna Expressway as part


of developing road runways
Mirage 2000 fighter jet of Indian air force (IAF) on 21 May 2015 landed successfully
on Yamuna Expressway as part of developing road runaway for emergency landing.
Its a kind of first for military aviation in India. IAF conducted the successful trial run
of landing on Yamuna Expressway near Mathura under the plan of use of national
highways in emergency situations.
The operations were conducted with active support from the government of Uttar
Pradesh, Yamuna Expressway Authority, toll authorities of JP Infratech and the civil
police.
This sucessful trial run gives a push to the planning of authorities to convert the
upcoming Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which is the longest greenfield expressway
in the country, as Indias first road runway. For this, Uttar Pradesh government had
given a green signal on 11 May 2015.
The 308km Agra-Lucknow expressway is expected to cost 13000 crore rupees. It will
pass through Firozabad, Shikohabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kannauj and Mohanlalganj.

Pre-requisite for road runway


For the road runway, the particular stretch of the road should be straight, level, located
at a non-undulating round without any slope and also free of waterlogging and free
of floods.
The road runway segment will not have electricity poles, masts or mobile phone
towers. There will be portable ground lighting systems that can be quickly placed on
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the roadsides to guide aircraft during landings.


China, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany and Singapore are among the countries that
have road runways. Road runways assume importance if airbases are crippled during
hostile situations.

Fourth Corvette of Project-28 christened Kavaratti launched


The fourth Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvette of Project-28christened Kavaratti
was on 19 May 2015 launched at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd
(GRSE), Kolkata.
In keeping with the nautical traditions, the ship was launched by Manita Singh, wife
of the Honble Union Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh.
The four ships of Project-28 built by GRSE, Kolkata have been designed indigenously
by the Directorate of Naval Design, New Delhi and bear the testimony to the acclaimed
legacy of Naval Designers. The ships have been constructed using high grade steel
(DMR 249A) produced in India.

Key Characteristics of ASW Corvettes


With a displacement of 3300 tonnes, the sleek and magnificent ASW Corvettes
span 109.1 meters in length and 13.7 meters at the beam.
They are propelled by four diesel engines to achieve speeds in excess of 25 knots
and have an endurance of more than 3000 Nm.
The P-28 corvettes also boast of revolutionary Rail-less Helo Traversing System,
Foldable Hangar Door, use of Personnel Locator System and use of Carbon Fibre
Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) Superstructure integrated with the Steel Hull in the third
and fourth ships of the Class.
These ships have common raft mounted Gear Box and Diesel Engines, which give
the vessels very low radiated underwater noise.
The P-28 Ships also have Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS) and an
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Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) which include Integrated Bridge


System as well as Battle Damage Control System.
They also incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping,
stealth and manoeuvrability.
Enhanced stealth features of the corvettes have been achieved by including Low
Radar Cross Section (RCS) signature through full beam superstructure, inclined
ship sides and reduced Infra Red (IR) signature by use of Infra Red Suppression
System (IRSS) device.
The ships are also equipped to carry and operate one multiple role helicopter.
In addition to these features, Kavaratti will be packed with an array of state of art
weapons and sensors, including a Medium Range Gun, Torpedo Tube Launchers as
well as Rocket Launchers, Close-In Weapon System and Chaff System.

Naval Base at Porbandar commissioned as INS Sardar Patel


The Naval establishment of Indian Navy at Porbandar, Gujarat was on 9 May 2015
commissioned as INS Sardar Patel by Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The commissioning ceremony was marked by traditional gaiety and naval precision.
As a part of the ceremony, the commissioning plaque was unveiled along with the
marble bust of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ironman of India.
The commissioning of INS Sardar Patel will enable the Indian Navy to qualitatively
augment its infrastructure and organisational effectiveness in Gujarat, which would
improve coordination and synergy with other maritime agencies of Union Government.
This Forward Operating Base (FOB) of Indian Navy in Gujarat and the Headquarters
of the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Gujarat, Diu & Daman) will also enhance the logistic
support being provided to the Indian Navy units deployed in the Northern Arabian
Sea, including International Maritime Boundary Line with Pakistan.
Commodore BR Prakash, who is the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Gujarat, Diu & Daman)

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is the first Commanding Officer of INS Sardar Patel.

India successfully test-fired advanced version of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile


India on 9 May 2015 successfully conducted the 48th test firing of the BrahMos
Supersonic Cruise Missile from the Car Nicobar Islands in Andaman and Nicobar.
The advanced version of the land-to-land configuration of BrahMos Block-III version
was test-fired from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) for its full-range of 290 km.

Features of BrahMos Missile


It is the first supersonic cruise missile known to be in service and is capable of
carrying a conventional and nuclear warhead of 300 kilogram.
It is a two-stage missile having Solid propellant in the first stage and Ramjet liquid
propellant in the second stage.
It can be launched from land, Sea, Sub-seas and air.
It operates on Fire and Forget Principle by adopting varieties of flights on its way
to the target.
It approaches the enemy target with a top speed of Mach 2.8; which is about three
times faster than the US subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.
The missile has been developed by the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. It is
a joint venture between Russian Federations NPO Mashinostroeyenia and Indias
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the missile derives
its name from the names of two rivers, namely the Brahmaputra of India and the
Moskva of Russia.
While the BrahMos Weapon Complex (BWC) first version was inducted in the
Indian Navy in 2005 on board the INS Rajput and the first regiment of BrahMos
missile Block (A1) with the formation of N816 missiles was inducted into the Army

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in 2007; the air version of the missile is still in the testing stage.

Indian Army signed MoU with Bank of India on Defence Salary


Package
Indian Army on 8 May 2015 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the
Bank of India (BOI) on the Defence Salary Package.
The first MoU between BOI and the Indian Army was signed in 2011 and was valid
for a period of three years. This revised MoU is customised to suit the requirements
of serving soldiers, pensioners and families. Number of additional facilities was
incorporated in the revised MoU after concerted efforts.

Highlights of the MoU


This MoU will benefit a large number of serving and retired Army personnel who
own their accounts with BOI.
It will also provide them an opportunity to access modern banking facilities.
It includes the standard bundle of free/concessional services including free drafts,
free cheque books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS / NEFT,
free ATM cards etc.
Some additional features of this MoU are that the Personal Accident Insurance
(PAI) cover is extended upto 10 lakh rupees from 5 lakh rupees.
It provides for Air insurance, Home Loan Insurance on Army Welfare housing
Organisation (AWHO) for deaths on account of war/external aggression/ terrorist
attack for up to 50 lakh rupees.
It provides applicability of PAI and overdraft facility to pensioners and waiver of
merchant service fee (MSF) for transaction on BOI POS Terminal installed at CSD
Canteens for BOI Card holders.
It also has a provision for yearly review of specific features and requests.

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Indigenously developed Akash Weapon System (AWS) inducted


into Indian Army
The first regiment of the indigenously developed Surface-to-Air missile Akash Weapon
System (AWS) on 5 May 2015 was inducted into the Indian Army in New Delhi.
It is part of the orders for two regiments placed by the Army worth about 19000 crore
rupees.

Features of Akash Weapon System (AWS)


Each regiment of AWS consists of six launchers with each launcher having three
missiles.
It consists of sophisticated radars and control systems to guide the missile towards
the target.
Each missile weighs 720 kg having a length of 5.78 meters.
It is fully automated and can simultaneously engage multiple targets in 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 to a maximum of
up to 20 km.
At 96 per cent indigenisation, it represents a major capability development for a
crucial weapon system.
Unlike the Air Force version, which was inducted in March 2012, the Army variant
of Akash is designed for high mobility and can be quickly moved to any operational
theatres based on necessity.
Akash has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation
and is being built by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).
It was originally planned as part of the five missiles under the Integrated Guided
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Missile Development (IGMD) Programme initiated in 1984.

14th Edition of Indo-French Naval Exercise VARUNA 2015 concluded


The Fourteenth edition of the Indo-French naval exercise VARUNA 2015 concluded
on 2 May 2015. The exercise started on 23 April 2015 off the Goa Coast.

Features of the VARUNA 2015 Exercise


Its aim was deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two navies. The
experience gained through such exercises helps in developing Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs) in the fields of Joint Maritime Air Operations Planning with
exchange of Carrier Operational Capabilities.
The exercise included both a harbour and sea phase and its mandate was to cover
the entire gamut of maritime operations ranging from Aircraft Carrier Operations,
Anti Submarines Warfare Exercises, Maritime Interdiction Operations and multiship replenishment exercise.
From the Indian side, the participants included Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat, which
is the second largest flagship vessel of the Indian Navy after INS Vikramaditya,
destroyer Mumbai, stealth frigate Tarkash, guided missile frigate Gomati,
replenishment tanker Deepak, submarine Shankul among others.
The French Navy was represented by Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is
the flagship vessel of the French Navy and the largest Western European warship
currently in commission, two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne,
replenishment tanker Meuse and a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique 2 among
others.

About VARUNA Exercise


Though the navies of both the countries have been conducting joint exercises since
1983, these exercises were christened as VARUNA in 2001 following the establishment

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of a strategic partnership between the two countries.


Till date, thirteen such exercises have been conducted and the last exercise VARUNA
12 was conducted in the Mediterranean Sea from 19 July to 22 July 2012 off the
Toulon Coast.

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) held Theera Veta defence exercise in


Arabian Sea
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) from 28 April to 29 April 2015 held a security exercise,
Theera Veeta, in the Arabian Sea.
The exercise was intended to augment the preparedness of the security agencies
in protecting the porous maritime borders of Kerala, Lakshadweep, Minicoy Islands
and Mahe (part of Puducherry) from external attacks.
The exercise was conducted by the ICG from its Operation room at Kochi and
Kavaratti and monitored from the Joint Operation Centre (JOC) located at the Kochi
Naval base.
In the two day exercise, along with the ICG, Indian Navy, Coastal Police and other
central and state/Union Territory (UT) police agencies were involved.

