Tuesday, 05 July 2016 03:30



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05- JULY - 2016




Food and Beverage multinational Nestle SA named Ulf Mark Schneider as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He is the CEO of Fresenius, a Germany-based healthcare company. He will join Nestle on 1 September 2016 and start as CEO on 1 January 2017.

He will succeed incumbent CEO Paul Bulcke, who will resign from the position on 31 December 2016. Bulcke has been named by Nestle board as its next chairman after incumbent Peter Brabeck-Letmathe retires in 2017.

50-year old Schneider will be the first outsider to run 150-year old Nestlé since 1922, when banker Louis Dapples was appointed to head the company after its only financial loss.

The appointment of Schneider highlights the increasing importance of health and nutrition for Switzerland-based manufacturer of Maggi noodles and Kit Kat candy bars.

Schneider appointment will expand the Nestle's capability to become one of the pre-eminent players in the Nutrition, Health and Wellness sector.

In this line, Nestle also unveiled plans to integrate its skin-health and health-sciences businesses into the main Nestle organization reporting directly to Schneider from January 2017.

The succession announcement comes against the backdrop of Nestle missing its sales target of organic growth of 5% to 6%, dubbed the “Nestlé Model”, for three years. The slowdown has been due to slowdown in major markets like Europe and China, strong Swiss franc and weak consumer prices.

About Ulf Mark Schneider

•    He has been the CEO of Fresenius for over 13 years.

•    Under his leadership company generated annual sales of 28 billion euro (31 billion dollar) and offers products and services for dialysis, hospitals and outpatient treatments.

•    He is a German and U.S. citizen with a doctoral degree from the University of St. Gallen and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

About Nestle

•    Nestle foundation was laid in 1866 with the setting up of Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company

•    It was founded by German-born pharmicist Henri Nestle, who develops a breakthrough infant food in 1867

•    In 1905 the company was merged with Anglo-Swiss to form what is now known as the Nestlé Group

•    It sells more than 200 brands in 189+ countries with 436 factories in 85 countries.


Majuli: World’s largest river island located in the Brahmaputra River in Assam

Majuli was in news as the Government of Assam approved its up gradation as a district. The approval was given by the State Cabinet in its first meeting after the formation of the government on 24 May 2016.

At present, Majuli is a Mohkuma, a sub division of the Jorhat District and represented by the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the Assembly.

Key facts related to Majuli island

• Geographical features: It is a fluvial landform (a riverine delta), a unique geographical occurrence and a result of the dynamics of the Brahmaputra river system.

• It is bounded by the river Subanisri and her tributaries on the North West, the kherkatia Suli (a spill channel of the river Brahmaputra) in the northeast and the main Brahmaputra River on the South and the South west.

• It is the largest mid river delta system in the world. It is also comprised of many islets locally called the Chaporis.

• Its area has shrunk from about 1250 square kilometers in 1891 to about 515 square kilometers due to the erosion of river-bank.

• Vaishnavite cultural centre: It is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaisnavite cultureinitiated around 15th century by the revered Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva.

• There are a total of 30 Sattras or Vaishnavite monasteries including the Dakhinpat Satrawhich was established in 1584 AD.

• Each Sattra, represents, within its region, a centre for cultural activities and even acts as a democratic institution to settle local disputes.

• Most of the villages associate with respective Sattra, and the villagers partake in the activities of their own Sattra during festivals and occasions.

• These sattra villages and other vernacular settlements house people from various ethnic origins all of whom have settled in Majuli like Mishings, Deori, Sonowal Kachari, Koch, Kaivartta and Nath.

• Flora and fauna: It is a hotspot for flora and fauna, harbouring many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season.

• Among the birds seen here are the greater adjutant stork, pelican, Siberian crane and the whistling teal.

• Agriculture: Paddy, mustard, potato, pulses, sugarcane, wheat are the main crops cultivated on the island.

• Various seasonal vegetables and fruits like orange, banana, pineapple, jackfruit, etc are also grown in abundant quantity.

• Recognition: In March 2011, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) of the Union Ministry of Culture proposed to nominate the island for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The application is in pending.


The World Bank Board approved the 63 million US dollar project, Tejaswini: Socioeconomic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Jharkhand.

