Current Affairs : July,2015


Important Dates this Month:
July 1
Doctor's Day
July 4
American Independence Day
July 11
World Population Day
July 18
Mandela Day
July 26
Kargil Victory Day
July 28
World Hepatitis Day
July 1
Doctor's Day
July 4
American Independence Day
July 11
World Population Day
July 18
Mandela Day
July 26
Kargil Victory Day


E-tourist visa to Chinese nationals from July 30, 2015

Union Government has announced to roll out e-tourist visa facility to Chinese nationals from July 30, 2015. Hong Kong and Macao nationals will also be provided with e-tourist visa facility along with Chinese citizens.
This decision was taken in lines with promised made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard during his visit to China in May 2015. It should be noted that PM Modi had made this announcement notwithstanding frequent issuance of stapled visa by Chinese to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

About e-tourist visa facility

·         Union Government had launched this scheme as ‘tourist visa on arrival (VoA)’ in November 2014 for more than 40 countries and was extended to 36 more countries in April 2015.
·         It is pre-authorization of Visa i.e. electronic travel authorisation given to foreigners prior to travel. Under this scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him/her to travel to India after it is approved. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who will in turn allow them to enter into the country.
·         The nomenclature of scheme was changed to present e-tourist visa facility in April 2015, in order to remove ambiguities faced by foreign tourists especially by scheme’s previous nomenclature VoA.

Union Government launches Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in Patna

Union Government launched Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DUGJY) in Patna, Bihar.
The flagship scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an aim to provide 24×7 uninterrupted electricity supply to each rural household across the country by 2022.

Facts about Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DUGJY)

·         It focuses on feeder separation for rural households and agricultural purpose.
·         Seeks to strengthen the distribution and sub-transmission infrastructure, including metering at all levels in rural areas.
·         Major components of the new scheme: strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network, feeder separation, Metering at all levels including at input points, feeders and distribution transformers.
·         It also seeks to strengthen Micro grid and off grid distribution network of rural electrification.
·         Funds: The scheme has budgetary outlay of 76,000 crore rupees for implementation of the projects of which Union Government will provide grant of 63,000 crore rupees.
It should be noted that, this scheme replaces Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), which was launched by previous UPA government led by then PM Manmohan Singh.
Apart from launching this scheme, Prime Minister also
·         Flagged off Patna-Mumbai AC Suvidha Express and Rajgir-Bihar Sharif-Daniawan-Fatuha passenger train.
·         Inaugurated the Daniawan-Bihar Sharif new railway line.
·         Inaugurated campus of Indian Institute of Technology, Patna Campus.

Union Government launches Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan

Union Government has launched a national campaign Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan in a bid to create awareness and capacity building on Safe and Hygienic food for all.
It was launched by Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan in New Delhi.

Facts about Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan

·         Objective: Building a culture of food safety in the country.
·         It will ensure the safe food to consumers apart from providing them Food security in order to address the food requirements.
·         Initiated under the brand name of Jago Grahak Jago, which is mass awareness campaign which creates awareness of consumer rights and demands.
·    Planned by: Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with Consumer Organization VOICE and National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI).
·      Initiatives: Under this public campaign various awareness programmes will be undertaken across the country.
·         It will include hygiene & sanitation for safe food, informative sessions on cleaning, walkathons and awareness by information dissemination through media programmes for consumers and street food industries.
Apart from this, the minister also launched website and a logo of Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan and also signed a pledge for a adopting safe food practices

Union Government launches National Career Counselling portal

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


BHEL signs three MoU in Kazakhstan for power projects

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

It should be noted that BHEL has been rapidly increasing its focus on the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region and has successfully executed orders to its member countries.
Owing to projects in CIS region, Kazakhstan has emerged as favourable investment destination for BHEL, its regional office being located in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): It is an association of former Soviet republic formed after disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991 by Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. It includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan

China successfully tests 5th generation Long March carrier rocket

China has successfully tested the power system of Long March-5, a fifth generation of carrier rocket belonging to China’s Long March family of rockets.
This announcement was after Long March-5 rocket carrier, entered a runoff phase.

Facts about Long March- 5th Generation

·         Long March-5 has the carrying capacity twice of the payload compared to other present carriers of China.
·         It has payload capacity of 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit and 25 tonnes to low Earth orbits.
·         It will serve the final chapter in building China’s manned space stations and 3 step current program of orbiting, landing and returning lunar.
Long March-5 is scheduled for flight in 2016 and its capacity will be equivalent to that of mainstream carrier rockets presently used around the world.

