Current Affairs :October,2015

Current Affairs : October,2015

Important Days in October
October 1  :  International Day of Older Persons
October 2  :  International day of Non-Violence
October 3  :  World Nature Day, World Habitat Day
October 4  :  World Animal Day
October 5  :  World Teacher's Day
October 8  :  Indian Airforce Day
October 9  :  World Post Day
October 11:  International Girl Child Day
October 12:  World Arthritis Day
October 14:  World Standards Day
October 15 : World Students Day
October 16 : World Food day
October 17 :  International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
October 20 ;  World Statistics Day
October 24 :  United Nations Day,World Polio Day
October 31 :  National Ekta Diwas, World Thrift Day

India-Africa Forum Summit adopts framework for strategic cooperation & Delhi Declaration
The Third India and Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) has adopted a Delhi Declaration 2015 and India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation. These agreements were adopted at the conclusion of third Summit which was attended by India and all 54 African countries in New Delhi.
Delhi Declaration-2015
Calls for continued collaboration in the fields of peace and security between India and Africa. Provide a concrete foundation for the consolidation of our strategic partnership between both sides.
Enhance cooperation for strengthening of UN counter terrorism mechanism.
Enhance cooperation and coordination to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
India Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation
Reaffirmed strong commitment to work together for comprehensive reforms of the United Nations system, including its UN Security Council.
Make these world governing institutions more regionally representative, democratic, accountable and effective. Agreed to establish Small and Medium Enterprises and Medium and Small Industries to promote income generation and employment creation for people of both sides.
Ensure access to affordable and quality treatment and medicines, particularly generic medicines to people of both sides.

Union Government appoints 5 members committee to review research grants offered by UGC
Union Government has appointed a 5 member committee to review the research grants offered by University Grants Commission (UGC). In this regard, Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) has issued an official notification.
The Review Committee will submit its report to the Ministry by December 2015. The ministry also has directed the UGC not to implement its decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowships and continue all existing fellowships.
Terms of Reference of the Committee
To determine the feasibility of enhancing the coverage of All India National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowships based on merit.
Establish a transparent system for transfer of fellowship amounts to non-NET fellows every month without the use of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mandated by the Government.
Consider eligibility criteria based economic and non-economic conditions for the fellowship. Bring opportunities and benefits of the Non-NET fellowship schemes to more number of Universities including State Universities.
All India National Eligibility Test (NET) is a competitive examination conducted by the UGC twice a year. It is basis for the Research Fellowships in India that enable students to pursue M.Phil and Ph.D (Doctorate) programmes. While, the Non-NET Fellowship Scheme was introduced in 2006 by the UGC. Presently, it is limited only to 50 institutions including Central Universities with Potential for Excellence.

India, France ink MoU on preserving Written Heritage at National Library in Kolkata
Indian and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conserve, develop and publicize written heritage at the National Library in Kolkata, West Bengal. It was signed by Sreya Guha, Joint Secretary (Library) in the Union Ministry of Culture and Bruno Racine, President of the National Library of France.
Key facts of MoU
Entails development of digital co-operation, competency and skill-building, sharing of technical and other expertise and cultural co-operation between the two countries.
It will assist a programme on digitization of old manuscripts and documents which had begun in France 7 years ago.
It will also make Indian side to gain experience and high quality expertise in this field from France. Union Ministry of Culture is emphasizing on building project of National Virtual Library (NVL) in India which will store and share numerous manuscripts, archives, artworks etc. This co-operation will go a long way in efficient implementation of this project.
On completion, NVL will share and link all knowledge resources lying within the possession of various government institutes and other organizations of both the countries.

Union Government launches e-Sahyog Pilot Project to facilitate Taxpayers
Union Finance Ministry has launched an e-Sahyog pilot project of Income-Tax Department to facilitate taxpayers to reduce their need to physically appear before tax authorities. It was launched by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at a function in New Delhi in line with Union Government flagship Digital India initiative.
Key facts about e-Sahyog project
Aims to reduce compliance cost, especially for small taxpayers and provide an online mechanism to resolve mismatches in Income-tax returns.
As part of the digital initiative, IT Department will provide an end to end e-service using SMS, e-mails to inform the tax assesses of the mismatch. Henceforth, by using this service taxpayers will simply need to visit the e-filing portal and log in with their user-ID and password.
It will help them to view mismatch related information and submit online response on the issue without physically appearing before tax authorities.
Apart from it, Union Finance Minister also launched a campaign to provide public service at peoples’ door step by holding special PAN camps in remote areas. Under the campaign, special camps will be held over for two days at 43 remote, semi urban and rural locations across the country. It is the first instance IT Department facilitating in such areas for obtaining of PAN card by persons residing.

