Current Affairs : February 5, 2010

Awards & Honors:
Bharat Asmita Awards
Bharat Asmita national awards were instituted by the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) group of institutions. The winners are
  1. P Sainath : The Hindu
  2. Jabbar Patel : Thetre Director.
  3. Infosys Founder N.R. Narayana Murthy and his wife Sudha Murthy – Infosys
  4. Professor Ajit Rangnekar, the dean of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad,
  5. Deepender Singh Hooda – Parliamentarian
  6. Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

Pushpavatika Trophy – Rashtrapati Nilayam Horticulture Department
The Horticulture Department of the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Secunderabad, which is the Presidential Retreat receives the 1st Prize and won the “Pushpavatika Trophy” during the Garden Festival 2010, organized by the Horticulture Department of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad.

Brand Ambassador of Gujarat : Amitabh Bachchan
On Jan 6, 2010 during his visit to Gandhinagar for a special screening of “Paa” for Chief Minister Modi, Amitabh had expressed his willingness to be the brand ambassador of Gujarat. He said “I would be happy to lend my face and voice for the cause of Gujarat.” Thrilled Modi followed with a formal offer and now Amitabh Bachchan is brand ambassador of Gujarat.

India’s Ambassador to Congo – Devendra Nath Srivastava
Devendra Nath Srivastava who is Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Congo.

India’s next Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan – Professor Phunchok Stobdan
Professor Phunchok Stobdan, an expert on issues concerning national and international security with specific focus on Asian affairs covering Central Asia and South Asia has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Kyrgyzstan.

Mark Benson retires from ICC Elite Panel
Mark Richard Benson is a former International cricketer and is with ICC Elite Panel as cricket umpire since 2006 retires from the panel.

What is ICC Elite Panel:
ICC Elite Panel is a panel of cricket umpires which is appointed by the International Cricket Council to officiate in Test matches and One Day Internationals around the world. It was first set up in 2002. This was basically a ICC led reform to the International Cricket Umpiring. The main
reform of this panel was that both umpires in Test match and one of the umpires in One-day international are now independent of the competing nations, whereas before 2002 just one of the umpires in a Test was neutral and both umpires in ODIs were from the home nation.

Events, Happenings & Observances
National Festival of Tribal Dances & Music – Prakriti
Minister of Tribal Affairs Kantilal Bhuria inaugurates “Prakriti”, National Festival of Tribal Dances & Music at New Delhi.

Prakriti – the integrated event, is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) and the Ministry of Culture to present tribal art and culture in a holistic manner. Ministry of Culture brings in performing tribal troupes from different parts of the country to make the event a unique blend of tribal art and culture.

National Affairs:
National Science and Engineering Research Board
The Government of India is going to set up a National Science and Engineering Research Board on the lines of National Science Foundation in the United States. The proposal was announced in 2008. This will be an autonomous body that will focus on promoting basic research in science and engineering. A meeting of PM’s Scientific Advisory Council was held on January 29, 2010 and now it is official that the Board will be formally launched in March 2010. Rs. 4000 crore are slated to be allotted as funds for next 3-4 years.

Goa : Bondla Zoo
Bondla Zoo is in Goa and Central Zoo Authority had identified the Bondla Zoo as the Bison breeding centre. It exchanges Bisons wth other animals.
Now the Central Zoo Authority sanctions Rs. 20 Crore for a Master plan for development and Upgradation.

Bihar : Steady Decline in Polio Cases:
As per latest figures released by the UNESCO and World Health Organization(WHO), Bihar has shown a steady fall in Polio cases since 2007. The number was 503 in 2007, came down to 233 in 2008 and 117 in 2009 thus making Bihar as one of the least affected states in the country.

Rajasthan : Liquor Policy
The new state excise and liquor policy of Rajasthan is out and approved. State Government aims Rs. 2400 Crore earnings in the fiscal 2010-11. The new policy marks some changes such as 20% hike in the license of IMFL (India Made Foreign Liquor). This policy is coherent with the conservative and reformative approach of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s new government, which is quite different from the previous government of Vasundhara Raje.

Uttar Pradesh – Budget 2010-11 some memorable points:
Following new programs have been launched in Uttar Pradesh in the Budget of State 2010-11.

  1. The ambitious “Sodic Land Reclamation Project-Third” launched.
  2. Dr. Ambedkar Krishi Urja Sudhar Yojna” launched to connect the pump sets in rural areas with a separate power feeder.
  3. Proposal to extend the benefit of the “Savitri Bai Phule Balika Shiksha Madad Yojna” also to the girl students getting admission in ITIs and polytechnics.
  4. ‘Decision to give benefit of the “Uttar Pradesh Mukhyamantri Mahamaya Garib Arthik Madad Yojna to the woman head of the family.
  5. Under the scheme, the B.P.L. families which are not covered under the schemes of subsidised food grains and pension will be given financial assistance at the rate of Rs. 300 per month.
  6. Basic infrastructure projects in sphere of power, road-bridges, transport and urban infrastructure are being implemented mainly through Public Private Partnership in order to ensure optimum utilization of the state government’s limited resources on socioeconomic
    progress of the state especially on the schemes regarding upliftment of poor and weaker sections, social security, women and child welfare, education and medical and health.