Tejaswini is the first World Bank project in India that is solely focused on the welfare of adolescent girls and young women.

The project will support adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 14 and 24 to complete their secondary level education. It will also help them to acquire relevant skills for the job market.

Key highlights of the project

The project will support market-driven skills training, secondary education and broader socio-economic empowerment for adolescent girls and young women in 17 select districts of the state.

It is expected to benefit about 680000 adolescent girls and young women in the state.

In the 17 project districts, there are about 2.1 million adolescent girls and young women in the 14-24 age group, of which 13% belong to Scheduled Castes and 25% to Scheduled Tribes.

The project will intervene at two levels, i.e., at the community and at the institutional level.

The community-based platforms will hold regular counselling and guidance sessions, life skills education, livelihood support services and more.

At the institutional level, it will work with partner institutions through performance-based contracts to deliver vocational training, business skills training and non-formal education.

Life skills education will include four core elements:

(a) Resilience and soft skills: It includes communication and problem-solving skills, goal-setting and techniques to maintain psychological wellbeing through adversity.

(b) Rights and protections: This is related to early marriage, child labour, safe migration, gender-based violence and more.

(c) Health and nutrition: It includes sanitation and hygiene, nutritional habits for self and children and sexual and reproductive health.

(d) Financial literacy: It will help teach numeracy, saving, budgeting and accessing credit and financial institutions.


United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected Ethiopia, Bolivia, Sweden and Kazakhstan as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The two-year terms at UNSC of the new members will begin from 1 January 2016 and run through 31 December 2018.

The 193-member UN body conducted the elections for five non-permanent seats. A third round of voting is due to take place on 29 June 2016 for the final available seat with Italy competing against The Netherlands.

These newly-elected countries will replace Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand, Angola and Venezuela.

Process of Election

In the election of the five nations, the members of the General Assembly voted by secret ballot for five seats divided by geographical grouping – three from Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, one from Eastern Europe, and one from Latin America and the Caribbean.

• Bolivia and Ethiopia were chosen by their regional groups and had no competitors.

• Kazakhstan won the seat reserved for Asia Pacific against Thailand.

• Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden had competed for two seats for Western Europe.

United Nations Security Council

Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security, with all UN Member States required to comply with Council decisions.

The Council’s 10 non-permanent seats are allocated according to a rotation pattern set by the Assembly in 1963, to ensure a proportionate representation over time from the different parts of the world: five from African and Asian States; one from Eastern European States; two from Latin American States; and two from Western European and Other States.

The Security Council has 15 members, including five permanent. The five permanent members, each with the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other current non-permanent members are Japan, Egypt, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Responsibility of the Security Council

• The Security Council is responsible for determining the existence of a threat against peace and to respond to an act of aggression.

• It is also responsible for finding peaceful means to settle a conflict or a dispute between States.

• In some cases, the Council can resort to sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

• It also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations.


India's Ace shooter Sanjeev Rajput clinched the silver medal for India in men's 50-metre rifle 3 position event of the ISSF World Cup in Baku, Ajerbaijan.

To claim the silver medal, Rajput shot 456.9 points. This was his third World Cup medal and first in five years (he won gold at 2011 Changwon World Cup).

This was also India's second medal of the competition and of the same colour as well, after pistol ace Jitu Rai's silver winning effort in the men's 10m air pistol earlier in the competition.

Croatia's Petar Gorsa won the gold medal with 457.5, while Hyeonjun Kim of Korea bagged the bronze after he shot 445.5.

This was the last World Cup before the Rio Olympic Games.

Rajput finished seventh in the qualification with a score of 1167 in kneeling, prone and standing position, while Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang was 23rd with 1161. Chain Singh was placed 32nd with a total of 1159.


The World Economic Forum (WEF) released the Human Capital Report 2016.

The WEF prepared the report in collaboration with Mercer, an American global human resource and related financial services consulting firm.

The report presents an analysis by focusing on a number of key issues that can support better design of education policy and future workforce planning.

The Human Capital Index 2016 ranks 130 countries on how well they are developing and deploying their human capital potential.