Union Government sets-up R.V. Easwar Committee to simplify the provisions of IT Act, 1961 
Union Government has constituted a committee to simplify the provisions of the Income Tax Act (IT), 1961 under the Chairmanship of former Delhi High Court Judge, Justice R.V. Easwar.
Other 9 Members: V.K. Bhasin, Vinod Jain, Rajiv Memani, Ravi Gupta, Mukesh Patel, Ajay Bahl, Pradip P. Shah, Arvind Modi, Dr. Vinay Kumar Singh.
Term of the Committee: It shall be for a period of one year from the date of its constitution.
Terms of Reference of the Committee
To study and identify: Provisions in the IT Act, 1961 which are leading to litigation due to different interpretations. The areas and provisions of the Act which needs simplification in the light of the existing jurisprudence. Provisions which are impacting the ease of doing business.
Suggest: modifications and alternatives to the existing provisions and identified areas in order to bring predictability and certainty in tax laws without substantial impact on the revenue collection and tax base.
Recommendations: The Committee will set up its own procedures for regulating its work and will put its draft recommendations in the public domain in batches after consulting stakeholders. The First Batch shall be submitted by 31st January, 2016 and shall contain as many recommendations as possible.

Union Government clears first batch of flagship urban projects under AMRUT
Union Government has cleared the first batch of projects under the flagship scheme of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 89 cities from 3 states. It was cleared by Union Urban Development Ministry by allocating 2,786 crore rupees to facilitate development projects without any financial delays.
Key facts
 It is for the first time in India’s urban governance, Union Urban Development Ministry has approved State level development plans unlike the past practice of appraising and approving individual projects.
The States that are getting benefited from these funds are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. These 3 states had submitted around 143 projects which have been approved after a reviewing of Union Urban Development Ministry.
About AMRUT Scheme
It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 for urban transformation. The focus of the urban renewal projects is to establish infrastructure that could ensure adequate robust sewerage networks and water supply.
Under this scheme: Union Government provides an assistance of 50 per cent of project cost for cities with a population of up to 10 lakhs each. It provides one third of project cost for cities with a population of above 10 lakhs each. Rest of the project cost has to be borne by the states and urban local bodies.

Union Cabinet gives nod to RCE for Kaladan Multi Modal Project in Myanmar
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of 2904.04 crore rupees for the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project in Myanmar. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
About Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project
Objective: To create a multi-modal mode of transport for cargo shipment from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar. It will provide an alternate access route to India’s north east region and contribute towards the regional economic development.
The strategic link will promote economic, commercial and strategic links between India and Myanmar as it will connect North-East, thereby reducing pressure on the Siliguri Corridor.

BRICS nations ink Moscow Declaration for supporting Multilateral Science Projects
BRICS nations Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa signed Moscow Declaration for partnership in addressing common regional and global socio-economic challenges by utilising science, technology and innovation (STI).
It was signed at the third meeting of the BRICS Ministers for Science, Technology and Innovation held in Moscow, Russia. Indian delegation to this meeting was led by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences.
Key facts
The joint declaration seeks to enhance co-investment of resources to support multilateral Research and Development (R&D) Projects in mutually agreed areas by BRICS nations. BRICS nations mutually have agreed on the collaboration for
(i)             Co-operation for large research infrastructures, including mega-science projects along with coordination of the existing large-scale national programme of member countries.
(ii)            Implementation and development of a BRICS Framework Programme for funding joint multilateral research projects, innovation and technology commercialisation.
(iii)           Establishment of BRICS Research and Innovation Networking Platform. The meeting also endorsed a BRICS Action Plan 2015-18 on BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation cooperation.

