Home Current Affairs CURRENT AFFAIRS; MONTHLY BULLETIN ; MARCH 2015 - PART - 1
CURRENT AFFAIRS; MONTHLY BULLETIN ; MARCH 2015 - PART - 1
Saturday, 13 June 2015 05:09

 

PART - 1

 

ABBREVIATIONS

PRAGATI: Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation.

BOOKS

INDIAN PARLIAMENTARY DIPLOMACY- SPEAKER’S PERSPECTIVE WRITTEN BY MEIRA KUMAR RELEASED

Indian Parliamentary Diplomacy-Speaker’s Perspective : Meira Kumar

A Book Indian Parliamentary Diplomacy- Speaker’s Perspective written by Meira Kumar was released on 19 March 2015.  Meira Kumar is a former Speaker of Lok Sabha.

President of India Pranab Mukherjee received first copy of the book from Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker, Lok Sabha who formally released it.

The book contains number of lessons from the observations of former Speaker Meira Kumar.

The book is an account of the role of parliamentary diplomacy in furthering foreign policy and strengthening international relations. The volume is a collection of reports and select speeches of Lok Sabha Speaker and leader of Indian Parliamentary Delegations delivered at international conferences and during her visits abroad.

VICE PRESIDENT RELEASED BOOK TITLE FACES AND PLACES WRITTEN BY PROF.

Faces and Places: Prof. Deepak Nayyar

The Vice President of India M Hamid Ansari on 25 March 2015 released a book titled Faces and Places written by Prof. Deepak Nayyar, noted economist and former Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.

The book brings together a selection of the author’s photographs that have been taken over the past four decades. Its title captures the essential idea of its dual theme. The focus is on people in their daily lives and on places that are of interest to visitors.

About Deepak Nayyar

Deepak Nayyar is a Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has taught at the University of Oxford, the University of Sussex, the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C), and the New School for Social Research, New York. He was Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi from 2000 to 2005.

NOVEL TITLED FAMILY LIFE WRITTEN BY AKHIL SHARMA WON THE FOLIO PRIZE 2015

Family Life: Akhil Sharma

Novel titled Family Life written by Akhil Sharma was in news recently because for this novel the author won the Folio Prize for fiction for the year 2015.

The author took 13 years to write this book. Family Life is an autobiographical story of an immigrant family floundering in America.

The book tells the story of Ajay Mishra who moves from Delhi to the United States as a child in the late 1970s. When Ajay's brother has a life-changing accident, it shatters his family's new life.

It is a heart-wrenching and darkly comic story of a boy torn between duty and survival. It is a masterful novel of distilled complexity: about catastrophe and survival; attachment and independence; the tension between selfishness and responsibility.

This was the second novel written by Akhil Sharma. His first novel was An Obedient Father which had won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 2001.

BOOK TITLED FOOD FOR ALL WRITTEN BY UMA LELE

Food for All: Uma Lele

Food for All: International Organizations and the Transformation of Agriculture written by Uma Lele was in news in March 2015. The book will be published by Oxford University Press.

The book surveys the food and agricultural development assistance delivered by five major international organizations since their establishment to gauges their relevance, effectiveness, and impacts in a dramatically changed world.

The five organisations surveyed by the book are:  the World Bank Group, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development and Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research.

The book is the result of a meeting convened at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2010 to explore how to address the challenges and opportunities of the global food and agriculture system.

It draws on research, evaluations, interviews, and the authors’ operational experience to assess organizational responses to the changing external and internal environment to address the post 2015 agenda.

About the Author

Uma Lele is Ph.D from Cornell University and has four decades of experience in agricultural research, project design and implementation, policy analysis, and program evaluation.

She is a former senior adviser to the World Bank and has published notable works on agricultural and rural development.

VICE PRESIDENT RELEASED A BOOK TITLED AATANK KE SAAYE MEN WRITTEN BY GARIMA SANJAY

Aatank Ke Saaye Men: Garima Sanjay

Vice President of India Hamid Ansari on 31 March 2015 released a book titled Aatank Ke Saaye Men written by Garima Sanjay. She is a professional author & documentary filmmaker by profession.

The book mainly dwells upon the menace of the burning problem of terrorism in most of the countries worldwide and highlights that with the problem of terrorism, not only that individual who is affected but his family, social circle and the society at large get affected. It says that how terrorism has hampered the path of growth in these countries.

The book also speaks against the social evils like anti girl child attitude and dowry.

IMPORTANT DAY

WORLD WILDLIFE DAY OBSERVED GLOBALLY

3 March: World Wildlife Day

The World Wildlife Day was observed on 3 March 2015. The 2015 theme of the day is Wildlife crime is serious, let’s get serious about wildlife crime.

The day is celebrated as an opportunity to celebrate the varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people.

The day also reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 68th session held on 20 December 2013 decided to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. CITES plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.

3 March was designated as World Wildlife Day in a resolution made at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013. The CITES resolution was sponsored by Thailand, the host of CITES CoP16, which transmitted the outcomes of CITES CoP16 to the UN General Assembly.

The secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in collaboration with other relevant United Nations organizations, facilitates the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2015 OBSERVED WITH THEME MAKE IT HAPPEN

8 March: International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was observed across the world on 8 March 2015.  The theme for the year 2015 is Make it Happen and it encourages effective action for advancing and recognizing women.

The theme was declared by United Nations.

The day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

The day sees several events to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. These events are organised by governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporation, media and other institutions. 
International Women’s Day (IWD): Timeline

The second International Conference of Working Women was held in 2010 in Copenhagen and the idea of International Women’s Day was tabled by Clara Zetkin, the Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany.

1911
At Copenhagen in 1911, International Women's Day (IWD) was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March.

1917
On the last Sunday of February, that is 23 February, Russian women began a strike for "bread and peace" in response to the death over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. This forced the Czars to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date 23 February was according to the Julian calendar which was then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.
1975
United Nations designated 1975 as International Women's Year

Since 2000, IWD is celebrated as official holiday in some countries. These are Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.

In China, Nepal and Madagascar the official holiday is granted for women only.

WORLD KIDNEY DAY 2015 OBSERVED WITH THEME KIDNEY HEALTH FOR ALL

World Kidney Day (WKD) was observed globally on 12 March 2015. The theme for the year 2015 is Kidney Health for All.

The day is a global health awareness campaign that focuses on the importance of the kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

World Kidney Day

The World Kidney Day is annually observed on the second Thursday in March. It is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF).

World Kidney Day started in 2006. Themes of the day since its start includes

• 2015 Kidney Health for All

• 2014 Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and aging

• 2013 Kidneys for Life – Stop Kidney Attack!

• 2012 Donate – Kidneys for Life – Receive

• 2011 Protect your kidneys: Save your heart

• 2010 Protect your kidneys: Control diabetes

• 2009 Protect your kidneys: Keep your pressure down

• 2008 Your amazing kidneys!

• 2007 CKD: Common, harmful and treatable

• 2006 Are your kidneys OK?

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN)

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is a not-for-profit society dedicated to advancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of kidney diseases in 126 countries. The Society celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010.

The International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF)

The IFKF, a not-for-profit federation founded in 1999 and currently has a membership of 63 kidney foundations and patient groups in 41 countries. IFKF advocates worldwide improving the health, well-being and quality of life of individuals with kidney disease.

WORLD CONSUMER RIGHTS DAY 2015 OBSERVED WITH THE THEME HELPING CONSUMERS CHOOSE HEALTHY DIETS

15 March: World Consumer Rights Day

The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2015 was observed on 15 March 2015. The theme for the WCRD 2015 is Helping consumers choose healthy diets.

The theme was taken up by the Consumers International (CI) because unhealthy diets are linked to four of the ten biggest causes of death viz., overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, high blood glucose and high cholesterol worldwide. According to an estimate by the CI obesity alone is estimated to cost 2 trillion US dollars per year.

WCRD is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.

Every year, the CI chooses a theme and organizes various consumer awareness activities in close coordination with the governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Consumers International (CI) is the world federation of consumer groups that serves as the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers.

The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is observed on 15 March every year to commemorate the historic address given by the then US President John F Kennedy to the US congress in 1962 in which he outlined the definition of consumer rights for the first time. He was the first world leader to formally define ‘consumer rights’.

WCRD was first observed on 15 March 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action.

In 2014, WCRD was observed with the theme Fix Our Phone Rights

WORLD SPARROW DAY OBSERVED WITH THE THEME I LOVE SPARROWS

20 March: World Sparrow Day

The World Sparrow Day was observed globally on 20 March 2015 with the theme I Love Sparrows. The theme has been inspired by the hope that more and more of us will celebrate the relationship between People and Sparrows.

The day is designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations.

The day is observed in almost 50 nations and involves leading ornithology institutions and bird organisations.

The Sparrow Day is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world. The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010 in different parts of the world.

World Sparrow Day aims to provide a meeting ground for people from different parts of the world to come together to play an important role in advocacy and in spreading the awareness on the need of conserving common biodiversity or species of lower conservation status.

Nature Forever Society

The Nature Forever Society was started by Mohammed Dilawar, an Indian conservationist who started his work helping the house sparrow in Nashik, and who was named one of the Heroes of the Environment for 2008 by Time magazine for his efforts.

Nature Forever Society has been working for the conservation of house sparrows and other common flora and fauna in urban habitats since 2005. The mission of the Nature Forever Society is to involve the citizens into the conservation movement of India especially in urban landscapes.

On 20 March 2010, the Indian Postal Department released a stamp of the house sparrow on 20 March 2010.

In 2012, Sparrow was declared as the state bird of Delhi by the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS OBSERVED WITH THE THEME FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

21 March: International Day of Forests

International Day of Forests was observed on 21 March 2015 with the theme Forests and Climate Change. The theme highlights forest-based solutions to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, and more broadly forests and sustainable development.

The day provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests. The day is also used to communicate the vital role forests play in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security.

21 March was established as the International Day of Forests by resolution A/RES/67/200 of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 28 November 2012. International Day of Forests was observed for the first time on 21 March 2013.

About Forests and their status

One third of the Earth’s land mass (about 31 percent of global land area) is covered by forests, which performs vital function around the world and is a home for more than 80 percent of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

Around 1.6 billion people, including 2000 indigenous cultures, depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.

How forests help people?

Forests play a key role in battle in adapting to and mitigating climate change. They contribute to balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75 percent of freshwater worldwide.
Forest play an important role like ecological, economic, social and health benefits, despite these factors the rate of global deforestation has increased at an alarming rate. Reports suggest that 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

WORLD WATER DAY 2015 OBSERVED WITH THE THEME WATER AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

World Water Day (WWD) 2015 was globally observed on 22 March 2015 with the theme Water and Sustainable Development. The theme for the WWD 2015 talks about how water links to all areas we need to consider creating the future we want.

WWD is celebrated every year to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day. This day was formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Further in 2003, UN-Water, the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater and sanitation related matters, was formalised by the United Nations High Level Committee on Programmes. Since formation, UN-Water is the body that has been responsible for selecting the theme, messages and lead UN agency for the World Day for Water.

UN-Water promotes coherence in, and coordination of, UN system actions aimed at the implementation of the agenda defined by the Millennium Declaration and the World Summit on Sustainable Development as it relates to its scope of work. Through UN-Water the United Nations acts as One UN.

WORLD METEOROLOGICAL DAY 2015 OBSERVED WITH THE THEME CLIMATE KNOWLEDGE FOR CLIMATE ACTION

23 March: World Meteorological Day

The World Meteorological Day (WMD) 2015 was observed across the world on 23 March 2015. The theme for the WMD 2015 is Climate Knowledge for Climate Action.

The theme assumes significance in the backdrop of necessity to disseminate Climate Change related knowledge to take up appropriate mitigation and adaptation actions.

Every year on the occasion of WMD, awards for meteorological research are also given. These awards include The International Meteorological Organization Prize, Professor Dr. Vilho Vaisaila Award and The Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award.

23 March is celebrated as World Meteorological Day to commemorate the entry into force of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Convention in 1950 aimed at creating the organisation.

WMO became the UN's specialized agency for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences in 1951. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.  At present, WMO is represented by 189 member states and territories.

The theme for World Meteorological Day 2014 was Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.

WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY 2015 OBSERVED GLOBALLY

24 March: World Tuberculosis Day

World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) 2015 was globally observed on 24 March 2015. The theme for the year 2015 is continuation of the 2014 theme Reach the 3 Million. The main sub-theme and message for the year 2015 is Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone.

The WTD is annually celebrated on 24 March to commemorate the day on which Dr. Robert Koch discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus in 1882. The day aims to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.

World TB Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO). The other seven includes World Health Day (7 April), World Blood Donor Day (14 June), World Immunization Week (24-30 April), World Malaria Day (25 April), World No Tobacco Day (31 May), World Hepatitis Day (28 July) and World AIDS Day (1 December).

WHO’s End TB Strategy

In May 2014, at the World Health Assembly, governments agreed on an ambitious 20-year (2016-2035) strategy to end the global TB epidemic.

