The fourth Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvette of Project-28 christened Kavaratti was on 19 May 2015 launched at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata. In keeping with the nautical traditions, the ship was launched by Manita Singh, wife of the Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh.
The four ships of Project-28 built by GRSE, Kolkata have been designed indigenously by the Directorate of Naval Design, New Delhi and bear the testimony to the acclaimed legacy of Naval Designers. The ships have been constructed using high grade steel (DMR 249A) produced in India.
In addition to these features, Kavaratti will be packed with an array of state of art weapons and sensors, including a Medium Range Gun, Torpedo Tube Launchers as well as Rocket Launchers, Close-In Weapon System and Chaff System.
The state government of Delhi on 19 May 2015 decided to launch Pay & Play Scheme at the designated stadiums or sports complexes. The scheme is planned to promote sports for all age groups in the national capital. The scheme would begin from 1 July 2015 in the morning session from 6 am to 9.30 am. The facilities would be free of cost for school students and disabled persons.
Under the scheme, people can play game available within the stadiums and complexes by paying a nominal fee of 100 rupees per month. For this purpose, the state government has ordered opening up of several stadiums and sports complexes. It has also decided that academies or clubs or individuals will have access to government schools for sports promotion.
At present, the membership for sports facilities is available in Thyagraj Stadium, Ludlow Castle Sports Complex and Chhatrasal Stadium.
Researchers have discovered the driest location on Earth in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The site discovered is called as Maria Elena South (MES). It was discovered by team of research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle, United States.
This discovered site is dry as Mars and has a mean atmospheric relative humidity (RH) of 17.3 percent and a soil RH of a constant 14 percent at a depth of one meter. Soil value taken form the MES site matches the lowest RH measurements taken on Mars by the Mars Science Laboratory at Gale Crater. Thus, making these conditions to establish the fact that this site is as dry as those found recently on the Martian surface.
Apart from this scientist also have found some bacteria species living there in the soil profile. This discovery also has toppled the Yungay region which was the driest area of the hyper-arid Atacama desert. Yungay region conditions were close to the so-called dry limit for life on Earth. However, with this discover MES is much drier than Yungay.
Shivani Agarwal and Maharaja Pandit are two Indians who have been selected for the prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship by Harvard University. Both of them are among the 50 scholars, scientists and artists who will begin their one-year fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute in September 2015.
Shivani Agarwal is from Indian Institute of Science has been selected as William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow for learning to make choices in the era of big data.
Maharaja Pandit from University of Delhi has been selected as Hardy Fellow for his project life in Himalaya.
Meghalaya has achieved 100 percent success in implementing Union Government’s flagship scheme for financial inclusion-Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY). In the state, all eleven districts have been able to open at least one bank account of every household under the ambitious scheme. More than 5.53 lakh households have been covered with 1.55 lakh new bank accounts. The rural population has given more response to the financial inclusion scheme in the state compared to the urban population. Over 1.8 lakh bank accounts have been opened in rural areas, while in urban area the figure is over 47,000. All banks both from private and public sectors have contributed in successfully implementing the scheme. So far, under the PMJDY, banks have issued more than 1.31 lakh Rupay cards.
It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the goal of eradicating financial untouchability of the poor by opening at least one bank account for every family in the country in less than six months. It seeks to financially empower the poor by providing them access to formal banking system. It also seeks to provide platform for Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) which will curb leakages in government subsidies and thus saving government exchequer. Initially, after its launch the scheme had a target of opening 7.5 crore bank accounts by January 26, 2015, but later it was revised and raised to 10 crore bank accounts.
President Pranab Mukherjee on 20 May 2015 inaugurated the 50th anniversary of India’s first historic climb of Mount Everest in 1965 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The event was organized by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.
On 20 May 1965, Indian team led by Captain Mohan Singh Kohli of Indian Navy made history by climbing 8848-metres high Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak, for the first time after a series of three unsuccessful attempt in as many as five years. The team of Kohli comprised of 21-man and out of these nine men were successful in reaching the summit.
Nawang Gombu, the Sherpa who was the member of the team, became the first person to reach the summit twice, firstly with an American expedition in 1963. Kohli, now 83, wrote a book on the expedition titled Nine Atop Everest.