Comment
Theera Veta is a periodical exercise conducted by the security agencies in order to
assess and augment the defence preparedness against security related threats to
the off shore economic assets like oil wells and mineral rich areas in Indias Exclusive
Economic Zone (EEZ) and coastal population.

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REPORT | SURVEY
UN released World Economic Situation and Prospects Mid-2015
Update
The United Nations (UN) on 19 May 2015 released Mid-2015 World Economic
Situation and Prospects (WESP) update. In the release, it has highlighted that world
economy continues to grow at a modest pace.
It characterized the current world economic situation by five lows and they are
low growth, low trade flows, low inflation, low investment, and low interest rates,
combined with two highs: high equity prices, and high debt levels.

Growth prospects for World Economy


Growth of world GDP will accelerate slightly from 2.6 percent in 2014 to 2.8 percent
in 2015.
This projection is a downward revision by 0.3 percentage points from the forecast
presented in the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 in January 2015.
In 2016, the global growth would improve to 3.1 percent.
The growth divergence between various regions is widening in 2015, owing to
differing impacts from the recent decline in the prices of oil and other commodities,
as well as country-specific factors.

Growth in Developed Economies


The growth momentum in the developed economies is picking up.
The major developed economies will see growth at a rate of 2.2 percent in 2015
from 1.6 percent in 2014.
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These nations still faces considerable headwinds from the legacies of the global
financial crisis, like subdued employment levels, elevated private and public sector
debt and financial sector fragilities.

Growth prospects in Economies in transition


Growth of these economies has been downgraded against backdrop of low oil
prices.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of these economies in transition will contract by 2
percent in 2015.
The release suggests that the Russian economy will shrink and its impact would
have a negative spillover effects on other countries of the region.

Growth prospects in developing economies


The report predicts that growth in these economies will diverge. The average
growth of the developing nations will remain at 4.4 percent in 2015, which is 3
percentage points below the pre-crisis pace.
In Africa, there seems to be a strong divergence between oil-exporting and oilimporting economies. It may face a mixed picture, which will be caused due to
falling commodity prices and declining exchange rates. It may register to see
average growth at 4 percent in 2015 and 4.8 percent in 2016.
In South Asia, the economic outlook has been painted as favourable, as most
of the economies would experience strengthening of growth in 2015-2016. This
growth will be strengthened on the back of stronger domestic consumption and
investment, and a pick-up in exports.
In Western Asia, nations which are termed as diversified economies would perform
better than anticipation, but it may face fiscal pressures along with aggravating
growth prospects for 2016, if the oil prices remain at the current low level for an
extended period in the oil exporting economies
Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to grow by only 0.5 percent in 2015
and by 1.7 percent in 2016 due to lower commodity prices and persistent domestic
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fragilities. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will fall into a deeper recession,
while Brazil and Argentina are expected to experience slight contractions.

Growth in Least Developed Countries (LDCs)


The region is expected to grow at 4.9 percent in 2015, which is deceleration from
5.2 percent in 2014.
Some LDCs like Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania will see a robust and sustained
economic growth.
They will see a robust and sustained growth owing to investments in agriculture
and infrastructure, expanding services sectors and rising domestic demand.

Growth prospects in India


In context of India, the report says that it will grow by 7.6 percent in 2015 and 7.7
percent in 2016, which means that it will surpass the growth of China, which will grow
at 7 percent in 2015 and 6.8 percent in 2016.

Conclusion
WESP mid-2015 update identifies key challenges in the areas of monetary, fiscal, labour
market and trade policies, and underlines the need for strengthened international
policy coordination. Such coordination becomes ever more critical as the Member
States of the United Nations are expected to adopt a new financing framework for
sustainable development and an ambitious post-2015 sustainable development
agenda.

UNCTAD released a report titled Global Investment Trends Monitor


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 18 May 2015
released a report titled Global Investment Trends Monitor.
The report highlighted that developing Asia now invests more abroad than any other

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region. This UNCTAD trends monitor analyses the most recent trends in global outward
investment and assesses its prospects for 2015. It covers outward FDI trends in
developed, developing and transition economies.

Main highlights of the report


Hong Kong (China) and China were the second and the third largest investors
in the world, after the United States which remains the largest single source of
outward foreign direct investment (FDI).
Among the 20 largest investors, nine were either from developing or transition
economies.
In 2014, transnational corporations (TNCs) from developing economies alone
invested almost half a trillion US dollar abroad a 30% increase from the previous
year.
TNCs share in global foreign direct investment (FDI) reached a record of 36%, up
from 12% in 2007, the year prior to the financial crisis.
Developing Asia has become, for the first time, the worlds largest investor region
with 440 billion US dollar invested, followed by North America and Europe.
Investments by developed country TNCs were largely flat at 792 billion US dollar,
with the modest rise in flows from North America and Europe more than offset by
a 16% decline in Japanese investment abroad.
More than half of investments from TNCs based in developing economies were in
equity, while as much as four-fifths of FDI outflows from developed country TNCs
were in the form of reinvested earnings the result of record amounts of cash
reserves in their foreign affiliates.
The value of cross-border merger and acquisitions surged to 399 billion in 2014
28% above 2013 levels. Megadeals dominated the scene in 2014. TNCs from
the South continued to acquire developed country foreign affiliates in developing
world.
Announced greenfield investment projects rose by only 7% reaching 744 billion

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US dollar. The increase was driven mainly by investments from TNCs of the South.
Greenfield investors from developed countries, however, account for a larger share
(66%).
UNCTAD estimates that TNC investment appetite will improve, encouraged by better
economic prospects, especially in the United States, proactive monetary policy in
the Eurozone and the large cash holdings of companies. However, TNCs remain
guarded due to the fragility in some emerging markets, exchange rate volatility and
increased geopolitical tensions.

UNESCAP released Survey titled Making Growth More Inclusive


for Sustainable Development
United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
2015 survey titled Making Growth More Inclusive for Sustainable Development was
released on 14 May 2015.
The survey analyzes the economic growth performance of the region, along with
its outlook and challenges countries face in sharing the benefits of growth with all
people.

Highlights of the Survey


Economic growth in Asia and the Pacific continues to fare well in the global context,
but is expected to increase only slightly to 5.9% in 2015 from 5.8% in 2014.
Unlike other sub-regions, North and Central Asia is facing low economic growth
but high inflation.
Weighed down by lower global oil prices and geopolitical tensions, the economy
of the Russian Federation barely grew in 2014; it is expected to contract over 2015
and 2016.
As the country accounts for 80% of the output in North and Central Asia, subregional growth performance and prospects are also bleak. Inflation has also

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increased in several economies as declining commodity prices led to subdued


foreign exchange earnings and the weakening of currencies.
Economic growth in South and South-West Asia edged up in 2014, mainly led by
stronger macroeconomic performance in India, but it remained far below its precrisis pace. The consumption-led growth was fuelled by favourable farm incomes,
workers remittances and monetary easing.

Indias Economic Growth


The survey has predicted Indian Economy growth at 8.1 per cent in the current
financial year 2015 and 8.2 per cent in 2016, spurred by strong consumer spending
amid low inflation, infrastructure projects and governments reform measures.
Investment is also expected to rebound, although unevenly, given the still low
capacity-utilisation rate at about 70 per cent.
Volatile capital flows that may follow monetary policy normalisation in the US
remain the downside risk.

Pakistans Economic Growth


Economic growth in Pakistan picked up to 4.1% in 2014 from an average of 3.7%
in the previous three years and growth was expected to rise to 5.1% in 2015.
The report said that inflation was on the decline and budget deficit was being
contained and foreign exchange reserves have significantly improved and market
confidence in Pakistans outlook seems to have improved.

World Economic Forum (WEF) released The Human Capital Report 2015
The World Economic Forum (WEF) on 13 May 2015 released the Human Capital
Report 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WEF prepared the report in collaboration with Mercer, an American global human
resource and related financial services consulting firm.
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The report elaborates the status of different countries across the world on the Human
Capital Index and provides key inputs for policy makers to augment capacities of
human capital in 124 countries it has surveyed.
Import findings of The Human Capital Report 2015
The Human Capital Index was developed using two horizontal themes--Learning and
Employment running across five vertical age group pillars viz., Under 15, 1524,
2554, 5564, and 65 and Over covering 46 indicators.

Top ten Countries in the Human Capital Index


Finaland (1)
Norway (2)
Switzerland (3)
Canada (4)
Japan (5)
Swedan (6)
Denmark (7)
New Zealand (8)
The Netherlands (9)
Belgium (10)

Bottom ten Countries in the Human Capital Index


Ethiopia (115)
Burkina Faso (116)
Cote d Ivoire (117)
Mali (118)
Guinea (119)

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Nigeria (120)
Burundi (121)
Mauritania (122)

Indias position in the Human Capital Index


India occupied the 100th position among the 124 countries surveyed in the Index.
In the Asia-Pacific region it is placed behind Sri Lanka (60), China (64), Indonesia
(69), Iran (80), Bhutan (87) and Bangladesh (99).
In the learning category , It has secured 67th, 98th, 109th, 115th and 114th position
in the Under 15, 1524, 2554, 5564, and 65 and Over categories respectively.
It has ranked poorly also on the labour force participation rate due to its large
informal sector.

