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Events / Happenings / Observances/Appointments::
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Appointments:
Dr. N.C.Saxena Committee:

Joint Committee of Ministry of Environment And Forests and Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been revised. Dr. N.C.Saxena, retired Secretary, Planning Commission will be Chairman of this committeeand Dr. Devendra Pandey, Fromer Director General, Forest Survey of India will be Co-Chairman.

Awards:
Prime Minister’s Awards for excellence in Governance for 2008-09
Prime Minister’s Awards for excellence in Governance for 2008-09 have been announced. These awards are given in individual, group and organization categories. The list of the winners is Here

National Affairs:
Failure of GSLV-D3
GSLV-D3,
India‘s 330 crore rupees mission to flight test the first indigenous cryogenic engine failed after the rocket GSLV-D3 powered by it crashed into the sea five minutes after a perfect lift-off.

Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan
Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan is a centrally sponsored scheme which was introduced from 2008-09 for creation of basic sports infrastructure in all village and block panchayats and for conducting sports competitions at block, district, state and national level in the country. The outlay for this scheme for 11th five year plan is Rs. 1500 Crores.

Railways: 169.77 kms of new line track was added every year since 1950-51
As per a written reply of Minister of State for Railways, Shri K.H. Muniyappa in Rajya Sabha,the route kilometers of Indian Railways have grown from 53,596 kms to 63,273 kms at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 0.29 per cent. The Running Track Kilometers grew from 59,315 km to 85,158 km at a CAGR of 0.64 per cent and the electrified route grew from 388 kms to 18,274 kms at a CAGR of 6.99 per cent. The freight rates (average rate per tonne km) increased from 3.16 paise to 89.04 paise during the above period at a CAGR of 6.03 per cent.

On an average 169.77 kms of new line track was added from 1950-51 to 2007-08.

Infloclip: The Vision 2020 document of the Railways envisages laying of 25,000 kms of new line by the year 2020. Accordingly, an enhanced target of laying 1000 kms of new lines has been indicated in the Budget 2010-11.

Accelerated Pulses Production Programme (A3P)
Government has approved the Accelerated Pulses Production Programme (A3P) under National Food Security Mission on Pulses from April 1, 2010 for the remaining period of 11th Plan. Under this plan 10 Lakh hectare of potential pulses area would be taken up. The intention is to demonstrate the impact of production and protection technologies in the farmers’ field for boosting the production and productivity of pulses. Government has been implementing National Food Security Mission on Pulses in 16 Major Pulses Growing states of the country.

Fact Box: Some Schemes in Budget 2010-11 for Agriculture Development

Rs. 400 crore provided to extend the green revolution to the eastern region of the
country comprising
Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Eastern UP, West Bengal and Orissa.

Rs. 300 crore provided to organize 60,000 “pulses and oil seed villages” in rain-fed areas during 2010-11 and provide an integrated intervention for water harvesting, watershed management and soil health, to enhance the productivity of the dry land farming areas.

Rs. 200 crore provided for sustaining the gains already made in the green revolution areas through conservation farming, which involves concurrent attention to soil health, water conservation and preservation of biodiversity.

Banks have been consistently meeting the targets set for agriculture credit flow in the past few years. For the year 2010-11, the target has been set at Rs. 3,75,000 crore.

In view of the recent drought in some States and the severe floods in some other parts of the country, the period for repayment of the loan amount by farmers extended by six months from December 31, 2009 to June 30,2010 under the Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme for Farmers.

Incentive of additional one per cent interest subvention to farmers who repay short-term crop loans as per schedule, increased to 2% for 2010-11. (from PIB)


Business & Economy:
Carriers Data of Domestic Airlines:
Total domestic passengers carried by the Scheduled Airlines of India in the first quarter of 2010 was:
Air India (Domestic) 17.6%, Jet Airways 18.7%, Jet Lite 7.1%, Kingfisher 22.6%, Spice Jet 12.0%, Paramount 1.6%, Go Air 5.4% and IndiGo 15.0%. (PIB)

Medical Technology Park
There is a proposal to set up a
Medical Technology Park a Integrated Vaccine Complex (IVC) at Chengalpattu, near Chennai for manufacture of medical devices and instruments and to address the growing vaccine demand of the country and to develop facilities for producing vaccines required by the Government.

2010 Bloomberg BusinessWeek annual rankings of Most Innovative Companies
Apple tops the 2010 Bloomberg BusinessWeek annual rankings of Most Innovative Companies again. Apple is folowed by Google. Apple, Google, Microsoft,IBM & Toyota Motor are top 5 companies this year. Two Indian companies have apperaed in the top 50 Most Innovative Companies of the world. They are Tata Group on Rank 17 and Reliance Industries on Rank 33. For the first time ever, more companies on our Top 50 are based outside the U.S. China’s rise is the fastest. A year ago, its only representative was Lenovo, at 46.

International Affairs:
Youtube Record: Lady Gaga
Access
Hollywood says that Lady GaGa has broken a YouTube record passing one billion mark for video views from a single channel.

On Findings of Heraldo Munoz Commission
United Nations report into the assassination of the former prime minister of pakistan Benazir Bhutto has highly criticized the then military government of Gen. Parvez Musharraf. The report says that killing could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken. The report also says that authorities failed to investigate the crime properly. The report says that the versions of the story invloving Mr. Zardari and other members of the family simply had no basis, no evidence to be treated as credible.

Awards & Honors:
Wisden Cricketer of the Year – Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag has been named ‘Wisden Cricketer of the Year’ for the second successive time for scoring ”more quickly than any specialist batsman in Tests or one-day internationals.”

Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is also known as “the Bible of Cricket”. It is a cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom. It is considered the world’s most famous sports reference book.

Events / Happenings:
Know Your Army
Know Your Army is a two day exhibition organized by Army’s EME center Secunderabad. It has been launched by Union Minister of State for Defense M M Pallam Raju.National Updates:
Wild Life: Anti Poaching System
A software monitoring system to improve the effectiveness of all surveillance and anti-poaching interventions in the Project Tiger Reserve areas has been launched by the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. This system has been developed by the Wildlife Institute of India in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the National Tiger Conservation Authority. This system will ensure that the surveillance activities that are done by field director and his colleagues is based on ground level information. As a pilot initiative, it is proposed to implement the system within two months at six tiger reserves. They are Corbett; Uttaranchal, Ranthambhor; Rajasthan, Kanha; Madhya Pradesh, Bhadra; Karnataka, Annamalai; Tamil Nadu and Nagarjunasagar Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.

India’s First 3D Digital Animation Film:
India’s first 3-D digital animation film, ‘Bal Hanuman-2’, will be released on May 14 in selected theaters, which are equipped with special projectors.

Madhya Pradesh: India’s First Buddhist University:
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announces establishment of India’s first ‘Bauddh Vishwavidyalaya’ (Buddhist University) at Sanchi.

Haryana: Energy Conservation Fund
To promote awareness, capacity building, research and development, creation of testing and certification procedures and demonstration projects on energy conservation , The Haryana Government decides to create a State Energy Conservation Fund which is also called Green Energy Initiative. The State Energy Conservation Fund was constituted under Section 16 of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

Gujarat: Top state in Marine Fish output:
As per NABARD, Gujarat has topped the list of states in marine fish production and exported 1.88 lakh tonnes of marine products worth Rs.1,265 crore in fiscal 2008-09. The Pipavav Port has emerged as a leader for export of marine products from India with a share of 27.18 percent in quantity and 16.36 per cent in value.

Index watch: Confidence in Leadership Index
As per the Confidence in Leadership Index survey done by the Los Angeles-based Korn/Ferry International, executives in India have the highest faith in their CEOs and general corporate leadership among the 13 major nations. India is followed by China, Brazil and Russia.