WHO’s End TB Strategy envisions a world free of TB with zero deaths, disease and suffering. It sets targets and outlines actions for governments and partners to provide patient-centered care, pursue policies and systems that enable prevention and care, and drive research and innovations needed to end the epidemic and eliminate TB.
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease.

TB is the second biggest killer next only to HIV/AIDS worldwide. In 2013, 9 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died. In case of India, one person dies every two minutes due to this disease.

TB can be completely cured if proper and regular medication is taken.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE VICTIMS OF SLAVERY AND TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE OBSERVED

25 March: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 2015 was observed globally on 25 March 2015. The theme for the year 2015 is Women and Slavery.

The theme is a tribute to the many women who suffered and died during the slave trade.

On this occasion the United Nations (UN) unveiled a permanent memorial for victims of transatlantic trade, named as Arc of Retrun, at the UN headquarters in New York. The memorial reminds not only the gross injustice done to African slaves but also the successful journey of the UN in restoring their dignity by actively condemning the practice.

Background

The decision to observe the Remembrance Day was taken by the UN in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007.

The resolution also called for the establishment of an outreach programme to mobilize educational institutions, civil society and other organizations to inculcate in future generations the causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade, and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice.

The theme for the year 2014 was Victory over Slavery: Haiti and Beyond.

EARTH HOUR 2015 OBSERVED GLOBALLY FROM 8.30 PM TO 9.30 PM LOCAL TIME

Earth Hour 2015 was observed globally on 28 March 2015 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time. The tagline for the global campaign was Change Climate Change. This was the ninth edition of the Earth Hour that started in 2007.
Earth Hour 2015 was observed across 172 nations and territories and around 1400+ iconic landmarks of the world switched off the lights.

Earth Hour is a global campaign with a simple message to switch off non-essential lights for one hour on the last Saturday of March between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. This is done as a commitment to the planet.

Earth Hour is organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since 2007 when it was first observed in Sydney, Australia.

Earth Hour in India

India joined the Earth Hour campaign in 2009 and over the years has seen an exponential growth in participation across cities, towns and even far-flung villages of rural India.

The brand ambassadors for Earth Hour in India are Arjun Kapoor (actor), Priya Mani (actress), Sania Mirza (Tennis player), June Maliah (actress), and Suresh Gopi (Malayalam actor).

INDIA DAIRY

1 March 2015
• Mufti Mohammed Sayeed sworn-in as Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir

2 March 2015
• Union Railways Ministry launched Customer Complaint Web Portal and Mobile Application
• Lok Sabha passed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• Kirket, a film on former Indian cricketer Kirti Azad’s life launched
• President gave assent to Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995
• Core sector growth of India declined to 13-month low in January 2015
• Baldev Sharma appointed as chairman of National Book Trust

3 March 2015
• Union Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways launched a website Shipping Samvad
• Lok Sabha passed Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• Lok Sabha passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015s
• ECI launched National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme
• Maharashtra Government approved the proposal to issue Aadhar-linked ration cards
• IAS officer Kewal K Sharma appointed as Delhi Chief Secretary
• World Wildlife Day observed globally
• World’s largest and tallest Indian flag unfurled in Faridabad
• Ornithologist KS Lavkumar Khachar died at 84
• Rani Mukerji awarded by National Institute of Gender Justice for representing the cause of women

4 March 2015
• Rajya Sabha passed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• Lok Sabha passed Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• Lok Sabha passed Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015
• CCEA gave nod to extend PDS Kerosene, Domestic LPG Subsidy Scheme
• Maharashtra Government scrapped 5% reservations to Muslims in government jobs
• RBI reduced Repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.5 percent
• Assam Assembly passed a resolution on continuation of Special Category status of the state

5 March 2015
• NRDC, CCRAS signed Memorandum of Agreement to commercialise ayurvedic medicines
• Prime Minister inaugurated two units of Shree Singaji Thermal Power Project in Khandwa, MP
• RBI eased the norms for Housing Loans

6 March 2015

• UST Global launched Women’s Safety App iSafe for Thiruvananthapuram City Police
• Artificial glacier in the form of Ice stupa to store water inaugurated in Phyang village of Ladakh
• Former Bihar Chief Minister Ramsundar Das died

7 March 2015
• Eighth India-Nepal combined exercise named Surya Kiran VIII concluded
• Kerala Assembly speaker G Karthikeyan passed away

8 March 2015
• Kerala Tourism won the silver prize of Golden Gate award for promoting the backwaters of Kerala
• Aapki Beti Humari Beti scheme launched in Haryana
• President presented Stree Shakti Puraskars and Nari Shakti Puruskars for the year 2014

9 March 2015
• Mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles started in Ganjam district of Odisha
• Industrialist Deepak Khaitan died
• Veerappa Moily selected for Saraswati Samman 2014
• Prime Minister launched India’s first indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine Rotavac
• Union Government released Digital Gender Atlas for Advancing Girls Education
• PHD Research Bureau released a Survey on working women in Delhi
• First Kisan Call Centre of North-East opened in Agartala, Tripura

10 March 2015
• 1998 Asian Games gold-medallist Dingko Singh included in National Boxing Selection panel
• Former Lok Sabha member Sadashivrao Dadoba Mandlik died
• Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs released the data of top ten Corporate of 2014
• Land Acquisition (amendment) Bill, 2015 passed in Lok Sabha
• Attorney General is a public authority under the RTI Act, 2005: High Court of Delhi
• Maharashtra government started helpline for distressed adolescents

11 March 2015
• Veteran sports journalist K Baskaran died
• Union Government appointed Nine Executive Directors in Public Sector Banks
• High Courts cannot entertain plea against Armed Forces Tribunal: Supreme Court
• Delhi government decided to enhance financial powers of bureaucrats

12 March 2015
• Rajya Sabha passed Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 by voice vote
• Karnataka clinched eighth Ranji title of cricket
• N Sakthan elected as Speaker of Kerala Assembly
• Union Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers launched Pharma Jan Samadhan scheme

13 March 2015
• Supreme Court sought information on number of prisoners in jail from Union Government
• Mumbai HC directed Maharashtra Government to set up a redressal mechanism against noise pollution

14 March 2015
• Union Ministry DoNER announced to appoint Mary Kom as the brand ambassador of the NE region
• Veteran Gandhian Narayanbhai Desai died

15 March 2015
• Services won the 69th edition of Santosh Trophy of Football
• Development officers working in LIC are not workmen under Industrial Disputes Act, 1947: SC

16 March 2015
• Tropical grass Darbha identified as an eco-friendly food preservative by SASTRA University
• Haryana Assembly passed Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Bill, 2015

17 March 2015
• Tripura Biodiversity Board launched a project to link conservation to economic concerns
• Haryana Budget 2015-16 presented 
• Union Environment Ministry revoked suspension of Goa mines
• Haryana Government decided to issue UIDAI-like numbers for cows
• Union Government appointed VK Mathur, Girija Shankar as Chairmen of Allahabad, Chennai bench of DRAT
• Anil Kakodkar resigned from the post of Chairman of Board of Governors of IIT Bombay

18 March 2015

• Lok Sabha passed the Warehousing Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• Lok Sabha passed Repealing and Amending Bill, 2014
• Air-to-Air missile Astra successfully test fired from ITR Chandipur in Odisha
• Eco-restoration project for Kinnerasani Sanctuary in Telangana announced
• NGT directed Indian Railways to impose a fine of 5000 rupees for littering on railway property
• Maharashtra Government announced to rename Girgaum Chowpatty as Swaraj Bhoomi
• BJP MLA Kavinder Gupta elected as Speaker of 12th Legislative Assembly of J&K

19 March 2015

• Union Cabinet approved Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) to impart skill training to youth
• Union Ministry of Environment to launch National Air Quality Index in April 2015
• Hyderabad International Airport handled record 10 million passengers in 2014-15
• Indian Railways roped in Ratan Tata to lead Kaya Kalp council
• Indian Parliamentary Diplomacy- Speaker’s Perspective written by Meira Kumar released
• Mahendra Singh Dhoni became first Indian Captain to register 100 ODI wins

20 March 2015
• Union Cabinet approved the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015
• Union Cabinet approved 33% women reservation in police forces of all Union Territories
• Lata Mangeshkar won the Laadli Voice of the Century award
• Marathi Folk legend Shahir Krishnarao Sable died
• Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express derailed near Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh

21 March 2015

• National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities launched in New Delhi
• 1st Counter-Terrorism Conference 2015 held in Jaipur

22 March 2015
• SEBI Board approved SEBI (Issue and Listing of Debt Securities by Municipality) Regulations, 2015

23 March 2015
• Maharashtra Government announced to make Sale of Gutka a non-bailable offence
• Union Ministry of Health and Welfare launched Media Campaign for Mission Indradhanush
• PM announced to set up Shaheed Bhagat Singh PG Institute for Horticulture Research & Education
• President’s award for Sanskrit, Pali/Prakrit, Arabic and Persian language conferred
• Shashi Kapoor selected for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2014

24 March 2015
• 62nd National Film Awards announced
• Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries sanctioned 17 Mega Food Parks
• Twitter Samvad launched for direct communication between Government and Citizens
• Supreme Court declared Section 66A of Information Technology Act, 2000 as unconstitutional
• Indian Railways launched RuPay pre-paid debit cards
• Union Government sanctioned 2000 crore rupees under NDRF for drought-hit districts of Maharashtra
• Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba took over as Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Naval Command
• KM Mani appointed as chairman of the Empowered Committee of State FM’S on GST
• Dalal Street Investment Journal presented the 6th PSU Awards
• Renowned Hindi poet Gopaldas Neeraj won the Rashtriya Kavi Pradeep Samman for the year 2012-13
• Indian Navy commissioned three Immediate Support Vessels (ISVs) in Vishakhapatnam
• Dolly Shivani Cherukuri became the youngest Archer to enter India Book of Records
• Gujarat Philatelic Exhibition Gujpex-2015 inaugurated in Ahmedabad

25 March 2015
• Ministry of Railways constituted Ajay Shankar Committee to review PPP Cell functioning
• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the National Super Computing Mission
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched PRAGATI platform for redressal of grievances
• Novel titled Family Life written by Akhil Sharma won the Folio Prize 2015
• Union Cabinet gave approval for the concept and institutional framework of Sagarmala Project
• Union Government announced 430 crore rupees project for production of Geo-textile in NE region
• Union Government sanctioned 250 crore rupees to Andhra Pradesh to set up Polavaram SPV
• Delhi HC became the first court in India to set up commercial courts for speedy disposal of cases
• Union Cabinet gave its approval for the Approach and Key Components of e-Kranti
• Vikas Swarup appointed as MEA spokesman
• Vice president released book titled Faces and Places written by Prof. Deepak Nayyar
• Usha International Limited won the Gold award at 6th Flame Awards 2015
• Union Government felicitated the winners of the third Web Ratna Awards
• Union Cabinet gave its approval for the Approach and Key Components of e-Kranti

26 March 2015
• Supreme Court stayed AFT's decision to quash Army's 2009 Promotion Policy
• Department of Agriculture and Cooperation approved the creation of Price Stabilisation Fund Schemes
• Book titled Food for All written by Uma Lele
• Union Ministry of Coal launched Electronic Coal Projects Monitoring Portal (e-CPMP)
• Land customs station inaugurated at Zokhawthar in Mizoram along the Indo-Myanmar border
• Former Union Minister and veteran Congress Party leader Paty Ripple Kyndiah died
• India and ADB signed 300 million US dollar loan agreement to improve connectivity in NE Region

27 March 2015

• Delhi Government launched India’s first e-ration card Service
• ISRO won Gandhi Peace Prize 2014

28 March 2015
• Hockey India conferred inaugural Hockey India Annual Awards
• ISRO successfully launched IRNSS 1-D Navigational Satellite
• Aditi Arya won the fbb Femina Miss India 2015 title
• President presented Bharat Ratna award to Atal Bihari Vajpayee

29 March 2015
• Saina, Srikant won India Open Super Series Badminton Women's & Men's Singles titles

30 March 2015
• Madan Mohan Malaviya posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna
• Himachal Pradesh Government launched India’s first e-Vidhan Mobile apps
• Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba took over as Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Naval Command
• Justice Sunil Kumar Sinha appointed as Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court
• Union Ministry of Finance approved 1500 crore rupees for AP Capital construction
• Himachal Pradesh Government launched India’s first e-Vidhan Mobile app
• Port Blair Magnetic Observatory inaugurated to monitor seismic activities
• Mariyam Asif Siddiqui, Muslim girl won Bhagwad Gita contest