About Long March rocket family

It should be noted that since 1970s, the Long March rocket family of China has completed more than 200 missions. China’s first satellite, Dong Fang Hong (the East is Red)-1 was successfully put into Earth orbit by Long March-1 on 24 April 1970 (after one failed attempt in November 1969)

India and Myanmar to strengthen Defence ties

India and Myanmar have announced plans to strengthen their defence cooperation during a joint consultative commission (JCC) meeting held in New Delhi.
JCC meeting was chaired by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.
The meeting had released joint statement on various aspects. They are
·         Both countries to work together on effective border management especially on the issue of cross-border insurgency and terrorism.
·         India has reaffirmed to provide defence assistance program as part of its Goodwill Diplomacy to Myanmar in order to modernise their Armed Forces.
·         Sharing of experiences: India to share its experience in dealing with emerging security challenges, military to military cooperation including in training.
·         It also includes sharing experience in functioning in a democratic environment and cooperation in the field of Information Technology.
·         Border issue: To hold first meeting of India-Myanmar Joint Boundary Working Group in New Delhi to address all outstanding boundary issues.
·         Trade and business: Investments of Indian companies in sectors like power, ports, agro-industries, mining, forest products, construction industry, highways, consumer goods, oil and gas, manufacturing, plantation, hospitality and ICT will be encouraged.
It should be noted that Myanmar plays an important part in India’s decades-old Look East’ Policy (current Union government changed it as an Act East policy). Recently, defence cooperation between both neighbours has grown after changes in political reforms of Myanmar under President Thein Sein, which has made them less reliant on China.

EU approves 7 Billion Euro Short-Term Loan to Greece

European Union (EU) has approved a short-term loan of 7.16 billion euros to Greece after it was backed by the 28 member states.
This loan will allow Greece to pay its debt to European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) till new bailout plan is ratified.
The loan will be given through the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) which is a rescue fund set up during the first time bailout of Greece in 2010. But presently it covers the whole of the 28 EU member nations and not just the 19 eurozone members.
This loan fund will be officially for three months, but looking at present debt crisis of Greece it can be sustained until 20 August 2015.

India, Tajikistan ink 2 pacts to strengthen bilateral relations

India and Tajikistan have inked 2 pacts to strengthen bilateral relations
They were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Tajikistan.  It was his last leg of strategic tour to 5 Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and Russia.
Signed pacts are
·         Programme of Cooperation (POC) in the field of Culture: It was signed between Ministries of Culture of India and Tajikistan for the years 2016-18. It envisages cooperation in the field of culture between both nations through exchange of expertise for protection, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage. It also seeks to exchange of information and experts and organization of cultural days for greater cultural understanding between the countries.
·         Exchange of Note Verbale (NV) on setting up of Computer Labs: It conveys the intention of India to set up computer labs in 37 schools in Tajikistan. With this initiative India’s seeks to support Tajikistan in human resource and skill development efforts.
Besides signing these pacts, both leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan agreed to promote theInternational North South transport corridor (INSTC). Both nations also pledged to further deepen their cooperation to fight the menace of radical terrorism and agreed to step up defence ties besides boosting trade and investment.

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

India and Kyrgyzstan have signed 4 pacts/ agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two nations.
These agreements were inked during the two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kyrgystan as part of his official visit to 5 Central Asian countries and Russia.
Signed agreements are
·         Agreement on Defence Cooperation: It was signed to deepen cooperation between both countries in matters relating to security, defence, military education and training.
·         It also covers provisions to conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of military instructors, exchange of experience and information and observers etc.
·         MoU and Cooperation in the field of Elections: It was signed to deepen cooperation in matters relating to legislation on elections and referendums. It also covered rights of elections process stakeholders, modern systems and technologies as well as other issues of election administration.
·         MoU on cooperation in the sphere of Standards: Seeks to strengthen and enhance technical cooperation in the fields of conformity assessment, standardization and sharing of expertise on mutual trade.
·         It also aims at exchanging necessary information and expertise in this regard between the two parties. Signatory parties are Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
·         Agreement on Cooperation in Culture: To deepen cultural cooperation between both countries in areas such as preservation of cultural heritage, theatre, youth festivals and organisation of folk arts.
·         It also seeks to boost cooperation in of publishing and translation of literature, culture, sports and physical exchange of archival materials, geography, history etc.
Besides signing these agreements, both nations also released Indo- Kyrgyz Joint Statements to increase regional cooperation and connectivity in the various fields including Political cooperation, regional and global level cooperation, Defence cooperation, Economic cooperation, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, Cultural and humanitarian cooperation.