Save the Children released 16th annual State of the Worlds


Mothers (SOWM) report
Save the Childrens 16th annual State of the Worlds Mothers (SOWM) report titled
The Urban Disadvantage was on 5 May 2015 released by the Union Minister for
Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla in New Delhi.
The reports special focus is on the struggle of poorest mothers and children in rapidly
urbanizing world. It presents the Mothers Index for 179 countries and show where
mothers and children fare best and where they face the greatest hardships.

Important findings of the report


While great progress has been made in reducing urban under-5 mortality around
the world, inequality is worsening in too many cities. In almost half of the countries,
the urban survival gaps have grown.
The poorest children in almost every city face alarmingly high risks of death. In
all but one of the 36 developing countries surveyed, there are significant gaps
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between rich and poor urban children.


The 10 countries showing the greatest survival divide between wealthy and poor
urban children are: Rwanda, Cambodia, Kenya, Vietnam, Peru, India, Madagascar,
Ghana, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
The poorest urban mothers and children are often deprived of life saving health
care like access to prenatal care and skilled birth attendance. The largest coverage
gaps between rich and poor were found in Delhi (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Port
au Prince (Haiti) and Dili (Timor-Leste).
High child death rates in slums are rooted in disadvantage, deprivation and
discrimination.
Among capital cities in high-income countries, Washington, DC has the highest
infant death risk and great inequality. Washington, DC had the highest infant
mortality rate at 6.6 deaths per 1000 live births in 2013 which is 3 times the rates
found in Tokyo and Stockholm.
In cities around the world, the poorest urban children are at least twice as likely to
die as the richest urban children.
The top five countries showing lower U5MR are: Prague (Czech Republic),
Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Tokyo (Japan) and Lisbon (Portugal).

Top 10 countries in the Mother Index


Rank Country
1 Norway

Finland

3 Iceland

Denmark

Swedan

Netherlands

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Spain

Germany

Australia

10

Belgium

Bottom 10 Countries in the Mother Index


Rank Country

169

Haiti & Sierra Leone

170

Guinea-Buisseau

171

Chad

172

Ivory Coast

173

Gambia

174

Niger

175
Mali

176

Central African Reblic

178

DR Congo

179

Somalia

Recommendations of the report


The final post-2015 framework (Sustainable Development Goals) should include
an explicit commitment to equitably ending preventable child and maternal deaths
with measurable targets.
Commit to leaving no one behind by embedding equity in the final post-2015
framework.
Improve the health of the urban poor by ensuring universal health coverage.

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All governments must follow through on Nutrition for Growth commitments and
ensure that the World Health Assembly nutrition targets are met.
National governments should develop and invest in integrated, cross-sectoral
urban policies, strategies and plans that include maternal, newborn and child
health (MNCH) and nutrition, as well as investments in improved access to clean
water, sanitation and primary education.
National governments and donors should invest in strengthening data collection
to better identify disadvantaged groups, track quality and use of services and
monitor progress against agreed upon plans and targets.
Mobilize resources to end preventable child deaths in poor urban areas.

The report with respect to India


India is placed at the 140th position in the Mothers Index which ranks countries on
five key factors viz., Risk of maternal death, Under-five mortality rate, Educational
status, Economic achievement and Political status.
Further, as per the report, India along with Bangladesh has over half of poor urban
children who are stunted compared to 20 percent or less of the wealthiest children
and the urban poor are 3.2 times more likely to die compared to the urban rich in
Delhi.
In the period between 1990 and 2013, under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) in India declined
by 54.4 percent as against the global progress of 44.8 percent.
Globally every 5th child is born in India and any improvement in Infant Mortality Rate
(IMR) of even a single state can positively impact the global situation.

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SUMMIT | CONFERENCE
India assumed Presidency of the 68th World Health Assembly
after 19 years
India on 18 May 2015 assumed Presidency of the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA)
after 19 years. The session was presided by the Union Minister of Health & Family
Welfare Jagat Prakash Nadda at Geneva.
The 68th World Health Assembly will be held from 18 May 2015 to 27 May 2015.
The 68th World Health Assembly will deliberate on key issues of global interest
including anti-microbial resistance, air pollution and health, global health emergency,
preparedness and surveillance, global strategy and plan of action on public health,
innovation and intellectual property, and research and development in neglected
tropical diseases.
The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health
Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is the worlds highest
health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
Dr Roberto Morales Ojeda, Minister of Public Health of Cuba, was the President of
the 67th World Health Assembly held in Geneva from 19 May -24 May 2014.

6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy held in New Delhi


6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy was held in New Delhi on 15 May 2015.
The Conference was organised by ASSOCHAM with the themeNuclear Energy: a
Clean Energy option.
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This conference is unique in many ways as 2015 happens to be the year of diamond
jubilee celebrations of the setting up of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
The conference discussed the issue related to the status of Nuclear Energy in India.
India is on course to double its nuclear power generation capacity to more than
10,000 mega watts (MW) over the next five years i.e. 2020.
Nuclear power plants account for 3.5% of Indias current electricity generation, and
its share in Indias future electricity generation will be less than 10% even if the
installed capacity is tripled. However, along with other sources of energy such as
hydropower and solar-power, it will play a role in reducing Indias reliance on coal for
generating electricity.

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COMMITTEES | COMMISSIONS
Union Government formed a Committee to oversee Bhim Jayanti
celebrations
The Union Government on 30 May 2015 formed a committee under the Chairpersonship
of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to oversee the celebrations of 125th anniversary of
Dr BR Ambedkar, also called Bhim Jayanti which is annually celebrated on 14 April.
The Committee was formed to suggest different programmes and activities to be
undertaken by various Ministries and Departments and States and Union Territories
(UTs). These activities and celebrations are aimed at spreading the thoughts and
ideas of Dr BR Ambedkar.
Apart from the Prime Minister, the committee consists of eleven members of the Union
Council of Ministers including Home, Finance, External Affairs and Social Justice and
Empowerment Ministers and six other members representing states and civil society.
The Committee can co-opt other members with the approval of the Chairperson.
The Secretary in the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment will act as the
Member-Secretary of the committee.
Dr BR Ambedkar was called the Father of Indian Constitution as he was the Chairman
of the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution. The hard work done by him in
the drafting of the Constitution made it a powerful tool for social and economic
empowerment of the downtrodden.

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Union Ministry of Finance constituted Committee on Revisiting


& Revitalizing PPP Model
Union Ministry of Finance on 26 May 2015 constituted a Committee on Revisiting and
Revitalizing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model of Infrastructure Development
under the Chairmanship of Vijay Kelkar.
Vijay Kelkar is a former Finance Secretary and Chairman, National Institute of Public
Finance and Policy (NIPFP), New Delhi.
The decision is in tune with the announcement made on 28 February 2015 by the
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the 2015-16 budget.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee


Review of the experience of PPP Policy, including the variations in contents of
contracts and difficulties experienced with particular variations or conditions, if
any.
Analysis of risks involved in PPP projects in different sectors and existing framework
of sharing of such risks between the project developer and the Government,
thereby suggesting optimal risk sharing mechanism.
Propose design modifications to the contractual arrangements of the PPP based
on the above and international best practices and our institutional context.
Measure to improve capacity building in Government for effective implementation
of the PPP projects.

Members of the Committee


C S Rajan, Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan
S B Nayar, CMD, IIFCL, New Delhi
Dr. Shekhar Shah, Director General, NCAER
Pradeep Kumar, MD, CBG, State Bank of India

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Vikram Limaye, MD, IDFC


Sudipto Sarkar, Barrister-at-law, Kolkata
P S Behuria, IRS (Retd)
Representative of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways not below the rank of
Joint Secretary
Sharmila Chavaly, Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs will be the
Member Secretary of the committee.
The committee is mandated to submit the report by 26 June 2015.
Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) will provide secretarial
assistance to the Committee.

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ART | CULTURE
Picassos painting Les Femme dAlger sold for 179.3 million US
dollars
Pablo Picassos painting Les Femme dAlger (Version O) was on 11 May 2015 sold
for 179.3 million US dollars during an auction at Christies in New York.
With this sale, this painting became the most expensive painting to be sold at an
auction. Les Femme dAlger, a 1955 painting known in English asThe Women of
Algiers had a pre-auction estimate of 140 million US dollars.
The previous world record for a painting sold at an auction was 142.4 million US
dollars for British painter Francis Bacons Three Studies of Lucian Freud.

About the painting Les Femme dAlger


Pablo Picasso, the Spanish painter and sculptor, painted a series of fifteen variations
of Les Femme dAlger painting between December 1954 and February 1955. The
paintings depict Algerian women in a harem smoking a hookah.
Picasso designated the series alphabetically as versions A through O. The version
sold is Version O, the last of the series.

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated Namaste Russia festival in Moscow


The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 10 May 2015 inaugurated Namaste
Russia festival in Moscow, Russia.

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Features of Namaste Russia Festival


It is intended to deepen engagement of Russians with contemporary and classical
Indian culture by showcasing Indian Culture in Russia.
As part of the festival, the Russian Ministry of Culture will support the initiatives
of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in sending Indian teachers of
music and dance to regional centres in Russia from May 2015 to October 2015.
Special emphasis will be on encouraging the participation of youth of both the
countries in cultural exchanges.
The logo for the festival was designed by a young Russian from the Russian town
of Krasnoyarsk, who succeeded in an open competition participated by both
Indians and Russians.