31 March 2015
• Union Cabinet approved amendments to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973
• Union Cabinet approved signing and ratifying the UNESCAP agreement on Dry Ports
• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved uniform gas price for urea plants
• RBI imposed 5 lakh rupees fine on 16 Central Co-operative Banks for violation of norms
• Haryana School Education Department ordered 10% reservations to EWS in private unaided schools
• Rajasthan Government opened women milk bank Jeevan Dhara in Jaipur
• Gujarat Assembly passed the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015
• Vice President released a book titled Aatank Ke Saaye Men written by Garima Sanjay
• IBM announced to invest 3 billion US dollars to build an Internet of Things (IoT) unit


WORLD DAIRY

1 March 2015
• Arun Singh named as India's Ambassador to US

2 March 2015
• Royal Mint unveiled new Coinage Portrait of the Queen Elizabeth II
• Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba won 2014 Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leaderships

3 March 2015
• Istanbul Civil Court of Peace fined Turkish President for calling Monument to Humanity a Monstrosity
• Forbes magazine released Global Billionaire’s 2015 annual list
• Three South Asian women selected for International Women of Courage Award
• Indian-American physician Rahul Jindal selected for Fulbright Nehru Distinguished Chair

4 March 2015

• Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar completed his SAARC Yatra
• Indian-American Sunil Sabharwal re-nominated as Alternate Executive Director at IMF by the US

5 March 2015

• Sri Lanka temporarily suspended Colombo Port City Project of China
• Kathmandu-Varanasi-Kathmandu bus service flagged off
• BBC released a documentary film India's Daughter

6 March 2015
• India and Spain signed an agreement on mutual Protection of Classified Information 
• Islamic State Group bulldozed ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq

7 March 2015

• NASA's Dawn Spacecraft completed its Orbit around Dwarf Planet Ceres

8 March 2015

• Solar powered plane Solar Impulse-2 took off to round-the-world odyssey from Abu Dhabi
• International Women’s Day 2015 observed with theme Make it Happen

9 March 2015
• United Arab Emirates won the bid to host AFC Asian Cup 2019
• Indian-American Kumar P Barve decided to run for US Congress in 2016 elections

10 March 2015
• Visit Britain roped in Saif Ali Khan to promote Bollywood Britain campaign

11 March 2015
• India and Mauritius inked five MoUs to give impetus to bilateral relations
• India and Seychelles signed four agreements to boost security cooperation
• Kumar Sangakkara created history by scoring four successive centuries in a Cricket World Cup
• Google CFO Patrick Pichette announced his retirement
• US President Barack Obama nominated David Hale as Ambassador to Pakistan

12 March 2015
• British Irish Visa Scheme came into force in India
• Veteran fantasy author Sir Terence David John Pratchett passed away
• World Kidney Day 2015 observed with theme Kidney Health for All
• Indian-origin Ganasen Reddy awarded with KwaZulu-Natal 2015 National Teachers Awards

13 March 2015
• Times Higher Education released The World Reputation Rankings 2015
• Solar powered plane Solar Impulse-2 took off to round-the-world odyssey from Abu Dhabi
• Pioneer of Israeli Cinema Lia van Leer died

14 March 2015
• Powerful Cyclone Pam hit south Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu

15 March 2015

• Lewis Hamilton of Britain won Australian Grand Prix of Formula One
• Kidambi Srikanth won the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold title of Badminton
• World Consumer Rights Day 2015 observed with the theme Helping consumers choose healthy diets

16 March 2015
• SIPRI released Trends in International Arms Transfers 2014 report
• China-backed AIIB to be joined by France, Germany, Italy

17 March 2015
• India to host seventh Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2016
• Ramachandran appointed as vice-chair of International Relations Commission of ANOC

18 March 2015
• Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan named as President of Britain’s Royal Society
• Air Marshal Sohail Aman appointed as Chief of Pakistan Air Force
• Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan
• Sri Lankan duo Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara retired from ODI cricket

19 March 2015
• NYU announced Prison Education Programme to Educate US Prisoners
• CII signed agreement with NUS to improve India’s rating on ease of doing business
• Conference on Counter-Terrorism deliberated on CBRN Terrorism

20 March 2015

• Rajendra Singh, the Water Man of India, named as the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate
• World Sparrow Day observed with the theme I Love Sparrows
• Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser died
• Pakistani cricketers Misbah-ul-Haq, Shaid Afridi retired from ODI cricket

21 March 2015

• International Day of Forests observed with the theme Forests and Climate Change
• Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis won the women doubles title of BNP Paribas Tennis Open
• Martin Guptill scored the highest-ever score of 237 in Cricket World Cup history

22 March 2015

• Former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka became first Field Marshal of Sri Lanka
• World Water Day 2015 observed with the theme Water and Sustainable Development
• Novak Djokovic won Indian Wells Open Tennis Men's Singles title

23 March 2015
• Researchers at York University provided experimental evidence that stars may generate sound
• Indian-American author Akhil Sharma won The Folio Prize 2015 for novel Family Life
• Artist Bharti Kher conferred with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France
• Madhav Gadgil and Dr. Jane Lubchenco won Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 2015

24 March 2015

• China announced to shut down last coal-fired power plant in Beijing by 2016 to cut pollution
• NASA's Curiosity rover discovered biologically useful Nitrogen on Mars
• Flight 4U 9525 of Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed in French Alps
• Amitav Ghosh among the 10 finalists shortlisted for 2015 Man Booker International Prize
• ADB released Asian Development Outlook 2015
• 18th Round of Talks between India and China on the Boundary Question held in New Delhis
• US agreed to keep 9800 troops in Afghanistan through the end of 2015
• World Tuberculosis Day 2015 observed globally

25 March 2015
• India and Qatar inked six agreements to increase commercial and economic exchanges
• RBI signed Currency Swap Agreement with Central Bank of Sri Lanka
• India’s first Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle operationalised in North Antarctica
• Nobel Laureate John Nash won Abel Prize 2015 for work on partial differential equations
• International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade observed
• UN unveiled Arc of Return for victims of transatlantic slave trade
• Saudi Arabia launched military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen

26 March 2015
• ADB sanctioned 300 million US dollars under SCRIP for road construction in NBNE region
• Fortune released the list of 2015 roster of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders
• Australia's IAG to raise stake in SBI General Insurance to 49 percent  
• Physicists at Stanford University developed biometric robotic wings

27 March 2015
• Scientists at ANU found the world’s largest asteroid impact zone in Warburton basin, Australia

28 March 2015
• Earth Hour 2015 observed globally from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm local time

29 March 2015
• Australia defeated New Zealand to win ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
• Michael Clarke retired from ODI cricket

30 March 2015
• Daniel Vettori retired from all forms of International Cricket
• Peru Prime Minister Ana Jara sacked over alleged domestic spying
• Daniel Vettori retired from all forms of International Cricket
• India launched Operation Raahat to evacuate 4000 Indian nationals from Yemen

31 March 2015
• General Muhammadu Buhari won Presidential Election of Nigeria
• Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria announced 3.8 billion US dollar aid
• Myanmar Government and 16 Ethnic Rebel Groups signed draft cease-fire agreement
• Union Sports Ministry signed MoU with IIFCL to support TOP Scheme for Badminton
• Kyle Mills of New Zealand retired from all forms of International Cricket

 

APPOINTMENTS; ELECTED; ETC.

 

BALDEV SHARMA APPOINTED AS CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL BOOK TRUST

Union Ministry of Human Resource Development on 2 March 2015 appointed Baldev Sharma as chairman of National Book Trust (NBT).

He is a former Panchajanya editor. He replaced A. Sethumadhavan.

A. Sethumadhavan resigned six months earlier. He was appointed in September 2012.

Panchajanya is an Indian weekly newspaper published by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Hindi. It was launched by RSS pracharak Deendayal Upadhyaya in 1948 in Lucknow.

The weekly was launched on 14 January 1948, the day of Makara Sankranthi. Its first editor was Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

INDIAN-AMERICAN SUNIL SABHARWAL RE-NOMINATED AS ALTERNATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT IMF BY THE US

Sunil Sabharwal, an independent Indian-American investor, was re-nominated as an Alternate Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the United States (US) on 4 March 2015. He was re-nominated for the post by US President Barack Obama.

For the first time, he was nominated as an Alternate Executive Director at IMF in April 2014.

Sunil Sabharwal has served on many important positions since 1992. From 1992 to 1996, he worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as Principal Banker. From 1997 to 2003, he held several positions at GE Capital including Managing Director.

From 2011 to 2013, Sunil Sabharwal served as the Chairman of the Board of Ogone, a European ecommerce payment services company. He was Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments at First Data Corporation/Western Union from 2003 to 2006.

He was born to an Indian father and a Hungarian mother in New Delhi in 1964. He moved to Budapest, Hungary at the age of 9 after his parents separated from each other.

UNION GOVERNMENT APPOINTED NINE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS IN PUBLIC SECTOR BANKS

The Union Government on 11 March 2014 appointed nine Executive Directors (EDs) in Public Sector Banks (PSBs). The appointment of these EDs was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

List of appointments

• Charan Singh – Executive Director of UCO Bank

• K Venkata Rama Moorthy –Executive Director of Bank of Baroda

• RP Marathe – Executive Director of Bank of India

• Harideesh Kumar B – Executive Director, Canara Bank

• NK Sahoo – Executive Director of Allahabad Bank

• Pawan Kumar Bajaj - Executive Director of Indian Overseas Bank

• Ravi Shankar Pandey - Executive Director of Syndicate Bank

• Kishore Piraji Kharat - Executive Director of Union Bank of India

• RC Lodha - Executive Director of Central Bank of India

These appointments were made on the basis of recommendation of selection panel headed by the Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.

AIR MARSHAL SOHAIL AMAN APPOINTED AS CHIEF OF PAKISTAN AIR FORCE

Air Marshal Sohail Aman was on 18 March 2015 appointed as the Chief of Pakistan Air Force. Also he was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal from Air Marshal.

His appointment was approved by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz sharif and he will take the charge immediately from incumbent Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt.

At the time of his appointment as Chief of Pakistan Air Force, he was serving as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) at Air Headquarters, Islamabad.

Air Marshal Sohail Aman was commissioned in the GD (P) Branch of Pakistan Air Force in November, 1980 and his career encompasses a wide range of operational, training and command assignments.

In recognition of his meritorious and exceptionally dedicated services, he was decorated with the award of Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Tamgha-i-Imtiaz.

INDIAN RAILWAYS ROPED IN RATAN TATA TO LEAD KAYA KALP COUNCIL

Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd on 19 March 2015 was roped in by Union Government to head Kaya Kalp, a council formed to suggest innovative ways to transform the Indian Railways.

Earlier, the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26 February 2015 in his first Railway Budget 2015-16 announced that a permanent council will be formed to transform Indian Railways.

Features of the innovation council called Kaya Kalp

• It was designed with an aim for business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in railways

• The Council was set up to turn around the ailing state-run railway network

• The Council will recommend ways to reform the creaking public service transporter that ferries some 23 million passengers a day

Other members of the council will include representatives of All Indian Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), which represent railway employees.

SIR VENKATRAMAN RAMAKRISHNAN NAMED AS PRESIDENT OF BRITAIN’S ROYAL SOCIETY

Nobel laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan on 18 March 2015 was named as the President of Britain's prestigious Royal Society, a communion of the many of the world's most distinguished scientists.

Ramakrishnan, who will take up the post on the 1 December 2015, will succeed geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, also a Nobel Laureate.

Nicknamed as Venky, the scientist is based at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

About Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

• He studied how genetic information is translated by the ribosome to make proteins and the action of antibiotics on this process.

• The Indian-American scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009 with Tom Steitz and Ada Yonath.

• He was awarded a knighthood in 2012

• He has a B.Sc in physics from Baroda University, India and a PhD from Ohio University in the USA.

• He studied biology at the University of California, San Diego and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University.

• Subsequently, he was a biophysicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah before he moved to the UK in 1999.

• He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003, and is also a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (the German Science Academy) and a Foreign Member of the Indian National Science Academy.

About Britain’s Royal Society

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists and was founded in 1660. Since establishment, the Society has seen 60 Presidents and some of them included Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy and Ernest Rutherford.

The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

KM MANI APPOINTED AS CHAIRMAN OF THE EMPOWERED COMMITTEE OF STATE FM’S ON GST

Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani was appointed as the Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Union Finance Ministry on 24 March 2015.

The post was vacant since the former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Finance Minister Abdul Rahim quit the position after the defeat of National Conference in the J&K Assembly elections held in December 2014.

Mani has been a member of the Kerala Legislature consecutively for the last 50 years and holds the record of presenting the largest number of state budgets. He presented his thirteenth budget in the Kerala Assembly on 13 March 2015.

GST is intended to be implemented from 01 April 2016 as announced by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2015-16 budget speech. The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 has been pending in the Lok Sabha since December 2014.

About Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers

The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers was originally set up on 17 July 2000 by the Union Government. In 2004, it was registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860.

The members of the Empowered Committee are all the Ministers in charge of Finance/Taxation of all State Governments and Union Territories with legislatures, Additional Secretary (Revenue), Government of India and Member Secretary, Empowered Committee.