China abandons its decades old One Child Policy
China, world most populous country has announced to abandon its three decades-long one-child policy and changed it two-child policy. The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in this regard has issued an official communiqué at  the end of party’s 4 day plenary session headed by President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
The change of policy is intended to Balance population development world’s second largest economy. Address the challenge of unnatural negative demographics due rising numbers of old age population as well as concerns over declining labour force. This announcement comes amid slowdown of China’s economy which has plunged for the first time below the 7 per cent figure since the 2009 global economic crisis.
China had introduced its One-Child Policy in 1978 and was implemented in 1980 to rein in population growth in order to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems in China. It main intention was reduce population growth of the country by limiting most urban couples to only one child. In case of rural couples it was limited to only two children if the first child was a girl. Under this policy only few ethnic minorities were exempted including Tibetans, Uighurs.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari elected as first female President of Nepal
Bidhya Devi Bhandari of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)-CPN-UML has been elected as first female President of Nepal. With this, she also became first President under newly promulgated Constitution of Nepal and second President since the Himalayan nation became a republic after abolishing the centuries-old monarchy.

NATO launches biggest Trident Juncture Military Exercise in Italy
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has launched Trident Juncture Military Exercise in Italy to test the alliance’s ability to respond to new security threats. It will also demonstrate NATO’s capability to deal with conventional military engagements to more subtle hybrid warfare techniques and propaganda. It is the biggest military exercise conducted by alliance in past 13 years as it has mobilized around 36,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from more than 30 countries of NATO. Key facts The operational centre for the exercise is based in the Sicilian city Trapani (Italy). It will take place till early November 2015 and extend into Spain, Portugal and adjacent waters. The exercise envisions a fictitious invasion of a small alliance member by a large country, followed by creating a crisis with ethnic and religious dimensions. It also envisions threats to energy supplies and navigational freedom along with risks of terrorism and cyberattacks.

Pakistan, Russia sign 1,100km gas pipeline agreement
Pakistan and Russia have signed a major agreement to build a 1,100-km North-South gas pipeline from Lahore to Karachi. In this project, Russia will invest 2 billion dollars and it will be built by Russian company RT Global Resources, a subsidiary of Russian state corporation Rostec.
Key facts The pipeline is expected to get completed by December 2017 and has capacity of 12.4 billion cubic metres per annum. It will connect Karachi’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals with those in Lahore.
The pipeline project will be implemented in compliance with Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) model. It will be owned and operated by the manufacturer for 25 years and after that it will be handed over to the Pakistan government.
The project will take cooperation between Russia and Pakistan to a new level. It will also help to develop a multi-dimensional relationship with Russia in the fields of defence, trade, energy, culture, infrastructure and other spheres.
Earlier in August 2015, Pakistan and Russia had signed a landmark defence deal for the sale of 4 Mi-35 ‘Hind E’ attack helicopters to Pakistan. Currently, both nations are in talks for the delivery of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets which in turn will take cooperation between the two Cold War-era adversaries to a new level.

MP Government announces 33 percent quota for women in government jobs
Madhya Pradesh government has decided to provide 33 percent reservation to women in government jobs. Decision in this regard was taken by state cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
With this, the reservation to women in government jobs in the state has been increased from present 30 per cent to 33 per cent. Apart from this decision, state Cabinet also gave its approval to a proposal providing compensation to farmers i.e. they have to repay only 90 thousand rupees on a loan of one lakh rupees.
State Government has forwarded these proposals to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for its approval as Model Code of Conduct is in place in Jhabua-Ratlam Parliamentary Constituency and Dewas Assembly constituency where by-elections are to be held in November 2015. It was also decided to give monthly pension of 2500 rupees to the relatives of those who were killed in anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in the state.

Himachal Pradesh to host India’s first Paragliding World Cup
 India’s first Paragliding World Cup has begun at Bir Billing near Baijnath town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
Snow leopard is the official mascot of this World Cup. It is for the first time that Paragliding World Cup is being organised in a South Asian country.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju flagged off the event. In this one week competition, more than 130 registered pilots including 14 women pilots from 35 countries would take part. Indian side is represented by 8 flyers and 6 among them are from the Himachal Pradesh.
The Paragliding World Cup will have different categories of competition including Paragliding, Hot air ballooning, Hand gliding and Acrobatic shows. Himachal Pradesh government and Kangra District Administration have made elaborate arrangements for the purpose of World Cup. Helicopters and Air ambulance along with forty rescue teams equipped with latest equipment gave been deployed at various strategic locations to meet any emergency situation.

