- In a major deal for India’s private defence industry, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group announced a joint venture with Dassault Aviation on October 3, 2016. The companies in a joint statement said, the entity will be a key player in execution of offset contract worth about 22000 crore rupees as part of the fighter jet deal. Purpose of the Joint Venture is to focus on promoting Research and development projects under the IDDM program (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured), a new initiative of India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
- This new joint venture called Dassault Reliance Aerospace will develop major Indian programs with high levels of technology transfer to benefit the entire aerospace sector. The Joint Venture was announced by Dassault Reliance Aerospace within days of India and France signed agreement for 36 Rafale fighter jets value of 59,000 crore rupees (7.87 billion Euros). The agreement on Rafale jets was inked on September 23, 2016.
- Former Prime Minister of Portuguese, Antonio Guterres on was unanimously selected by the UN Security Council as the next UN Secretary-General, on October 5, 2016. Guterres will succeed Ban Ki-moon on January 1, 2017.
- The 15-nation Security Council’s decision will be sent, following the formal approval, to the 193-member General Assembly for final formal approval.
About Secretary-General of the United Nations
- The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations. Their role is laid out by Chapter XV (Articles 97 to 101) of the United Nations Charter.
- Article 97 under Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter states that the Secretary-General shall be the chief administrative officer of the Organization, but does not dictate their specific obligations.
- Arjun Vajpai, the professional Indian mountaineer, scaled the world’s sixth highest mountain Cho Oyu on October 5, 2016. The mountain is located on the China-Nepal border at an altitude of 8188 meters above the sea level.
- The 23-year-old reached the summit before dawn along with his sherpas namely Pasang Norbu Sherpa and Lakpa Sherpa after leaving from Camp 3 in mid-night.
- Arjun also holds the world records as the youngest summiteer on Mt Lhotse, Mt Manaslu and Mt Makalu. He is also the third youngest Indian to scale the Mount Everest. He scaled the highest mountain of the world in 2010 at the age of 16 years, 11 months and 18 days.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on October 5, 2016 gave its approval to an acquisition by ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) for 11% stake in JSC Vankorneft from Rosneft Oil Company (Rosneft), Russia’s national oil company.
- The acquisition is in line with ONGC’s stated objective of adding high quality international assets to India’s exploration and production portfolio.
- Earlier in May 2016, OVL completed the formalities for acquisition of 15% stake in Vankorneft at a cost of 1.284 billion US dollar, which gave OVL 4.11 MMTOE.
About ONGC Videsh Ltd
- ONGC Videsh Limited is the international arm of ONGC. It was rechristened on June 15, 1989.
- ONGC holds 100% stake in ONGC Videsh Limited.
- It is a Miniratna Schedule-A Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) of the Government of India under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
- In terms of reserves and production, ONGC Videsh is the second largest petroleum Company of India, next only to its parent ONGC.
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet on October 3, 2016, decided to award the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi.Ohsumi is bestowed with the prize for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy. He discovered and elucidated mechanisms underlying autophagy, a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components.What is autophagy?
- Autophagy is a natural, destructive mechanism that disassembles the unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components.
- It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components.
- During this process, targeted cytoplasmic constituents are isolated from the rest of the cell within a double-membraned vesicle known as an autophagosome.
- The autophagosome then fuses with a lysosome and the contents are degraded and recycled.
- Three different forms of autophagy are commonly described as macroautophagy, microautophagy, and chaperone-mediated autophagy.
- The name autophagy was coined by Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve in 1963.
SBI becomes the first bank to open branch in Yangon
- The State Bank of India (SBI) on became the first national bank of India to open a branch in the capital city of Yangon, Myanmar, on October 3, 2016. Ghanshyam Srivastava is the Chief Executive Officer of the SBI Yangon branch.
- This was made possible only with the permission of Myanmar’s central bank, which allowed SBI to open a branch with the primary objective of extending wholesale banking services to foreign corporates.
