Union Urban Development Ministry, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have agreed to partner in Swachh Bharat programme. In this regard, USAID has inked a pact with the Urban Development Ministry while BGMF signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. The Memoranda were signed in presence of Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma.
As a global partner in Swachh Bharat programme, USAID will assist union governments flagship programme by knowledge exchange and identification and sharing of best practices for water and sanitation services. It will also provide technical support and promote public private partnership (PPP) and spend about $2.50 million per year on these activities. While, BMGF as a partner will provide technical and management support in the implementation of the mission. It will provide coordination of decentralised and non-sewered sanitation solutions, implementation and management through skill development focusing on towns located along the Ganga river at a cost of $2.50 million annually. Thus it can be said that Government’s Swachchh Bharat Mission got global boost, which will take sanitation beyond construction of toilets and offers holistic solutions towards cleanliness.
Pope Francis has declared 17th century Indian priest and missionary Joseph Vaz as saint in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Pope announced it while addressing a holy mass for 5 lakh people at the Gall Face Green in Colombo. Joseph Vaz has become first priest from Sri Lanka, canonised as saint.
He was born on 21 April 1651 in Benaulim Goa (then Portuguese India) and was ordained as priest in 1676 in Goa. Later in 1687, he moved to Sri Lanka and worked for revival of Catholic Church in a period of Dutch repression of Catholics. Since then he had founded several churches and chapels, helping revive the faith of Catholics by Calvinists in Sri Lanka. He died in 1711 and was beatified by Pope John Paull II in Colombo on 21 January 1995.
The team of ISRO’s Mars Mission has been awarded 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the Science and Engineering category by National Space Society (NSS). They are being conferred with this award for achieving the rare feat of entering Mars orbit in maiden attempt. Mars Orbiter Programme Team will receive the award during NSS’ 34th International Space Development Conference which will be held in Toronto from 20 May 2015.
It was launched on 5 November, 2013. It made history on 24 September 2014 after it entered Mars orbit in maiden attempt. It achieved two significant missions. First, entering into orbit around Mars and secondly, taking full-disk colour imagery of Mars with its onboard high resolution camera. It should be noted that, the Mars Orbiter programme team is located in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It is headed by eminent ISRO scientist Mylswamy Annadurai.
It recognizes those individuals and teams whose accomplishments have helped to open the space frontier. It was instituted in 1988. This prestigious award is be given by the National Space Society (NSS), an American educational and scientific organization. Award memento consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast. It is casted by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California. Originally, this sculpture was created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist.
Union Government has sacked chief of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) Avinash Chander, 16 months before his contract end. Termination of his contract was approved by Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with effect from 31 January 2015. He was appointed as DRDO chief in June 2013. He was to retire on 30 November 2014, but government had extended his tenure beyond his retirement on contract basis.
In 1972, he had joined DRDO after completing graduation in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. He is a fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineers. He is the chief architect of Agni series of ballistic missile systems and considered as Agni man of India. India’s range of Agni missiles were developed missiles under his technology forecast, perspective planning and relentless efforts.
Awards: He was awarded Padma Shri for his contribution in the successful development of 5000-km range Agni-V missile.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano has resigned from office. He has resigned citing reason of poor health ahead of his 2020 expiry term. He also announced his retirement after stepping down as President.
He was a long-time member of the Italian Communist Party and was elected to Italian parliament for first time in 1953. He was Minister of Interior from 1996 to 1998 under then Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
President: In 2006, he was elected by parliament as President of Italy for first time. He was re-elected as President in 2013 and was to retire in 2020. He is longest-serving President of Italy and was in office for around 8 years. As a President, he was regarded as a guarantor of stability amid of current unstable governments and Italy’s longest recession since World War II.
President of Italy: His role is mainly ceremonial but can declare legislation unconstitutional. He also has the power to dissolve parliament, nominate prime ministers and call early elections. He has tenure of 7 years.
Eminent Sanskrit scholar Prabhu Nath Dwivedi has been conferred with prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award 2014 for Sanskrit language. He was chosen for his work Kanakalochanaha- a collection of 16 short-stories based upon various social issues eroding the system. His book was selected by a three-member jury of the Sahitya Akademi. Mr Diwedi is Sanskrit teacher and has been teaching in various universities for more than three decades.
Earlier in December 2014, Sahitya Akademi had announced names of 22 poets and authors for prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award 2014. But they had not announced the winners of Manipuri and Sanskrit language.
Sahitya Akademi Award (साहित्य अकादमी पुरस्कार) is conferred on writers of outstanding works in one of the twenty-four major Indian languages. 24 major Indian languages are- Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthan, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. The
M.Y.S. Prasad, director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range (SHAR), has been selected for the prestigious Vikram Sarabhai memorial award 2014-15. He will be presented award by the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). He was selected for this award for his outstanding contribution to R&D in the field of space science in his long and chequered career at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Prior to Dr. Prasad, former ISRO chairmen Dr. Satish Dhawan, Dr. K. Kasturi Rangan, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair and Dr. K. Radhakrishnan have received this prestigious award.
It was instituted in 1997-98 by ISCA- a premier scientific organization of the country. Every alternate year it is awarded to distinguished scientist of the country in recognition of their outstanding contributions. This award comprises a gold medal and certificate and presented at the inaugural function of the Annual Session of ISCA.
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