VIKAS SWARUP APPOINTED AS MEA SPOKESMAN

Diplomat Vikas Swarup was appointed as an official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 25 March 2015. Swarup a 1986 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer is also author of bestseller debut novel Q&A, on which the Oscar-winning filmSlumdog Millionaire was based.

Swarup succeeds incumbent spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin and will take the charge of the office on 18 April 2015.

Syed Akbaruddin, who became the spokesman of MEA in December 2011, has been appointed as Chief Coordinator of the Indo-Africa Forum Summit. The India-Africa Summit is scheduled to be hosted by New Delhi on 29 October 2015.

At the time of appointment, Swarup was heading the UN Political division of the ministry. Earlier, he has served in several countries like Turkey, US, UK, Japan and South Africa. He has also served as a director of the sensitive PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) division.

As a novelist, he has published three books namely Q&A (published in 43 languages), Six Suspects and The Accidental Apprentice.

 

PERSON IN NEWS

1998 ASIAN GAMES GOLD-MEDALLIST DINGKO SINGH INCLUDED IN NATIONAL BOXING SELECTION PANEL

1998 Asian Games gold-medallist Dingko Singh on 10 March 2015 was included in National Boxing Selection panel. The goal of the panel will be to pick a bunch that can deliver medals at the Olympics.

Currently, Dingko Singh is working as a coach at the Imphal centre of the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

The 10-member selection panel will be headed by Arjuna awardee Gopal N Devang and it comprises of few Boxing India officials and all the national coaches as additional invitees. The selection panel will remain in office till 2016.

The other members of the National Boxing Selection panel are

• Padam Bahadur Mall: India's first Asian Games gold-medallist has been appointed Vice-President. He won the Gold medal in boxing at Jakarta Asian Games in 1962.

• Mohammad Ali Qamar: The country's first Commonwealth Games gold-medallist has been named the Convener. He won the Gold Medal at 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

• Manoj Pingale: Named Joint Secretary of the panel. He won the Gold medal at the Junior Asian Boxing Championship in 1985

• V Devarajan: Former World Cup bronze-medallist named Joint Secretary. He won the Bronze medal in the 1994 World Boxing Championship in Bangkok. He was the second Indian to win a medal at the Boxing World Cup after Pu Zoramthanga, from Mizoram

Boxing India Vice-Presidents Kishen Narsi and Jaipal Singh are among the invited members of the committee.

VISIT BRITAIN ROPED IN SAIF ALI KHAN TO PROMOTE BOLLYWOOD BRITAIN CAMPAIGN

Visit Britain, the National tourism agency of Britain on 10 March 2015 roped in Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan to promote an India-centric campaign, Bollywood Britain.

The agency through this campaign wants to focus on locations featured in Hindi films to attract more Indian visitors. It also wants to popularise Wales, Scotland and other destinations, which are not so popular among Indian tourists.

With this, Khan has joined the list of Indian celebrities promoting tourist destinations. Other Bollywood actors promoting tourist destinations include Amitabh Bachchan (Gujarat), Akshay Kumar (Canada) and Dia Mirza (Japan).

UNION MINISTRY OF DONER ANNOUNCED TO APPOINT MARY KOM AS BRAND AMBASSADOR OF NE REGION

Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) on 14 March 2015 announced to appoint Olympic Bronze medallist boxer MC Mary Kom as the brand ambassador of the North-East region.

She as the brand ambassador of the Northeast will showcase the potential of the region which offers 2.4 trillion rupees business opportunities across various sectors.

Her name was selected from the list of shortlisted famous personalities by a committee headed by DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh.

About MC Mary Kom

• Mary Kom is nicknamed Magnificent Mary.

• She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each of the six world championships.

• She won a bronze medal in 2012 London Olympics in the flyweight (51 kg) category and is the only Indian woman boxer to qualify for this category.

• She is also first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the 2014 Asian Games held at Incheon, South Korea.

• She belongs to Kom tribal community of the north-eastern state of Manipur.

• She had announced to quit boxing after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Her Awards

• Padma Bhushan (2013)

• Padma Shree (2010)

• Arjuna Award for Boxing (2003)

Her Autobiography

• Unbreakable

• A biographical sports drama film featuring Priyanka Chopra in and as Mary Kom was released in 2014. It was directed by Omung Kumar

AMITABH BACHCHAN ROPED IN AS BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR CAMPAIGN AGAINST HEPATITIS B

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan on 13 March 2015 was roped in as the brand ambassador for Union Government’s campaign against Hepatitis B, a critical public problem in India.

Bachchan was roped in as the brand ambassador for India’s fight against Hepatitis B after his successful stint as UNICEF’s goodwill brand ambassador of pulse polio campaign in India.

The campaign against Hepatitis B will be launched in April 2015. The campaign is a part of the Union Government’s ambitious child immunization programme named Mission Indradhanush, against seven vaccine-preventable diseases.

Besides Hepatitis B, Mission Indradhanush will include diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis and measles. The government aims to achieve the target by 2020.

Earlier, Bachchan was made a UNICEF goodwill brand ambassador for the Polio Eradication Campaign in 2005. He was roped in as the brand ambassador for pulse polio campaign after the number of polio cases peaked across India in the year 2002.

The pulse polio campaign helped in eradicating the disease from India and on 27 March 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) declared India a polio free country with no case of disease being reported in the previous three years.

Status of Hepatitis B in India

According to latest World Health Organisation (WHO) data, Hepatitis B is responsible for 1.4 million deaths every year globally. India has over 40 million hepatitis B infected patients (second only to China) and constitutes about 15 percent of the entire pool of hepatitis B in the world. Every year, nearly 600000 patients die from HBV (hepatitis B virus) infection in the Indian subcontinent.

FORMER ARMY CHIEF SARATH FONSEKA BECAME FIRST FIELD MARSHAL OF SRI LANKA

Sarath Fonseka, the former Army Chief of Sri Lanka, on 22 March 2015 was conferred with the country's highest military rank of Field Marshal. He was awarded the honorary title by President Maithripala Sirisena for achieving victory over terrorism.

With this, Foneska became the first Sri Lankan Army officer to become Field Marshal. Fonsenka is a former Chief of Defence Staff and is now a member of Sri Lanka Parliament from Colombo district.

Under his leadership, the 26-year Sri Lankan Civil War came to an end in 2009 in which the rebels Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were defeated by Sri Lankan army.

Earlier, he was jailed for three years on alleged treason charges by the previous regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2012; however, with the electing of Sirisena as President of Sri Lanka in 2014, he was cleared of all allegations including those of treason by using his executive powers.

INDIAN-AMERICAN RENU KHATOR ELECTED AS CHAIRPERSON OF BOARD OF DIRECTOR OF ACE

Indian-American Renu Khator on 18 March 2015 was elected as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education (ACE). ACE is the major coordinating body for US colleges and universities.

She was elected as the Chairperson of the ACE’s Board during the ACE's 97th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

She succeeded James H. Mullen Jr and she will serve for a period of one year.

Before becoming ACE Board Chairperson, Khator served as the vice-Chairperson of ACE.

Khator, born in Uttar Pradesh, is University of Houston President and System Chancellor since 2008. She is a scholar in the field of global environmental policy and has published numerous books and articles on the subject.

DOLLY SHIVANI CHERUKURI BECAME THE YOUNGEST ARCHER TO ENTER INDIA BOOK OF RECORDS

Three-year-old archer Dolly Shivani Cherukuri of Andhra Pradesh on 24 March 2015 entered the India Book of Records. She entered the list of records by scoring 388 points in the recurve segment in two distances, seven and five meters, at the Volga Archery Academy in Vijayawada.

At the time of entering the India Book of Records, she was nine days less than three years.

She shot 36 arrows each from five metres and seven metres to score 388 points in presence of judges from the India Book of Records and the Archery Association of India (AAI).

India Book of Records adjudicator and chief editor Biswaroop Roy Choudary handed over a trophy, medal and a certificate to Shivani.

Shivani is the youngest sister of Cherukuri Lenin, former international archery champion and archery coach, who died in a road accident in 2010. She was trained at the Volga Archery Institute run by her father Cherukuri Satyanarayana.

AWARDS

RANI MUKERJI AWARDED BY NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF GENDER JUSTICE FOR REPRESENTING THE CAUSE OF WOMEN

Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji was on 3 March 2015 awarded with the National Award for the Best Representation of the Cause of Safety, Security and Protection of Women and Girl Child by National Institute of Gender Justice (NIGJ).

Rani is the first ever film personality to be felicitated with this prestigious award. She was awarded for creating awareness about child trafficking in New Delhi.

Rani was honoured not only for her incredible work in cinema but also for the kind of work she has been doing to create awareness about child trafficking.

The powerful and fearless performance of Rani Mukerji in Mardaani idealised the role of police in prevention of crime against women, especially trafficking of girl child for commercial sexual exploitation.

The film Mardaani has been directed by Pradeep Sarkar where Rani has played the role of Senior Inspector (crime branch) Shivani Shivaji Roy.

The past awardees include Anna Hazare, Pratibha Patil, Pandit Jasraj and Mahashweta Devi.

INDIAN-ORIGIN GANASEN REDDY AWARDED WITH KWAZULU-NATAL 2015 NATIONAL TEACHERS AWARDS

Ganasen Reddy, an Indian-origin South African educator, was on 12 March 2015 awarded with KwaZulu-Natal 2015 National Teachers Awards at the annual National Teaching Awards held in Johannesburg.

KwaZulu-Natal 2015 National Teachers Awards is a Lifetime Achievement Award for teaching in South Africa. 
Ganasen Reddy was felicitated by South African minister of basic education Angie Motshekga. The award was given to Reddy for sustaining a high-level of achievement throughout his long teaching career by receiving results, awards and recognition over a long period of time.

Other Indian-origin teachers who were felicitated at the awards function were:

• Silas Pillay, who received the Excellence in Primary School Leadership Award

Anneline Govender, who was placed second in the category Excellence in Primary School Teaching

Caryn Reddy, who took third place in the category Excellence in Special Needs and Inclusive Teaching

The National Teaching Awards honour, recognise and reward teachers in South Africa that perform their duties exceptionally well and in doing so inspire others to be the best in everything that they do.

PRESIDENT PRESENTED STREE SHAKTI PURASKARS AND NARI SHAKTI PURUSKARS FOR THE YEAR 2014

President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 8 March 2015 presented Stree Shakti puraskars and Nari Shakti Puruskars for the year 2014. The awards were given on the occasion of International Women’s Day at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Stree Shakti puraskars are conferred on six women in the area of women’s endeavor and exceptional contribution each year. The award carries a cash prize of 3 lakh rupees and a citation.

Winners of the Stree Shakti Puruskar 2014

Award

Winner

Cause

Rani Lakshmibai Award

Seema Prakash, Madhya Pradesh

For working for the cause of vulnerable and marginalised Communities of Madhya Pradesh Since 2000 particularly for the Korku tribe of the state.

Rani Rudramma Devi Award

Astha Sansthan (NGO), Rajasthan

For protecting women’s rights, gender mainstreaming, issues relating to violence against women tribal rights, food security, transparency and right to work and others.

Mata Jijabai Award

Chandraprabha Bokey, Maharashtra

She is a social worker and is working in rural areas since 1960. Her field of work includes empowerment and rehabilitation of destitute, divorced, disabled women and rehabilitation of orphan children.

Kannagi Award

Dr. P Bhanumati, Kerala

For founding Association for Mentally Handicapped Adults (AHMA) working for welfare of the poor destitute mentally challenged adults since 1996.

Rani Gaidinliu Zeliang Award

Sister Mariola, Rajasthan

For working with the inmates at Ajmer Jail, Rajasthan since 1997 and has been lobbying for Prisons Without Walls.

Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Award

Anyay Rahit Zindagi (NGO), Goa

The organisation works towards combating trafficking of persons subjected to commercial sexual exploitation since 1997.

The Nari Shakti Puraskars have been conferred for the first time in 2015 and the award carries a cash prize of one lakh rupees and a citation. They have been instituted by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to honour 8 women and recognize their individual contribution in specific areas.

Winners of the Nari Shakti Puruskars for the year 2014 includes Rashmi Anand from Delhi, Nandita Krishna from Tamil Nadu, Dr. Laxmi Gautam from Uttar Pradesh, Latika Thukral from Haryana, Dr. Sailakshmi Balijepally from Tamil Nadu, Neha Kirpal from Delhi,  P Kausalya from Tamil Nadu and Dr. Swaraj Vidwan from Uttarakhand.

VEERAPPA MOILY SELECTED FOR SARASWATI SAMMAN 2014

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily on 9 March 2015 was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman for 2014 for his Kannada poem Ramayana Mahanveshanam.

Divided into five volumes, Ramayana Mahanveshanam was first published in 2007 in Kannada. Later the poem was translated into English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.

The selection for the award was made by a 13-member panel of scholars and writers headed by former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti.

About poem Ramayana Mahaveshanam

In the poem Ramayana Mahaveshanam, Moily tried to explore the Ramarajya or the true principle of the ideal State from a secular and modern point of view in his collection of poems.

