Current Affairs for the month of January 2015 (for the Study Material International,India & World, National, States, Conferences,Awards & Honours,Sports & Games, Economy,Science & Technology,Persons in News,Places in news and more..)
Palestinians To Join International Criminal Court
Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on 1 April 2015, announced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 6 January .The Palestinians will be able to sue Israel for war crimes, a move the Israeli administration has consistently opposed for decades.Along with the ICC application, the UN chief approved other sets of documents, enabling Palestine to join 16 international agreements, conventions and treaties.
Maithripala Sirisena Elected As Sri Lanka President
Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena (Maithiripala Sirisena) was elected as new President of Srilanka. Mithripala Sirisena, Health Minister in Rajapaksa government, won the 2015 Presidential Elections of Sri Lanka. The Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya announced the results on 9 January 2015. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from United People’s Freedom Alliance got 47.6 percent and Opposition candidate Maithripala Samisen from United National Party got 51.3 percent of the votes polled in the Presidential elections held on 8 January 2015.
Alexis Tsipras Elected As New Greece Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Syriza anti-austerity party, was elected as the new Prime Minister of Greece. In Greece, anti-austerity Syriza party has won general election.In this election Syriza party has won about half the seats in Parliament.Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Syriza anti-austerity party, was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Greece 26 January 2015.
Sergio Mattarella Elected As New President of Italy
Italy’s parliament has elected constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella as the country’s President on 31 January.He will Italy’s 12th president and succeed Giorgio Napolitano who had resigned earlier in January 2015 citing reason of poor health before his 2020 expiry term.
INDIA & WORLD
India To Host 2nd International Indian Ocean Expedition
India will be hosting the 2nd International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) in December 2015, almost 50 years after it had hosted its first edition, during which the participating nations will also study the changes that have taken place in the Indian Ocean since the 1960s.The second IIOE will have at least 20 counties participating in it. It will start in early December 2015 and will continue for next five years.The IIOE-2 is a developing initiative under UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), which aims at providing an exciting platform for knowledge transfer and capacity building, besides raising global awareness about the importance of the Indian Ocean.
India To Provide USD 60 million Line of Credit To Guyana For Road Projects
India will provide 60 million dollars Line of Credit (LoC) to Guyana for its road infrastructure projects and passenger ferry service. The decision of granting the LoC was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the bilateral talks with Guyana President Donald R. Ramotar on the sidelines of the 13th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 8 January 2015.
European Union Lifts Ban On Import Of Indian Mangoes
The European Union (EU) on 20 January decided to lift a ban on the import of mangoes from India after India made improvements in plant health controls and certification systems.The EU had imposed a temporary ban on Indian mangoes that came into effect from 1 May 2014. The ban was to remain effective until December 2015 and was imposed after the authorities had found consignments infested with fruit flies that they feared could damage European salad crops. On 20 January 2015 a European Commission committee voted to lift the ban.
India – US to Set Up Task Force To Develop Three Smart Cities
India and the US on 27 January decided to set up a task force for jointly developing Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh), Ajmer (Rajasthan) and Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) as Smart Cities with a mandate of preparing the roadmap within three months. The decision was taken at a meeting between Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and visiting Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, two days after the two countries signed pacts under which the three cities will be developed as Smart Cities with the help of United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
Union Govt Established NITI Aayog To Replace Planning Commission
The Union Government on 1 January established NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog , as replacement for the Planning Commission. This comes after extensive consultation across the spectrum of stakeholders, including state governments, domain experts and relevant institutions. NITI Aayog will seek to provide a critical directional and strategic input into the development process. NITI Aayog that replaced the 65 year old Planning Commission will be headed by Prime Minister. It will have a governing council comprising Chief Ministers of all the states and Lt. Governors of Union Territories. Apart from this, the NITI Aayog will also have a Vice-Chairperson and a Chief Executive Officer (fixed tenure, in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India), who will be appointed by the Prime Minister.