Business & Economy:
On SAIL FPO:
SAIL FPO is estimated Rs 16,000 crore share sale of the steel PSU. In This context a statements has come (in Indian Express) of Steel Secretary Atul Chaturvedi about creation of a committee comprising officials from Steel Ministry, Department of Disinvestment under the Ministry of Finance and SAIL.

Please note that this is a two phase 20% share sale programme which was approved recently by the cabinet and estimated proceeds are Rs. 16000 Crore. However the final proceeds would depend upon the issue price of FPO. This will be decided by EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers). Currently Government of India owes 85% in the company.

The SAIL has a Rs. 70,000 crores expansion plan, which ramps up its capacity from present 14 million tonnes to 23 Million Tonnes.

Sports:
ICC Global Partner: Hero Honda:
International Cricket Council (ICC) and Hero Honda Motors Ltd announce a three-year partnership. ICC has now become global partner with a major presence at all ICC events. This agreement entitles Hero Honda to exercise certain promotional, advertising, marketing and other commercial rights on a world-wide basis in connection with the events.

All Sports Magazine : Top 10 Indian sporting achievements of all time
Following are the Top 10 Indian sporting achievements of all time as listed by “All Sports Magazine”

  1. Abhinav Bindra’s individual gold medal in shooting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics — he’s the only Indian to earn this distinction in a century of Endeavour.
  2. Kapil’s Devils’ coup in the 1983 World Cup is India’s most sensational team triumph even though it was replicated by M S Dhoni’s ‘Men in Blue’ 24 years later, albeit in a more truncated version of cricket.
  3. The Dhyan Chand-orchestrated golden symphony in the 1936 Berlin Olympics before a global audience and an impressed Fuhrer made supremacy and artistry in field hockey synonymous with the jugglers from the sub-continent.
  4. Viswanathan Anand set the final seal on his greatness when he won the 2007 (tournament) and 2008 (match play) FIDE world chess championships to confirm his 2000 world triumph in the knock out format which unleashed a chess revolution in India in its wake.
  5. Wilson Jones was right on cue in the 1958 World Amateur Billiards Championship in Kolkata, making him the first Indian world champion in any discipline. His success paved the way for a procession of world beaters in the three-ball game.
  6. Prakash Padukone’s upset win over Liem Swie King in the final of the All England Badminton Championship in 1980 took him to No 1 in the world.
  7. Leander Paes’ bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics tennis singles while battling a wrist injury and also a top-quality field to clinch the second individual medal for India since 1952 was another big high for the tricolor.
  8. He may have missed a podium finish by the proverbial whisker, but Milkha Singh’s gallant run in the 400 m final at the 1960 Rome Olympics is still embedded in the nation’s collective memory.
  9. Mohun Bagan’s sensational 2-1 victory over East Yorkshire Regiment in the 1911 IFA Shield final was the seminal moment in Indian football whose ripples echoed beyond the Kolkata maidan and sparked off nationalist reverberations across the entire nation.
  10. Ajit Wadekar’s twin series triumphs in the West Indies and England in 1971 showed that Indian cricket had made giant strides. (courtesy : All Sports Magazine)

Abroad:
Saudi Arabia: Fatwa against terrorism
Highest Religious authority of Saudi Arabia has issued a fatwa (edict) denouncing all acts of terrorism and criminalizing its financing. Council of Supreme Scholars declared “any act of terrorism, including providing financial support to terrorists, a crime,” regardless of where it takes place (Asharq al-Awsat – English News paper)

Appointments:
SSB Jharkhand Chairman: A K Chug
A K Chug, IAS and member of Revenue Council has bee appointed as next chairman of Staff Selection Board of Jharkhand.

Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court: Justice Aftab Hussain Saikia
Justice Aftab Hussain Saikia was administered the oath of office by Jammu & Kashmir Governor N N Vohra as Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court, Jammu.

Awards:
Ambedkar awards 2009
Mauritius Bhojpuri Institute founder director Sarita Boodhoo has been selected for the Dr Ambedkar International Award 2009 conferred by Bharatiya Dalit Sahitya Akademi (BDSA). The award will be conferred during the 26th National Conference of Dalit Writers of BDSA in the city on December 12.

National Updates:
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Latest projections about India’s Growth
‘Asian Development Outlook 2010’ which is ADB’s annual flagship publication has pegged India’s growth rate 8.2 per cent in 2010 and 8.7 per cent in 2011. The annual inflation projects are 5% in 2010 and 5.5% in 2011.

Developing Asia was set to grow 7.5 per cent in 2010 and 7.3 per cent in 2011, picking up from 5.2 per cent in 2009, the ADB said in its Asian Development Outlook 2010.

What is Developing Asia?: Developing Asia refers to 44 developing member countries of the Asian Development Bank and Brunei Darussalam, an unclassified regional member; East Asia comprises People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Republic of Korea; Mongolia; and Taipei,China; Southeast Asia comprises Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia,Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam; South Asia comprises Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Bangladesh,Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; Central Asia comprises Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan; and The Pacific comprises Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands,Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

On Green India Mission
Green India Mission is one of the eight missions announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008 under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It aims to expand forest cover from 23 percent to 33 percent in the country and afforestation of 6 million hectares of degraded forest land. The Minister of Environment says that draft document will be ready by April End and implementation blue print will be ready by August 2010.

Quick Facts: 8 Missions of Prime Minister’s Action Plan on Climate Change:
National Solar Mission
National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
National Water Mission
National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
National Mission for a “Green India”
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

Business & Economy:
State Bank of India: Assam Rifles salary package
Similar to the earlier launched packages for Indian Army and Indian Navy, the State bank of India launches Assam Rifles salary package for personnel of Assam Rifles. This package includes free drafts, free cheque book, free fund transfers to any of the SBI Group’s about 15,000 branches and free ATM cards.

abilitymatrimony.com
This is the url of new matrimonial website launched by Bharat Matrimony for differently-abled people. The portal has been launched by Bharat Matrimony Founder and CEO Murugavel Janakiraman.

ICAI-CBEC MoU:
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) & Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) sign a MoU under which the ICAI praticing members will provide e-filing returns at a charge of maximum Rs 800.The aim is to reduce paperwork, transaction costs and increase accountability, efficiency and transparency. As per the MoU, a practicing CA or a firm with a minimum experience of one year could apply for e-filing of service tax returns. CBEC will provide a user name and a password to activate the facility.

India‘s Disclosure pacts with 9 Tax Heavens:
A new agreement has been signed by Indian Government and 9 tax heavens. Now, India can initiate and negotiate agreements for exchange of information for the prevention of evasion or avoidance of income tax and assistance in collection of income tax with these nine specified territories which include Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey (all British Crown Dependencies), the Netherlands Antilles (an autonomous part of the Dutch kingdom) and Macau (a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China).

The government has ordered re-negotiation of total 77 double-tax avoidance pacts entered into so far to get real time information and track tax evasions or stashing away of black money in other countries.

BSE – NYSE Technologies Agreement
NYSE Technologies is the commercial technology division of NYSE Euronext. NYSE Euronext is a Euro-American corporation that operates multiple securities exchanges, most notably Euronext, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and NYSE Arca. NYSE Technologies was launched in January 2009, incorporating all the internal technology divisions of NYSE Euronext.

The Bombay Stock Exchange enters into an agreement with the exchange solutions provider NYSE Tech to offer high speed and low latency trading facility.

Abroad:
China ‘s Second Lunar Probe
Chang’e-2 is China’s second lunar orbiter , an un-manned lunar probe scheduled for launch in October 2010. The The probe will conduct research at a 100-kilometer-high moon orbit as a preparation for a soft landing by Chang’e 3.

