1. Jharkhand Government inaugurated land bank web portal jharbhoom.nic.in
i. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on 4 January 2016 inaugurated the state’s land bank web portal, jharbhoom.nic.in, that will help investors know land-related information.
ii. With this, one would be able to get information about the land which is available at the district and the circle area level with a click of a mouse. This land bank will help investors get information through district-wise nodal officers.
iii. For this purpose, district wise nodal officers have been appointed whose mobile numbers and email ids will also be available on the website.
iv. The state government also issued directions to make land available through the land bank to the industrialists allotted with coal blocks.
2. Former Chief Justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia died
i. Ex-Chief Justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia passed away on 4 January 2016 in Mumbai. He was 68. Kapadia is survived by wife and a son and a daughter.
ii. Born on 29 September 1947, Kapadia graduated from Government Law College, Mumbai. He was enrolled as an advocate at the Bombay High Court in 1974. In 1991, he was elevated to the Bench as an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court, and in 1993, he was appointed as a Permanent Judge.
iii. In 2003, he was transferred to the Uttarakhand High Court, where he served a short stint as Chief Justice. On 18 December 2003, he was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court. On 12 May 2010, he was sworn in as the 38th Chief Justice of India by the President Pratibha Patil.
iv. He retired on 29 September 2012. During his tenure as CJI, he served as the Chairman of the General Council of the Gujarat National Law University and the Visitor of the National Law School of India University.
3. LinkedIn names Akshay Kothari as India Country Manager
i. Professional networking platform LinkedIn today appointed Akshay Kothari as Country Manager for India, with immediate effect. India has one of the largest userbase for LinkedIn, which has more than 400 million members globally.
ii. Kothari replaces Nishant Rao, who quit the company in October last year to join cloud-based customer support software firm Freshdesk as its Chief Operating Officer. Kothari will report to Olivier Legrand, LinkedIn’s Managing Director for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, and join the company’s APAC senior management team, LinkedIn said in a statement.
iii. He joined LinkedIn in 2013 when Pulse, the company he co-founded and was CEO for almost 3 years, was acquired by LinkedIn. Since then, based out of LinkedIn’s global headquarters in Mountain View, California, he has led several major product and content initiatives, including Pulse. Kothari also played an important role in boosting the number of members publishing on LinkedIn from 1,000 to nearly 2 million in the last two years.
iv. India has the second largest base of LinkedIn members globally, after the US. Over the past six years, the member base in India saw a ten-fold increase (which translates to a compound annual growth rate of 46 per cent) to more than 33 million.
4. SC directed Gujarat government to make Gujarat State Cooperative Tribunal functional
i. The Supreme Court (SC) on 4 January 2016 directed the Gujarat government to make functional the Gujarat State Cooperative Tribunal by filling up the vacant posts including that of judicial members, which is the bone of contention.
ii. Further, the court directed that the tribunal cannot be allowed to be non-functional. The ruling was made by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.
iii. The dispute has its origin in 2011, when the Gujarat Co-operative Bar Association moved the High Court challenging the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1961 and the Rules made there under with respect to the appointment of members of the State Co-operative Tribunal and members of Board of Nominees.
iv. They had contended that the Act confers excessive power upon the State in the appointment process. It was also their contention that the process of appointment does not comply with the provisions of Part IV, Chapter 6 of the Constitution dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy.
v. However, on 11 September 2015, the HC rendered Rule 40A (C) the Co-operative Societies Rules, which allows appointment of persons with just a law degree invalid. It ruled that only members with a minimum of five years’ experience as a judicial officer will be eligible to be appointed to the tribunal.
5. Nokia completed acquisition of Alca-Lucent for 15.6 billion euro
i. Nokia Corporation on 5 January 2015 announced that it completed the regulatory formalities for acquiring the French telecom equipment company Alca-Lucent. The deal, worth 15.6 billion euro, was signed in 2014 and later approved by the European Commission.
ii. With this acquisition, Nokia holds 79.32 percent of outstanding Alcatel-Lucent shares and at least 78.97 percent of the French company’s voting rights. Further, the deal is expected to help the company in competing globally with the likes of Ericsson and Huawei in the telecommunications field.
iii. It is a Finland based multinational communications and information technology company. It was founded in 1865 and operates across 120 countries.
iv. In April 2014, its mobile phone business unit was acquired by the Microsoft in a deal worth 5.44 billion euro. At present, Rajeev Suri, an Indian, is the President and CEO of the company.
6. Mary Barra elected as Chairman of General Motors Board of Directors
i. Mary Barra was on 4 January 2016 elected as Chairman of General Motors (GM) Board of Directors with immediate effect. Barra succeeds Theodore Solso, who will continue serving as the Lead Independent Director of the Board.
iii. Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) Co-Op Student at the Pontiac Motor Division. Barra served the company in various capacities including GM Vice President of Global Human Resources; Vice President, Global Manufacturing Engineering; Plant Manager, Detroit Hamtramck Assembly and Executive Director of Competitive Operations Engineering.
iv. In August 2013, Barra was named as Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain.
