1- Union Government to sell up to 10% stake in Coal India Limited (CIL)
Union government has announced to sell up to 10 per cent stake in state owned Coal India Limited (CIL) on 30 January 2015. This decision was cleared by high-powered ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
It will help the government to raise revenue of 24,000 crore rupees at the current market price and meet the fiscal deficit. Government is planning to divest 5 per cent stake in the company via share sale and the remaining 5 per cent through the green-shoe option.
Currently, the government holds 89.65 per cent stake in CIL. As per the minimum shareholding norms for listed companies, the government needs to lower its stake to 75 percent.
Coal India Limited (CIL)
- It is a state-controlled coal mining company, headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.
- It is the largest coal producer company in the world and contributes around 81% of the coal production in India.
- Union Government of India owns 90% of the shares in CIL and controls the operations of CIL through Ministry of Coal.
- In April 2011, CIL was conferred the Maharatna status by Government of India. It is India’s 5th most valuable company in terms of market value.
2- SC directs search engines to block sex determination advertisements
Supreme Court (SC) has directed search engines like Google India,
Supreme Court of India
Yahoo and Micrsoft’s Bing to block advertisements on sex determination and strictly comply with the laws.
This ruling was given by SC bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant on public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Dr. Sabu Mathew George in 2008.
PIL had highlighted that the use of Internet and popular search engines to promote sex determination technologies violates laws.
SC directions to search engines
- Withdraw advertisements on sex determination as it violates Section 22 of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act,1994.
- Search engines must upload this order on their policy page and also the page containing terms and conditions of service to serve as a warning for persons intending to put up such advertisements.
- Though sex determination is illegal India, it is still practiced which has a severe effects on male-female ratio.
- As per UN data, India’s child sex ratio has dropped from 964 in 1971 to a low of 918 in 2011.
- While between 2001 and 2011, child sex ratio has declined in more than two-thirds of the districts in the country and this problem is worse in urban areas.
3-Subrahmanyam Jaishankar appointed as new Foreign Secretary
Union Government has appointed Subrahmanyam
Foreign Secretary of India
Jaishankar as the new Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs (i.e. Foreign Secretary).
His name was cleared by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He will be replacing incumbent Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh whose tenure was curtailed with immediate effect. She had assumed office in August 2013 and was due to retire in August 2015.
About Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
- He was born 9 January 1955 and is son of Indian foreign policy doyen K Subhramanyam.
- He is Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1977 batch and was one of the key officials who negotiated in the India’s nuclear deal with the US in 2009.
- Before this appointment, he was India’s Ambassador to United States and was appointed in September 2013.
- Previously he had served as India’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China from 2009 to 2013. High Commissioner to Singapore from 2007 to 2009 and Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2001 to 2004.
4- Eminent singer Shekhar Sen appointed as Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi
Eminent singer, composer, lyricist and actor Shekhar Sen has been
Singer Shekhar Sen
appointed as the chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA).
His appointment was announced by Union Ministry of Culture and will have term five years with immediate effect.
This post was vacant since September 2014, after then Chairman Leela Samson had resigned.
- Since 1983, as a singer, lyricist and composer, he has done many research oriented musical programmes including Dushyant Ne KahaTha, Madhya Yugeen Kaavya, Pakistan Ka Hindi Kavya, Meera Se MahadeviTak.
- He also has rendered many significant bhajan albums.
- He is famous for his mono act musical plays Tulsi, Kabeer, Vivekananda, Sanmanti, Saahab and Soordas.
- His performances have been acclaimed in India and abroad where he has performed.
- Awards:He has received prestigious awards including the Padma Shri (2015), Safdar Hashmi Puraskaar (2001) by SangeetNatak Academy of Uttar Pradesh, ShantaramSamman (2008) by Rajya Hindi Sahitya Academy of Maharashtra.
5- India to host ICC World Twenty20 in 2016
India is going to host International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 in 2016.
It was announced by ICC Board meeting chaired by Chairman N. Srinivasan held in Dubai. ICC Board meeting also scheduled the ICC events during the period 2015-2019.
Following schedule was announced
- India will host the World Twenty20 from 11 March to 3 April 2016. While, Ireland and Scotland will host the qualifiers between 6-26 July, 2015.
- England will host three ICC events in the next four-year period.
- In 2017, England will host two events- the Champions Trophy from 1 to 19 June and Women’s World Cup from 4 to 27 August and 2019 ICC World Cup from 30 May to 15 July 2019.