- The Yangon branch is the 54th foreign branch of the SBI, nation’s largest lender. This branch extends the global presence of SBI in 37 countries through 198 offices,
- Film-maker and elephant researcher Prajna Chowta was recently awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (Knight in the National Order of Merit) by the French Government. The official ceremony is expected to be held later in 2016 in Bengaluru.
- The appointment of Chowta by the President of the French Republic comes in recognition of a life devoted to caring for wild Asian elephants.
About National Order of Merit
- The National Order of Merit is a French order of merit with membership awarded by the President of the French Republic. It was founded on December 3, 1963, by the French President Charles de Gaulle.
- The reason for the order’s establishment was twofold: to replace a large number of ministerial orders previously awarded by the ministries; and to create an award that can be awarded at a lower level than the Legion of Honour, which is generally reserved for French citizens.
4.MS Sahoo assumes charge as Chairman of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
- MS Sahoo was appointed as the Chairman of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), on October 2, 2016. The oath of the office was administered by Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley.
- Sahoo was recently serving as a member of anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) and was earlier a member of capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
- IBBI is a four-member Board. The members of the IBBI are Ajay Tyagi, Amardeep Singh Bhatia, GS Yadav and Unnikrishnan.
- The main activity of IBBI is to regulate the functioning of insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and information utilities under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016.
- The Board will be expanded to 10 Members (including the Chairman) in the future.
- On October 2, 2016, the Estonian Parliament elected Kersti Kaljulaid as the first female President of Estonia. Kaljulaid won the vote 81-0, with 20 members absent or abstaining. Her selection follows two failed votes and weeks of heated debate.
- Kaljulaid will also be the youngest person elected President, aged 46.
- World Space Week is an annual event that is observed from October 4 to 10, 2016, in various parts of the world. 2016 World Space Week is being observed with the theme, Remote Sensing: Enabling our Future.
- This year’s theme celebrates Earth Observation from Space for the betterment of the human race.
- By Resolution 54/68 of 6 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed World Space Week, to celebrate the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. World Space Week is the largest annual space event in the world.
- Since 2007, more than 94 nations have participated in more than 2250 events with more than 1.3 million attendees.
- Each year a theme is selected by the World Space Week Association Board of Directors in close coordination with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs.
- The theme provides broad guidance to World Space Week participants on the content of their programs.
- The theme is selected to increase the impact of World Space Week on all humanity further, by using a uniform theme globally.
- Jharkhand on October 2, 2016, became India’s first state to implement the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for Kerosene. The scheme is being implemented in four identified districts of the state namely, Chatra, Hazaribagh, Khunti, and Jamtara.
- In a statement, Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry said that under the DBT Scheme, Public Distribution System (PDS) kerosene is being sold at a non-subsidised price and the subsidy is being transferred to consumers directly into their bank accounts. This initiative is aimed at rationalising subsidy and plugging the leakages.
The 2016 World Habitat Day (WHD) was observed across the world on October 3, 2016.The WHD campaign aims to raise awareness about the need for affordable housing for all in urban areas, including towns and cities.
- World Habitat Day is observed every year on the first Monday of October throughout the world.
- It was officially designated by the United Nations and first celebrated in 1986.
- The purpose of the day is to reflect on the state of our cities and towns and the basic human right to adequate shelter. It also aims to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the habitat of future generations.
Indian-origin South African girl Kiara Nirghin won the Google Science Fair prize, on October 1, 2016. She was awarded a 50000 US dollars scholarship for using an orange peel to develop a cheaper super-absorbent material that helps the soil retain water. Kiara Nirghin is a Grade 11 student at St Martin’s private school. She did a project titled No More Thirsty Crops, which was aimed at tackling the severe drought plaguing South Africa. Her solution to the problem of drought uses orange and avocado fruit peel, which are normally discarded.
Highlights of the Nirghin’s Project
- The fruit peel serves a perfect alternative to super-absorbent polymers (SAPs), which absorb and carry about 300 times their weight in liquid relative to their own mass.