PM Narendra Modi lays foundation stone for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone Amaravati, a new capital city of Andhra Pradesh on the occasion of Dussehra and Vijaya Dashmi. The foundation stone of new futuristic capital city of the state was laid at a grand ceremony held in Guntur district.

Rajasthan Government notifies 5% quota for Gujjars and other SBCs
Rajasthan government has issued a notification to provide 5 per cent quota to Gujjars and other Special Backward Classes (SBC). The notification was issued by state government under the Rajasthan Special Backward Classes Reservation Act, 2015.
The Act came into force from October 16, 2015. It will provide 5% reservation in educational institutes and government jobs to Gujjars, Raibari, Banjara and Gadiya Lohar communities in the state. 
Background: Earlier in September 2015, Rajasthan state assembly had passed two separate bills to provide reservation in educational institutions and government jobs.
Rajasthan Special Backward Classes Reservation Bill, 2015 seeks to provide 5% quota to SBC and Rajasthan Economically Backward Classes Reservation Bill, 2015 seeks to provide 14% reservation to Economically Backward Classes (EBC) of unreserved categories. With the passing of these bills, total reservation in Rajasthan had exceeded the 50 per cent reservation cap/limit laid down by the Supreme Court.

RBI allows NRIs to subscribe to National Pension System
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed non-resident Indians (NRIs) to subscribe to the National Pension System (NPS) enabling them access old age income security. RBI has taken this decision in consultation with Union Government under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to appease NRIs.
Key facts
NPS will act as an investment option for NRIs under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. NRIs may subscribe to the NPS through normal banking channels and the person is eligible to invest as per the provisions of the PFRDA Act, 2013.
NRIs should pay the subscription amounts of NPS either by inward remittance through normal banking channels or out of funds held in their NRE/NRO/FCNR account. No restriction will be imposed on repatriation of the annuity or accumulated savings of NPS.
About National Pension System (NPS)
Governed and administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). NPS was launched in 2004 and was initially introduced for the new Government recruits (except armed forces).
NPS aims to institute pension reforms in the country and to inculcate the habit of saving for retirement amongst the citizens. Its objective is to provide retirement income to all the citizens. It was extended for all citizens of the country from 1 May 2009 including the unorganised sector workers on voluntary basis

India ranks 130 in World Bank’s 2016 rankings of Ease of Doing Business
India has been placed at 130th position among the 189 countries in the recently released World Bank’s 2016 rankings of Ease of Doing Business Report. In this edition of list, India has moved up by four spots in the global rankings compared to earlier 134th rank in recalculated 2015 rankings.
Top 10 Countries: Singapore (1st), New Zealand (2nd), Denmark (3rd), South Korea (4th), Hong Kong (5th), United Kingdom (6th), United States (7th), Sweden (8th), Norway (9th) and Finland (10th). 
BIRCS Nations: India ranks lowest in Doing Business among the BRICS nations. Russia (51), South Africa (73), China (84), Brazil (116) and India (130).

Union Government imposes anti-dumping duty on Chinese auto parts
The Union Finance Ministry has imposed anti-dumping duties on imported Chinese auto parts used in commercial vehicles for a period of five years. Decision in this regard was taken following recommendations of the Directorate-General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD).
Chinese items like Front-axle beam and steering knuckles meant for heavy and medium commercial vehicles were imported into India at prices less than even cost of production in domestic market.
Anti-dumping duties was also imposed on Fully-drawn/oriented yarn, spin-drawn yarn and flat yarn of polyester (non-textured) imported from China and Thailand for 5 years.
Plain medium density fibre board of thickness six mm and above imported from Malaysia, China, Thailand and Sri Lanka for a period of 5 years. Hexamine used in making of phenolic resins imported from China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 5 years.
Anti-dumping duties: It is counter import measure used by a country under the multilateral World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime to protect its domestic producers and market from below-cost/cheap imports. It varies from product to product and from country to country.

