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Current Affairs: 28th April 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Apr 29th, 2015

1- Novelist Siddhartha Gigoo wins 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in Asia region

Novelist Siddhartha Gigoo wins 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in Asia region

Siddhartha Gigoo

Novelist Siddhartha Gigoo has won 2500 pounds 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in Asia region for his novel Umbrella Man. With this win he will compete with the other four regional winners for the 5000 pounds grand prize which will be announced in London on 8 September 2015.

Other region winners are

  • African Region: Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for Light.
  • Canada and Europe Region: Jonathan Tel (UK) for The Human Phonograph.
  • Caribbean Region: Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad) for The King of Settlement 4.
  • Pacific Region: Mary Rokonadravu (Fiji) for Famished Eels. 

About Siddhartha Gigoo

Born in 1974 in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He had studied English Literature at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Gigoo’s first novel was The Garden of Solitude, first published in 2011. He also has written two poetry books, Fall and Other Poems (1994) and Reflections (1995). Gigoo also had produced and directed a short film The Last Day. His recent film is titled Goodbye, Mayfly.

2- ISRO successfully tests indigenous cryogenic engine with four-tonne capacity

ISRO successfully tests indigenous cryogenic engine with four-tonne capacityIndian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 28 April 2015 successfully tested an indigenous cryogenic engine. The powerful version of the cryogenic engine was tested successfully at ISRO’s propulsion complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. A team headed by Director D Karthikesan had led the testing. This engine will allow launch vehicles to carry satellites of up to capacity of four tonnes in geostationary orbit. It will also give boost to India’s interplanetary probes and manned space missions.

Facts about cryogenic engine

A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt. Cryogenic fuels are extremely clean as they give out only water while burning. The engine uses liquid oxygen at -2530C and liquid hydrogen at -1830C It can develop the thrust needed in the final state of the rocket to put satellites, weighing two tonnes or more, into a geosynchronous orbit. It is essential to master this technology for any space power as launching heavier satellites requires cryogenic engines even in the lower stages of the rocket. It will also make India self-reliant in sending heavier satellites to the required orbits and eliminate need of dependence on foreign launch vehicles. It should be noted that India sixth spacefarer after US, Russia, the European Space Agency, China and Japan to develop a cryogenic engine. Earlier in January 2015, India had successfully launched GSLV-D5, the first successful launch vehicle with an indigenous cryogenic engine. But it had capacity to launch satellites of up to two tonnes.

3- Parliament passes Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill, 2014

Parliament passes Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill, 2014Parliament has passed Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill, 2014. It was first passed in Lok Sabha on December 22, 2014 and later in Rajya Sabha on April 28, 2015. This bill amends Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976 and aims to strengthen the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and deepen their financial inclusion.

Key facts about Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill, 2014

  • Authorised capital: This amendment bill increases the authorised capital of each Regional Rural Bank (RRB) from Rs 5 crore to Rs 2000 crore divided into Rs 200 crore of fully paid share of Rs 10 each. As per the parent Act the Rs 5 crore share capital of RRBs is split into 5 lakh shares of Rs 100 each.
  • Issued capital: It also provides that the authorised capital issued by any RRB’s shall not be reduced below Rs 1 crore and shares in all cases to be fully paid up shares of Rs 10 each.
  • Shareholding: The Bill allows RRBs to raise capital from sources other than the central and state governments, and sponsor banks.
  • Board of directors: The Bill adds provision that any person who is a director of an RRB is not eligible to be on the Board of Directors of another RRB. It also mentions that directors will be elected by shareholders based on the total amount of equity share capital issued to such shareholders.
  • Tenure of directors: The bill raises the tenure of directors to 3 years from existing 2 years. The Bill also states that no director can hold office for a total period exceeding six years.
  • Closure and balancing of books: The parent Act had provision which mentioned that the balance books of RRBs should be closed and balanced by 31st December every year.

