Current Affairs 2010: January 1, 2010

Appointed :
Narasimhan sworn in as AP Governor
Mr E S L Narasimhan is the new Governor of Andhra Pradesh and administered the oath of oath of office and secrecy by Andhra Pradesh Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave. He is Chhattisgarh Governor and will hold additional charge as Andhra Pradesh. This has followed the resignation of Octogenarian Governor N D Tiwari on health grounds, after sex-on-tape controversy.
List of India’s Governors of states

Elected:
New Karnataka Speaker K G Bopaiah
K G Bopaiah and senior leader of Bhartiya Janta party has been elected as the speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

Jharkhand chief minister : Guruji
JMM Chief Shibu Soren is new chief minister of Jharkhand for the third time. He is heading a 5 party coalition and will prove his majority on January 8, 2010. The fractured verdict of Jharkhand’s 81 members assembly election has given birth to this 5 pronged coalition and Guruji(Popular name of Shibu Soren) has secured the support of 44 MLAs–JMM 18, BJP 18, JDU-2 AJSU 5 and JJM 1– members. This is for the first time that NDA is supporting Soren.

Awards & Honours:
Sir Peter Jackson and Helen Clark
Peter Jackson is the producer of “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”. This movie had won 11 Oscars in 2004. Peter Jackson has been bestowed with a knight in New Zea land’s New Year honours list. Now he becomes Sir Peter Jackson and is a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Please note that Order of New Zealand is the highest honour of New Zealand and former prime minister Helen Clark has received this honour this year.

Arrested:
Phurbu Rinpoche
Phurbu Rinpoche is a senior Tibetan religious leader, known as a ‘Living Buddha’. As per some reports he has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail for illegally occupying government land and possession of weapons.

Died :
Michelle Lang
Michelle Lang was an award-winning Canadian journalist who along with four soldiers were killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan on 31st December. He is the first Canadian journalist to lose his life in Afghanistan.

Asheem Chakravarty
Indian Ocean is a band with 4 Indian members Asheem Chakravarty, Susmit Sen, Rahul Ram and Amit Kilam. Asheem Chakravarty who collapsed after a heart attack while returning from a concert in US at transit section in Doha airport died on Christmas Day.

Report of 13th Finance Commission Submitted
The Finance Commission is established under Article 280 of the Constitution of India by the President of India for the purpose of allocation of certain resources of revenue between the Union and the State Governments as well as to make recommendations on other related issues as required under its terms of reference.
Dr. Vijay Kelkar, Chairman, 13th Finance Commission has submitted the 13th Finance Commission report to the president which shall be tabled in the parliament soon. The Commission’s report to cover the period 2010-15 was to be submitted by December 31, 2009.

Draft National Consumer Policy :
To ensure a structural framework for protection of consumers and their welfare Department of Consumer Affairs is formulating a National Consumer Policy. The draft policy is ready which has been prepared by the department in extensive consultations with all stakeholders including Government, VCOs, NGOs etc. This draft policy has been uploaded on the site of the department for comments and suggestions.

The objective is to empower consumers, ensure competition, open up competition in areas where government is the sole service provider and strengthening Voluntary Consumer Organisations, to collect and disseminate information to consumers.

First Yuva Train:
Howrah Railway Station. 2249/2250 Howrah-New Delhi ‘Yuva’ Express (weekly) has been launched. This is the first yuva Train of the country.

What are Yuva trains?
Yuva Trains were announced in the Railway Budget 2009-10 by the Railway Minister and they are targeted mainly for the unemployed youths of the country. The objective is to ensure that the youth and low income groups can travel at low rates between major cities.

Charges:
The total chargeable fare for Yuva passengers inclusive of all other charges like Reservation Fee, Superfast Train Charge and Development Charge would not exceed Rs.299/- up to a distance of 1500 kms and Rs. 399/- for distance beyond 1500 up to 2500 kms. Minimum distance for charge will be 100 kms for both Yuva and Non-Yuva passengers. Children of 5 years and above but below 12 years will continue to be charged half fare.