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ABBREVIATIONS | TERMS
Five women suspended for anti-doping rule violations named for
TOP Scheme
The abbreviation TOP (Target Olympic Podium) Scheme formulated by Union
Government under the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) was in news on
28 May 2015.
It was in news because Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports added names of
five women for TOP Scheme who were suspended for anti-doping rule violations
between mid-2011 and mid-2013.
These five women were named among the 39 athletes who were added to the list.
All these women, namely Priyanka Panwar, Ashwini Akkunji, Jauna Murmu, Sini Jose
and Mandeep Kaur are 400m runners. The TOP Scheme was formulated with the
objective of identifying and supporting potential medal prospects for 2016 and 2020
Olympic Games. The focused disciplines of the scheme were Athletics, Archery,
Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling and Shooting.
For this purpose, a committee named Top Scheme Elite Athletes Identification
Committee was constituted for laying down elaborate norms for selection of the right
candidates, review of performance and operation of the scheme.
The chairman of the committee is Anurag Thakur, a member of Lok Sabha from
Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh and other members were Rahul Dravid, Pullela
Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra and MC Mary Kom. Under the TOP scheme the selected
athletes will be provided financial assistance for their customized training at Institutes
having world class facilities and other necessary support.

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Yogathon to be hosted in 100 US cities on First International


Yoga Day
Yogathon is an event that will be celebrated in more than 100 US cities on 21 June
2015, the first International Yoga Day. It is a type of campaign to spread the awareness
about Yoga.
The event is being organised by about 50 major spiritual and Yoga organisations like
Art of Living, Overseas Volunteer for a Better India (OVBI) and others.
The United Nations (UN) on 11 December 2014 declared 21 June as the World Yoga
Day following a proposal of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He made a proposal
and urged the world community to celebrate Indian Yoga at the international level
during his visit to the United Nations in September 2014.

Abraj Kudai, worlds biggest hotel, set to open in Mecca in 2017


Abraj Kudai: The worlds biggest hotel project which is under construction in Mecca,
Saudi Arabia
The term Abraj Kudai was in news in the last week of May 2015 as it was described
as the worlds biggest hotel. It is set to open in 2017.

Features of Abraj Kudai


Once completed, it will be the worlds largest hotel featuring 10000 bedrooms. At
present, the Venetian Macao situated in Macau, China is the worlds largest hotel
having 3000 rooms.
It is located 2.2 km south of the Holy Haram (Grand Mosque) at the Manafia area
in Makkahs central zone in Saudi Arabia.
It has a total site area of approximately 60000 square meter and total built-up area
of around 1.4 million square metre.

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It consists of a large podium topped by 12 towers accommodating several elements


such as a podium housing a bus station, a shopping mall, 70 restaurants and food
courts, a convention center and four helipads.
The 45 stories tall, the desert fortress-style hotel is being built at a cost of 3.6
billion US dollars.
The project is funded by the Saudi Ministry of Finance and designed by the Dar
al-Handasah group.

ISRO announced to commission MOTR in June 2015


MOTR: Multi-Object Tracking Radar
The term Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) was in news on 15 May 2015 as the
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced its plans to commission the
radar in June 2015.
It has been entirely designed and built indigenously by the ISRO in collaboration with
22 private entities except the Radome, the dome structure which protects the radar
antenna and related equipment from environment. Radome was imported from USA.

Key Features of Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR)


It is capable of tracking 10 different objects at a time including 50 cm X 50 cm
object size at a slant range of 1000 kilometer long range and 30 cm X 30 cm size
at a slant range of 800 kilometer in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Unlike the disc radars that keep spinning, the 35-tonne radar is a stationary,
12-metre-long, 8-metre-tall and contains 4068 individual radiating elements.
It emits radio-frequency waves that combine to form a single beam. The beam can
be electronically steered so that a third of the sky is scanned. Since the radars
base can be rotated to three positions, the entire sky can be covered.
It was built at a lower cost when compared to other space agencies in the world
which developed similar technologies for around 900 crore rupees. The MOTR
was developed for around 245 crore rupees only.
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Importance of MOTR
The existing radars, which ISRO has six in its control, are capable of tracking
single objects only and are limited in their utility by covering only larger objects.
The induction of MOTR will help the ISRO in its future missions including the
space capsule recovery, reusable launch vehicle and human space programmes
and tracking space debris.
Regular tracking of space debris is required to update the space debris catalogue
and to protect the countrys space assets from any possible collision with them.
The MOTR will help in achieving self-reliance in similar enedeavours. Between
2010 and 2015 ISRO changed and re-aligned the position of at least 12 satellites to
avoid collision with debris. These operations were done by utilizing the resources
of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
It can also be used in Airports, meteorology related operations, vertical wind
profiling and in defense.
The project received the approval in 2012 and was completed in the scheduled time
which ended on February 2015. At present it is in the testing stage.
By commissioning the technology India will join the elite league consisting of USA,
Canada, Japan, Israel and European Union (EU) which have the similar capabilities.

GIC held consultations on the creation of Nuclear Insurance


Pool (NIP)
Nuclear Insurance Pool: A common insurance pool to pay for nuclear damages under
the CLND Act, 2010
The term Nuclear Insurance Pool (NIP) was in news in April and May 2015 as the General
Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) was collecting views from the stakeholders in
the Insurance industry and Nuclear Energy sector about the creation of the NIP.

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The NIP is intended to cover the liability of Nuclear Plant operators and Equipment
and Material Suppliers under Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages (CLND) Act, 2010 in
case of nuclear accidents.
The creation of the Pool has become necessary due to the reluctance of the foreign
nuclear equipment suppliers to participate in the nuclear trade with India as the CNLD
Act, 2010 has imposed liability on them in case of nuclear accidents.
The GIC is given the responsibility by the Union Government for the creation of the
NIP and it will be of 1500 crore rupees and the GIC will invest 750 crore rupees in it.
At present, nuclear plants in India only have insurance cover for zones that are outside
the area of radiation and reactors. However, the NIP will provide insurance cover for
both hot zones (radiation and nuclear reactors) and cold zones (outside the reactor
areas).

Algorithmic Trading caused BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty to close


at lowest level in 2015
Algorithmic Trading: Usage of Computers to execute trades based on pre-defined
instructions
The term Algorithmic Trading or Algo-Trading or Black-Box Trading was in news on 6
May 2015 since they triggered the two major stock indices Bombay Stock Exchange
(BSE) Sensex and National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty to close at lowest levels
since 17 December 2014.
\Algo-trading refers to those trade practices which are done by computers loaded
with pre-defined instructions. In this, automated order execution engines perform
trade without any human intervention when certain predefined market conditions
such as indices reaching a particular level (whether in bullish or bearish conditions)
are met.
Algorithmic trading is primarily used by institutional traders such as investment banks,
pension funds, mutual funds, etc.
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Advantages of Algo-Trading
It helps in executing trade at a huge speed and frequency, not possible for a
human trader. As a result, emotional human impacts on trading activities can be
circumvented.
It makes markets more liquid as more orders are placed in the market.
It helps in identifying trading opportunities in a milliseconds based on the codes
written by the trader ensuring that trading opportunities are not missed.
It helps in identifying mispricing and instances of inefficiency very fast by rapidly
closing in on arbitrage opportunities.

Disadvantages of Algo-Trading
It increases the volatility in the market and stock prices by generating massive
orders within few seconds.
If erroneous programmes are allowed to run they can distort market prices to a
large extent.
As per an estimate, Algorithmic trading accounts for a third of the total volume on
Indian cash shares and almost half of the volume in the derivatives segment. Earlier in
March 2012,the stock market regulatorSecurity and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
issued an order saying that all the Algo-Trading orders must be routed through broker
servers located in India in order to regulate them.

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ACCIDENT | INCIDENT
Tornado struck northern city of Ciudad Acuna in Mexico
Ciudad Acuna in Mexico was in news as on 25 May 2015 it was hit by a tornado
killing at least 13 people and injuring several.
It was the first tornado to hit Acuna since the citys foundation, more than 100 years
ago. The city Acuna lies on US-Mexico border.
The tornado that attained the speed of 270-300 kilometer per hour at one point also
damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes of the city.
Rescue work is being carried out by digging through the rubble of damaged homes
in a race to find victims.
On the other hand, in the United States (US), the tornado that stretched from the
Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes dumped record rainfall on parts of the Plains
and Midwest causing major flooding and forcing at least 2000 Texans to leave their
homes.

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SCIENCE | SPACE
Union Cabinet approved PSLV Continuation Programme for
launching 15 flights PSLV-C36 to PSLV-C50
The Union Cabinet on 21 May 2015 approved Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
Continuation Programme consisting of fifteen operational flights PSLV-C36 to
PSLV-C50.
As part of the programme fifteen operational flights PSLV-C36 to PSLV-C50 will be
launched during the period 2017-2020 at a cost of around 3090 crore rupees.
The programme will help meet the demand for the launch of satellites at a frequency
of four to five launches per year, with a greater focus on enhancing the level of
participation by the Indian industry.
It will also enable the launch of satellites required for Earth Observation, Navigation
and Space Sciences along with the possibility of clinching commercial launch service
contracts.

PSLV Success Story


Since its first operational flight in 1997, the PSLV has made the country self-reliant
in the launching capability of satellites for earth observation, disaster management,
navigation and space sciences. It has also emerged as a versatile vehicle to carry out
Sun-Synchronous Polar Orbit (SSPO), Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and
low inclination Low Earth Orbit (LEO) missions.
So far, PSLV has completed three developmental and twenty-five operational flights
and the last twenty-seven flights have been successively successful. The last
successful launch was of PSLV-C26 that took place on 16 October 2014.

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The PSLV Continuation Programme will sustain this capability and self-reliance in the
launching of similar satellites for national requirements.