Top ten Countries in the Human Capital Index are:

Finland (1)

Norway (2)

Switzerland (3)

Japan (4)

Sweden (5)

New Zealand (6)

Denmark (7)

The Netherlands (8)

Canada (9)

Belgium (10)

Bottom ten Countries in the Human Capital Index are:

Lesotho (121)

Senega (122)

Côte d'Ivoire (123)

Burundi (124)

Guinea (125)

Mali (126)

Nigeria (127)

Chad (128)

Yemen (129)

Mauritania (130)

India’s position in the Human Capital Index

India occupied the 105th position among the 130 countries surveyed in the Index. In 2015, India's position was 100th among the 124 countries surveyed in the Index.

In the Asia-Pacific region, it is placed behind Sri Lanka (50), China (71), Indonesia (72), Iran (85), Bhutan (91) and Bangladesh (104).

India has secured 62nd, 98th, 106th, 119th and 120th position in the 0 to 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 54, 55 to 64, and 65 and Over categories respectively.

It has also ranked poorly on labour force participation. However, it received solid rankings on Quality of education system, Staff training and Ease of finding skilled employees indicators.

About the report

The Human Capital Index assesses Learning and Employment outcomes on a scale from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) across five distinct age groups to capture the full demographic profile of a country:

• 0 to 14 years: The youngest members of the population for whom education is assessed among the most critical factors

• 15 to 24 years: Youth for whom factors such as higher education and skills use in the workplace are assessed

• 25 to 54 years: The bulk of the labour force, for whom continued learning and employment quality are assessed

• 55 to 64 years: The most senior members of most workforces for whom attainment and continued engagement are assessed

• 65 and Over: The oldest members of the population, for whom both continued opportunity and health are assessed


Union Cabinet approved the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. The salaries and arrears, effective from 1 January 2016, will be made applicable now.

The commission recommended 23.55 percent hike in pay and allowances of government employees.

Approved Recommendations are

• The minimum pay for government employees is recommended to be set at 18000 rupees per month.

• The maximum pay is recommended to be 225000 rupees per month for Apex Scale and 250000 per month for Cabinet Secretary and others presently at the same pay level.

• The increase in pay will be 16 percent, increase in allowances will be 63 percent and increase in pension will be 24 percent.

• The present system of pay bands and grade pay has been dispensed and a new pay matrix has been designed. Grade Pay has been subsumed in the pay matrix. The status of the employee, determined by grade pay, will now be determined by the level in the pay matrix.

• The rate of annual increment for employees will be 3 percent.

• Abolition of 52 allowances and introduction of a Health Insurance Scheme.

• One Rank One Pension proposed for civilian government employees on line of OROP for armed forces.

• Increase in Military Service Pay and revised pension formula for civil employees including Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Defence Personnel retiring before 1 January 2016.

• Military Service Pay (MSP), which is a compensation for the various aspects of military service, will be admissible to the defence forces personnel only.

• Ceiling of gratuity enhanced from 10 lakh rupees to 20 lakh rupees and ceiling on gratuity will be raised by 25 percent whenever DA rises by 50 percent.

• Short service commissioned officers will be allowed to exit the armed forces at any point in time between 7 to 10 years of service.

• A fitment factor of 2.57 which will be applied uniformly to all employees.

• Systemic change in the process of Cadre Review for Group A officers recommended.

• Allowances relating to Risk and Hardship will be governed by the newly proposed nine-cell Risk and Hardship Matrix.

• It recommends that House Rent Allowance (HRA) be paid at the rate of 24 percent, 16 percent and 8 percent of the new Basic Pay for Class X, Y and Z cities respectively. The rate of HRA will be revised to 27 percent, 18 percent and 9 percent respectively when DA crosses 50 percent.

• It recommended abolition of all non-interest bearing advances and increased the limit for interest-bearing advances for buying home from 7.5 lakh rupees to 25 lakh rupees.

• Introduction of a Health Insurance Scheme for Central Government employees and pensioners has been recommended.

• It recommends that in case of death in the line of duty, the force personnel of CAPFs should be accorded martyr status, at par with the defence forces personnel.

• A consolidated pay package of 450000 rupees and 400000 rupees per month for Chairpersons and Members respectively of select Regulatory bodies.

• Introduction of the Performance Related Pay (PRP) for all categories of Central Government employees, based on quality Results Framework Documents and Annual Performance Appraisal Reports.