EV-neo
EV-neo is all-electric scooter launched in Japan by Honda Motor Company that will mark its first attempt at mass-marketing zero-emission motorbikes.

Ads by Twitter:
Twitter decides to sell advertising on its site for the first time. Advertisers will be able to buy “Promoted Tweets” that will appear on Twitter’s search results pages. Earlier Twitter had sold Tweet Search results to Google.

Bar Council Chairman: Gopal Subramanium
Solicitor General of India Gopal Subaramanium has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI). Mr Dhanapal Raj, will be Vice Chairman.

Awards:
Dara Shikoh Award – Sheila Dixit:
Dara Shikoh Award is presented by Indo-Iran Society. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit has been selected for the award for her substantial contribution in nurturing the values of peace, harmony and brotherhood.

National Updates:
5 Years of National Rural Health Mission
National Rural Health Mission was launched by Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh on 12 th April, 2005 with objectives to provide effective health care to the rural population

Jammu & Kashmir: Primitive Tribal Groups
Jammu & Kasmir’s nomadic Muslim community of Gujjars and Bakarwals demands for a Primitive Tribal Groups status and demanded a a separate 8% reservation out of total 10 per cent quota available to all 12 Scheduled Tribe (ST) groups in the state. Tribal Gujjars of J&K were given ST status in 1991, but they say that the status has failed to uplift them socially and economically.

DRDO : Nirbhay
Nirbhay is the name of a sub-sonic multiple role 1,000-km range cruise missile with 300 Kgs warhead capability being developed by DRDO – Dr V K Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to Defense Minister and Chief of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO)

TCS: Saakshar Bharat through Computers
In connection with Saakshar Bharat programme , government chooses Tata Consultancy Services to teach illiterates through click and portal. The company comes up with a software which shall teach adults through animation, graphics and by downloading teaching materials from a dedicated site. The online version will be in several regional languages.

Fact Box: India rolled out the flagship adult education programme named Saakshar Bharat in 2009. The focus of this scheme is female literacy and it aims to make 7 crore people including 85% women. By April 2010 the scheme is being implemented in 167 districts of 19 states of the country.

Decoding Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome has been decoded by Indian Scientists of CSIR along with 100 science students from several universities. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is causing agent of Tuberculosis which kills 330000 Indians every year. This achievement paves the way to develop a new low cost Drug.

Maharastra: proposed CISF kind of Force
After the Mumbai attacks of 2008, the state government was suggested by the state government to consider raising the state’s own industrial security force to share the burden of the Central Industrial Security Force and ensure proper security arrangements for private and public sector industries. In this context the centre has amended the CISF Act 1968, so as to make security services to available to private and joint venture industrial undertakings. In this context, a bill was passed in the state assembly. The state government now says that it is coming up soon with such a force. The state government is initially planning to recruit about 5,000 personnel for the job under the Maharashtra State Special Security Corporation.

Dantewada Tragedy: E N Rammohan Committee
E N Rammohan Committee has been appointed to probe the recent Naxalite attack in Chhattisgarh which killed 76 police personnel. E N Rammohan is former chief of Border Security Forces. The committee has started the work and E N Rammohan meets Director General of CRPF Vikram Srivastava.

Orissa: E-dispatch
E-dispatch is an Internet-based letter-dispatch system, started by Orissa’s Panchayati raj department in 2007 and now been adopted by 17 of the 35 State departments. This system has won the Nasscom award for social innovation in February 2010.
Every letter sent by the department from its head office in Bhubaneswar to all the block offices and the gram panchayats is scanned, saved in PDF format and sent through the server to a dedicated mailbox called e-space that’s assigned to every official in the department.
The system generates an auto letter number and assigns the address and mode of dispatch for each letter. A computer operator in the department sends every letter to the respective e-space. The moment a letter lands in the mailboxes of the respective BDO or Collector, they get an SMS. The same letters are also sent by fax and post to the collectors and BDOs.

The system is brainchild of Rabindra Nath Dash, commissioner-cum-secretary in Orissa’s Panchayati Raj Department.

Uttar Pradesh: Withdrawal from Umbrella State Support Agreement (Umbrella SSA)
Umbrella State Support Agreement (Umbrella SSA) has to be signed an state to enable the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to utilize the services of the state during highway development in any part a state. The Uttar Pradesh Government withdraws from this Umbrella SSA.

Tamil Nadu: Naam Tamilar
Naam Tamilar is the name of a new political party floated by Sebastian Seeman, a Tamil Film Director and ardent supporter of LTTE. The party’s flag which has been unveiled on 11th April closely resembles that of LTTE’s insignia — barring the twin rifles in the background.

On Nuclear Security Summit
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh reaches Washington to participate in the two-day Nuclear Security Summit. The summit aims to enhance international co-operation to prevent nuclear terrorism which US President Barack Obama has identified as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. 42 nations and heads of the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency have been invited to participate in this Summit representing diverse set of regions and various levels of nuclear materials, and energy expertise.

US Navy Chief Arrives in India
Chief of Naval Operations of the United States Admiral G Roughead arrives India for a 6 days visit ahead of “Malabar Series” of Exercise between India and US Navies in April end. This is a six day visit aimed to enhance the navy-to-navy interaction.

Iran’s First indigenously built anti-aircraft missile – Mersad
Mersad is the name of Iran’s first indigenously built anti-aircraft missile, which as per reports is more powerful than the US-made Hawk missile. It can destroy modern aircraft at low and medium altitude. It is ready for use.

World Health Day, 2010
April 7 is observed all over as World Health Day. This commemorates the First World Health Assembly in 1948.
Read Here

90th Birth Day of Pandit Ravi Shankar:
Sitar Maestro Bharat Ratna (1999) Pandit Ravi Shankar was born on born 7 April 1920. He was a shishya (pupil) of legendary Allauddin Khan. He is a winner of three Grammy Awards. He had performed at the famous Woodstock Festival in 1969. My Music, My Life is the best selling autobiography of this Music maestro. He was honored by the prestigious UNESCO International Music Council in 1975.

His daughter Norah Jones is a Grammy-winning American pop artist & other daughter Anoushka Shankar is a budding Sir Artist.

Festival of India in China
Minister for External Affairs S M Krishna who is currently in China inaugurates the Festival of India in China at Beijing which eventually marks the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India & China. In 30 Chinese cities performances of various Indian classical dances, folk dances, classical music, martial arts and contemporary music will be organized.

Appointments:
Sony digicam brand ambassador- Deepika Padukone
Sony India appoints Deepika Padukone as the brand ambassador for its digital still camera segment.

FactBox: Some Brands Deepika Padukone has been associated with :

Liril, Dabur Lal powder, Close-Up toothpaste and Limca, Jewels of India retail jewellery show, Maybelline (cosmetic company) , BSNL

Member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars – Srinija Srinivasan
Yahoo was founded by David Filo and Jerry Yang. Srinija manages Yahoo! Inc’s team of Surfers and is responsible for the design and maintenance of Yahoo!’s overall classification and organization scheme, the foundation stones of Yahoo’s system. She has been appointed as member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

Awards:
2010 CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award – Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata has been selected for the ‘2010 CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award’ for his outstanding global leadership, vision and professional excellence. This award is conferred by Canada India Foundation and carries $225,000.
Phalke Ratna Award: Dev Anand
Phalke Ratna Award is conferred by Dadasaheb Phalke Academy on the birth anniversary of father of the Indian film industry Dadasaheb Phalke on April 30. Devanand Has been Selected for this Award 2010.

