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01 - MAY - 2016



Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the historic Paris climate agreement along with other 174 nations at a high-level ceremony hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

The agreement will mark as a significant step that brings developing and developed nations together to combat global warming by working to cut down greenhouse gas emissions.

Special features of the Agreement

• At 175 nations, the signing ceremony for the climate agreement set the record for the most countries to sign an international agreement on one day while previous one set in 1982, when 119 countries signed the Law of the Sea Convention.

• The signing is the first step toward ensuring that the agreement comes into force as soon as possible.

• After the signing, countries must take the further national (or domestic) step of accepting or ratifying the agreement.

• The agreement will come into force 30 days after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC ratify the agreement which accounts at least 55 per cent of global emissions.

• India has maintained that the burden of fighting climate change cannot be put on the shoulders of the poor after decades of industrial development by the rich nations.

• It has announced plans to quadruple its renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022 as part of the government's plan to supply electricity to every household.

• India seeks to add 100 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, 60 gigawatts of wind power, 10 gigawatts of biomass and five gigawatts of hydro projects.

• Indian requirements of fuel are certainly going to increase. Notwithstanding that our own standards of protecting the environment are very rigid.


President Pranab Mukherjee nominated of six eminent personalities from different fields to Rajya Sabha following a recommendation of the Union government.

The nominated members are:

Subramanian Swamy: a BJP leader from Tamil Nadu, He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1977, 1980 and 1988, and to the Rajya Sabha in 1974 and 1998.

Narendra Jadhav: a renowned economist and former member of the erstwhile National Advisory Council (2010-14) and Planning Commission (2009-14). He was the former vice-chancellor of Pune University.

Navjot Singh Sidhu: Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician and served as MP in Lok Sabha for three terms.

Suresh Gopi: a Malayalam actor who acted in over 200 films. He was a winner of the National Film and Filmfare Awards.

Swapan Dasgupta: a journalist, who worked at senior editorial positions in various publications which include The Indian Express, India Today and The Times of India.  He is a prolific writer in three languages - Marathi, English and Hindi - and credited with writing and editing more than 30 books.

Mary Kom: Legendary boxer and Olympic bronze medallist. She belongs to the Sino-Tibetan speaking Kom tribe of Manipur. She is five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. In 2014, she became the first Indian woman boxer to get a gold medal in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. She was picked to ensure representation from Northeastern states.

Provision to nominate eminent members to Rajya Sabha

• President has a provision to nominate 12 members in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) on the recommendation of Union Cabinet as per Article 80 of the Constitution of India.

• The names of the nominated members who are drawn from fields such as literature, science, sports, art and social service on the advice of the government.

• The rationale behind the principle of the nomination is to facilitate the representation of eminent professionals and experts who cannot face direct elections.


Japan successfully tested the first stealth fighter jet.  With this, the country joins a select group of world military powers wielding the radar-dodging technology.

The domestically developed single-pilot prototype X-2 jet took off from Nagoya airport in central Japan on its maiden test flight. It safely landed at Gifu air base, north of Nagoya airport, after a 25-minute flight with no particular problems.

Even though the use of military force have a strict constitutional constraints after World War II, Japan still has one of the world's most advanced defence forces and the development of the stealth fighter comes as it faces new security challenges in the form of China's expanding force posture.

At present, only the USA, Russia and China have been internationally recognised as having successfully developed and flown manned stealth jets.

About X-2 jet

• It was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 200 other firms, measures 14.2 metres (47 feet) long and 9.1 metres wide and was built as a successor to F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the United States of America (USA).

• Its delivery to the defence ministry is expected as early as May 2016 and the acquisition agency will continue analysing data and check its stealth technology capability.

• Japan began the project in 2009 and has reportedly spent about 39.4 billion yen (332 million US dollars) to develop the aircraft.

• The country was barred from developing aircraft for a number of years after its defeat in World War II but eventually produced the YS-11, a propeller passenger plane that began flying in the early 1960s.

• In another aviation milestone in November 2015, Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet, also developed by Mitsubishi Heavy, made its maiden test flight.


Bollywood actress Radhika Apte bagged the best actress in an international narrative feature honour at Tribeca Film Festival 2016 for her performance in anthology film Madly.

Radhika starred in Clean Shaven, which is a segment of Madly.

List of other Tribeca Film Festival 2016 Award Winners

U.S. Narrative Feature Competition Categories:

The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – Dean, written and directed by Demteri Martin.

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film –Dominic Rains in The Fixer.