- These SAPs are not biodegradable, are costly and full of acrylic acid, sodium hydroxide, and other chemicals.
- It was after 45 days of experimentation that Nirghin was successful in creating a low-cost super-absorbent polymer, made out of waste products from the juice manufacturing industry.
- This polymer can retain large amounts of water, keep the soil moist and improve crop growth without regular water supplements.
3. New species of Pika discovered in the Sikkim Himalayas
The Findings were published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution as a paper titled Genetics,morphology, and ecology reveals a cryptic Pika lineage in the Sikkim Himalaya on September 15, 2016.
The team of researchers including Uma Ramakrishnan and her collaborators probed the genetic origins of the little mammal Pika to discover an entirely new lineage, with a unique evolutionary past. Highlights of the StudyResearchers used genetic tools in order to understand the origin and evolution of the Pika species commonly found in the Sikkim Himalayas and worked with Pika droppings to obtain DNA samples.
- Gaining a deeper understanding of the evolutionary history of this species, the researchers chose to compare the Sikkim Pika to its close relatives in China.
- This analysis confirmed the fact that the new species is indeed distinct and not merely a subspecies of the Maupin Pika, as was previously believed.
- Multiple lines of evidence, including genetics, ecology, and morphometrics, were used clarify the origins of the Sikkim Pika and to establish that it is indeed a distinct species.
S Sivakumar, a professor at the Indian Law Institute (ILI), was appointed as a full-time member of the 21st Law Commission of India.
- Earlier, Rajkot-based lawyer Abhay Bhardwaj, who had represented the accused in the 2002 Gulbarg Society Massacre case, had been selected as a part-time member of the 21st Law Commission of India.
- In March 2016, former Supreme Court Judge Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan was appointed as the new Chairman of Law Commission of India. Former Gujarat High Court Judge Justice Ravi R Tripathi was also appointed as a member of the Commission.
- In June 2016, Bimal Patel, Director, Gujarat National Law University was appointed as a part-time member of the 21st Law Commission of India.
5. Tamil Nadu tops list of endemic flowering plants
Botanical Survey of India (BSI) in the last week of September 2016 announced that almost one of every four species of flowering plants found in India is endemic to the country. Of these, Tamil Nadu garners the highest number of species with 410. Tamil Nadu is followed by Kerala with 357 and Maharashtra with 278.
About Botanical Survey of India
- The Botanical Survey of India is an institution set up by the Government of India in 1890 to survey the plant resources of the Indian empire.
- The Botanical Survey was formally instituted on February 13, 1890, under the direction of Sir George King, who had been superintendent of Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta since 1871.
- Daniel Ricciardo won the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix held at the Sepang International Circuit in Selangor, Malaysia, on October 2, 2016.
- Max Verstappen finished second while Nico Rosberg came in third.
International Day of Non-Violence was observed across the world on October 2, 2016, the date that marks the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. This day is referred to in India as Gandhi Jayanti.
- The UN General Assembly through its resolution dated June 15, 2007 established the International Day of Non-Violence to disseminate the message of non-violence through education and public awareness.
- The resolution reaffirms the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence.
- The creation of the day has much significance for India, as it was the frontrunner in the adoption of the resolution that was co-sponsored by 140 member-countries in the United Nations.
- The first International Day of Non-Violence was observed on October 2, 2007.
1) Union Government constitutes a committee for Monetary Policy
- The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (RBI Act) has been amended by the Finance Act, 2016, in order to provide a statutory and institutionalized framework for a Monetary Policy Committee for maintaining price stability.
- As per the provisions of the RBI Act, out of the six members of Monetary Policy Committee, three members will be from the RBI. The other three members of the MPC will be appointed by the Central Government.