RBI allows banks to fix interest rates on gold deposit scheme
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed banks to fix their own interest rates on gold deposits under the Gold Monetisation Scheme. In this regard RBI has issued guidelines mentioning Banks are free to set interest rate such as principal and interest on the deposit denominated in gold.
Designated banks will accept gold deposits under the Short Term Bank Deposit (1-3 years), Medium (5-7 years) and Long term (12-15 years) Government Deposit Schemes. The interest on the gold deposits will be credited in the accounts on the respective due dates and will be periodically withdrawable i.e. at maturity of the deposits. Short term bank deposits will be applicable cash reserve ratio (CRR) and statutory liquidity ratio (SLR).
There is no bar for maximum gold deposit but the minimum deposit at one time should be raw gold equivalent to 30 grams of 995 fineness standard. The raw gold should be in the form of coins, bars, jewellery excluding stones and other metals Individual banks will determine the provision for premature withdrawal subject to a minimum lock-in period and along with the penalty.
The designated banks may sell or lend the gold accepted under the deposit to Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC) of India for minting India Gold Coins (IGC) and to jewellers or sell it to other designated banks.
Earlier, Union Government had given its approval to Gold Deposit and Monetisation Scheme in order to mobilize a part of an estimated 20,000 tonnes of precious metal lying idle with households and institutions into the banking system.

RBI formed Financial Inclusion Fund with Rs. 2000 crore corpus
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has established Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) with Rs. 2000 crore corpus expanding reach of banking services. This fund will support the developmental and promotional activities covered under the financial inclusion initiatives.
 Key facts FIF has been established as a single entity (fund) by merging Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) and Financial Inclusion Technology Fund (FITF).
It will provide support for funding the setting up and operational cost for running financial inclusion and Literacy Centres. One of its major objective will be enhanced investment in Green Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution.
It will be administered by the reconstituted Advisory Board constituted by Union Government and will be maintained by NABARD. Contribution to FIF would be from the interest differential in excess of 0.5 per cent on Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) and Short-Term Cooperative Rural Credit (STCRC) deposits. These deposits are held on account of shortfall in priority sector lending kept with NABARD by banks.

Union Cabinet gives nod to India-Taipei MoU on MSME
The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU between the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India and India-Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei. Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Key facts of MoU
 Promote the cooperation between the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) between the two signatory parties. Provide a structured framework and favourable environment to the MSME sector of the two parties in order to understand each other’s strengths, technologies, policies, markets etc.
Contains an agreement to enable their respective MSMEs to participate in each other’s trade fairs and exhibitions in order to exchange business delegations with the other Party. It does not contain any financial, legal or political commitment on the part of either signatory party.

Economist Angus Deaton wins 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
Microeconomist Angus Deaton has won the prestigious 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has selected him for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.
His research work has linked detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes which inturn has helped to transform the fields of macroeconomics, microeconomics and development economics. With announcement of this prize, it concludes this year’s presentations of Nobel winners. All Nobel laureates will receive the prize on December 10, 2015 on the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death.

Deepika Kumari wins silver medal in 2015 Archery World Cup Final
 India’s ace women archer Deepika Kumari has won the Silver medal in recurve event at the 2015 Archery World Cup Final held in Mexico City.
In the final match, South Korea’s Choi Misun defeated Deepika Kumari and won the gold medal by 6-2 score. This was Deepika’s fourth World Cup Final silver medal.
Earlier she had won it after being runner-up at Istanbul (2011), Tokyo (2012) and Paris (2013) Archery World Cup Final. In this edition of World Cup, India won two silver medals with Abhishek Verma opening the account for the country in the compound section

Lewis Hamilton wins 2015 US Grand Prix of F1 to clinch third world title
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain has won 2015 United States Grand Prix title of Formula One for the fourth time. Earlier he had won it in 2007, 2012 and 2014.
This was his overall 10th victory of the season. Earlier he had won Australia, China, Bahrain, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Japanese and Russian 2015 Grand Prix titles. With this victory, he also won 2015 World Drivers’ Championship (WDC) for third time with total 327 points. Earlier he won it in 2008 and 2014 season of F1.

