1- Padmasree Warrior, India-born Chief Technology Officer of Cisco resigns
Padmasree Warrior, India-born has stepped down from her post of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at global IT giant Cisco. She had resigned after a significant restructuring of top management of Cisco under incoming CEO Chuck Robbins. Now she will have advisory post in Cisco till September 2015. She had joined Cisco in 2008 and had served as CTO and senior vice-president of engineering during her seven years at the company.
About Padmasree Warrior
Warrior is an alumnus of the IIT-Delhi and Cornell University. She is one of Silicon Valley’s high-profile female executives and has been homered with numerous leadership awards. In recently released Forbes Magazine’s 12th annual list of World’s 100 most powerful women she was placed at 84th position. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Cornell University and serves on the Board of Directors of Gap Inc. She also is on the Board of Directors for Thorn, formerly known as DNA Foundation.
2- Union Cabinet approves Rs 6,000 crore interest-free loan to sugar mills
Union Cabinet approved an interest-free loan i.e. soft loan to the tune of 6,000 crore rupees to enable sugar mills pay arrears to farmers. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Apart from this decision cabinet also approved hike in prices of Ethanol. As per this decision, interest on the loan will not be charged for a year but the interest will be borne by the Union government from sugar development fund. The money to be paid as arrears to farmers under this loan will be directed credited in Jan Dhan accounts of farmers. It should be noted that Sugar mills in India owe over 21,000 crore rupees to farmers because they were not able to sell sugar stocks which have remained unsold due to falling prices of raw sugar in domestic and international markets.
Apart from these decisions Union Cabinet also Approved promulgation of negotiable instruments ordinance which to allow courts hear dispute of bouncing of cheques in the payee’s location. Allowed three plants to produce urea out of Naptha in Madras Fertilizers Ltd (Tamil Nadu), Southern Petrochemicals Industries Corporation (Andhra Pradesh) and Mangalore Chemical and Fertilizers Ltd (Karnataka) respectively.
3- Yellow-Breasted Buntings on the verge of extinction: Study
As per recent study published in the Conservation Biology journal, Yellow-breasted buntings (Emberiza aureola), a songbird are near to extinction. The study has mentioned that population this bird species which is also known as he “rice bird” in China has plunged by 90 percent since 1980 and disappearing from Eastern Europe, Japan and parts of Russia. The main reason mentioned in the study for decline of songbirds is illegal hunting for food and sold on the black market in China.
Earlier in 1997, China had banned China the hunting of the species following initial population declines but failed to implement to conservation measures to protect them. Since 2013, Yellow-breasted buntings have been classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an endangered species due to rapid population decline. The paper compares hunting of this species with the North American passenger pigeon, which became extinct in 1914 due to industrial-scale hunting. It should be noted that Yellow-breasted buntings is Eurasian passerine bird that belongs to the bunting family (Emberizidae). It is migratory bird wintering in south-east Asia, India, and southern China.
4- Jind, Karnal and Muzaffarnagar districts added in National Capital Region
Haryana’s Jind, Karnal districts and Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district have been added into the conurbation National Capital Region (NCR). Decision in this regard was taken at 35th meeting of National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) held New Delhi. The meeting was presided by Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu who is Chairman of the NCRPB. The meeting was attended by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and representatives and government officials of other member states. With this inclusion the total districts in NCR has rose to 23 (including Delhi NCT) which covers a total area of 51,109 square km.
About National Capital Region (NCR)
NCR is the designation for the conurbation or metropolitan area formed by National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB). It encompasses the entire Delhi NCT and urban areas surrounding it in neighboring states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. NCRPB is statutory body established in 1985 under the National Capital Region Planning Board Act, 1985 to develop a planned metropolitan development NCR region. It also seeks to protect Delhi’s infrastructure from excessive pressure by diverting increasing population from the region. NCR is India’s largest and one of the world’s largest agglomerations in terms of population (around 54,000,000 as per 2011 Census). Tags: Delhi • Haryana • Uttar Pradesh
5- Mahendra Kumar Sharma appointed as non-executive Chairman of ICICI Bank
Mahendra Kumar Sharma was appointed as non-executive chairman of India’s largest private sector lender Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank. He will replace K V Kamath who had resigned from top most in order to join as President of the Shanghai based New Development Bank established by the BRICS nations. Presently, Sharma is an independent director of two subsidiaries of ICICI Bank viz ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company and ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company. Earlier from 2003 to 2011, he also had served as an independent director on the board of ICICI Bank.