Union Cabinet Approved Building and Launching of GSAT-17 and


GSAT-18 Communication Satellites
The Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its nod for building and launching of GSAT-17
and GSAT-18 communication satellites.
These two satellites with the structure similar to the GSAT-10 are aimed at providing
replacement capacity and in-orbit backup that is they will provide for continuance
of the services of existing users and augmenting in-orbit spare capacity to meet
emergencies.
GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 satellites will weigh about 3425 Kg each and will be built and
launched within 30 months at a cost of 1013.20 crore rupees and 1022 crore rupees
respectively.
The satellites will augment and support existing telecommunication, television and
Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services in the entire mainland of the country.

About GSAT System


The GSAT or Geosynchronous satellite is a constellation of communication
satellites developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with an
objective to make India self-reliant in broadcasting services.
Satellites are called GSAT because they function in a geosynchronous orbit around
the Earth.
Till date, 12 satellites were launched under the system and among them only six
are operational.
The first satellite in the series GSAT-1 was launched in April 2001 and the most
recent GSAT-16 satellite was launched in December 2014.

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DAY | WEEK | YEAR


International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers observed
across the world
The international Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was observed on 29 May
2015 with the theme Together for Peace.
To mark the occasion, various events were organised across the globe to commemorate
all brave men and women who have contributed towards establishing peace and
security in the war torn countries and ravaged societies across the world.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2003 and designated 29 May as
the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
The day was established to honour the memory of the UN peacekeepers who have
lost their lives in the cause of peace and pay tribute to all the men and women who
have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level
of professionalism, dedication and courage.
On this day, the Dag Hammarskjold Medal is awarded posthumously to the
peacekeepers who lost the lives while serving in the cause of peace, during the
preceding year.
Incidentally, India began its tryst with UN Peacekeeping by providing the Custodian
Force in Korea in 1950. At present, Indian Army is among the top three contributors
to UN Missions.
Theme for the year 2014 was A Force for the Future.

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UN observed International Day for Biological Diversity


22 May: International Day for Biological Diversity
The United Nations (UN) observed the International Day for Biological Diversity
(IBD) on 22 May 2015. The theme for the year 2015 isBiodiversity for Sustainable
Development.
This year theme highlights the relevance of biodiversity in achieving the goal of
sustainable development. It also highlights the importance of efforts made to
establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the UN Post2015 Development Agenda (2015-2030).
The selection of the theme also underlines the adoption of the Gangwon Declaration
at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) in South Korea in 2014.
The Gangwon Declaration recognised the importance of biodiversity in achieving
SDGs and called for the further integration and mainstreaming of biodiversity in the
Post-2015 Development Agenda.
May 22 was proclaimed as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) in
December 2000 to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues and
to commemorate the adoption of Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) on 22 May
1992 by the Nairobi Final Act.
Earlier 29 December was designated as IBD to commemorate the date of entry into
force of the CBD.

International Day of Families observed


International Day of Families was observed on 15 May 2015 with themeMen in
Charge? Gender Equality and Childrens Rights in Contemporary Families.
The 2015 theme aims to highlight gender equality and rights of children within families.
It also highlights prevention of family violence through fair family law frameworks and
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a variety of programme interventions.


The day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues related to families
and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes
affecting families. It highlights different areas of interest and importance of families.
The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 and reflects the
importance the international community attaches to families.
On this day, a series of awareness-raising events like and conferences, radio and
television programmes, newspaper articles and cultural programmes related to theme
is held in different part of the world.

Anti Terrorism Day observed across India


21 May: Anti Terrorism Day/ Martyrdom of Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
Anti-Terrorism Day was observed across India on 21 May 2015. The day is annually
observed on the death anniversary of seventh Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was
assassinated at an election rally near Chennai by a suicide bomber from the LTTE on
21 May 1991.
The day is observed to make people aware of the ongoing terrorist activities and the
precautions to be taken by the commoners to prevent these acts of terrorism. Its
motive is to promote unity, peace and harmony across the nation.
On this day, government employees are administered an anti-terror and violence
pledge. Apart from this, several discussions, debates, cultural programmes and
lecturers are held on the issue of terrorism and violence across the country.

National Technology Day observed in India


11 May: National Technology Day
The National Technology Day was observed in India on 11 May 2015. Every year,
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National Technology Day is celebrated across India on 11 May to memorize the


anniversary of Shakti, the Pokhran nuclear test held on 11 May 1998.
The day glorifies the importance of science in day to day life and motivates students
to adopt science as the career option. Several events are organized in various
engineering colleges and technical institutes to mark the occasion.
Lectures, competitions, quizzes, presentations and interactive sessions on different
aspects of science are organized all over the planet. The day is important for scientists,
engineers, planners and all others engaged in governance and nation building.
Moreover, the companies and individuals are awarded with National Technology
Awards for adopting new technologies by the president of India.

World Asthma Day 2015 observed with theme You Can Control
Your Asthma
World Asthma Day 2015 was observed globally on 5 May 2015. Theme of the year is
You Can Control Your Asthma and sub-theme is Its Time to Control Asthma.
World Asthma Day takes place on the first Tuesday of May. The inaugural World
Asthma Day was held in 1998.
The day is annually organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve
asthma awareness and care around the world.

About Asthma
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory long-term disease of the lungs which
causes breathing problems by narrowing the airways. Symptoms of asthma include
breathlessness, coughing, wheezing, and feeling of tightness in the chest and
shortness of breath.
Asthma cannot be cured but the symptoms can be controlled enabling people with
asthma to live full lives.

Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA)


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The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) was launched in 1993 in collaboration with the
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA, and the
World Health Organization. It works with health care professionals and public health
officials around the world to reduce asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality.

World Press Freedom day observed globally


3 May: World Press Freedom day
The World Press Freedom day was observed globally on 3 May 2015. Every year,
over 100 national celebrations take place to commemorate this day. This year, the
theme of World Press Freedom day is Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting,
gender equality and media safety in the digital age.
The day marks the celebrations of the fundamental principles of press freedom to
evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their
independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise
of their profession.
Generally, UNESCO on this day identifies the global theme and organizes the main
event in different parts of world every year.

Background
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December
1993, following the recommendation of UNESCOs General Conference in 1991.
Since then, 3 May is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
This day also marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of
free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

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MISCELLANEOUS
IGBC reported India registered 3 billion sq ft green building footprint
Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) on 21 May 2015 reported that India has
registered green building projects of over three billion sq ft area. The achievement
has put India at the second position in the world green building footprint. IGBC aims
to rope in 10 billion sq ft by 2022.
IGBC is a part of the industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which is
involved in promoting the green building movement in India.
The reason for this significant progress is the fact that stakeholders are realising
that green buildings make good business sense. This key proposition is encouraging
them to go the green buildings way.
A green building is one which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves
natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants,
as compared to a conventional building.
The residential building sector is one of the largest consumers of electricity in India.
Continuous urbanisation and the growth of population result in increasing power
consumption in buildings.

India reached 6th position in terms of scientific publications


Department of Science and Technology on 21 May 2015 said that India reached sixth
position in terms of scientific publications. Earlier, India stood at the tenth position in
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terms of publishing scientific research papers in different journals.


Secretary, Department of Science and Technology Ashutosh Sharma gave this
information at a function organised by Research Council UK (RCUK) in New Delhi
to mark the progress between United Kingdom and India in the field of scientific
research.
At present, India and UK are collaborating in various sectors in fields like nuclear
energy, solar energy, monsoon and public health, rejuvenation of Ganga River and
climate change. In 2011, the scientific collaboration between India and UK was just
few million pounds, which has risen to 150 million pounds, at present.

President inaugurated 50th anniversary of Indias first historic


climb of Mt. Everest in 1965
President Pranab Mukherjee on 20 May 2015 inaugurated the 50th anniversary of
Indias first historic climb of Mount Everest in 1965 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The event
was organized by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.
On 20 May 1965, Indian team led by Captain Mohan Singh Kohli of Indian Navy made
history by climbing 8848-metres high Mt. Everest, the worlds highest peak, for the
first time after a series of three unsuccessful attempt in as many as five years.
The team of Kohli comprised of 21-man and out of these nine men were successful
in reaching the summit.
Nawang Gombu, the Sherpa who was the member of the team, became the first
person to reach the summit twice, firstly with an American expedition in 1963.
Kohli, now 83, wrote a book on the expedition titled Nine Atop Everest.

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May 2015

Singapore PM Lee opened first museum Indian Heritage Centre


in Little India
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong on 7 May 2015 opened first museum Indian Heritage
Centre in Little India.
The museum was dedicated to Indian history. Singapore is celebrating 50 years of its
independence in 2015 as well as 50 years of diplomatic relations with India.
The Government of India has presented busts of four nationalist leaders to Singapores
Indian Heritage Centre (IHC). IHC is now open to the public.
The nationalist leaders busts - including of Mahatama Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore,
Pandit Jawarhalal Nehru and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose - are displayed in IHCs
gallery on Social and Political Awakening in Singapor.
The IHC is built at a cost of 16 million Singapore dollars and managed by the countrys
National Heritage Board.
The four-storey building is located in the heart of Little India, and blends traditional
Indian and modern architectural elements.
Its thematic galleries showcase diverse stories of various groups within Singapores
Indian community and their rich links with the global Indian diaspora.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released commemorative coin


on Swami Chinmayananda
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 May 2015 released a commemorative coin to
mark the birth centenary of Swami Chinmayananda in New Delhi.
Swami Chinmayananda born as Balakrishna Menon on 8 May 1916 pioneered works
in the field of education and social reform. He died on 3 August 1993.
The Hindu spiritual leader and teacher inspired the formation of Chinmaya Mission,

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a worldwide nonprofit organisation, to spread the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta,


the non dual system of thought found in the Upanishads, which epitomise the
philosophical teachings of the Vedas.
He saw the need to inculcate Indias great culture and spiritual traditions, through
the English medium, among an elite class of people, who had moved away from this
heritage.