BPO Excellence Awards 2009-10
Following are some of the winners of BPO Excellence Awards 2009-10

  • Social Change Agent Award : Patni Computer Systems Ltd.
  • Most Significant contributor to the BPO Industry : Wipro Technologies
  • Use of Technology for Operational Excellence Award : eClerx Services Ltd.
  • Award for Operational Excellence & Quality : Patni Computer Systems Ltd., Wipro Technologies
  • BPO Innovation of the year : Quatrro BPO Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
  • BPO Organisation of the year : Patni Computer Systems Ltd, Infosys BPO

National Updates:
Kerala: CERT-Kerala
In Lines of CERT-In the Kerala Government constitutes CERT-Kerala with the support of the Central Government to function as a nodal agency for the Cyber safety in the state and Central government institutions. N Krishan is the Director of CERT Kerala.

Green Gas Corridor
Green Gas Corridor is a proposed 500 kms CNG route between Lucknow & New Delhi. The route passes via Sitapur, Shahjahanpur, Bareilly and Moradabad. This project is given Central Government’s nod. This is being set up by GAIL (Gas Authority of India Ltd) and with this the vehicle owners of CNG would be able to get at least one gas station within 150 km on both highways.

Fact Box: CNG:
Compressed Natural Gas is made by compressing natural gas (main component Methane) which is stored and distributed in hard containers, at a normal pressure of 200–248 bar . It is used as substitute for gasoline (petrol), diesel. It produces lesser emissions of pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocarbons(UHC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM), as compared to petrol & diesel. It does not contain any lead or benzene content and thus lead fouling of spark plugs is eliminated. New Delhi has the World’s Largest Fleet of CNG Buses operated by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). In Delhi and Ahmadabad, CNG is mandated for the public transport system.

On Tamil Nadu Legislative Council
Tamil Nadu Legislative Council was abolished in 1986 by the AIADMK Regime headed by the late M G Ramachandran (MGR). The Tamil Nadu Legislative Council (Abolition) Bill, 1986 was passed by both houses of the Parliament and received the assent of the president on 30 August 1986. The Act came into force on 1 November 1986 and the council was abolished.

Fact Box : Tamil Nadu Legislative Council was previously named as Madras Legislative Council. It was the Upper House of the bicameral legislature of Madras Presidency. It was established by the first Indian Council Act of 1861. It was renamed as Tamil Nadu Legislative Council in 1961.

Memorable Points: India’s States with Bicameral Legislature Current 6 states
in India have bicameral legislatures: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh

On April 7, 2010, the Chief Minister M Karunanidhi informs the State Assembly that a resolution would very soon be adopted in the Tamil Nadu Assembly to revive the Tamilnadu State Legislative Council.

Andhra Pradesh: INFO-AGE Government
INFO-AGE is a new concept of Andhra Pradesh State Government. The government seeks to leverage Information technology to achieve an INFO-AGE government. Our goal is to transform the state into a knowledge society and make available the benefits of ICT to all citizens, especially those in rural areas and living in poverty.

INFO-AGE Government is an abbreviation of Inclusive, Networked, Fast, Open, Accountable, Globally benchmarked and Efficient Government.

SMART Government: similar concept was devised by Former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu which was called SMART administration, abbreviated form of Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent administration.

Business & Economy:
Low Carbon Jobs in an Interconnected World
Low Carbon Jobs in an Interconnected World is the title of a report released by Global Climate Network. It says that implementation of the Indian government’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) could create an additional 10.5 million direct jobs in wind, solar and bio-fuel energy production.

As India is already a world leader in wind technology, ambitious global expansion of wind power could see 288,500 Indian jobs created if Indian firms were able to command 10 per cent of the global market. Read Summary Here

USL becomes world’s No 2 spirit co
United Breweries is India’s largest producer of beer with a market share of around 48% by volume. With sales volume of 100 million cases for the fiscal ended March 31, 2010, it has become world’s second largest spirit company by volumes.

SEBI : Technical Advisory Committee
India’s market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India creates a Technical Advisory Committee to recommend measures for changes and improvements in market structure in view of the technological changes. This committee will be headed by Professor S Sadagopan.

The committee will also make recommendations to frame appropriate policies arising out of technological advancements in areas like wireless trading, algorithmic trading and smart order routing,.
Science & Technology:
On Glonass:
Glonass (Global Navigation Satellite System) is the Russian equivalent of the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions too within a few meters. Glonass is a radio-based satellite navigation system. It was developed by the former Soviet Union and now operated for the Russian government by the Russian Space Forces.

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says that his country will send seven new Glonass satellites into orbit in 2010. Currently out of total 23 satellites , 21 are functioning perfectly. With seven more satellites , a total of 27-28 fully functional satellites will be there for the navigation system.

Note: The predecessor program of Glonass was “Tsiklon”

Caves on Moon:
Chandrayaan-1 has discovered large caves on the lunar surface that can act as human shelter on moon. The tunnel, which has been discovered near the lunar equator, is an empty volcanic tube, measuring about two km in length and 360 metres in width. Indian Space Research Organization’s Space Applications Centre based in Ahmadabad announces that terrain mapping camera, an Indian instrument on the lunar mission, has found “new types of rocks” and hollow tunnels. These tubes were formed after the flow of lava from volcanoes.


Appointments:
National Security Adviser – Shiv Shankar Menon
Appointment of Shiv Shankar Menon as next National Security Advisor has been formally approved by Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

Fact Box: National Security Advisor
The post of National Security Advisor is a brainchild of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. This post was created on 19 November 1998 to oversee the management of national security, both in the immediate term and long term. First NSA Brajesh Mishra held the position till 2004. He was succeeded by J.N. Dixit, who died in harness in January 2005. Both were former Foreign Secretaries. Later M K Narayanan became India’s National Security Advisor. Mr. Menon is India’s 4th National Security Advisor. Its worth note that other than MK Narayanan, all the three National Security Advisors have been India’s Foreign Secretaries. MK Narayanan was head of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) from 1987 to 1990.

Functions of a National Security Advisor:
  1. To advise the Prime Minister on all matters relating to internal and external threats to the country.
  2. To advise the Prime Minister on oversees strategic issues.
  3. To serve as Prime Minister’s Special Interlocutor on border issues
  4. To accompany Prime Minister on Foreign State visits.
  5. The directors of R&AW and IB report to the NSA rather than the Prime Minister directly.
  6. To receive all intelligence reports and co-ordinate them to present before the Prime Minister

Factbox : Shiv Shankar Menon:
Hailing from Kerala, Shiv Shankar Menon has served as the Foreign Secretary of India, the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan and in China and Israel as ambassador and diplomat. A milestone in his career was the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Air India chief operating officer – Gustav Baldauf
Gustav Baldauf, Austrian Airlines’ executive vice-president, flight operations has been appointed chief operating officer (COO) of Air India. Baldauf will be the first ever COO of the airline and his job will be of salvaging Air India’s fortunes in the next three years. He was with Jet Airways also previously.

National Aviation Company India Ltd (NACIL) – Committees on Turnaround
National Aviation Company India Ltd (NACIL) which operates Air India creates 4 committees which shall give reports on the turnaround plan for the airline in the next 30 days. The committees and their heads are as follows:

HR Committee: Fali Homi Major, Amit Mitra

  • Amit Mitra is secretary general of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI)
  • Fali Homi Major is former chief of air staff

Audit & Finance Committee: Anand Mahindra and Harsh Neotia

  • Anand Mahindra is vice-chairman and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Harsh Neotia is Chairman Ambuja Realty Development

The other committees will be head by the independent directors.

CMD Religare Enterprises Ltd : Sunil Godhwani
Sunil Godhwani is the new chairman and managing director of Religare Enterprises Ltd. The erstwhile Chairman Malvinder Mohan Singh announced his resignation from the company’s board of directors. His brother Shivinder Mohan Singh has also resigned as member of the Religare Enterprises Ltd board. The board of directors has been reorganised keeping in mind the organisation’s global plans and ambitions in the field of asset management and investment banking.