Sudha Shivpuri Popular Indian stage, film and television actress Sudha Shivpuri died on 20 May 2015 due to multiple organ failure at a suburban hospital in Andheri. She was 77. Now, she is survived by her son Vineet and daughter Ritu, who is an actress. She was married to veteran bollywood actor Om Shivpuri, who passed away on 15 October 1990.
Shivpuri gained popularity for her role as Baa in television show Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, the longest running TV show of Ekta Kapoor. She began her acting career at an early age in 1977 with Basu Chatterjee’s film Swami. She also acted in films like Hamari Bahu Alka, Insaaf Ka Tarazu, Vidhaata, Sawan Ko Aane Do, Burning Train, Maya Memsaab and Pinjar based on Amrita Pritam’s famous partition novel. Her works in TV shows include Rajni, Kasamh Se, Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil, Sheeshe Ka Ghar, Waqt Ka Dariya, Daman, and others.
In 2009, Sudha Shivpuri was conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
The northern village of Sri Lanka where LTTE rebels fought their last fight Mullivaikkal, the northern village of Sri Lanka was in news on 19 May 2015 as for the first time in six years the Sri Lankan Tamils publicly commemorated those Tamilians who lost their lives during the civil war between Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan Army.
The Mullivaikkal village is the village where LTTE rebels fought their last fight against security forces in a war that lasted for 37 years. The fight ended on 19 May 2009. In the war, as per the United Nations estimates, some 40000 Tamil civilians were killed in the district that includes Mullivaikkal village where they had fled after the government declared it a safe area. They were able to commemorate the day because the country’s new government under President Maithripala Sirisena lifted a ban on commemorating Tamil victims. The commemoration was presided over by the Tamil Chief Minister of Northern Province, CV Wigneswaran who lighted a ceremony lamp on the occasion at a makeshift memorial at Mullivaikal. Then hundreds of Tamils also lit oil lamps during the ceremony.
Besides, the Sri Lankan government also observed the 6th anniversary of defeat of LTTE with a Remembrance Day ceremony at Matara. Till 2014, 19 May was observed as Victory Day, but President Maithripala Sirisena government decided to change the nature of ceremony and renamed it as Remembrance Day for those who sacrificed for the unity of the country.
The Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 20 March 2015 notified the SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 2015. The notified regulations dropped the 20-25 rule requiring a minimum of 20 investors and a cap of 25 percent investment by an individual investor in a particular scheme, for certain foreign entities. The rule will not be applicable to funds managed by local fund managers in regard to Category I and/or Category II FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors).
Category I FPIs includes government and government related entities and Category II FPIs includes both broad based entities such as mutual funds, investments trusts and persons such as portfolio managers, investment managers, asset management companies, banks among others. The relaxation of the rule aimed at making easier for domestic mutual funds to manage offshore pooled assets.
Earlier, the funds not adhering to the 20-25 rule were bound to appoint a separate fund manager to manage the funds.
The Union Ministry of Finance on 19 May 2015 released the draft outline of Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS). The Ministry prepared the draft after due deliberations and consultations with various stakeholders which includes banks, refineries, hallmarking centres, jewellers’ associations, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and various government departments.
The Ministry has sought comments from stakeholders by 2 June 2015.
Since the implementation of the scheme requires a vast set-up of infrastructure for facilitating easy and secure handling of gold, it will be initially launched only in selected cities and over time, as the infrastructure for assaying and refining of gold develops, will be extended to other cities.
Stage 1: Customer willing to monetize gold, which is in the form of bullion or jewellary, will approach Purity Testing Centre (PTC). In a PTC, a preliminary XRF machine-test (Preliminary Test) will be conducted to assess the approximate amount of pure gold. The minimum quantity of gold that a customer can bring is proposed to be set at 30 grams and around 350 Hallmarking Centres that are certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will act as PTCs to test the gold.
Stage 2: After the preliminary assessment, if the customer gives his consent for melting the gold, a further test of purity (Fire Assay Test) will be conducted at the same PTC. The test will melt the gold and net weight of gold will be estimated.
Stage 3: After the result of the Fire Assay Test, if the customer willing to deposit the gold he will be given a certificate by the collection centre certifying the amount and purity of the deposited gold; Otherwise he can take back the melted gold in the form of gold bars after paying a nominal fee.