About MPC:In exercise of the powers conferred by section 45ZB of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, the Union Government has accordingly constituted the Monetary Policy Committee of RBI, with the following composition:
- The Governor of the Bank: Chairperson, ex-officio
- Deputy Governor of the Bank, in-charge of Monetary Policy: Member, ex-officio
- One officer of the Bank to be nominated by the Central Board: Member, ex-officio
- Chetan Ghate, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI): Member
- Pami Dua, Director, Delhi School of Economics (DSE): Member
- Ravindra H. Dholakia, Professor, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad: Member
The Members of the Monetary Policy Committee appointed by the Union Government will hold office for a period of four years, with immediate effect or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
What will MPC do:
- The Monetary Policy Committee will be entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy rate (repo rate) required to contain inflation within the specified target level.
- A Committee-based approach for determining the Monetary Policy will add a lot of value and transparency to monetary policy decisions.
- The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee will be held at least 4 times a year and it will publish its decisions after each such meeting.
2) Union Cabinet approves ratification of Paris Agreement
- The Union Government has approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on September 29, 2016. The Agreement will be ratified on October 2, 2016.
- India’s decision to ratify the agreement will take the number <you’ve mentioned a per cent, not a number at the end of this statement> of cumulative level of emission of countries to 51.89 percent.
- With its decision to ratify the Agreement, India will be one of the key countries that will be instrumental in bringing the Paris Agreement into force.
- It will underline India’s responsive leadership in the community of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice.
About Paris Agreement
- The Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations on December 2015 and India signed the Paris Agreement in New York on 22 April 2016.
- A total of 191 countries have signed to the Paris Agreement so far.
- As per the provisions of the Paris Agreement, the treaty will come into force as and when 55 countries contributing to 55 percent of total global emission ratify the agreement.
- So far, 61 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 47.79 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.
- The International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) is on October 1, 2016, The theme for this year is ‘Take A Stand Against Ageism’.
- The theme for the 2016 IDOP draws attention to, and challenges negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and ageing.
- Ageism is a widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that stems from the assumption that age discrimination, and sometimes neglect and abuse of older persons is a social norm and therefore, acceptable.
- Airports Authority of India’s Tirupati Airport was awarded the Best Tourist-Friendly Airport under the category for State Annual Excellence Awards for the year 2015-16 by Andhra Pradesh Tourism, on September 28, 2016.
- The award was presented on the eve of World Tourism Day by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Nara Chandra Babu Naidu at Bhawani Islands, Vijayawada.
About Tirupati Airport
- Tirupati Airport was established in the year 1976.
- It is a public airport located at Renigunta, a suburb of Tirupati in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
- The airport is located 14 km away from Tirupati and 39 km from Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala.
- Syed Shamsul Haq, one of Bangladesh’s best known writers, passed away at the age of 81, on September 27, 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was known for his mastery over novels, poetry, essays and plays. He was also vocal against religious fundamentalism. About Syed Shamsul Haq
- He was Born on December 27, 1935, in Kurigram, which was then in Bengal Presidency of British India.
- His notable writings include Boishakhey Rochito Ponktimala, Ekoda Ek Rajjey, Birotihin Utsab, Protidhwonigon and Opor Purush.
- He also wrote innumerable patriotic songs which inspired the 1971 Liberation War fighters.
- He was also awarded with various awards including- Bangla Academy Literary Award (1966), Ekushey Padak (1984) and Swadhinata Padak (2000), the highest civilian award of Bangladesh.
6) Arunachal Pradesh CM flags off all-women Mt. Gorichen Expedition
- The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, flagged off the all-women Mount Gorichen Expedition, on September 29, 2016.
- This will be the first all women team attempting to summit Mt. Gorichen, the second highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh. Its altitude is 6488 meter (21286ft) high above sea level. It belongs to the Himalaya Mountain Group and is a sub-range to Assam Himalaya. It is also the Headwaters of the Kameng River in Tawang.
- Anshu Jansempa, who has climbed Mt Everest twice, is leading the team of 10 members from Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh with four support staff.