National Updates:
Maoist attack in Dantewada
Maoist rebels kill 76 CRPF policemen in an ambush attack in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. The attack occurred when over 80 officers from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a local police group were conducting a domination exercise in the area. This is the biggest loss of life security forces in a single day during the Naxal-Maoist insurgency.

Assam: Package for Majuli

Majuli, largest riverine island in the world and the largest freshwater island in South Asia is loacted in the Brahmaputra River in Assam. The total area of Majuli was 1500 square kilometers at the time of India’s independence and was dotted with Hindu monasteries, however it lost half of this to erosion. The erosion started after an earthquake in 1950s, which shifted the river bed. The current area is 422 square kilometers. The Island was formed due to course changes by Lohit and othertributaries of Brahmaputra.

Majuli is in danger and is prone to extensive flooding and erosion. In this context, India’s central government announces a Rs. 5 Crore special financial package to curb the erosion and save the ecosystem of island. This grant has been announced for 5 years. Its worth note that Majuli was capital of Assam since 16th century. Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankardeva , a saint and social reformer of Assam , who is credited to bring unity to Assam straddling two major kingdoms (Ahom and Koch kingdoms) and establishing a bedrock of Assamese culture, had visited the island and established monasteries and hermitages known as ‘satras’.

New Delhi: India’s first online Community College
India’s first online Community College has been launched in New Delhi. Its a digital institution launched by Gurukul Online Learning Solutions Academy (GOLS) under the Community College scheme of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). website:

What is the Turnaround Plan for Air India?

  • In 2009, the National Aviation Company India Ltd submitted a turnaround plan to the government with an aim to reduce costs by over Rs 5,400 crore per year.
  • It envisages cost savings viz. fuel expenses, hiring, parking and landing charges and ground handling fees.
  • The plan also involves saving of Rs 700 crore in employee cost and increasing revenues by Rs 2,400 crore per year through higher earnings from cargo, engineering, training and passenger ticket charges.

On Losses of Air India:
With the expected losses of Rs.5,400 crore in 2009-10, the carrier’s losses will mount to over Rs.13,174 crore in three straight fiscals. The carrier had incurred a loss of Rs.2,226.16 crore in 2007-08 and Rs.5,548 crore in 2008-09 – Praful Patel, Civil Aviation Minister in Rajya Sabha

Notes on Working Capital of Air India:
Currently the airline’s working capital is Rs.17,000 crore. The airline is waiting for a cabinet nod to raise its working capital by Rs.1,000 crore. It recently received the government’s sanction for an equity infusion of Rs.800 crore in February 2010 with a provision of an additional Rs.1,200 crore in the next fiscal. It has also raised over Rs.700 crore from bonds for aircraft acquisition.

Jairam Ramesh on Tiger Conservation:

  1. Kaziranga National park registers a density of 30 tigers over 100 sq. km which brings fresh hopes on Tiger Conservation.
  2. This density is Highest in the Country.
  3. Since the National Park spreads over 1000 sq. kms there should be more than 100 tigers.
  4. The figures of the Tiger census would be out in November.
  5. Four regional offices of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to be opened in Bangalore, Nagpur, Kolkata and Guwahati to extend the activities of NTCA. The headquarters would remain in New Delhi.
  6. India has 39 project tiger areas, the situation in nine were good, 12 satisfactory while the scenario in 18 was precarious.
  7. About 50 to 60 per cent of the wild tiger population of the world is found in India and this had become possible because of huge and sustained efforts under Project Tiger.

India US Agreement on comprehensive economic partnership
India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee & United States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sign an agreement launch a comprehensive economic partnership to boost their bilateral engagement.
A similar agreement US has with China. the key focus of this agreement will be micro-finance and infrastructure development.

Science & Technology:
NASA: STS-131
STS-131 is International Space Station assembly flight and NASA’s current Space Shuttle mission which has blasted off on April 5, 2010 from Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A. The mission is being flown by Space Shuttle Discovery. It is one of NASA’s final servicing missions to the International Space Station. Alan Poindexter is the commander of this mission.

Please note that STS-133 which is scheduled to be launched in September 2010 will be the last flight before Discovery is decommissioned in 2010.