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Mackenzie Davis inAlways Shine.

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Michael Ragen for Kicks.

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Women Who Killwritten by Ingrid Jungermann.

International Narrative  Feature Competition Categories:

The Best International Narrative Feature – Junction 48, written and directed by Udi Aloni.

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film –Alan Sabbagh in The Tenth Man.

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film –Cinematography by Kjell Vassdal for El Clasico.

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – PerfectStrangers written by Filippo Bologna, Paolo Costella, Paolo Genovese, Paola Mammini, and Rolando Ravello.

World Documentary Competition Categories:

Best Documentary Feature Do Not Resist, directed by Craig Atkinson (USA).

Best Documentary Cinematography – Cinematography by Jarred Alterman for Contemporary Color (USA).

Best Documentary Editing – Editing by Bill Ross for Contemporary Color(USA).

Directing Awards:

Best New Narrative Director Award — Priscilla Anany, director ofChildren of the Mountain (USA, Ghana).

Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award — David Feige forUntouchable (USA

Short Film Competition Categories:

Best Narrative Short – Hold On (Houvast), directed by Charlotte Scott-Wilson (Netherlands).

Best Documentary Short – Extremis directed by Dan Krauss (USA).

Student Visionary Award – Ping Pong Coach, directed by Yi Liu. (Taiwan R.O.C., USA).

Storyscapes Award

Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness created by Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton, and James Spinney. Winner receives 10000 US dollars, presented by AT&T.

The award was given by Jessica Brillhart, Saschka Unseld, and Olga Serna, Senior Marketing Manager, AT&T.

The Nora Ephron Prize

Rachel Tunnard, director, writer and editor of Adult Life Skills (UK).

Tribeca X Award

Hearing Colors created by Greg Brunkalla for Samsung.


Union government constituted the inter-ministerial panel to prepare a blueprint for doubling farmers' income by 2022.

The government's decision to set up the panel follows the budget announcement that set a target of doubling farm incomes by 2022.

The panel will be headed by Ashok Dalwai, Additional Secretary at the Union Agriculture Ministry. The other members will be officials from Agriculture and Food Ministries as well as experts from the Delhi-based National Council of Applied Economic Research and National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.

Salient Features of the inter-ministerial panel

• The panel will prepare a plan to shift farm policies from being production-oriented to income based ones.

• The eight-member panel will determine the potential areas of agriculture to investment and also suggests different ways to reduce the risk of farming by diversifying to horticulture and allied activities like livestock and fisheries to boost income.

• The panel is expected to submit the report in two months. It will also look at reducing the cost of cultivation and addressing unpredictability of weather and price fluctuations in farm sector.

• The government is focusing not only on increasing crop yields but also on reducing the cost of cultivation to increase the net income of farmers.

• The schemes on soil health card, neem-coated urea and per drop more crop, are aimed to bring down the cost of cultivation.

Besides, the government is trying to address the unpredictability in agriculture due to market fluctuations, and due to weather by setting up an electronic National Agriculture Market and implementing a new crop insurance scheme.


  • The Delhi government has moved the Supreme Court seeking a judicial declaration on the boundaries of the constitutional relationship between it and the Centre in administering the National Capital.
  • In a suit filed in the apex court, the Arvind Kejriwal government said the Centre was encroaching into the Delhi government’s administrative domain and the Supreme Court should now clearly define the powers of the Lieutenant-Governor.
  • It has also highlighted issues like the Delhi Police being run by the Centre, unlike in other States.
  • Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch has been restrained from registering FIRs against the employees of the Central government for corruption.
  • Commissions of Enquiry set up under the Commissions of Enquiry Act, 1952, have also not been allowed to function on the ground that they have not been notified by the L-G, it said.
  • It was only recently that the Supreme Court had allowed the Kejriwal government to withdraw a similar petition on the ground that the High Court was already seized of an identical issue.
  • However, this time, the Delhi government has argued that it is the apex court which has the exclusive jurisdiction to decide disputes relating to the constitutional relationship between the NCT of Delhi and the Union of India.