Prior to joining ICICI Bank, Sharma was vice-president of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and was associated with HUL from 1974 to 2007. He has a strong understanding of legal and corporate governance matters and had joined HUL in 1974 as a legal manager.
Government Committees: Sharma also had served as a member of the Corporate Law Committee formed by Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs to redraft the Companies Act. He was also a member of the Committee on Corporate Governance formed by the Union Government.
6- P L Subramanian appointed as non-executive Director of India Cements Limited
P L Subramanian has been appointed as Non-Executive Director India Cements Limited (CIL) with an immediate effect. Subramanian had joined former BCCI President N Srinivasan-led India Cements in 1986 and had served in various responsibilities. He had retired from service in May 2015 after serving as Executive Director (Operations) of the company. He also had served as a Director of Andhra Pradesh Gas Power Corporation Limited, India Cements Infrastructures Limited, Coromandel Electric Company Limited and Trishul Concrete Products Limited.
About India Cements Limited (CIL)
CIL is a cement manufacturing company in India established in 1946. At present it has eight integrated cement plants and two grinding units with capacity over 9 million tons per annum. Their plants are spread over Southern India that caters to major markets in South India Sankarnagar, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu India and Maharashtra The CIL’s first plant was set up at Thalaiyuthu in Tamil Nadu in 1949
Headquarters: Sankarnagar in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. Since 2013, Indian ODI cricket team captain MS Dhoni is Vice President of the India Cements Limited.
7- Indian-origin scientist Manu Prakash developed World’s first water-based computer
Indian-origin scientist Manu Prakash along with his team on 10 June 2015 developed World’s first water-based computer. The results were published in the journal Nature Physics. Manu Prakash is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University. They have built a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets. The work combines Prakash’s expertise in manipulating droplet fluid dynamics with a fundamental element of computer science – an operating clock.
How the computer was made?
The first step towards making a computer based on water droplet was to develop an operating computer clock which is responsible for nearly every modern convenience. A clock makes sure that these operations start and stop at the same times, thus ensuring that the information synchronizes.
Further, the clock needed to be easy to manipulate, and also able to influence multiple droplets at a time. The system also needed to be scalable so that in the future, a large number of droplets could communicate amongst each other without skipping a beat. This was realized through developing a rotating magnetic field. Katsikis and Prakash built arrays of tiny iron bars on glass slides that look something like a Pac-Man maze. They laid a blank glass slide on top and sandwiched a layer of oil in between. Then they carefully injected into the mix individual water droplets that had been infused with tiny magnetic nanoparticles. Next, they turned on the magnetic field. Every time the field flips, the polarity of the bars reverses, drawing the magnetized droplets in a new, predetermined direction, like slot cars on a track. Every rotation of the field counts as one clock cycle, like a second hand making a full circle on a clock face, and every drop marches exactly one step forward with each cycle.
A camera records the interactions between individual droplets, allowing observation of computation as it occurs in real time. The presence or absence of a droplet represents the 1s and 0s of binary code, and the clock ensures that all the droplets move in perfect synchrony, and thus the system can run virtually forever without any errors.
Because of its universal nature, the droplet computer can theoretically perform any operation that a conventional electronic computer can crunch, although at significantly slower rates. The ability to precisely control droplets using fluidic computation could have a number of applications in high-end biology and chemistry and scalable digital manufacturing.
8- Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar appointed as Director of CSIR-IICT
Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar
Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar on 9 June 2015 was appointed as the Director of Hyderabad-based CSIR-Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT). The appointment was made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is President of the CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). He is currently working as Chief Scientist at the IICT to which he was appointed in 2010. He has made significant contributions in the field of organic chemistry, synthesis of active natural products and pharmaceutical products. He has more than 250 publications under his name along with 5000 citations. He is also the fellow of all the three science academies of the country including National Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences and Indian National Science Academy.
Moreover, he developed PEG (polyethylene glycol) which has many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicines. He also invented technologies for anti-depressive compound, sertraline, Asenapine, anti-tuberculosis drug, etc. For his contributions, Dr. Chandrasekhar was also awarded the Infosys Prize in 2014 in Physical Sciences, thus becoming the first synthetic chemist to be honoured with the Infosys science award.