PM Narendra Modi Releases Coin In Honour Of Jamsetji Tata
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 6 January released a commemorative coin in honour of Jamsetji Tata, popularly known as father of modern Indian industry, on his 175th birth anniversary in New Delhi.Jamsetji is the first industrialist felicitated by the Indian government in such a manner.He founded Tata Group, India’s largest business conglomerate. He was born on March 3, 1839 in Navsari, a small town in south Gujarat.Jamsetji Tata founded the Tata group in 1868.
PM Narendra Modi Launched Sukanya Samridhi Yojana Under BBBP campaign
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 January launched a small deposit scheme Sukanya Samridhi Yojana for girl child under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save the Daughter, Teach the Daughter) campaign. The scheme was launched at Painpat in Haryana, a state with one of the poorest sex ratio in the country . The scheme will ensure equitable share to a girl child in resources and savings of a family in which she is generally discriminated against a male child. Sukanya Samridhi Yojana will enable parents to open bank accounts of girls who are under 10 years of age.Sukanya Samridhi Account will fetch an interest rate of 9.1 percent and provide income tax rebate.
Union Government Released Commemorative Postage Stamps On Swachh Bharat Mission
Union Government has released set of three Commemorative Postage Stamps on Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission). This set of 3 stamps was released by Union Ministry for Communications & Information Technology and issued by Department of Posts. These stamps were released to in order to achieve the vision of Clean and Healthy India. Department of Posts has selected the design for the stamps through a competition among the children on the theme of Swachh Bharat Mission. Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by the Prime Minister on the 2nd October, 2014 on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Father of the Nation- Mahatma Gandhi. This mission seeks to achieve Clean India and aims to provide access to toilets to all households in the country.
PM Narendra Modi Launched Scheme For LED bulb Distribution In Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 January launched a scheme for distribution of LED bulbs under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme in Delhi and a National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting. Under the scheme, consumers in Delhi would be able to request for LED bulbs under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme through a new Website launched by Narendra Modi.
Presidential Rule Imposed In Jammu and Kashmir
President’s rule was imposed on Jammu and Kashmir on 9 January.President Pranab Mukherjee approved the recommendation of the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir N N Vohra. Governor N N Vohra had recommended for President Rule in light of deadlock over the formation of the new government continued in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dima Hasao District Of Assam Got Its First Broad Gauge Railway Track
Dima Hasao District of Assam got its first broad gauge railway track on 12 January. A goods train with 43 wagons reached the main railway station of the Dima Hasao district using this broad gauge track.The train in its first ever journey covered 98 km from Patharkhula station to New-Haflong station while crossing 9 tunnels, 15 stations, 15 major bridges and 135 minor bridges.The passenger trains will also be commissioned on the route from Pathakhula to New-Haflong on the track that is extended up to Silchar after the approval of Railway Safety Commission.
UN Chief Inaugurates Gujarat’s Second Canal-Top 10-MW Solar Power Project
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 11 January inaugurated Gujarat’s second canal-top 10-MW solar power project.It is located on 5.5 km stretch of Vadodara branch of Sardar Sarovar project canal. The plant is constructed by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited and is the first of its kind in the country.It is implemented by Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL).
13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Held In Gandhinagar
The 13th edition of the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) was held on 7 – 9 January 2015 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.The theme of 2015 PBD was Bharat ko jano and Bharat ko mano.The chief guest of the 13th PBD was Guyana President Donald Ramotar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 January inaugurated a state-of-the-art museum Dandi Kutir opposite Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.Narendra Modi also released Commemorative Postage Stamps to mark 100 Years of Mahatma Gandhi’s Return from South Africa to India. The coins are of denomination of 100 rupees and 10 rupees, while the stamps are of value of 25 rupees and 5 rupees. The event concluded with giving away Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards to 15 members of the Indian Diaspora by the Vice-President Hamid Ansari.PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003 and are celebrated on 9th January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India.The 13th edition of PBD marked the 100th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa.