Who can travel?
The ‘Yuva Train’ fares are applicable to unemployed persons between the age group of 15 to 45 years who fulfill the criteria of Yuva to be ascertained on the basis of Certificate issued under National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) and valid Registration card issued by a Government run Employment Exchange. Tickets will be issued on production of original of any of the above certificates at the counter, a photocopy of which should be retained along with reservation requisition as in the case of other concessions. In case these certificates do not specify age, an age certificate like Identity Card, Ration Card, Driving License., Pass Port, educational Certificate, Certificate from Local Bodies like Panchayat/Corporation/Municipalty or any other authentic and recognized document on which date of birth is recorded, must also be carried in original.

Note: Tatkal scheme would not be applicable in ‘Yuva Trains’.

Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) launches pilot project on Rail E-Ticketing :
Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen PC Bhardwaj has launched a pilot project of Rail e-ticketing for the Armed Forces which is being implemented by the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) across 20 locations around the country. It will be gradually be expanded to more than 5,000 Army, Navy and Air Force units across the country.

What is this project about?
Armed Forces personnel will now have the convenience to book and print tickets through IRCTC website at unit locations. The project will enable automatic generation of all accounting, payment and financial reports.

In this system the units will be enabled to have a virtual PRS of the railways in the units itself, which will be enabled to issue tickets through a centralised portal operated by the CGDA office. For this purpose, the CGDA has entered into an agreement with the IRCTC. With this facility, the system of railway warrants which obliged Armed Forces personnel to go in for manual tickets at the PRS counter and involved a lot of paperwork, will gradually be replaced.

Magh Mela : Allahabad
Annual Hindu festival of Magh Mela has started in Allahabad. It involves holy dip at the sangam and attracts lakhs of devotees and foreigners.

Breeding programme of Central Zoo Authority.
The Central Zoo Authority has initiated a programme for planned coordinated conservation breeding of critically endangered wild animal species in Indian Zoos. 70 such species have been identified under the programme.

Bangladesh Daylight Saving Time
About 90 million out of 140 million people in Bangladesh do not have direct access to electricity and the remaining 50 million people have access but reliable and quality power is still beyond their reach. This power supply crisis represents a serious challenge to the rural electric program, according to the Rural Electrification Board in Bangladesh. Bangladesh previously had considered importing electricity from Nepal and Bhutan through India to meet its energy shortfall.

On June 19, 2009 Bangladesh’s daylight saving time (DST) started at 11pm (23:00) local time when the clocks were adjusted one hour forward at this time to midnight (00:00) between June 19 and June 20. This was done to save power and alleviate the nation’s energy shortfall. On this date clocks were moved forward from being six hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (or UTC+6 hours) to UTC+7 hours.

Bangladesh’s time zone during the non-daylight saving period is known as Bangladesh Time (BDT), which has a time offset of UTC+6 hours.
This time zone applies to the whole country and shifted to UTC+7 hours when DST occurred at midnight between June 19 and 20, 2009.
The government has decided to restore Bangladesh standard time (BST) at midnight of December 31, 2009. The clocks were adjusted back one hour from 11:59 p.m. to 10:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, in an attempt to dispel widespread confusion over the introduction of Daylight Saving Time (DST). Since June The government has saved 200 MW of electricity, this is what the govt. of Bangladesh says.

World Tamil Conference in June:
The World Classical Tamil Conference will be held in Coimbatore June 23-27, 2010. They are series of occasional conferences held by the government of Tamil Nadu, which aim to unite Tamil people around the world. First World Tamil Conference was held in 1967 in Kuala lumpur.

Tobacco could be bio fuel of vehicles of future
As per a report published in Plant Biotechnology Journal, some researchers have identified a way of increasing oil content in tobacco leaves to be used as a bio fuel. According to this report, Tobacco can generate bio fuel more efficiently than other agricultural crops. The scientists have found ways to genetically engineer the plants so that their leaves express more oil. In some instances, the modified plants produced 20-fold more oil in the leaves. In their view, Tobacco represents an attractive and promising ‘energy plant’ platform, and could also serve as a model for the utilisation of other high-biomass plants for bio fuel production.

