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Daily G.K. Buzz - 09th May To 14th May 2015


PM inaugurated upgraded IISCO Steel Plant in Burnpur housing largest blast furnace plant of India

i. ISCO Steel Plant (ISP) in Burnpur, West Bengal was modernised by the Union Government at a cost of 16000 crore rupees. After modernisation, the plant's production capacity has increased from 0.85 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 2.9 mtpa.
ii. The revamped plant in Burnpur is spread across 953 acres. It is the fifth integrated steel plant of SAIL. Also, the new plant is equipped with the latest green technologies with zero emission.

India successfully test-fired advanced version of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile

i. India on 9 May 2015 successfully conducted the 48th test firing of the BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile from the Car Nicobar Islands in Andaman and Nicobar.
ii. The advanced version of the land-to-land configuration of BrahMos Block-III version was test-fired from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) for its full-range of 290 km.

Naval Base at Porbandar commissioned as INS Sardar Patel

i. The Naval establishment of Indian Navy at Porbandar, Gujarat was on 9 May 2015 commissioned as INS Sardar Patel by Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat. The commissioning ceremony was marked by traditional gaiety and naval precision.
ii. As a part of the ceremony, the commissioning plaque was unveiled along with the marble bust of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ironman of India.

Asiatic lion population in Gir sanctuary increased to 523

i. The number of Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary of Gujarat increased to 523, according to 2015 Lion census report released in the first week of May 2015.
ii. This 14th lion census registered 27 percent increase in the number of Asiatic lions compared to 2010 census which had registered 411 Asiatic lions.

Hyderabad to host Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015 in July

i. Hyderabad will host the four-day Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015 that is scheduled to be held on 24 July 2015. 
ii. The theme of Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015 will be Innovation and Advances. The event will deliberate on a range of issues, from pharmaceutical technology to education, indigenous drugs and drug regulatory affairs, besides serving as a platform for joint ventures and project collaboration.

India Post launched Dedicated E-Commerce Centre in New Delhi

i. India Posts on 11 May 2015 launched a dedicated E-Commerce Centre in New Delhi to cater the e-commerce business enterprises. It was launched by Union Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at Safdarjang, New Delhi.
ii. This project was implemented by Department of Posts through Delhi Postal Circle. This processing centre will exclusively handle all the e-commerce business. It is capable of handling 30000 parcels (articles) per day. 


Book titled Unbelievable – Delhi to Islamabad written by Prof Bhim Singh released

i. Book titled Unbelievable – Delhi to Islamabad authored by senior Advocate Prof. Bhim Singh was released on 8 May 2015 by Vice President M Hamid Ansari in New Delhi.
ii. The book, a travelogue is an effort initiated by the lawyers of India and Pakistan to work jointly to ensure that Pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails are treated in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution of India.


India, Russia signed 11 MoIs for Higher Academic Cooperation

i. Indian and Russian institutions of higher learning on 8 May 2015 inked 11 Memorandum of Intent (MoI) to establish the Network of Institutions of Higher Education. 
ii. Other Highlights Of The President Russia Visit

  • President Pranab Mukherjee, who is on a four day visit to Russia to witness the Victory Day parade on 9 May 2015, which is marking the 70th anniversary of Allied forces victory in the Second World War.
  • During this visit, Mukherjee was conferred with honorary Doctorate by the Russian Diplomatic Academy.
  • Cooperation agreement signed between the Department of Science & Technology in India and Russian Science Foundation will offer another platform for supporting joint research projects.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated Namaste Russia festival in Moscow

MIDC signed a MoU with SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd to fund MSMEs

i. The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) on 9 May 2015 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd to provide easy finance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for their growth.
ii. The reason behind this tie-up of MIDC and SIDBI Venture Capital is to make it easier for MSME to obtain loans from banks for their expansions or various business purposes.

Indian Army signed MoU with Bank of India on Defence Salary Package

i. The first MoU between BOI and the Indian Army was signed in 2011 and was valid for a period of three years. This revised MoU is customised to suit the requirements of serving soldiers, pensioners and families. Number of additional facilities was incorporated in the revised MoU after concerted efforts. 
ii. It includes the standard bundle of free/concessional services including free drafts, free cheque books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS / NEFT, free ATM cards etc. 