Maharashtra govt to exempt small vehicles from toll tax

Maharashtra government to exempt small cars from paying toll tax for all build operate transfer (BOT) road projects that worth over 200 crore rupees. Similar relief also given for road projects developed by the state Public Works Department (PWD) that cost below 200 crore rupees.
·         Road developers’ loss will be recovered by increasing toll tax on big vehicles and by budgetary provision.
·         State Public Works Department (PWD) will incur the entire expenditure for project that worth below 200 crore rupees.
·         Small cars will also be exempted from paying toll tax for the project above 200 crore rupees which will be developed on annuity basis model.
·         Payment to the road developers will be given after two years under annuity model.
·         State has over 2,60,000 km of road network and has proposed to develop more 5,000 km under the similar model.
·         State government has also recommend the Centre to exempt small cars from paying toll tax on roads constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
Note: State government has already closed 12 toll collection booths and has exempted small vehicles from paying toll at 53 toll booths where roads are developed on BOT basis. Over 800 crore rupees has been allotted by state government to pay to the contractors for their revenue loss

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

Maharashtra government has placed a comprehensive plan to develop six solar cities in order to add solar capacity of 7,500 MW in the state.
To enhance solar capacity in country Centre has planned to develop 55 solar cities across the country among them six are from Maharashtra these are – Nagpur, Thane, Aurangabad, Kalyan-Dombivli, Shirdi and Nanded
The selection of these cities was done on basis of the population and other criteria and would be developed through the joint funding from Centre and State Government.
To meet the increasing demand for power Maharashtra government has targeted to add 14,400 MW through renewable energy source.
Out of this target nearly 7,500 MW will be added through solar energy projects, over 5,000 MW will be added through wind and rest from other sources like industrial and domestic waste.
Development on BOT and PPP basis:
·         Development of 7,500 solar capacity will be conducted in two parts 5,000 MW will be developed through build operate transfer (BOT) under private players through competitive bidding.
·         Remaining 2,500 MW on public private participation (PPP) basis or will be developed on Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) basis by the state undertakings MahaGenco or by MahaVitaran with private developers

Maharashtra cabinet approves Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Vikas Scheme

Maharashtra Cabinet has approved Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Vikas Scheme for for development of villages around tiger reserves.
The scheme will be launched on project basis from 2015-16 to 2019-2020 and has been proposed by State Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Facts about Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Vikas

Aim: Comprehensive development of villages in and around the buffer zones of tiger reserves.
Objective: To achieve sustainable development of these villages and reduce the man-animal conflict.
The scheme will reduce the dependence of villagers on the forest. It will also boost the supplementary businesses to farming activities and create alternative employment possibilities to the villagers in these areas.

Puducherry city first to get Smart city nomination

Puducherry city has emerged as the first nomination to be received by the Urban Development Ministry for a Smart City Mission.
In this regard, Government of Union Territory of Puducherry has nominated its capital city for inclusion in the Union Government’s flagship 100 Smart Cities Mission.
It also has forwarded the nomination along with all the forms and documents as required in the Stage-1 of ‘City Challenge’ competition. The nominations also include the details of evaluation of all the five urban local bodies (ULBs) viz. Puducherry, Kariakal, Oulgaret, Mahe and Yanam.
The nomination was forwarded based on the recommendations of the High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) constituted as per the guidelines of mission. It was headed by Chief Secretary of UT and had overseen the process of first stage intra-state competition.
For each state and UTs slots assigned for Smart City are as per the criteria based on equal weightage for urban population and number of ULBs and the geographical equity.
Facts about Stage-1 evaluation criteria of Puducherry
·         Puducherry has a population of 6.5 lakh has scored 75 of the possible 100 marks in Stage-1 evaluation criteria.
·         Since 2011, Puducherry Municipal Corporation (PM) has achieved 18 per cent improvement in provision of household sanitary latrines.
·         Internal revenue generation has continuously increased by 14 per cent over the past three year period of 2012-13 to 2014-15.
·         It has met 23 per cent of its capital expenditure from internal resources. It also has met about 80 per cent operation and maintenance costs of water supply through user charges.


Former South African cricketer Clive Rice passes away

Former South African all-rounder cricketer Clive Rice passed away in Johannerburg, South Africa. He was 66 and was suffering from brain tumour.
He was one of the best all-rounders of his era alongside Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Ian Botham and his county team-mate Richard Hadlee.
Rice had started his cricket career in 1969 with Transvaal (first-class cricket team). He had played most of his cricket during South Africa’s 2 decade long isolation from the international games. He mostly had played for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club from 1975 to 1987 and was captain of the club from 1979 to 1987.
Under his captainship, South Africa had won County Championship title twice in 1981 and 1987. In November 1991, after South Africa was allowed in international games, he captained and played debut one-day internationals (ODIs) against India.
In Rice’s overall first class cricket career, his batting average was of 40.95 and a bowling average of 22.49.