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May 2015

WORLD DAIRY (MAY 2015)


1 May 2015
Tennis player Rafael Nadal received Golden Medal for Merit in Work of Spain
Global warming will lead to extinction of 1 in 6 species by end of century: Study

2 May 2015
Third India-Tunisia Foreign Office Consultations held in Tunis
Russian ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya died
14th Edition of Indo-French Naval Exercise VARUNA 2015 concluded

3 May 2015
World Press Freedom day observed globally
Australia announced new punishments for foreigner investors breaking rules on
buying property
Mazen Darwish honoured with 2015 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press
Freedom Prize
Michael Blake, Oscar-winning author, passed away
Lu Ping, Chinese diplomat who oversaw Hong Kong transition, died
Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Manny Pacquiao to win Fight of the Century of
Boxing
Roger Federer won the inaugural Istanbul Open Tennis Mens Singles Title
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Chelsea won Barclays Premier League 2014-15 title with 1-0 win over Crystal
Palace

11 May 2015
IMOs Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted environmental
section of Polar Code
KV Kamath appointed as first President of New Development Bank of BRICS
nations
Indian-origin Priti Patel appointed as Minister of State for Employment in British
Government
Pop artist Chris Burden passed away
Picassos painting Les Femme dAlger sold for 179.3 million US dollars

12 May 2015
Indian-American professor Dr. Sivanadane Mandjiny won UNCs 2015 Award for
Excellence in Teaching
Indian author Neel Mukherjee won 2014 Encore Award for The Lives of Others
Indian-American Sivanadane Mandjiny won UNC Board of Governors 2015 Award
Indian-Origin Harbhajan Kaur Dheer became first Asian woman elected as Mayor
in UK
Peter Gay, Eminent American historian on European Thought passed away

13 May 2015
Vatican recognised Palestine as State in the Holy See-Palestine Joint Statement
World Economic Forum (WEF) released The Human Capital Report 2015

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May 2015

Indian-American boy Karan Menon won 2015 National Geographic Bee


Championship

14 May 2015
Japanese Scientists discovered new state of matter called Jahn-Teller-metal
Riley B. King, the King of Blues, passed away
UNESCAP released Survey titled Making Growth More Inclusive for Sustainable
Development
Microsoft Sunrise launched Meet Keyboard

15 May 2015
Palestinians observed 67th Nakba Day
DD, CCTV signed agreement for exchange of art, culture programmes
PM Narendra Modi announced e-Visa facility for Chinese Tourists
India and China Signed 24 Agreements to Enhance Bilateral Co-operation
Opah, the worlds first fully warm-blooded fish species, discovered by researchers

16 May 2015
Former Army Brigadier David Granger sworn-in as eighth President of Guyana
ICICI bank opened its first branch in China

17 May 2015
Pope Francis Canonizes Two 19th-Century Palestinian Nuns as Saints
India and Mongolia signed 13 agreements to enhance bilateral relations
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Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper retired from ODI cricket


Novak Djokovic won 4th Rome Masters Tennis title

18 May 2015
Joe Root and Charlotte Edwards named England cricketers of the year 2014-15
EU approved plan to use Naval Force to combat Smugglers and tackle Migration
crisis
US President Obama banned certain military-style equipment provided to US
police
India, South Korea signed 7 agreements to upgrade relations to special strategic
partnership level
UNCTAD released a report titled Global Investment Trends Monitor
Indian-American Harkeert Singh Saini won Prestigious Police Award in Texas, US

19 May 2015
UN released World Economic Situation and Prospects Mid-2015 Update
Maria Elena South, driest place on earth, discovered in Atacama Desert
9th Session of the India-South Africa Joint Ministerial Commission held in Durban
Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai won the 2015 Man Booker International
Prize
Tamils in Sri Lanka commemorated war dead for the first time at Mullivaikkal village

20 May 2015
British magazine SportsPro released Worlds 50 Most Marketable 2015 report

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May 2015

NASAs Spacecraft provided first direct measurement for Type Ia Supernovae


caused by white dwarfs
Environmental Democracy Index 2015 released; India at 24th position
Ranjit Singh Baxi elected as Head of Bureau of International Recycling
Veteran jazz musician Bob Belden passed away
UBS AG Bank of Switzerland agreed to pay 203 million US dollars for manipulating
LIBOR
Huawei launched LiteOS, worlds most lightweight IoT operating system (OS)

21 May 2015
US Army developed Blast proof wallpaper to protect soldiers from explosions
Palmyra, an ancient Syrian city, captured by ISIS militants
Akhil Reed Amar appointed as member of the National Council on Humanities of
US

22 May 2015
British actor Terry Sue-Patt passed away

23 May 2015
Nobel Awardee mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. died

24 May 2015
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won Monaco Grand Prix of Formula
One
Argentine footballer Cristian Gomez died
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Cannes Films Festival 2015: French director Jacques Audiard bagged Palme dOr

25 May
India and Vietnam signed Joint Vision Statement on Defence Cooperation 20152020
UAE launched Strategic Framework for its Space Agency
Switzerland named two Indians under probe in its official gazette
Kumar Sangakkara named CEAT International Cricketer of the Year 2015
2000 year old Water supply system unearthed in Umm Tuba quarter of Israel
NRI scientist Latha Venkataraman created first single-molecule device
Eminent American Photographer Mary Ellen Mark passed away
Tornado struck northern city of Ciudad Acuna in Mexico

26 May
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of USA granted work Permit for H-4 visa
holders
NATO launched Arctic Challenge Exercise in the north of Norway, Sweden and
Finland
Forbes released the Worlds 100 Most Powerful Women 2015 list
Trevor Bayliss appointed as head coach of England Cricket Team
Abraj Kudai, worlds biggest hotel, set to open in Mecca in 2017

27 May
UNSC adopted resolution on protection of journalists in conflict zones

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May 2015

US state of Nebraska abolished death penalty


Seven FIFA Officials arrested on bribery charges in Zurich by Switzerland authorities
Sevilla FC won Europa League title
State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 report released
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair resigned as Special Envoy of the Middle East
Quartet
Indian-origin teacher Gurnimrat Nimmy Sidhu named for Oxford University award

28 May
Nigerian Army launched operations to flush out Boko Haram from Sambisa Forest

29 May
Sepp Blatter re-elected as FIFA President
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers observed across the world
The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy released
Winner of three Wimbledon titles in a day, Doris Hart, died at 89

30 May
Yogathon to be hosted in 100 US cities of first International Yoga Day

31 May
Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili appointed as Governor of Ukraines
Odessa region
Barcelona won Kings Cup final triumph
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WHO launched campaign against illicit trade of tobacco products on World No


Tobacco Day 2015

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May 2015

INDIA DAIRY (MAY 2015)


1 May 2015
Nitin Gadkari dedicated two Major Highway Projects in the North East to the Nation
Union Ministry of Tourism released Draft National Tourism Policy 2015
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana introduced 5 lakh rupees Accident Insurance
Scheme for transport
Surender Singh took over as Director General of CISF
DoT extended deadline of full implementation of Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
till 3 July 2015
BHEL commissioned 195 MW Thermal Unit of KBUNL in Bihar

2 May 2015
Veteran Journalist Amitabha Chowdhury passed away at 88

3 May 2015
Dr Mahesh Sharma inaugurated Puducherry Science Centre and Planetarium
NTPC signed MoA with Jharkhand Government for maintaining Patratu Thermal
Power Station
Cow-urine refinery inaugurated at Pathmeda village for research on cow products
Baleshwar Ram, former Union Minister passed away
Indian Army emerged champions in 19th Federation Cup National Athletic
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Championships
Sandeep Jajodia removed as the president of Boxing India (BI)
Railways won the 5th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2015

11 May 2015
Lok Sabha passed Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill
2015
RBI advised all Public Sector Banks to appoint Internal Ombudsman
Telangana Government signed MoU with Google to build a campus in Hyderabad
India Post launched Dedicated E-Commerce Centre in New Delhi
Hyderabad to host Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015 in July
National Technology Day observed in India
Union Finance Ministry appointed Justice AP Shah Committee to look into the
issue of MAT on FIIs
K Satish Reddy appointed as Chairman of National Safety Council (NSC)
President authorized Justice Cyriac Joseph to act as interim NHRC Chairperson

12 May 2015
President of India appointed four Governors and transferred two
RBI released the report titled State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2014-15
Moodys released the report Global Macro Outlook: 2015-16
Lee Alan Johnson named Head Coach of U-19 football team of India
UP Government launched Samajwadi Shudha Payjal Yojna for UP Roadways bus
stations

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May 2015

Bengali Writer Suchitra Bhattacharya passed away

13 May 2015
Union Cabinet approved Namami Gange programme under National Ganga River
Basin Authority (NGRBA)
Supreme Court issued Guidelines on Regulating Government Advertisements
Union Cabinet approved amendments to Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation)
Amendment Bill, 2012
Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha
CCEA gave its approval for 5% disinvestment in NTPC and 10% in Indian Oil
Corporation
Rajya Sabha passed The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2014
Lok Sabha approved Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015
Punjab government launched pan-state programme to monitor the soil health of
every farm