Telangana Government signed MoU with Google to build a campus in Hyderabad

i. Telangana Government on 11 May 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with tech giant Google Inc to build the biggest campus outside the United States (US) in Hyderabad.
ii. The MoU was signed by Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana Secretary of Information Technology (IT) and his counterpart David Redcliffe, Google’s global head of facilities and workplace in Google headquarters at Mountain View in USA.


Rohan Bopanna, Florin Mergea won Men’s Doubles title of Madrid Tennis Open

i. For Rohan Bopanna, this is the third title of the 2015 season having won the titles in Sydney and Dubai along with the Canadian partner Daniel Nestor.
ii. In the summit clash played in Madrid, Spain, the duo defeated the Serbian-Polish pair of Nenand Zimonjic and Martin Matkowski  6-2, 6-7(5), 11-9.

Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic won the women’s singles title of Madrid Tennis Open

i. She defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-1, 6-2 to secure the title for the second time. She won her maiden title in 2011.
ii. With the present win, she equals Serena Williams’ record of two titles in Madrid.

Andy Murray of Britain won the men’s singles title of Madrid Tennis Open

i. Andy Murray of Britain on 10 May 2015 won the Madrid Open men’s singles title in the final matches held in Madrid, Spain. He beat Rafael Nadalof Spain 6-3, 6-2 to win his second Madrid Open title.
ii. With the present win, he has become the third player after Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to win at both the venues of Madrid Open.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won Spanish Grand Prix of Formula One

i. Mercedes racing driver Nico Rosberg of Germany on 10 May 2015 won the Spanish Grand Prix Formula 1 World Championship title by winning the final race held at Barcelona in Spain.
ii. While his team mate Lewis Hamilton of Britain stood at the second position, Sebastian Vettel of Germany representing the Ferrari team stood at the third position in the race.

Discus thrower Vikas Gowda won Gold at Jamaican International Invitation meet

i. Ace Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda on 10 May 2015 won Gold at Jamaican International Invitation meet.  The meet was held in Kingston, Jamaica. He came up with an effort of 65.14m to win his event.
ii. Chad Wright of Jamaica was second with a throw of 61.84m while Jared Schuurmans of United States was third with an effort of 61.62m.


Veteran Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor bestowed with Dada Saheb Phalke award

i. Veteran Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor was on 10 May 2015 honoured with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award by Union Information and Broadcasting Minster Arun Jaitley at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai. With this, Shashi Kapoor became the 46th winner of the award.
ii. He was awarded for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema. He began his career as an actor as a child artist in the 1940s.

Indian-American professor Dr. Sivanadane Mandjiny won UNC’s 2015 Award for Excellence in Teaching

i. Indian-American Professor Dr. Sivanadane Mandjiny on 12 May 2015 won the University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors 2015 Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award carries a commemorative bronze medallion and a 12500 US dollar cash prize.
ii. He was one of the 17 winners of the annual awards that serve to underscore the importance of teaching.

Indian author Neel Mukherjee won 2014 Encore Award for The Lives of Others

i. Indian author Neel Mukherjee on 12 May 2015 won the 2014 Encore Award for his novel The Lives of Others. The award is worth 10000 pounds.
ii. The Lives of Others was also shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award. Neel Mukherjee's first novel, A Life Apart, was published in 2010.

Important Days

National Technology Day observed in India on 11th May

i. The National Technology Day was observed in India on 11 May 2015. Every year, National Technology Day is celebrated across India on 11 May to memorize the anniversary of Shakti, the Pokhran nuclear test held on 11 May 1998.
ii. The day glorifies the importance of science in day to day life and motivates students to adopt science as the career option. Several events are organized in various engineering colleges and technical institutes to mark the occasion.