Chris Froome of Britain wins 102nd Tour de France

Cyclist Chris Froome from Britain of Team Sky has won the 102nd edition Tour de France, an annual three-week multiple stage bicycle race at Champs Elysees in Paris.
This is second time Froome has won Tour de France title and for the first time he had won it 2013.With this victory, he became the first cyclist from Britain to win the Tour de France for the second time.
It should be noted that the Team Sky has won the race for the 3rd time in last four Tour de France seasons i.e. in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Top 5 Winners of Tour de France 2015:
·         1st- Chris Froome (Britain) of Team Sky.
·         2nd- Nairo Quintana (Colombia) of Movistar Team.
·         3rd- Alejandro Valverde (Spain) of Movistar Team.
·         4th- Vincenzo Nibali (Kazakhstan) of Astana Pro Team.
·         5th- Alberto Contador (Spain) of Tinkoff-Saxo Team.

Indian women wrestling team wins silver medal in the Kazakhstan Presidential Cup

Indian women’s wrestling team has won the silver medal after finishing second in the fifth Senior International Wrestling Tournament (also known as Cup of the President of Republic of Kazakhstan).
The eight-member team bagged a silver medal at the July 23-26 event held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Team members who won the match are Vinesh (48kg), Lalita Sehrawat (55kg) and Anita (63kg) in their respective weight categories. Sakshi Malik lost just one fight in 58kg division which resulted with silver medal for Indian team.
For this victory, Indian team received a prize money of US 10,000 dollars along with a trophy and medals. Host country Kazakhstan won the gold medal, while Mangolia won the bronze medal.

Winners of 2015 Wimbledon Championship Titles of Tennis

The 2015 Wimbledon Championships was a tennis tournament held from 29 June to 12 July 2015.
The tournament had taken place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom.
It was the 129th edition of the championships and the 48th edition in the Open Era.
Men’s Singles Title: Defending Champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the 2015 Men’s Singles Wimbledon Title. It is Djokovic’s 3rd Wimbledon Title (2011, 2014 and 2015) overall 12th men’s single Grand Slam title.
Women’s Singles Title: Serena Williams of United States has won Women’s Singles Wimbledon title at 2015.It is Williams’ sixth Women’s Singles Wimbledon title (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015) and overall 21th Grand Slam title.
Women’s Doubles Title: Sania Mirza (India) and Martina Hingis (Switzerland)
Men’s Doubles Title: Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) and Horia Tecău (Romania)
Mixed Doubles Title: Leander Paes (India) and Martina Hingis (Switzerland
Boys’ Doubles Title: Sumit Nagal (India) and Lý Hoàng Nam (Vietnam)

Social Issues:

Government revises scheme for Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs has revised Development ofParticularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) with an effect from 1 April, 2015.
The scheme aims for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs. The development will be based on Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) Plan prepared on the basis of assessment of their requirements by the concerned State Governments.
Under the Scheme, priority has been accorded for the protection of PVTGs and their improvement in terms of the social indicators like education, health, nutrition and livelihood in order to decrease their vulnerability.
Development of PVTG was Central Sector scheme but after revival Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs Ministry will provide 100% financial assistance to these tribal groups through the State Governments.
Financial assistance under this scheme will be utilized for activities like housing, agricultural development, land distribution and land development, animal husbandry, installation of non-conventional sources of energy, construction of link roads or other innovative activity.
Presently, there are 75 tribal groups identified and categorized as PVTGs (earlier it was known as Primitive Tribal Groups). They are spread across 15 states /UTs viz. Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand,Uttar Pradesh, West-Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.


Microsoft launches Windows 10

US Software giant Microsoft launched its new operating system Windows-10 with a host of new features.  It was launched by Microsoft’s India-born CEO Satya Nadella at a global launch event held in Kenya.
Windows 10 includes features such as
·         Cortana: Microsoft’s voice-based smart assistant similar to Apple’s Siri and Google’s Iris.
·         Xbox app: for gaming
·         Microsoft Edge: new web browser which has replaced Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
·         Windows Hello: It will offer a fast, password-free, secured way to log in with face recognition.
·         Enhanced Windows Defender and SmartScreen: It will help to safeguard against viruses, malware and phishing.
Windows-10 will be available in 190 countries as a free upgrade or with new PCs and tablets. . Microsoft has mentioned that the Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever.

Union Government, 3 states to start artificial breeding of Great Indian Bustard

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) along with the 3 state governments will soon start an artificial breeding programme of Great Indian Bustard (GIB).
Under this integrated collaborative effort, 3 states viz. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra will take part to boost the population of GIB, one of the critically endangered flying bird species in the world.
The artificially breeding operations of GIBs will begin in 2016 across these 3 states and they will be later released from captivity to semi-captivity after some time of initial operations.