14 May 2015
Union Government approved Gujarat State Climate Change Action Plan 20152020
Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched USTAAD Scheme for Traditional Artisans
RBI allowed Tap And Pay without PIN for transactions up to 2000 rupees
Maharashtra government banned digging of borewells deeper than 200 feet
MHRD Gave Nod for Setting up IIIT in Nagpur, Maharashtra
Indian Scientists found a rare plant with anti-cancer properties in Western Ghats
President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Presidential Awards for Classical Tamil
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15 May 2015
Union Government launched Kayakalp Award Scheme to improve cleanliness in
Public Health Facilities
Union Government decided to implement NERS for women in distress
Union Government launched Road Asset Management System for National
Highways
Bengaluru airport signed a contract with SITA to allow self check-in from June
2015
Gagan Narang Won Bronze in 50m Rifle Prone Men Event at ISSF Rifle/Pistol
World Cup in Fort Benning
ISRO announced to commission MOTR in June 2015
MJ Joseph appointed as Controller General of Accounts
Anurradha Prasad conferred with Pt. Haridutt Sharma Award for Journalism and
Social Services
6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy held in New Delhi

16 May 2015
Official website of 10th World Hindi Conference launched
Ravishankar Prasad inaugurated first postal ATM in Bihar

17 May 2015
Union government allocated 5000 crore for development of AYUSH

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May 2015

18 May 2015
Union Government launched official website of NITI Aayog with blog section
India Meteorological Department signed MoU with POSOCO Ltd to increase
efficiency of power sector
India assumed Presidency of the 68th World Health Assembly after 19 years
Mumbai KEM Nurse Aruna Shanbaug died after 42-years in coma
Union Government sanctioned 30 new cold storage projects
New Catfish Species Glyptothorax Senapatiensis discovered in Manipur
Draupadi Murmu sworn in as first woman Governor of Jharkhand
Himachal Pradesh to host Paragliding World Cup 2015
SS Ahluwalia appointed as Chairman of JPC on Land Acquisition Amendment Bill,
2015
HDFC Bank launched HDFC Bank Apollo Medical Benefits Card
Infosys announced to become carbon neutral by 2018
Infosys became the first Indian Company to Join RE100 Renewable Energy
Campaign

19 May 2015
Union Ministry of Finance released draft outline of Gold Monetization Scheme
(GMS)
ISRO announced to launch ASTROSAT in October 2015
Blue whales spotted for the 1st time in 100 years off Sindhudurg coast in
Maharashtra
Delhi Government decided to launch Pay & Play Scheme to promote sports
PM Narendra Modi concluded his three-nation tour to China, Mongolia and South
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Korea
Fourth Corvette of Project-28 christened Kavaratti launched

20 May 2015
Union finance Ministry constituted Shah Committee to look into the issue of MAT
on FIIs
SEBI notified the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Mutual Funds)
Regulations, 2015
Ecologists found a new species of fish called Pethia striata in Western Ghats,
Karnataka
World Bank approved 250 million dollar credit for Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness
in Bihar
Tathagata Roy sworn in as Governor of Tripura
Mumbais Siddhivinayak temple received ISO 9001-2008 certification
Maharashtra decided to amend Factories Act, 1948 to allow women to work in
night shifts
TP Senkumar appointed as DGP of Kerala
US President Barack Obama entered Guinness Book of World Record
Shanmuganathan sworn in as Meghalaya Governor
Indigenously developed Astra Missile successfully test fired from ITR Chandipur
in Odisha
Eminent Economist Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri passed away
President inaugurated 50th anniversary of Indias first historic climb of Mt. Everest
in 1965
Actress Sudha Shivpuri died

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May 2015

21 May 2015
Union Cabinet approved revised FDI norms for NRIs, PIOs and OCIs
Union Cabinet gave its approval for setting up Ammonia-Urea Complex at Namrup
in Assam
Shuttler Saina Nehwal of India ranked No.1 in single rankings released by BWF
Andaman & Nicobar Police proposed to reserve 33% seats for women
India reached 6th position in terms of scientific publications
Nelong Valley in Uttarakhand opened first time for tourists after closure in 1962
IGBC reported India registered 3 billion sq ft green building footprint
Panneerselvam resigned as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Union Cabinet approved PSLV Continuation Programme for launching 15 flights
PSLV-C36 to PSLV-C50
Mirage 2000 fighter jet landed on Yamuna Expressway as part of developing road
runways
Anti Terrorism Day observed across India

22 May 2015
20th Law Commission submitted report on Guardianship and Custody Laws to
the Union Law Ministry
Expert committee on Health Insurance recommended changes in disclaimer
wordings
Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed G Mohan Kumar as
Defence Secretary
UN observed International Day for Biological Diversity

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SAIL and ArcelorMittal signed MoU to set up Automotive Steel Plant in India

23 May 2015
Indian boxers won three Gold at World Junior Womens boxing Championship
Indian boxer won four Gold Medals at Doha International Boxing tournament 2015
Indian Film Masaan won FIPRESCI Award at 68th Cannes film festival
J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for fifth time

24 May 2015
BCCI recommended Contract system for Indian women cricket team
Mumbai Indians won IPL 2015 title by defeating Chennai Super kings
Delhi government tied-up with Rotary club to revamp government schools
Tamil Nadu CM announced welfare schemes worth 1800 crore rupees
Manoj Mishra appointed as CMD of National Fertilizers Limited

25 May
ICICI Bank launched Voice Recognition Service for Biometric Authentication
Union Government approved 21 FDI proposals worth 281 crore rupees
CS Santosh presented with 2014 FMSCI Motorsport Man of the Year Award
Complete Story of Indian Reforms: 2G, Power & Private Enterprise written by
Pradeep Baijal

26 May
Manabi Bandopadhyay became first transgender principal of Krishnagar Womens
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May 2015

College
High Court allowed Greenpeace India to operate two of its domestic accounts
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Doordarshans farmer-centric Kisan TV
Channel
Himachal Pradesh set up satellite tracking system to check forest fire
48 tigers in non-protected Chandrapur forest areas of Maharashtra: WCT Survey
Delhi Government approved mandatory GPS in public transport from June 2015
Union Ministry of Finance constituted Committee on Revisiting & Revitalizing PPP
Model
Nirbhay Sharma sworn in as Governor of Mizoram

27 May
Tripura withdrew AFSPA from state
RBI notified FIIs to invest up to 49 percent in Gammon Infrastructure Projects
Limited
NCDEX launched Gold Now platform for forward contracts in gold
Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs notified the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2014
Five women suspended for anti-doping rule violations named for TOP Scheme
Union Sports Ministry gave nod for creation of RSFs by recognising federations of
indigenous sports
Ajanmi Beti Ke liye Daud organised for the cause of saving girl child in Himachal
Pradesh
Microsoft announced to open Indias first Digital Experience Centre in Gujarat

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28 May
RBI released Draft Guidelines on Net Stable Funding Ratio for Banks
RBI proposed to introduce PPI for Mass Transit Systems
Abhinav Bindra became 4th Indian shooter to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympics
Maharashtra CM sets up a high powered task force to develop IFSC
Increasing number of hamlets responsible for decline of Tigers in Buxa Tiger
Reseve: West Bengal
Book titled Ahmedabad: A City in the World by Amrita Shah released
Book titled Super Economies by Raghav Bahl released
S Christopher appointed as Director General of DRDO
Yaduveer of Wodeyar dynasty crowned as 27th Maharaja of Mysuru
VA Prasanth appointed as the CFO of Indian Bank

29 May
State Bank of India launched Online Customer Acquisition Solution
CSO released Provisional Estimates of National Income for FY 2014-15
Andhra Pradesh brought 16 Sectors under Swiss Challenge method to develop
Infrastructure
Anand Kumar, Founder of Super 30, honoured in Canada
Veena Jain appointed as Director General of Doordarshan News
Pradeep Kumar Sinha appointed as Cabinet Secretary to Union Government
G Satheesh Reddy appointed as Scientific Advisor to Union Defence Minister

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May 2015

30 May
Finance Minister inaugurated new Bank Note Paper Line unit in Hoshangabad,
MP
Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo appointed as Chancellor of
Nalanda University
Union Government notified Undisclosed Foreign Income as Assets and imposition
of Tax Act, 2015

31 May
Gurpreet Singh became 5th Indian to get quota place in shooting for 2016 Rio
Olympics
Fourth North East Youth Festival concluded in Jorhat district of Assam
Mohun Bagan won I-League title of football after 13 years
Gurpreet Singh became 5th Indian to get quota place in shooting for 2016 Rio
Olympics

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May 2015

ONE LINERS (MAY 2015)


City whose Municipal Corporation on 30 April 2015 banned production, storage,
transportation and usage of low quality plastic cups, bags, pan-masala packing
wrappers across the city - Ahmedabad
North and South America became the first regions of the world to eradicate rubella,
also known as - German measles
Argentine parliament passed a law to compensate the victims of an attack on AMIA Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires
The first meeting of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Mission
(SBM) held on 30 April 2015 at NITI Aayog in New Delhi was chaired by - Chief
Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu
The legendary Russian ballerinas who died on 2 May 2015 in Munich, Germany at
the age of 89 - Maya Plisetskaya
Unified World Welterweight title termed as Fight of the Century held at iconic MGM
Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada was won by - American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Team that won the 5th Senior Womens National Hockey championship 2015 on 3
May 2015 - Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB)
The 47th Science Museum of India was opened by Union Minister of State for
Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma at - Puducherry
Third India-Tunisia Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) was held in Tunis from 29
April to 2 May 2015 after a gap of - 12 years
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 May 2015