9- PVR Ltd agreed to acquire DLF’s DT Cinemas for 500 crore rupees
PVR Ltd, India’s largest multiplex chain, on 9 June 2015 agreed to acquire DLF’s DT Cinemas for 500 crore rupees. The board of directors of the company at its meeting approved the acquisition of the cinema exhibition business of DLF Utilities ltd. This deal is part of DLF’s strategy to exit non-core businesses and cut huge debt of over 20000 crore rupees. On the other hand, it will help PVR Cinemas expand its presence in North India. DT Cinemas is the wholly-owned subsidiary of realty giant DLF. It has 29 screens with a seating capacity of more than 6000, while PVR Cinemas has 467 screens in 105 properties in 43 cities.
Earlier in November 2009 DLF had signed an agreement with PVR to sell DT Cinemas, but deal fell through in February 2010. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. was the legal adviser to PVR and EY India and Luthra & Luthra were financial and legal advisers respectively to DLF. The acquisition of DT Cinemas by PVR is a continuation of acquisitions being seen in the entertainment industry. In December 2014, Carnival Group acquired Big Cinemas from Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group for an estimated 700 crore rupees, the biggest ever in this sector.
In July 2014, Inox Leisure acquired Gurgaon-based rival Satyam Cineplexes in a 182-crore rupees deal to strengthen its presence in North India.
10- Indian Army carried out cross-border operation against militants in Myanmar
Special Forces of the Indian Army in coordination with the Air Force on 9 June 2015 carried out surgical operations (cross-border operation) inside Myanmar to target militant groups. In this one of the first-of-its-kind cross-border operation about 50 militants of groups namely NSCN (K) and KYKL were killed. They were hiding along the Nagaland-Myanmar and Manipur-Myanmar border. The move for such a surgical operation was taken after militant groups killed 18 jawans of 6 Dogra Regiment of Indian Army in an ambush in Chandel district of Manipur on 4 June 2015. The operation was guided by specific and precise intelligence input. The strike was carried out inside Myanmar with the coordination of local authorities. The preparedness and finesse of the operation could be gauged from the fact that Indian Army did not suffer any sort of casualty.
How this move is different from past operations?
This cross-border operation is not new for Indian Army as in past it has carried out such operations. In April-May 1995, Operation Golden Bird was launched as an India-Myanmar joint operation along the Mizoram border which killed almost 40 militants.
In December 2003, Operation All Clear was launched in partnership with Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) which neutralized (either killed or caught) 650 militants belonging to ULFA, NDFB and KLO.
In 2001 and January 2006, Indian and Myanmar reportedly conducted some small-scale joint military operations inside Myanmar to flush out militants from the NSCN (Khaplang) group.
However, in all the previous operations Indian Army involvement was limited to logistics and medical cover only and it was a joint operation. In this operation, the manpower or artillery support was all of Indian Army and in no way was a joint operation. In fact, India, as per reports, seemed to have let the Myanmar government known about this operation after it had concluded.
Further, with this operation, India has tried to shred its image of Soft State and let the world known that India under the new regime is ready to go to any extent to protect its sovereign interests and security. Also, this operation was a fine example of coordination between different ministries and departments of Indian government, viz., Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence, National Security Adviser (NSA) and intelligence agencies.
11- Indian Basketball Players Association launched in New Delhi
Indian Basketball Players Association (IBPA) started functioning with the official launch of it on 8 June 2015 at Indian Medical Association, New Delhi. The launching ceremony also saw the nomination of President and other members of the IBPA.
Following is the organizational structure of IBPA:
- President: Sajjan Singh Cheema (Arjuna Awardee)
- General Secretary: Jayasankar Menon (Former Asian All Star Basketball player)
- Treasurer: Ashok Sharma (National player and FIBA Commissioner)
- Chairman: Abbas Moontaisar
- Vice-Chairmen: Manmohan Singh and Suman Sharma
The IBPA is proposed to be incorporated as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
12- RBI issued Draft Framework on Issuance of Rupee linked Bonds Overseas
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 9 June 2015 issued Draft Framework on Issuance of Rupee linked Bonds Overseas. It is intended to permit Indian corporate and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to issue rupee-linked bonds overseas.
- Indian corporates eligible to raise external commercial borrowings (ECBs) are permitted to issue Rupee linked bonds overseas.
- The corporates which, at present, are permitted to access ECB under the approval route will require prior permission of the RBI to issue such bonds and those coming under the automatic route can do so without prior permission.
- The bonds may be floated in any jurisdiction that is Financial Action Task Force (FATF) compliant.
- The subscription, coupon payments and redemption may be settled in foreign currency. The proceeds of the bonds can be parked as per the extant provisions on parking of ECB proceeds.