Artificial breeding programme of GIB

·         1st initiative of the programme: Seek to establish a captive stock of GIB which will lay eggs. It will be followed by hatching of the eggs and then they will become chicks.
·         Later, the chicks will be reared to become adult and will be used to increase population in captivity, before they are being released in semi-captivity.
·         Technical expertise: Regarding the breeding programme, will be provided by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an autonomous institution of the MoEFCC.
·         WII will provide expertise in planning, breeding, conserving, hatching of egg of GIB along with scientific information related to the ecology of the species, its functional dynamics, physiology and behavioural aspects.
·         Respective participatory state governments will help in preparing favourable habitat like arid and semi-arid grasslands needed for GIB.

Two new plant species discovered in Western Ghats

Two new plant species were discovered in Edmalayalar, Pooyamkutty-Adamalayar and Neriamangalam forest regions of Western Ghats in Ernakulam district of Kerala.
The discovered species have been christened as Vellithumpa and Eriocaulon manoharanii.
They were discovered by a team of researchers led by Professor C.N. Sunil during investigations conducted as part of a UGC-sponsored project on the flowering plants.

Vellithumpa (Anisochilus shoolamudianus)

·         It is a very rare species of shrub plant belonging to the mint family. It was discovered growing on steep wet rocks on Shoolamudy peak in deep inside the Edmalayalar forest range.
·         The species was named after the place of collection and was given vernacular name Vellithumpa (mean’s silver flower) as it has white silvery hairs under the leaves and bears small white flowers with red anthers in cylindrical closely packed clusters.

Eriocaulon manoharanii

·         It is herbaceous plant belonging to the pipeworts family. It was found discovered in the wet rocky mountain grasslands of Mamalakandam-Munippara area in the Neriamangalam forest range.
·         The species was named after T.M. Manoharan, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in recognition of his contributions to wildlife protection and biodiversity conservation.
·         The plant bears small white flowers which grows in clusters and has patchy distribution which gives scenic beauty to the valleys and grasslands.

New butterfly species named ‘Banded Tit’ found in Arunachal Pradesh

A new tiny butterfly species christened Banded Tit (Hypolycaena Narada) has been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh.
It was discovered and is denizen of low-lying evergreen forests of the Changlang district of the state which is part of the one of the biodiversity hotspot of World.
·         Interesting life cycle: The adult butterflies of this species live only for approximately 2 weeks in month of March every year.
·         Remaining year, they spend in a dormant state in the form of larval or pupal stages.
·         It feed primarily on bird-droppings along cool streams in the forests.
However, much of its biology such as its larval host plants, breeding behaviour and precise habitat requirements are still unknown.

Person In News:

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Anshu Gupta win Ramon Magsaysay Award 2015

Two Indians Sanjiv Chaturvedi and Anshu Gupta have been awarded prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2015.
They are among the total five awardees have been conferred with this year’s award which is often regarded as Asia’s Nobel Prize.

Recipients of 2015 Ramon Magsaysay Award are

·         Sanjiv Chaturvedi: He has been bestowed with this award in recognition of his exemplary integrity, tenacity and courage in uncompromisingly exposing and investigating corruption in public office.
·         Chaturvedi is an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer and presently working as deputy secretary of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). From 2012-14, he had served as a Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at AIIMS.
·         Anshu Gupta: He has been awarded for his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India and for his enterprising leadership in treating in cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor.
·         He is founder of NGO Goonj based in Delhi which was established in 1999. The NGO is operational in 21 Indian states and primarily works in disaster relief, community development and humanitarian aid.
·         Kommaly Chanthavong: She hails from Laos and has been chosen for her indomitable spirit in reviving and developing the ancient Laotian art of silk weaving, Loa’s priceless silken cultural treasure.
·         It had led in creating livelihoods for thousands of war-displaced, poor people and the dignity of women in Laos.
·         Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa: She hails from Philippines and has been recognized for her crusade in preserving the endangered artistic heritage classical dance form called pangalay (gift offering) of southern Philippines and propagating a dance form which celebrates and spread the sense cultural identity.
·         Kyaw Thu:He hails from Myanmar and was recognized for his generous efforts of compassion in addressing the fundamental needs of people of Myanmar both the living and the dead regardless of their religion or class for greater social good.

Ashish Bahuguna appointed as Chairman of FSSAI

Union Government has appointed former IAS officer Ashish Bahuguna as the chairman of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
He will have tenure of three years. He is an IAS officer 1978 batch of Rajasthan cadre and had retired in February 2015. Prior to retirement, he was Agriculture Secretary.
The position of chairman of FSSAI was lying vacant since January 2015 after the tenure of then chairman K Chandramouli ended. During this vacancy, Health Secretary Bhanu Pratap Sharma was temporarily in-charge of the post.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, ‘People’s President’ and ‘Missile Man’ passes away

Former President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passed away due to massive cardiac arrest in Shillong, Meghalaya. He was 83.
He was widely acclaimed as the ‘People’s President’ and the ‘Missile man’ of India. He was was one of India’s most eminent scientists.