7. Kate Atkinson won 2015 Costa Novel Prize for A God in Ruins
i. British writer Kate Atkinson on 4 January 2016 won the novel-of-the-year prize at Britain’s Costa Book Awards 2015 for the second time in three years. She fetched the award for A God in Ruins, a story of war and its aftermath.
ii. With this, Atkinson became the first author to receive the Costa novel prize three times: for A God in Ruins in 2016, Life After Life in 2013 and Behind the Scenes at the Museum in 1995.
iii. Kate Atkinson was born in 1951 in York, England. She studied English literature at the University of Dundee and obtained her master’s degree in 1974. She subsequently studied for a doctorate in American literature, entitled The post-modern American short story in its historical context.
iv. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year ahead of Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh. Since then, she has published another eight novels, one play, and one collection of short stories.
v. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to literature.
vi. The Costa Book Awards is one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious and popular literary prizes. It recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. The award was launched in 1971.
8. Toilets made mandatory to contest Panchayat polls in Bihar
i. State election commissioner (SEC) Ashok Kumar Chauhan on 4 January 2016 announced that toilets will be mandatory requirement for eligibility to contest panchayat elections. This declaration means that no one can contest the Bihar panchayat elections scheduled in 2016 without having a toilet at their home.
ii. SEC said that candidates have to give an undertaking regarding status of toilet by 1 January 2016 in their home. He also said to ensure free and fair polling the elections will be held in 10 phases. The notification of the elections and dates will be issued on 15 February 2016.
iii. Election will be held for the posts of 8397 Mukhiyas (Village head), 8397 Kutcheri Sarpanchs besides Panchayat Samiti members, Kutchehri panchs, and Zila Parishad members.
iv. The decision is based on the legislation – the Bihar Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which was passed by the Bihar Legislative Assembly on 5 August 2015. The legislation brought some new provisions including making it mandatory for candidates contesting all level of panchayat raj elections to have toilets at their individual home by 31 January 2016.
9. Union Government to launch River Information System for Inland Waterways
i. The term River Information System (RIS) was in news in the first week of January 2016 as the Union Ministry of Shipping is set to launch the system for Inland Waterways in the country. The system is expected to improve navigation in Indland Waterways as the government is set to expand the network across the country through the National Waterways Bill, 2015.
ii. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 21 December 2015 and is pending with the Rajya Sabha. It will be utilized for real time monitoring of ships plying on the inland waterways network. It will provide remote communication with vessels and real time meteorological data which will be available online.
iii. To operationalise the system, Radars and sensors will be installed along the route and there will be major base stations to monitor the movement. By using the system, vessels will be tracked and advised about nearby vessels, waterway information, meteorological information and river safety for ensuring efficient and collision free navigation.
iv. In the initial phase, it will be made operational on the 500 km long Haldia-Farakka National Waterways 1. With the implementation of the project, India will join a select league of countries in Europe and the USA which have similar systems in place already.
10. India-Nepal Bus Service resumed after 27 years
i. India-Nepal Bus Service on 4 January 2016 resumed after a gap of 27 years. The service was suspended 27 years ago in the wake of the Indo-Nepal Trade and Transit Treaty. The service runs between Kanchanpur in Nepal, which is close to Banbasa border in Champavat district of Uttarakhand, and Anand Vihar ISBT in Delhi.
ii. To travel in these buses, no special documents are required as both the countries share open border.
iii. The service is expected to benefit people living along the border areas as they have family as well as trade relations with each other.
iv. And, it is also expected to benefit around 10000 Nepalis who travel from Kanchanpur district, Dandel Dhura, Voti, Sapen, Acham, Kalali, Jagbuddha and Siddhartha Nagar areas in Nepal.
11. Sterlite Grid commissioned first power project under TBCB incentive regime
i. Sterlite Grid on 2 January 2016 set a new benchmark by commissioning the Transmission Project to Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP) ahead of schedule under the Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) incentive regime.
ii. RAPP is the first power transmission line to be been commissioned ahead of schedule since the implementation of TBCB scheme.
iii. As per Sterlite Grid, the construction work on transmission project to RAPP, which was awarded to the company in 2013, was completed within 12 months from the start of construction.
iv. With the commissioning of the RAPP Transmission Project, Sterlite Grid so far has commissioned four out of a portfolio of seven projects and operates ~2900 Circuit Km of projects in eight Indian states.
v. The project includes laying a 200-km, 400-kilovolt double-circuit transmission line passing through Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It will connect Kota in Rajasthan to Shujalpur in Madhya Pradesh to provide the path for the evacuation of electricity generated at RAPP-7 and 8.
vi. Under the TBCB norms, developers quoting the lowest average electricity tariffs from a proposed project get to set it up, as against the erstwhile “cost-plus” model, where projects were set up through pacts with distribution utilities and were entitled to assured returns.
12. IUPAC announced addition of Four Elements to complete Seventh row of Periodic Table
i. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on 30 December 2015 announced discovery and assignment of elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118.