  • Nuclear summit on April 12 and 13
    • The summit is the brainchild of the US President Barack Obama.
    • Our PM Mr Singh is scheduled to visit Washington on April 12 and 13 for the summit. He is among the 42 heads of state who will take part in the summit. Notably Iran and North Korea are not taking part in the deliberations.
    • The summit will include two plenary sessions on April 13, that will focus on national measures and on international cooperation to enhance nuclear security. The leaders will first meet over dinner on April 12 where discussions will be held on the threat of nuclear terrorism. After the summit, an outcome document will be made public on April 13.
    • India has continued to be active in the area of nuclear security. Since 2002, India has been piloting a UN resolution on preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. India has also been collaborating with the IAEA on setting and enforcing standards on physical protection of nuclear material and facilities and combating illicit trafficking in nuclear material. India is also party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and is participating in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.
  • Why is the Census important? Can you cite some of the achievements made by a Census ever?
    • The government is spending about 37% of its total annual budget on social programmes. Regardless of which programme we are talking about unless we know the numbers involved and in which village, town, state of the country they live, we will not know how to budget for it. Nor will we be able to ensure effective delivery. And to the right people! This is where the importance of Census lies.
    • Indeed the Census is the only source of primary data at the grass roots level on demographic trends, economic activity, literacy, education, housing, urbanisation, fertility, mortality, religion, etc.
    • It also doubles up as an exhaustive case-sheet, alerting the government to adverse socio-economic trends, enabling it to take ameliorative action. For instance, it was the decline in sex-ratios that came to light in earlier Census operations that alerted the government to the practice of female infanticide. This led to legislation banning sex-determination tests and several special programmes targeting the girl child were also launched.
    • Likewise the Total Sanitation Campaign was launched following the revelation in Census 2001 about the distressing lack of toilets in vast swathes of the country, including urban areas.
    • Census 2011 is attempting for the first time ever a national Population Registry. Given what is being attempted — details of usual residence complete with photograph and biometric identity (10-finger prints) — it is going to be a gigantic logistical exercise.
Finance & Economy
  • StanChart and Air India accused of shady deal
    • High-street banks and bond houses are raising a hue and cry over a recent deal between Standard Chartered and Air India.
    • What’s the brouhaha about?
      • Nacil placed 10-year bonds at an interest rate of 9.13% with StanChart around March-end 2010 . Within a few days, the latter sold a slice of the portfolio to a retirement fund at around 8.70%. The bank thus made a killing from the deal.
    • Why are rivals miffed?
      • Bond traders say PSUs sell bonds at 60-70 bps above the underlying govt security and there was no reason for Nacil to pay more than 8.70%
      • Institutions say there were enough takers in the open market, but StanChart took it on its books because the paper came cheap and could be sold at a higher price.
    • What is StanChart’s take?
      • AI deal was signed in March ’09 when the market was difficult. The government guarantee had not come in yet and AI’s balance sheet was in a bad shape, which hampered efforts to price the paper at the customary spread over g-secs.
  • 3G auctions kicking off on April 11
    • The much delayed 3G spectrum auctions are finally likely to take place on April 11.
    • 3G services were due for launch in 2007, but have repeatedly been deferred amid troubles over freeing up airwaves and setting bid prices.
    • Analysts have billed the auctions as a fiery contest because at stake are airwaves that will enable cellphone companies to break into high-speed internet and video-conferencing services and help them transcend the tribulations of a cut-throat market.
    • The bids would be very aggressive and it is unlikely that companies would bid less than a billion dollars, given that the base price is $780 million.
    • Telcos now offer services on 2G spectrum, but further allocations in this medium have been on hold till the government finalises a new allotment method. Before March 2009, when the allocations were stopped, telcos got spectrum based on subscriber numbers.
  • ICICI, HDFC Bank set to sport ‘foreign’ label
    • ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, two of the country’s biggest lenders in which overseas investors own more than 51% equity, will now be treated as foreign banks, with the government having decided finally not to carry out further changes to its new policy on overseas investment.
    • The government’s decision will impact future investment plans of these banks in subsidiaries or in sectors where there is a cap on foreign investment. But investments in financial services, including in insurance, which were all made before the new policy was announced in February 2009 will not come under the ambit of the new rules.
    • The new rules categorise firms which are either predominantly foreign-owned or controlled as foreign companies. In the case of ICICI and HDFC Bank, foreign investment is over 51% although management rests with Indians. India’s foreign investment rules allow for overseas investors to hold up to 74% in private banks through secondary market purchases or through Global Depository Receipts or American Depository Receipts.
    • Any new investments made by these banks in subsidiaries or other companies will be treated as foreign investment.
    • Several Indian private banks such as ING Vysya Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank have at least 51% foreign investment. Others such as YES Bank and Federal Bank have foreign investment precariously close to the 51% mark. There is unlikely to be any major regulatory problem since these private banks continue to be governed by the RBI’s licensing norms. However, banks will be cramped from investing in sectors that have foreign investment limits, should they wish to do so.
  • The rising oil prices give jitters
    • Take a look at this write up which gives details on the issue. Oil prices are fast becoming a concern for our economy.
International
  • The US is recovering
    • Employers in the US created more jobs in March than at any time in the past three years, showing the recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s is broadening and becoming more entrenched.
    • Payrolls rose by 162,000 workers, the third gain in the past five months and the most since March 2007, figures from the Labor Department showed on Friday in Washington.
  • The Earth Hour
    • At the stroke of 8:30pm on Saturday, March 27, nearly a billion people in more than 120 countries demonstrated their desire to do something about global warming by switching off their lights for an hour.
    • First organised in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 by the local chapter of the World Wildlife Fund, its popularity and the level of participation (both individual and official) that generates has exploded in recent years — to the point that there is barely a corner of the earth that the campaign hasn’t touched.
    • Andy Ridley is the person who is credited with the idea of observing the Earth Hour; over drinks with friends in a Sydney pub several years ago. Ridley is also the executive director of Earth Hour Global.
    • But what does Earth Hour accomplish?
    • Look at what Bjorn Lomborg, a powerful commentator on global warming issue says on the observation of the Earth Hour:
    • “Switching off our lights and promising to cut carbon emissions may make us feel momentarily virtuous, but that’s all it does.”
  • Beware of the British libel law
    • You can sue anyone for libel in a British court, even if both parties are foreigners, and so is the publication, as long as the disputed material can be accessed online anywhere in England or Wales. Jurisdiction is irrelevant; it doesn’t even have to be in English. The onus of proving that it’s not libel is on the defendant, and London’s courts have a reputation of handing out massive damages.
    • If you believe allegations in the American media, there are a bunch of law firms who specialise and thrive in winning libel judgements, with huge fees.
Personality
  • James Leape
    • He is the Director-General of the World Wildlife Fund.
Language Lessons
  • halcyon: Adjective
    • Idyllically calm and peaceful; suggesting happy tranquillity; marked by peace and prosperity
    • eg: A pile of debt amassed during their halcyon days of growth is crimping a full-out revival of realty companies savouring a sharp uptick in demand after a long spell of duress.
  • scrum: Noun
    • [Brit] A disorderly crowd of people
    • eg: A vast scrum of developers was staring at defaults to mutual funds and banks last year, but the government rescued them by easing lending norms.
  • preen: Verb
    • Clean with one’s bill; Pride or congratulate (oneself) for an achievement; Dress or groom with elaborate care
    • eg: … That would, surely, give some of our politicians something else to preen about.
  • slouch: Noun
    • An incompetent person; usually used in negative constructions; A stooping carriage in standing and walking.
    • eg: Billion-dollar bids will not make the auctions a no-contest, because other companies in the fray are no slouches, said telecom analysts.

Reserve Bank of India: Platinum Jubilee Celebration Finale
Established on April 1, 1935, the Reserve Bank of India, country’s central bank, celebrated 2009-2010 as its Platinum Jubilee year. The year-long celebrations included several events with a series of learning events to showcase the Reserve Bank as a knowledge institution, a set of internal events involving current and former RBI staff to reinforce a sense of belonging and inclusiveness among members of the RBI family and the outreach programme. The focus of the outreach programme was financial inclusion and financial literacy. The top management of the Reserve Bank travelled to remote villages across the country to listen to ordinary people, see and understand how grass root institutions operate and to learn of the challenges and opportunities for financial inclusion.
Read about Reserve Bank of India

National Updates:
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 comes into force on April 1, 2010. Every 6-to-14-year-old will be provided eight years of elementary education in an age appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his or her neighborhood.

Decennial Census Operation begins:
President Pratibha Patil becomes the first citizen to be enumerated and with this, largest census exercise ever attempted in the history of mankind begins. Registrar General and Census Commissioner C Chandramouli and Deputy Director General, National Population Register, S K Chakraborty were present when president launches the exercise.

India’s first AC double-decker train
The Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala rolls out the India’s first air conditioned double-decker coach for oscillation trials on the Delhi-Muradabad section. Introduction of AC double-decker coaches was announced by Railway Minister in Budget 2010-11. These high-speed stainless steel AC coaches would be introduced to cater to the heavy rush of commuters in high density corridors offering AC travel at a low cost.

image: rail coach factory
Punjab: Pearls World Cup Kabaddi Punjab-2010
Stopper Mangat Singh Mangi Bagga is leading the 14-member Indian team in the first Pearls World Cup Kabaddi Punjab-2010 being organised by the Punjab Government at different venues of the state from April 3-12. Raider Hardawinder Singh Dulla Surkhpuria will be his deputy.

Rajasthan: India’s First Homeopathic University
Rajasthan Assembly passes the Homeopathy University Jaipur Bill 2010,paving the way for India’s First Homeopathic University at Jaipur. Bill was brought and passed to replace the ordinance promulgated by the state government for the purpose in October 2009. The University will be run by Dr MP Khunteta Homeopathy Medical College and Research Society.

Fact Box: German physician Samuel Hahnemann was the first to propose Homeopathy in 1796 as an alternative medicine. Hahnemann conceived of the “law of similars”, otherwise known as “let like be cured by like”. He used Cincona for cure of malaria .

Himachal Pradesh: What are Sirmouri, Kulluvi, Kangri and Mahajavi?
Sirmouri, Kulluvi, Kangri and Mahajavi are some dialects out of more than 10 dialects of Pahari Language. Pahari language is spoken in Himalayan region and not in only Himachal Pradesh. However , the mountains isn these regions have the tendency of isolating communities from change. These dialects have their own characteristics. All of these dialects are commonly referred to as the ‘Pahari’ languages, and most people from the Himalayan range as known as Pahari.

On April 1, 2010 a resolution is passed by the Himachal Pradesh assembly to recommend the inclusion of Pahari language in the Indian Constitution.

FactBox: Languages in the Indian Constitution:
The Constitution of India has given 22 “languages of the 8th Schedule” the status of official language. Hindi is official language of the Union along with English. Hindi is NOT national language of India, neither is English. The 22 languages are: Assamese/Axomiya,Bengali,Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri,Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei), Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, , Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. Tamil is the first classical language of India which got this status in 2004. Sanskrit, Kannada & Telugu are other classical languages.