Hollywood actress Elizabeth Wilson passed away

i. Veteran Hollywood actress Elizabeth Wilson passed away on 9 May 2015 following age-related illness at New Haven, Connecticut. She was 94. Wilson is survived by her sister Mary Muir Wilson and several nieces and nephews.
ii. Elizabeth Wilson was famously known for her memorable film role as the mother of Dustin Hoffman's character, Benjamin Braddock, in Mike Nichols' 1967 film The Graduate. She made her Broadway debut in 1953 in Picnic.

Pop artist Chris Burden passed away

i. Renowned Pop artist Chris Burden passed away on 10 May 2015 following melanoma disease at his home and studio in Topanga Canyon, California. He was 69.
ii. Trained as a Minimalist, Burden began his career by making art that employed the most minimal materials possible. His most famous early works were Shoot (1971), in which a confederate shot him in the arm with a rifle from about 15 feet away.


Union Finance Ministry appointed Justice AP Shah Committee to look into the issue of MAT on FIIs

i. The Union Ministry of Finance appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Justice Ajit Prakash Shah to look into the issue of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).
ii. At present, Justice A P Shah is heading the 20th Law Commission of India. The committee was appointed to resolve the contentious issue of MAT between the tax authorities and the foreign investors.


KV Kamath appointed as first President of New Development Bank of BRICS nations

i. Eminent banker Kundapur Vaman Kamath was on 11 May 2015 appointed as the first President of the New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS nations. He will serve a five year term after the bank becomes operational within one year.
ii. Currently, Kamath is the Chairman of the India’s largest private sector bank, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI). He was ICICI Bank’s managing director and CEO from 1996 to 2009.

K Satish Reddy appointed as Chairman of National Safety Council (NSC)

i. K Satish Reddy, the Chairman of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., was appointed as the Chairman of the National Safety Council (NSC). He was appointed by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment on 11 May 2015.
ii. As the chairman of the NSC, he will oversee its functioning in generating and developing initiatives on Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at the national level.

Nikesh Arora appointed as President of Japan’s SoftBank Corp.

i. Indian-born Nikesh Arora was on 11 May 2015 appointed as the President of Japan’s multinational telecommunications and internet company SoftBank Corp.
ii. As per the announcement made at the company’s earning conference, he will also be the Representative Director of SoftBank Corp.

President authorized Justice Cyriac Joseph to act as interim NHRC Chaiperson

i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 11 May 2015 authorized Justice (retd) Cyriac Joseph to act as the interim chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
ii. He will act as the Chairperson of the Commission with effect from 13 May 2015. He will act as Chairperson until the appointment of a new Chairperson in the NHRC in place of Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.

Indian-origin Priti Patel appointed as Minister of State for Employment in British Government

i. As the new minister of state for employment in the Department of Work and Pensions, the 43-year-old will attend Cabinet as the senior-most Indian-origin member of the newly-elected British government.
ii. Priti Patel is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Witham constituency in Essex since 2010.

Arvind Saxena appointed as a Member of Union Public Service Commission

i. Arvind Saxena was on 7 May 2015 appointed as a Member of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). His appointment was made by the President Pranab Mukherjee.
ii. With this appointment, Saxena became the first officer from Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to become a member of UPSC. The tenure of Saxena will commence from the date he enters upon the office till he attains age of 65 years.

President of India appointed four Governors and transferred two

i. President of India Pranab Mukherjii on 12 May 2015 appointed four Governors and transferred two others. These appointments and transfers were done in accordance with Article 155 of the Constitution of India.
ii. V Shanmuganathan - Governor of Meghalaya
    Draupadi Murmu - Governor of Jharkhand
    Tathagata Roy - Governor of Tripura
    JP Rakkhowa - Governor of Arunachal Pradesh
    Syed Ahmed - Governor of Manipur (transferred)
    Lt General (retd.) Nirbhay Sharma - Governor of Mizoram (transferred)

Deepak Iyer appointed as MD and CEO of Bharti AXA General Insurance

i. Currently, he is working as the Managing Director-Indian subcontinent at Wrigley India, a subsidiary of the US-based Mars.
ii. He will take the charge from June 2015. He will take charge from Interim CEO and MD Milind Chalisgaonkar.