Virender Sehwag announces retirement from International Cricket
Ace Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag has announced his retirement from international cricket.
He had started his international cricket career in 1999 after he played his first One Day International (ODI) against Pakistan and later in 2001 joined the Indian Test team. In his remarkable career, he had scored 17,253 international runs across all formats.
ODI Career: He had played 251 ODI matches and scored 8273 runs with batting average of 35.05. It includes 15 centuries including the second-highest individual ODI score of 219 after Rohit Sharma. 
Test Career: He had played 104 test matches and scored 8,586 runs with batting average of 49.34. His score stands at fifth position in India’s all-time list. It includes 23 centuries and highest score of 319 (against South Africa). It was also the fastest triple century in the history of international cricket reached 300 off only 278 balls.
Captaincy: He had occasionally captained India team in 12 ODIs between 2003 and 2012 and 4 Tests matches between 2005 and 2012. Sehwag was a part of the Indian cricket team that had ended runner up in 2003 ICC World Cup and also part of Indian cricket team that lifted the 2011 edition ICC World Cup.
Awards and Honours: Arjuna Award (2002), ICC Test Player of the Year 2010, Padma Shree (2010)

Cricketer Zaheer Khan announces retirement from International cricket
One of India’s greatest fast bowlers Zaheer Khan has announced his retirement from international cricket with an immediate effect. He cited reason that he could no longer handle the rigours of the game and is looking forward to signing off his last season in domestic cricket after conclusion of the IPL season 9.
Test matches: He had played in 92 Test matches and was left-arm pacer. He had taken 311 wickets. He is 4th highest wicket-taker in India after Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434) and Harbhajan Singh (417).
One Day Internationals (ODIs): He had played in 200 ODIs and had taken 282 wickets.
T-20 Internationals: He had played in T-20 Internationals and had taken 17 wickets. He had played a major role in India’s 2011 World Cup triumph by taking 21 wickets. Since 2011, he was moving in and out of the Indian International team due to recurrent injuries which took a toll on his body.

Science & Technology
China’s first lunar rover Yutu sets record for longest stay on Moon
China’s first lunar rover, Yutu, has set the new record for the longest stay by a rover on the lunar surface. With working on the Moon for almost two years it has surpassed previous record of Soviet Union’s (USSR’s) 1970 launched rover Lunokhod 1, which had spent 11 months on the Moon. The lunar rover Yutu was deployed and landed on the moon in 2013 via China’s Chang’e-3 lunar probe.
In 2014, it had experienced a mechanical control abnormality but was revived. Presently it is capable to collect data, send and receive signals and record images and video but unable to move due to mechanical abnormality.
Presently, China is also planning to land a lunar probe on the dark side of the moon which is never visible to Earth to become the first country. The mission will be carried out by Chang’e-4 lunar probe, a backup probe for Chang’e-3.

China launches Tianhui-1C mapping satellite of Tianhui-1 series
China has successfully launched Tianhui-1C, a third mapping satellite of the Tianhui-1 series into its designated orbit. The mapping satellite was launched by Long March 2D carrier rocket from the Jiuquan launching base located in the country’s northwestern Gansu province. It was overall Long March rockets series 215th successful launch. The satellite was developed and produced under the auspices of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASTC) which is China’s primary launch vehicle and satellite contractor.

Tsunami early Warning system successfully tested in Mumbai
A newly-installed Tsunami Early Warning System Siren was successfully tested near INS Angre, off Reserve Bank of India (RBI) head office in south Mumbai. It was tested nearly 11 years after the Boxing Day tsunami which had hit the east coast of India and had killed more than 10,000 people. 
Key facts
The siren system has been installed at the Meteorology Office of Western Naval Command by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). It has a digital electronic board fitted in the system which gives out data about the approaching tsunami.
The system has a radical range of 3 kms in all directions and gives continuous hoot for 60 seconds during emergency. The siren will be remotely controlled by Hyderabad based INCOIS and will operate in case of a possible Tsunami threat in the local region.
7 tsunami buoys with sensors will record the speed and height of waves. It will further alert the monitoring centre in Hyderabad. The warning siren will provide precise tsunami alert to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), disaster management authorities and Indian Navy to prevent the possible damage.