About Marpadi Veerappa Moily

• He is a senior Congress leader from Karnataka

• He served Karnataka as its Chief Minister between 1992 and 1994

• Moily handled many ministries in the previous UPA regime like Petroleum and Natural Gas, Corporate Affairs, Law and Justice

• Moliy who belong to Devadiga community was born 12 January 1940 in Marpadi Village, Moodbidri, Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka

• 75-year-old Moily is an established writer in Kannada who has authored four novels, three collections of poetry, a number of plays and numerous essays. His novels includes

a) Kotta (made into telefilms in both Kannada and Hindi)

b) Tembare (translated into English under the title, The edge of time)

c) Suligali: Typhoon

d) Sagaradeepa: Ocean lamp

• His poems includes

a) Halu-Jenu Maththe

b) Nadeyali Samara

c) Yakshaprashne

• He has authored four volumes of an English book named Unleashing India

About Saraswati Samman

Saraswati Samman is an annual award that is given in recognition of outstanding prose or poetry literary works in Indian languages that are listed in Schedule VIII of the constitution of India. This Samman is given for the literary works of last 10 years. The award was established in 1991 by KK Birla Foundation and carries a prize amount of 10 lakh rupees along with citation and a plaque.

The KK Birla Foundation has instituted three awards in the field of literature. These are Saraswati Samman, Vyas Samman (for Hindi) and Bihari Puraskar (for Hindi and Rajasthani writers of Rajasthan).

On 23 September 2014, the Saraswati Samman 2013 was given to Govind Mishra, the renowned Hindi author for his novel Dhool Paudhon Par that was published in 2008.

LATA MANGESHKAR WON THE LAADLI VOICE OF THE CENTURY AWARD

Legendary Singer Lata Mangeshkar was presented with the Laadli Voice of the Century award. She was awarded at the sixth edition of the National Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity held at Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was the chief guest at the awards ceremony.

Winners of the National Media and Advertising Awards in different category

• Laadli Voice of the Century award – Lata Mangeshkar

• Best movie award – Queen

• Laadli Grand Prix award – advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather for its advertisement, Titan Raga — tum nahi badle

• Laadli extraordinaire award – Charu Khurana, she won a landmark judgment in the Supreme Court regarding Bollywood’s bias against women make-up artistes

Beside National Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity, 13 national media awards and eight awards to advertising agencies were also announced by Population First and UNFPA (United Nations Population First).

The National Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity was instituted by the Population First (PF) - an initiative for gender equality and community empowerment.

RAJENDRA SINGH, THE WATER MAN OF INDIA, NAMED AS THE 2015 STOCKHOLM WATER PRIZE LAUREATE

The Waterman of India Rajendra Singh was named as the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate.

Singh was named for the prestigious award for his innovative water restoration efforts, improving water security in rural India, and for showing extraordinary courage and determination in his quest to improve the living conditions for those most in need.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Patron of the Stockholm Water Prize, will present the prize to Rajendra Singh at a Royal Award Ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm on 26 August 2015.

Singh has invested several decades of his life to defeat drought and empowering communities of Rajasthan through his organisation Tarun Bharat Sangh (India Youth Association).

He addressed the problem of waters in villages of Rajasthan through building Johads or traditional earthen dams. These Johads, by now about 8600 in number, helped 1000 villages of the state in revival of water.

His efforts also helped in increasing the forest cover in the state, which helped the return of antelope and leopard in the state.

About Stockholm Water Prize

The Stockholm Water Prize is a global award founded in 1991 and presented annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to an individual, organisation or institution for outstanding water-related achievements. The Stockholm Water Prize Laureate receives 150000 US Dollars and a specially designed sculpture. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is patron of the prize.

About Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)

Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that generates knowledge and informs decision-makers towards water wise policy and sustainable development. SIWI organizes the World Water Week in Stockholm – the leading annual global meeting place on water and development issues – and hosts the Stockholm Water Prize, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and the Stockholm Industry Water Award.

SHASHI KAPOOR SELECTED FOR THE DADASAHEB PHALKE AWARD 2014

The Union Government on 23 March 2015 announced that Shashi Kapoor was selected for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2014. The 77-year-old the veteran film actor and producer is the 46th Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner.

The 2014 Dadasaheb Phalke award to Shashi Kapoor made him the third member of Kapoor family to receive the award after Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor.

About Shashi Kapoor

• He started acting in films as a child in late 1940s and his best known performances as child artist were in Aag (1948), Awaara (1951) and Sangram (1950). In these two films, he played the younger version of the character played by his elder brother Raj Kapoor. In Sangram, he played younger version of Ashok Kumar.

• He made his debut as a lead actor in the 1961 film Dharmputra.

• During his Bollywood career during the 1960s, 1970s and mid-1980s, he appeared in more than 100 Hindi films.

• He also appeared in notable British and American films like The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Bombay Talkie (1970), Bombay Talkie (1970), Siddhartha (1972), Heat and Dust (1982), Heat and Dust (1982), The Deceivers (1988), Muhafiz (1994), Side Streets (1998), and others.

• In 1978, he established his own production house Film Valas, which produced critically acclaimed films like Junoon (1978), Kalyug (1981), 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), Vijeta (1982) and Utsav (1984).

• He also produced and directed film titled Ajooba, which had Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi in the lead role.

• Shashi Kapoor was born as Balbir Raj Prithviraj Kapoor on 18 March 1938 in Calcutta (now Kolkata) during British Raj.

• He is the younger brother of Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor, the son of Prithviraj Kapoor.

• He is the widower of Jennifer Kendal, and the father of Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor.

Awards and Honours conferred on Shashi Kapoor

• Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2011

• He is a recipient of three National Film Awards and they includes

a) National Film Award – Special Jury Award / Special Mention (Feature Film) for Muhafiz in 1994

b) National Film Award for Best Actor for New Delhi Times in 1986

c) National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi (as Producer) for Junoon in 1979

• Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010

• Filmfare Best Movie Award for Kalyug in 1982 and Junoon in 1980

• Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Deewar in 1976

Dadasaheb Phalke Award

The Dadasaheb Phalke award is the highest award of India in cinema and is conferred by the Union Government for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema. The award was introduced in 1969 to commemorate the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke.

The award carries a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of 10 lakh rupees and a shawl.

The award is given on the basis of recommendations of a Committee of eminent persons set up the Government for the purpose.

PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR SANSKRIT, PALI/PRAKRIT, ARABIC AND PERSIAN LANGUAGE CONFERRED

The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 23 March 2015 awarded Certificate of Honour to eminent scholars of Sanskrit, Pali/Prakrit, Arabic and Persian. He also conferred the Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman to young scholars for the year 2014.

These certificates were given at a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

Recipients of the President’s Certificate of Honour for Sanskrit language

• Manohar Vidyalankar

• S Sambanda Sivacharya

• Jagadgurunimbarkacharya Shri

• Radhasarveshwarshadevacharya Shri Sjriji Maharaj

• Dr. Rama Shankar Tripathi

• V Krishnamurthy Ghanapatigal

• Areyar Srirama Sharma

• R Krishnamurthy Sastri

• Dr. Francois Grimal

• Raja S Giri Acharya

• Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi

• Chellam Srinivasa Somayaji

• Prof. Vempaty Kutumba Sastry

• Padamshri Prof. Om Prakash Upadhyay

• Prof. Dr. Shashi Prabha Kumar

The Certificate of Honour for Sanskrit (International) was awarded to Prof. Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat.

Recipients of Certificate of Honour for Arabic language

• Prof. Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Rahmathullah

• Prof. Nisar Ahmad Ansari Azmi

Recipients of Certificate of Honour for Persian and Pali/Prakrit language

• Prof. Shameen Akhtar (Persian)

• Mahopadhyaya Vinay Sagar (Pali/Prakrit)

Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman was bagged by four Scholars in Sanskrit, one each in Arabic, Persian and Pali/Prakrit. The awardees include

Language

Name

Sanskrit

Dr. KS Maheswaran

Dr. Pramod Kumar Sharma

Dr. Madhav Janardan Ratate

Dr. Vinay Kumar Pandey

Arabic

Dr. Aurang Zeb Azmi

Persian

Dr. Atiqur Rahman

Pali/Prakrit

Dr. Samani Sangeet Prajan

The scheme for award of Certificates of Honour was introduced in the year 1958 by Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development to honour the scholars of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian Languages. The scheme was extended to cover Pali/ Prakrit in 1996. From the year 2008, the scheme was further extended to cover one international award for an NRI or foreigner for their lifetime achievement in the field of Sanskrit.

The Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman for young scholars in the age group of 30 to 40 years in the field of Sanskrit, Pali/ Prakrit, Arabic and Persian was introduced from the year 2002.

MADHAV GADGIL AND DR. JANE LUBCHENCO WON TYLER PRIZE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT 2015

Indian ecologist Madhav Gadgil and US Scientist Dr. Jane Lubchenco were on 23 March 2015 named for the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 2015.

They were named for the award for their leadership and engagement in the development of conservation and sustainability policies in the United States, India and internationally.

As the winners of the Tyler Prize, Lubchenco and Gadgil will share the 200000 US Dollar cash prize and each will receive a gold medallion at a private ceremony in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles on 24 April 2015.

Madhav Gadgil became the second Indian to receive the award after MS Swaminathan in 1991. He received the award to help dramatically improve crop yields in India.

Ecologist Madhav Gadgil was the Chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP). He was awarded for his landmark report on the preservation of the unique ecosystem of the Western Ghats and the inclusion of local committees.

Dr. Lubchenco is a distinguished Professor and Advisor in Marine Studies at Oregon State University. She was awarded for her dedication to raising awareness of the importance of the ocean and the need to protect ocean ecosystems, notably during her tenure from 2009 to 2013 as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

She was recently named first-ever U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean by the United States Department of State.

About the Tyler Prize

The Tyler prize was instituted in 1973. It is awarded by the International Tyler Prize Executive Committee with the administrative support of the University of Southern California.

It honours exceptional foresight and dedication in the environmental sciences and policy--qualities that mirror the prescience of the Prize's founders, John and Alice Tyler.

62ND NATIONAL FILM AWARDS ANNOUNCED

62nd National Film Awards were announced on 24 March 2015. The awards are annually presented by Directorate of Film Festivals to honour the best films of the previous in the Indian cinema. The award ceremony will be held on 3 May 2015.

The list of winners

Best Actress: Kangana Ranaut for Queen

Best Supporting Actress: Baljinder Kaur for Pagdi The Honour (Haryanavi)

Best Supporting Actor: Bobby Simhaa for Jigarthanda (Tamil)

Best Actor: Vijay for Nanu Avanalla Avalu (Kannada)

Best Direction: Srijit Mukherji for Chotushkone (Bengali)

Best Music Direction: a) Songs - Haider (Hindi); and b) Background Score - Nineteen Eighty Three (Malayalam)

Best Choreography: Bismil for Haider

Best Writing on Cinema: Silent Cinema: (1895-1930)- Pasupuleti Purnachandra Rao

Best Writing on Cinema: G. Dhananjayan for Pride of Tamil Cinema (Special Mention)

Best Costume Designer: Dolly Ahluwalia for Haider

Best Female Playback Singer: Uttara Unnikrishanan for song Azhagu in Saivam (Tamil)

Best Male Playback Singer: Sukhwinder Singh for song Bismil from Haider

Best Films in different languages

Best Hindi Film: Queen

Best Assamese Film: Othello

Best Bengali Film: Nirbashito

Best Kannada Film: Harivu

Best Konkani Film: Nachom - IA Kumpasar

Best Malayalam Film: Ain

Best Marathi Film: Killa

Best Odiya Film: Aadim Vichar

Best Punjabi Film: Punjab 1984

Best Tamil Film: Kuttram Kadithal

Best Telugu Film: Chandamama Kathalu

Best Rabha Film: Orong

Best Haryanvi Film: Pagdi The Honour

Best Films in different categories

Best Educational Film: Komal & Behind the Glass Wall

Best Exploration/Adventure: Film Life Force - India's Western Ghats

Best Investigative Film: Phum Shang

Best Animation Film: Sound of Joy

Best Short Fiction Film: Mitraa

Best Film Critic: Tanul Thakur

Best Film On Environment Conservation/ Preservation: Ottaal (Malayalam)

Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Mary Kom

Indira Gandhi Award For Best Debut Film Of A Director: Asha Jaoar Majhe (Bengali)

Best Feature Film: Court (Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati & English)

AMITAV GHOSH AMONG THE 10 FINALISTS SHORTLISTED FOR 2015 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE

Indian author Amitav Ghosh on 24 March 2015 was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. He is the only Indian among the 10 finalists shortlisted for the prize.

58-year-old, Ghosh was chosen for his contribution to the English language writing. Earlier in 2008, he was shortlisted for the prize his work Sea of Poppies but he missed the prize narrowly.