- Banks incorporated in India will not have access to these bonds in any manner whatsoever.
- International Financial Institutions, of which India is a shareholding member intending to deploy the entire proceeds of the issuance in India, would not be requiring any prior permission for the issuance of rupee bonds overseas irrespective of amount of issuance.
- In other cases, where an International Financial Institution (of which India is a member) wishes to retain the freedom to deploy the issue proceeds in any member country would require prior permission from the Reserve Bank / Union Government.
- For dollar-Indian rupee conversion, the Reserve Bank’s reference rate on date of issue would be applicable.
13- Bihar launched campaign Badh Chala Bihar to produce Bihar@2025 vision document
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 9 June 2015 launched a campaign called Badh Chala Bihar in Patna to collate ideas from the public to produce Bihar@2025. It is a vision document on state’s development between 2015 and 2025.
Features of the campaign
- Its purpose is to ensure public participation in policy making.
- It will elicit views of people; encourage them to tell about their issues, and what they want in health, electricity, education, employment and other sectors of development.
- It aims to reach out to four crore people residing in 40000 villages in the state, including 10000 government and civil society members over the next eight to 10 weeks.
- Views will also be sought from people hailing from nonresident Biharis, as well as from specialists in different fields.
- It is touted as world’s largest campaign for participatory agenda through massive engagement of citizens.
- All the views and opinions collected as part of the campaign will be documented and included to prepare Bihar@2025.
14- Nepal political parties reached agreement on proposed Constitution framework
Major political parties of Nepal on 9 June 2015 reached an agreement on the proposed framework of national Constitution providing for federal structure, form of governance, electoral and judicial systems. The agreement was signed in the capital Kathmandu by the leaders of the ruling Nepali Congress (NC), the main opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN) – Maoist and two other major political parties in the Constituent Assembly.
Key Features of the Agreement
- Nepal will be divided into eight federal states whose names and boundaries will be decided by separate bodies.
- A new federal commission will be tasked with drawing up internal borders and submit a proposal for approval in the Parliament.
- Nepal will continue with its current system of national governance which includes executive Prime Minister and ceremonial President.
- The parties agreed to conduct elections to local bodies which were held for the last time in 1997.
The final draft of the constitution, which must be approved by a two-thirds parliamentary majority, is expected to be ready by July 2015.
The political parties were compelled to show unity and expedite the process of writing a new constitution after the April 25 earthquake as the lack of legitimate political and administrative structures at the National and Local level has been hampering the relief operations. April 25 earthquake killed an estimated 8500 people and affected some 10 million people (about half of the population).
The end of deadlock since 2008 on a new Constitutional framework, however, leaves the crucial issue of the provincial borders unresolved. This could give rise to problem in future as for long time UCPN (Maoist) had been pushing for new provinces to be created along lines that could favour historically marginalised communities, and other parties like NC argues that the move would be divisive and a threat to national unity.
Nepal started the work on a new national Constitution in 2008 following a decade-long Maoist insurgency that left an estimated 16000 people dead and brought down the monarchy.
15- Shah Rukh Khan acquired CPL T20 team Trinidad & Tobago
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) co-owner Shah Rukh Khan on 9 June 2015 acquired Carribean Premier League (CPL) T20 team Trinidad & Tobago (T&T). Shah Rukh Khan is the first owner of an Indian Premier League team to own an overseas cricket franchise. Khan’s company Red Chillies Entertainment Pvt Ltd along with KKR co-owners Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta invested in the T&T franchise.
Hollywood stars Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler already own CPL franchises. Wahlberg owns reigning champions Barbados Tridents, led by Kieron Pollard, while Butler owns Jamaica Tallawahs, captained by Chris Gayle.
The next edition of the tournament is scheduled to run from 20 June 2015 to 26 July 2015. KKR, IPL champions in 2012 and 2014, have been ranked the most valuable IPL team with a brand value of 86 million US dollar (over 500 crore rupees).
16- AMC launched USE and GET PAID scheme; Public Toilet Users to be paid 1 rupee
Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on 9 June 2015 announced USE and GET PAID scheme, under which people will be paid one rupees for using public toilets. The announced scheme aims to eradicate the practice of open defecation and will help to keep the city clean. The scheme was recently approved by the standing committee of the AMC. According to the health officer of AMC, every user will not be paid but the corporation will identify people who defecate in open and sensitise them to use public toilets. The scheme will be implemented in next few days.