AWARDS & HONOURS
15 NRIs Awarded with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman 2015
Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards 2015 to 15 prominent Non-Resident Indians (NRI’s). The awards were presented on the concluding day of 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The recipients were – Mala Mehta, Australia ; Donald Rabindernauth Ramotar, Guyana ; Dr. Rajaram Sanjaya, Mexico ; Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, New Zealand ; Rajmal Parakh, Oman ; Duraikannu Karunakaran, Seychelles ; Essop Goolam Pahad, South Africa ; Shah Bharatkumar Jayantilal, UAE ; Ashraf Palarakunnummal, UAE ; Mahendra Nanji Mehta, Uganda ; Prof. Nathu Ram Puri ; Lord Raj Loomba, Britain ; Satyanarayana Nadella, USA ; Dr. Lulla Kamlesh, US ; Dr.Nandini Tandon, USA.
ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission Team Won Space Pioneer Award – 2015
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) Team of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 12 January won the 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the Science and Engineering category. The Mars Orbiter Mission team is located in Bangalore and is headed by Mylswamy Annadurai. This prestigious award is be given by the National Space Society (NSS), an American educational and scientific organization.
Kamal Kishore Goyanka Selected For Vyas Samman 2014
Well-known Hindi scholar and writer Dr. Kamal Kishore Goenka was on 13 January chosen for Vyas samman 2014. He has been chosen for this award for his research work ‘Premchand Kee Kahaniyo Kaa Kaalkramanusar Adhyayan’. It was published in 2012. This award is instituted by the K.K. Birla Foundation. It was started in 1991.
Jammu and Kashmir Won National E-Governance Award 2014-15
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has been selected for National e-Governance award 2014-15 for its best district level initiative in the country.J&K state has been selected on 16 January for this award by Department of Administrative Reforms for its e-Panchayat project.
Padma Awards 2015 Announced
The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 25 January approved the conferment of Padma Awards 2015 to 104 person this year. The list of the awardees comprises of 9 Padma Vibhushan, 20 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri. The list also features 17 women as awardees and includes 17 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and 4 Posthumous awardees.Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, conferred in three categories – Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri – and given in various disciplines.
1. LK Advani- Public Affairs- Gujarat
2. Amitabh Bachchan- Art- Maharashtra
3. Prakash Singh Badal- Public Affairs- Punjab
4. Dr D Veerendra Heggade- Social Work- Karnataka
5. Mohammad Yusuf Khan alias Dilip Kumar- Art- Maharashtra
6. Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya- Others- Uttar Pradesh
7. Prof Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan- Science and Engineering- Tamil Nadu
8. Kottayan K. Venugopal- Public Affairs- Delhi
9. Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Foreigner)- Trade and Industry- France/UK
Padma Bhushan :-
1. Jahnu Barua- Art- Assam
2. Dr Vijay Bhatkar- Science and Engineering- Maharashtra
3. Shri Swapan Dasgupta- Literature and Education- Delhi
4. Swami Satyamitranand Giri- Others- Uttar Pradesh
5. N Gopalaswami- Civil Service- Tamil Nadu
6. Dr Subhash C Kashyap- Public Affairs- Delhi
7. Dr (Pandit) Gokulotsavji Maharaj- Art- Madhya Pradesh
8. Dr Ambrish Mithal- Medicine – Delhi
9. Sudha Ragunathan- Art- Tamil Nadu
10. Shri Harish Salve- Public Affairs- Delhi
11. Dr Ashok Seth- Medicine- Delhi
12. Rajat Sharma- Literature and Education- Delhi
13. Satpal- Sports- Delhi
14. Shivakumara Swami- Others- Karnataka
15. Dr Kharag Singh Valdiya- Science and Engineering- Karnataka
16. Prof Manjul Bhargava (NRI/PIO)- Science and Engineering- USA
17. David Frawley (Vamadeva) (Foreigner)- Others- USA