The name of the 10 finalists was announced at the University of Cape Town in South Africa by writer and academic Professor Marina Warner, chair of the five-person judging panel.

Finalists for the year 2015 include

• Amitav Ghosh of India

• Cesar Aira of Argentina

• Hoda Barakat of Lebanon

• Maryse Conde of Guadeloupe

• Mia Couto of Mozambique

• Fanny Howe of the United States of America

• Ibrahim al-Koni of Libya)

• Laszlo Krasznahorkai of Hungary

• Alain Mabanckou of Republic of Congo

• Marlene van Niekerk of South Africa

The award will be given to the winner on 19 May 2015 in London.

About the International Man Booker Prize

The International Man Booker Prize, introduced in 2005, is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

It carries a cash prize of 60000 pounds and is given in recognition of the writer's body of work, rather than any one title. It rewards author for their continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage.

The award sponsored by the Man Group and complements the Man Booker Prize.

Ismail Kadare of Albania was the first winner of the award, he was awarded in 2005. Lydia Davis of the United States was the last recipient of the award in 2013.

ARTIST BHARTI KHER CONFERRED WITH THE KNIGHT OF THE ORDER OF ARTS AND LETTERS OF FRANCE

Artist Bharti Kher of India on 23 March 2015 was conferred with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). This is the highest cultural award of France.

She was awarded for her contribution in contemporary art landscape. Kher's artworks span several mediums like painting, sculpture and installation.

Her An Absence of Assignable Cause which is a 14-feet- high sculptural interpretation of the heart of the blue sperm whale is among the finest works from the experiment.

The artist is renowned for her remarkable experimentation with bindis that have over time come to be recognised as her signature style.

The French government distinction Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) is conferred on persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.

INDIAN-AMERICAN AUTHOR AKHIL SHARMA WON THE FOLIO PRIZE 2015 FOR NOVEL FAMILY LIFE

Indian-American author Akhil Sharma on 23 March 2015 won The Folio Prize 2015 for his novel Family Life.

He was presented with the winner trophy by Jean-Marc Rathe of The Folio Society and a cheque of 40000 pound at the awards ceremony held in London.

He was selected for the award by the five-member judging panel for The Folio Prize 2015 chaired by William Fiennes.

His novel Family Life was one among the eight books shortlisted from 80 works of fiction and was chosen as the best fiction published in the UK in 2014 by the 235 writers and critics who constitute the Folio Academy.

Some of the shortlisted candidates for The Folio Prize 2015 were:

•    Ben Lerner for 10:04

•    Miriam Toews for All My Puny Sorrows

•    Jenny Offill for Dept of Speculation

•    Adhiambo Owuor for Dust

•    Colm Toibin for Nora Webster

•    Rachel Cusk for Outline

About the book Family Life

Family Life is an autobiographical story of an immigrant family floundering in America. The book tells the story of Ajay Mishra who moves from Delhi to the United States as a child in the late 1970s. When Ajay's brother has a life-changing accident, it shatters his family's new life.

About The Folio Prize

The Folio Prize was instituted in 2014. The prize recognises the best English-language fiction from around the world, published in the United Kingdom (UK) during a given year, regardless of form, genre or the author’s country of origin.

It is the first major English-language book prize open to writers from all over the world.

In 2014, American short story writer George Saunders became the first winner of The Folio Prize. He won for his collection of short stories Tenth of December.

About Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma was born in Delhi and immigrated with his family to the USA in 1979. His stories have been published in the New Yorker and in Atlantic Monthly, and have been included in The Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Prize Collections.

His first novel, An Obedient Father, won the 2001 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. He was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists in 2007.

UNION GOVERNMENT FELICITATED THE WINNERS OF THE THIRD WEB RATNA AWARDS

The Union Minister of Communications & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on 25 March 2015 felicitated the winners of the 2014 Web Ratna awards. This was the third Web Ratna Awards that were given away at a ceremony held at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

List of award and awardees

Citizen Centric Service Category:

• Platinum Award: Passport Seva Project

• Gold Award: National Safai Karmchari Finance Development Corporation (NSKFDC)

Silver Award: National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)

Open Data Champion category:

• Platinum Award: Office of Registrar General & Census Commissioner

• Gold Award: Planning Commission and Union Ministry of Statistics & Program Implementation

• Silver Award: Union Ministry of Water Resources

Innovative Use of Technology category:

• Platinum Award: MKisan-Government of India Portal for Farmer Centric Services

• Gold Award: Madhya Pradesh Commercial Tax Department and Department of Commercial Tax, Tamil Nadu

• Silver Award: E-Sahakar, an online Cooperative Society Process Management System of Maharashtra Government
Outstanding Content category:

Platinum Award: Ministry of External Affairs.

Gold Award: Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Kerala Tourism

• Silver Award: Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER)

Comprehensive Web presence category:

• Platinum Award: Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

• Gold Award: Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

• Silver Award: Controller General of Accounts

Comprehensive Web Presence State category:

Platinum Award: Maharashtra

• Gold Award: Tamil Nadu

• Silver Award: Uttarakhand

Web Ratna Awards

The Web Ratna Awards was constituted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and acknowledges exemplary initiatives/practices of various states/UTs in the realm of e-governance.

The first and second Web Ratna Awards were awarded for the year 2009 and 2012.

USHA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED WON THE GOLD AWARD AT 6TH FLAME AWARDS 2015

Usha International Limited on 25 March 2015 won the Gold award in the Last Mile Distribution Initiative of the year category at the 6th Annual Flame Awards 2015. The awards were hosted by the Rural Marketing Association of India.

It was awarded in recognition of its rural marketing initiative to extend their footprint into small towns and villages.

The company set up its rural business in April 2013 and named it Project Sampark. This is an extension of the company's distribution network into towns with population of less than one lakh and all of India's villages.

Through Project Sampark, company has reached out to over 400000 households.

With 69 percent of India's 1.2 billion population based out of rural areas, Usha is looking at establishing its footprint to over 8000 towns and 6.4 Lakh villages.

Dinesh Chhabra is CEO of Usha International Limited.

RENOWNED HINDI POET GOPALDAS NEERAJ WON THE RASHTRIYA KAVI PRADEEP SAMMAN FOR THE YEAR 2012-13

Renowned Hindi poet Gopaldas Neeraj on 24 March 2015 won the Rashtriya Kavi Pradeep Samman for the year 2012-13. The award is given by the Department of Culture of Madhya Pradesh (MP) government.

90-year-old poet Neeraj won the award for his immense contribution in the field of literature.

As award he received a cash prize of two lakh rupees, a shawl and a citation by Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Surendra Patwa at Shaheed Bhawan.

About Rashtriya Kavi Pradeep Samman

The Rashtriya Kavi Pradeep award has been introduced by the Madhya Pradesh government in the reminiscence of Kavi Pradeep, the noted poet and songwriter.

Kavi Pradeep is best known for his devoted song Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo written in respect to the soldiers who died protecting the country during the Sino-Indian War in 1962.

DALAL STREET INVESTMENT JOURNAL PRESENTED THE 6TH PSU AWARDS

Dalal Street Investment Journal (DSIJ) presented its sixth Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) Awards on 24 March 2015 in New Delhi.

The awards were given in recognition of performance excellence and their contribution to the economy.

Fifteen PSUs were selected under various categories based on their performance in the year 2014. The performance assessment was based on a model developed by KPMG considering various financial parameters such as productivity, efficiency, efficacy, profitability, corporate social responsibility, etc.

List of Awardees

Award and Category

Winners

1

Maharatna of the year – Manufacturing

NTPC

2

Most Efficient Maharatna – Manufacturing

BHEL

3

Fastest Growing Navaratna of the year -Non Manufacturing

REC

4

Best General Insurance Company of the year

New India Assurance Company

5

Outstanding Performance in Mega Project Implementation

SAIL

6

Highest Wealth Creator among listed PSUs

NBCC

7

Navratna of the year – Non-Manufacturing

PFC

8

Outstanding performer in Retail Banking

Canara Bank

9

Most Consistent Performer of the year- General Insurance

United India Insurance Company

10

Maharatna of the year – Non-Manufacturing

ONGC

11

Biggest e-commerce portal in India

IRCTC

12

Most Efficient Miniratna of the year- Non-Manufacturing

CONCOR

13

Most Efficient Public Sector Bank

Bank of Baroda

14

Most Efficient Navratna –Non- Manufacturing

NMDC

15

Fastest Growing Maharatna – Non-Manufacturing

COAL INDIA

CNN IBN ANNOUNCED INDIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD 2014

CNN-IBN announced the Indian of the Year Award 2014 on 18 March 2015. The award recognises the remarkable achievements and contributions of Indians who worked tirelessly towards strengthening India’s foundation in 2014.

The CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award is presented annually to various Indians for their work in their respective fields. The awards are presented in various categories of Politics, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Public Service and Global Indian.

The award was instituted in 2006 and this was the ninth edition of CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award.

List of the Winners of CNN-IBN Award 2014:

Narendra Modi - Indian of the Year 2014

He was chosen for making the story of Lok Sabha elections 2014 - the story of Narendra Modi.

Arun Jaitley - Indian of the Year 2014: Politics

He is credited with ending the festering and unresolved leadership issues within the BJP post the Vajpayee - Advani era.

Jitu Rai - Indian of the Year 2014: Sports

He won three medals including Gold at World Cup, a Commonwealth Gold, a Silver at World Championship and won India's first Gold at Incheon Asian Games in 2014.

N Chandrasekaran - Indian of the Year 2014: Business

He is known for his management and leadership style. He has been the CEO and MD of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) since October 2009 and was re-appointed a few months ago by the company's board for another five year term.

Chetan Bhagat - Indian of the Year 2014: Entertainment

An investment banker, an author and now a screenplay writer, Chetan Bhagat has churned six best-selling novels.

Tongam Rina - Indian of the Year 2014: Public Service

In 2012, Tongam Rina, the Associate Editor of Arunachal Times was shot at close range for writing against the endemic corruption in her state.

Satya Nadella - Indian of the Year 2014: Global Indian

Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella is the third CEO in technology giant Microsoft’s history.

K Chandrasekhar Rao - Indian of the Year 2014: Popular Choice

He steered the oldest statehood movement of India that led to the creation of Telangana in 2014 and went on to become the first Chief Minister of Telangana.

P Vijayan - Indian of the Year 2014: Popular Choice

IPS officer P. Vijayan is the force behind the Student Police Cadet Project that started in Kerala and is now set to go national. The project trains high school students to respect the law and develop empathy for vulnerable sections of society.

Kangana Ranaut - Indian of the Year 2014: Special Achievement

She was recognised for positioning herself as a fearless actor who prefers to speak her mind on and off the screen.

Pankaj Advani - Indian of the Year 2014: Special Achievement

Unlike most of his sporting contemporaries, Pankaj Advani does not have the lure of the Olympics to motivate himself.

Kailash Satyarthi - Indian of the Year 2014: Outstanding Achievement

The Nobel Peace Prize winner of the year 2014. His organization Bachpan Bachao Aandolan has rescued over 82000 children from a life of exploitation.

Azim Premji - Indian of the Year 2014: Outstanding Achievement

The famously reclusive Chairperson of WIPRO, Azim Premji launched the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative in 2014 to fund non-profit organizations working in key areas like nutrition, disabilities and governance.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) - Indian of the Year 2014: Lifetime Achievement

For Mangalyaan its mission to Mars had the world gasping in 2014.

NOBEL LAUREATE JOHN NASH WON ABEL PRIZE 2015 FOR WORK ON PARTIAL DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS

Nobel Laureate John F Nash Jr. won the Abel Prize 2015 for his work on partial differential equations. The prize was announced on 25 March 2015 by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters. They will receive the Abel Prize from His Majesty King Harald at a ceremony in Oslo on 19 May 2015.

He will share the Prize with Louis Nirenberg, Professor Emeritus at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. They both will share the prize money of 760000 US dollar.

Nash and Nirenberg won the prize for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis. Partial differential equations are important in both pure math and describing natural phenomena.

John Nash is a senior research mathematician at Princeton University. He won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994 for his work in game theory as dramatized in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind in which he was portrayed by actor Russell Crowe.

About the Abel Prize

The Abel Prize is an international prize presented annually by the King of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians. The prize was named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel.

The award was established in 2001 by the Government of Norway and complements the Holberg Prize in the humanities.

The Abel Prize has often been described as the mathematician's Nobel Prize, competing in that respect with the much older Fields Medal. It comes with a monetary award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (NOK).

In 2014, it was won by Yakov G Sinai, Professor at Princeton University and Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences.

The first Abel Prize was won by Jean-Pierre Serre, Professor at Collège de France, Paris in 2003.

ISRO WON GANDHI PEACE PRIZE 2014

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 27 March 2015 won Gandhi Peace Prize 2014. The award was selected by the jury under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Besides Prime Minister, other members of the Jury that selected the ISRO for the award were Justice H L Dattu, Chief Justice of India; Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the single largest Opposition Party in the Lok Sabha; LK Advani, Member of Parliament and Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

The Indian space agency successfully launched Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and at a very cost effective price of 450 crore rupees.