• All India Service officers and Central Services Group A officers who have completed 17 years of service should be eligible for empanelment under the Central Staffing Scheme and there should not be two year edge.

• The age of superannuation for all CAPF personnel should be 60 years uniformly.


The 7th Pay Commission was set up on 28 February 2015 to revise remuneration of over one crore central government employees and pensioners.  The commission headed by Justice AK Mathur submitted its report to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 19 November 2015.

Other members of the Commission were: Vivek Rae (full time Member), Dr. Ratin Roy (part time member) and Meena Agarwal (Secretary).

Later, the government constituted a panel headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to study the recommendations of the pay commission. 

This implementation of the recommendations will put an additional burden of 1.02 lakh crore rupees on the exchequer annually or nearly 0.7percent of GDP.


  • The Union Law Ministry has asked the Law Commission to examine in detail all issues pertaining to the Uniform Civil Code and submit a report to the government.
  • Through an office memorandum, the Legislative Department has made a reference to the Law Commission for an in-depth examination of “matters in relation to Uniform Civil Code”.
  • Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda confirmed the Law Ministry initiative. “The issue has been discussed in and outside Parliament.
  • It has also been on the BJP’s agenda. Therefore, the Law Commission has been asked to conduct a detailed study and file a report. It may take six months to a year,” he said.
  • The Minister said a decision on the future course of action would be taken on the basis of the Law Commission report. “If it is required in the larger interest of the country, we will hold consultations [with stakeholders]..,” he said.
  • Even the Preamble of our Constitution and Article 44 of the Constitution do say that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. it needs to have a wider consultation,” he had said.
  • Implementation of a common code is part of the BJP’s election manifesto.


  • Scoring a hat-trick, India successfully test fired the new surface-to-air missile developed jointly with Israel from a defence base off Odisha coast in a third consecutive trial of the air defence system.
  • The missile with a strike range of 70 km was launched at 1020 hours from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur.
  • With a third consecutive successful test firing today, the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) air defence system has achieved a hat-trick
  • With this, MRSAM system has proved the air defence capability for three different boundary envelopes of the target, it said.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation created history by conducting three consecutive successful trials of the missile for Indian Air Force, a DRDO official said.


  • Four species of reptiles, six species of amphibians, 26 species of fishes, three species of wild ginger and three of figs are among the 445 species new to science identified in India in 2015. The figure includes 262 animal species and 183 plant species.
  • Some of the notable additions to the list of animals include a rock gecko ( Hemidactylusyajurvedi ) found in KankerChhattishgarh, a new frog species ( Fejervaryagomantaki ) from the Western Ghats, and a shiny new species of fish ( Bariliusardens ), also from the Western Ghats.
  • Among the plants, a new species of ginger Zingiberbipinianum has been found in the South Garo hills of Meghalaya, and a species of mushroom ( Bondarzewiazonata ) has been collected from north Sikkim at an altitude of 2,829 m.
  • Scientists of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) are delighted that all regions in the country have recorded new species while those from the Zoological Society of India (ZSI) are excited that more than 15 per cent of the new species are higher vertebrates.
  • The most discoveries were made in the Eastern Himalaya region, which accounts for 19 per cent of the total discoveries followed by the Western Ghats (18 per cent) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands at about 15 per cent, BSI director Paramjit Singh said.


  • A Hindu priest has been hacked to death in Bangladesh’s Jhenaidah, the latest in a series of attacks on religious minorities by suspected Islamists.
  • Three weeks ago, another Hindu priest was killed in similar way in the same western district.
  • The attack bears similarities to the killing of Ananda Gopal Ganguly, a 69-year-old priest, on June 7 in Jhenaidah Sadar’s Mahishdanga village.
  • Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters on Friday that the law enforcers will be able to catch the killers “soon”.
  • Several Bangladesh analysts say the killing of Hindu religious leaders in the country is a focused attempt by the Islamists to create misunderstanding between India and Bangladesh at a time when bilateral relations are at its peak.