18. Bill Gates (Foreigner)- Social Work- USA
19. Melinda Gates (Foreigner)- Social Work- USA
20. Saichiro Misumi (Foreigner)- Others- Japan
Padma Shri :-
1. Dr Manjula Anagani- Medicine- Telangana
2. S Arunan- Science and Engineering- Karnataka
3. Kanyakumari Avasarala- Art- Tamil Nadu
4. Dr Bettina Sharada Baumer- Literature and Education- Jammu and Kashmir
5. Naresh Bedi- Art- Delhi
6. Ashok Bhagat- Social Work- Jharkhand
7. Sanjay Leela Bhansali- Art- Maharashtra
8. Dr Lakshmi Nandan Bora- Literature and Education- Assam
9. Dr Gyan Chaturvedi- Literature and Education- Madhya Pradesh
10. Prof (Dr) Yogesh Kumar Chawla- Medicine- Chandigarh
11. Jayakumari Chikkala- Medicine- Delhi
12. Bibek Debroy- Literature and Education- Delhi
13. Dr Sarungbam Bimola Kumari Devi- Medicine- Manipur
14. Dr Ashok Gulati- Public Affairs- Delhi
15. Dr Randeep Guleria- Medicine- Delhi
16. Dr KP Haridas- Medicine- Kerala
17. Rahul Jain- Art- Delhi
18. Ravindra Jain- Art- Maharashtra
19. Dr Sunil Jogi- Literature and Education- Delhi
20. Prasoon Joshi- Art- Maharashtra
21. Dr Prafulla Kar- Art- Odisha
22. Saba Anjum- Sports- Chhattisgarh
23. Ushakiran Khan- Literature and Education- Bihar
24. Dr Rajesh Kotecha- Medicine- Rajasthan
25. Prof Alka Kriplani- Medicine Delhi
26. Dr Harsh Kumar- Medicine- Delhi
27. Narayana Purushothama Mallaya- Literature & Education- Kerala
28. Lambert Mascarenhas- Literature and Education- Goa
29. Dr Janak Palta McGilligan- Social Work- Madhya Pradesh
30. Veerendra Raj Mehta- Social Work- Delhi
31. Tarak Mehta- Art- Gujarat
32. Neil Herbert Nongkynrih (Art), Meghalaya
33. Chewang Norphel- Others- Jammu and Kashmir
34. TV Mohandas Pai- Trade and Industry- Karnataka
35. Dr Tejas Patel- Medicine- Gujarat
36. Jadav Molai Peyang- Others- Assam
37. Bimla Poddar- Others- Uttar Pradesh
38. Dr N Prabhakar- Science and Engg- Delhi
39. Dr Prahalada- Science and Engg- Maharashtra
40. Dr Narendra Prasad- Medicine- Bihar
41. Ram Bahadur Rai- Literature and Education- Delhi
42. Mithali Raj- Sports- Telangana
43. PV Rajaraman- Civil Service- Tamil Nadu
44. Prof JS Rajput- Literature and Education- Uttar Pradesh
45. Kota Srinivasa Rao- Art- Andhra Pradesh
46. Prof Bimal Roy- Literature and Education- West Bengal
47. Shekhar Sen- Art- Maharashtra
48. Gunvant Shah- Literature and Education- Gujarat
49. Brahmdev Sharma- Literature and Education- Delhi
50. Manu Sharma- Literature and Education- Uttar Pradesh
51. Prof Yog Raj Sharma- Medicine- Delhi
52. Vasant Shastri- Science and Engg- Karnataka
53. SK Shivkumar- Science and Engg- Karnataka
54. PV Sindhu- Sports- Telangana
55. Sardara Singh- Sports- Haryana
56. Arunima Sinha-Sports- Uttar Pradesh
57. Mahesh Raj Soni- Art- Rajasthan
58. Dr Nikhil Tandon- Medicine- Delhi
59. H Thegtse Rinpoche- Social Work- Arunachal Pradesh
60. Dr Hargovind Laxmishanker Trivedi- Medicine- Gujarat
61. Huang Baosheng- Others- China
62. Prof Jacques Blamont- Science and Engg- France
63. Late Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin- Others- Maharashtra (Posthumous)
64. Jean-Claude Carriere- Literature and Education – France
65. Dr Nandrajan ‘Raj’ Chetty- Literature and Education- France
66. George L Hart- Others- USA
67. Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja- Others- Portugal
68. Late Meetha Lal Mehta- Social Work- Rajasthan (Posthumous)
69. Tripti Mukherjee- Art- USA
70. Dr Dattatreyudu Nori- Medicine- USA
71. Dr Raghu Rama Pillarisetti (Medicine), USA
72. Dr Saumitra Rawat- Medicine- UK
73. Prof Annette Schmiedchen (Literature and Education), Germany
74. Late Pran Kumar Sharma alias Pran- Art- Delhi (Posthumous)
75. Late R Vasudevan- Civil Service- Tamil Nadu (Posthumous)
SPORTS & GAMES
Andy Murray Won ATP World Tennis Championship
Britain’s Andy Murray Andy Murray won the ATP World Tennis Championship at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on 4 January.He won the title after the Serbia’s Novak Djokovic withdrew from the final match citing illness.This was the first title of year 2015 for Andy Murray.