AMC has turned around its previous scheme PAY and USE, under which people were supposed to pay for using the public toilets. The scheme was launched after the corporation indentified 120 spots in the city where people used to defecate in the open. Now, these places will be provided with lavatory facilities.
17- RBI announced Strategic Debt Restructuring Scheme
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 8 June 2015 announced Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR) Scheme which allows banks and non-banking lending institutions to convert their loans into equity stake. The scheme will benefit all Scheduled Commercial Banks, excluding Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), all-India term-lending and Refinancing Institutions including Export-Import (EXIM) Bank and National Housing Bank (NHB) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Key Features of Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR) Scheme
- Lenders will have the right to convert their outstanding loans into a majority equity stake if the borrower fails to meet conditions stipulated under the restructuring package.
- Lenders must stipulate in the debt restructuring deal itself that if the borrower fails to meet certain milestones in terms of performance, they would have the option to convert part or whole of the debt into equity.
- A decision on invoking the SDR should be taken within 30 days after a review of the account of borrowers. It should be approved by 75 percent of the creditors by value and 60 percent of creditors by number.
- The lenders must approve the SDR conversion package within 90 days after taking such a decision.
- Post conversion, all lenders should together own 51 percent or more of the company’s equity.
- A joint lenders forum (JLF) should closely monitor a company’s performance and appoint a suitable professional management.
- Lenders should divest equity holdings of the company to new promoters as soon as possible.
- New promoter should not be a person/entity/subsidiary/associate, etc (domestic as well as overseas), from the existing promoter/promoter group.
- The new promoter has to acquire the entire 51 percent. However, if foreign investment is limited to less than 51 percent, the new promoter should own at least 26 percent of the paid-up equity capital or up to the applicable foreign investment limit.
- On divestment of banks’ holding in favour of a new promoter, the asset classification of the account may be upgraded to standard.
- The formula for conversion of debt into equity will be different from existing norms laid down by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for banks.
- The price of debt to equity conversion will be capped either at the market value of the borrowing company (if it is listed) or the book value as per the latest balance sheet (for unlisted firms). Share conversion cannot happen at below par that is less than the face value of 10 rupees.
- Conversion of debt into equity will also be exempted from regulatory ceilings on capital market exposures, investment in para-banking activities and intra-group exposure.
RBI announced the scheme against the backdrop of huge surge in bad loans or Non Performing Assets (NPAs) in the banking system. As per an estimate, the Gross NPAs may rise to 5.9 percent of total advances during 2015-16 against 4.4 percent during 2014-15. NPAs are those assets, where Interest and/or installment of principal remain overdue for a period of more than 90 days in respect of a term loan.
18- Bombay High Court banned horse driven carriages in Mumbai
The Bombay High Court on 8 June 2015 banned horse driven carriages in Mumbai. The judgment was delivered by the Division Bench of Justices A S Oka and A K Menon on a petition by the Animals and Birds Charitable Trust. The petitioners contended that the horses were forced to overwork.
The bench termed that the use of horse carriages for joyrides is illegal and granted one year to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to implement the complete ban. In Mumbai, the decorated horse-driven carriages are used for joyrides at Marine Drive and other beaches.
The court also directed the state government to identify the number of families whose livelihoods were connected with the running of horse carriages and come up with schemes for their rehabilitation by December 2015. The government would also have to formulate schemes for rehabilitation of the animals.
After the expiry of the one-year period, the MCGM would have to close down all the stables meant for horses and ponies and take action under the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
19- 41st G7 summit held in Germany
G7 Summit 2015 was held at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany from 7 June to 8 June 2015. This was the 41st G7 summit and the theme for the summit was Think Ahead. Act Together. The Summit focused on the global economy as well as on key issues regarding foreign, security, environment and development policy. Further, the UN conferences to be held in 2015 as well as the post-2015 agenda and the issues of sanctions against Russia were also discussed.
The G7 Summit 2015 deliberated on following issues
- Protection of the marine environment and resources and marine governance.
- Antibiotic resistance, neglected and poverty-related diseases and Ebola.
- Retail and supply chain standards.
- Empowerment of women by giving vocational training.
After the talks, the leaders of the G7 committed to raising a 100 billion US dollars fund through public and private sources to combat the rising global temperatures and agreed to implement international mechanisms to bolster global healthcare security by creating a financial instrument at the World Bank to react better to pandemics.
The Summit was attended by all the seven members’ viz., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the European Commission (EC). EC is a permanently welcome participant in all meetings and decision-making since 1981.
The guest invitees for the event included Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and the UN.
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