About A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

·         Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (A.P.J) Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu.
·         DRDO career: In 1960, he had joined Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist and started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army.
·         ISRO career: In 1969, he had joined India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as the project director for India’s first indigenous satellite launch vehicle programme.
·         Under his leadership and vision, India entered into the elite space club after Rohini satellite was place into the orbit in 1980.
·         He was a pioneer and instrumental in development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), India’s space workhorse.
·         Missile Man: In 1980, he was appointed Chairman of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and was brain behind developing Agni and Prithvi missiles.
·         Thus he came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile
·         Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA): He was appointed CSA to Prime Minister and Secretary of DRDO in 1992 and remained till 1998.
·         Pokhran II Nuclear Test: He was Chief Project Coordinator of Pokhran II Nuclear Test i.e. Operation Shakti which was conducted on 11 May 1998.
·         President: He was the 11th President of India and was in office from 2002 to 2007. He was India’s most popular President and famously known as People’s President.
·         Awards and Honours: Bharat Ratna (1997), Padma Vibhushan (1990), Padma Bhushan (1981).
·         He has unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. United Nations had recognised his 79th birthday as World Student Day.
·         Switzerland has declared 26 May as ‘Science Day’ to commemorate visit of A P J Abdul Kalam to the country in 2005.
·         His famous books: India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium (1998), Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by A P J Abdul Kalam (1999), Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India (2002), The Luminous Sparks (2004), Mission India (2005), Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future (2015) etc.

Science & Technology:

Sri Lanka inks MoU with Google to launch Project Google Loon

Government of Sri Lanka inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with search engine giant Google to launch the Google Loon project in the country.
As per the MoU, Google will place 13 high-altitude balloons over the island nation to provide affordable high-speed 3G (3rd Generation) internet services to the entire country. It is also expected that this project will provide free Wi-Fi connectivity across Sri Lanka.
Successful implementation of this project will make Sri Lanka the first country in the world to have Internet access covering the whole country with the government support.
Google Loon project:  It is Google’s ambitious research and development project with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas.
Under this project, Google will install high altitude ‘floating telecom tower’ balloons in the sky which will provide full broadband internet coverage.
These balloons have transceivers which can connect to cell phone networks filling gaps in their networks especially in remote areas such as mountains and deserts.

China launches two new Navigational Satellites into space

China launched two new navigational satellites into space as part of its domestic navigation system BeiDou (meaning Compass).
The 18th and 19th satellites (of total constellation of 35 satellites) were successfully launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan province.

About BeiDou Satellite Navigation System

·         BeiDou is 2nd generation of the Chinese navigational system seen as rival to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
·         Comprises constellation of total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations viz. limited test system (operational since 2000) and a full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.
·         Became operational in China in December 2011, with the constellation of 10 satellites. In December 2012, it began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region and on its completion in 2020, it will provide services to global customers.
·         Applications: Currently it used for civilian services in field of navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. It also has military applications

CERN’s LHC discovers new class of particles called Pentaquarks

Scientists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have discovered a new class of exotic subatomic particles called the Pentaquarks.
The discovery was made by the scientist’s after watching the decaying of a subatomic type particle known as the Lambda B baryon.

Facts about Pentaquark

·         Pentaquark was first predicted to exist in the 1960s and its name was coined by Israeli theoretical physicist Harry J. Lipkin.
·         It is a particle consisting of five quarks (any of a group of subatomic particles carrying a fractional electric charge) bounded together.
·         These qauarks are elementary particles that exist in six variations known as flavors having unusual names of up, down, top, bottom, strange and charm.
·         These elementary particles bind together in different combinations to form a range of composite particles. Most commonly known combinations are neutrons and protons, consisting of three quarks each.
·         Applications: This discovery will allow physicists to understand the quantum chromodynamics (i.e. study of strong fundamental force describing the interactions between quarks and gluons which make up proton, neutron and pion).
·         In addition, it might help to shed light on the physics of neutron stars.
Note: In 1964, US physicist Murray Gell-Mann had revolutionised the understanding of the structure of matter. He had proposed that a category of particles known as baryons, which includes protons and neutrons and three fractionally charged objects called quarks. For this work Gell-Mann was awarded Nobel Prize in physics in 1969.