Indian-Origin Harbhajan Kaur Dheer became first Asian woman elected as Mayor in UK

i. The 62-year-old councilor of the Labour Party assumed the charge as the Mayor of Ealing Council in London in which she was the Deputy Mayor before assuming the present position.
ii. She was a mental health professional and is a rights activist advocating for rights of children and elderly.


Arun Pudur topped Wealth-X List of Asia’s Wealthiest Entrepreneurs Under 40

i. Arun Pudur, the owner and president of software firm Celframe, topped the Wealth-X List of Asia’s wealthiest entrepreneur under the age of 40 with an estimated net worth of 4 billion US dollars.
ii. Pudur is a 37 year old native of Chennai and founded the software firm Celframe in 1998 which produces the world’s second most popular word processor after Microsoft.  

Picasso's painting Les Femme d’Alger sold for 179.3 million US dollars

i. Pablo Picasso's painting Les Femme d’Alger (Version O) was on 11 May 2015 sold for 179.3 million US dollars during an auction at Christie's in New York.
ii. With this sale, this painting became the most expensive painting to be sold at an auction. Les Femme d’Alger, a 1955 painting known in English as The Women of Algiers had a pre-auction estimate of 140 million US dollars.


PM launched Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) in Kolkata on 09th May

i. The scheme is intended to provide for life insurance cover to the eligible subscribers.
ii. Key Features of PMJJBY
• It provides for an annual life insurance of 2 lakh rupees and covers death due to any reason.
• A premium of 330 rupees per annum is paid by the subscribers
• People in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank account are eligible to join the scheme.
• It will be administered through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
• The coverage period is of one year duration starting from 1 June to 31 March of the succeding year.

PM Narendra Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) for accidental Insurance Cover in Kolkata on 09th May

i. It is an Accident Insurance Scheme (AIS) offering death and disability cover on account of an accident.
ii. Key Features of PMSBY 
• It provides for the risk coverage of 2 lakh rupees for accidental death and full disability and 1 lakh rupees for partial disability due to an accident.
• It is available to people in the age group of 18 to 70 years having a savings bank account.
• The coverage period is of one year duration starting from 1 June to 31 March
• A premium of 12 rupees per annum is paid by the subscriber.
• The product will be offered by Public Sector General Insurance Companies (PSGICs)

PM Narendra Modi launched Atal Pension Yojana (APY) for unorganised sector workers in Kolkata on 09th May

i. The scheme is intended to enhance old age income security of the working poor and is focused on encouraging and enabling them to join the National Pension System (NPS). It will be operational from 1 June 2015.
ii. Key Features of APY
• administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
• The minimum age of joining is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years.
• The subscribers would receive the fixed pension of 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 at the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions.


RBI advised all Public Sector Banks to appoint Internal Ombudsman

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 11 May 2015 advised all public sector banks (PSBs) to appoint internal Ombudsman. This internal Ombudsman will be designated as Chief Customer Service Officer (CCSO) and it should not have worked in the bank in which it has been appointed as CCSO.
ii. The objective of this initiative is to further boost the quality of customer service and to ensure that there is undivided attention to resolution of customer complaints in banks.
iii. The internal ombudsman will be a forum available to bank customers for grievance redressal before they can even approach the Banking Ombudsman.

Moody's released the report Global Macro Outlook: 2015-16

i. India’s GDP will grow at a strong pace of 7.5 percent 2015-16, which is the highest among G20 economies, helped by the reforms drive and lower oil prices.
ii. The report also forecasts a broadly balanced current account for the first time in 10 years. This has been due to lower energy import bill and restriction in gold imports.

RBI released the report titled State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2014-15

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 12th May 2015 released the report titled State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2014-15. The theme of this year’s report is Fiscal Consolidation: Assessment and Medium Term Prospects.
ii. The report is an annual publication that provides data, analysis and an assessment of the finances of state governments. It provides the snapshot of the changing dynamics of fiscal federalism over the years.


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