Brisbane Tennis Tournament Winners – 2015
Women’s Singles :- Maria Sharapova of Russia won the Brisbane International women’s singles title on 10 January.She defeated Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic in the final.It was her 34th career title.
Men’s Singles :- Switzerland’s Roger Federar won the Men’s singles title. He defeated Milos Raonic of Canada in the final.It’s a grand number for a 17-time Grand Slam champion, making him the only player after Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) to win 1,000 times on the men’s professional tour. Its the 83rd career title for this 17-time Grand Slam champion.
South Africa’s AB de Villiers Scores Fastest One-day International Century
South Africa’s batsman AB de Villiers hit the fastest century in One-Day International (ODI) cricket. AB de Villiers scored the century in just 31 balls. He achieved the feat in second ODI match of the 5-match ODI series played on 18 January at the Wanderers in Johannesburg against West Indies. The previous record was held by New Zealand’s Corey Anderson who scored a century in 36 balls against the West Indies on 1 January 2014.On the way to make the world record of fastest century, Villiers went to fifty off 16 balls, one ball less than Sanath Jayasuriya’s 19-year old record of the fastest ODI half-century. Jayasuriya scored the fifty in 17 balls for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in 1995-96.
Australian Open Tennis Tournament Winners – 2015
Women’s singles :- Serena Williams of US won the women’s singles title of Australian Open 2015 on 31 January 2015 by defeating Maria Sharapova.This was her sixth Australian Open singles title and 19th singles Grand Slam title. With this she overtook 18-time Grand Slam winners Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. She is now just three titles away from Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles.
Men’s Singles :- Novak Djokovic (Serbia) won the Australian Open Men’s singles title. He defeated Britain’s Andy Murray in the final on 1 February.Djokovic had earlier won the Australian Open titles in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This was his 8th career Grand Slam title. Murray has now been runner-up four times here, losing twice previously to Djokovic in 2011 and 2013 and to Roger Federer in 2010.
ICICI Bank Launched India’s Contactless Credit and Debit Cards
ICICI Bank, the country’s largest private sector one, on 7 January launched contactless credit cards and debits cards called Coral Contactless Credit Card and Expressions Wave Debit Card respectively. These cards will enable customers to make electronic payments by waving the cards near a merchant terminal instead of dipping or swiping the cards.
India’s Growth To Reach 6.3 percent In 2016
According to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2015 report released on 14 January, India’s growth in terms of GDP is expected to reach 5.9 per cent in 2015 and 6.3 per cent in 2016.
Highlights of Report :-
India:- Its growth recovery is partly the result of improved market sentiment after the new government took office in the second quarter of 2014 and had announced plans to reform the bureaucracy, labour laws and public subsidies.
South Asia:- Economic growth in South Asia is set to gradually pick up from an estimated 4.9 percent in 2014 to 5.4 percent in 2015 and 5.7 percent in 2016. India, will account for about 70 percent of regional output in South Asia.
* Average inflation in this region is expected remain moderate at 7.8 percent in 2015 and 7.2 percent in 2016, as commodity prices are likely remain subdued and domestic demand picks up gradually.