Antarnaad in Guinness Book of World Record:
The record for the largest simultaneous sing-along was organised by The Art of Living Foundation (India) and involved 104,637 participants singing ‘Vande Mataram’, India’s national song, at Antarnaad in Pune, India on 12 January 2010. (citation issued by the Guinness World Records Ltd).

There are two more entries in the Guinness Book in the name of Art of Living Foundation India. In the year 2006, as many as 1200 Mohiniattam dancers performing together on one stage in Kerala and a sitar concert titled “Brahm Naad” in New Delhi in November 2008, which brought together 1094 sitar exponents on one stage.

Business & Economy:
London 2012 Olympics : tier-two sponsor – ArcelorMittal
ArcelorMittal becomes tier-two sponsor of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will support the infrastructure for the Games. The ArcelorMittal Orbit will be the iconic and permanent symbol of the 2012 Olympic and will embody both the artistic and functional versatility of steel as a construction material. ArcelorMittal will fund 16 million pounds of the 19.1 million pound project, with the outstanding 3.1 million pounds provided by the London Development Agency.

Fact Box : London 2012 Olympics:
London 2012 Olympics or XXX Olympiad will be held at London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. London is organising the mega event for third time. Previously London organised summer olympics in 1908 and 1948. London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times.

State Bank of India: 15,000 business correspondents
In order to expand its presence in the unbanked areas, the The State Bank of India intends to hire around 15,000 (business correspondents) in 2010-11. Business correspondents and business facilitator model would help in taking banking facilities to every part of the country, as its not possible for banks to open branches in every village. Key Role of the business correspondents will be to accept deposits and remit money.

As per the Reserve Bank’s guideline, banks are allowed to engage retired employees, ex-servicemen and retired government employees and other entities, as prescribed by the central bank, as business correspondents.

World Updates:
Ireland’s Richest person: Pallonji Mistry
Construction Tycoon Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry is Ireland’s richest person with a worth of 3.9 billion pounds ($5.93 billion). He became an Irish citizen in 2003 through his Irish born wife and his business is in real estate, cars, heavy industry, tea and partly owns the Taj Mahal Hotel.

World’s most visited place: Louvre Museum, Paris
Louvre Museum, Paris which is home to 600,000 art pieces including Leonardo Da Vici’s Mona Lisa tops list of most visited places in the world. In 2009, 8.5 million people visited the museum in 2009. The Louvre, which dates back to 1527, became a museum in 1793.

First-ever Afghanistan Cannabis Survey:
The first-ever Afghanistan Cannabis Survey was conducted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has been released. The survey say that an estimated 10,000 to 24,000 hectares of cannabis are grown in Afghanistan every year.

Afghanistan is not only the world’s largest producer of hashish but also world’s largest producer of illicit opiates.

Appointments:
26th chief of the Indian Army: General V K Singh
General Vijay Kumar Singh takes over as India’s 26th Chief of the Army .
New Coach Mohun Bagan: Biswajit Bhattacharjee
Biswajit Bhattacharjee is the new coach of Mohun Bagan. He has been appointed after Satyajit Chatterjee served quit notice after a debacle in I-League and Calcutta League.

Fact Box: Mohun Bagan Athletic Club (Mohun Bagan AC) is one of the oldest football clubs in Asia (established 1889) and is a National Club of India. Bhupendra Nath Bose was the first president of this club. A compelete football academy of Mohun Bagan is at Durgapur, opened in colaboration with Steel Authority of India Limited. Mohun Bagan was also the first Indian team to defeat a European team.The club’s rivalary with East Bengal Club has hit the limelights many times.

National Updates:
India to host International Congress of Mathematicians
For the first time, India will be hosting the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) at Hyderabad in the Month of August 2010. It will be an eight day event from August 19-27 and 3000 people across the people will attend it. (Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Prithviraj Chavan)

Business & Economy:
Stimulous Package for Exports:
An stimulous package has been announced by Commerce minister Anand Sharma. The package is worth Rs. 625 Crore. It includes incentives for 200 items under the market-linked focused product schemes. That includes sectors like electronics and engineering chemicals sold to 15 countries. There are also 300 products in the list in the readymade garments sector that are sold to the US and the EU.

On 3G Spectrum:
On March 30, 2010, department of telecommunications published a list of pre-qualified bidders for the auction along with details of the earnest money these firms paid. Thus, for the first time in more than two years, the department meets its own deadline on 3G auction proceedings.

As per this list 9 operators have applied for spectrum in all 23 telecom circles in India. They are Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Telecom, Tata Teleservices, and Vodafone Essar. The auctions for both 3G and broadband auctions are expected to take place on 9 April.

On Telcon:
TELCO Construction Equipment Co. Ltd is a Construction Equipment company. The company commenced manufacturing of construction equipment in 1961, as a division of TELCO. In 1984, it entered into a technical collaboration with Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd, Japan for manufacturing state of the art hydraulic excavators. Now Tata Motors has reduced its stake in construction equipment company Telcon. It has sold a 20% stake in the Telcon joint venture to its partner Hitachi. Prior to this TATA motors held 60% share and HCM , Japan holding the balance 40%.

After this Rs. 1159 Crore deal, Tata Motors owns 40% of Telcon while Hitachi owns the remaining 60%.


Rajasthan Diwas
Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949. Every year in the month of March, Rajasthan celebrates its foundation day. The celebration continue for 10 days (March 21-30). Rajasthan Diwas is the day of the unification of erstwhile princely states and the state of Rajputana.Awards:
CGIAR Award: ICRISAT, AVRDC
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), New Delhi and World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) Taiwan have received prestigious ‘Science Award for Outstanding Partnership’ presented by Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) for improving the lives of countless women and children in West Africa.

  • ICRISAT has designed a highly-productive, low pressure drip irrigation system called the ‘African Market Garden’ for reducing poverty and improving nutrition in the Sahelian Region of Africa.
  • AVRDC helped towards choosing the vegetables suitable to the region and their management.

Appointments/ Elections:
Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee – Air Chief Marshal P V Naik

Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik takes over as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), receiving the baton of Chairman, COSC from outgoing Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Market Head Western Region: Leena Gidwani
Leena Gidwani has been appointed by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group as Market Head, Western Region, for its private banking business in India.

National Updates:
Andhra Pradesh: Jute Park
There are six Jute parks to be constructed in the country as part of the Union Ministry of Textiles’ decision. Vizag jute park is one of the six parks coming up as part of textile ministry’s decision to promote jute diversified products. This will be established at Sabbavaram Mandal in Vishakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. It will involve Rs. 500 Crore as investment and 150 acres of land and would provide employment to 20000 people.

Haryana: Cow Commission (Gau Ayog)
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announces formation of a ‘Gau Ayog’ (Cow Commission) to protect cows.

Chhattisgarh: Rs 4 crore for elephant sanctuaries
State Government of Chhattisgarh allocates 4 Crore Rupees for the coming year to develop two sanctuaries for elephants. Apart from this the centre had granted 1.5 crore to the state for its proposed ”Project Elephant” for this fiscal.

Punjab: Sustainable Agri Program of Bharti Walmart
Bharti Walmart Private Limited is a 50:50 JV between Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. which came into existence in August 2007. The company is involved in wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India.
The company unveils its Sustainable Agricultural Program in Haider Nagar village in Sangrur district of Punjab. Its a community development programme, provides closed loop sanitation and energy-efficient modern solutions through community toilets and bio-gas plants to the community. The idea is to mitigate practices that impact the yield and quality of the farm produce being supplied to organized retail stores.

Company says that this initiative forms part of Bharti Walmart’s objective to set up an efficient and robust supply chain that maximizes value for farmers and retailers.