Union Government launches GAGAN, aviation navigation system

Union Government has launched GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system, for aviation navigation. It was launched by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in New Delhi.
Facts about GAGAN system
·         Jointly developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Airports Authority of India (AAI).
·         It will provide augmentation service for GPS over the India, Bay of Bengal, South-east Asia and Middle East along with expansion up to Africa.
·         The system with the help of reference and uplink station will provide corrections to the GPS signal in order to improve air traffic management.
·         It is 10 times more precise compared to GPS and radio navigation aids used for precision landing.
·         Presently, GAGAN Payload is already operational through GSAT-8 and GSAT-10 satellites. The 3rd payload will be carried onboard GSAT-15 satellite to be launched October 2015.
·         Benefits: It will make airline operations more efficient by increasing fuel savings, direct routes, ease of search and rescue operations, reduced workload of flight crew and Air Traffic Controllers and cost savings due to withdrawal of ground aids.
With this launch, India became the fourth nation in the world to have inter-operable Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) after US, Europe and Japan. It should be noted that GAGAN is the first SBAS system in the world to serve the equatorial region

ISRO successfully launches PSLV-C28 carrying 5 UK satellites

ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-28 on 10 July 2015 successfully put five satellites of United Kingdom into designated orbits.
They were successfully put designated into orbit after its lift off from first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta, Andhra Pradesh.
For this mission, ISRO had used high-end XL version of PSLV as it was its biggest and heaviest commercial launch with overall lift-off mass of all 5 satellites was 1,440 kg .
Five satellites are:
·         Constellation of 3 identical DMC3 Satellites: Three satellites comprised of DMC3-1, DMC3-2 and DMC3-3, all weighing around 447-kg. They are designed for simultaneous high temporal and high spatial resolution optical Earth observation.
·         Application: Surveying the resources on earth, urban infrastructure management and monitoring of disasters.
·         CBNT-1: It is an optical Earth Observation technology demonstration micro satellite, weighing around 91 kg. .
·         De-OrbitSail: It is an experimental nano satellite. It will be used for the demonstration of large thin membrane sail and drag deorbiting using this sail.
All of the five satellites belonged to UK’s Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). They were launched as part commercial launch arrangement between SSTL and ANTRIX, the commercial arm of ISRO.


·         For this mission four-stage PSLV-C28 was used as launch vechile, which is high-end ‘XL’ version of PSLV.
·         It comprised of new designs consisting of circular launcher adaptor i.e. L-adaptor and a triangular deck called Multiple Satellite Adapter-Version 2 (MSA-V2).
·         It was specially designed by ISRO to overcome the tough task of mounting the three DMC3 satellites in launch vehicle as each was having height of about 3m.
It was PSLV’s overall 30th flight and 29th consecutive successful launch and 9th flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration.
Note: With this, India has successfully launched 45 satellites of 18 different foreign countries successfully in space since 1999. These countries are Germany, South Korea, Indonesia, Belgium, Italy, Israel, Argentina, Canada, Japan, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, Algeria, Singapore, Luxembourg, France and Austria.
It was ISRO’s second launch in year 2015, the previous launch was of navigation satellite, IRNSS-1D in March, 2015.


Pipavav Defence inks pact with Russian firm Zvyozdochka to refit submarines

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group’s Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering (PDOE) inked a multi-crore agreement with Russian firm Zvyozdochka, JSC Ship Repairing Centre.
The agreement was signed in lines with Make in India initiative for the Medium Refits and Life Certification of 877 EKM Submarines in India. With this, Reliance Group became the first private sector Indian company to refit of submarines in India.
Both entities will execute the programme under a joint venture (JV) company with an indicative value of 11,000 crore rupees in which PDOE will have 51 per cent stake.
As per the agreement, Zvyozdochka will provide complete technical support and assistance to the JV Company. It will also provide the enhancement of infrastructure at the PDOE facilities in Gujarat and training of engineers.
Apart from India, the JV Company will undertake similar work for large submarine forces of similar class deployed by countries such as Vietnam, Algeria and Iran.
It should be noted that Zvyozdochka is the premier ship repairing centre in Russia and has undertaken upgradation and refurbishment of more than 90 warships and 120 submarines.

ISRO successfully test-fires GSLV-Mark III rocket engine

ISRO has successfully test-fired Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III project’s high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine.
It is India’s first indigenously designed and developed high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine capable of generating a nominal thrust of 19 tonnes.
Test: It was conducted at ISRO’s Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu for 800 seconds time frame which produces 25 per cent more thrust than the burn duration of the engine during flight. The test meet all its parameters.