The decision was taken by the IUPAC as the four elements met the discovery of elements of the IUPAP/IUPAC Transfermium Working Group (TWG) 1991 Discovery Criteria.
ii. All these four elements are synthetic in nature. They were discovered by scientists belonging to the USA, Russian and Japan and complete the 7th row of the periodic table of the elements.
iii. Also, these four elements are the first to be added to the table since 2011, when elements 114 (Flerovium, FI) and 116 (Livermorium, LV) were added. Naming of elements: After officially recognizing the elements, the IUPAC also invited suggestions related to permanent names and symbols from the scientists who discovered them. New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist.
iv. Element 113 – Temporary working name and symbol are ununtrium and Uut respectively. It was discovered by the scientists belonging to RIKEN research laboratory in Japan.
v. 115: ununpentium, Uup are the temporary working name and symbol respectively.
vi. 117: ununseptium, Uus are the temporary working name and symbol respectively. They were discovered by scientists belonging to Russia and the USA in collaboration
vii. Element 118 – It has ununoctium and Uuo as the temporary working name and symbol respectively.
viii. They were discovered by slamming lighter nuclei into each other and tracking the following decay of the radioactive superheavy elements. Like other superheavy elements that populate the end of the periodic table, they only exist for fractions of a second before decaying into other elements.
13. Department of Posts formed Kamlesh Chandra Panel on Gramin Dak Sevaks
i. Department of Posts on 1 January 2016 formed a one-man committee to study issues related to Gramin Dak Sevaks including wage structure and service conditions. The panel will be headed by Kamlesh Chandra, a retired member of the Postal Services Board, which will be assisted by T Q Mohammad, a senior administrative grade officer, as the secretary.
ii. It will examine the system of branch post offices, engagement conditions and the existing structure of wage and emoluments paid to gramin sevaks and recommend necessary changes. It will review the existing facilities for 2.6 lakh employees spread across the country, the service discharge benefit scheme and other social security benefits.
14. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Indian Science Congress in Mysuru
i. rime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the annual Indian Science Congress (ISC) at University of Mysore campus in Karnataka on Sunday. Theme of this edition (103rd) of the ISC is “Science & Technology for Indigenous Development in India”. The Congress will continue till January 7.
ii. After inaugural of the Congress by Modi, eminent scientist CNR Rao will deliver the Bharat Ratna M Visvesvaraya Lecture on ‘Doing Science in India’ on the opening day on January 3.
iii. Over 100 eminent scientists from different universities and research institutions will deliver plenary talks on subjects like Nano Science, Space Science, Technology & Applications, Diabetes, Evolution: The Frontiers, Atomic Energy, Safe water and sanitation, Diseases and drug development, Public-Private partnership for the Swachh Bharat Mission initiative during the five-day meet.
iv. As part of Indian Science Congress, the Children Science Congress will be inaugurated by Nobel Laureate John B Gurdon (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012) on January 4 at the amphitheatre, Manasagangothri inside the University campus.
15. Filippo Grandi takes helm as UN High Commissioner for Refugees
i. Filippo Grandi, a UN official who has worked in refugee and political affairs in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, began his five-year term as UN High Commissioner for Refugees on January 1, succeeding António Guterres whose more than 10 years in office ended last week.
ii. High Commissioner Grandi, who arrived at UNHCR’s headquarters office in Geneva earlier on Monday (January 4), takes up the position at a time of unprecedented displacement challenges. Record numbers of people globally are forced to flee war and persecution, including more than one million refugees and migrants who crossed the Mediterranean to Europe during the past year.
iii. Other challenges include critical shortfalls in humanitarian funding, fewer voluntary returns than at any time in more than three decades, people staying in exile for longer periods of time and the increased politicization of refugee issues in many countries.
iv. Grandi, 58, who is from Italy, has worked in international affairs for over 30 years, 27 of them with the United Nations. Formerly head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he worked prior to that for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as Deputy Special Representative, following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.
16. ONGC won 26th Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey tournament
i. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on 3 January 2015 won the 26th Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey tournament.
ii. To win the title, the ONGC defeated Indian Railways 3-0 on penalties in the final match held at the Shivaji Stadium in New Delhi.
iii. At the end of the stipulated time both the teams stood at 2 points each. In the shootout, Sumit Kumar, Gurjant Singh and Vikramjit Singh scored for ONGC while the Railways players could not score a single goal.
iv. It will examine and suggest any change in the method of engagement, minimum qualification for engagement for gramin dak sevaks. It will examine their conduct and disciplinary rules, particularly keeping in view the proposed induction of technology in rural post offices.
17. Sachin is brand ambassador for Novo Nordisk’s diabetes campaign
i. Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk today announced Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador for the disease awareness campaign ‘Changing Diabetes’ initiated by it in India.
ii. Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Sachin Tendulkar advised people to hit the gym or go for a long walk to keep away from diabetes. In India 69.2 million people have diabetes and by 2035, it is estimated that 123.5 million people will have diabetes. The alarming fact is that almost half of the existing diabetes patients are unaware that they have diabetes, according to the company.
iii. Novo Nordisk Corporate Vice President Mads Bo Larsen said about 2 per cent of the gross national product (GDP) gets impacted by diabetes disease. The company, which is the leading global insulin maker, is providing free diabetes treatment and education to 4,000 children, who have been suffering from Type-2 diabetes, in India.