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May 2015

approved the 119th Constitutional Amendment Bill on - Land Boundary Agreement


(LBA) between India and Bangladesh.
Haryana government on 4 May 2015 notified 163 services with a view to provide
time bound and hassle-free services to the citizens under - Haryana Right to
Service Act, 2014
World Asthma Day was absorbed globally on 5 May 2015, the first Tuesday of May
2015 with theme - You Can Control Your Asthma
Rajasthan Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with
National Health Mission (NHM), UNICEF and GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved
Nutrition) in Jaipur to - tackle the severe problem of malnourishment of the state.
The Chinese diplomat who oversaw Hong Kongs transition from British to Chinese
sovereignty in 1997, died in Beijing on 3 May 2015 - Lu Ping
The French Parliament on 5 May 2015 approved a surveillance law that strengthens
the intelligence services of the country aimed to - prevent terrorist attacks.
United States on 5 May 2015 authorised setting up of commercial ferries run
between Florida and Cuba for the first time in more than - 50 years.
Bollywood actor Salman Khan was in news was sentenced to five years
imprisonment by Mumbai Sessions Court for his - 28 September 2002 hit and run
case
Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on 6 May 2015 launched the state level Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme in Panaji
The last known surviving member of the German engineering team that designed
the rocket that took US astronauts to the Moon died in Alabama on 5 May 2015 Oscar Holderer
The Canadian House of Commons on 6 May 2015 approved the Bill C-51, AntiTerror Act, 2015 that empowers - the countrys spy agency
India and Iran on 6 May 2015 signed an inter-Governmental Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) for the development of the strategically important - Chabahar
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Port in Iran.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 6 May 2015
approved amendments in - the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011.
High Court of Gujarat on 6 May 2015 ordered shutting down of 67 sand mining
units in - the Gir Forest Sanctuary, the only adobe of Asiatic lions
The former Chief Secretary of Gujarat, who on 7 May 2015 was appointed as the
Election Commissioner of India - Achal Kumar Jyoti
State Bank of India on 7 May 2015 launched State Bank RuPay Platinum debit
card in association with - National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
Underwater explorers in Madagascar on 7 May 2015 said that they have discovered
treasure belonging to the notorious 17th Century Scottish pirate - Captain William
Kidd
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 May 2015 released a commemorative coin to
mark the birth centenary of - Swami Chinmayananda in New Delhi
National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 8 May 2015 ordered that every household in Delhi
will have to pay a monthly environmental compensation - To clean up Yamuna
River
State Government of Haryana on 9 May 2015 included Deaflympics in its Sports
Policy to enable Deaflympian medalists to get - cash rewards, jobs and other
benefits.
To add attractions to its tourism portfolio, State Government of Goa on 9 May
2015 launched - hot air balloon and amphibious vehicles in the picturesque state
of beaches
Book titled Unbelievable Delhi to Islamabad that was released on 8 May 2015
by Vice President M Hamid Ansari in New Delhi is authored by - senior Advocate
Prof. Bhim Singh
Novak Djokovic of Serbia on 17 May 2015 won his fourth Rome Masters Tennis
title by defeating - Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3.
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May 2015

The Australian wicketkeeper batsman on 17 May 2015 retired from One Day
International (ODI) cricket - Brad Haddin
The Union Government on 17 May 2015 allocated 5000 crore rupees for the growth
of Department of AYUSH, which comprises - Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy,
Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy
Theme for the 10th World Hindi Conference will be - Hindi Jagat: Vistar avm
sambhavnai
The nurse of KEM Hospital, Mumbai whose story became a cornerstone for
euthanasia debate in India, who died on 18 May 2015 after being in vegetative
state for 42 years - Aruna Shanbaug
An Indian-American policeman in third week of May 2015 won the prestigious Top
Civilian Supervisor of the Year - Harkeert Singh Saini
Himachal Pradesh will host the Paragliding World Cup from 23 October to 31
October 2015 at -Bir Billing in Kangra valley
President Barack Obama on 18 May 2105 banned the US government from giving
certain kinds of military-style equipment to - local police forces
The professional cricketers of England on 18 May 2015 were named as England
mens and womens cricketers of the year 2014-15 - Joe Root and Charlotte
Edwards, respectively
Nepal Government on 18 May 2015 imposed a two-month ban on the construction
work of new building projects, the ban would remain in effect until - 16 July 2015.
To promote sports for all age groups in the national capital, the state government
of Delhi on 19 May 2015 decided to launch a Scheme at the designated stadiums
or sports complexes - Pay & Play
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 May 2015 returned to India after completing
his tour to three nations namely - China, Mongolia and South Korea.
The European Union (EU) on 18 May 2015 approved a plan that empowers naval
force to combat smugglers operating from - Libya and tackle illegal migration in
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its territory.
The United Nations (UN) on 19 May 2015 released an update that highlighted
that world economy continues to grow at a modest pace is - Mid-2015 World
Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) update.
Hungarian writer who on 19 May 2015 won the prestigious Man Booker International
Prize for 2015 - Laszlo Krasznahorkai
To allow women employees to work in night shifts, State Government of Maharashtra
on 20 May 2015 decided to amend - Section 66(1)(c) of the Factories Act, 1948
Person who on 20 May 2015 was sworn in as 15th Governor of Meghalaya at the
Raj Bhawan in Shillong - V Shanmuganthan
Temple of Mumbai that on 20 May 2015 received International Organization
for Standardization (ISO) 9001-2008 certification for best quality practices Siddhivinayak temple
Anti-Terrorism Day was observed across India on 21 May 2015 to mark the death
anniversary of seventh Prime Minister - Rajiv Gandhi
The ancient Syrian city that was captured by the ISIS militant groups on 21 May
2015 - Palmyra
Researchers from the Konkan Cetacean Population Study (CPS) team between
March and May 2015 spotted two Blue Whales (mother-calf pair) and four Brydes
whales near Kunkeshwar - off the Sindhudurg coast in Maharashtra.
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam resigned on 21 May 2015 by
tendering his resignation to - the Governor Konijeti Rosaiah.
Eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was won by - Mumbai Indians
(MI)
Indian film that won the Promizing Future Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2015
held on 24 May 2015 - Masaan
The mathematician who shared 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
for work that greatly extended the reach and power of modern economic theory,
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Current Affairs

May 2015

who died on 23 May 2015 in New Jersey - John Forbes Nash Jr.
Country that on 23 May 2015 voted to make it the first country to legalise gay
(same-sex) marriage through a referendum - Ireland
Expert committee on Health Insurance of IRDA chaired by M Ramaprasad in its
report has suggested changing the wordings of disclaimer in advertisements of
insurance companies to - Before buying, know the conditions and exclusions, to
make a well-informed decision
First bank to launch Voice Recognition Service (VRS), which authenticates
customers based on their speech patterns in India - ICICI Bank, Indias largest
private sector bank
Bangladesh Government on 25 May 2015 banned an Islamist militant outfit for
its militant and anti-state activities under the countrys Anti-Terrorism Act, 2013 Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT)
Author of the boo k The Complete Story of Indian Reforms: 2G, Power & Private
Enterprise: A Practitioners Diary - Pradip Baijal, the Former Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India (TRAI) chairman
Person who was appointed as the head coach of England cricket team on 26 May
2015 - Trevor Bayliss
State that has set up the satellite tracking system to check the forest fire incidents
during summer season - Himachal Pradesh
NATO on 26 May 2015 launched the Arctic Challenge Exercise based in - the north
of Norway, Sweden and Finland
Forum for Human Rights and Justice (FHRJ) on 27 May 2015 organised a run for
protecting unborn girl in Himachal Pradesh was named as - Ajanmi Beti Ke liye
Daud
State that on 27 May 2015 decided to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers)
Act (AFSPA), 1958 from the remaining areas of the state with immediate effect Tripura

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May 2015

Current Affairs

The US state that on 27 May 2015 abolished death penalty after a veto override
was passed through the its legislature - Nebraska
Person who was appointed as the Director General of the Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO) on 28 May 2015 - Dr. S Christopher
Person who was appointed as the Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister Manohar
Parrikar - Dr. GS Reddy
Fourth Indian shooter who on 28 May 2015 won a berth for 2016 Rio Olympic in
mens air rifle event - Indias only individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra
Event that will be celebrated in more than 100 US cities on 21 June 2015, the first
International Yoga Day to spread the awareness about Yoga - Yogathon

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Current Affairs

May 2015

DESCRIPTIVE QUESTION (MAY 2015)


1.

Answer the following in not more than 50 words

(i)

Veena Jain

(ii)

G Satheesh Reddy

(iii)

Mariana Elena South

(iv) Palmyra
(v)

Swiss Challenge Method

(vi)

Pradeep Kumar Sinha

(vii)

Sambisa Forest

(viii) Sepp Blatter


(ix)

TOP Scheme

(x) Yogathon
2.

Critically examine the Prime Minister Narendra Modis three-nation tour


to China, Mongolia and South Korea. Also bring out how pragmatic is the
approach of visiting all the nations and how it will help in raising Indias stature
on the global platform.

3.

Black Money in India will keep on growing unless and until the politicobusiness-bureaucrats nexus is broken. No measures in isolation will curb
the generation of black money. It needs an integrated approach. In this light
examine the two bills introduced in the Parliament in May 2015.

4.

Provisional estimates of Central Statistics Office (CSO) for the GDP 2014-15
and the estimates by other international bodies show that India will overtake

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May 2015

Current Affairs

Chinas growth rate in 2016. Analyse the statement.


5.

Answer on the following developments in not more than 100 words

(i)

ASTROSAT

(ii) GAGAN
(iii)

Gold Monetisation Scheme

(iv) Opah
(v)

Type Ia Supernovae

6.

Bring out the main highlights of Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) 2015
and how does India fares in terms of fostering environmental democracy?

7.

Namami Gange Programme tries to integrate the efforts to clean and protect
the Ganga River in a comprehensive manner. Do you agree? What other
measures can be suggested to clean the river?

8.

Bring out the main features of 14th Lion Census Report 2015.

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