Senior IPS officer Surender Singh on 1 May 2015 took over as Director General (DG) of central paramilitary force Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). Surender Singh is a 1980-batch police officer of West Bengal cadre. Earlier, he served as a Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) before getting the new assignment.
His appointment was confirmed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His tenure will end in August 2016. He succeeded Arvind Ranjan.
Arvind Ranjan retired on 30 April 2015 as the DG of the CISF. He is a 1977-batch IPS officer of Kerala cadre, had been the head of the force for close to 16 months during which he initiated a slew of best practices in the force, especially, with regard to enhancing the security consultancy wing of the force.
CISF is the largest industrial security force in the world. It is directly under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and its headquarters are at New Delhi. CISF is the force of 1.41-lakh personnel strong force tasked to secure some of the most vital and strategic installations in the country like civil airports and facilities in the nuclear and aerospace domain.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 30 April 2015 ended the operations of MESSENGER Mission. MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging and it was launched on 3 August 2004 to study Mercury’s atmosphere
The journey of the spacecraft came to an end with Expected Impact (EI) on Mercury’s surface. It plunged to the Mercury’s surface at around 14000 kmph, creating a crater up to 52 feet wide. Although the mission completed its primary science objectives by March 2012, the spacecraft’s mission was extended two times, allowing it to capture images and information about the planet in unprecedented detail.
Among its many accomplishments, the mission determined Mercury’s surface composition, revealed its geological history, discovered its internal magnetic field is offset from the planet’s center and concluded its polar deposits are dominantly water ice.
Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Laurel in Maryland, USA built and operated the spacecraft and managed the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Union Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari on 1 May 2015 dedicated Shillong Bypass Highway Project and four lane Jorabat-Barapani Section of NH-40 to the nation in Shillong, Meghalaya. The two projects are intended to improve connectivity between Guwahati and Shillong and other parts of the North East. The 48.76 Km Shillong Bypass was constructed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) mode and connects National Highway (NH) 40 and NH 44 (New NH 6). This will help decongest the traffic in the city of Shillong from trucks and heavy vehicles coming from or moving towards North Eastern parts of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. Four laning of 61.80 km Jorabat-Barapani section is intended to augment connectivity between Guwahati and Shillong. The project was constructed by the NHAI on Design Build Finance Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) Mode on annuity basis.
The above projects are part of the Union Government’s larger agenda to improve the connectivity within the Northeast (NE) region and between the NE and other parts of the country in order to tackle the regions isolation and improve the socio economic conditions.
The Union Ministry of Tourism on 1 May 2015 released the Draft National Tourism Policy 2015 after re-visiting National Tourism Policy 2002. The policy is aimed at boosting tourism sector in the country. Its objective is to increase India’s share in world tourist arrivals from the present 0.68% to 1% by 2020 and increase to 2% by 2025 and position tourism as a priority on the National political and economic agenda.
The new tourism policy will be finalised after receiving inputs and suggestions from the general public. The suggestions have been invited by the ministry till 10 May 2015.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on 1 May 2015 extended the date of implementation of the full Mobile Number Portability (MNP) by two months, that is, till 3 July 2015. Earlier, on 3 November 2014, the DoT on the basis of recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ordered Indian telecom companies to implement full MNP by 3 May 2015.
The DoT extended the deadline on the basis of a request made by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) as telecom operators have to make some technical changes to their networks due to changes in National Numbering Plan (NNP) which would take about eight weeks. The full MNP will allow telecom subscribers to retain their mobile number in any part of the country even when they change their operator or telecom circle. At present, partial MNP allows subscribers to retain their number while changing mobile network only within a telecom circle.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on 1 May 2015 introduced 5 lakh rupees Accident Insurance Scheme for transport drivers. It will also cover education of two children of the beneficiary. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu formally launched the scheme at Rajhamundry while Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhara Rao made the announcement in Hyderabad.
Both the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an insurer to bear the additional amount of 3 lakh rupees insurance cover, over and above the 2 lakh rupees cover that the Union Government will provide through the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY).
To claim the benefit, the transport drivers have to register their names on a specified portal. About 11 lakh transport drivers and journalists in the two states will be benefited under the programme. About 16 thousand Home Guards in Telangana will also be benefited by the scheme.
Motor Sports is one of the 59 sports recognised by the Ministry during the review of categorization of various sports discipline into ‘High Priority’, ‘Priority’ and ‘Others’. After the review Motor Sports was put into ‘Others’ category which means that no financial assistance will be provided to it.
The decision to include Motor Sports was welcomed by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), the governing body for the motor sports in India.
Sports Ministry after each Olympics Games and Asian Games reviews and categorise various sports discipline with respect to their performance in these Games. The categorization is done with a view to review and provides financial assistance to the NSF. The last such review was done in 2008. Accordingly, 9 sports disciplines were put into ‘High Priority’ category. These include Archery, Boxing, Weight Lifting, Wrestling, Tennis, Shooting, Hockey, Badminton and Athletics. 23 sports disciplines were put under ‘Priority’ category and rest were put into ‘Others’ category.
Four Indians will be conferred with the Spring Imperial Decorations of Japan which were announced on 29 April 2015. These Indians are among the 85 foreign recipients who will receive the award at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on 8 May 2015. The awards will be conferred by Emperor of Japan Akihito.
(i)Thottuvelil Krishna Pillai Aiyappankutty Nair (75): He is a former Advisor and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. He was awarded for the contribution to the enhancement of relations and the promotion of friendship between Japan and India.