The launch makes India the first Asian country to enter the Martian sphere of influence.

ISRO became the fourth space agency after National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US, Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA) and European Space Agency to have undertaken a mission to Mars.

Besides launching various research and communication satellites, the space agency through its cutting-edge technologies contributes to the nation's development through satellite based education, health care and connectivity to community activities for sustainable economic development.

About the Award

The Gandhi Peace Prize for social, economic and political transformation through non-violence was instituted in the year 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

It is given to individual or organisation for making social, economic and political transformation through non-violence means.

The award comprises an amount of one crore rupees and a citation.

Previous recipients of the award includes

• Julius K Nyerere, former Tanzanian President (he was the first recipient of the award in 1995)

• Nelson Mandela, former South African President,

• AT Ariyaratne, founder President of Sarvodaya Shramadana movement in Sri Lanka

• Gerhard Fischer of Rama Krishna Mission in Germany and

• Baba Amte (Murlidhar Devidas Amte), a social worker of India who is known particularly for his work for the rehabilitation and empowerment of poor people suffering from leprosy

• Archbishop Desmond Tutu, cleric and activist of South Africa (received the award in 2005)

PRESIDENT PRESENTED BHARAT RATNA AWARD TO ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE

President of India Pranab Mukherjii on 27 March 2015 presented Bharat Ratna award to Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his home. Bharat Ratna is India's highest civilian honour.

He is the seventh prime minister to receive the award after Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Gulzarilal Nanda.

The award giving ceremony is usually held at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi, but an exception was made keeping in mind the poor health of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Vajpayee is the first non-Congress prime minister to serve full five years in office. He held the post from 1998 to 2004. In 1996, he had held the post for 13 days. Within two weeks of assuming office for a second time, Vajpayee had ordered nuclear tests at Pokhran.

During his tenure, he is credited with taking bold initiatives, notable among them being the historic bus journey to Lahore in 1999 when he signed the landmark Lahore Declaration with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with both sides pledging to push for peace and security.

His other awards are:

• Padma Vibhushan in 1992

• Lokmanya Tilak Award in 1994 by Government of India

• Best Parliamentarian Award in 1994.

• Bharat Ratna Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant Award in 1994

He is famous for his writing style. Some of his penned Autobiographies are:

• Atal Bihari Vaj mem tina dasaka (1992)

• Pradhanamantri Atala Bihari Vajapeyi, chune hue bhashana

• Values, vision & verses of Vajpayee: India's man of destiny

• India's foreign policy: New dimensions

• Assam problem: Repression no solution

MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED BHARAT RATNA

Freedom fighter and educationist, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on 30 March 2015 was conferred the highest civilian award of the country Bharat Ratna (posthumous). His family members received the award from President Prabab Mukherjee at a function in the Ashoka hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The award was given to Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya or Mahamana Malaviya’s family for his outstanding work in the field of education and the country's freedom struggle.

Pandit Malaviya was born on 25 December 1861 in Allahabad. He studied at Calcutta University and became a school teacher. Later he also practiced as a lawyer and even a newspaper editor. He was the founder of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Hindu Mahasabha.

Besides, President also presented Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards.

List of Awardees

Award

Recipient

Padma Vibhushan

  • Lal Krishna Advani (Senior BJP leader)
  • Sardar Parkash Singh Badal (Akali Dal leader and Punjab Chief Minister)
  • Jagadguru Rambhadra Acharya

Padma Bhusan

  • Dr. Swapan Dasgupata
  • David Frawley
  • Bill Gates
  • Melinda Gates
  • Needamangalam Gopalaswami
  • Saichiro Misumi
  • Sudha Rangunathan
  • Harish Narendra Salve
  • Shri Satpal
  • Dr. Ashok Seth

Padma Shri

  • Sanjay Leela Bhansali (film maker)
  • Dr Randeep Guleria (physician)
  • Prasoon Joshi (writer)
  • Pran Kumar Sharma (Posthumous) (creator of popular cartoon character Chacha Chaudhary)
  • PV Sindhu (shuttler)
  • Sardar Singh (Hockey star)
  • Arunima Sinha (amputee Everest climber)
  • Prof Alka Kripalni
  • Manjula Anagani
  • Kanyakumari Avasarala
  • Prof. Huang Baosheng
  • Naresh Bedi
  • Jean-Claude Carriere
  • Gyan Chaturvedi
  • Jaya Kumari Chikkala
  • Prof. Ashok Gulati
  • Dr. Randeep Guleria
  • George L Hart
  • Rahul Jain
  • Prafulla Kar
  • Ushakiran Khan
  • Harsh Kumar
  • N Purushothama Mallaya
  • Dr. Janak Palta McGilligan
  • Tarak Janubhai Mehta
  • Chewang Norphel
  • Dr. Tejas Madhusudan Patel
  • Dr. Raghu Rama Pillarisetti
  • Bimla Poddar
  • Dr. N Prabhakar
  • Dr. Prahalada
  • Dr. Saumitra Rawat
  • Dr. Annette Schmiedchen
  • Brahmdev Sharma ‘Bhaiji’
  • Prof. (DR.) Nikhil Tandon

Earlier on 27 March 2015, the President had awarded the Bharat Ratna to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his house in Delhi.

ADITI ARYA WON THE FBB FEMINA MISS INDIA 2015 TITLE

Aditi Arya of Delhi won the fbb Femina Miss India 2015 title on 28 March 2015 at the 52nd edition of the beauty contest held at Yash Raj Studio in Mumbai. She was crowned with the title by Koyal Rana, Femina Miss India 2014.

The first runner-up was Aafreen Rachel Vaz of Mangaluru, Karnataka and the second runner-up was Vartika Singh of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

Aditi Arya will represent India at Miss World 2015; Aafreen Rachel will participate at Miss International 2015, while Vartika Singh will take part at the Miss Grand International beauty pageants.

The trio was selected from the five finalists by a panel of judges that included Anil Kapoor and John Abraham among others.

List of sub contest winners

Miss Fashion Icon: Pranati Prakash

Miss Beauty With Purpose: Vartika Singh

Miss Vivacious: Sushrii Shreya Mishraa

Miss Healthy Skin: Rakshita Harimurthy

Miss Timeless Beauty: Deeksha Kaushal

Miss Beautiful Hair: Aditi Arya

Miss Congeniality: Aafreen Rachel Vaz

Miss Active: Sushruthi Krishna

Miss Lifestyle: Deeksha Kaushal

Miss Talented: Pranati Prakash and Medhika Priya Singhal

Miss Body Beautiful: Diksha Singh

Miss Rampwalk: Sushrii Shreya Mishraa

Miss Photogenic: Vartika Singh

Miss Bright Smile: Minash Ravuthar

Miss Waterbaby: Meghna Mittal

Miss Sudoku: Aditi Arya

Miss National Costume: Vartika Singh

Miss Selfie: Apeksha Porwal

Miss Beautiful Eyes: Aishwarya Goel

Miss Popular: Rewati Chetri

Miss Beautiful Legs: Rakshita Harimurthy

 

DEFENCE

INDIAN NAVY COMMISSIONED THREE IMMEDIATE SUPPORT VESSELS (ISVS) IN

The Indian Navy on 24 March 2015 commissioned three Immediate Support Vessels (ISVs) comprising T-38, T-39 and T-40 at the Visakhapatnam Naval Dockyard in Andhra Pradesh. These ISVs were commissioned by the Vice Admiral Satish Soni.

These three ISVs are in addition to the first batch of ISVs commissioned on 04 June 2014 and will constitute the 84th Immediate Support Vessel Squadron based at Visakhapatnam.

Two ISVs were built by Rodman Spain and the third vessel was built by the Abu Dhabi Ship Builders (ADSB).

The project to build ISVs was a joint collaboration between the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd, Ship Builders and the Indian Navy.

ISV Specifications

• ISVs are lightly armed surface crafts and can be operated at high seas as well as in coastal waters.

• These are armed with Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) and are fitted with state of the art radar and navigation equipment.

• Two caterpillar engines of 1600 MHP each provide water jet propulsion to the vessel which enables it to travel at a high speed of 40 knots and an endurance of 500 nautical miles.

• These ships are capable of carrying out day and night surveillance operations by the Marine Commando Force (MARCOS).
The ISVs will be operated from Vishakhapatnam and will augment the Navy’s capabilities to protect the porous maritime borders and offshore assets like petroleum and natural gas production sites.

INVENTION & DISCOVERIES

SCIENTISTS AT ANU FOUND THE WORLD’S LARGEST ASTEROID IMPACT ZONE IN WARBURTON BASIN, AUSTRALIA

Scientists at Australian National University (ANU) found the world’s largest asteroid impact zone in the Warburton Basin of central Australia. The findings were published in the March 2015 issue of Journal Tectonophysics.

Dr Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University (ANU) School of Archaeology and Anthropology was the lead author of the study.

As per the study

• The impact zone is 400-kilometer (250-mile) wide area.

• It has a high-density of 2.9–3.0 gr/cm3 and high magnetic susceptibility of SI 0.012–0.037 at a depth of 6–10 km at the centre of the anomalies.

• The structures are marked by deep-seated magnetic and seismic tomography anomalies.

• The asteroid broke into two before it hit, with each fragment more than 10km across.

• The impact occurred at least 300 million years ago, that is, it belongs to pre-Carboniferous era.

The impact zone was discovered during drilling as part of geothermal research, in an area near the borders of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The previous largest asteroid impact zone was found in the Vredefort crater in South Africa. It clocked in a diameter of 380 kilometers (236 miles). It is also the oldest known crater in the world as it is believed that the impact was formed about 2023 million years ago.

COMMITTEES | COMMISSIONS

MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS CONSTITUTED AJAY SHANKAR COMMITTEE TO REVIEW PPP CELL FUNCTIONING

The Ministry of Railways appointed Ajay Shankar committee on 25 March 2015 to review the performance of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) cell functioning under the Railway Board.

Ajay Shankar is a former Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The Committee will recommend measures to make the cell more effective, customer friendly and result oriented.

The Infrastructure Directorate of Railway Board will be the Nodal Directorate for functioning of the Committee and Executive Director/Traffic (PPP) Railway Board will be the Secretary to the Committee.

The ministry’s decision is in tune with the announcement made by the Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu in his Rail budget speech on 26 February 2015.

ENVIRONMENT

GLOBAL CO2 EMISSIONS FROM ENERGY SECTOR STALLED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 40 YEARS IN 2014: IEA

International Energy Agency (IEA) released the data on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on 13 March 2015. According to it, the global emissions of CO2 from energy sector stalled in the year 2014.

As per the preliminary data released, global emissions of CO2 stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014 which is same as in the year 2013.

Further the data suggests that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought.

Cause for the halt in CO2 emissions

According to IEA, the cause for the halt of CO2 emissions is the changing patterns of energy consumption in China and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

In China, the year 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal.

On the other hand, in OECD economies, the year 2014 saw efforts towards promoting sustainable growth through greater energy efficiency and more production of renewable energy.

Decoupling of CO2 emissions and economic growth

This is the first time in 40 years that global CO2 emissions stalled or got reduced despite global economy witnessing an economic growth of 3 percent in 2014. That is, for the first time the CO2 emissions got decoupled with economic growth.

Since the setting up of 29-member IEA in 1973 at Vienna, there have only been three times when the global carbon emissions stalled or reduced compared to the previous year. These were early 1980s, 1992 and 2009 and all these years were associated with global economic weakness.

Significance of this development

According to IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, this will help in bringing the nations together in combating the climate change and will provide the much needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December 2015. (Fatih Birol was recently named to take over from Maria van der Hoeven as the next IEA Executive Director).

Countries of the developing and developed world have to announce by 31 March 2015 their commitment towards cutting the greenhouse gas emissions so as to limit the rise in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

The European Union has formally adopted a 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030, while the United States has announced plans to slash 26 to 28 per cent of its emissions in 2025 compared to their level in 2005 and make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28 percent,

Among the developing world, China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030.

India, the world's third largest emitter of the greenhouse gases, made a pledge at UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, to cut the intensity of its carbon emissions—reducing the amount of carbon emitted for the same amount of economic output 20 to 25 percent over 2005 levels by 2020.

UNION GOVERNMENT LAUNCHED NEW BODY NCCF TO DEVELOP NATIONAL FOREST CERTIFICATION SYSTEM

Union government on 16 March 2015 launched a new national body Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) to develop national forest certification system.

The body NCCF was launched with stakeholders from all fields including the environment ministry, industry, forest experts, technology experts and others.

The body aims promote responsible trade in forestry sector and ensure better management of forests in India.

NCCF will develop national forest certification system and standards till 2016. National forest certification system would also help in combating climate change.

Forest resources have been under strain primarily because of commercial use of wood and deforestation due to changes in land use. But forest certification could help in combating climate change by promoting responsible trade in forestry sector which leads to best management of forest resources which are both economically viable and environmentally friendly.