Global Economy:- It is expected to grow at 3.1 percent in 2015 and 3.3 percent in 2016, compared with an estimated growth of 2.6 percent in 2014.
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 Report Released
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on 19 January 2015 released World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2015 report. The report projects that the regional growth will pick up in 2015-16, as average GDP growth will accelerate from 5.0 percent in 2014 to 5.3 percent in 2015 and 5.7 percent in 2016.The report has highlighted that the South Asia’s economic growth is set to reach a four-year high in 2015. The average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of South Asia accelerated from 3.7 percent in 2013 to 4.9 percent in 2014, and is projected to strengthen further to 5.4 percent in 2015 and 5.7 per cent in 2016.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme sets Guinness Record
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme was conferred with the Guinness record on 20 January 2015. The PMJDY scheme created a Guinness World Record for opening the maximum number of bank accounts in the shortest possible time. Altogether, 11.5 crore accounts have been opened under the scheme in less than five months. The scheme was launched on 28 August 2014 with a target of 7.5 crore till 26 January 2015. The Guinness authorities officially handed a certificate to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi on 20 January 2015. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is government’s flagship financial inclusion programme that was launched on 28 August 2014 to help people in opening bank accounts.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Scientists Discovered Two New Earth-like Planets
The Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics have discovered two Earth-like planets Kepler 438b and Kepler 442b. The findings of the discovery were published in The Astrophysical Journal on 5 January.The planets were spotted by Nasa’s Kepler space telescope which detects planets as they move across the faces of their stars. Kepler 438b is 475 light years away. It gets about 40 percent more heat from its red sun than Earth gets from the Sun.Kepler-442b is 1100 light-years away. It is 33 percent bigger than Earth and orbits its star once every 112 days. has a 60-percent chance of being rocky.
IAF gets First Indigenously Built LCA Tejas
First indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas was handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at ceremony held on 17 January at Bengaluru, Karanataka.It received its Initial Operational Clearance-I in January 2011, after being built by state-owned HAL. It is expected that the aircraft will receive its Final Operational Clearance by December 2015.
India Successfully Test-Fired Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile Agni-V
India on 31 January successfully test-fired its indigenously developed, intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile ( ICBM) ‘Agni-5′, which has a strike range of over 5000 kms and can carry a nuclear warhead of over one tonne, from Wheeler’s Island off Odisha coast. This was the third successful flight test of the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and the first canister trial. The first test was conducted on April 19, 2012 and the second test on 15 September, 2013 from the same base.
NASA Launches SMAP Satellite
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has on 2 February launched Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite to observe soil moisture.It was launched from the Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SMAP satellite is three-year mission which will measure the amount of moisture in soil. It will produce high-resolution global maps from space and data collected from it will help scientists to monitor droughts and improve flood forecasts.
PERSONS IN NEWS
Arvind Panagariya Takes Charge As NITI Aayog Vice Chairman
Noted economist Arvind Panagariya on 13 January took charge as the first vice-chairman of the newly-created NITI Aayog. NITI Aayog has replaced the 65-year old Planning Commission. He is an Indian-American economist and Professor of Economics at Columbia University.
A.S. Kiran Kumar Took Over As The New Chairman Of ISRO
Alur Seelin Kiran Kumar (A.S. Kiran Kumar) took over as the new Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 14 January 2015.A.S. Kiran Kumar became the 8th Chairman of ISRO.
HS Brahma Takes Charge As Chief Election Commissioner
Hari Shankar Brahma on 16 January assumed charge as the 19th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) after he was elevated to the post on 14 January.He succeeded VS Sampath, whose tenure ended on 15 January 2015.
Leela Samson Resigned As Chairperson of CBFC
Leela Samson on 16 January 2015 resigned as Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification, (CBFC).She was appointed as the Chairperson of CBFC on 1 April 2011.