About high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine

The engine operates on Gas Generator Cycle. It uses extremely low temperature propellants such as Liquid Hydrogen at -2530 C and Liquid Oxygen at -1930 C.
Integration and assembly of the engine and its testing were carried out in ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), a unit of ISRO.
This high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine will used to power Cryogenic stage (C25) i.e. the upper stage of the next generation GSLV Mk-III rockets. The rockets are aimed at carrying four-tonne payloads, including future manned missions.
This successful test will help ISRO to master this complex, high-performance cryogenic propulsion technology which will further help in building self-reliance for the Indian space programme

Ottappalam in Kerala to have India’s first Defence Industrial Park

India’s first defence industrial park will be set up at Ottappalamin Palakkad district of Kerala.
In this regard, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) of Union Government has approved a proposal for this defence park forwarded by the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation.
The proposed defence park will be established as part of Union Government’s flagship Make in India programme and state government’s Make in Kerala project.
The park will have modern common infrastructure facilities aimed at favourable environment to component manufacturers of the defence industry. Union government also has agreed to bring the park under the Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (MIIUS).
Ottappalam was selected for the defence park in view of its strategic location in terms connectivity and other common facilities such as dedicated power and water supply along with infrastructure for the research and development centre.
Implications: This defence park will play important role bridging the gap related to defence components manufacturing sector and provide platform for export of products related to defence from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMSEs).


IDFC gets banking licence from RBI

Infrastructure Development Financing Company (IDFC). Ltd became second lender to enter the banking sector since 2004, as the Reserve Bank of India granted Banking licence on 24 July 2015.
It was Yes Bank that got banking licence in 2004. However, IDFC and Microfinance Company Bandhan Financial Services Pvt Ltd were granted preliminary bank permits by RBI in April 2014 and Bandhan got Banking licence from RBI in June 2015 and plans to start its operations from August 2015, whereas IDFC plans to start operations from 1 October 2015.
IDFC will start its operations with 20 branches and with initial loan book of 55,000 crore rupees.
About IDFC
IDFC is a leading public limited infrastructure finance company that provides end to end infrastructure financing and project implementation services. It was incorporated in 1997 with main motive to provide finance for infrastructure projects and advisory services for asset management and investment banking. Its independent director is ex- Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Mr. Vinod Rai.

RBI, Central Bank of Sri Lanka ink currency swap agreement

Reserve Bank of India has signed a special currency swap agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBS).
Under this agreement, Sri Lankan bank can draw up to 1.1 billion dollars for a maximum period of 6 months.  It was signed with an intention to mitigate the possible currency volatility in the spirit of strengthening bilateral relations and economic ties of India with Sri Lanka.
It should be noted that, this special arrangement was signed in addition to the existing Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for the SAARC member countries.
Earlier in March 2015, RBI had signed similar Currency Swap Agreement with Sri Lankan bank for 400 million dollars under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework within the overall limit of 2 billion dollars.
SAARC Currency Swap Framework
This Currency Swap Framework is signed between SAARC member countries. It seeks to provide a backstop line of funding to member countries in order to meet any balance of payments and liquidity crises.
During the crisis, this fund will be provided till longer term arrangements are made or till the need for short-term liquidity due to stressed market conditions.

Union Cabinet gives nod to Composite Foreign Investment Cap

Union Cabinet has given nod to introduce composite foreign investment cap in a bid to streamline the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) structure.
Decision in this regard was taken during Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra  Modi in New Delhi.
This move will help government to club all forms of overseas investments such as FDI, Non-resident Indians (NRIs), foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and other foreign investments to define sectoral limits as a composite cap.
Present policy has different caps for separate investment categories like FDI, FII and NRIs. The proposed sectors for composite foreign investment cap are agriculture, mining, tea, broadcasting, airports, media, retail (single brand and multi-brand), asset reconstruction companies, e-commerce, banking, insurance and commodity exchanges.
Thus it will simplify the FDI policy with a view to attract foreign investments and also improving ease of doing business in India.
Apart from this decision, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also gave its approval for development of 6 lanning of Eastern peripheral expressway in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
The cost is estimated for this project is to be 7,558 crore rupees including 1,759 crore rupees for land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement activities.
The main objective of this project is to expedite the movement of infrastructure in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Its development will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of the concerned regions of the state

NABARD to provide Rs 30,000 crore credit to farmers for irrigation

State-run National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has set a target of providing 30,000 crore rupees as credit to farmers for irrigational purpose.
It was announced by Bank’s Chairman and Managing Director Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala in Mumbai on the occasion of 34th Foundation Day of NABARD.
This credit will be provided over the next three years i.e. till 2018 and for this NABARD already has sanctioned 1,000 crore rupees.
This funding will be in addition to the government’s 50,000 crore rupees of loans to farmers over the next five years (till 2020) under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).
Besides, it was also announced that NABARD has been accredited as the national implementation agency for climate change at the rural level by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
It should be noted that, NABARD is only the banking entity from South Asia to be shortlisted for the purpose by GEF. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank among others are the 20 such entities which have already been shortlisted

Next Post »