(ii)Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao (80): He is the Honorary President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, Bangalore and a former Chair of the Japan-India Science Council. He was awarded with the highest civilian award of India Bharat Ratna in 2014. He was awarded for contribution to promoting academic interchange and mutual understanding in science and technology between Japan and India.
(iii)Nikunj Parekh (74): He is the President of Indo-Japanese Association, Mumbai and Director of Bonsai Study Group of Indo-Japanese Association, Mumbai. He was awarded for contribution to promoting and presenting Japanese Culture in India
(iv)Topgay Bhutia (64): Former local employee of the Embassy of Japan in India was awarded for his contribution to the activities of the Japanese overseas establishment.
A Book titled China – Confucius in the Shadows was released by the Vice President M. Hamid Ansari on 1 May 2015. Confucius was considered as the most efficient author in Chinese history.
Book has been written by Poonam Surie. Poonam Surie is an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi. The book highlights that in the evolving socio political milieu of China; interpreting Confucian philosophy as being non-confrontationist, benevolent and with values such as filial piety and harmony could help the current political regime deal with such problems as corruption and rising inequalities.
Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 1 May 2015 ordered to file a FIR against the Snapdeal, its CEO Kunal Bahl and Directors for allegedly selling prescription drugs online. Selling of drugs without prescription is a crime under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
The FIR was filed after FDA officer on an investigation found that Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd. entered into agreements with dealers across India to supply medicines offered or exhibited for sale on its website, snapdeal.com, and to collect the sale proceeds on their behalf. The FDA found that 45 of the displayed drugs were with objectionable claims which contravened the provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
The FDA will be investigating other online shopping companies such as Flipkart and Amazon.
The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet in the last week of April 2015 gave its approval to build 750 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (SPV) plant at Gurh tehsil in Rewa district. The plant, to be developed in three phases of 250 MW, once completed will become the world’s largest solar power plant.
At present, the largest SPV plant is the Topaz Solar Farm (550 MW) in California’s San Luis Obispo county, US, which was commissioned in 2014
Once commissioned, Jabalpur-based Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Limited will buy 40 per cent of power. The solar project in Rewa would be one of the first of the 25 solar parks planned in the country. There is a proposal to set up another 750 MW plant in Rewa.
Ace tennis player Rafael Nadal on 1 May 2015 received the Golden Medal for Merit in Work. Golden Medal is one of the top civilian honours of Spain which aims to highlight an exemplary performance in any job or profession.
Nadal received the honour from the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey at the PM’s official residence Moncloa Palace in Madrid. Rafael Nadal is 14-time Grand Slam singles champion out of which he has won the French Open for a record nine times. He is often called The King of Clay and is currently ranked World Number 5.
Besides, he has won the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, a record 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 15 ATP World Tour 500 tournaments.
Global warming phenomenon will lead to extinction of 1 in 6 species by the end of century if the emission of carbon dioxide stays the same. This was revealed by a study titled Accelerating extinction risk from climate change published in the Journal Science on 1 May 2015.
The author of the study is Mark C. Urban of Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, US. The study highlighted the urgency of taking strong action to address climate change.
Thus, the author calls for urgent need to adopt strategies that limit further climate change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinctions.
Senior DRDO scientist Satheesh Reddy, has been conferred with the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN).
RIN has recognised Mr. Reddy for his work in the field of inertial and satellite-based navigation and avionics technologies. With this he also became the first Indian to get the fellowship from Royal Institute of Navigation.
Currently, Dr Sathish Reddy is Director at Research Centre Imarat (RCI) of DRDO. He is also one of the leading navigation and avionics experts in the country with nearly three decades of experience. He also had led the development of avionics technologies in critical areas of embedded computers, control, navigation, guidance, ground systems, telemetry etc. He also had played important role in development of the Redundant Navigation System (RNS) for long duration missions and navigating accurately the Agni 5 Indian ICBM class long range missile over a range of more than 5000 km.
The naval exercise concluded in the presence of Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar along with Vice Admiral SPS Cheema, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command. The ten day long exercise commenced on 23 April 2015 and included both a harbour and sea phase in Goa. In this edition of exercise, French Navy was represented by the Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle and Indian side was represented by Aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
In the exercise, entire gamut of various maritime operations from aircraft carrier operations, maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarines warfare exercises to multi-ship replenishment exercise were conducted.
This operation aimed at enhancing interoperability between the two navies and also showcases the close ties between the two countries.
Eminent scientist and Bharat Ratna awardee Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao was conferred with Japan’s highest civilian award the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
He was bestowed with this award for his outstanding contributions to science and Indo-Japanese science cooperation.
Rao is a National Research Professor, Linus Pauling Research Professor. He is also the Honorary President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, Bengaluru and a former Chair of the Japan-India Science Council. In 2014, he was awarded with India’s highest civilian award of India Bharat Ratna along with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
As a renowned scientist, he has published more than 1600 research papers and has authored about 50 books. He has been bestowed with about 70 honorary doctorates and also has received the highest civilian award from several nations. He is also an elected member of almost all scientific academies across the globe. He also had served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Ministers of India.
Haryana Government has launched seven IT based e-services in the State at Panchkula district. The service was launched by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The seven services include e-Stamping, Jeevan Pramaan, Revised State Portal, Aadhaar-enabled biometric Attendance System, Mobile app and Aadhaar-linked registration of birth.
The foremost priority of these IT based e-services is to provide efficient, hassle free and graft-free administration to the people of the State by using Information Technology and minimizing human interface.
Presently, 20 citizen centric services have been linked with e-services under the Service Act in order to ensure their time bound delivery through the Citizen Service Centres. Later several other such services would also be linked with e-services soon.
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Read Also: Current Affairs: 1st May 2015