Super 30
Super 30 is an educational program that started in Patna, India under the banner of Ramanujan School of Mathematics. Every year the programme selects 30 meritorious and talented candidates from economically backward sections of society and shaped to appear in IIT JEE. The programme provides free tuitions, boarding and lodging. The story of its founder, Mathematician Anand Kumar can be summed up in a single line that he was granted admission to Cambridge University, but could not attend for financial reasons. Having witnessed extreme financial hardship since childhood, he felt the pangs of poverty so much that he decided to do something for the poor students, who invariably fade away without getting right opportunities. This led to the birth of the programme.

Today Anand Kumar, the founder of Super-30, met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Wednesday to discuss ways to bring improvement in the secondary education system and to present his ideas designed to bring positive changes in the IIT-JEE exams.

Business & Economy:
Renaming of Birla Global Finance:
Birla Global Finance is a Non Banking Finance Company (NBFC) arm of Aditya Birla Financial Services Group (ABFSG). It has been renamed as Aditya Birla Finance (ABF) now. Sudhakar Ramasubramanian is the newly appointed CEO of the company.

Pitroda panel:
Prime Minister had constituted a committee under Sam Pitroda in January 2010 to look into the functioning of two telecom public sector units BSNL and MTNL. Noted banker Deepak Parikh and the telecom secretary are members of this panel. recently BSNL had invited bids for GSM
equipment for an estimated investment of over Rs 36,000 crore (Rs 360 billion) but the PSU could not place the orders even after 20 months of tender due to various issues, including legal battles. Now PM asks the department to refer this case to pitroda Panel.

India & World:
Munich Security Conference
The 46th Munich Security Conference holds from February 5th through February 7th 2010. The conference was founded in 1962 by German publisher Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin under the title Wehrkundetagung. He was succeeded in 1999 by Horst Teltschik, former vice-head of Chancellery and in 2009 by Wolfgang Ischinger.

From India, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and his predecessor and now Governor of West Bengal M.K. Narayanan go to attend the meeting. Mk Narayanan has been a regular visitor to this conference earlier and his strong relationships with German NSA Christoph Huesgen has earned him the invitation even after his not being current national security advisor of India.

China will take part for the very first time.
Main topics will be Nuclear arms safety, NPT, disarmament, the future of Afghanistan, maritime security, especially off the Somali coast, stability in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

Milan Exercise
Exercise Milan is a largest four-day naval war game hosted by India starts on February 5, 2010. 12 navies of the Asia-Pacific region within the context of the Indian Navy’s “Look East” policy and naval interactions to this effect take part in this mega naval exercise event. Milan is a biennial gathering which involves navies of the Indian Ocean. It is being organized by Indian Navy at Port Blair since 1995.
Participants are Naval ships of Singapore (two ships), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar, with representatives from navies of Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand.

2010 Manmohan Singh Undergraduate Scholarship
Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh had been a student of Economics Tripos at Cambridge University as a member of St John’s College. In October 2006, the University of Cambridge awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2006. St. John’s College of Cambridge further honored him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship.

Now first three outstanding Indian students who have been awarded scholarships are Neal Duggal from Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore, Jesika Haria from Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai and Rudrajit Banerjee from The Cambridge School, Kolkata. The
2010 Manmohan Singh Undergraduate Scholarship will fund their studies at the university, and provides full funding to cover fees and maintenance allowance.

Indo-UK Joint Economic & Trade Commission (JETCO)
6th session of the Indo-UK Joint Economic & Trade Commission (JETCO) concludes in London and both the countries agreed on the need for further improvement in the regulatory environment impacting trade and investment flows. This JETCO Session was attended by Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Lord Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Government of the UK. The UK is among India’s major trading partners. Bilateral trade with UK during 2008-09 stood at US $ 12 billion .

India and the U.K. have also agreed on the text of a civil nuclear cooperation deal that is likely to be signed soon on a convenient date.

Sustainable Urban Transport Project Agreement of Government of India with World Bank
Government of India signs an agreement with World Bank for World Bank assisted Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP). It was signed by Dr. Anup K. Pujari, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Government of India and by Mr N. Roberto Zagha, Country Director on behalf of the World Bank.

What is this project about?
The project will have a loan component of US$105.23 million from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development(IBRD) and a grant of US$20.33 million from Global Environment Facility(GEF). The projects will be implemented over a period of five years. The project will be implemented in five cities of four States: Maharashtra (Pune & Pimpri-Chinchwad), Madhya Pradesh (Indore), Chhattisgarh( Naya Raipur) and Karnataka (Mysore).

The objective of SUTP is to promote environmentally sustainable transport and to improve the usage of environmentally friendly transport modes in project cities. The project consists of Capacity Development Assistance for selected Cities and City Demonstration Projects.

Global Updates:
World’s First Germanium Laser:
Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) demonstrate the first laser built from germanium that can produce wavelengths of light useful for optical communication. It’s also the world’s first germanium laser to operate at room temperature.

World’s Most Precise Clock:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Physicists make an enhanced version of an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom. It is now the world’s most precise clock would neither gain nor lose one second in about 3.7 billion years. It is twice as precise tan the earlier mercury atom clock. Its is second version of quantum logic clock of NIST.

It borrows the logical processing used for atoms storing data in experimental quantum computing and loses one second every 3.7 billion years. Please note that cesium fountain clock loses a second every 100 million years. Physicist Chin-wen Chou of National Institute of Standards and Technology was the first to develop a atomic clock.

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