Four new crab species discovered in Kerala
Researchers have discovered four new crab species namely Paguristes luculentus, Diogenes canaliculatus, Pagurus spinossior and Afropinnotheres ratnakara in Kerala. They were discovered by collaborative research project of A. Biju Kumar, R. Reshmi and Tomoyuki Komai (Japan). These findings have been published in the international journal of taxonomy named Zootaxa.
Key facts:Discovery of these four new crab species (of them three are hermit crabs) from the Kerala coast highlights the diversity of the crustacean in the state.
Paguristes luculentus: It is a hermit crab species belonging to the family Diogenidae was collected off the coast of Kollam. It represents the 9th of the genus known from Indian waters. The species name luculentus (meaning colourful) refers to its livid living colour.
Diogenes canaliculatus: It is a hermit crab species belonging to the family Diogenidae has light brown or tan colour. It has been named after the longitudinal furrows on the outer surface of its arm on left chelate leg. The family Diogenidae of crabs are left handed hermits as their left claw is larger. 
Pagurus spinossior: It is hermit crab belonging to Paguridae family which are right handed crabs. It is tan in colour and was collected from Neendakara, Kollam. Its name spinossior refers to species strong armature on the clawed legs.
Afropinnotheres ratnakara: It is a new species of pinnotherid crab genus. The genus was reported for the first time from the Indian Ocean. It was found inside the Perna perna (brown mussel) at Kovalam. The species names ratnakara in Sanskrit means Indian Ocean.
About Hermit Crabs: Hermit crabs are ubiquitous animals. They are often considered to be true crabs but they are not. They live in abandoned gastropod (snail) shells in order to protect themselves. They lack an external shell and have soft abdomen compared to other crabs species which makes them vulnerable to predators.

4th edition India, Sri Lanka bilateral naval exercise SLINEX 15 begins in Sri Lanka
The fourth edition of Sri Lanka-India bilateral naval exercise SLINEX 2015 began off Trincomalee coast, Sri Lanka. The six days exercise seeks to reinforce the strong neighbourly ties underscored by extensive maritime interaction and improved understanding between neighbouring both countries. 
Key facts
SLINEX 15 seeks to enhance the capability of both navies to work together at sea and contribute towards maritime security in the region. It commenced with a Harbour Phase in which both participant navies were engaged in professional, cultural and social interactions.
It will be followed by the Sea Phase in which complex operations including anti-piracy exercises, cross-deck helicopter operations, gun firings and anti-surface exercises will be undertaken.
Indian Navy is represented by 2 missile corvettes viz. INS Kora, INS Kirpan and 1 offshore patrol vessel INS Savitri along with ship-borne integral helicopters. In addition, an Indian Naval maritime reconnaissance aircraft will also take part in the exercise.
Sri Lankan Navy is represented by ships like Sayura, Sagara, Samudra, 6 Fast Attack Crafts, 1 Fast Missile Vessel and 2 Fast Gun Boats. SLINEX series of bilateral maritime exercises between India and Sri Lanka was initiated in 2005.
Since then three successful naval engagements have been conducted.

Union Cabinet gives nod to MLAT in Criminal Matters between India and Maldives
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between India and Maldives in case of Criminal Matters. Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Key facts of Treaty
 Aims to enhance effectiveness of both signatory countries in investigation and prosecution of crime. Seeks to enhance cooperation and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
Provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation in the context of transnational crime and its linkages to terrorism. The bilateral cooperation will mainly focus on investigation and prosecution of crime.
It will also focus on tracing, confiscation of proceeds, restraint and instruments of crime as well as monetary funds meant to finance terrorist acts.
What is MLAT? MLAT is an agreement signed between two or more countries for the purpose of exchanging and gathering information to enforce criminal laws or public laws. Under the MLAT a mechanisms has been developed among countries for obtaining an evidence to solve the criminal investigations and further use it for prosecutions

Social Issues
Union Government approves induction of women fighter pilots in Indian Air Force
Union Government has approved induction of women into the Fighter branch of Indian Air Force (IAF). Henceforth, women are eligible to get inducted in all branches and streams of the Air Force. Union Defence Ministry has taken this decision keeping in view the aspirations of Indian women and in line with contemporary trends in Armed Forces of developed nations.
Under the new rules, the first women fighter pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, Telangana. These women pilots will be commissioned into the fighter stream in June 2016 after successful completion of initial training.
 Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for 1 year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017. Presently, there are around 1,500 women in the IAF including 94 pilots and 14 navigators. IAF is also inducting women in Transport and Helicopter streams.