NCCF officials said the idea behind this was that there should be responsible forestry practice and it should be socially equitable, economically viable and environment friendly.

However, ineffectiveness and failures of both these approaches have led to a third approach - forest certification - which introduces policy changes through commercial power rather than central or local power and uses market acceptance rather than regulatory compliance as an enforcement mechanism.

ECO-RESTORATION PROJECT FOR KINNERASANI SANCTUARY IN TELANGANA ANNOUNCED

Wildlife Management of Palvancha on 18 March 2014 announced eco-restoration project for Kinnerasani Sanctuary in Telangana.

The project will be implemented in 716 hectares of land under the Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary limits in Kothagudem Mandal with an estimated cost of 60 lakh rupees.

The objective of the project is to reverse the damage caused to ecology due to human intervention and restore the degraded ecosystem in the sanctuary.

In order to restore the ecology of Kinnerasani Sanctuary, a total of 26 deer had been shifted from three different deer parks to the eco-restoration project site and are being released into the wild in a phased manner in strict adherence to the safety precautions and rules in force.

Also, a plan is on the anvil to shift a few more deer from Kinnerasani Deer Park to the project site at Chintonichelka in view of the excess population of deer in the park beyond its stipulated capacity.

About Kinnerasani Sanctuary

Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Khammam district, Telangana. The wildlife sanctuary is spread over an area of 635.40 km2 (157,010 acres) with the picturesque Kinnerasani Lake with densely forested islands in the middle of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is the homeland for animals like Cheetal, Chinkara, Chousinghas, Sambar, Wild Boars, Gaurs, Hyena, Jackals, Panthers, Sloth Bear, Tigers and Black Bucks. The varieties of birds like Peafowl, Jungle Fowl, Quails, Partridges, Teals, Nuktas, Spoonbills and Doves are the common birds in the sanctuary.

INDIA’S FIRST POLAR REMOTELY OPERATED VEHICLE OPERATIONALISED IN NORTH ANTARCTICA

India’s first Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe) was successfully operationalised for research in North Antarctica on 25 March 2015. PROVe has been indigenously built by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Union Minister for Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan made the symbolic launch of the PROVe from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) headquarters in Chennai.

The results of PROVe’s findings will contribute vastly to mankind’s understanding of climate besides enhancing the capability to predict the Monsoon

What will PROVe do?

• Monsoon prediction and reading of pattern will become easier

• It will measure parameters like ocean currents, temperature and salinity in the Arctic

• It is capable of probing the sea bed under normal temperature and is capable of exploring up to 200 meters in inhospitable and tough regions like the ice clad Antarctica.

PROVe was successfully deployed in Priyadarshini Lake located on the Schirmacher Oasis of Antarctica by ESSO-NIOT. The Priyadarshini Lake is a major source of water for Maitri, India’s second base in the Antarctica.

About ESSO-NIOT

ESSO-NIOT is part of an Indo-US initiative under the Monsoon Mission program of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

ESSO-NIOT involving the participation of several institutions is studying the science behind the monsoonal events of Bay of Bengal using both Indian and US research ships using special equipment.

REPORT | SURVEY

WJP RELEASED OPEN GOVERNMENT INDEX 2015 REPORT

World Justice Project (WJP) in the third week of March released the Open Government Index 2015.

Out of the 102 countries assessed in the 2015 Index, Sweden topped the list in terms of openness in the government. It is followed by New Zealand and Norway at second and third place respectively. The other countries in the top ten are: Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Republic of Korea.

Cambodia, Iran, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe are positioned last in the Index.

The Index used four dimensions namely Publicised laws and government data, right to information, complaint mechanisms and civic participation to assess openness in government functioning.

India’s position in the Index

India has been placed at the 37th position in the 2015 Index.

India scored 0.54 with 27th rank, 0.50 with 66th rank, 0.58 with 43rd rank and 0.65 with 39th rank among the surveyed countries in terms of publicised laws and government data, right to information, complaint mechanisms and civic participation respectively.

India is placed at the top among the South Asian countries followed by Nepal (40), Sri Lanka (52), Bangladesh (73), Pakistan (83) and Afghanistan (89).

India is placed at the third position among the Lower Middle Income countries after Georgia and Indonesia.

SCIENCE | SPACE

NASA'S DAWN SPACECRAFT COMPLETED ITS ORBIT AROUND DWARF PLANET CERES

NASA's Dawn spacecraft on 6 March 2015 completed its Orbit around Dwarf Planet Ceres. By doing so, it became the first spacecraft to orbit around a dwarf planet.

The spacecraft was approximately 38000 miles (61000 kilometers) away from planet Ceres when it was captured by the dwarf planet’s gravity.

In addition to being the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet, Dawn also has the distinction of being the first mission to orbit two extraterrestrial targets. From 2011 to 2012, the spacecraft explored the giant asteroid Vesta, delivering new insights and thousands of images from that distant world.

Since its discovery in 1801, Ceres was known as a planet, then an asteroid and later a dwarf planet.

The most recent images received from the spacecraft, taken on 1 March 2015 show Ceres as a crescent, mostly in shadow because the spacecraft's trajectory put it on a side of Ceres that faces away from the sun until mid-April.

About Dawn's Mission

• Dawn's mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

• Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is responsible for overall Dawn mission science.

• The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.

SUMMIT | CONFERENCE

THIRD UN WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION HELD IN SENDAI, JAPAN

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) was held in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan from 14 March to 18 March 2015.

The conference was hosted by the Government of Japan in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), as secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

The conference reviewed the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005 – 15) and adopted a Post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

The third conference on disaster risk reduction was held vide United Nations (UN) resolution passed in December 2013 to hold the Third UN WCDRR at Sendai in Japan.

India was represented at the conference by the Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh.

The objectives of the conference were

• To complete assessment and review of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action;

• To consider the experience gained through the regional and national strategies/institutions and plans for disaster risk reduction and their recommendations as well as relevant regional agreements within the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action;

• To adopt a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction;

• To identify modalities of cooperation based on commitments to implement a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction;

• To determine modalities to periodically review the implementation of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

Background

World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction is a series of United Nations conferences on preparing for, responding to and mitigating the risk of natural disasters.

The first World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction took place in 1994 that resulted into the adoption of Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World.

The second world conference was held in Kobe, Japan from 18 January 2015 to 22 January 2015. The second conference adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.

Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015

The Hyogo Framework for Action was an outcome of the 2005 conference held in Kobe, Japan. The HFA suggests five specific priorities for action. These were

• Making disaster risk reduction a priority

• Improving risk information and early warning

• Building a culture of safety and resilience

• Reducing the risks in key sectors

• Strengthening preparedness for response

INDIA TO HOST SEVENTH ASIAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION IN 2016

India will host the seventh Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in 2016. This was announced by Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh on 17 March 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan.

Also, this will be the first AMCDRR to be hosted by India in the post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, though India had hosted the Second AMCDRR in 2007.

The conference in 2016 will be held in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The ministerial conference is set to endorse a regional implementation plan of the new post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. This will form a key element of the initial global effort to implement the new framework.

The Sixth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Thailand from 23 June to 26 June 2014.

It was the final regional inter-governmental meeting in Asia before the completion of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-15 and the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015.

Previous Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

• First AMCDRR held in China in 2005

• Second AMCDRR held in India in 2007

• Third AMCDRR held in Malaysia in 2008

• Fourth AMCDRR held in Republic of Korea in 2010

• Fifth Asia Ministerial conference held in Indonesia in 2012

1ST COUNTER-TERRORISM CONFERENCE 2015 HELD IN JAIPUR

The 1st Counter-Terrorism Conference 2015 was held in Jaipur for three days from 19 March 2015 to 21 March 2015. It was organised by India Foundation in association with the Sardar Patel University of Police Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur at Jaipur in Rajasthan.

The central theme of the Conference is Integrated Approach to Counter-Terrorism

The focus of the deliberations was on exploring the contours of 21st century terrorism and sharing the Counter-Terrorism expertise. Some of the sub-themes on which the conference focused include 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack, Talibanisation of Af-Pak region, New Caliphate in West Asia, Maritime Terrorism and Piracy, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism and Cyber and Space terrorism.

The Conference acted as a global platform for eminent scholars, strategic thinkers, field experts and policy makers engaged in counter-terrorism activity from various governments, agencies, think tanks and academic and research institutions from all over the world.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, Former Union Home secretary GK Pillai, Former chief of Defence Staff of Sri Lanka Sarath Fonseka and Former chief of Army Staff of Nepal Rookmangud Katawal were among the speakers at the conference.

EXHIBITION | FARE

GUJARAT PHILATELIC EXHIBITION GUJPEX-2015 INAUGURATED IN AHMEDABAD

The thirteenth state level philatelic exhibition of Gujarat postal circle or Gujpex-2015 was inaugurated by the Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad on 24 March 2015. 

This exhibition will run from 24 March to 27 March 2015 and is organized by the Gujarat Postal Circle with the active support of philatelic associations of Gujarat.

The purpose of the exhibition is to showcase the beautiful world of stamps to general public especially to children and youth , to promote the hobby of Philately and to provide opportunity to philatelist to show case their valuable collections.

On this occasion the Governor also inaugurated a special cover on River front and released the book Collector’s guide to British India bazaar card- Edwardian and Georgian period written by philatelist Shri Prafful Thakkar.

Philately includes collecting stamps and the study of stamps, postal history and other related items.

JAPAN ORGANISED WORLD’S FIRST OTAKU EXPO

Japan organised the world's first Otaku Expo from 28 March 2015 to 29 March 2015 at Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba Prefecture.

The Expo was organized as a part of a special comic book fair held every five years, which attracts about half a million visitors.

For the first time groups from outside Japan were invited to mark the event. About four dozen overseas Otaku groups attended the Expo.

The visitors so-called Otaku, usually translated as geeks, from at least 18 countries and territories, many dressed as their favourite anime characters.

The culture of Otaku has grown into a major industry in Japan.

The term is commonly used in the country to refer to people obsessed with Japan's unique take on comics and animation.

While it once carried a negative connotation, many Otaku are now proudly displaying their love for two-dimensional heroes while the number of foreign fans is also soaring.

PLACES IN NEWS

ARTIFICIAL GLACIER IN THE FORM OF ICE STUPA TO STORE WATER INAUGURATED IN PHYANG VILLAGE OF LADAKH

Phyang village of Ladakh: An artificial glacier in the form of Ice stupa inaugurated

Artificial glacier in the form of Ice stupa was inaugurated at Phyang village in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on 6 March 2015. Phyang village is a desert region of Ladakh.

The purpose of building such stupa is to store water to green the entire desert of Phyang which has an area of 1500 acres.

The Ice stupa with a height of 50 feet will store roughly two million liters of water while another 6 million liters of water absorbed in the ground will add moisture to the earth for tree plantation.

The Ice Stupa concept was inspired from the work of Drikung Skyabgon Chetsang and Padmashree C Norphel.

This stupa is a pilot project and is a part of plan to build 80 to 90 stupas holding 10 million liters of water.

The project was financed through crowd-funding with donations coming from individuals and institutions from around the world raising 125000 US dollars.

MISCELLANEOUS

WORLD’S LARGEST AND TALLEST INDIAN FLAG UNFURLED IN FARIDABAD

World’s largest and tallest Indian national flag was unfurled on 3 March 2015 at Town Park in Faridabad, Haryana. The flag was unfurled by BJP president Amit Shah, Haryana CM ML Khattar and Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor.

The flag has dimension of 96 feet by 64 feet and weighs 48 kilograms. Flag was hoisted at the height of 250 feet (75 meters). Thus, making it the world’s largest and the highest hoisted Indian flag in the world.

The unfurling event was organised by Nav Chetna Trust which is formed to work on social issues like beti Bachao Beti Padhao Campaign and Swachh Bharat Mission.

Another such flag is located at the Central Park in Connaught Place, New Delhi. This flag is 60 feet in width and 90 feet in length and is hoisted at the height of 207 feet.

FIRST INDO- NEPAL FRIENDSHIP MOTOR RALLY CONCLUDED AT INDIA GATE

The first Indo-Nepal Friendship Motor Rally concluded on 8 March 2015 at India Gate in New Delhi. The rally aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between India and Nepal and spreading the message of road safety.

The rally was flagged off at Puri, Odisha on 27 February 2015. Twenty four teams and about 90 participants from India and Nepal covered 3060 Km during the ten-day rally in both countries.

A display of vintage cars was also organised at India Gate to mark the occasion. The route of the Rally was as follows: Puri, Konark, Dhauli, Bhubaneswar, Baripada, Rairangpur (Odisha); Jamshedpur, Ranchi (Jharkhand); Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Bakhtiyarpur, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Forbesganj, Jogbani (Bihar); Biratnagar, Dharan, Bardibas, Dhulikhel, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lumbini, Dhangadhi (Nepal); New Delhi.

 


Last Updated on Saturday, 13 June 2015 07:40
 

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