India Japan Agreement on Green Buildings
India and Japan have signed agreements to build Eco-friendly cities along the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor which is being developed with the help of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corp (DMICDC)have signed this MOU.
The 1,483-km Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor will cover and traverse through 6 states Delhi and the national capital region, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. The project will be finished by 2017.

World’s Fastest Train is in China:
China Railway High-Speed (CRH) is World’s fastest train which runs at an average speed train of 350 km per hour. The super-high-speed train connects the cities of Guangzhou, which is a business hub in southern China near Hong Kong, and Wuhan (a metropolis in central China). It is a distance of 1,069 km that takes only three hours to complete in the new high-speed train.

India Sri Lanka Power Link
By 2013 India and Sri Lanka will be having a 285-kilometre power link which will include submarine cables over a stretch of 50 km. This link will enable the two countries to trade their surplus power apart from offering a cheaper option to bridge their power generation deficit and also manage their peak demand. This is a Rs. 2300 crore project and Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd, the country’s largest electricity transmission company is the implementing agency from the Indian side. Sri lankan side implementation will be done by Ceylon Electricity Board. They will lay down cables under the Gulf of Mannar between Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu and Talaimannar in Mannar islands in Sri Lanka.

India and Steel Production:
With production of 46.77 million tonnes of crude steel during the period January-October, 2009, India emerged as the fourth largest steel producer in the world.
India is expected to become the 2nd largest producer of crude steel in the world by 2015, provided all requirements for creation of fresh capacity are adequately met.
India also maintained its lead position as the world’s largest producer of direct reduced iron (DRI) or sponge iron. Sponge iron production for sale was 20.8 million tonnes in 2008-09 which was higher by 2.1% over 2007-08.
The country is likely to achieve a crude steel production capacity of 124 million tonnes by theyear 2012.
222 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed by the investors with various State Governments for setting up additional 276 million tonnes of steel capacity in the country.Major investment plans are in the States of Orissa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. (PIB)
India’s External Debt:
India’s total external debt stock at US$ 242.8 billion as at end-September 2009 recorded an increase of US$ 18.2 billion or 8.1 per cent over end-March 2009 estimates. The long-term debt increased by US$ 19.2 billion (10.6 per cent) to US$ 200.4 billion, while short-term debt was lower by US$ 985 million (-2.3 per cent) to US$ 42.4 billion. Over the previous quarter, the increase in external debt as at end-September 2009 was US$ 13.0 billion or 5.7 per cent.

Rosa Power Plant:
Rosa in Shahjahanpur district in Uttar Pradesh has witnessed the launch of Rosa Power Plant of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group recently.
It is a 300 MW unit. It is a coal based plant and coal for the project would be sourced from the Ashoka mines in Jharkhand.It will supply the entire power to Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) for which a power purchase agreement was signed on November 12, 2006.
Company now is heading towards commissioning of the two remaining 300 MW units by March 2012, including a 600 MW plant at Butibori near Nagpur in Maharashtra and a 1300 MW plant at Sasan in Madhya Pradesh.

Pardi People’s Cooperative Bank & IBM Deal
The Pardi People’s Cooperative Bank was established in Guajarat on Dec 23, 1929 to provide loans with low interest rate to farmers, small traders and artisans. The bank was recognised as a scheduled cooperative bank in 2000 by the central bank. This bank has tied up with IBM for a 10-year information technology (IT) services agreement in which IBM will provide managed continuity services comprising server management, network and security management and back-up and database management.
Madhav Nagrik Sahakari Cooperative Bank in Rajasthan and Kurmanchal Nagar Sahkari Bank at Nainital in Uttarakhand are also being handled by IBM only.

Elm : The Green Mobile from Sony Erricson:
Elm, which can block background noise with the help of a noise shield, clear voice and volume adaptation is a new Green Product of Sony Ericsson launched recently with another set VH700. The company has announced that the company would make all accessories green compliant by 2011 and these products add up the company is “green portfolio”.

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