  • The NDA government is planning to set up a sex offenders registry in the country, on the lines of those maintained in western countries including the U.S. and the U.K.
  • Details of sexual offenders even below 18 years of age would be included in the database, which will be put up on the website of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), government informed the Rajya Sabha.
  • The government plans to publicise their photographs, addresses, PAN card details, Aadhaar card number, fingerprints and DNA samples through this registry.
  • The proposal to set up a registry was first mooted by the UPA government after the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case in Delhi.
  • It would be a handy tool for the law enforcement agencies as well.
  • It will instil fear in the minds of repeat sexual offenders and the public would be benefited from it.
  • This will be an online database of charge-sheeted sexual offenders in the entire country, which people can access through a Citizen Portal in the upcoming Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project.
  • The United States has a similar website called the National Sex Offender Public Website.
  • Replying to the supplementaries, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said “the Central government has issued these draft guidelines to check sexual harassment. They are still at a very primary stage.
  • The draft guidelines, which have been readied have been sent to Ministries, including the Women and Child Development for suggestions. After this, public comments will be solicited.”
  • This will include, inter-alia name and aliases, registration of primary or given name, nicknames, pseudonyms, telephone numbers, addresses including temporary lodging information, travel and immigration documents.


  • The OBC Commission in Gujarat is set to undertake a detailed survey of the Patel community to determine whether the community is eligible to be recognised as “backward” community and whether the quota benefits can be extended to it.
  • The Commission headed by a former High Court judge Sugnyaben Bhatt is understood to have compiled a questionnaire to survey ore than a million households of the Patel community.
  • Community has been on a highly charged and violent agitation demanding quotas in the universities and the government jobs in the State.
  • The commission launched the exercise following a Ms. Bhatt's meeting with Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who has been at the receiving end of the agitation from her own community.


  • BJP’s digital cell has tracked the ‘digital profile’ of all the 282 Lok Sabha members of the party (except Speaker Sumitra Mahajan) on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instructions.
  • The appraisal collates the number of their followers on Twitter and Facebook, the number of ‘likes’ and retweets and how much of the government’s work is propagated through these accounts.
  • The report with comments on each profile, was circulated to all MPs. As a possible Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Modi is predictably following an “ideal activity profile,” the highest possible grade, says the report.
  • At least 43 of 71 BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh are deemed “inactive” on social media, while 10 of 25 from Rajasthan do not have a Twitter account.
  • The report has been circulated among the MPs, with a one-page prescription on leveraging social media to “sell” the NDA government.
  • All MPs have been told to download the Modi app.


  • Donald Trump gets overwhelming victories that exceeded expectations in Republican primaries in five states in the northeast.
  • Mr. Trump now has 953 delegates, and needs nearly 250 of the 502 up for grabs before the Republican convention in July to win nomination.
  • On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton won four of the five, roughly on expected lines, and ceding only Rhode Island to challenger Bernie Sanders.
  • Ms. Clinton held out an olive branch to Mr. Sanders, and even complemented him and his supporters for challenging her on issues such as unaccounted money in politics.
  • White smoke from the Democratic tent may be a while away, but it is in the Republican camp that bloodbath could be expected.
  • The wounded warriors of the ‘neverTrump’ hashtag have not given up yet, and declared that their campaign to deny him the nomination would continue.
  • Several cash-rich campaign groups have announced that they would intensify their anti-Trump campaign ahead of the Indiana primaries, which has now become the last barrier that stands between Mr. Trump and the nomination.
  • Mr. Cruz has reached a pact with John Kasich, the distant third candidate in the race, who has agreed to stay away from campaigning in Indiana in order to allow Mr. Cruz a head to head contest with Mr. Trump.
  • Winning the nomination is no longer in question for Ms. Clinton, but winning over Mr. Sanders and his supporters is.


  • SalahAbdeslam, a key suspect in the Paris attacks last November, has appeared before French judges on charges of murder and being part of a terrorist organisation.
  • His lawyer Frank Berton said today that he would rather not answer questions because he is tired by the transfer, and the judge said he did not want to interrogate him.
  • Abdeslam is suspected of being the logistics mastermind behind the shootings and suicide bombings in November.
  • He is alleged to have rented and paid for several apartments used by the attackers. He left three suspects at the Stade de France, where they blew themselves up.
  • After the Paris attacks, Abdeslam is said to have called two friends who drove from Brussels to Paris to pick him up and take him back to Belgium, where he went into hiding.
  • After a four-month manhunt by police, Abdeslam was shot in the leg and arrested during a raid in the Molenbeek area of Brussels.


  • NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting the second brightest icy dwarf planet after Pluto in the Kuiper Belt.
  • Nicknamed “ MK 2 ”, the 100-mile wide moon was seen approximately 13,000 miles from the dwarf planet called “ Makemake ” which is 870-mile wide.
  • The dwarf planet, discovered in 2005, is named after a creation deity of the RapaNui people of Easter Island.
  • The Kuiper Belt is a vast reservoir of leftover frozen material from the construction of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago
  • The team used the same Hubble technique to observe the moon as they did for finding the small satellites of Pluto in 2005, 2011 and 2012.
  • A moon’s discovery can provide valuable information on the dwarf-planet system.
  • By measuring the moon’s orbit, astronomers can calculate a mass for the system and gain insight into its evolution. The discovery was announced in the journal Minor Planet Electronic Circular.


  • The US Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 report, that identifies trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to a foreign government’s intellectual property regime, has placed India on the Priority Watch List, the same as last year.
  • The report identified many measures taken by the government as encouraging in terms of providing a better IP protection regime.
  • Report also raised multiple concerns, particularly related to the potential erosion in IP standards due to its push for promoting domestic manufacturing.]
  • “From movies and music to green technology and pharmaceuticals, U.S. creators and innovators have a significant competitive advantage in the area of intellectual property,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
  • The government of India does not engage with the process as it considers it an infringement on the country’s sovereignty.
  • “India has taken positive steps to address or avoid further erosions of the IPR regime. India’s courts retain their reputation for providing fair and deliberate treatment of both foreign and domestic litigants,” according to the report.
  • The report said India’s domestic policy goals of increasing investment and stimulating innovation must be “through, not at the expense of, IPR protection and enforcement.”
  • Welcoming the efforts undertaken by the government to promote IPR within India, the report said initiatives such as “Make in India” and “Start-up India” have linked the realization of development goals to IPR creation and protection.
  • The report pegged losses from piracy of music and movies in India at approximately $4 billion per year and the commercial value of unlicensed software at $3 billion
  • The USTR report said the U.S continues to monitor India’s application of its compulsory licensing law.


  • Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya justified his decision to declare an 8.8 per cent return on EPF savings saying it cannot be compared with PPF or other small savings schemes.
  • Mr. Dattatreya met Mr. P.K. Mishra to discuss issues related to the ministry, including the finance ministry’s latest decision to lower the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) rate for 2015-16 to 8.70 per cent.
  • The EPF rate is a function of the return on its investments.
  • “The EPFO is sticking to its stand of 8.8 per cent interest rate. But nothing is final till a notification is issued. Internal discussions are going on and a decision will be taken at the highest level,” said a senior EPFO official.
  • RSS-affiliated BharatiyaMazdoor Sangh (BMS) delegates also met the labour minister.
  • Last week, the finance ministry approved a lower EPF rate of 8.70 per cent from 8.80 per cent announced by the Labour Ministry.
  • It had argued that a lower interest rate would allow EPFO to keep surplus of over Rs. 1,000 crore. However, an interest rate of 8.80 per cent would lower the reserves to Rs. 673 crore, it had said.
  • The ministry also said that an adequate surplus is needed following its latest decision to credit interest on inoperative accounts, which have not received deposits for three consecutive years, from the current financial year.
  • However, the EPFO had categorically contested the finance ministry’s justifications.
  • The move to cut interest rates on EPF deposits evoked strong reactions from central trade unions.
  • Recently, the government’s moves to tweak EPF norms triggered protests from the working class, leading to a rollback of the decision.
  • First, the government’s Budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawals was scrapped followed by a complete rollback on another decision to bar workers from withdrawing employer’s contribution to EPF.
  • In both the cases, the PMO had to intervene.


  • The International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) has urged the government to promote balanced regulations to protect the interest and livelihood of small farmers and rural workers.
  • “We believe that the regulation of tobacco products must take into account the impact on tobacco production and the livelihoods of farmers and labourers,” according to a statement issued by ITGA President Francois van derMerwe.
  • The Forum, a congregation of growers’ organisations from India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, adopted a declaration on protection of livelihood and transparency in regulations.
  • It suggested that India, as the host country for the forthcoming Conference of Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be held in November 2016, could use the opportunity to leave its footprint on global policy by promoting balanced regulations.
  • Fresh regulations by the government on pictorial warnings covering 80 per cent of the cigarette packets led to an industry-wide closure.
  • As much as 80 per cent pictorial warnings on cigarette packets had led to an industry-wide closure of manufacturing units earlier this month.
  • According to the ITGA declaration, growers felt that quite often NGOs and other anti-tobacco activists adopted a stance based on “misleading” data to influence government organisations.
  • It appealed to the government to conduct its own independent studies.According to ITGA, tobacco was an important crop in many Asian countries and India was the world’s second largest tobacco producer.



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 03:51