- 2018 Women’s World Twenty20 will be organised in the West Indies between November 2 and 25.
6- Packaging of foodgrains& sugar in jute material mandatory: CCEA
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has made packaging of foodgrains& sugar in jute material mandatory for jute year 2014-15.
In this regard CCEA mentioned that packaging with jute material will be mandatory for minimum 90 per cent of production in case of food grains and 20 per cent in case of sugar production.
With this decision, government is seeking to help the jute sector which generates a lot of livelihoods for farmers and workers.
CCEA also has approved providing financial support to the Jute Corporation of India (JCI). In this regard, government will provide subsidy to JCI on a continuous basis to off-set the losses on account of Minimum Support Price (MSP) operations.
The quantum of subsidy will include the difference between the Purchase and Sale Price of MSP Raw Jute.
7- Nation pays tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai on his 150th birth anniversary
On 28 January 2015, nation paid tributes to national martyr of
Lala Lajpat Rai
freedom movement, Lala Lajpat Rai on his 150th birth anniversary.
Events marking this day: Various seminars and symposia were organised at many places in Punjab to remember Lala Lajpat Rai. Special programme and sports meet was organised in his ancestral village Dhudike of Moga district where thousands of people paid their tributes to national martyr at the memorial. While, intellectual’s apprised young generation about Lala and his sacrifice for the nation.
About Lala Laj patRai
- He was born on 28 January 1865 in Dhudike (now Moga district) of Punjab.
- He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari meaning The Lion of Punjab also known as Sher-E- Punjab in Punjabi for his contribution to the freedom movement.
- He was part of the Lal Bal Pal trio i.e. assertive nationalists Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal from 1905 to 1918. LalBal Pal trio had advocated the Swadeshi movement involving the boycott of all imported items and the use of Indian-made goods in 1907 during the anti-Partition agitation in Bengal which began in 1905.
- He was lawyer by profession and had practiced his legal profession for few years but later curtailed it to focus on all his efforts to the freedom struggle.
- He was also associated with the foundation of Punjab National Bank in 1895 and later Lakshmi Insurance Company.
- He also had helped to establish the nationalistic Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School and became a follower of DayanandSaraswati (founder of the AryaSamaj).
- In 1888 and 1889 he was a delegate to the annual sessions of Indian National Congress (INC) and was elected as its President in the Calcutta Special Session of 1920.
- In 1921, he had founded Servants of the People Society, a non-profit welfare organisation, in Lahore, which shifted based to Delhi after partition, and has branches in many parts of India.
- His books:As an author he had written many books which includes The Story of My Deportation (1908), AryaSamaj (1915), The United States of America: A Hindu’s Impression (1916), Unhappy India (1928) etc.
- Death: He died on 17 November 1928 after sustaining serious injuries in lathi charge carried by the police when he leading a non-violent protest against the Simon Commission.
8- US tech giant Apple reports largest quarterly profit in history
The BIG Apple
US technology giant Apple, has reported the biggest quarterly profit of 18 billion US dollar. It is the biggest quarterly profit ever made by any public company in World and broke the previous record of ExxonMobil which had earlier topped by making $15.9 billion profit in 2012.
Apple’s revenue had grown to $74.6 billion in 2014 from $57.6 billion in 2013 i.e. reporting 30% increase in profit.
The main reason for Apple’s profit is record sale of iPhones. The company has sold 74.5 million iPhones in quarter ending December 2014 with 39.9% profit per product.
Apple’s impressive profit comes after it shifted towards the massive untapped potential of Chinese market and partnering with China Mobile Limited the largest global mobile carrier.
Company sales in China had hit $16 billion in 2014- a 70% increase from 2013 and almost equalling the $17 billion in sales the company recorded in Europe 2013.
8- Hike Messenger introduces free voice calling service to its users
Hike Messenger, a home-grown chat application has introduced free voice-calling feature called Hike Calls to its users.
This feature will allow its users to call each other for free, over 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi and across the globe in over 200 countries.
Hike Messenger has introduced this service, after it had acquired free calling application company – Zip Phone earlier in January 2015.
This feature has been launched in beta on Android operating system, which contributes to over 90 percent of Hike’s user base. While, the iOS and Windows versions will be released later.
About Hike Messenger
- It was launched on 12th December 2012 and is a joint venture betweenBharti Enterprises and Softbank.
- User base:In August 2014, Hike had hit 35 million users.
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