  • Nearly 2.3 million people in the U.K. regret voting for Brexit from the European Union (EU) in last week’s historic referendum, a trend which has come to be referred to as “Bregret”, a new survey said
  • According to the “Opinium survey,” 7 per cent of the people who voted to leave the EU now regretted their choice and may vote for remain instead if they had a choice.
  • When the survey’s findings are projected on to the statistics of the June 23 referendum, it cuts the Leave vote-share by 2.3 million, wiping out its majority and reversing the shock result in favour of Brexit, the survey said.
  • Remain voters want the government to prioritise staying part of the EU’s single market while Leave voters are keen to end free movement between the U.K. and the EU and both priorities are likely to be mutually exclusive.
  • The survey also found that 3 per cent of ‘Remain’ voters also regretted their choice.
  • More than 4 million people have now signed a petition calling for a second referendum but the government has ruled out another vote on the issue to avoid what outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron termed “neverendum.”


  • In a bid to strengthen India-Africa ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will undertake his first visit to the “African mainland” between July 7 and 11, covering four countries.
  • The Prime Minister’s visit reflects India’s desire to further strengthen and reinvigorate bilateral ties with our African partners which were renewed at the successful IAFS-III in October last year.
  • Since taking charge in May 2014, Prime Minister Modi has visited Seychelles and Mauritius that are members of the African Union.
  • Mr Modi will address two major meetings with members of Indian diaspora in Johannesburg and Nairobi on July 8 and 10.


  • India avoided taking a position on the need to end discrimination based on sexual orientation at the Human Rights Council of the UN, as the Supreme Court is yet to “pronounce” on the issue of rights of LGBT persons.
  • MEA's clarification came a day after India abstained during a voting at the UNHRC to set up the office of Independent Expert to end discrimination against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual) persons.
  • The issue of LGBT rights in India is a matter being considered by the Supreme Court under a batch of curative petitions.
  • As such, we had to take this into account in terms of our vote on the third UN resolution to institutionalise the office of an Independent Expert to prevent discrimination against LGBT persons.


  • Manufacturing activity saw a pick up in June after two months of sluggish growth, according to a private survey.
  • The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.7 in June from 50.7 per cent in May. The index was at 51.3 in June 2015.
  • “The favourable operating environment encouraged businesses to purchase additional inputs but was insufficient to generate jobs,” it said.
  • “The upturn is significant when compared to the average 0.5 point decline between
  • The new orders index rose to 52.9 from 51.3 in May, mainly led by an improvement in domestic demand.
  • “The PMI data suggest that external demand remains lacklustre even as domestic demand continues to support growth, led by consumption,” the note said.


  • The civil aviation ministry released the draft regional connectivity scheme in a bid to make flying affordable and to revive dormant airports.
  • Once the scheme is implemented, passengers will be able to fly an hour’s journey (of about 500 km) for an all-inclusive fare of Rs 2,500. The passenger service fee and user development fee will not be applicable on this fare.
  • However, the cap on the airfares will be applicable only to a limited number of seats in an aircraft and the passengers will be eligible for subsidised fare on a first-come-first served basis.
  • Only routes covering a distance of 200-800 km connecting a ‘less connected or unconnected’ airport will qualify for the regional connectivity scheme and the airfare cap will be proportional to the air distance travelled.
  • Airfares will be capped in the range of Rs.1,700-Rs.4,070 and will be revised every quarter based on the prevailing inflation rate.
  • While the scheme will be applicable to airports with no flight connections in the previous two flying seasons, the government has identified 16 airports, receiving seven flights a week, which will also fall under the scheme.
  • Some of them are: Agra, Allahabad, Pantnagar, Diu, Shillong, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Kullu, Tezpur, among others.
  • While the Centre will provide 80 per cent subsidy to airlines for three years to fund the losses they incur, to enable them to charge lower airfares to passengers, the remaining 20 per cent will come from the states.
  • The Centre will set up a regional connectivity fund, to be be financed by a cess charged to airlines flying on metro or trunk routes for each departure.
  • The cess, which will likely be levied beginning August 1, may marginally increase airfares on such routes.
  • The government may provide higher subsidy to the airlines if the cost of aviation turbine fuel goes up in future, Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey said.
  • The airlines will be mandated to fly at least three flights every week on such regional routes and the subsidy will be provided for maximum seven flights per week.




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Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2016 03:24