Stage 4: The depositor produces the certificate at the bank and the bank in turn will open a Gold Savings Account for the depositor and credit the quantity of gold into the depositor’s account. Simultaneously, the PTC will also inform the bank about the deposit made.
Stage 5: The bank will pay interest to the depositor after 30/60 days of opening of the account. The amount of interest rate to be given is proposed to be left to the banks to decide.
Both principal and interest to be paid to the depositors will be valued in gold. For example if a customer deposits 100 gms of gold and gets 1 per cent interest, then, on maturity he has a credit of 101 gms. The tenure of deposit will be a minimum period of 1 year and with a roll out in multiples of one year. The depositor will have the option of redemption either in cash or in gold, which will have to be exercised at the time of deposit.
Similar to the Gold Deposit Scheme (1999), in which the customers received Capital Gains Tax, Wealth tax and Income Tax exemptions, the depositors of GMS also will receive similar benefits after due examination.
PTC will send the gold to the refiners. The refiners will keep the gold in their ware-houses, unless the banks prefer to hold it themselves. The refiners will be paid a fee by the banks, as decided by them, mutually. The banks will also be permitted to exercise following options regarding utilization of gold it collected from the depositors.
For implementation of the scheme, the banks will enter into a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with refiners and PTCs that are selected by them to be their partners in the scheme.
The European Union (EU) on 18 May 2015 approved a plan that empowers naval force to combat smugglers operating from Libya and tackle illegal migration in its territory. The policy for an unprecedented naval operation against the smuggling of refugees from North Africa to Europe was approved by EU foreign ministers during a meet held in Brussels.
According to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, the operation would be launched by June 2015, with a headquarters in Rome under Italian admiral Adm Enrico Credendino, who ran the EU’s anti-piracy mission off Somalia, Operation Atalanta. The naval operation that will involve the deployment of warships and surveillance aircraft off the coast of Libya, will be carried out in three phases and they are
The decision on the policy was taken because the EU has been struggling to cope up with the illegal migrants from Africa and West Asia, who crosses the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Further, the United Kingdom (UK) is playing a leading role at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to draft a resolution that would give the European Union a legal basis to use military force against people traffickers.
Peter M Christian on 11 May 2015 was elected as the eighth President of the Federated States of Micronesia. Supreme Court Associate Justice Beauleen and Carl-Worswick administered the oath of office to him. Before the present elevation, he was as a senator representing Pohnpei at-large for two terms between 2007 and 2015. He also served as the Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Communication during his 2007 term in the Congress.
The Federated States of Micronesia is an independent sovereign island nation in the Western Pacific Ocean consisting of four states viz., Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae.
During his six-day visit between 14 May and 19 May 2015 as part of Act East Policy, he met leaders of the three nations. The visit was aimed at achieving major objectives like
During the three-nation tour, India signed number of agreements with the three-nations, which would act as a booster in strengthening the bilateral ties. He also interacted with top business leaders in China and South Korea and took a commitment of investment of several billion dollars in India to support Make in India initiative.
Modi is the first ever Prime Minister of India to visit the country
Besides, an important element of Prime Minister’s visit was the way he met with people of Indian origin in the three countries in which he tried to connect them from India, like in China he asked Indian residents to encourage Chinese nationals to visit India or their village during their vacation.
HDFC Bank in partnership with Apollo Hospitals on 18 May 2015 launched HDFC Bank Apollo Medical Benefits Card, a co-branded medical benefits card which allows corporates to disburse medical allowances to their employees and has insurance cover for accidents. The bank claimed that this is the first-of-its kind product in the country. The corporates can load the specified allowance onto the card every month which can be used by employees for medical expenditure at pan-India VISA/MasterCard outlets.
India and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on 15 May 2015 signed an ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan agreement to provide up to 21787 million yen (about 1165 crore rupees) for the Odisha Transmission System Improvement Project (OTSIP). The agreement was signed by Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Finance S Selvakumar and JICA India Office Chief Representative Shinya Ejima in New Delhi.
The purpose of the loan is to assist in establishing a stable power supply to the state in advance of an expected large increase in power demand in the coming years due to rapid industrialization.
JICA has extended about 3400 crore rupees in ODA loans since 1981 for all-round development in Odisha. It has also provided for loans up to 65260 crore rupees in ODA loans since 1958 for enhancement of power generation and transmission infrastructure in India.
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