Arunachal Pradesh: Greenfield Airport project
Arunachal Pradesh does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport is Lilabari in Assam, 57 km from Naharlagun and 67 km from Itanagar. Another airport is at Tezpur in Assam, which is approximately at same distance. On March 28, 2010 Union Environment Ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee for Building Construction has given an approval to Rs 696.66 crore Green Field Airport project in Itanagar.

This will be the first Greenfield airport in the Northeast state.

Tamilnadu: Pennagaram Bypoll
Pennagaram assembly seat got vacant after death of P N Periannan. In the bypoll,P N P Inbasekaran, son of P N Periannan from the ruling DMK in retains the Pennagaram Assembly seat in the bypoll.

Business & Economy:
Six nanos to Smile Train
Smile Train is world’s largest cleft charity. It is an international charity co-founded in 1999 by Brian Mullaney and Charles Wang with the mission of providing free cleft lips and palate surgery for children in developing countries , provies free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals. It operates in 76 countries including India. Smile Train is working with 400 doctors in 180 partner hospitals across India and has helped over 2,00,000 children. It operates 50,000 children a year, the number which is increasing by 20 per cent annually. The organization aims to make India cleft free by 2015.

Tata Sons chairman, Ratan N Tata doonates six Tata Nanos Smile Train. These cars will be used in Smile Train partner hospitals.

Murugappa Group – DBS Bank Deal
Murugappa Group (HQ. Chennai) is a business conglomerate. The group had entered into partnership with DBS Bank, Singapore in 2005 to enter into consumer loan business. It buys 37.48 per cent stake in DBS Bank making it to hold controlling stake in their joint venture company Cholamandalam DBS Finance Ltd

On NAFED BARC Tie Up
An MOU will be signed in April by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) & Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to distribute high-yielding varieties of seeds to farmers. BARC has been developing high-yielding varieties of seeds at the nuclear agriculture and biotechnology division, NAFED will work to disseminate them.

  • BARC has developed at least 38 new crop varieties by combining mutation and recombination breeding.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture has already notified these varieties for commercial cultivation.
  • ‘The varieties include 20 in oilseeds, 14 of groundnut, three of mustard, two of soyabean and one of sunflower; 16 in pulses, seven in green gram or moong, four in black gram, four in pigeon pea or tur, and one each in cowpea ( chowli), rice and jute.
  • Some of these varieties have been distributed and cultivated in states but this will be for the first time that they will be distributed at national level.

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What is Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 11:34 AM PDT

As per Section 24 (2A) of Banking Regulation Act 1949, every banking company in India has to maintain equivalent to an amount which shall not at the close of the business on any day be less than 25% of the total of its net demand and time liabilities. The components of SLR are Cash in hand, Gold owned by the bank, Balance with RBI, Net balance in current account & Investment in Government securities. SLR has to be maintained at the close of business on every day.


What is the difference between Nationalized Bank and Public Sector Bank?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 11:23 AM PDT

What is the difference between Nationalized Bank and Public Sector Bank?
Please note that Nationalization is an act of taking an industry or assets into the public ownership of a national government. Nationalization refers to private assets being transferred to the public sector to be operated by or owned by the state. So there is no difference between a nationalized bank and a public sector Bank. The opposite of nationalization is privatization. The Banks which were earlier in private sector were transferred to the public Sector by the act of nationalization. The first nationalized bank was Imperial Bank of India (under the SBI Act of 1955) and re-christened as State Bank of India (SBI) in July 1955. In 1969 , 14 banks were nationalized and in 1980, the second phase of nationalization of Indian banks took place, in which 7 more banks were nationalized. Currently total 26 public sector banks in India all were Nationalized over a period of time.


What is the significance of crossing a cheque?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 11:06 AM PDT

Crossing of cheques has been discussed in Negotiable Instruments Act 1881 Section 123-131. Crossing provides an additional security. Crossing means that sum of that cheque can only recovered from a specified banker and it will be credited to the holders account. The crossed cheques are not paid at the counter. Crossing is applicable in case of cheques only and not in case of Bill of Exchange or promissory notes. Crossing may be General crossing or Special crossing. General crossing (NI Act Section 123) is where a cheque bears two parallel lines with words such as a/c payee etc. In Special crossing (NI Act Section 124) the cheque bears the name of the banker also. Section 126 directs that such cheques shall be paid to the banker to whom it is crossed specially or to his agent for collection.


Which country is India’s Largest Trade partner?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 10:45 AM PDT

By 2008-09 China had emerged as India’s Largest Trade partner, leaving behind USA, which has been India’s largest trade partner traditionally. The total trade with China was worth Rs. 1,63,202 Crore. However this included a trade balance of -92,676 crore Rupees which means India’s imports from china are much bigger than India’s exports to China. Total trade with USA stood at Rs. 1,55,353 Crore, where trade balance was Rs. 12,254 Crore. In continents , Europe has emerged as India’s single largest trading partner.


Which is the smallest national highway in India?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 10:34 AM PDT

Which is the smallest national highway in India?
National Highway 47A, which starts from NH 47 at Kundannur, is the shortest highway in India.It has a length of 6 Kilometeres in total.It links the man-made isle of Willingdon Island with Kochi bye-pass. Next in the list is National Highway 1C (Domel – Katra High Way) in Jammu & Kashmir with total length 8 kms. National Highway 7 is the longest national highway (2369 Kms) in India, which passes through Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.


Who translated the Atharva Veda into Persian?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 10:26 AM PDT

Akbar had a committee of scholars with cross lingual expertise. Some of them were Naqeeb Khan, Mulla Abdul Qadir Badayuni, Mulla Sheri and Sultan Haji Thanesari. In that era Mahabharat was translated into Persian and was renamed as Razm Namah (Saga of theBatlefield). Ramayana was translated by Mulla Abdul Qadir Badayuni. Badayuni also took up the task of Singhasan Batisi into Persian , which was later titled Khurd Afza in Persian.Atharva Veda was translated by Haji Ibrahim Sirhindi. Rajataringini by Kalhana was translated by Maulana Shah Mohammad Shahabadi. Panchtantra were rendered into Persian by Mulla Hussain Waiz


Who was Shahjahan II?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 04:08 PM PDT

Rafi ud-Daulah who ascended the throne of Delhi for a very small period was also known as Shah Jahan II. He was cousin of Farrukhsiyar and brother of Rafi Ul-Darjat. After Farrukhsiyar assassinated by the Syed Brothers, Rafi Ul-Darjat was placed on the throne. Rafi ud-Daulah was elder brother of Rafi Ul-Darjat and he had succeeded him.


Who is the oldest person ever to play in the Superbowl?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 09:45 AM PDT

Who is the oldest person ever to play in the Superbowl?
Matt Stover, an American Football placekicker currently with the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League is the oldest player to have appeared in the Super Bowl.
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Bachhon ko Nishulk Aur Anivaarya Shiksha Ka adhikaar Adhiniyam 2009, Pratiyogita Darpan,May2010,P.1823-1825 ; E-Kachara Prabandhan: Ek Chunauti Aur Upaye, Pratiyogita Darpan,May2010,P.1832-1834; Vitamin Truths & lies,Reader Digest,May2010,P.52-56; Surface Area and Volume, Education Trend,May210,P.65 ; Metals and Non Metals, Education Trend,May210,P.77; The rise of Nationalism in Europe, Education Trend,May210,P.91; Linear Equations in two variables, Education Today,May2010,P.5-15,Federalism, Sectors of Indian Economy and Water Resources Education Today,May2010,P.16-29 ; Acids, Bases and Salts, Education Today,May2010,P.30; Prehistoric Creatures,Tell Me Why,May2010; Disappearing Herbs,Out Look,May24,2010,P.56

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