Green Indian Mission plans approved for 4 states
Union Environment Ministry has approved annual plans of National Mission for Green India (GIM) of four states viz. Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur and Jharkhand. In this regard, National Executive Council (NEC) has approved the Perspective Plans (PP) and Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) of GIM submitted by 4 states.
Key facts
The approval has been granted for alternative energy devices such as biogas, LPG, solar devices, biomass-based systems and improved stoves. These devices in turn will help to reduce pressure on forests and provide carbon emission benefits, along with health and other associated benefits. It will cover around 27,032 households from these 4 states for financial year 2015-16.
Financial support: PP of all four states has total financial outlay of 90,202.68 lakh rupees for a plan period of five to ten years. While, APOs of 11,195.32 lakh rupees for same period.
Forest and non-forest area: It will be taken up in the 4 states under GIM during the total plan period will be 1, 08,335 hectares. Out of it, 81,939 hectares will help in improving the density of existing forests and 16, 396 hectares in new areas.
About National Mission for Green India (GIM)
GIM is one of the 8 key Missions outlined under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It aims at protecting, enhancing and restoring India’s decreasing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of mitigation and adaptation measures.
The mission acknowledges the influence forests on environmental amelioration through climate change mitigation, water security, food security, biodiversity conservation and livelihood security of forest-dependent communities.
It hinges on decentralized participatory approach by involving grass root level communities and organizations in decision making, planning, implementation and monitoring.

India-China Joint Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2015 concludes in Kunming
India-China Joint Military Training Exercise Hand in Hand 2015 concluded at Kunming Military Academy in Yunnan province of China. It was fifth edition of the exercise between the two countries which had started on 12 October 2015.The 12 day exercise concluded with a Joint Field Exercise between armies of both countries followed by a closing ceremony.
 Key Facts
Participating troops from both sides learned and trained together from each other in mixed groups on Basic Individual Skills and Comprehensive Combat Skills.
The joint exercise also met its stated objectives by exchanging experience on counter-terrorist training and conducting counter-terrorist operations. It also enhanced mutual trust and understanding and promoted healthy military relations between the two armies
This edition of exercise also gave emphasis on joint handling of counter terrorism, insurgency at sub-unit level and related issues.
It also covered aspect of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief at formation headquarters level.

Telecom operators to compensate consumers by Rs 1 for call drop: TRAI
Telecom Regulatory Authority of Indian (TRAI) has made it mandatory for telecom operators to compensate consumers by Rs.1 for call drops with effect from 1 January 2016.
As per new TRAI rules The compensation will be limited to three dropped calls in a particular day. It is mandatory for telecom operators to send a message to the calling customer within 4 hours of the occurrence of call drop along with details of amount credited in his account.
 In case of post-paid customers, the compensation details of the credit should be provided in the next bill.
What is Call drop? Call drop occurs after voice call is interrupted or disconnected before it is completed after being successfully established. Thus, it can be said that it represents telecom operator’s inability to maintain a successfully established call prior to their normal completion. 
Reasons: Call drop may occur if signal strength of mobile tower of telecom operator goes below the minimum acceptable single to make a call. It may also even occur due to interference created by bad environmental conditions and because of improper hard handoff if user is moving from one cell to another cell.

Indian short film An Old Dog’s Diary wins award at 2015 London Film Festival
An Indian short film, An Old Dog’s Diary has won prestigious Best Short Film Award at the 2015 London Film Festival (LFF). The award was bestowed by the British Film Institute (BIF) at 59th edition of LFF.
The 11-minute film has been directed by Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel. It story of film reveals the cultural conditions of Indian avant-garde painter Francis Newton Souza’s work and its institutionalisation by assembling the puzzle-piece evocations of his portrait. Earlier the film was showcased in the Wavelengths category at 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

Kundhavi Kadiresan appointed as Assistant Director of FAO
Kundhavi Kadiresanwas appointed as the Assistant Director (AD) of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. She was appointed at the post by FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva and succeeds Hiroyuki Konuma who has retired.

Jamaican author Marlon James wins 2015 Man Booker Prize
Jamaican author Marlon James has won the prestigious 2015 Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. With this, he became first Jamaican to win Man Booker Prize. His 680-page epic novel is inspired by the attempted assassination on Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley in the 1970s. It has been published by Oneworld Publications.

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