However this amendment bill changes this date to 31st March in order to bring RRB’s balancing of books in uniformity with the financial year. It should be noted that the parent Act of 1976 mainly has provisions for the incorporation, regulation and winding up of RRBs.

4- Parliament passes Payments and Settlement Bill, 2014

Parliament has passed Payments and Settlement Bill, 2014. It was first passed in Lok Sabha on December 9, 2014 and later in Rajya Sabha on April 27, 2015. The bill seeks to amend the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. The bill aims at Addressing the problem of insolvency in the payment and settlement system by increasing transparency and stability in it. Bringing India’s banking payment system in sync with international practices.

Key facts of Bill

Seeks to improve the payment and settlement systems by increasing transparency and stability of Indian financial market. Has provision to protect funds collected from the customers by the payment system providers and to extend the Act to cover trade repository and legal entity identifier issuer. A Legal Entity Identifier will be a unique ID associated with a single corporate entity. Mentions that the decision of the court, tribunal or any authority will not impact the settlement which had become final prior to the issuance of the order. Ensure that if a system participant becomes insolvent, the dues of people whose money is with it would be cleared first. Norms of banking as well as companies laws would not be applicable till such dues are cleared.

5- Capgemini acquires IGATE for $4 bn in all-cash deal

Capgemini acquires IGATE for $4 bn in all-cash dealFrench IT services firm Capgemini has announced its plan to acquire US based information technology (IT) outsourcer IGATE for US 4 billion dollars. This acquisition will help Capgemini to strengthen its foothold in the North American market. As per the merger agreement, Capgemini will acquire IGATE for a cash consideration of $ 48 per share and the whole transaction will amount to $4 billion. This transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2015 and will be financed through a combination of cash and equity. The combined entity will have revenue of estimated 12.5 billion euros in 2015 and around 1.9 lakh employees. This merger is also one of the largest in the Indian IT sector. This acquisition will also provide Capgemini offshore capabilities to compete with IBM, Accenture and large Indian infotech services players.

6- Loretta Lynch sworn-in as first black female Attorney General of US

Loretta Lynch sworn-in as first black female Attorney General of US

Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch has sworn-in as United States’ first African-American woman Attorney General. She is 83rd Attorney General of country. Loretta Lynch succeeded Eric Holder who left the position on April 24, 2015 after serving Attorney General for six years. Earlier, her appointment was confirmed by senate on April 23, 2015. Prior to this appointment she had served as US Attorney for the eastern district of New York, which encompasses much part of New York City. Lynch was born on May 21, 1959 in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is graduate from Harvard College in 1981 and holds Bachelor of Arts in English and American literature. She also holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School (1984).

7- Sudan President Omar al-Bashir re-elected with 94 percent of vote

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir re-elected with 94 percent of vote

President Omar al-Bashir

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has won Presidential re-election by securing 94 per cent of the vote. With this win he will have additional term of five years in office which will extend his current 25-year rule. He is in power since 1989. In this election Omar’s National Congress Party (NCP) also won 323 of 426 parliamentary seats. Omar is facing war crimes charges and is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of ordering genocide in the Darfur conflict in 2003 in which the UN estimates 300,000 people had died and more than two million displaced. Election summary The voting was for four-day and had started on 13th April 2015. Sudanese opposition had boycotted this election. Official voter turnout in this election was low at 46%.

8- Union government cancels licences of 9,000 NGOs

The Union government has cancelled licences of nearly 9,000 Non-Governmental Organisations for violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). In this regards, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an order. The order has mentioned that notices were issued to 10,343 NGOs for not filing annual returns for the three years i.e. for 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. These notices were served to the NGOs in October 2014 and had asked NGOs to file their annual returns for mentioned years. They were also asked to specify amount of foreign funds received, sources of funds and the purpose for which they were received and manner in which they were utilised. However, to this notices only 229 NGOs replied out of the 10,344 NGOs leading to cancellation of their registration.

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