Veteran Scientist Vasant Gowarikar Died
Space veteran and eminent scientist Vasant Gowarikar was died on 2 January in Pune. He was the chief of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and also the scientific advisor to the Prime Minister of India in 1991-1993. Gowarikar made valuable contributions to the fields of space research, weather and population. Gowarikar was involved in space research in early career under Vikram Sarabhai when his office was in the building of the local St Mary Magdalene Church in Thumba in Kerala. He pioneered solid propelant development and later served as Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) between 1979 and 1985.Gowarikar was awarded Padma Shri in 1984 and Padma Bhushan in 2008. He also received the Fie Foundation Award.
U.S. President Barack Obama Visited India
U.S. President Barack Obama visited India from 25 January to 27 January 2015.As a part of his visit, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral relations as well as on regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern. India and U.S signed several pacts during the official visit of the President of U.S to India. Barack Obama , the President of U.S was the Chief Guest of India on the occasion of the Republic Day parade on 26 January 2015. Obama became the first US president to be chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade. In the visit, the civil nuclear agreement that would allow nuclear contracts to be signed between U.S. firms and India.
Miss Colombia Paulina Vega Crowned Miss Universe 2015
Miss Colombia Paulina Vega was crowned as Miss Universe 2015 at the final of the beauty pageant held in Miami on 25 January 2015. Vega, a 22-year-old student of business administration from Barranquilla, Colombia was crowned by the 2014 pageant winner Venezuelan Gabriela Isler.With this, Vega became the second beauty queen from Colombia to win the title. Luz Marina Zuluaga became the first Colombian to win the crown in 1956.
PLACES IN NEWS
Qantas Named World’s Safest Airline
Australia’s national airline Qantas was named as the world’s safest airline by AirlineRatings.com on 6 January. Qantas, which is in its 95th year of operation, was hailed for “an extraordinary record of firsts” in terms of its safety history and ranked the best of 449 airlines, including low-cost carriers, assessed by the website.
NRDC —- National Research and Development Corporation
POTA —- Prevention of Terrorism Act
SAFTA — South Asian Free Trade Agreement
SAIL —- Steel Authority of India Limited
UNDP —- United Nations Development Programme
VSSC — Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
BOOKS IN NEWS
Vice President Released “The Indian Parliament – A Critical Appraisal”
The Vice President of India M.Hamid Ansari on 8 January released a book entitled “The Indian Parliament – A Critical Apprisal”. The book is authored by Prof. Sudha Pai and Avinash Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.The book examines the credibility and legitimacy of the Indian Parliament and has scrutinised various aspects of its functioning.
Subramanium Committee Recommended Single Window System For Environment Projects
In the month of January 2015, High-level committee (HLC) headed by former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanium submitted its report to Union Government. In its recommendation, the committee suggested single window clearance mechanism for green nods.The committee has suggested an umbrella law to help set up new national and state-level regulators that would also take the powers of the existing pollution control boards. The law – Environmental Management Act – would do away with the need for separate Acts to regulate air and water pollution that empower states to give the consent to operate and establish industrial units.
IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES
National Youth Day Observed Across India on 12 January
National Youth Day was observed across India on 12 January 2015. The day is observed annually to mark the birth anniversary of social reformer, philosopher and thinker Swami Vivekananda. This is the 152nd birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and his birth anniversary is being celebrated as National Youth Day in India since 1985.The Union Government in 1984 had declared that 12 January, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda will be observed as the National Youth Day.Swami Vivekananda’s lectures and writings are a source of inspiration for youth and have motivated numerous youth organisation.His writings derive their inspiration from Indian spiritual tradition and the broad outlook of his Master Sri Ramakrishna. All his teachings can be found in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, in nine volumes, published by Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata. Swami Vivekananda was born on 12 January 1863 as Narendra Nath Datta and regarded as a patriotic saint of India.
National Girl Child Day Observed On 24 January
National Girl Child Day is observed on 24 January 2015 across the nation. This celebration was started to offer more supports and new opportunities to the girls in the country. It is celebrated to increase the awareness among people about all the inequalities faced by the girl child in the society. This day is being observed every year on 24 January since 2008.